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« Salingaros on Tschumi 5 | Main | Britney Fans »

April 23, 2004


Dear Friedrich --

* Chip McGrath, the former editor of the New York Times Book Review section, is now covering quirky cultural subjects for the newspaper. He has an interesting piece here about a cache -- 2000 pages' worth! -- of previously-unknown F. Scott Fitzgerald screenplay work that was just sold at auction.

* Will e-book reading devices -- not ebooks as pieces of writing, but the standalone pieces of hardware made to display them -- ever take off commercially? For many good reasons, none have so far. But this new Sony device here, soon to be released in Japan, seems like the most plausible candidate yet.

* Still in her beloved Poland, Maureen giggles at Polish rap, and finally figures out when it's OK to wear her Manolos and when it's better not to, here.

* That buffalo-stampede rumbling you hear? It's the sound of movie critics all over the country hustling to fax resumes and clips to the NYTimes' arts editor. Why? Because, as Gawker (here) reports, rumors have it that Elvis Mitchell, the Times' snazzy film critic, has resigned. Talk about a much-coveted position.

* Is there such a thing as rational irrationality? I certainly think so, and I'm glad to see that at least one real live philosopher, Alfred Mele, thinks so too (here).

* Visitors who enjoy wrangling with notions of "utility" and "satisfaction" should get a kick out of this Martin Seligman interview about happiness, here. FWIW, I read one of Seligman's books years ago; it struck me as humane and solid. Arts and Letters Daily (here) links to another review of the current Barry Schwartz book about how too much choice can make people feel depressed, here.

* Good lord: I neglect to visit Alice Bachini's blog (here) for a few weeks, and when I return it's only to discover that she's given up blogging. I'm sorry to learn that. Alice has always been a unique combo of brains, earthiness, larkiness, insight and sparkle. I was so amused and dazzled that I've been perplexed that her blog never became a bigger Web phenomenon than it did; if Alice doesn't have blogwriting star power, I don't know who does. But she's off to new challenges and parties now. Many thanks to Alice for a great show.

* And talking about charmante: have you ever run across the one-of-a-kind jazz singer Blossom Dearie? Her voice may be a little Bettie Boop and a little Goldie Hawn, but there's a sly musician's mind at work behind the scenes as well; she's a sophisticated, mock-naive cartoon golddigger, roughly. I'm no scholar of her work, but I do know that whenever I hear her she puts a big smile on my face. If you go to this page here and click on "blossom_dearie-always_true_to_you_in_my_fashion.mp3" you can listen to her version of the wickedly deadpan Cole Porter song "Always True to You in My Fashion," also a fave of mine. Hey, wait: you can download the file too. Can this be legal? Well, 2Blowhards urges you to listen, BUT NOT TO DOWNLOAD. (Our staff of crack legal experts has spoken.) People wanting to buy some totally legit Blossom could do worse than start with this CD here.

* Cowtown Pattie has posted a hilarious how-to-be-a-Texan guide here. My favorite: You know you're a Texan when "your biggest bicycle wreck fear is that you will get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death."

* Miranda Devine's article here about a 13 year old girl who wants to undergo a sex-change procedure is fascinating and sad. It also reminds me of something I've been told a few times here in NYC. You know the standard image we have in our heads of sex-change procedures? Someone's a woman trapped in a man's body, for instance, so he has his sex changed, becomes who he's always felt he really is, and is now able to live happily ever after. FWIW -- and, as always, I'm happy for corrections, additional info, etc -- I've heard that this isn't always the way things play out. Gay friends have told me that a sorta-standard character in gay life is the guy who has had himself converted and who now regrets having done so.

* Tyler Cowen's posting (with links) about DVDs is an eye-opener, here. To call the DVD business "thriving" would be such an understatement.

* God save me from ever seeing the movie version of "Starsky and Hutch" (shudder), but I enjoyed Tim Hulsey and Bilious Young Fogey's postings about it, here and here. Both dudes found the movie surprisingly gay. I don't know about you, but I find an awful lot of contempo popcult surprisingly gay. I blabbed a bit about this here.

* Graham, at Rearden Metal (blogname inspired by Ayn Rand), here, is a cracklingly smart English libertarian: check out this posting here. Graham makes overgenerous mention of 2Blowhards, but the posting is fascinating anyway -- a discussion of the wonderful how-to-write book "Clear and Simple as the Truth" (which is buyable here).

* A couple of George Mason University economists have started a new blog called Cafe Hayek (here). With a name like that, how can it not be a winner?

* The evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith has died. Here's an informative obit; here's another.

* Nate Davis' lively account of renovating his basement (the postings can all be accessed from this one here) not only amused and engrossed me, it has made this longtime apartment-dweller feel a lot less sentimental about how great it must be to own a house.

* Shall we give a Blowhardy Award to the ad agency that devised and shot this Ford ad here?

* The Poynter Institute's Roy Peter Clark has started a series of short articles about how to write better here. So far they seem sensible and helpful.

* This ten-question FAQ here is a good once-over-lightly intro to Hinduism. (Why am I interested? Well, Hinduism=background to Vedanta.) That includes the whole cow thing.



posted by Michael at April 23, 2004


My interest in your Hindu interest is piqued, so I had to pipe up. Suddenly I want to help.

Posted by: Neha on April 23, 2004 10:35 PM

Hi Neha, thanks, that's sweet. Are you a Hindu? Been interested in it? I've gotten fascinated by Vedanta and yoga in the last year, both of which I'm finding congenial and helpful (as well as aesthetically pleasing). So, in my half-assed way, I've been poking around Hinduism more generally a bit too. Here's a dumb little something I wrote about Vedanta. Always appreciate guidance and tips.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 24, 2004 11:37 AM

There's a good review of the ebook here:

Posted by: alexis on April 29, 2004 6:10 AM

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