To keep a house in which every object, down to the smallest bibelot, is in perfect taste, is in shocking taste. No house can be truly tasteful unless it contains at least half a dozen atrocities of varying sizes and uses. This must not include the residents, however.—Judith Martin
—found in Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: Freshly Updated (2005)
parergon · /pə-RƏR-gawn/ · /pəˈrə:gɒn/. noun. An ornamental accesssory; a byproduct; a piece of writing that is subsidiary to another work; work in addition to one’s primary employment. From Greek para (beside, beyond) + ergon (work). See also: opuscule.[Read more…]
- An old thread, but a goodie → What is a piece of writing, on the internet (i.e. not a book), that you return to or at least consider foundational? ※ One of my picks: this pair by Allie Brosh, aka Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression + Depression Part Two. PS. Wherever you are, Allie Brosh, I hope you are well.
- “Gaming the lottery seemed as good a retirement plan as any…” → Jerry and Marge Go Large
- I had no idea tamales were a Mississippi Delta fixture. → How the humble tamale came to represent a region and its people. ※ I was aware of this concoction at the other end of the taste spectrum, but not the story behind it: The Creator of Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake Confesses. ※ And, while on food (or should I say “food”?): I Made Ranch Gummy Bears And You Should Too.
- I can’t tell if this is satire or not. Or if that makes it better or worse. → Christians Against Dinosaurs
- “A collection of good news, positive trends, uplifting statistics and facts — all beautifully visualized by Information is Beautiful.” → Beautiful News. ※ See also, an online magazine founded by David Byrne (yes, that David Byrne): Reasons to Be Cheerful, “A self help magazine for people who hate self help magazines.”
- One of the more interesting profiles of an almost accidental, definitely weird, celebrity I’ve read → What Happened to Val Kilmer? He’s Just Starting to Figure It Out. ※ A fantastic profile of an underrated musician: The Weirdly Enduring Appeal of Weird Al Yankovic.
- From the Clamor to your ears → Sweet Music Comes Across the Sky interprets the songs of Thomas Pynchon (Thanks, Reader S.) ※ Apocalypse Grooves maps Coronavirus proteins to sounds (Thanks, Reader B.).
- A fun exploit of font ligatures → Scunthorpe Sans “censors bad language automatically,” kind of. ※ You do know about the Scunthorpe Problem, right?
- I can’t resist a snail mail campaign for something good. Nor should you. → 18 Million Thanks
- Today in 1866, composer and pianist Erik Satie is born in London. Satie, smarting from being called a “clumsy but subtle technician,” began calling himself a phonometrician or gymnopedist. The latter word, coined by Satie, was perhaps an oblique reference to the ancient Greek festival (or dance) called the Gymnopaedia. Whatever the origins, Satie would soon write the composition he is best known for, the ► Gymnopédies (which you will surely recognize). ¶ Satie was a bit…different. Among other eccentricities, Satie claimed to live on a diet of white food, hoarded umbrellas, carried a hammer for protection, stacked two grand pianos on top of each other in his flat (using the top for correspondence), founded his own religion, and composed pieces like “Vexations,” a piece intended to be played 840 times in succession. Satie’s influence was significant, particularly on experimental artists like John Cage and minimalists like Steve Reich. Satie’s years of heavy drinking—including a fondness for absinthe—took their toll, and he would die at just 59. ※ Listen to Satie’s ► Gnossiennes, beautiful pieces that remind me of a modernist Chopin. ※ Watch the documentary Erik Satie: Things Seen to the Right and the Left. ※ Listen to Gnossiennes No. 1 Forever, a composition that uses Markov Chains to create an endless version of this beautiful piece. ※ Listen to every recording of Gymnopedie No. 1 at the same time. ※ Listen to the complete “Vexations” (clocks in at nearly 10 hours).
► The Exciting of Trains reminds me of the ridiculous vintage 16mm films we used to dig up in the ancient film library, but even funnier.