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Jul 30 2012

Overheard from my office

Young employee 1: John Lennon was assassinated?

Young employee 2: Uh,…yeah.

YE1: Here?

YE2: Yeah… I think so.

YE1: Outside the Dakota, it says.

YE2: …Yeah….

YE1: That’s so SAD!

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Turkey Fallen Dead from Tree

Startled from snow-day slumber by a neighbor’s mutt,
it banged its buzzard’s head then couldn’t solve
the problem of the white pine’s limbs
with wings nearly too broad for a planned descent.
Somewhere an awkward angel knows
whether it was dead before it hit the ground.
Any sinner could tell it was dead after—
eyes unseen beneath bare and wrinkled lids,
feet drawn up almost as high as hands.
I loved to watch thistle and millet
disappear beneath it in the yard.
As snow covers feathers that will still be
iridescent in the spring I remember seeing
a businessman take a dripping handful
of pocket change and throw it down
a subway grate beside a homeless man.
The coins bounced and clattered, vanishing
in the humid dark. The rich man said
now you’re having a shitty day too.
But it’s not a shitty day and won’t be
when I retrieve the bird and walk it—
toes curling stiff from a shopping bag—
to a houseless scrap of oak savannah
birdseed drew it from and dig it
into deeper snow so what was hoarded
by a man may by the thaw be doled.
 
—Dore Kiesselbach
 
(via)
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People live in one another’s shelter.
— Irish proverb, translated into English and etched on the wall of the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park
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The wedding of two frogs in Nagpur, India, arranged by farmers hoping for rain. A looming drought there is manageable, but long-term changes to the monsoon might be catastrophic.

The wedding of two frogs in Nagpur, India, arranged by farmers hoping for rain. A looming drought there is manageable, but long-term changes to the monsoon might be catastrophic.

(via theeconomist)

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Jul 29 2012
There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.

Peter F. Drucker, probably not referring specifically to litigation, but offering an apt criticism nonetheless

(via)

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Jul 26 2012

A Bed above the Abyss: Amnesiac Notebook

i. Awake
 
Each entry consisting of the statements
I am awake or I am conscious
entered every few minutes:
 
      2:10 p.m.: this time properly awake.
      2:14 p.m.: this time finally awake.
      2:35 p.m.: this time completely awake.
 
     At 9:40 p.m. I awoke for the first time, despite my previous claims.
 
This in turn was crossed out, followed by:
 
     I was fully conscious at 10:35 p.m., and awake for the first time
                 in many, many weeks.
 
This in turn was cancelled out by the next entry.
 
 
ii. Passport
 
How large it grew, that first kiss, until I could board it each night,
a raft drifting out into the quiet lake. After twenty years
the great amnesiac HM never recognized
his doctor, and after lunch
gladly ate another: Time for lunch, they would tell him again.
You must be starving.
 
God, I am starving.
Without a body, collection cannot precede
recollection: recollect a tongue, that skilled swirl
of its quick tip, a mouthful of familiars: smoke,
strawberry candy. Memory in the web
between dumbstruck and dura: dump and dune,
duplicates. What kind of game is this?
 
I’m no longer a boy,
HM would say to his reflection, the surprise on his face
genuine. What kind of game is this?
The mirror a passport like any other, its picture
out of time, a foreign shock of untamed hair
even the photographer declared beautiful then.
 
Then: the word smiles
like a stranger on your first day at school,
sitting on stone steps, worn with use.
 
 
iii. Taxonomy
 
Red but not bird comes to mind.”
                 Only the kingdom of living names
 
was missing there—bank, flagstone, sofa
                 remained, but not the blur at the feeder,
 
the undersea creature on the card—
                  it’s a danger, a killer swimmer,
 
they coaxed him—it’s called a
                  (waiting for the word to stir from its depth;
 
how could he forget the ones who dressed,
                  fed, taught him word by word
 
the order of the world? What noise does
                  that loss make?) (They looked suspiciously
 
like his parents, he thought: strangers posing
                  unanswerable questions)—
 
“It has no name, it has no need.”
 
—Andrew Allport
 
(via)
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Jul 24 2012
Orlando Duque of Colombia dives 29 metres from a rock monolith during the first round of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Islet Vila Franca do Campo
Photograph: Dean Treml/AFP/Getty Images (via)
Orlando Duque of Colombia dives 29 metres from a rock monolith during the first round of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Islet Vila Franca do Campo
Photograph: Dean Treml/AFP/Getty Images (via)
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theparisreview:


But when I think of sorting through the boxes of my grandmother’s books—even the ones we couldn’t keep, or didn’t want—and what we found there, I am grateful not to have been handed her Amazon password instead. Among all the gifts of the electronic age, one of the most paradoxical might be to illuminate something we are beginning to trade away: the particular history, visible and invisible, that can be passed down through the vessel of an old book, inscribed by the hands and the minds of readers who are gone.

—Amanda Katz, “Will Your Children Inherit Your Ebooks?”
(Source: NPR)

I was just thinking about this the other day — or at least along these lines. I was thinking of books that one reads and then designates for a fellow reader, someone who’s certain to love whatever one has just read. I wish it were still our practice to inscribe our books. I wish that we inscribed them at least with our names and the date upon which we read them before handing them off to fellow readers. I imagine people’s books travelling among their friends and their friends’ friends, names and dates tracking the books’ readers as used to be the case with the cards tucked in the back of books from the public library.

theparisreview:

But when I think of sorting through the boxes of my grandmother’s books—even the ones we couldn’t keep, or didn’t want—and what we found there, I am grateful not to have been handed her Amazon password instead. Among all the gifts of the electronic age, one of the most paradoxical might be to illuminate something we are beginning to trade away: the particular history, visible and invisible, that can be passed down through the vessel of an old book, inscribed by the hands and the minds of readers who are gone.

Amanda Katz, “Will Your Children Inherit Your Ebooks?”

(Source: NPR)

I was just thinking about this the other day — or at least along these lines. I was thinking of books that one reads and then designates for a fellow reader, someone who’s certain to love whatever one has just read. I wish it were still our practice to inscribe our books. I wish that we inscribed them at least with our names and the date upon which we read them before handing them off to fellow readers. I imagine people’s books travelling among their friends and their friends’ friends, names and dates tracking the books’ readers as used to be the case with the cards tucked in the back of books from the public library.

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Thanks to the Audubon’s Twitter feed — from “the original tweeters” — I learned this morning that Olympic results used to be delivered via carrier pigeon. This is my sort of technology graph. Soaked with nostalgia.
Makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t return to radio broadcasts of baseball games. Especially given that the Yankees just had their asses handed to them by los Atléticosde Oakland. Swept the Red Sox earlier this month, too. Looks like the A’s are turning a corner.

Thanks to the Audubon’s Twitter feed — from “the original tweeters” — I learned this morning that Olympic results used to be delivered via carrier pigeon. This is my sort of technology graph. Soaked with nostalgia.

Makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t return to radio broadcasts of baseball games. Especially given that the Yankees just had their asses handed to them by los Atléticosde Oakland. Swept the Red Sox earlier this month, too. Looks like the A’s are turning a corner.

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