Friday, February 5, 2016

Verlyn Klinkenborg on writing

Verlyn Klinkenborg on what writing does:

It shares your interest in what you’ve noticed.
It reports on the nature of your attention.
It suggests the possibilities of the world around you.

Several Short Sentences About Writing (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012).
I take those three sentences as a good account of what it means to do this kind of writing, post by post.

Related reading
All OCA Verlyn Klinkenborg posts (Pinboard)

Word of the day: kindie

I noticed the word on a poster: “The face of kindie music.” It was easy to figure out: k + indie — an indie version of kids’ music, with nice overtones of the German kinder and of what kids used to (and still do?) call kindygarden .

Kindie has thus far eluded dictionary definition, but Wordnik has a page for the word, with a citation that does a nice job of defining. From a Washington Post article about XM Radio’s Kenny Curtis:

Fortunately for Curtis and the millions of parents seat-belted within listening range, this is the golden age of “kindie” rock, a new generation of quality folk, pop and world music geared toward kids and parents alike.
The recent appearance of vinyl for the young must be a related development.

More on kindie music
Kindie rock (Slate ) : Stars of Kindie Rock (Time )

“Anthony! Anthony!”

Mary Fiumara was the voice in the Prince Spaghetti commercial.

That commercial sticks in my head because Bob and Ray made use of Mrs. Fiumara’s signature line. We would now say that they sampled it: “Anthony! Anthony!” followed by Bob and/or Ray saying something like “Will somebody stop that kid?” Yes, an imaginary Anthony was running through the Bob and Ray studio.

Jack Elrod (1924–2016)

Jack Elrod has died at the age of ninety-one. He began working on the comic strip Mark Trail in 1950, took over from Ed Dodd in 1978, and retired in 2014.

Related reading
All OCA Mark Trail posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

False drama

“We’re in the home stretch”: Brian Williams, on MSNBC just now. Meaning that in fifteen minutes, the Democratic presidential debate begins.

Nancy with string

[Nancy, February 4, 1955.]

Nancy marvels at the care that must have gone into making that ball of string. The Nancy -verse is a work of intelligent design. (The Creator: Ernie Bushmiller.)

You can read vintage Nancy strips online, six days a week.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)


[“And the Style of Tip”?]

In 2014, while beginning to empty my office bit by bit of its, or my, accumulations, I rediscovered a file folder full of good stuff. The folder itself was a rediscovery as well. I have a dozen or so of these Filex Visible Name Folders, which I vaguely remember picking up in graduate-student days from a bookcase where faculty left odds and ends from their offices. (Think immersion heaters , sickly plants .) Each of my folders has “an all celluloid tab with face set at an angle of 45°, making names and index easily visible.” The tab, attached with four eyelets, can easily tear skin. This folder is not playing.

I thought that the Internets would make it easy to learn about Filex Visible Name Folders and Rand-Globe style. But no. Rand is an important name in the history of office equipment, as is Globe. But Filex? Nothing. Rand-Globe? I have no idea. But the Visible Name name makes me think that this folder must be a Rand product.

[From The Blue Book of Chicago Commerce (1922).]

[From Buffalo Live Wire (January 1916). Click for a larger view.]

Here is a page with photographs of employees assembling file folders in North Tonawanda. Do my folders date from the 1940s? I have no idea. But they’ve already outlasted countless cheap, disposable folders of my acquaintance.

From the folder full of stuff
Aglio e olio : The Art Ensemble of Chicago in Boston : Coppola/“Godfather” sauce : Jim Doyle on education : Mary Backstayge marigold seeds : A Meeting with Ludwig Wittgenstein : Seventeen ideas about interpretation : Tile-pilfering questionnaire

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Orin Incandenza, shapeshifter

[David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996).]

That’s a pickup line used by Orin Incandenza (as recalled by his onetime friend Marlon Bain). I think this line has great relevance to our present political discourse: if Orin were a political candidate, he could be a progressive or a moderate, whatever a voter prefers. Why not? But Orin attempts to appeal by acknowledging his artifice.

Related reading
All OCA DFW posts (Pinboard)

Bob Elliott (1923–2016)

Bob Elliott: as in Bob and Ray. I somehow caught on while still in high school, when Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were doing an afternoon show on New York’s WOR. I remember my Spanish teacher telling me that they had mentioned my name on the air. I must have written to them, and my teacher must have listened while driving home. When I began my life as a college commuter, listening to Bob and Ray turned the late-afternoon crawl to the George Washington Bridge into a pleasure of sorts. Yes, I may have been stuck in traffic. But I was stuck in traffic while listening to Bob and Ray.

There are some scattered references to Bob and Ray in these pages. The one that a fan will appreciate is this one, with a letter from the Bob and Ray character Mary Backstayge. That such gentle lunacy flourished on the airwaves is a wonder.

The New York Times has an obituary.

A third police station

[Rusell Crowe as Officer Wendell “Bud” White. L.A. Confidential (dir. Curtis Hanson, 1997). Click for larger views.]

File cabinets in front of them, file cabinets in back of them. Files, files, everywhere. I must admit: during the fight scene between Office White and Detective Lieutenant Edmund “Ed” Exley (Guy Pearce), I was betting on the file cabinets.

We caught on to L.A. Confidential via Los Angeles Plays Itself (dir. Thom Andersen, 2003). Curtis Hanson’s film is funny, shocking, sleazy, violent, and full up on twists and turns — and file cabinets. Jeannine Oppewall received an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction (a category now called Best Production Design).

This police-station-from-the-movies is the third in recent weeks to leave our household in awe.

Other films, other police stations
Niagara : East Side, West Side