“A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him,” my father had told me more than once. “A business-man has business books and a dreamer has novels and books of poetry. Most women like reading about love, and a true revolutionary will have books about the minutiae of overthrowing the oppressor. A person with no books is inconsequential in a modern setting, but a peasant that reads is a prince in waiting.”—Walter Mosley
—found in The Long Fall (2009)
meretricious · /ˌmɛrɪˈtrɪʃəs/ · /MAIR-ih-TRISH-əs/. adjective and noun. Of, related to, or befitting a prostitute. Gaudy, flashy, superficially attractive. Insincere. Etymonline notes the lovely, early definition, “pertaining to harlots.” ¶ From merētrix (prostitute), from merēre (to earn money). From the PIE root (s)mer- (to get a share of something), from which we also derive words such as demerit, polymer, and turmeric. ¶ I just like it because it’s one of those words that seems it should mean its opposite. Is there a word for that?[Read more…]
- Flimsy plastic knives, a single microwave, and empty popcorn bags: How 50 inmates inside a Michigan prison prepared a feast to celebrate the life of George Floyd
- Some word wide news → Talk the Talk is back—better than ever—as Because Language and Merriam-Webster launches Word Matters, with some of my favorite word people hosting. ※ Macmillan Dictionary’s emoji 🤗 ※ ► Marie’s Dictionary ※ Mortimer J. Adler’s “How to Read a Dictionary”
- “AKA the world’s largest seed bomb” → Meet the Bioremediating Missile (Brm. 1.) ※ Interview with the creator, Jos Volkers ※ Stunning photos of seed vaults by Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden: The Vaults (2008 – Present) ※ During World War II, twelve scientists at the Pavlovsk Experimental Station chose to starve to death protecting the collection of seeds ※ This also reminds me: Scifi readers might want to look into Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel The Windup Girl.
- “Cadaeic Cadenza” is a short story of about 4000 words “composed in Standard Pilish, in which the length (in letters) of successive words in the story ‘spells out’ the digits of the number π — in this case, the first 3835 digits.” If that’s not enough, it includes segments that riff on Poe, the band Yes, and T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” among others. ※ Much more constrained writing and a lot of other wildness at the parent site: Cadaeic
- “I am very fascinated by the possibility of recovering what is considered an ‘error,’ because something else always hides behind this term.” Vavarella creates some arresting art that still has me pondering → Glitch: The Truth in the Error. A Conversation with Emilio Vavarella Thanks, Reader B.! ※ Vavarella’s site with selected works // Speaking of art, a fascinating exploration of art, authenticity, and history through the lens of one painting’s unfolding story: The Disappearing Gauguin
- Long and long(ish) reads → How Prison Turned My Childhood Friend Into a Neo-Nazi // America’s ‘untouchables’: the silent power of the caste system // The Last Nazi Hunters
- A farrago of links → When We All Have Pocket Telephones (1923) // Drive-through strip clubs // Smog Tasting // WitchTok // Kosher Kannabis // Zombie cicadas // Hell Ant // Drug-Smuggling Cat Escapes // The Tony Romo of Cornhole
- Listen up! → ► Come As You Are — Swing Edition ※ ► Smells Like Teen Spirit Cover In Classical Latin // Bad (Michael Jackson) – Bluegrass Edition // ► Melanie Faye’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
- An olio for your orbs → Mark Powell’s Ballpoint Art // Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours // Gorey’s Covers for Literary Classics // Free Colour Vision Test // Malaysian Geometric Cakes // 2020 Ruth Asawa Stamp // Larry Fink’s Beat Photos
- Today in 1962, drummer Pete Best is dismissed from a little band called the Beatles. Best, the band’s first full-time drummer, performed for three seasons with the band in Hamburg, and more than 200 shows at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. He also played on the band’s first full-length recording session on New Year’s Day, 1962, an audition for Decca Records, and their first recording session at the now legendary Abbey Road studios in June, before being summarily dismissed—at the behest of the rest of the band—by their new manager, Brian Epstein. Regardless of the reasons—and accounts vary, with reasons given including Best’s ability as a drummer, his overbearing mother, and Best’s popularity with the band’s fans—the dismissal was underhanded, sneaky, and not befitting for someone who had worked hard to get the band to the brink of an unheralded level of stardom. Best would continue to perform through the 60s with the Pete Best Combo, including an album titled Best of the Beatles, infamous for disappointing a Beatles-manic public who expected a compilation of that band’s hits, not an album of originals with a title playing on Best’s name. In 1988, after retiring from a career as a civil servant, Best returned to music and tours, with his brother Roeg, as the Pete Best Band.
► The Full Story, an innovative, partially animated film by Daisy Jacobs. Not just quality in form, but the story is excellent too.
► FIRST TIME HEARING Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight REACTION. This reaction video has been showing up everywhere…and with good reason: it’s fun! But the genre of reaction videos has a long history and encompasses reactions to a wide array of material, from music, movies and television to food, games and fetish pornography. All such videos are innately artificial, but some certainly seem more staged than others. That said, it’s a deep rabbit hole, leading to a warren, should you choose to explore it.
The craven, pusillanimous gutting of the US Post office (because I’m too close) ☡ Bon Appetit (because I lost my appetite) ☡ Reels (because I was just starting to get TikTok) ☡ Ellen DeGeneres (because she’s always rubbed me the wrong way) ☡ Apple v. whoever it is this week (because destroying the village to save it)
- Reader A.: “Check out CrappyDesign and Oddly Satisfying on reddit.” — I love both of these!
- Reader J.: “Today I watched the Ai Weiwei film you linked to. What a treat. Then I switched over to Drive and Listen, and went to Beijing. The first thing I saw was the CCTV Bldg., and I knew that exact spot. I spent days and days and days in that neighborhood discovering all the nooks and crannies that afforded a view of the building. I ended up with over 13,000 photos of the area over the following four-and-half years with the building somewhere in each shot. I ran in to Ai Weiwei there taking photos on a cold December evening in 2007 on the very corner that opened up when I went to Beijing in Drive and Listen. I remember that I nodded and smiled. He didn’t. I wasn’t surprised. It was Ai, and there was no expectation of a warm greeting. Love so many things he does, but he can be surly. I’ve never been one to bother people who I don’t know but admire; I’m much more interested in the art they produce. I wouldn’t have even nodded had we not ended up on that corner at the same time. I remember he had an assistant carrying his considerable gear, a young woman shorter than Ai but with the same body type — low center of gravity with a good deal of heft. I, on the other hand, was alone and shooting with a hand-held digital dslr. If I recall correctly, there weren’t any notable shots from that evening. I hope he had better luck than I.”
- Reader T.: “I enjoyed the article on Fairbanks bars. Nice little hit of nostalgia. I have a framed Sandy Jamieson print (Big Ravens) in my office that depicts the corner where I used to park to wait for a certain ex-girlfriend to get off work across the street at the TV station. And I’ll certainly not forget that night we started at the Boatel and ended up… not sure where?” — I’m ashamed to share my response querying which Boatel incident that was…