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Our Last 50 Referrers

« Words, Visuals, Sex and Girls | Main | The Confession Line? »

September 28, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Austrian economics biggie Peter Boettke denounces scientism among economists, and cheers to that.

* Avian bird flu? Cholesterol? Global warming? Stephen Bodio thinks that we shouldn't forget to worry about malaria too.

* Tosy and Cosh enjoys "Crash," and dares to wonder if Tony Danza might be an underrated actor.

* Few bloggers generate as many terrific sentences as does Alice in Texas. Even so, this one struck me as especially superterrific: "What Westerners need to do is learn to recognise the difference between genuine human sympathy and patronising emotional parisitism."

* Scott Esposito and Dave Munger respond very thoughtfully to a posting I wrote a while back about the future of long prose narratives.

* Fred Himebaugh checks out a Fritz Lang sci-fi movie I'd never even heard of. It doesn't sound like much of a find, but still: It's a Fritz Lang.

* JVC Comments wonders what kind of sense it makes for him to send his alma mater a donation when its endowment is huge and its president is being paid a fortune.

* Magazines about everything and for everyone: Total180!, the magazine for the career woman turned stay-at-home mom.

* Steve Sailer has some fun with an especially idiotic Times of London piece.

* Is there any reason not to consider hot rods a wonderful American folk art? Shouting Thomas visits a huge hot-rodding get-together, the East Coast Nationals, and posts some photos of the event here.

* The Communicatrix blogs amusingly and touchingly about one of those who-hasn't-experienced-it moments -- what it's like to find yourself amidst a heap of hard-to-get-rid-of personal junk.

* Most readers think of books as by nature more serious, and certainly more reliable, than magazines and newspapers. In actual fact, many magazines and newspapers employ teams of reporters, fact checkers, and lawyers -- and are often pretty scrupulous about running corrections. Meanwhile, nearly all book publishers assume that factual accuracy is the sole responsibility of a given book's author. Nora Krug lays out the, er, hard facts. You may never look at books in the same trusting way again.

* Brian Micklethwait wishes he could get his camera to bring out the details in skies and clouds the way that John Constable could get paint to do.

* Howard Finberg notices a new study reporting that Americans spend nearly two-thirds of the typical day interacting with one medium or another. "We spend more time with media than eating, sleeping or any other activity," writes Finberg.

* Perhaps they're recovering from drinking too much Fosters? Last year, more Australian men practiced yoga than played a game of Australian Rules football.

* An extra on the DVD of Tarkovksy's "Solaris" prompts some lovely musings from Robert Nagle.

* The film producer Samuel Goldwyn was famous for the inspired way he mangled English. Here's a page of some of the very best Goldwynisms.

* Who'd have thought there would be a market for these products?

* Emma Forrest visits a nightclub in the company of pickup artist Neil Strauss, author of "The Game." Kirsty Gunn takes stock of Strauss across a crowded room.



posted by Michael at September 28, 2005


It doesn't surprise me that more Australian men practice yoga than play Australian Rules football. I have heard that A.R. football is one of the most physically demanding of all sports, with the possible exceptions of boxing and water polo (yes, water polo). It features the jarring physical contact of rugby or American football, and because it's played on a huge field also requires a massive amount of almost nonstop running.
It's odd that yoga is still primarily a women's activity in the West. The Indian masters who are its foremost practitioners are mostly - or entirely - male. I'd say that the Eastern mysticism found in yoga is attractive to women, or repellent to men, but many of the martial arts are full of mysticism too, yet remain predominately male.

Posted by: Peter on September 28, 2005 1:58 PM

RE: Books --

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. óGroucho Marx

Posted by: Alec on September 28, 2005 6:12 PM

Hey, Peter Boettke was my favorite professor in college - yay Boettke! (Pronounced BETT-key, BTW.)

And another thing.

Did you know that Fritz Lang, while directing The Woman In The Moon, invented the countdown? You know - ten, nine, eight, yada yada, then BLAST OFF. He said it was a way to build suspense. (He mentions this in Who The Devil Made It.)

The guy who does the Teaching Company course on sci-fi says the countdown is one of the very few things that started in science fiction and wound up in real science.

Posted by: Brian on September 28, 2005 8:55 PM

Hey, Peter Boettke was my favorite professor in college - yay Boettke! (Pronounced BETT-key, BTW.)

And another thing.

Did you know that Fritz Lang, while directing The Woman In The Moon, invented the countdown? You know - ten, nine, eight, yada yada, then BLAST OFF. He said it was a way to build suspense. (He mentions this in Who The Devil Made It.)

The guy who does the Teaching Company course on sci-fi says the countdown is one of the very few things that started in science fiction and wound up in real science.

Posted by: Brian on September 28, 2005 8:55 PM

Apologies for the double posting, of course.

Posted by: Brian on September 28, 2005 9:04 PM

Thanks for the link, Michael. Brian: Regarding the countdown: yes, yes, yes! I forgot to mention it in my review, but I thought the countdown was the most surprising bit of forsight in the whole movie.

Don't get too negative an impression from my review. I would have said the same of Metropolis: fascinating bits of pure genius sprinkled among lots of boring stuff.

Heavy-duty fans of sci-fi and/or Fritz Lang who feel an need for encyclopoedic experience should see the whole thing; anyone else ought to enjoy the last hour.

Posted by: Fred on September 28, 2005 9:39 PM

That Fritz Lang movie has been mentioned for years in geeky pop-sci publications.

I have before me a Fawcett Book titled "The Mystery of Other Worlds Revealed" with a copyright date of 1952. I bought it when new.

Page 8 has a picture of the model of the "Frau im Mond" rocket being inspected, according to the caption, by Hermann Oberth, a German rocketry pioneer of the era. My impression is that Lang solicited scientific opinion regarding the design of the rocket. Note that the rocket has STAGES -- something unheard-of in the worlds of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and maybe even sci-fi pioneer Hugo Gernsback. (And of course staging was actually used for our moonships.)

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on September 28, 2005 10:18 PM

Peter -- I wonder if the fact that some Aussie guys are taking up yoga is an indicator that guys generally are becoming more open to it. Interesting the way that trends and fads in phys-ed kinds of things evolve and develop. Did you see weight training becoming as big as it has long ago? I've certainly been taken by surprise. Who'd have thought so many people would get something out of shoving weights around?

Alec -- Always good to be reminded of the wisdom of one of the 20th century's great philosophers!

Brian - So Boettke was a good and effective teacher? You lucky dog. My own undergrad econ profs (JFK-style, fine-tuning-the-economy Keynesians all) made zero mark on me. Y'know, I've read "Who the Devil Made It," so I guess I had heard of the Lang movie. Once upon a time, anyway. Amazing the way the aging mind lets go of so much of what it once retained ...

Fred -- You sound like you watch movies the same way the critic/painter Manny Farber does. He was famous for loving bits and passages and having very little interest in whole movies. He'd apparently show up in class with pieces of different movies, compare and contrast and gab about them. And when he'd go to the movies, he'd walk in whenever, and leave when he wanted to, and go to another movie for a stretch. And why not?

Donald -- So you have a sci-fi geek side too? As someone who never, ever got anything out of sci-fi, I was once (for no good reason) kinda proud of that fact. Now it's beginning to make me feel inadequate. What have I missed out on? (Don't answer that question, btw...)

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 29, 2005 10:21 AM

Exercise fads come and go quickly, but yoga has a good chance of remaining popular for a long time. It's noncompetitive and self-paced, which appeals to adults who aren't into constantly trying to outdo one another, and offers good exercise with a relatively low risk of injury or soreness. There also are many different styles and positions, which helps keep things from getting boring - in sharp contrast, for example, to hamstering away on a treadmill.

Posted by: Peter on September 29, 2005 11:01 AM

"If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive."

I've got to admit, I'd like to know the context for that Goldwynism. Sounds like quite a story.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 29, 2005 5:35 PM

I'd heard some Goldwynisms before and I just thought the man was incredibly witty. I guess I'm disappointed to find that he really did have problems with the English language.

Posted by: lindenen on September 29, 2005 6:34 PM

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