Jeepers creepers

Two weeks’ accumulation of curiosities and silliness.

I recently discovered that Tex Avery’s documentation of the big, bad wolf’s remarkable courtship behavior is available at the Internet Archive.

[flowplayer src=’http://www.archive.org/download/RedHotRidingHood_557/BannedCartoons—texAvery-RedHotRidingHood1943.mp4′ width=640 height=480]

More of Avery’s research can be found here.

Continue reading “Jeepers creepers”

Miscellaneous notes

I discovered this downtown this past weekend. I’m not sure what it is, but because it is big, prominent and ugly, it’s probably art.

Some perhaps not-unrelated art news.

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Chinese science education might not be quite as rigorous as thought.

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… Studio 4C has taught me that, if it’s pretty enough, I won’t mind if it’s nonsense

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Election notes:

I like his attitude.

End post-mortem discrimination.

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For guitar aficionados, a proposition from a thread on Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton:

Roy’s playing: like a funeral. Danny’s playing: like a carnival.

If Buchanan’s playing is funereal, it’s one hell of a service.

Bonus video: a twelve-year-old Joe Bonamassa plays Gatton’s telecaster.

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The idea of a maid café is a bit creepy, but this one might be worth visiting for its name.

(Via dotclue.)

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A couple of notes for volcano watchers:

There’s a natural jacuzzi near El Hierro in the Canary Islands.

Nyamuragira in the Congo is putting on a nice display of lava fountains.

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Good grief

I made trip out to Virginia last summer. While there, I experienced my first earthquake since my year in San Francisco decades ago, and my first hurricane since Agnes in 1972. A few minutes ago the house shook for 30 to 45 seconds. It wasn’t as strong as the Virginia quake, where I was near the epicenter, but it was unquestionably an earthquake, the first I ever felt in Kansas. Should I expect a hurricane here in the near future?

Update (Sunday evening): I just felt an aftershock. This one was weaker than Saturday’s and only lasted perhaps ten seconds.

A Rainbow Dashing young man

I walked to work this morning, intending to photograph the fall colors. There was nothing worth recording, though — this fall looks to be the dullest ever, thanks to the miserably hot, dry summer — so, instead, here’s proof that manly men can be bronies.

Navy Brony notes:

For those wondering, I’ve been active for 5 years, and fly as a crew chief and rescue swimmer for the MH-60S. I can only wear the RD patch when I fly, but that’s because our squadron’s policy is it has to be military related when we’re walking around on base. That and most people assume a rainbow patch means “something else.”

(Via Maureen.)

Ducks and monkeys

For most of the summer, non-migratory Canadian geese controlled the north bank of the river on my way to work. Now it’s occupied by a corps of ducks. Is there something going on I should know about?

Also in my camera: public enemy #3.

Another approach to weeding:

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There has been some loose talk recently about monkeys typing Shakespeare. This gives me an excuse to mention a couple of favorite short stories. Russell Maloney’s “Inflexible Logic” is the second-best tale on the topic. The best is R.A. Lafferty‘s “Been a Long, Long Time,” which unfortunately is not available online. I did find another Lafferty story, though, which might illustrate why I have a shelf of his books.

Nightmares, mostly academic

From the aptly-named “Overthinking It,” an analysis of the political economy of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:

But the strong feminist themes of the series are built on a foundation of political contradictions. The most fantastic element of the show is not that ponies can talk or that dragons exist; it is the illusion that an egalitarian society can be maintained among groups with massive biologically inherent gaps in ability and economic utility. By even the most cursory of sociological and economic analyses, the society in MLP: FiM should be highly stratified along class and racial lines. And there are clear signs of that stratification, except they are obscured by a propagandistic focus on the power of “friendship”.

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“Unoriginal,” yes; “genius,” no:

… Goldsmith describes a course he teaches entitled “Uncreative Writing.” In this course, “students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity,” and rewarded for “plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering, and stealing.” The course also involves such misadventures as modifying Wikipedia pages by inserting additional spaces between words and holding classes within the online game Second Life. The final exam consists of purchasing a paper from a paper mill and presenting it to the class as one’s own, on the basis of answering the question, “Is it possible to defend something you didn’t write?”

See also Professor Mondo’s note on Pierre Menard.

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I ain’t no damn academic and never will be, thank God.

“Gene, your writing style is very clear and concise. Very muscular. But it is not academic writing. It is popular writing. If you persist in writing clear prose, you will never get far in academic writing. Academic writing must be turgid and convoluted. You must force your reader to read your sentences four and five times before she can understand what you are trying to say. You must obscure the concepts that just anyone can understand. You must, as literally as possible, grab your reader by the throat and pull her face into the text, holding her captive until she can escape by understanding the essay in full after struggling and wrestling with your words.”

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Announcing the Société des Bozars:

We grant that television is a tragic addiction, and we yield to no one in our sympathy for its unfortunate victims. But why must the rest of us be prisoners of other people’s filthy habits?
Join the Société des Bozars today and raise your standard against aesthetic pollution. Make a pledge to patronize only establishments with no visible television sets.

One bonus of joining is that you need never set foot in an airport concourse or a McDonald’s again.

Winfield notes

Guitarist Akihiro Tanaka and flutist Toshio Kishimoto
Guitarist Akihiro Tanaka and flutist Toshio Kishimoto

When the international market for anime collapses, Japan can export fingerpickers. Akihiro Tanaka took second place in the International Fingerstyle Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival two years ago, first place last year, and was a featured performer this year. Meanwhile, Tomoake Kawabata placed second in this year’s contest Thursday.

Tomoaki Kawabata
Tomoaki Kawabata

Continue reading “Winfield notes”

Utopian proposal of the week

If Fillyjonk were the Benevolent Dictatrix of the World:

There would be “quiet hours” in most neighborhoods from 9 pm until 7 am. Anyone caught driving a boom car, mowing, leaving their dog staked outside to howl, whatever…they pay a fine. If they persist in violating, the noise making object is taken away from them.

(Via Dustbury.)

On bad nights, I favor a “three strikes, and we stand you up against the wall and shoot you” policy for boom car operators.

32 words of storage and other words

Computer science in 1958.

Godzilla: The Musical.

Via the author of the preceeding, a “live”-action realization of Edward Gorey’s The Gashleycrumb Tinies.

One of Gorey’s other works is The Inanimate Tragedy. Here’s an inanimate horror story in one photograph.

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Life continues to be insane. ((A special award goes to the TSA agents who, mindful of the deadly threat posed by frail octogenarians, patted down my parents on our flight out here last week.)) Perhaps by October things will return to what passes for normal, but don’t count on it. Activity at this weblog will continue light and spasmodic.

In the pink

This has been a brutal year (-17°F in February, 110°+ repeatedly this summer) and it shows in gardens. Yews and arbor vitae are badly damaged if not dead, hostas are shriveled and sugar maples have few intact leaves left for their fall display. However, the naked ladies, a.k.a. Lycoris sqamigera, spent the worst of the heat undeground and look just dandy right now.

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I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days. While I’m gone, you can study the saxophone solo in “Tank!”

The Sultan of Schmaltz, and the essence of jazz

Pat Metheny on the Emperor of Elevator Music. (Via the professor.)

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Probably apocryphal, but worth reading anyway: Yogi Berra explains jazz.

Interviewer: “What do expect is in store for the future of jazz guitar?”
Yogi: “I’m thinkin’ there’ll be a group of guys who’ve never met talkin’ about it all the time..”
Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?
Yogi: I can’t, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, it’s right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it’s wrong.
Interviewer: I don’t understand.
Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can’t understand it. It’s too complicated. That’s what’s so simple about it.
Interviewer: Do you understand it?
Yogi: No. That’s why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn’t know anything about it.
Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?
Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it.
Interviewer: What is syncopation?
Yogi: That’s when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don’t hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they’re the same as something different from those other kinds.
Interviewer: Now I really don’t understand.
Yogi: I haven’t taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

Query

What does “top” mean, as in NPR’s “Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books“? It clearly doesn’t mean “best.” The only Philip K. Dick title on the list is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, a book much inferior to The Man in the High Castle, Martian Timeslip, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch ((Can you devise a more portentious title?)) or even Ubik. Gene Wolfe, the best science fiction and fantasy writer currently active and perhaps the best writer of any kind alive, period, barely makes the list at #87. Ray Bradbury makes the list four times; he’s good, but he’s not that good. Ditto Neil Gaiman and Neal Stephenson. Isaac Asimov is in it three times, which is three times too many. Missing entirely: R.A. Lafferty, Joanna Russ, Thomas Disch, Italo Calvino, Cordwainer Smith, Lord Dunsany, Henry Kuttner (and C.L. Moore), Poul Anderson, Stanislaw Lem, Jorge Luis Borges, Tim Powers, John Bellairs, Algis Budrys and many more I’ll think of later.