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August 29, 2004

The Mnemosyne Foundation


The current New Yorker magazine - the one with the drawing of Dick Cheney on the cover,


having his blood pressure taken with a sphygmomanometer [oh, is that what it's called? Thanks for finally showing me how to spell it... but I digress] whose scale reads "Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded, Low" - features one of those little one-inch high, one-column ads for something called "The Mnemosyne Foundation."

The ad reads:


image-rich essays, articles, and ebooks

access gratis / audio enhanced

Sounded pretty interesting, so I had a look.

Turns out it's simply a one-woman (Virginia Anne Bonito, Ph.D.) operation that's not much more than a tribute to Dr. Bonito's late mother, who died in the recent past.

That little ad cost $2,500.

I must say, when I decide to advertise bookofjoe, it won't be in the New Yorker for $2,500 a pop for one week's exposure.

No, I've already got my first advertising venue picked out.

It's Giant Robot magazine,


which for a mere $300 will give me a whole quarter page, and then the magazine, being a quarterly, keeps me out there, as it were, for three months.

You say, what's Giant Robot?


I say, check it out.

It's where the New Yorker will be, meme and culture-wise, in a year or two.

August 29, 2004 at 09:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Michael Caine in 'The Statement'


There are three actors in the world whose appearance in a film guarantees my watching it: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Andy Garcia.

The reviews on "The Statement" ran the gamut from "great" to "tedious."

But when one of my favorite actors is in a film, it's automatically good even if it's bad.

So Michael Caine made this one good from the get-go.

The movie explores the circumstances of a round-up of Jews in a small town in Vichy France by the Milice - the German-directed French police force - in June, 1944.

Fifty years later, some of those former Milice have not only escaped punishment, but risen to the very highest levels of the French government.

Tilda Swinton, as always superb, plays a French judge appointed to find these hidden, high-ranking government officials newly charged with crimes against humanity.

The cast is superb and includes, in addition to Caine and Swinton, Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates and Jeremy Northam.

This is the first time I've seen Michael Caine play a role in which he's not the good guy but, rather, just the opposite: a war criminal.

He's old now, stooped, pale, bent, not the Alfie of yore, nor the steely protagonist of "The Ipcress File," but he's still superb.

Charlotte Rampling, no longer the impossibly beautiful, threatening vixen of yore, likewise is irresistible.

And Tilda Swinton, well, her intensity is enough to cut through metal.

Can you tell I enjoyed the film?

August 29, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The death of a star - supernova remnant Cassiopeia A


Above is the most detailed image ever made of the remains of an exploded star.

The one-million-second-exposure image shows a bright green outer ring 10 light years in diameter, marking the location of a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion.

The colors represent different ranges of X-rays with red, green and blue representing low, medium and higher X-ray energies, respectively.

A large jet-like structure protrudes beyond the shock wave in the upper left.

The bright source in the center is presumed to be a neutron star created during the supernova.

The photo above and the one below,


showing the supernova in broadband wavelengths, were both released this week by NASA.

Below is Cassiopeia A in an image taken in 1999.


A lot happens in five years.

All three pictures were taken by the Earth-orbiting Chandra x-ray observatory telescope.

August 29, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From 'Fontanelles' - by Anne Michaels


To facts as unprovable as one's own death.

The distance a child travels,
tens of thousands of years,
one cell at a time.

The body is a memory palace.

As if,
just once, impossibly,
we'll catch the visible reflection
of what's invisible.

After thirty weeks,
quantum whispering: thought.

All love is time travel.

Before I knew a person can be a prayer.

From "Lake of Two Rivers"

The heart keeps body and spirit in suspension,
until density pulls them apart.

Like any sound, it goes on forever.

From "The Day of Jack Chambers"

You explained visual time,
how there's no weight without shadow.

How everything suspended stays temporal.

August 29, 2004 at 03:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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