Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LOST Lecture

Sometime in October I will be giving a public talk at MTSU in a new lecture series, sponsored by the Walker Library, to be entitled:

What Was Lost? Where Television’s Most Extraordinary Series Came From and Where It Took Us

Stay tuned for the date and time.

Quote of the Day (8/31/10) (Mind Week)

The sundering we sense, between nature and culture, lies not like a canyon outside us but splits our being at its most intimate depths the way mind breaks off from body. It is still another version of that bitter bifurcation long ago decreed: our expulsion from Eden. It differs from the apparently similar Cartesian crease across things in the fact that the two halves of us once were one; that we did not always stand askance like molasses and madness logically at odds but grew apart over the years like those husbands and wives who draw themselves into different corners of contemplation.
--William Gass, "The Polemical Philosopher"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quote of the Day (8/30/10) (Mind Week)

The mind is as much in the body as the body is in the world. The body penetrates the mind just as the world penetrates the body. We like to believe, since we see ourselves as enclosed within a shield of skin, that we are demarcated from the world by the envelope of skin, just as a theater curtain separates the audience from the stage before the performance. But the skin is a porous membrane. Electrically and chemically the world moves right through us as though we were made of mist. . . .

Some exceptional people occasionally have this sense of "seamlessness" of the unity of the world. They are known in the west as mystics. Others have it all the time, and they are known as schizophrenics.
--John Bleibtreu, The Parable of the Beast

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad) just won the Best Support Actor Emmy. Although O'Quinn and Emerson (among others) also deserved it, how could anyone deny the justness of the award? He is astonishing.

And while I write, Bryan Cranston (Walter White in Breaking Bad) has just won for Best Actor!! His third in a row.

Now will you watch "Breaking Bad"? There is no better show on television.

Heard on The Emmys

I'm so insecure, people mistake it for open-mindedness.
--Matthew Weiner (Mad Men)

"New Man in Charge" and the LOST Finale

The "Televisionary" reviews the response to "New Man in Charge" and the LOST finale.

Hamming Up Mercedes

I thought that was the voice of Don Draper (Jon Hamm) I was hearing on Mercedes-Benz ads.

The fictional ad genius from the Sixties pitching 2010 luxury cars? How meta.

Quote of the Day (8/29/10) (Mind Week)

The soul has always refused to live in peace with the body. . . . The dispute was—and is—far from trifling. Mind would rather ignore matter altogether. In the thirteenth century mind did, indeed, admit that matter was something—which it quite refuses to admit in the twentieth—but treated it as a nuisance to be abated. To the pure in spirit one argued in vain that spirit must compromise; that nature compromised; that God compromised; that man himself was nothing but a somewhat clumsy compromise. No arguments served. Mind insisted on absolute despotism. Schoolmen as well as mystics would not believed that matter was what it seemed—if, indeed, it existed;—unsubtantial, shifty, shadowy; changing with incredible swiftness into dust, gas, flame; vanishing in mysterious lines of force into space beyond hope of recovery; whirled about in eternity and infinity by that mind, form, energy, or thought which guides and rules and tyrannizes and is the universe. The Church wanted to be pure spirit; she regarded matter with antipathy as something foul, to be held at arm’s length lest it should stain and corrupt the soul; the most she would willingly admit was that mind and matter might travel side by side, like a double-headed comet, on parallel lines that never met, with a pre-established harmony that existed only in the prime motor.
--Henry Adams, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Last Night on Earth"

The official photo the night before they journey to Missouri to kill Lucifer with the Colt. (They fail of course.) From "Abandon All hope," Supernatural (5.10).

Left to right: The Angel Castiel, Sam Winchester, Ellen Harvelle, Dean Winchester, Jo Harvelle, Bobby Singer (seated)

History of Photography

Preparing for my film history class, I discovered this excellent National Geographic Society web resource.

When Sue Met Joss

Sooo jealous. Our Australian friend Sue Turnbull on stage in Melbourne with Joss Whedon.

Open Book

I am probably the last to know about this, and I only learned of the site from Wonkette's blog: Open Book allows the visitor to search all the pages on Facebook with no privacy protection.

Wonkette's suggestion: search for "mosk." The ignorant--who knew?--are apparently ignorant.

Whedon Talks to the Sydney Morning Herald

In this interview, Whedon reveals that his TV ideas dried up in the wake of Firefly's cancellation.

Scott Pilgrim Tanks

Sci-Fi Wire speculates about why.

Quote of the Day (8/28/10) (Mind Week)

But man is not only the magnificent and unhappy soma: he is also the supremely lucky soma, for by being blandly driven to attack and transform his frightful environment, he has created a new environment that has lost its biological frightfulness; and he now has no choice but to adapt once more to this radically different environment. Man is the unhappy soma who spent eons developing a magnificent mind for a threatening environment, and now, with his achievement of a benign environment, he will adapt and survive only by, in large measure, losing his mind.
--Thomas Hanna, Bodies in Revolt

Friday, August 27, 2010

Defining Science Fiction

An excellent collection at io9.com.

Teaching SF this term, so a happy find.

Crawling Addy

Addy working on her crawl.

Happy Birthday . . .

. . . to me. 61.

Heard on "Being Human"

The vampires are mobilizing. They're making it sound like all New Labour, but this is an invasion.
--Josie in Episode 4, Season One

"Being Human"

Watching Season One of the BBC's Being Human and am very, very impressed.

I watched the pilot of this series about a vampire, werewolf, and ghost who become flatmates when I was in London and wasn't impressed, but the series is brilliant.


I received so many compliments for my toast at Rachel and Neel's nuptials that I think I should open a service offering to write toasts for a fee.

I definitely have the name: "Toast Ghost."

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Toyota has recalled the Matrix. They should have recalled the sequels. They sucked.

We had some really great anti-Islamic rancor going in this country, and this guy [Michael Enright, who slashed a Muslim cab driver in New York] had to go and turn it ugly.

Quote of the Day (8/27/10) (Mind Week)

After nine years' study I can set my mind completely free, let my words come forth completely unbound as I speak. I do not know whether right and wrong, gain and loss, are mine or others. . . . My self, both within and without, has been transformed. Everything about me is identified. My eye becomes my ear, my ear becomes my nose, my nose my mouth. My mind is highly integrated and my body dissolves. My bones and my flesh melt away. I cannot tell by what my body is supported or what my feet walk upon. I am blowing away, east and west, as a dry leaf torn from a tree. I cannot even make out whether the wind is riding on me or I am riding on the wind.
--Lieh Tzu

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Great Flip Floppers

The Daily Beast offers a slide show of the 12 flippiest, from John McCain to Anne Rice.

Zacahariah in the Mirror

This stunning shot is from the Supernatural Season Four finale, "Lucifer Rising." The angel Zachariah (the wonderful Kurt Fuller) is explaining to Dean in his "Green Room" that his brethern want Lucifer freed, want the apocalypse.

Wrapping "Verge"

Michele Byers and I are about to turn in the final copy of On the Verge of Tears: Why the Movies, Television, Music, Art, Popular Culture, Literature, and the Real World Make Us Cry.

Forthcoming from Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

"Why are there so many songs about rainbows?"

At last weekend's wedding, I had the honor of the first dance with Rachel at the reception after the cutting of the cake, and the song she chose was one we had loved together when she was little. Needless to say, I was touched.

Heard on "Supernatural"

The last person in the history of creation you want as your enemy is me. And I'll tell you why. Lucifer might be strong; but I'm... petty.
--The Angel Zachariah ("Dark Side of the Moon," 5.16)

Quote of the Day (8/26/10) (Death Week)

If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do the job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it. . . .
--Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heard on "Supernatural"

Horror is one thing, but to be forced to live bad writing . . .
--Chuck/Carver Edlund/God in "Monster at the End of This Book"

Three Readings from Rachel and Neel's Wedding

Sonnet LXIX ~ By Pablo Neruda [pictured]
Read by Lara Dhingra

Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,
without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.

In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly, incitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:
since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we’ll be.

Excerpts from "Goodridge v. Department of Public Health"
Read by Sarah Caitlin Porterfield

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. …

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. “It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.” Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

UNION ~ By Robert Fulghum
Read by Todd Ricker

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife.

The Running Time of "LOST"

There is it on the slipcover of LOST: The Complete Collection:

Total Episode Running Time: Approx. 5,252 Minutes

LOST was by no means the longest of long-running television narrative. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example, ran appprox. 6,192 minutes.

But LOST was one of the most complex of vast narratives. Perhaps the most.

The Diorama Gap

Stephen responds to fears that Iran has surpassed us in diorama technology . . .

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The Real Lesson of "Twin Peaks"

Michael Giltz thinks he has the answer in The Los Angeles Times.

"Where Daleks Really Come From"

From Sci-Fi Wire . . .

Quote of the Day (8/25/10) (Death Week)

Christ promises a birth which shall be followed by no death. Buddha promises a death which shall be followed by no birth, and thus by no further death.
--Paul Ludwig Landsberg, The Experience of Death

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peggy Olson Action Figure

Peggy Olson is pretty much my dream woman in this episode ["The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" on Mad Men]. She zips around an empty room on a motorcycle! She gets excited about a drinking bird! She always seems slightly uncomfortable, even as she knows she's the best person ever! I want a Peggy Olson action figure.
--Todd VanDerWerff (Onion TV Club)

"Lost, The Complete Collection"

UPS brought it today.

OMG. Black and white stones. An Ankh. A Dharma Initiative laser pointer. Monumental packaging.

My Blurb for Nikki Stafford's "Finding Lost, Season 6"

If John Locke (pre-Man in Black) was the most sought-after companion for anyone venturing into Lost’s mysterious island, it is impossible to imagine a better guide than Nikki Stafford for the viewer exploring the incomparable complexities of the now completed series. Whether tracing narrative threads, explaining the meaning of Lost’s many intertexts, probing the motivations of a character, identifying nitpicks and nailing goofs, elucidating mysteries, or defending the controversial finale, Stafford never fails to be funny, candid, informative, and brilliant. We will be reading and consulting her Finding Lost series, now complete, as long as Lost itself is remembered. I suspect it will be required reading even in the Sideways World for anyone seeking to move into the light.—David Lavery, co-author of Lost’s Buried Treasures and editor of The Essential Cult TV Reader

Rachel and Neel's Wedding Program, Menu

Designed by Sarah Porterfield, sister of the bride.

"Lost," Obama

Only just now discovered this SomeEcard from back in May.

"The Stressful Weekend That Wasn't"

My daughter's wonderful account of the trip to her sister's wedding and Adelyn's first major outing.

Sarah Tweets

Quote of the Day (8/24/10) (Death Week)

Death is not an event in life; we do not live to experience death. . . .
--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Slayage" 8.2 & 3

To preview the next issue of Slayage, a special double issue devoted to Dollhouse (edited by Rhonda Wilcox and Cynthea Masson), go here.

Frank Kermode

I only just learned that Frank Kermode passed away at the age of 90.

His The Sense of an Ending has to count as one of a score of the most influential books I have read.

Photos of Neel and Rachel's Wedding

The Effulgent Bride-to-Be

Rachel and Beth Scholz

The Sister of the Bride, Sarah Caitlin Porterfield

Rachel and Neel and Pre-Wedding Photography

Lara Dhingra, Beth Scholz, Rachel, Sarah

Joe Crisalli, Todd Ricker, Neel, Noopur Amin

Sarah, Joe, Lara Dhingra, Todd

Jason, Addy, the Mother of the Bride

Meera, Neel, and Ash Dhingra

The Ritual Breakage of the Glassware

Marriage Complete, Glass Shattered

Rachel's Indian Wedding Dress (Thanks Ash and Meera)

The Cake

Neel and Rachel After the Wedding

Flower Girl Adelyn Belle Porterfield and Her Escort (Her Dad)


Quote of the Day (8/23/10) (Death Week)

Death, having been augmented by human strength, has lost its appointed place in the natural order and become a counter-evolutionary force, capable of destroying in a few years, or even in a few hours, what evolution has built up over billions of years. In doing so, death threatens even itself, since death, after all, is a part of life: stones may be lifeless but they do not die. The question now before the human species, therefore, is whether life or death will prevail on the earth. This is not metaphorical language but a literal description of the present state of affairs.
--Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote of the Day (8/22/10) (Death Week)

Chuang-tzu's wife died. Hui-tzu came to say how sorry he was, and when he arrived Chuang-tzu was squatting on his heels, beating a tinpan and singing. Hui-tzu said, "The woman lived with you and raised your kids, now she's gotten old and her body has died; well, if you don't cry, all right. But to sing and beat a tin pan, isn't this too much?"

Chuang-tzu said. "I don't think so. My wife, when she died at first I . . . well do you think that I'm so weird I wasn't moved? But then I thought about it. In the first place, she once had no life, and not only she had no life, but once she had no form. Not only she had no form, but once she had no vital breath. She was mixed with the elements; the elements changed, and she had vital breath; the vital breath changed, and she had a form; the form changed, and she had life. Now she's changed again and come to death. These things lead each to each like Spring, Fall, Winter, and Summer move on. She lies asleep now in the Great Room if I sobbed and then cried for her, it would seem to me to show I didn't understand our appointed destiny, so I stopped."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Silent 'Star Wars'"

Brilliant. The person who made this video knows silent film.

Quote of the Day (8/21/10) (Death Week)

We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
--Chuck Palahniuk

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day (8/20/10) (Death Week)

Suicide is man's way of telling God, "You can't fire me - I quit."
--Bill Maher

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

We're out of Iraq, and best of all, we got out two weeks ahead of schedule. Now Iraq will always be known as the war that ended early. Who knew? That snuck up on us. Folks, this is a significant achievement, so let's give credit where credit is due--to George W. Bush. After all, if this man hadn't lead us into war, it certainly wouldn't be over now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Not the worst movie I have seen of late, but compare this apocalyptic tale, with Angels!, to Season Five of Supernatural, also about the End of Days, also featuring Angels, and you have a perfect example of how much better--imaginatively richer, narratively subtler, deeper in character (surprisingly) more audio-visually inventive--television can be than the movies.

Dog Toy or Sex Toy?

See if you can tell the difference here.

From The Smoking Jacket via Andrew Sullvan.

Charles Dickens spøger i den amerikanske tv-revolution

I was a source for this article on HBO by Henning Due in Information (Denmark). So was my brilliant friend Kim Akass.

Quote of the Day (8/19/10) (The Artist Week)

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
--Abraham Maslow

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Reality TV Invades Campus"

The Daily Beast has the story.

Best Countries in the World

"We're #11!"--according to Newsweek.

Really Bad Divine Advice

Salon reviews the worst of the almighty's instructions in a slide show.

Interviews with Ben Edlund

Both from ComicCon:

An Idea from a Dream

I am in the very early stages of writing my essay on Ben Edlund and Supernatural.

And in a dream last night I was given an idea for how to think about his role in creation of the series. We shall see if it proves productive.

Quote of the Day (8/18/10) (The Artist Week)

To feel strange, to retain throughout life the sense of being a voyager on the earth come from another sphere to whom everything remains wonderful, horrifying, and new, is, I suppose, to be an artist.
--Stephen Spender

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Re-Watching "Supernatural" (ctd.)

Now done with Season Two and three episodes into S3.

The end of Supernatural's second run was strong. "Hollywood Babylon"--the first writing contribution of Ben Edlund, author of "Smile Time" (Angel) and "Jaynestown" (Firefly) and the subject of my own contribution to the Supernatural book Stacey Abbott and are doing for ECW--owed a lot to The X-Files' "Hollywood AD," but it had some fine moments; "Folsom Prison Blues" was an interesting variation on the prison genre; "What Is and What Should Never Be" showcased Jensen Ackles' acting talents in a It's a Wonderful Life/Buffy ("Normal Again," 6.17) homage.

And the two part All Hell Breaks Loose season-ender was Supernatural's first attempt at the epic: Dean's termination of The YED with the Colt, Sam's "Death," the mass escape from Hell, Dean's deal with the Crossroads Demon--unforgettable.

Whedon Talks Script Doctoring "Captain America"

An interview about Whedon's role in setting the stage for The Avengers.

Quote of the Day (8/17/10) (The Artist Week)

Only he is an artist who can make a riddle out of a solution.
--Karl Kraus

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Supernatural," S2

Just finished 2.16 (the somewhat moving "Roadkill"), and I have to say that Supernatural's sophomore outing is disappointing. If S1 was much stronger than I remembered it, 2 is definitely weaker. I am finding many episodes completely watchable, always, but not memorable.

But then I have been watching it while doing my income tax, which is enough to ruin anything.

Later: Income tax done, I liked "Heart" very much, a poignant werewolf love story.

Quote of the Day (8/16/10) (The Artist Week)

Is it possible that something in the organism of a creative artist, something of which he is not aware . . .may also at times result in biochemical reactions of the kind that cause him to respond in comparably abnormal-supernormal ways?
--Stanley Burnshaw, The Seamless Web

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quote of the Day (8/15/10) (The Artist Week)

From the root the sap flows to the artist, flows through him, flows to his eye. Thus he stands as the trunk of the tree. Battered and stirred by the strength of the flow, he molds his vision into his work. As, in full view of the world, the crown of the tree unfolds and spreads in time and in space, so with his work; nobody would affirm that the tree grows its crown in the image of its root. Between above and below can be no mirrored reflection. It is obvious that different functions expanding in different elements must produce vital divergences. But it is just the artist who at times is denied those departures from nature which his art demands. He has even been charged with incompetence and deliberate distortion. And yet, standing at his appointed place, the trunk of the tree, he does nothing other than gather and pass on what comes to him from the depths. He neither serves nor rules he transmits. His position is humble. And the beauty at the crown is not his own. He is merely a channel.
--Paul Klee

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Re-Watching "Supernatural"

Almost done re-watching Season One of Supernatural, and I find it to be one of the most assured, consistent debuts of a series I know. (Although a couple of episodes are a bit derivative, all are strong.) Right from the get-go Kripke and company seem to know exactly what they are doing.

J. Michael Stracynski gets a lot of kudos for conceiving Babylon 5 as a five season story from its inception. I think Kripke's five season arc may be even more impressive.

Addy, The Latest Photos

"Joss Whedon: Conversations"

Catalog copy for the University Press of Mississippi.

Joss Whedon: Conversations
Edited by David Lavery and Cynthia Burkhead

"I wanted [Buffy the Vampire Slayer] to be a cultural phenomenon. I wanted there to be dolls, Barbie with kung-fu grip. I wanted people to embrace it in a way that exists beyond, 'Oh, that was a wonderful show about lawyers, let's have dinner.'"

No recent television creator has generated more critical, scholarly, and popular discussion or acquired as devoted a cult following as Joss Whedon (b. 1964). No fewer than thirty books concerned with his work have now been published (a forthcoming volume even offers a book-length bibliography), and ten international conferences on his work have convened in the U.K., die United States, Australia, and Turkey. Fitting then that this first volume in the University Press of Mississippi's "Television Conversations" series is devoted to the writer, director, and showrunner fwho has delivered Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997-2001; UPN, 2001-3), Angel (The WB, 1999-2004), Firefly (2002), Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Webcast, 2008), and Dollhouse (FOX, 2009-10).

If Whedon has shown himself to be a virtuoso screenwriter/script-doctor, director, comic book author, and librettist, he is as well a masterful conversationalist. As a DVD commentator, for example, the consistently hilarious, reliably insightful, frequently moving Whedon has few rivals. In his many interviews he likewise shines. Whether answering a hundred rapid-fire, mostly silly questions from fans on the Internet, fielding serious inquiries about his craft and career from television colleagues, or assessing his disappointments, Whedon seldom fails to provoke laughter and reflection.

David Lavery, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. Among his numerous publications are Finding Battlestar Galactica: An Unauthorised Guide; Unlocking the Meaning of "Lost": An Unauthorised Guide; and Saving the World: A Guide to "Heroes". Cynthia Burkhead, Athens, Alabama, is an English instructor at the University of North Alabama. She is the author of Student Companion to John Steinbeck and the coeditor of Grace Under Pressure: Grey's Anatomy Uncovered.

"The New Cult Canon"

Just discovered this Onion AV Club collection. Hedwig and the Angry Inch to Serenity.

"EW's" "Mad Men" A-Z

A slide show.

Quote of the Day (8/14/10) (The Artist Week)

One mentions many artists who are actually art works of nature. What men are among the other formations of the earth, artists are among men.
--Friedrich von Schlegel

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bruce Bartlett on the Republicans

Bartlett, former Reagan and Bush administration advisor, offers a telling indictment (from his website, via Andrew Sullivan).

In my own mind, I have the same political philosophy I've always had--basically libertarian but tempered by Burkean small-C conservatism. But I am no longer a member of the Republican Party and no longer consider myself part of the "conservative movement." That's not because I changed, but because I believe that they have. The Republican Party of today is not the party of Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan that I was once a member of; it stands for nothing except the pursuit of power as an end in itself, with no concern whatsoever for what is right for the country. In a recent interview with The Economist magazine, I characterized the Republicans as the greedy, sociopathic party. I stand by that.

"LOST" Conference Reboot

We are sorry to inform you that the conference as planned will not take place. We received a very disappointing response to the CFP. We suspect the economy may have been a major factor, and the time of year, January, was a problem for many.

But we have not given up. We are seeking to reboot the conference and hope to be able to announce a new location and date by October. Our goal is to piggy-back with another conference (we have one in mind) possibly in October 2011 and on a beach (Atlantic, not Pacific) in the mainland US. The cost of attendance should be significantly lower.

We will inform everyone once the reboot is finalized. If you have proposed a paper already, we will keep your proposal on file. If you wish to withdraw your proposal, please let us know or have any questions (or suggestions), write us.


Idiot Lauras

What is it with these right-wing Lauras?

After Schlesinger's N-word idiocy yesterday, I went back to watch again Colbert's dismantling of the seemingless clueless Laura Ingraham.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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"God, Death, and Pizza"

My 2nd "Telegenic" piece is now up.

Quote of the Day (8/13/10) (Time Week)

Time as duration is the identity of things, the consistency of their color and dimension. To this we must add . . . that the duration of things tempts us to assume that they do not change but remain the same. The world then becomes dry and nameless; ultimately even nothing but a formula. The tempo of things can induce us to believe in a "lawless," arbitrary, even enchanted world. Both these extremes must be rejected. Things not only have duration but also tempo.

In the period 1740-1900 duration was overestimated. That wouldn't have been possible if things hadn't presented themselves as having much duration and little tempo. Things with more duration than tempo impress us as dead or dying. It is no coincidence that in the period 1740-1900 the idea arose that through the irreversible process of cooling, the world as a whole faces death by cooling, or, in official terms, heat death. Between 1740 and 1900 things were already more or less dead. At any rate, they lost their luster, which is seen in the fact that the era was characterized by its inclination to strip things of anything that would inspire wonder. One who denies the wondrous aspect of things—that is, their changeability—loses respect for them. Once this respect has suffered, one can handle things casually. One handles them in this way when one passes over them quickly. He who moves with speed through a landscape proves that he has little respect for the things in it. Thus, the increasing velocity of locomotion in the period 1740-1900 can be seen as the expression of the overestimation for the duration of things that prevailed at that time.
J.H. van den Berg, Things: Four Metabletic Reflections

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Golden Rule

Stephen Colbert's paraphrase of Gingrich's hypocrisy: "Do as I say, not who I do."

The Tommy Westphall Hypothesis

I only learned about the Tommy Westphall Hypothesis last weekend at Whedonfest.

Tommy was, of course, the autistic child in whose snow globe St. Elsewhere, the finale suggested, had taken place. (The snow globe on the right is, of course, from Citizen Kane.)

Much more interesting that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Quote of the Day (8/12/10) (Time Week)

The tragic grandeur of modern man is bound up with the fact that he was the first to take on the work of Time in relation to Nature. . . . man in modern society has finally assumed the garb of Time not only in his relations with Nature but also in respect to himself. On the philosophical plane he has recognized himself to be essentially, and sometimes even uniquely, a temporal being, taking his existence from time and bound by actuality. And the modern world, to the extent to which it asserts its own greatness and fully accepts its dramatic role, feels one with Time in the way that nineteenth-century science and industry urged it to be. For they proclaimed that man can achieve things better and faster than Nature if he, by means of his intelligence, succeeds in penetrating to her secrets and supplementing by his own operations, the multiple temporal durations (the geological, botanical, animal rhythms) required by Nature in order to bring her work to fruition. The temptation was too great to resist. Through innumerable millennia man had dreamed of improving upon Nature. It was inconceivable that he should hesitate when confronted by the fabulous perspectives opened out to him by his own discoveries. But the price had to be paid. Man could not stand in the place of Time without condemning himself implicitly to be identified with it, to do its work even when he would no longer wish to.
--Mircea Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Right Destroys Reality Itself

"Not Mordor"

That's what Andrew Sullivan called his posting of this video of a sudden storm supposedly in Finland, but I am not so sure.


Even Moliere could not have imagined a hypocrite with the audacity of the Newt. I read this with absolute astonishment and stomach-turning contempt.

Airline Employees Not Taking It Anymore

The rather heroic JetBlue flight attendant meltdown yesterday reminded me of another example of an airline employee going out with style.

My wife used to be a reservations agent for a major airline. They were all warned repeatedly never to show hostility on the phone no matter how hostile callers became, and the suits regularly listened in to monitor employee behavior.

One night, one of Joyce's colleagues was being given extra nastiness from a caller who could not get the flight he wanted. After screaming and shouting for some time, the potential passenger finally bellowed "Isn't there any other way I could go?" To which the soon-to-be-former reservations agent replied, "Yes. You could drop dead and then fly air freight." She was fired immediately--and became a legend in the office.

If you gotta go, this is the way to do it.

The Love Child of Greta Van Susteren and Wolf Blitzer

As imagined by The Colbert Report . . .

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

After playing a tape of a Georgia Republican Congressman (Phil Gingrey) explaining that the 14th Ammendment has to be overturned because in 1868 there was no immigration law:

And that's a good thing. If there was an immigration law the Indians could have had us deported.

Quote of the Day (8/11/10) (Time Week)

Time wounds all heels.
--Abraham Maslow

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A visual rendering of what it means to earn one.

Here's another take--a joke.

Quote of the Day (8/10/10) (Time Week)

We determine our own reality by mirroring our perceptions of a fleeting time in our body's function. Having convinced ourselves through the aid of clocks, watches, beeps, ticks, and a myriad of other cultural props that linear time is escaping, we generate maladies in our bodies that assure us of the same thing xxx for the ensuing heart disease, ulcers, and high blood pressure reinforce the message of the clock: we are running down, eventually to be swept away in the linear current of the river of time. For us, our perceptions have become our reality.
--Larry Dossey, Space, Time, and Medicine

Monday, August 09, 2010

Denmark Calling

Just spoke with a reporter from the Danish newspaper Information about HBO.

Confronting Sarah Palin

It isn't just Katie Couric that SP cannot hold her own with. Here, she is bested in an exchange with an ordinary Alaskan.

The Bomb

An animated map showing the country of origin and the location of all the nuclear weapons detonated (2053) from 1945-1998.

Tip of the Hat to Boing Boing, The New Yorker, and Andrew Sullivan.

Quote of the Day (8/9/10) (Time Week)

Aesop, that great man, saw his master pissing as he walked. "What's next?" he said. "Shall we have to shit as we run?" Let us manage our time; we shall still have a lot left idle and ill spent. Our mind likes to think it has not enough leisure hours to do its own business unless it dissociates itself from the body for the little time that the body really needs it.
--Michel de Montaigne

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Heard on "Rescue Me"

You know we only perform exorcisms on one person at a time, but I think for the Gavin family we are going to need to give you a group rate.--Father Phil (Peter Gallagher) in "Sanctuary"

Goodbye Brontosaurus

One of the staples of my childhood imaginaeion is no more--the result of paleontological misidentification.

Will The Police revise their song lyrics?

Hey mighty brontosaurus
Don't you have a lesson for us
You thought your rule would always last
There were no lessons in your past
You were built three stories high
They say you would not hurt a fly
If we explode the atom bomb
Would they say that we were dumb?
--"Walking in Your Footsteps"

Addy and Sarah

Addy in her beloved Jumperoo--happy as can be,

Sarah with Addy by the Stones River.