September 24, 2021

'For a historian... there are heroes; for the artist... there cannot and should not be any heroes, but there should be people.'



The passages above are from "A Few Words Apropos of the Book 'War and Peace,'" Tolstoy's appendix to his novel, published in the magazine Russian Archive in 1868, before the final parts of the book had appeared in print.

If the appendix is this good, finally reading the novel after 50+ years full of false starts on my part promises to be even better than insanely great, as people have been remarking about it for the one hundred fifty-four years since it was first published in 1867.

September 24, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?

Not Johns

Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: bigger than a bread box.

Another: located in upstate New York.

A third: not a painting by Jasper Johns.

September 24, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Riding a Rocket-Powered Bicycle

I'm fascinated by that stray dog wandering around the road as Rocketman gets ready.

Weird that no one thought to corral it before he engaged the throttle and zoomed off; the dog just barely escaped being part of a Bizarro World accident.

Pro Tip: Wear a helmet. And bring a leash, just in case....

September 24, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

World's highest and lowest university tuition fees

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[via statista]

September 24, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stainless Steel Cylindrical Four-Way Nail File — 'Industrial-level metal in innovative design'


From the website:

Once in a while the Japanese come up with ideas that can change some of our concepts forever.

It may sound like a wild exaggeration but take a look at this Stainless Steel Cylindrical Four-Way Nail File and you should see why.

Into a small piece of SUS303 stainless steel often used in the aircraft industry, its designers have crammed four different abrasive surfaces that can help you take care of any broken nail emergency.


Small enough to fit any purse or pocket, the compact Nail File Cylinder's main innovative elements are the two circular files that allow you to work on broken nails in the same way you would work an old-school manual pencil sharpener.

Add two more regular files on its sides and you have a mini toolbox capable of fixing everything from a hair-thin splinter to a full-on break.

If you ever wished to have 24/7 access to your manicurist, now you can!


Features and Details:

• Dimensions: 0.7" x 0.5"

Weight: 0.8 oz (22.5 g)

• Storage pouch included

• Made in Japan 



September 24, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 23, 2021

Mosquito Laying Eggs

September 23, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Haruki Murakami's accidental T-shirt collection

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In the latest issue of the New Yorker, the sui generis writer explains how things just seemed to happen.

An Accidental Collection

How I amassed more T-shirts than I can store.


[This shirt is from the Ventura Surf Shop, in Ventura County, an affluent surfing mecca near Santa Barbara. It sounds pretty nice, but will going there really improve your life? That much I can't say.]

I'm not particularly interested in collecting things, but there is a kind of running motif in my life: despite my basic indifference, objects seem to collect around me. Stacks and stacks of LPs, so many I'll never listen to them all; books I've already read and will probably never open again; a ragtag assemblage of magazine clippings; dinky little pencils, so worn down they don't fit into a pencil sharpener anymore. All sorts of things just keep on piling up.


[I drink Heineken a lot whenever I go to the U.S. In crowded, noisy bars, you have to shout out your order, and I've found that the one brand I can pronounce reliably is Heineken.]

T-shirts are one of those things which naturally pile up. They're cheap, so whenever an interesting one catches my eye I buy it. People give me various novelty T-shirts from around the world, I get commemorative T-shirts whenever I run a marathon, and when I travel I often pick up a few, instead of bringing along extra clothes. Which is why the number of T-shirts in my life has skyrocketed, to the point where there's no room in my drawers anymore and I have to store the overflow in stacked-up cardboard boxes.


[This is from the British magazine The Economist. The message is very stylish, but it's still a T‑shirt, and it makes me wonder about how to react to such a sudden, challenging dictum.]

Whenever I go to the U.S., after I leave the airport and get settled in town I invariably find myself wanting to go out and grab a hamburger. It's a natural urge, but you could also see it as a kind of ritual I go through. Either one's O.K.


[You've got to be braver than you might think to wear a car-related shirt. It's hard to say when I'd wear this Shelby Cobra one, but I could see it working with a Comme des Garçons jacket.]

Ideally, I go to a hamburger joint around one-thirty, after the lunch crowd has left, plunk myself down at the counter, and order a Coors Light on tap and a cheeseburger. I like the burger cooked medium, and I always get raw onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. Plus an order of French fries and, like an old buddy I'm visiting, a side of coleslaw. Critical partners in all this are mustard (it's got to be Dijon) and Heinz ketchup. I sit there, quietly sipping my Coors Light, listening to the voices of the people around me and the clatter of dishes, attentively imbibing the atmosphere of this different land, as I wait for my cheeseburger to emerge. Which is when it finally hits me that, yes, I really am in America.
[When I attended the Reykjavík International Literary Festival, I spoke at this university. Iceland's total population is only 350,000, of whom 10,000 are students here. A pretty amazing percentage.]
The T-shirt up top has a straightforward message: "I put ketchup on my ketchup.” Now, that's the statement of somebody who is seriously in love with ketchup. It kind of teases those Americans who put ketchup on everything, but I find it interesting that one of the companies that distribute these shirts is none other than Heinz. A little self-deprecatory humor going on here, but you can't help feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that says, "Who cares about being sophisticated! I'm gonna do what I want!"
[I bought this Ramones shirt from a secondhand store called Bookoff, in Kyoto. But I can't bring myself to wear it outside. There are some limits when you're over seventy.]
When I walk around town in this shirt, Americans sometimes call out, "Love the shirt!" The ones who do this usually have that "I love ketchup" look about them. Sometimes I feel like coming back with a "Hey, don't lump me in with you guys," but usually I just give a cheerful "Yeah, pretty nice, huh? Ha-ha." This kind of T-shirt communication does a lot to liven things up. You'd never find that happening in Europe. For one thing, Europeans by and large hardly ever eat ketchup.

September 23, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Scenes From A Marriage'

Long story short: Searing and superb.

This five-part series premiered September 12, 2021 on HBO.

Each week a new episode appears.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac are the the principals.

As a rule I prefer to wait for series to conclude before binging on as many episodes as I like at a time.

I was much better off breaking my rule to watch Episode 1 the day it came out because it was so intense that a week to recover seemed just the ticket.

September 23, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Box Dress — Laura Barnes

The Education of Emma Corrin

I'd wear this.

As seen on Emma Corrin in the latest issue of W magazine.

Barnes just graduated from BAFCSM (Central Saint Martins BA Fashion).

Her portfolio is here.

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I predict big things for this young designer; I mean, a full page color editorial page in W with Emma Corrin modeling it?

fo shizzle

September 23, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oreo mini

Zzzzz copy

These are great, very different from their parent.

The small size (7/8" diameter) and proportionally reduced thickness makes them fudge candy-like, such that they kind of slowly dissolve in your mouth.

They come in little 3.5 ounce cups.

At stores everywhere, and Amazon (12 for $12).

September 23, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 22, 2021

This account doesn't exist

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I always get a small frisson of surprise when I click on the Twitter favicon and the screen above comes up.

Dark mode makes it even better.

But I digress.

Surprise is a pretty much lost element of internet life c. 2021: whereas once upon a time clicking on a link was akin to taking a piece from Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, nowadays you pretty much know what you're gonna get.

That's why I really, really like Tom Brady's new Subway commercial: it's disorienting from the get-go.

I had no idea what was going on the first time I saw it, and even after repeated viewings it still amuses me.


You haven't seen it?

You need to watch more football.

But I digress again.

Without further ado, here it is.

The punch line is fo shizzle.

September 22, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Moment When Your Name is Pronounced — Forrest Gander


September 22, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wrapped Sequoias


Christo has wrapped the Arc de Triomphe in 270,000 square feet of shimmering fabric tied in place with red rope.*

Here in the U.S., the U.S. Forest Service has taken a page from his book in an attempt to save California's giant sequoias by wrapping their bases with aluminum-based burn-resistant material (above and below).

The wrappings can handle intense heat for short periods, according to the AP, and have been used for many years to protect structures from fires in the West.

The wrap has three layers; aluminum, heat resistant adhesive, and glass fiber.

The aluminum "fire blanket" reflects 96% of radiant heat and 92% of convective heat, according to manufacturer Firezat.

Homes that used the fire-resistant wrapping near Lake Tahoe survived a recent wildfire.


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an aluminum fire blanket-wrapped home that survived the Caldor Fire even as everything around it burned.

From the New York Times:

Sequoias Are Being Wrapped in Special Foil to Protect Them From Fires


Firefighters are swaddling giant sequoias in a flame-retardant foil in an effort to protect the ancient trees from wildfires that are raging through national parks in California, officials said.

Three wildfires, named Colony, Paradise, and Windy, were ignited by lightning on September 9. Since then, they have scorched thousands of acres of steep terrain, bringing them to the foot of some of the world's oldest and largest trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument of the Sequoia National Forest, and in Kings Canyon National Park in Central California.

Park officials have been working to contain the spread of the fires using water and aerial drops of fire retardant.

This week they also started wrapping some of the most well-known of the giant sequoias along the walking trail, including one called the General Sherman, in case the fires surge uphill into groves of giant sequoias.

"It is like a big spool," said Mark Garrett, a spokesman for the fire incident team that is monitoring a set of fires known as the KNP Complex in the Sequoia groves and in Kings Canyon National Park.

"They just unwrapped the roll and went around the base of the tree," he said. "If fire got into the giant forest, I would be pretty confident that grove is going to be fine."

Mr. Garrett said they had to tailor the wrap to fit the General Sherman's girth. (The tree is more than 36 feet across at its base.) The wrapping went as high as six feet high or more, he estimated.

So far, he could confirm only that the General Sherman, which is 275 feet tall, had been blanketed. Other well-known giants along the popular trail are also going to be wrapped with the laminate of foil and fiber, which firefighters also use to make their shelters.

*FunFact: Officially opened last Saturday, September 18, the completely wrapped Arc de Triomphe took two months for a crew of 95 construction workers working around the clock since July to execute.

September 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

'I'm a rule follower'

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For some reason this strip caught my attention as I glanced at the comics page in Monday's Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Then I read it, and smiled at Garfield's perpetually wry take on the human world from a feline perspective.

But wait — there's more.

I spent a few minutes studying the strip and only then appreciated the deceptively simple art and the elegant economy of expression and line.

Jim Davis is a national treasure.

September 22, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hublot x Shepard Fairey Classic Fusion Chronograph

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In titanium, "with symbols representing natural life cycles and multicultural unity."

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Limited edition of 50.

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September 22, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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