Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Election 2012

Tough choice ahead.

This, or...


this?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quote O' Teh Day

Why I love Andrew Sullivan's View From Your Window Contest.
Prior to this morning, I was pretty sure I was the only one reading the Dish from Swaziland every day

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The List

I'm really glad Andrew Sullivan decided to highlight Brian Cox today because it gives me an excuse to publish my list, which I worked on all day yesterday (off and on, I also slept a lot) and seems to be all I need for now.
Remember I claimed (honestly reported) to have awakened wanting some sort of comprehensive accounting of the universe and all its things in some sort of hierarchal order so I could grasp it?
You don't remember? Well, I did and it was just a day or so earlier and remember I posted that coolest thing size scale vid?
So yesterday I just though FI!, the vid isn't really what I need, I need something all on one page, so I started with the vid and Wikipedia and made my own and here it is.
I'm going to carry it around with me to consult and write poems about it, but basically I just need it so I won't forget.

subatomic particles
chemical elements
atoms
molecules
cells
tissues
organs
organic systems
organisms

There's probably a 3rd grade science book somewhere that explained that to me, but I was repelled by science and math for reasons that have yet to be explained. Maybe because there were no people in there, all the more reason to dramatize the history, which is all very impressive. Did you know Marie Curie's daughter also won a Nobel? Did you know some didn't want to give Marie her second prize because of her scandalous affair with a married colleague? Heh.

Reading Nabokov In Port Townsend

Not really, but I guess I may try it. Actually am reading Roger Ebert's memoir, which is more leaden than his typically short pieces, underscoring the newpaper writer's lament — "I don't think I can write anything longer than 15 inches."
He's gone through all the major interview subjects with nary a usable quote, but offers a gem in a piece about his friend the sports writer Bill Nack, who used to recite favorite passages from books.
From Nabokov's Pnin, a perfect metaphor:
With the help of the janitor he screwed onto the side of the desk a pencil sharpener—that highly satisfying, highly philosophical instrument that goes ticonderoga-ticonderoga, feeding on the yellow finish and sweet wood, and ends up in a kind of soundlessly spinning ethereal void as we all must.
There are so many perfect things about that paragraph that I despair of ever writing even that much again. Maybe I'll try for a perfect sentence. Oh, wait...

Just to deconstruct this a little. The repetition of ticonderoga is the exact sound of a pencil sharpener. You have to listen, and remember, many times to get that right. He could have said it growled, but it wouldn't have been the same.
The sweet wood. We've all smelled it. Even tasted it. I can smell it now.
Okay, I get why it's highly satisfying, but not why it's highly philosophical unless it's a reference to the ending of the thought, in which case the allusion is lost by the time you get there. So, yeah, I can even criticize Nabokov, but what other "highly" could he have used to balance out the rhythm of the whole thing?
Soundlessly spinning ethereal void. Really dangerously elevated language. It only works because of everything that's come before.
 He does not much break up this somewhat long sentence (long for journalism, long for Hemingway). I would have put a period after void and made "As we all must" it's own short, tap-tap sentence. But that's my rhythm, not his.
Tune in tomorrow as Julimac deconstructs The Bible!