Saturday, August 21, 2021

Other Such Fancy Fellows

God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.

— Izaak Walton, born in 1593

The human impulse is to look for order, but there isn’t any,” says Ann Patchett. “People come and go”  ...  human impact  

What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban. "I spent 600 hours listening in on the people who now run Afghanistan. It wasn't until the end of my tour that I understood what they were telling me."

Banksy’s Art Spree Included A Miniature Stable Left At A Model Village

The owner "said he was in a state of shock after the famed artist confirmed the model stable was one of 10 artworks left in Norfolk and Suffolk during his so-called Great British Spraycation." Now, how to keep it safe? - BBC

Australian clouds in the sky swim like a river …

Aussies Are Sharing Famous Quotes That Define Australian Culture And Now I'm Feeling Nostalgic

This morning I'm channeling the good vibes of this 73-year-old daily skateboarder.

“The Novel of Tomorrow” Zona Gale writes:


“The function of the novel is not to treat of life as it appears to the ordinary eye; or even to treat life in its ordinary aspect, if that were ascertainable. It is not even to treat of life as it should be, if thatwere ascertainable. Its function is not primarily to report the familiar at all. The function of the novel is to reflect the familiar as permeated by the unfamiliar; to reflect the unknown in its daily office of permeating the known.”

New Research Shows Inferior Outcomes In Online College Programs Forbes:

No EV tax credit if you earn more than $100,000, says US Senate: The amendment would also limit the tax credit to EVs that cost less than $40,000. ars technica

Diets Ranked by How Farty They Make You

People Are Shaming Their Dogs, And Here Are 43 Of The Worst Good Boys Ever BoingBoing

This Bee Builds Sandcastles at the Beach KQED 

Ex-chancellor bemoans VW currywurst loss DW 


New study says humans killed Neanderthals by having sex with them The Hill

Visions of a life

The James Bond Corgi Aston Martin / an online book fair / art by Callum Eaton / live in a concept house in Milton Keynes / the Winnebago Heli-Home / paintings by Sarah Connell / why imaginary adverts became so popular in the USSR / New Home Quality Control, a sad indictment of contemporary housebuilding in the UK / Nestflix, films within films, via MeFi / AfternessArtangel in Orford Ness, Suffolk (via the Guardian) / paintings by Damian Elwes / synths by Make Noise / AeroFiat, a project by Alain Bublex, who conjures up alternative technology and design futures and makes them ‘real’. Other projects include the Plan Voisin, exploring how Archigram’s visions might have appeared, and a constructed vision of the modern American Landscape.

 Other Such Fancy Fellows'

A psychiatrist, of all people, states an immutable truth in T.S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party (1949): 

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” 


The shrink understates his case. Most of the harm in the world is done by the self-important, and much of it is intentional. You can’t blame social media. That just makes the human impulse to be nasty and hurtful more convenient, less labor-intensive, with the optional benefit of being safely anonymous. We enjoy swelling our sense of importance by deflating others’. Even at its pettiest, the power to control and hurt, like cocaine, is intoxicating and addictive. Usually it is fueled by anger, the poor man’s coke. The most soft-headed, pitiful little shit can feel like Chairman Mao.


And, at least in the United States, and at least until now, such behavior is protected by the First Amendment and an informal but widely acknowledged code of social tolerance and mutual respect. Like you, I read and hear stupid, hateful speech daily. If the speaker is family or friend, I might ask them to tone it down. Otherwise, I walk away or hit the delete key. What the humorlessly self-important fail to recognize is their own tediousness. They may be high, but we’re bored. In a letter written on this date, August 8, in 1919, to Fielding H. Garrison, H.L. Mencken puts it characteristically:


“On the one hand lies the great body of conventional doctrine – flabby, fly-blown and false. On the other hand lies the work of the revolutionists.  The facts lie between. That is why I am so hotly in favor of free speech for Bolsheviks, birth controllers, Prohibitionists, anarchists, Mormons and other such fancy fellows.”