Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ways to help Chile

[For readers in the United States.]

Yahoo! News lists organizations responding to the disaster in Chile: Chile earthquake: How to help.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chilean Red Cross on Twitter

The Cruz Roja Chileana [Chilean Red Cross] is on Twitter, with an English translation via Google Translate. The CRC’s homepage at this time asks for help “para las victímas del terremoto de Haití.” No information on Chile at the American Red Cross yet either.

Classical music in Great Britain

It’s been weaponized:

They’re so desperate to control youth — but from a distance, without actually having to engage with them — that they will film their every move, fire high-pitched noises in their ears, shine lights in their eyes, and bombard them with Mozart. And they have so little faith in young people’s intellectual abilities, in their capacity and their willingness to engage with humanity’s highest forms of art, that they imagine Beethoven and Mozart and others will be repugnant to young ears. Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Brendan O’Neill, Weaponzing Mozart (Reason)

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Office on Hulu

My son Ben passes on the news that The Office, “the” The Office, the original U.K. Office, is now on Hulu. (Even the Christmas special.) The U.K. Office is one of our favorite family viewing experiences. Ricky Gervais and company are just brilliant.

(Thanks, Ben!)

Betty Boop with Henry

Henry speaks! In his only cartoon appearance, from 1935:

Betty Boop with Henry, the Funniest Living American (YouTube)

And yes, he sounds like Mae Questel.

Henry turns seventy-eight next month. He’s still working in the funny papers, a beautifully drawn anachronism.


[Henry, February 19, 2010.]

Someday I’d like to live in a city where the sidewalks have plank walls behind them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do It, Dolt

User testing at Apple Computer, June 1982:

When the software required confirmation from the user, it displayed a small dialog box that contained a question, followed by two buttons for positive or negative confirmation. The buttons were labeled Do It and Cancel. The designers observed that a few users seemed to stumble at the point the dialog was displayed and clicked Cancel when they should have clicked Do It, but it wasn’t clear what they were having trouble with.

Finally, the team noticed one user was particularly flummoxed by the dialog box and seemed to be getting a bit angry. The moderator interrupted the test and asked him what the problem was. He replied, “I’m not a dolt. Why is the software calling me a dolt?”

It turns out he wasn’t noticing the space between the “o” and the “I” in “Do It” (in the sans-serif system font we were using, a capital “I” looked very much like a lower case “l”) so he was reading “Do It” as “Dolt” and was offended.

After a bit of consideration, we switched the positive confirmation button label to “OK” — which was initially avoided because we thought it was too colloquial — and from that point on people seemed to have fewer problems.

Andy Hertzfeld, Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made (Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly, 2005), 108–109.
A slighty different version of this story may be found at Folklore.org.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recently updated

Montblanc’s Gandhi pen (now with news of the manufacturer’s legal troubles)

iPad news

My prediction, registered earlier this month, is that college students are the market for the iPad. The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports today that George Fox University will offer Fall 2010 freshmen an iPad or MacBook.

To be continued.

A related post
The iPad and college students

The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated

Staffan Nöteberg. The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated: The Easy Way to Do More in Less Time. Forewords by Francesco Cirillo and Henrik Kniberg. Raleigh, NC: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2009. $24.95 (paper). $16 (eBook).

Yes, I wound up a timer before beginning this sentence. And yes, as Henrik Kniberg acknowledges in his foreword, it feels a little silly having a timer tell you what to do.

I learned of Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique late last year, in Sue Shellenbarger’s write-up of several time-management strategies. The simplicity of the Pomodoro strategy — work for twenty-five minutes (one Pomodoro), take a break for three to five minutes, take a longer break after every four Pomodori— appealed to me at once. I liked the practical emphasis on tasks and minutes, free from business-speak about life-goals. And I loved the idea of a strategy built upon the dowdiest of gadgets, a tomato-shaped kitchen timer.

The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated is a beautiful and potentially inspiring guide to practicing Pomodori. Staffan Nöteberg makes clear the many ways in which the Pomodoro Technique serves to focus attention. The practitioner chooses a limited number of tasks for the day and the most important one among them with which to begin. He or she works on one task at a time, tracking interruptions both external and internal, setting them aside for later attention (whenever possible), and stopping at regular intervals, no matter how well the work is going, for breaks and review.

Repetition is important in the Pomodoro Technique: the repeated gesture of winding up or setting a timer is meant to teach the mind that the time for work has begun. (That must be why Hemingway sharpened so many pencils — not as a way to postpone work but as a way to get started.) Granularity is important too: any task that requires many Pomodori is to be sorted out into smaller tasks. The aim, always, is to create “sustainable pace,” a way of working that lets one keep going without anxiety or loss of focus. That aim allows for considerable flexibility: Pomodori can be of any length, as long as they’re consistent. As an old song says, it all depends on you.

I’ve been working with the Pomodoro Technique, on and off, for about two months, and I’ve found two great benefits. One is that I have a much better idea of how much time tasks require. (Grading quizzes from three classes? One Pomodoro. Re-reading an installment of Bleak House? Three or four Pomodori.) Even more helpful is a drop in self-interruptions, which tend to come about when I stop working on x because I've started thinking about having to do y. The ticking orange that Elaine gave me — it really does work.

This book’s terminology, much of it drawn from software development, might seem to the non-programmer a bit overdone. I draw the line at “drum rhythm,” “buffer,” and “rope” (yes, they go together). But the jargon is offset by Nöteberg’s witty illustrations. They make The Pomodoro Technique Illustrated a uniquely charming book of time-management. Having the book around is likely to inspire its reader to put its helpful strategy into practice.



[Cover illustration by Staffan Nöteberg.]

You can read more about the Pomodoro Technique at Francesco Cirillo’s website (which offers several helpful PDFs). Thanks to Pragmatic Bookshelf for a review copy of this book. This post took four Pomodori to write.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow, dirt, paint



A bit of yellow — road paint — in the February greys.

[Photograph by Michael Leddy.]

Another college president plagiarizing

Gary W. Streit, president of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, has resigned. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “concerns surfaced” about Streit’s use of “unatttributed materials in some of his speeches.” Among Streit’s sources: a Wikipedia article on Janus and “a portion of Enotes.com’s summary of the Robert Frost poem ‘Birches.’”

You might try listening to this January 2010 address and doing a Google search or two as it plays. The first bit that I typed in — even your grandmother has a digital camera — led to an article on Streit’s copying and pasting. That article led me to the AP article that furnished much else in Streit’s text. A search for Mordecai became distressed that all his people would be killed brought up this account of the biblical story of Esther.

The Chronicle notes that because Streit has resigned, there will be no investigation of plagiarism.

Malone U. President Steps Down Amid Plagiarism Accusations (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Other presidential plagiarism posts
Boening, Meehan, plagiarism
“Local Norms” and “‘organic’ attribution”
What plagiarism looks like

Monday, February 22, 2010

Margaret Atwood’s rules for writers

Rule no. 1:

Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.

Margaret Atwood’s rules for writers (Guardian)
The Guardian has further rules from five more writers.

Red marks, blue marks (J.D. Salinger)

Is there work from J.D. Salinger to come? His daughter, writing of her father’s house:

Though I’ve visited his house for more than thirty years now, I’ve never seen his closet or his bathroom. His bedroom, bath, and study are in an L off the kitchen. The door is kept locked. I’ve been invited inside maybe two or three times in my life when he wanted to show me something in his study. Once it was some new bookshelves he was thrilled with. Another time to show me a new filing system he had thought up for the material in one of his safes. A red mark meant, if I die before I finish my work, publish this “as is,” blue meant publish but edit first, and so on.

Margaret A. Salinger, Dream Catcher: A Memoir (New York: Washington Square Press, 2000), 307.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Overheard

Before a concert:

“They’re old lady clothes, and I’m not an old lady yet.”

Elaine and I guessed that the speaker was at least seventy. More power to her.

Related reading
All “Overheard” posts

Friday, February 19, 2010

End of the U.S. sardine industry

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a can of sardines that wasn’t marked Product of Morocco (or Norway or Portugal). But now the American sardine industry is no more:

Sardine cannery closure marks the end of a U.S. industry (WCSH)

Thelonious Monk in Weehawken

Thelonious Monk spent his final years in Weehawken, New Jersey, living in the house of his friend Pannonica de Koenigswarter. He took an occasional walk in the neighborhood and a very occasional trip into the city. But most of the time he was lying in bed like Brian Wilson did:

His daily routine rarely varied. He would wake up, shower, don some of his finest threads only to lie back in bed to nap, stare at the ceiling, or watch TV — he developed a fondness for game shows like The Price Is Right.

Robin D.G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (New York: Free Press, 2009), 443.
Kelley’s biography is an exhaustive trek through the itinerary of Monk’s life as a performing musician. At times Monk gets lost in the blur of dates, place names, and changes in personnel. But Kelley offers genuine revelations — about Monk’s family life, his familiarity with the classical piano repertoire, his interest in getting a hit (“Ruby, My Dear” was one such effort), and the craven practices of the record business.

[“Lying in bed like Brian Wilson did”: from the Barenaked Ladies song “Brian Wilson.”]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Joseph Stack’s website?

Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into a building in Austin, Texas, today, appears to have been the owner of the website Embedded Art.


[From a “whois” domain-name lookup.]

Embedded Art offered firmware and software development.

[The website has been taken down. Stack’s statement is available at The Smoking Gun.]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

“Proffessional Centre”


[Photograph by Michael Leddy.]

A piece of local signage, with what must be two British spellings. Yipes.

Other posts on signage and misspellings
“Collage”
Debri
“Iceburg Lettuce”
No job too small

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

“The Essay Writing Song”

One morning last week, I somehow imagined Fred Rogers singing to college students:

The Essay Writing Song

Work hard on your essay, so it will be good.
Work hard on your essay, for it’s understood
That writing in college takes plenty of time.
Work hard on your essay, and things will be fine.

[Johnny Costa plays a half-chorus piano solo while Mister Rogers feeds the fish.]

For writing an essay takes plenty of time.
Work hard on your essay, for your sake and mine.
Thanks, Mister Rogers.

Other Mister Rogers posts
Blaming Mister Rogers
Going backward
Lady Elaine’s can

Monday, February 15, 2010

The iPad and college students

I got around to watching Apple’s iPad demo yesterday, and it confirmed the thought that had already been running around my brain: the iPad is meant for college students.

Consider the name. For a student who already owns an iPod, the name alone makes the new device sound like a logical next step.

Consider the timing. Coming in late March (Wi-Fi) and April (3G), the iPad looks like a perfect high-school graduation present.

Consider the price. For a family sending a daughter or son to college, the iPad is an attractive alternative to a low-end Windows laptop (and half the price of a MacBook). If the iPad carries an educational discount, it becomes an even more appealing purchase. As e-textbooks become more common, the iPad makes a Kindle superfluous. And an absence of heavy-duty programs poses no problem: a student who needs Excel or Word can always find it (and a printer) in a college computer lab. (Then again, Microsoft could develop an iPad version of Office.)

Consider, finally, posture. As I’ve toyed with the idea of buying an iPad, I’ve been vexed by the question of how I might use the dang thing. I’ve imagined sitting, ankle on knee, with my legs falling asleep. I’ve imagined sitting on tiptoes, so to speak, legs slightly lifted to keep the machine from sliding off my lap. And then it hit me: the iPad is perfect for the posture I see every day in college hallways: sitting on the floor, back to wall, legs extended or pulled up into an inverted V.

And sure enough, the iPad demo shows a sweatshirted, denim-panted male stretched on a sofa, his legs pulled up into an inverted V. He reappears in a chair, his legs pulled up again (propped against a convenient table, I suppose).

The market that the iPad is to conquer: college students. That’s my hunch. (Now let’s see if I’m right.)

One thing that puzzles me: Apple’s demo says that the iPad offers the best browsing, e-mail, movie, and photo experiences. Shouldn’t the iPad function as a gateway drug, leading the user to a (more expensive) Mac? I suspect that anyone who’s charmed by the iPad’s elegance and decides to get a Mac will not be worried by the contradiction. Reality distortion field and all that.

[If you watch the video, look closely at 2:23–2:43. See how little those legs move? The iPad in practice will probably be a shakier proposition.]

Related posts
The iPad and college, continued
iPad news
More on the iPad and college
“Sort of gimmicky”
Steve Wozniak on the iPad and college

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love, “born into every human being”

Once upon a time, human beings were of three kinds: male, female, and androgynous. They had four hands, four legs, and two faces on a single head on a single neck. Zeus split each of these human beings in two, and so each half longed for its other. Aristophanes explains it all in Plato’s Symposium:

“This, then, is the source of our desire to love each other. Love is born into every human being: it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature. . . .

“[W]e used to be complete wholes in our original nature, and now ‘love’ is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.”
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

[Translation by Alexander Nehemas and Paul Woodruff (Hackett, 1989).]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lawrence Wright on writing tools

Lawrence Wright is a New Yorker staff writer and author of The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. He likes index cards (4 x 6), legal pads, and a fountain pen:

I know it seems like an affectation, and it often stains your fingers, and I sometimes have made the mistake of carrying it in my pocket on an airplane and have had it leak all over my shirt. But if you take a lot of notes — and I may spend ten hours in a day constantly writing as fast as I can — you will pay for it. A fountain pen diminishes the physical toll. A rollerball pen would probably do as well. The point is to eliminate as much friction as possible. Of course, you also have to carry ink. It’s messy and old fashioned, like smoking a pipe, but it is still the best way to write for long periods of time.
Author says basics are best (The Press-Enterprise)
Secrets of the Writer’s Craft, Lawrence Wright at University of California, Riverside, February 11, 2010 (PDF download via The Press-Enterprise)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Domestic comedy

While on the road, or a road:

“We usually don’t drive on this road at 12:07. At 12:07 we’re usually firmly ensconced in lunch.”

Related reading
All “domestic comedy” posts
Jeremy Wagstaff on ensconced

Another Salinger catalogue

The Glass family’s living room:

The room was not impressively large, even by Manhattan apartment-house standards, but its accumulated furnishings might have lent a snug appearance to a banquet hall in Valhalla. There was a Steinway grand piano (invariably kept open), three radios (a 1927 Freshman, a 1932 Stromberg-Carlson, and a 1941 R.C.A.), a twenty-one-inch-screen television set, four table-model phonographs (including a 1920 Victrola, with its speaker still mounted intact, topside), cigarette and magazine tables galore, a regulation-size ping-pong table (mercifully collapsed and stored behind the piano), four comfortable chairs, eight uncomfortable chairs, a twelve-gallon tropical-fish tank (filled to capacity, in every sense of the word, and illuminated by two forty-watt bulbs), a love seat, the couch Franny was occupying, two empty bird cages, a cherrywood writing table, and an assortment of floor lamps, table lamps, and “bridge” lamps that sprang up all over the congested inscape like sumac. A cordon of waist-high bookcases lined three walls, their shelves cram-jammed and literally sagging with books — children’s books, textbooks, second-hand books, Book Club books, plus an even more heterogeneous overflow from less communal “annexes” of the apartment. (“Dracula” now stood next to “Elementary Pali,” “The Boy Allies at the Somme” stood next to “Bolts of Melody,” “The Scarab Murder Case” and “The Idiot” were together, “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” lay on top of “Fear and Trembling.”)

J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (1961)
[Bolts of Melody: New Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Mabel Loomis Todd and Millicent Todd Bingham (1945). The Scarab Murder Case: a Philo Vance mystery by S.S. Van Dine (1929). Clair W. Hayes’s The Boy Allies on the Somme (1917) may be found at Google Books. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the pseudonymous Carolyn Keene, Søren Kierkegaard, and Bram Stoker are the other writers whose works appear in the parenthetical catalogue.]

A related post
A Salinger catalogue

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010: the year of Van Dyke Parks?

Suddenly — as my son Ben would’ve put it, telling a story at the age of five or six — suddenly, Van Dyke Parks seems to be everywhere, taking to the road. From an article in yesterday’s newspaper:

“My motto is, ‘I’ve suffered like hell for my music. Now it’s your turn.’”

May 2010 suddenly be the year of Van Dyke Parks. Read more:

Van Dyke Parks: Reasons To “Smile” (Palo Alto Mercury News)

Stopette


[Life, July 10, 1950. Via Google Books.]

Everything you need to know about Stopette. And a clip from What’s My Line? with Stopette’s inventor, Dr. Jules Montenier. And a television commercial. And that is all. Poof.

Stopette is an item in this J.D. Salinger catalogue. Other items in the catalogue: Argyrol, Musterole, Sal Hepatica.

Sal Hepatica


[Life, August 16, 1948. Via Google Books.]

“Now everything’s clicking.” Time for a new roll. Of film, I mean. Yipes.

Nostrums and Quackery (Chicago: American Medical Association, 1912) reports that Sal Hepatica was sold as a “uric-acid eliminant, hepatic stimulant, a specific for gout, rheumatism, cirrhosis of the liver, Bright’s disease, gravel, tuberculosis, struma, marasmus, dyspepsia, infantile fluxes, etc.” Like Duz, it did everything. But it lost its magical powers and ended up a laxative. Poor Sal.

Sal Hepatica is an item in this J.D. Salinger catalogue. Other items in the catalogue: Argyrol, Musterole, Stopette.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caroline’s Crayons’ telegram story

It’s a story in pictures: Telegram.

A related post
How to send telegrams

Musterole


[Ebony, December 1959. Via Google Books.]

The 1917 Year Book of the American Pharmaceutical Association (Chicago: American Pharmaceutical Association, 1919) describes Musterole as “composed essentially of lard or some similar material, oil of mustard, menthol and camphor.” Ads older than the one above offer grisly reassurance:


[Popular Mechanics, April 1921. Via Google Books.]

Our ancestors were made of strong stuff, stronger than mustard even.

Musterole is an item in this J.D. Salinger catalogue. Also in the catalogue: Argyrol, Sal Hepatica, Stopette.

Argyrol


[New and Nonofficial Remedies, 1921 (Chicago: American Medical Association, 1921). Via Google Books.]

Argyrol is an item in this J.D. Salinger catalogue. Also in the catalogue: Musterole, Sal Hepatica, Stopette.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fortune cookie


[Photograph by Michael Leddy.]

Generous portions. Failed prophecy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

BOILINGWATER

Tea drinkers may wince at 27-Across in today’s New York Times crossword: “What you drop uncooked spaghetti or a tea bag into.” Yes, that’s the answer above.

All sorts of things might be dropped into boiling water, but a tea bag shouldn’t be one of them. The Tazo website tells us what to do when our water boils: “Pour over tea.” Tetley: “Bring water to a rolling boil and immediately pour over your tea bag.” And Twinings: “Bring water to a boil, and pour over the tea as soon as it reaches boiling.”

One can find similar guidance at websites for tea companies whose names begin with other letters of the alphabet.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recently updated

I like the way Jason Kottke manages updates of his posts, so I’m adopting his practice here. I just updated two recent posts:

Poulenc in 9 Chickweed Lane (now with my translation of Louis Aragon’s poem “C”)

Van Dyke Parks and Ringo Starr (now with background on the Starr–Parks song “Walk With Me”)

And one older post:

“[A] process and an unfolding” (now with a corrected quotation from George Eliot’s Middlemarch)

Super Bowl thoughts

On “the tenuous and ephemeral concept of victory”: deep Super Bowl thoughts.

(Thanks, Ben!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Poulenc in 9 Chickweed Lane

I never imagined seeing Francis Poulenc in the funny papers. But here he is — or his music is — in Brooke McEldowney’s 9 Chickweed Lane.

And here is a performance of “C” by Hugues Cuénod. And here is an English translation of Louis Aragon’s poem. And here is my translation:

C

I have crossed the bridges of Cé
That is where it all began
A song of the past
Tells of a wounded knight

Of a rose in the road
And a blouse undone
Of a mad duke’s castle
And the swans in the moat

Of the meadow where dances
An eternal fiancée
And I have drunk like ice-cold milk
The long song of false glories

The Loire bears off my thoughts
With the overturned cars
And the unprimed weapons
And the unerased tears

O my France o my forsaken one
I have crossed the bridges of Cé.
[Translation added February 7, 2010. Licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 License.]

“[J]ust like a good flu shot”

The simile of the day, from Van Dyke Parks, commenting on an upcoming tour with Clare and the Reasons:

“The merciful thing is that it won’t be that long. It will be over soon, just like a good flu shot, and I think that it will guard against depression and ennui.”
The guy is endlessly quotable. Read it all and see:

Eccentric Van Dyke Parks finally reaches S.F. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Salinger catalogue

Bessie Glass has just stood up:

She went over to the medicine cabinet. It was stationed above the washbowl, against the wall. She opened its mirror-faced door and surveyed the congested shelves with the eye — or, rather, the masterly squint — of a dedicated medicine-cabinet gardener. Before her, in overly luxuriant rows, was a host, so to speak, of golden pharmaceuticals, plus a few technically less indigenous whatnots. The shelves bore iodine, Mercurochrome, vitamin capsules, dental floss, aspirin, Anacin, Bufferin, Argyrol, Musterole, Ex-Lax, Milk of Magnesia, Sal Hepatica, Aspergum, two Gillette razors, one Schick Injector razor, two tubes of shaving cream, a bent and somewhat torn snapshot of a fat black-and-white cat asleep on a porch railing, three combs, two hairbrushes, a bottle of Wildroot hair ointment, a bottle of Fitch Dandruff Remover, a small, unlabelled box of glycerine suppositories, Vicks Nose Drops, Vicks VapoRub, six bars of castile soap, the stubs of three tickets to a 1946 musical comedy (“Call Me Mister”), a tube of depilatory cream, a box of Kleenex, two seashells, an assortment of used-looking emery boards, two jars of cleansing cream, three pairs of scissors, a nail file, an unclouded blue marble (known to marble shooters, at least in the twenties, as a “purey”), a cream for contracting enlarged pores, a pair of tweezers, the strapless chassis of a girl’s or woman’s gold wristwatch, a box of bicarbonate of soda, a girl’s boarding-school class ring with a chipped onyx stone, a bottle of Stopette — and, inconceivably or no, quite a good deal more.

J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (1961)
Wonderful catalogue, and writer. I like how the deadpan assembling of sentence parts in the first two sentences — “to the medicine cabinet,” “above the washbowl,” “against the wall” — gives way to the overgrown abundance of the sentences that follow. “[D]edicated medicine-cabinet gardener” sounds Nabokovian, as does the joke on Wordsworth’s golden daffodils. Nabokov, it turns out, was an early admirer of Salinger’s writing.

Did you catch the pun in “congested”?

Argyrol? Musterole? Sal Hepatica? Stopette? Stay tuned.

More on these items from a catalogue
Argyrol
Musterole
Sal Hepatica
Stopette

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Overheard

In Wal-Mart:

“Come on, Shelby, it’s time to go sniff the soaps.”

Related reading
All “Overheard” posts

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Attention, Big Lots shoppers

Two Big Lots finds: Barry's Irish Breakfast Tea and PG Tips Tea, each forty bags for $3.00. They might be in a Big Lots near you.

These are excellent teas. Barry’s has an appropriately malty, dark flavor. PG Tips is winey and thirst-quenching and would be great for iced tea if it weren’t February.

From the Barry’s box: “The Irish are the most world’s most discerning tea drinkers with the highest per capita consumption.”

Related posts
Serendipitous searching at Big Lots
Sweetzels Spiced Wafers

Muntins, maybe (Hi and Lois)

Problems are worsening on the Hi-Lo line. Shifty muntins are no surprise. But today’s muntins seem to have turned into bars. Either that or there’s a lot of broken glass in the green and snowy bushes.

Get out, Trixie, while you can. Carpe noctem.

[Just so you know, if you’re here via Boing Boing: Hi and Lois posts are a small part of Orange Crate Art.]

Related reading
All Hi and Lois posts

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

“[D]ark, wordy, academic deaths”

Buddy Glass, in a letter to brother Zooey:

On especially black days I sometimes tell myself that if I’d loaded up with degrees when I was able, I might not now be teaching anything quite so collegiate and hopeless as Advanced Writing 24-A. But that’s probably bunk. The cards are stacked (quite properly, I imagine) against all professional aesthetes, and no doubt we all deserve the dark, wordy, academic deaths we all sooner or later die.

J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (1961)
(It’s been years and years since I last looked at this book. And years.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Clark Terry at the Grammys

Clark and Gwen Terry were visible for a few seconds at the Grammy Awards last night. Those seconds are at YouTube, at least for a little while. Do not be baffled by the clip’s title: Quentin Tarantino announces Clark’s Lifetime Achievement Award right before introducing Drake, Eminem, and Lil Wayne.

My characterization of last night’s telecast, or what I saw of it: Busby Berkeley meets Brave New World. In other words, music as hyper-technologized spectacle. I turned on the radio afterward to have some music while doing the dishes and heard Angela Hewitt’s recording of François Couperin’s Les langueurs tendres. It was the perfect Grammy antidote.

A related post
Clark Terry’s Lifetime Achievement Award