Saturday, August 1, 2015

How to improve writing (no. 61)


[Mark Trail, August 1, 2015.]

“Any signs of anything”: ponderous. “In this area”: obviously. Mark has traveled into the Gulf of Mexico, where Mississippi Ken [sic ] and Foxylocks Kelly [sic ] have a dead shark on ice for him. Omit needless words.

Related reading
All OCA How to improve writing psosts
All OCA Mark Trail posts
All OCA How to improve Mark Trail posts (Pinboard)

[This post is no. 61 in a series, “How to improve writing,” dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]

“[I]n the middle of his own consciousness”


Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927).

Related reading
All OCA Cather posts (Pinboard)

[Much like Godfrey St. Peter at the end of The Professor’s House (1925), but Jean Latour is a serene contemplative.]

Willa Cather on writing

The only reason I write is that it interests me more than any other activity I’ve ever found. I like riding, going to operas and concerts, travel in the west; but on the whole writing interests me more than anything else. If I made a chore of it, my enthusiasm would die. I make it an adventure every day.

From “Willa Sibert Cather,” an interview with Latrobe Carroll, Bookman 53 (1921).
Related reading
All OCA Cather posts (Pinboard)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Life at Gravity Payments

In April, Dan Price announced that he would be raising his company’s minimum salary to $70,000. I cheered. An OCA reader thought that the story would have to take a twist. The New York Times reports today that things aren’t working out well at Gravity Payments.

Khoi Vinh on what’s wrong with iTunes

Khoi Vinh calls iTunes “a convoluted mess”:

More than a textbook case in how not to design usable software though, iTunes has for me come to represent all the things that Apple is doing wrong, even as the company’s profits continue to snowball. On just one level, the application is an executional mess that speaks to the company’s worrying inattention to detail. iTunes is slow and bloated; it’s a terrible, poky, unreliable network client; it’s embedded into the operating system and yet works well with few other apps; its management of iOS devices (for those who don’t use iCloud) is painfully inelegant. And if all that weren’t enough, it just looks incredibly ugly.
I’ve begun to think of iTunes as Microsoft Word for music.

[Please, no arguments about Word. That’s my analogy. Feel free to substitute another application to make an analogy of your own.]

Proprietary time

When did television weather forecasters begin speaking of time as personal property? Your morning, your evening. Time owns us .

*

3:14 p.m.: I fixed the misspelling in the title. Ouch.

Notebook sighting


[The Spiral. And Marilyn Monroe as Iris Martin. Click for a larger view.]

Home Town Story (dir. Arthur Pierson, 1951) is a fable that smacks of a Reader’s Digest article or Paul Harvey monologue. A failed politician turns crusading newspaper-editor and strikes out against “big business,” until he realizes how wonderful big business is. With Donald Crisp as Charles and David Koch. (Kidding.) As Marilyn Monroe as the newspaper’s secretary. (Not kidding.)

Home Town Story has fallen out of the hands of big business and into the public domain. The film is available at archive.org. The People’s Netflix.

More notebook sightings
Angels with Dirty Faces : Cat People : Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne : Dragnet : Extras : Foreign Correspondent : Journal d’un curé de campagne : The House on 92nd Street : The Lodger : Murder at the Vanities : Murder, Inc. : The Mystery of the Wax Museum : Naked City : The Palm Beach Story : Pickpocket : Pickup on South Street : Quai des Orfèvres : Railroaded! : Red-Headed Woman : Rififi : Route 66 : The Sopranos : Spellbound : State Fair : T-Men : Union Station : The Woman in the Window


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reading Rainbow at Netflix

A former student sends the news that Reading Rainbow episodes will soon be streaming at Netflix. But you don’t have to take his word for it: he included a link to a Times-Picayune article.

Recalling why the PBS show ended offers an opportunity to think about the why of reading. (Hint: it’s not to practice skills.) As you may already know, LeVar Burton has created new Reading Rainbow episodes, available at YouTube.

Thanks for sending the news, Zayne.

A related post
Reading Rainbow ends (A sad day for PBS)

Pocket notebook sighting


[As they say at Field Notes, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” Click for a larger view.]

Here is a pre-Code notebook, as seen in Murder at the Vanities (dir. Mitchell Leisen, 1934). It’s a fun film that teaches us that The Show Must Go On: a musical revue runs smoothly while murders are committed and solved backstage. Bonus points for Kitty Carlisle, Duke Ellington, and “Cocktails for Two.” This film introduced the song — and that notebook.

More notebook sightings
Angels with Dirty Faces : Cat People : Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne : Dragnet : Extras : Foreign Correspondent : Journal d’un curé de campagne : The House on 92nd Street : The Lodger : Murder, Inc. : The Mystery of the Wax Museum : Naked City : The Palm Beach Story : Pickpocket : Pickup on South Street : Quai des Orfèvres : Railroaded! : Red-Headed Woman : Rififi : Route 66 : The Sopranos : Spellbound : State Fair : T-Men : Union Station : The Woman in the Window

Paper campaign unfolding

The Washington Post reports on the paper and packaging industry’s campaign to promote its products: “Take note: The paper industry is planning a big comeback.” The campaign’s website: How life unfolds. That’s enough paper-based puns. I fold.

Related reading
All OCA paper posts (Pinboard)

[Has anyone else been surprised to see the commercials?]