“Above the mimosa and the flowering palm,
above the lights that narrow to a V,
beyond the streaming headlights, past the lake,
beyond the skyline biting at the sky,
below the lonely star pegged near a cloud
like a penny nail holding the whole thing up,
this cloud, solid as iron, chunky as coal,
squats like a buda on the pale horizon.
Clouds are Florida’s mountains, palpable
as stone with snowy tufts, or dizzying
stadiums of sound and light. They
satisfy the heart by filling emptiness
with shape — but this one I have seen before…”—Peter Meinke, The Cloud, Florida 1985
“I was saddened to read today that the US Consumer Confidence levels are at their lowest point in five years. Usually if there’s one thing you can count on Americans for, it’s confident consumption. You don’t consume 20 percent of the world’s resources with 5 percent of its population without at least having an air of cockiness about you. I think it’s important we all pitch in. Next time you’re at the store, compliment the person next to you in line on their purchases. Maybe Wal-Mart can retrain their legions of elderly “greeters” to become “congratulators” as well (you still won’t have to give them health coverage if you watch their hours). Also, anytime someone mentions their savings, laugh at them. I say if we can belittle the whole idea of “hoarding cash” as the selfish and insecure act of a coward, people will feel much better committing to the purchase of whatever product it is that fills the empty spot in their soul.”—Buck Up, Consumers! | Cinematic Titanic
Also, I keep getting drawn in to the journalistic aspects of this. From the same Times article I linked to above, “In a series of telephone interviews on Tuesday night, she said she had slept very little over the past week, with all the stress of the case.”
Catch that. Tuesday night. The Times knew who “Kristen” was… yesterday.
Before Spitzer resigned. The Times has probably known who she was for days. (Let me be clear, if the Times has known for days, they’ve shown admirable restraint in keeping her name out of it for this long. The story wasn’t “Kristen,” the story was Spitzer.) But I’m as fascinated with the journalistic parts of this as I am the governmental parts of this.
“A great emotion is too selfish; it takes into itself all the blood of the spirit, and the congestion leaves the hands too cold to write. Three sorts of emotion produce great poetry - strong but quick emotions, seized upon for art as soon as they have passed, but not before they have passed; strong and deep emotions in their remembrance along time after; and false emotions, that is to say, emotions felt in the intellect. Not insincerity, but a translated sincerity, is the basis of all art.”—fernando pessoa’s Erostratus: The Search For Immortality
How the government actively prohibits small farmers from growing fruits and vegetables so we don’t waste valuable land where subsidized crops might grow. It’s appalling, and everyone who cares about good food and the farmers who want to grow it ought to know the ways our Department of Agriculture penalizes the small farmer, reducing the amount good stuff grown and elevating the price of what’s available. It’s not news so much as a reminder that the name Dept of Agriculture is fast becoming an oxymoron. Weekend NYTimes op-ed piece by Jack Hedin, a farmer in the Midwest.
P.S. Here is a helpful glossary for people under 38 who are reading, or trying to read, this post:
5 1/4 FLOPPY - Imagine if a CD were made out of video tape material—oh wait. You don’t know what video tape is either. Crap. Well, imagine if you had a CD, but instead of holding a bunch of songs, it could only hold a text file containing the lyrics to those songs. And imagine if you had to pay $800 to get a device to read it. And imagine thinking that this was awesome.
TEXT ADVENTURES - Games you played by typing and reading. Pretend you are text messaging with a friend, and your friend is stuck in a mysterious fantasy world, and they are also really dumb and don’t know what to do. You would text them instructions, and your friend would text back the results. But instead of using emoticons and text speak, the responses would come as thoughtfully-written, descriptive prose. And every once in a while, your friend would be killed without warning, and another friend would pick up their phone and continue, if you had been smart enough to have the first friend write down the location of the phone.
ATARI 400 - The greatest computer of its day, with a keyboard that was so comfortable to type on, they still use it on microwave ovens today. The Atari ate Apple IIs for breakfast, and for dinner it swallowed Commodore 64s whole. It usually skipped lunch, preferring to use that hour to beat up PCs. I’m not bitter, but if Atari had won instead of Apple, they would have made something better than the iPhone by now. Or at the very least, the iPhone would come with Star Raiders.
STAR RAIDERS - The best game on the Atari 400/800, ever. Many people will tell you this. Although, to be honest, few of us can really remember why we say it. We’ve just been saying it since 1980 and it’s a habit.
Stood next to John Hodgman at the party tonight. I have always enjoyed his Daily Show sketches. And his PC vs Mac advertisements. (He’s a perfect PC.) I wondered what he was like in “real life” so I stood around while other people chatted with him. I didn’t really have much to say to him, so I didn’t. At some point one of the Netflix officers began chatting with him, so I moved in closer and the three of us stood together, me purely in a supportive role (nodding, usually). “Have you tried our instant watching feature?” he was asked by the Netflix officer. “I’m a big fan of Netflix,” Hodgman said. “But… hmmm.. I don’t think I have. I can’t imagine why I haven’t tried it.” “It’s easy, you click the play buttons you see on your PC.” Hodgman thought for a moment, sort of perplexed. I was dying to ask him the question, but couldn’t bring myself to say it outloud. But his silence said it all. “You use a Mac, don’t you?” ask the Netflix officer. “Yea… yea… that’s the problem…”
“There’s nothng quite like getting on a gay porn catalog mailing list… I promise you, it doesn’t matter where you move to; once you’re on one, the catalog lists are like Terminators. They will find you. It’s what they do. It’s all they do.”—Ed