Observer.UK: Why I love my Leica.
“That kit was invented 100 years ago this year in Wetzlar, a small town in Germany, where a 35-year-old technician invented a camera that would shape the way we perceived the world for the rest of the 20th century.” 100 years of Leica, that optimal form-factor. Longer read, short for a history, eminently worth it.
Vulture: Is It Possible to Even Imagine Utopia Anymore?
365/2: 232. Cast Iron shapes.
A Continuous Lean.: A True American Craft - Handsewn Shoes.
Every guy in America should have at least one pair. But then, I’m originally a natural-born Princeton prep.
Paris Review: What We See When We Read.
Really interesting thought experiment.
The Millions: Practical Art - On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing.
Harrumph. Go, have remarkable experiences. That’s most important. After your experiences, take a break, pull out daybook, write. Get home, see what sticks in your memory, start writing in earnest. Enthusiasm greases the pencil better than anything else. Creative writing is fun, don’t let anyone or any curriculum ruin it for you.
Please note my use of ‘remarkable.’ Some days, just putting a foot out of bed can be an adventure worth relating.
ABC News: Laura Ingalls Wilder Memoir to Give Gritty View of Prairie Life.
Bookanista: Here be sea monsters.
The Airship: Simple Reasons Why You Should Read Physical Books.
What’s happening with me is, I’ll take a chance on an ebook based on price (not that much of a savings, really). I hit upon a book I really, really like - it gets purchased as a physical volume. Not only for sole ownership, but also for the ability to share it easily. I hate holding up a Kindle to someone and saying, “here’s the passage I was talking about” and then have them grab the touchscreen by mistake, sending me into the ebook ozone. I do note, however, the double-profit to the publisher with this method. I wish I could predict whether I’d like a book or not from the cover ... but you know that old saw.
Youtube: ‘Art and Craft’ Trailer.
Flavorwire: Stunning Writing Studios.
Chock full of clichés. Writing comes best for me in places and times where I’m at least slightly uncomfortable. I need something to drag me to the pen or keyboard. Give me a comfy chair, a nice view ... forget about it. The muse goes on vacation.
At the stable ...
“hey, thanks for doing this.”
“no problemo. enjoyin’ the horses?”
“yep. kinda cool today. surprised me.”
“mm-hmmm. my roan’s turned white.”
“… and … that means … ?”
“he’s a chestnut roan. when cold weather’s comin’, he turns white.”
“i didn’t know they did that. i’d’ve said he was grey.”
“sure as shootin’, it’s gonna be an early fall.”
“sure feels like it today.” checking out the horse. “he looks damned muscular.”
“yep. been a good ‘un. navicular is probly gonna take him down this fall, though.”
“some fools ran him too hard, and his feet suffered. he won’ make another winter.”
“it’s ok. he’s had a good life with me. we’ll put him down at first frost.”
owner whacks the horse’s butt in a rough gesture of admiration, waves a half-hearted goodbye, and walks off.
pulling a fresh carrot from my pocket, i hold it out in my palm. the horse suddenly turns from my hand to look into the far distance, standing stock-still, as if waiting for something. we stand like this for uncounted minutes - i offering, he quivering with anticipation.
leaving the tidbit balanced on a barrel, i walk towards the truck.
i give the door handle a yank, and look back. the roan shakes his head, whinnies and vanishes in a blinding cloud of corral-dust.
empty corral. the carrot, the carrot is gone.
like hell it’s the weather. he knows. i think it’s the waiting and wondering.
Colossal: Artist Creates Digital Life-Forms that Respond to Archival Birdsongs.
BBC: Downton Abbey to be less miserable in series five.
Thank goodness. All the bad news made me dread it last year. Funny thing - I always saw the series as a Bates biography. He is, after all, the very first character you see in the first episode, in a very long set of establishing shots. Yet they went from a below-stairs drama to upstairs drama. I miss O’Brien terribly. They left that plot line lying like a live fish flapping on a dry slab. But I digress.
OpenCulture: Watch the First Episode of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy.
“The whole story plays out as if Mary Shelley and Fritz Lang collaborated to make Dumbo. Tezuka throws in a lot of wacky slapstick comedy, which just barely takes the edge off the story’s Dickensian melodrama, which relentlessly mines all those primal fears you thought you got over. In short, it’s brilliant.” Tezuka was a genius. Period.
The Airship: Why Writers Should Read the Classics.
“The classics are able to achieve this timeless quality because they are not descriptive; they are introspective. They are not focused on the world in which human emotions exist, but on human emotions themselves.” Yes, yes, YES.
I recently viewed the movie Renoir. European pacing, slice-of-life, no real conclusion. I admired the film for what it was ... they gave me room to imagine the character’s inner lives, without specifically depicting it. It’s all the things the actresses/actors don’t say. The negative space gives your mind room to fill in the blanks, instead of having CGI and sound effects limit your imagination’s range.
Too many modern novels overdescribe [just for the sake of describing] to the extent of dust textures in a bedroom [snore]. Is the texture of dust important? Rarely. A good lesson is Dickens’ description of Miss Havisham’s cake-room in Great Expectations. Just about everything has symbolic meaning. An adjective applied to one aspect, overshadows every other. Tableaus beautifully, succinctly, vividly created in one’s mind. When students read this, ask them to describe the room (without the book). You’ll be astonished at how similar the descriptions are. Dickens knew his business.
My personal fear has been to study and analyze classics I love too closely. It would be like putting your life partner under a magnifying glass, purposely looking for hidden springs and levers, putting a Post-It on every tiny flaw. It might affect the character of my love. So I tend to analyze books in in my B-list.
AO Art Observed: Met’s Full Collection of Van Gogh Paintings on View.
If you’re a Van Gogh fan, get thee hence.
You may also be interested in how to pronounce his name properly.
The Airship: Behind the Lit - All of Europe Initially Loathes Paradise Lost.
Interesting. It remained popular enough, that when Princeton University built their Chapel in the early part of the 20th Century, many stained glass windows depict scenes from the text. ‘Course, all I knew is that it was a cool, big dark place to adventure in as a child. The brightly lit stained glass just gave it a LoTR feel (long before I knew what LoTR even was). Numinous, even for a child with no religious upbringing.
ArtDaily: Winterthur’s Director of Horticulture wins trade association award.
Most tourists go to Longwood Gardens, which is the largest of DuPont estate gardens. But Winterthur has a particularly interesting take on a formal garden - created in sections on a circle, each section is designed to bloom at a different time of year. So you can not only never miss flowering plants, but you also get to see a progression from dormant-to-vivacious any time of year. Well, except winter, of course. Do check out the other DuPont estates though. And Winterthur is an antique-lovers wet dream. The entire main building is chock full of amazing pieces.
Hyperallergic: Marfa’s Art World Gentrification Is Pushing Out Long-Time Residents.
“Move to Marfa today and you can purchase a five-bedroom home that Judd once owned for $735,000; though cheaper than a New York brownstone, it’s astronomical by West Texas standards. Several homes in Marfa are priced above $350,000, and many more are in the $200,000 range, according to the newspaper. That’s significantly higher than the $22,000 that Hughes paid for her house 14 years ago; it’s now worth $120,290.” Time for the residents to get together, move and take over a town nearby, and name it “Old Marfa” just to mess with some heads. If they do it right, they might even cause another gentrification, and make double the cash on their homesteads.
Paris Review: The Professor and the Siren.
“... Lampedusa gives his immortal heroine the body of a fish from the waist down; in this he is following the more familiar northern folklore tradition of fish-tailed mermaids; of Mélusine, seal women or selkies; and of water spirits, called undines by the alchemist and philosopher Paracelsus. But both species share the special charm of an irresistible voice.” Reminds me, if you’ve not seen Ondine (with Colin Farrell et al), you should.
Cool. Notice how it just wouldn’t be the same without the music.
Tangential: I’ve been running across a lot of folks posting ‘how-to’ videos, using completely inappropriate music to intro their vids. Dynamic music, lots of aural ‘movement’ — to be followed by a person talking in a monotone against a blank background. The word ‘appropriateness’ comes to mind.
Medium: What Kind of Logo Do You Get for $5?
You get what you pay for. Print design is still taking it on the chin.
Colossal: Imaginative Industrial Flying Machines Made From Cardboard by Daniel Agdag.
Slate: 250 years of English grammar usage advice.
“For the past two and a half years, I’ve been working on a database of more than 75 usage guides and 123 usage problems in the English language, spanning a period of nearly 250 years. My two assistants and I call this project the Hyper Usage Guide of English or HUGE database and it’s based out of Leiden University in the Netherlands.” Aw, fantastic.