Jun 13, 2013
Your bed will still be your favorite place, because it will be the most tactful of all actual things. No one would buy a tactless bed, so only the most circumspect and respectful models will make it into people’s homes. Tactful beds will weigh you every night, and gently punish you for putting on extra pounds by waking you up a few minutes earlier the next morning. “Want to sleep late? Lose weight.” They’ll capture your bodily output—the skin you shed, the gas you expel—and analyze it for signs of illness. The best beds will discreetly email the drugstore while you’re asleep. They’ll ask the smart kitchen utensils to cook chicken soup for you when you spend three days horizontal. They’ll ruffle your hair as you’re falling asleep, like mom used to do. The very best beds will be the ones that know how to act dumb. The moment you enter the room with a partner and the two of you start pulling each other’s clothes off, your bed will pretend to power down. It will pretend to be just a bed, just a thing. It won’t mind when you kick it and say to your friend: “Don’t worry about my bed. It’s completely dumb. It won’t even know you’re here.” It will, though.
Jun 10, 2013
The Morning News: Shaw reportedly said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Matthew Monteith: Well, Shaw was a photographer of sorts as well as all the other things that we know him to be. I would say that photography’s ability to convince us that we are all on the same page and comprehending a fact while the picture is actually telling us things that reinforce our own private fictions is what I love about it most. In this way, it is very much like reality.
Bull Durham is the favored baseball movie of the ballplayers. The movie got a lot of things right about minor league baseball. The current Bulls can quote all the baseball lines from the movie. And, like Crash and Nuke, there are veterans at the end of their playing careers on the current Bulls and there are superstar prospects, too.
Sam Stephenson, via Bull City Summer (photo credit: Kate Joyce)Jun 4, 2013
Paperbacks in the house.Jun 2, 2013
Magicicada. It’s a fine name for an infestation. Say magicicada septendecim and imagine, not a buzzing, sun-blotting swarm, but a covey of hooded necromancers in flickering candlelight. Some careless headline editors have taken to calling them “magic cicadas.” I studied Latin, and I can count the c’s, and these are not magic cicadas. For one thing, they travel up the I-95 corridor and they are mostly hanging out in Elizabeth, N.J., and Manassas, Va. For another thing, they don’t wear top hats and white gloves. (Though some children’s book illustrator is smacking his forehead right now.)
Elizabeth Kiem, Cicadian RhythmsMay 29, 2013
May 23, 2013
Patsy got her first real break at age 20, playing with a regional country bandleader named Bill Peer, who was married and a father but still fell in love with her. It was Peer who suggested she call herself Patsy, from her middle name, Patterson. Their affair was well known and whispered about, and the indignity probably pushed her toward Gerald Cline, a 28-year-old heir to a construction fortune who wooed her whenever the Peer group stopped at the Moose Lodge in Brunswick, Md. They married in 1953, then fought bitterly for years because she refused to stay off the road and have children. By 1957 Patsy had split from Peer, then from Cline, but also had fought her way on to one of the most popular television shows in the country. It’s accurate, though diminishing, to call Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts the American Idol of its day; a greater percentage of the country watched Godfrey’s talent show than have ever watched Idol. A win could make a career, and that’s what happened for Patsy when she sang her third single, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” in 1957, and the impressed host deemed it a “wam-doodler.”
Takuma Nakahira, Untitled, 1971, courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York (via Paris in the Seventies)May 20, 2013
May 14, 2013
I like beer. Wherever I teach, it is one of the first things I need to find. Where is the coffee, where is the beer, where is the burger. The beer I find early on, at what becomes my local spaetie, the German version of a bodega, and run by Arabs who are studying translation at the University of Leipzig. Most German stores close around 6 or 7, but this is open until midnight, and has a fridge of single beers by the front door with beers from all over Germany. Most are pilsners and lagers, and I begin a kind of taste test, one by one. By the time I leave, my favorite is the Augustiner Brau, from Munich. There are no real losers, though, and it seems to me part of the reason is the German beer purity law, which requires that German beers have no more than four ingredients. This law succeeds beautifully. I can’t tell you enough about how good the beer is, or how inexpensive, except to say I will miss being able to go to the spaetie and buy a fantastic beer for .75 cents Euro or less. You can keep your fancy spiced whatevers, your ridiculous flavors. Give me a pils or a schwarzbier.
Some areas around the river feel almost rural—the vegetation, the pace of life. It’s these little pockets that interest me most. I met people who have lived in D.C. for decades, people who were born here and whose grandparents taught them to fish here. Real estate is already extraordinarily expensive in D.C., and even in the most “affordable” areas, rent is still outrageous. Some of the yacht clubs on the west of the river have been there for over 50 years, but they can only hope to hold on to their land with rising property taxes and the looming threat of the city seizing land through eminent domain. I will be surprised if they are here in 10 years.
Becky Harlan, via AnacostiaMay 13, 2013
Summer of 1976 I stayed with my cousin whose stepfather ran a restaurant called Ma Bell’s in Tulsa. A telephone on every table and you called your order into the kitchen, nice gimmick at the time. The minimalist T-shirt had the name in a pleasing sans-serif, canary yellow on a blue tee. I recall the city only as sprawl, incomprehensible to my sense of urban compression. My cousin and I played golf in the horizontal blaze of a hundred-degree August afternoon, cowed after three holes. He was thirteen, I was fourteen. The next summer he visited me in New York City. I reciprocated for horizontal bafflement with the best verticality on offer. We visited the World Trade Center. Instead of taking the elevator to the tourist level at the top and paying for the view, we decided to sneak our way to the highest level we could through office corridors, to see how high a level we could attain and still get to a window for a view. I think we topped out somewhere in the eighties. It hadn’t hit me until writing that last sentence that Oklahoma and Manhattan are cousins-by-terrorism. Ma Bell’s is gone (broken up, I’m tempted to say) and so is his mom’s marriage, and a lot of other things, but my cousin remains my cousin and he still plays golf.
“Ma Bell’s,” by Jonathan Lethem (Imaginary Oklahoma) via South by Midwest, illustration by J.P. MorrisonMay 7, 2013
I’m not the kind of photographer who takes thousands of images. I work slowly and methodically on one or two images. Most of the work takes place in planning and pre-visualising the image, and sometimes not taking a shot is part of that process.
(via Alex Boyd, Point of Deliverance)May 6, 2013
Hendrick Avercamp, “A Scene on the Ice Near a Town” (c. 1615).May 5, 2013
The noise and the honking don’t usually prevail at night. The night is a silent, eerie, and almost otherworldly kind of space, one that is largely deserted and absent of the crowds of people who are around by day. That is one of the reasons I prefer working at night, and part of my intention is to look at these silent places that lie at the edge of a borderland of sorts and to disclose what the darkness holds, in order to find a sense of sentience.
Dhruv Malhotra (via India at Rest)Apr 29, 2013
While the internet aids the perception that band names are harder to come by (they’re also changing, says Chris Johnson, who’s noted fewer one-word band names than multi-word ones), it’s not because English is running out of words. There are still vast numbers of words that can be stuck together, as well as a number of patterns or templates, some of which haven’t been become institutionalized as genre cues yet, that can be used to expand the permutational choices. Surely your one-word choice (Blue) will be taken, so modify it (Big Blue, Super Blue, Pink Blue, Really Blue, the Blue) or build a phrase (Big Blue Fly, Big Blue Road, Big Blue Popsicle, Big Blue Big). From a little bit of recursion, you could name a million bands and still bequeath a list of a million more to your rock-and-roll grandchildren (though those names will probably be longer).
(via Like a Lead Balloon by Michael Erard)Apr 26, 2013