Umberto Eco on Lists and Making Infinity Comprehensible

Just finished reading the highly-recommended "Gone Girl." It pulled me in quickly and was definitely a compelling read, but I can't say it was entirely enjoyable...I look forward to discussing it with other friends who've read it.

Would love to see this: beautiful 100-foot long blue whale kite.

Heartbreaking. I don't know how anyone could consider his execution as an act of justice. Executing a victim of abuse: "Nation journalist Liliana Segura reports on Pennsylvania's drive to execute Terrance Williams, who was convicted as a juvenile for killing men who abused him."

Image: source.

"Kaiim Viera was born 18 years ago today. He grew into a six-foot-two teen who had a knack for getting folks to laugh even when they didn’t want to. A week and a half ago, he was shot 10 times and killed. WNYC is profiling the life of every child in the city killed by gunfire. This is Kaiim’s story."

“If you asked me to draw a picture of myself I’d draw two. One would be a portrait of a happy, self-confident, regular-looking woman and the other would be a close-up of a giant gaping mouth that’s ravenous for love. Many days I have to silently say to myself: It’s okay. You are loved. You are loved even if some people don’t love you.” - Dear Sugar

“Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.” - Flannery O’Connor


"A Colorlines.com investigation that found there is an estimated 5,100 children in foster care who face barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is in detention or has been deported."

From Bard professor Daniel Mendelson, Gay TV and Me: "How my life would be different if boys were kissing boys onscreen 40 years ago -- like they are today."

Image: source.

Elton John on the price paid by HIV-positive prisoners

NPR: In Calif., Some Ex-Inmates Get Help In New Ways: "Under California's criminal justice realignment program, counties are taking over responsibility from the state for low-level felons. And that has affected how inmates with histories of mental illness move through the system even after they're released."

Boing Boing: Hand lettering the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" 

Interesting: "The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place. I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn't think I would get to work in television again."- Actor Mandy Patinkin, on why he "abruptly left" the CBS procedural after only two seasons. I've definitly been a long time fan of shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, etc, and have really conflicted feelings about their focus on crimes against women. Great to hear his impressions, via Shakesville.

“My deepest impulses are optimistic, an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect.” - Ellen Willis


Detropia is getting tons of great press, and all of it deserved. One interview: Talking to Detropia Director Heidi Ewing

"For The Children" by Gary Snyder (thanks to my PIP for the recommendation!)

For my fellow mystery lovers: Agatha Christie essay published for the first time: "Long-lost piece, commissioned by the Ministry of Information to promote British crime fiction, finally available to UK readers"

Charles Bukowski, Arthur C. Clarke, Annie Dillard, John Cage, and Others on the Meaning of Life. From Annie Dillard: “We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house. According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.”

From n+1, It Was Written: Books by Rappers

Image: source.

Yum! Fall comfort food (which I'm, truthfully, in the mood for every season): Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Parmesan & Cilantro, Stuffed Shells With Butternut Squash, Spinach & Ricotta, Baked Kale Mac-and-Cheese.

From Mental Floss, the history behind a song I love: Music History #7: “Hurricane”

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” ― David Foster Wallace, This is Water


Food, faith, pain, and communion. From the Paris Review Small, Good Things: Poetry and still life as one.

From the Hon. Nancy Gertner, The Media's Reporting On Justice Is Criminal

Image: from Tugboat Press.

From Guernica: Hipstamatic Revolution: "Avoiding the simplistic narratives of Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism, photographers use photo-apps to represent everyday Africa."

“War/Photography”: A New Look at the World in Conflict Looking forward to reading Junot Diaz's new book.

Grantland is killing it with their (mostly snarky, sometimes earnest) monthly recaps of the NYTimes Vows (including the most Vows-y Vows ever)

From the AV Club: TV Roundtable: Law & Order: Slave to formula, or crackling entertainment?

“Faith is not for overcoming obstacles; it is for experiencing them — all the way through.” - Richard Rohr


SFGate: The crime of punishment at Pelican Bay State Prison: "Three strikes law sent man who robbed an empty house to prison for 25 yrs. He's spent 16 years in solitary confinement."

Ha: Anthropology is the worst college major for being a corporate tool, best major to change your life

The AV Club's year by year history of hip hop continues: Hip-Hop And You Do Stop. This week, 1992 and Arrested Development.

Image: source.

If you're even a casual enjoyer of poetry, I'd encourage you to subscribe to Poetry 180, a "poem a day" project aimed at high schoolers. I love getting a new poem in my inbox every morning (they are on Day 6 today).

From Jacobin: Designing Culture: Design plays a central role in cultural reproduction. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, for anyone.: "This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology..."

From Nat Geo: Criminal Defense: And Justice For All.

"To live in this world / you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it / against your bones knowing / your own life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go." - Mary Oliver


WaPo: Communal gardening helps refugees sink roots in a new land

Listening to: The Milk Carton Kids On Mountain Stage. Prepare to get your heart broken by "Michigan" and "New York."

Image: source.

The Path of Freedom is a short film (available online) that “enters the harsh environment of a Rhode Island men’s prison where a group of fifty inmates are transforming their lives through the practice of meditation."

Reporting Poverty: Emily Brennan interviews Katherine Boo: "Following three years of research in an Indian slum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist discusses what language can’t express, her view that nobody is representative, and the ethical dilemmas of writing about the poor."

Locked Up Without a Key in New Orleans: the first of a three article series on the public defender shortage, and the failed promise of Gideon v. Wainwright.

We Shall Overcome: The Problem With the Body-Love Therapeutic Narrative: "Problematizing something essentially human—cognizance of our own bodies—and framing it as something that we must overcome leaves little room for a woman’s relationship with her body or appearance that doesn’t fit into this construct. That is, at the same time that the therapeutic narrative of the body gives us language we can use to relate to others, it also defines the language we’re expected to use."

“It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.” - Raymond Carver


Love letters by Iris Murdoch

Listening to: Avett Bros' new album The Carpenter, streaming on NPR. (Review by the always awesome Stephen Thompson of PCHH - "The Avetts' music aims for something bigger than itself, and damned if it doesn't find it.")

Also listening to: The Head and The Heart "Rivers & Roads" (The Doe Bay Sessions), and "Down in the Valley" (Live on KEXP)

Image: source.

Apparently this is the year that my favorite novels get made into movies; first, Cloud Atlas, now, Midnights Children. Not sure that I'll see either.

From Human Rights Watch, the effects of a failed drug policy, here and abroad. "Blacks, whites commit drug offenses at similar rates, but black men 10 times as likely to be jailed"

Finally got around to reading this, glad I did: Queer, Interrupted by Tegan Eanelli "Redemption is not to be found in the unfolding of capitalist time, but instead in its forceful interruption. Against the dogma that it gets better, we have to understand that queerness was not built on a linear progression through adversity, but was fought for against a progression which would have eliminated it."

“There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.” ― David Foster Wallace


I really appreciated this article, and it's got some good links: Going Public With Depression.

As I Lay Frying: donuts & literary quotes, so, sure.

Like these: NY in 50 Objects, and BBC's The History of the World in 100 Objects.

Sort of a silly title, but a good article about our consumption of cheap clothing and cotton: Are Your Skinny Jeans Starving the World? "The cotton that feeds our appetite for fast fashion is taking up room that could be used for food crops."

On Friday, I went  to see the Barr Bros and Brandi Carlisle at Britt. I didn't know much about Brandi Carlisle when I saw her last year at Britt as an opener for Ray LaMontagne, but she blew me away (and blew Ray out of the water as a performer). Both acts were incredible this time. I'm sorry to say that the Barr Bros album does not do them justice - I'll have to look for some live recordings. Random assortment: Brandi covering "Creep," playing "That Wasn't Me" (one of the most amazing songs about addiction I've ever heard), and "Keep Your Heart Young." For some reason, none of the videos I found showed what an awesome, rock n roll performer she is, but she was non stop energy, and did a cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had even my mom pumping her fist.

Check out Immigrant Nation, the new project from filmmaker Theo Rigby: "An interactive project where you can watch powerful short documentaries, then create and share your own immigration story." I had the luck to see him screen his film Sin Pais (Without Country) at the ashland independent film fest in 2011, and have used it ever since for outreach & educational purposes. It's a great short film, and I'm always interested to see what he will do next.

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” ― Flannery O'Connor