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June 2, 2008

'Natasha' — by Vladimir Nabokov


This story was written around 1924, when Nabokov was in his mid-20s.

Today's it's being published for the first time in English, in the summer fiction issue of the New Yorker.

Mirabile dictu, it appears on the New Yorker website free for one and all to read, download and/or print.

"The story, which was part of Nabokov's archives at the Library of Congress, was translated by his son, Dimitri Nabokov. It tells of a young woman who cares for her father in Berlin as he mourns their exile from Russia," according to an item in the May 31, 2008 New York Times.

Bonus: Listen to Mary Gaitskill read "Symbols and Signs," Nabokov's first story published in the New Yorker; she then discusses it with fiction editor Deborah Treisman.

Not the right time and/or place to listen to a Nabokov story?

I can understand how that might be the case.

You can download it here for later.

June 2, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kayaking in Venice


What a wonderful idea: David Kocieniewski put an inflatable kayak (above) into the canals of Venice and, along with his girlfriend, paddled his way around the city.

In his article in yesterday's New York Times Travel section he wrote, "The legalities of using your own boat in Venice are ambiguous. Part of the official Venetian tourist Web site states that only city residents may operate a boat in the canals, but the local rowers insist that restriction is enforced only regarding motorcraft. (We encountered more than a dozen police boats and attracted nothing more than a smile and a bemused shake of the head.)

His narrated video is here.

June 2, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The most beautiful book in the world


That's how the publishers of "Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano" ("Michelangelo: The Wise Hand") describe their new limited edition (99 will be produced) volume of photographs (examples above and below) by Aurelio Amendola of the Renaissance master's sculptures.

Details from Elisabetta Povoledo's May 31, 2008 New York Times article:

• The book contains "... detachable reproductions of Michelangelo's drawings on handmade folios created according to centuries-old traditions"

• Hand-carved marble cover is a scale reproduction of the "Madonna della Scala" (Madonna of the Steps")

• The book's paper was made exclusively for the project

• Stand and case included

• Book weight: 46.2 lbs.

• $155,00 (€100,000)

• 500-year guarantee


Apply within.

June 2, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giant Chess


25-inch-tall plastic chess pieces,


each weighing 1 to 2 pounds, on a 9-foot-nylon mat.


If you're into speed chess you could build some serious arms.



[via Marianne Rohrlich and the New York Times]

June 2, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Grown in Transit


From Lifesigns:

    Grown in Transit

    Supermarkets and modern food transportation systems have sacrificed freshness and seasonality in favour of warehousing depots, bulk transportation and blemish-free produce. But a new attitude is emerging, with the creation of innovative ways of growing food in transit rather than refrigerating products into suspended animation.

    Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Agata Jaworska's project "Made in Transit" aims to eliminate the wasted time and trapped inventory in many supply chains by actually growing produce en route to the store. Jaworska's concept aims to move from "Best Before" preservative packaging to "Ready By" cultivational packaging which consumers would open when the product was ready for consumption. Jaworska's first example [below] would grow mushrooms on the way to the supermarket.

    The instant a crop is removed from the ground or separated from its parent plant, a steady process of deterioration begins, says Jaworska. Methods to compensate for the loss of quality, taste and nutrients can only slow the process of deterioration but the result will never match what we have at the source of life. The Grown in Transit concept enables growth along the way, to deliver absolute freshness and allow the consumer to harvest their own food. The idea would also minimise excess packaging such as the plastic film and crates that protect delicate food items in transit. These are rarely reused.




Videos here and here.

[via James Thornburg]

June 2, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Matchsticks — 'Only you can prevent fashion fires'


From the website:


    Don’t let your outfit go up in flames — to the rescue are Matchsticks.

    This purse-ready book of clear double-stick tape strips can fix any peek-a-boo bra strap, slipped-down slingback, bursting button-down, gaping wrap dress, fallen hem, dropped tube top or shifty skirt (and so on and so on)…

    Remember, only you can prevent fashion fires.


June 2, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Olivia Judson into Lucy Kellaway


The popular evolutionary biologist (above and bottom) appears to be channeling the Financial Times management columnist (below),


right down to her hair color and style.


Ms. Kellaway, in my humble opinion, is the most valuable asset of the FT, in that more readers find her Monday column the single best thing about the publication than any other feature or writer.

She should ask to have her salary doubled yesterday because you know what?

There are a number of other papers in the UK which would do so in a Southwark Bridge minute.

June 2, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NeatSheets Bedside Pockets — Are those sheets around your pocket or...?



"Wouldn't it be neat if bedsheets had pockets for your reading glasses, TV remote or some tissues for when you have the sniffles?" began a May 4, 2008 story in the Orlando Sentinel.

Not to mention a water bottle, aspirin, a Hershey bar and whatever else floats your night-time boat.

Long story sheet: These fitted sheets have pockets on each side.


From the website:


    • Patented pockets — optional convenience pockets provide an ideal location for your bedside items

    • Quality construction — French seams and satin stitching highlight our commitment to quality construction

    • Luxurious quality cotton — 100% breathable cotton provides maximum luxury and comfort


$39.99–$199.99, depending on thread count.

June 2, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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