In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Women and Food, Cont. | Main | More Politics »

August 20, 2004


Dear Vanessa --

* Yahmdallah has no reservations about recommending the DVD "An Evening with Kevin Smith," here.

* I'm going to be exploring Natasha Wallace's John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery for a long, long time, here. Natasha's site is a beautifully done, informative, and enlightening labor of love, as well as one of the best examples I've seen yet of a book-like -- but better -- online arts publication.

* In their discussion of falling sales of romance novels, The Book Babes take note of a lot of changes in reading habits and tastes, here.

* Jonathan Keats thinks David Foster Wallace ought to forget fiction and write essays instead, here.

* Of the many good obits of the recently-deceased poet Czeslaw Milosz, the one I enjoyed most was at Searchblog, here.

* 222 photographs of women's beach volleyball start here.

* Which to spring for: the Bose Acoustic Wave, or Cambridge Soundworks' competing model? DarkoV grades them here.

* Design Observer's Michael Bierut offers a tribute to the legendary film-title designer Pablo Ferro here.

* Tyler Cowen hits on a down-to-earth reason why so many recent buildings and houses are so lousy, here.

* Graham Lester hands out his own best-blogger awards here.

* This P.J. O'Rourke "Guide to Foreigners" for the National Lampoon (here) is, if nothing else, a reminder of how very un-P.C. humor could get back in the '70s.

* Forager 23's posting about how overused the Intentional Fallacy is made me laugh and think, here.

* My discovery for the week is the writer Alan Wall, who writes sensible, vivid, and level-headed pieces about the current immigration mess. He also brings a valuable perspective on the problem, living as he does in Mexico. Check out this overview of the problem here; this prediction here about what the future is liable to bring (hint: no decrease in numbers); and this revelatory piece here about the view from Mexico. Interesting to learn that Mexico -- while demanding that the U.S. maintain open borders -- runs a sensibly restrictive immigration policy. Here's one archive of Wall's pieces; here's another.

* Will Cohu's appreciation of Mickey Spillane and his immortal creation Mike Hammer, here, hits all the right notes. My own favorite Spillane quote goes (roughly): "I don't have readers. I have consumers."

* Razib, Godless and the crew at GeneExpression (here) have been posting a lot of provocative and informative thoughts and reflections. Here's my current fave GNXP posting, Godless on admission by race at Harvard. Don't miss the comments.

* Here's a pretty funny Amazon reader's list: a guide to overrated art.

* Loving appreciations of that great cultural figure Julia Child are here and here. Here's a terrific (and even New Urban-ish) passage from Amy Finnerty:

[Julia] addressed one glaring flaw in the American ethic -- our aversion to actually enjoying what we've labored for. In this she shifted the focus of pride at American tables away from the heartland cliché -- that of "plenty," the visible fruits of labor -- toward an emphasis on quality, and the senses. A purring palate was more important than a piled-up platter ...

Food was the medium, but the message amounted to a philosophy of life. She did something more important than teach us to cook; she taught us to eat, and some of us in the new Atkins World Order could still use a few lessons. She knew how to indulge, in moderation: food of all kinds (in normal portions); drink (but not drunkenness); smoking (until she did the mature thing and quit); and the company of men (she was a happily married flirt).

Julia, a real American hero, showed the way to a classy but unpretentious American cultural life. Don't you think it's 'way past time for the other American arts to get on board?



posted by Michael at August 20, 2004


Whatever you do, DON'T get the Bose. The tongue in cheek joke about them among musicians and audiophiles is "Bose: better sound through marketing".

That should tell you all you need to know about their table-top stereos!

Posted by: David Mercer on August 20, 2004 5:58 PM

That's a great joke, thanks. Reminds me of what someone once said about clothes-shopping at Armani's budget emporium, A/X: "Why not just shop at the Gap and then give them twice what they're asking for?"

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 20, 2004 6:07 PM

I _vehemently_ agree with Jonathan Keats. I've read Wallace's essays, and loved them. I picked up a book of his short stories, and threw the book across the room.

I will buy any nonfiction that David Foster Wallace writes _sight unseen_. I think he's one of the best essayists I've ever run across. But I will reject his fiction out of hand. It's simply unreadable, and painfully so.

Posted by: Eric Brown on August 21, 2004 5:19 PM

Here's a poem by Milosz that I carry around in my wallet. Sometimes I don't look at it for a year or more and then I'll notice it and read it again. It always gets to me.


"My parents, my husband,my brother, my sister,"
I am listening in a cafeteria at breakfast.
The women's voices rustle, fulfill themselves
In a ritual no doubt necessary.
I glance sidelong at their moving lips
And I delight in being here, with them, on earth,
To celebrate our tiny, tiny my-ness.

Posted by: ricpic on August 22, 2004 2:00 PM

I liked different post By Michael Bierut from Design Observer - the one on architectural rendering of the High Line project.
Rare case of not-an-architect understanding true nature of arch. renderings - that they are done mostly to trigger public imagination rather than provide scrupulous details of the project, and that for detail level professionals tend to look at plans and elevations, not at renderings. Funny, one of the commenters still complained that human figures look unnatural on arch. renderings - elongated and absent-looking...

Note to self: provide disclaimer for the next rendering "Human figures are for scale reference only".

Posted by: Tatyana on August 22, 2004 5:16 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?