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« East Meets West | Main | Free Reads -- City Journal »

July 22, 2003


Friedrich --

* Steve Sailer is best-known for his brainy essays about race and genetics (here's a good recent example), but he's just as brainy and down-to-earth when he writes about movies. I hope he won't mind me lifting a long passage from his current UPI review of "Northfork":

At age 31, Michael and Mark Polish are still in the extended prime of what novelist Milan Kundera calls the "lyric age." They possess the young artist's obsession with finding beautiful patterns in the world and revealing them with hallucinatory emphasis. There's something spiritual about their search for the perfect camera angle to show that even in the dingiest of diners, the ceiling lamps recede with a lavish regard for the laws of perspective that would have delighted Van Eyck or Vermeer. Nonetheless, audiences watch movies for plot and personality, not perspective.
There's more worldly wisdom in that paragraph than in entire issues of Film Comment, and no shortage of film smarts either. You can read the whole review here.

* Aaron Haspel has been up to some entertainingly malicious no-good again. Pull together a little courage and check out his "blogger's lexicon" here -- oops, I can see that I've transgressed more than a few times myself. Reading Aaron is like going in for a brain tuneup.

* Charlie B. has said some awfully nice things about 2Blowhards on his blog Here Inside. So I hope I'm not embarrassing anyone by subjecting them to an overly-slobbery mutual admiration society, but Here Inside has been one of my favorite reads since I first ran across it a few months ago. At the moment, Charlie's big project is an ongoing series, "50 things that made me what I am." #1? Donna Summer. Followed by Penguin Books and Paul Tillich -- Charlie is one very interesting guy, to say the least, and the series so far reads like a classic small autobiography. Posting #1 in the series is here; posting #2 is here; and #3 is here

* I also love reading View from the Foothills, Will and Jane Duquette's blog, which day after day demonstrates that sunny spirits and brains don't have to be strangers. (An assumption the NYC crowd I live among is much too quick to make.) Deb English, a first-class reader and regular Foothills contributor, has read Quentin Bell's bio of Virginia Woolf and passes along her thoughts about it here. She also reports that she's come around on Ngaio Marsh (here). Will, meanwhile, has released a new version of his software package Notebook v. 1.1 (here) -- if only he had a version for those of us still getting by with Mac OS 9. And he has finally licked the old how-best-to-backup challenge (here).

* Have you heard that Penthouse is likely to stop publishing sometime soon? Felix Salmon, just back from holiday, compares the latest issues of Penthouse and Loaded and offers some reflections here. There isn't a smarter observer of the media scene around.



posted by Michael at July 22, 2003


Sorry, Michael; the only reason I was willing to switch to the Mac at all was that the programming environment I prefer (Tcl/Tk) is more-or-less available on OS X. It's only marginally supported on OS 9, and I'm fairly dependent on it.

Actually, even if you had OS X you'd probably find Notebook uncomfortable, as it requires X11 (that's the main Unix GUI) and doesn't look at all Mac-like. I'm working on that, slowly.

Posted by: Will Duquette on July 23, 2003 12:31 AM

Loved that Carbon Copy thing: not only useful for backup purposes, but also invaluable w/r/t being able to run Norton Disk Doctor on your primary hard drive BEFORE it packs up. (You can only fix major errors if you boot up and run the application from a different HD.) And the applications all run like normal, without having to reinstall them... amazing! Now, if I ever get myself another new computer, I can just carbon-copy my external HD onto the new computer, and everything will be there ready to go and I won't need to reinstall everything -- I'm in heaven!

Posted by: Felix on July 23, 2003 07:08 PM

Ugh. Steve Sailer frustrates me endlessly. I read the linked article regarding race and athleticism (which is in itself a response to the PBS series on the same topic). I've seen the PBS mini but had not previously read Steve's article. I must say that Steve misses the mark pretty badly in his attack. The series did *not* argue that blacks have no athletic advantage; they certainly conceded that blacks tend to dominate certain sports. What they argue is that what we conceive of as "race" reflects geography more than genes. That is, those who grow up in communities that favor certain activities, habits, etc. will generally show a greater tendency or level of ability in that regard.

The PBS series, in essence, stressed the importance of considering the "race" issue sociologically--in part--rather than myopically from a biological perspective. Ugh I say.

I did, admittedly, like his _Northfork_ review...

Posted by: M. Kirchhoff on July 23, 2003 09:24 PM

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