There should be a word for when you’re shoveling dry, powdery snow off the driveway, but the places where you stepped are slightly compacted and stick to the concrete, leaving raised snow “footprints” when the rest is shoveled away.
CJ and I, on the plane back from Thanksgiving today, had a good idea for a reality show: somebody has to buy every item in the Skymall catalogue and then make use of all of them in one day’s time.
Conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds is mad mad mad mad mad about .. well, I’ll let him tell it:
After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philae landed on a comet 300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about … what people were wearing.
Let’s sit with that a minute. I just searched for “Philae” on Twitter and you know how many tweets I had to scroll through before I found one that mentioned Matt Taylor and his shirt? 32. That sounds about right — I’d say 3% of the coverage I saw of the comet landing had to do with Matt Taylor’s shirt, and 97% had to do with the fact that we awesomely landed a robot on a comet.
But for Reynolds, the 3% drowns out the 97%. 3% is too much. 1% is too much! Any little speck of feminist content is like the pea under the mattress for these guys. They can’t rest because the 3% is digging into them, it keeps them up all night, the feminism is still there, I can feel it, make it stop make it stop!
As here (from Hereditary Genius, p. 21)
Every tutor knows how difficult it is to drive abstract conceptions, even of the simplest kind, into the brains of most people—how feeble and hesitating is their mental grasp—how easily their brains are mazed—how incapable they are of precision and soundness of knowledge. It often occurs to persons familiar with some scientific subject to hear men and women of mediocre gifts relate to one another what they have picked up about it from some lecture—say at the Royal Institution, where they have sat for an hour listening with delighted attention to an admirably lucid account, illustrated by experiments of the most perfect and beautiful character, in all of which they expressed themselves intensely gratified and highly instructed. It is positively painful to hear what they say. Their recollections seem to be a mere chaos of mist and misapprehension, to which some sort of shape and organization has been given by the action of their own pure fancy, altogether alien to what the lecturer intended to convey. The average mental grasp even of what is called a well-educated audience, will be found to be ludicrously small when rigorously tested.
The sculptures and paintings of this fifty-nine-year-old artist are so meticulously, mechanically polished and groomed that they rebuff any attempt to look at them, much less feel anything about them.
But four paragraphs later:
Koons knows how to capitalize on the guilty pleasure that the museumgoing public takes in all his mixed messages. He knows how to leave people feeling simultaneously ironical, erudite, silly, sophisticated, and bemused.
Does Koons make people feel things, or does he not? Or are irony, erudition, silliness, sophistication, and bemusement feelings that don’t count as feelings?
Jed Perl writes well but I find his judgment strange. About Jeff Koons I have no opinion. But I remember his name because of the piece he wrote about Francis Bacon, which seems to suggest that people like Bacon not because of anything in the paintings, but because the artist sports a biography and attitude that appeals to mushy-minded would-be avant-gardists. “The Bacon mystique,” Perl writes, “is not grounded in his paintings so much as in a glamorous list of extenuating circumstances.”
To me this makes no sense. I went to a small museum which was showing some of Bacon’s paintings and I was knocked over by them. Whoa, what is that? I had no idea who he was, or whether he was glamorous, or whether it was cool to like him.
I think it’s OK to say (as Perl also does, later in that piece) that Bacon is a stupid painter and only people who are stupid about painting like his paintings. But it’s crazy to deny that people actually do like Bacon’s paintings, as such, not just the idea of Bacon’s paintings, or the idea of being the kind of person who likes Bacon’s paintings.
49 home runs! That’s nuts. They hit more triples than home runs. Their home run leader was Jose Cruz, who hit 9. In September they went 20 straight games without hitting a home run, the longest such streak in modern baseball. And that was after they went 15 games without hitting a rome run in July!
Must have been a pretty bad team, right? But no! They won 89 games and finished second, just a game and a half behind the Reds. That 15 game homerless streak in July? They went 11-4 in those games.
For some reason I was thinking about pieces of culture that have departed from the world but which somehow didn’t “stick” well enough to persist even in the sphere of nostalgia. Like when people think about the early 1990s, the years when I was in college, they might well say “oh yeah, grunge” or “oh yeah, wearing used gas station T-shirts with a name stitched on” or “oh yeah, Twin Peaks” or “oh yeah, OK Soda” or whatever.
But no one says “oh yeah, Fido Dido.” So here I am doing it.
It is inherently hard to try to list things you’ve forgotten about. My list right now consists of
That’s it. What have you got?
I was in Barriques and “Bra,” by Cymande came on, and I was like, cool song, cool of Barriques to be playing this song that I’m cool for knowing about, maybe I should go say something to show everyone that I already know this cool song, and then I thought, why do I know about this song anyway? and I remembered that it was because sometime last year it was playing in Barriques and I was like, what is this song, it’s cool? and I Shazammed it.
So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m probably going to the right coffee shop. Also, this song is cool. I’m sort of fascinated by the long instrumental break that starts around 2:50. It doesn’t seem like very much is happening; why is it so captivating? I think my confusion on this point has something to do with my lack of understanding of drums.
They showed it during TEDxMadison. Here’s what struck me. She talked a lot about art, a lot about selflessness, a lot about performance. Many forceful moments. But there was only one point at the talk where the audience stopped her with a wave of applause, and that was when she put up a slide referring to a large sum of money.