Saturday, September 09, 2006

Piers Anthony

It's been a while since I read any of Piers Anthony's books, but I read several of his INCARNATIONS OF IMMORTALITY Series once, and he is good, and thoughtful.
He's got a kool newsletter, which I found now because Hannah revealed that she found my other site Domai through it. I had not heard of that nice mention.

Lunar eclipse by Laurie Jeffery

Laurie has allowed me to post this spectacular picture he took of the moon two days ago. (Click on it for a larger version.)

He writes:
Here's that moon you mentioned in your blog. We went up to that pub I took you and Greg to and I snapped this off from the car park for you. It was a luna eclipse at 7:56 PM and that dark area at the top of the moon is the shadow of our earth. It was the closest past the moon will make to the earth for the next sixteen years. Perran will be 21 years old then. The picture is un-retouched.

Full moon

Does anybody get insomnia at full moon? (It was two days ago.)
It sounds ridiculous to me, but there is some evidence of a connection...


There is a lively discussion about naturism and nudity right now under my Jeffery post.

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Pogue

David Pogue makes another funny video for the NYT. In this one he combines a review of a new Blackberry device with a parody of the Naked Chef. And all in three and a half minutes! You can't beat this guy, he rules the roost.
To find the video, go to his blog and scroll down a bit.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

To be Number One!

Pascal wrote:
It seems everybody who is or wants to become somebody HAS to be better than average. Hopefully, we'll ALL be that way one day. ;-P
For half of my school years, I was top of my class. No fib! THE first. And yet, some caring souls in my family constantly pressured me to excel. To my utter shame, I must confess that during the other half, I was only among the top of the class. Reminds me of this silver medal champion in the movie GATTACA. "Almost best means nothing."
Too bad this kind of "manure" cannot be used to fertilize fields in the Third-World countries, because then world hunger would be a thing of the past!

Manure, yes. I myself am moving myself out of very goal-oriented thinking. It is just so limiting. But what is worse than that is competition-oriented thinking. It might be even harder to break out of. But I think it is vital to do so. It is just so much bull to think that the worth of what you are doing is measured by how much faster or longer you can do it than other humans.
Even if it was true that there is one winner and 6 billion losers, there is still the fact that (in my opinion) all the really worthwhile activities and accomplishments in life simply do not lend themselves to measurements. Art. Love. Fun. Beauty. Wisdom. Expansion. Communication.

Laurie Jeffery blog

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Proper Boom, or Bubble?

Neil Jenman, who operates from Australia, where a property crash has already started, writes this.
It’s what’s often referred to as ‘The Strawberry Box Principle’, in which a box of strawberries keeps being re-sold at ever increasing prices until one of the buyers looks in the box and says, “Hey, these strawberries are rotten.” The answer from the seller is: “Oh, these are not for eating, they are for selling.”
Why is it that we are so quick to believe that all property prices can double in value but refuse to even consider that some properties could halve in value?


Interesting article on hysteria.
(This illustrates one of the reasons why I never read newspapers.)

Moore Lost Girls

Back in May I blogged Lost Girls.
It is on the street now, and sexual guerilla Susie Bright has interviewed Alan Moore.

I have not yet received my copy of Lost Girls, but think it'll be worthwhile, or at least significant. Alan Moore has written a couple things I couldn't read, but he has never written anything poorly.
Me, I paid $150 for a special signed edition, partly because I am a big Alan Moore fan, and partly because I think classy erotica is a thing to fight for. There really is no reason almost all erotica/porn is dreadful, except the stigma attached to it, which scares away legitimate artists.
You can get the book for much less at Amazon though.
Salon has a good article/review about it. One of the good points from it is that while Alan claims this is porn, it probably works better as Art. Both the writing and the art is very stylized. I don't see many people getting excited by that. But maybe he is just trying to break down the rigid barriers our culture has between the two.
Update: Neil Gaiman agrees:
Starred Review. [Signature] Reviewed by Neil Gaiman
Almost 10 years before his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen took many of the figures of Victorian popular fiction on a remarkable romp, Alan Moore, in collaboration with underground artist Melinda Gebbie, began Lost Girls, with a similar, although less fantastical, conceit: that the three women whose adventures in girlhood may have inspired respectively, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wendy and the Wizard of Oz, meet in a Swiss hotel shortly before the first World War. Wendy, Dorothy and Alice, three very different women—one jaded and old; one trapped in a frigid adulthood; the last a spunky but innocent young American good-time girl—provide each other with the liberation they need, while also providing very different (and, for this is a pornography, very sexual) versions of the stories we associate with them. We go with the girls, in memory, to the incidents that became the Rabbit Hole, Oz and Neverland. As a formal exercise in pure comics, Lost Girls is as good as anything Moore has written. (One of my favorite moments: a husband and wife trapped in a frozen, loveless, sexless relationship, conduct a stiff conversation, laced with unconscious puns and wordplay, moving into positions that cause their shadows to appear to copulate wildly, finding the physical passion that the people are denied.) In addition to being a master-class in comics technique, Lost Girls is also an education in Edwardian smut—Gebbie and Moore pastiche the pornography of the period, taking in everything from The Oyster to the Venus and Tannhauser period work of Aubrey BeardsleyMelinda Gebbie was a strange and inspired choice as collaborator for Moore. She draws real people, with none of the exaggerated bodies usual to superhero or porno comics. Gebbie's people, drawn for the most part in gentle crayons, have human bodies,.Lost Girls is a bittersweet, beautiful, exhaustive, problematic, occasionally exhausting work. It succeeded for me wonderfully as a true graphic novel. If it failed for me, it was as smut. The book, at least in large black-and-white photocopy form, was not a one-handed read. It was too heady and strange to appreciate or to experience on a visceral level. (Your mileage may vary; porn is, after all, personal.)Top Shelf has chosen to package it elegantly and expensively, presenting it to the world not as pornography, but as erotica. It is one of the tropes of pure pornography that events are without consequence. No babies, no STDs, no trauma, no memories best left unexamined. Lost Girls parts company from pure porn in precisely that place: it's all about consequences, not to mention war, music, love, lust, repression and memory. (Aug.)Neil Gaiman is the author of the bestsellers Anansi Boys and American Gods. Films based on his books Stardust and Coraline are due in 2007and 2008, respectively.

Monday, September 04, 2006

About norms

Featured comment by Lucid Twilight:

"No, I'm not at all typical. Nor do I care much. Typicality is such a bothersome thing. Societal norms are thrust upon us before we are capable of accepting or rejecting them, although I never truly accepted the image of what I was "supposed" to be. I have fended those concepts off just as the body's immune system would attack a virus. I am who and what I am, and for that I make no excuses or apologies. I wish only to be. I consider labels cumbersome as more often than not they're imposed limitation, thoughts which define imaginary boundaries and keep us trapped within prisons of our own making. The less I am described the more free I am, to choose my self and which roles I want to play.

"The twilight symbolizes to me the merging of light and dark. On a personal level this translates to a coming together of all my parts, of my being as a whole, without judgement or malice aimed at any portion. I added lucid to say that it is a conscious merger and all expressions which spring forth are purely the result of what I have become and am becoming. I am the self-aware in-between (or balance) that desires nothing less than the complete realization of my own potential, and the potential of others, if they are willing and able to recieve my aid. (Able, meaning that not everyone is conducive to everyone else's growth. What I am able to do for someone may not be what they need, and in fact I might slow their progress regardless of my good intention. One needs to know when to step out of the way.)

"I find it somewhat difficult to feel at home in this world. It is not designed for people like me. But I don't think it's designed for any of us, as we really are. It's a matter of people willingly compromising their dreams and ambitions and selves for the sake of what is percieved as necessary or healthy. We have fallen so far from bliss that to think of living in a manner true to it is unspeakable, a tale of absurd whimsy at best, better left to children's stories. This is not how it's supposed to be and I will not accept the notion that is. It might be more reasonable, but compromisers never accomplish anything. They adapt but never expand, clinging to the illusion of progress. If that is truly the only available path it is time to blaze another trail.

"If work culture is to change for the better then surely it is we that need to change. The world is not our creator, it is our creation. We have simply relinquished our power. It is easier by far to play the victim than the victor. But then difficulty is merely a perception; it'd be more accurate to say we're used to things being a certain way and change, regardless of implications, is seen as a threat to the status-quo. When all we've seen are swamps we cannot comprehend mountains and, given the opportunity, some would decline because to see such things would shatter every misconception they had about their world, misconceptions they see as being a part of their very selves.

"The majority of problems stem from an overzealous desire for self-preservation. To change often means to die in a sense, although nothing is actually lost. This is what we find unacceptable. This is why we've lost our way."
-Lucid Twilight (his blog is here)


I think the world is run by 'C' students.
-- Al McGuire

Well, duh. Plus 'F' students and a few 'A's sweating a lot.
(I won't even mention a prominent leader who is famous for being a 'C' student. He even seems proud of it.)

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.
-- Joe Ancis

Yup. I never knew anybody "normal". Well, except my little sister. But she works at it very hard.

Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away.
-- Sir Thomas Beecham

Amen. Some people think rock music is noisy. No, brass bands are noisy! Last time I was at an event with one, I had to leave, it was just too much.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More comedy

Couple quickies for comedy fans:
I like Two and a Half Men a lot. Standard sitcom, but very funny.
(Very oddly not available in the US, but you can buy the first two seasons from Amazon UK.

Anything but standard is Arrested Development. Far out, insane, and insanely funny. One of my all time faves. They pack more wild ideas into five minutes than most shows pack into a full season.


For some reason Gatorade is not big outside the US, unlike Cola. So I don't know it. But it sounds like it is basically another sugar drink. I just found this interview with Chris Legh, who does commercials for Gatorade based on the dubious honor of almost having killed himself by dehydration during Ironman race in 1997. I am struck by several things:
1: The importance human cultures puts on sports.
2: Ditto for commercial products.
3: This guy killed part of his intenstines. He was not stuck in the desert or mountains, he was a pro athlete in a race. How stupid can you be?
4: Somebody makes a blog for Gatorade?