May 30, 2010

links for 2010-05-30

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 29, 2010

Sentences one wishes one had written

Describing A.J. Liebling:

A gouty fat man who was also a distinguished war correspondent, food writer, and press critic, he had formal education (he attended Dartmouth but did not graduate) but he also cultivated the Ishmaelian charm of the autodidact, always a little too eager to share his learning and a little tone-deaf when it came to distinctions between the canonical and the esoteric.
(Carlo Rotella, "The End of American Sporting Life" in A New Literary History of America pg. 859)

Posted by oook at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

Dave Hickey's prose

Some writers have mastered the undefinable something that sucks the reader right in, even into subject areas that don't seem like they'd be enticing. Today's case in point is Dave Hickey's "The Song in Country Music" in the seemingly bottomless Marcus/Sollors A New Literary History of America. The piece is mostly about Hank Williams's prosody, but along the way you're exposed to a passel of vividness, a blast of James Agee cross-pollinated with Lester Bangs. Maud Newton quotes one section and Justin Hamm has another, but here's the one that brought me up short and sent me off to Amazon to order more of Dave Hickey's writing:

(Hank Williams) was country music's first auteur. He had grown up in what Nashville musicians called the "trash gypsy" culture of the Alabama woods, with a shell-shocked father and a predatory mother, in a world without electricity, plumbing, or pavement, personally beleaguered by bottomless need, a profound sense of social inadequacy, a predisposition to drink, and a genetic intolerance for alcohol. Georgiana, Alabama existed somewhere below the fuzzy cloud line of Southern culture and outside the cozy realm of country community. It was a place for which the traditional longing and nostalgia of country music was some kind of terrible joke...
and one more bit, further down the same page:
For the kids out of the hills and woods, who had never seen an elevator, Williams's success remained the stuff of dreams. If you could do just a tenth as well as Williams had, they thought, if you could just move up from destitution to poverty, rich and famous could go to hell. For the Dixie greasers who were Williams's own kinsmen, the young Icarii on their motorcycles, Williams's life only proved the Calvinism in their bones. Flem Snopes's account book must be balanced: Every act of creativity must be followed by an equal and opposite act of wanton destruction."... (pg. 844)

Posted by oook at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2010

links for 2010-05-24

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 22, 2010

links for 2010-05-22

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 20, 2010

links for 2010-05-20

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 17, 2010

links for 2010-05-17

  • Voornamenprofielkaart van Nederland: "The researchers compiled the 177,000 different names given to the 4.2 million children born between 1983 and 2007, and were able to link these statistics to data relating to the place of birth..."
Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 15, 2010

links for 2010-05-15

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 14, 2010

links for 2010-05-14

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 13, 2010

waving goodbye to Makeshift

Makeshift nuzzles blueberry buckle

visiting badgers
blueberries and waffles
our lives brightened

gone down the driveway,
their new adventures leave us
bereft of badgers

Out the driveway

Posted by oook at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2010

links for 2010-05-12

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 07, 2010

links for 2010-05-07

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 04, 2010

links for 2010-05-04

Posted by oook at 07:01 AM

May 03, 2010

links for 2010-05-03

  • If you're not already a fan, this might encourage you in that direction. Among the serendipitous gems in the accompanying text, I quote this passage:
    Lovelace and Dodgson both loved Euclid (Lovelace: "It is a very pretty little Theorem, so neat and tidy: the various parts dovetail so nicely!") and the emerging field of symbolic logic, and both stumbled through the Nameless Wood of calculus. Lovelace wrote to De Morgan "these Functional Equations are complete Will-o-the-wisps to me", and Dodgson, after four years (!) of studying Mathematics at Oxford and despite coming at the top of his class, writes "talked over the Calculus of Variations with Price today; I see no prospect of understanding the subject at all." You may need to recalibrate your judgements of people's math by the way: Carroll was already lecturing in mathematics at Oxford when he described the end of Differential Calculus as "new to me" as late as the 1850s!
Posted by oook at 07:00 AM

May 02, 2010

links for 2010-05-02

  • really worth your time: "...the rise of Oncorhynchus mykiss contains a bizarre and fascinating cache of insights into human motivations and misunderstandings... the rainbow trout is --like corn-- both biological instantiation and evolving allegory for our complex relationship with nature, our misguided interventions, and their unintended consequences..."
    (tags: ecology food whoa)
Posted by oook at 07:01 AM