Category Archives: casting

A New Diversion

A story in the New York Times (These Mole Rats Felt No Pain, Even From Wasabi’s Burn) suggested the game of making haiku and senryu from headlines. The challenge is to add a line to complete the text of the headline, or perhaps find another way to work the text into the canonical 5-7-5 pattern. Here’s the opening salvo, in keeping with the sardonic and the mordant tone of the last post:

mole rats felt no pain
even from wasabi’s burn
try capsaicin next

(this assumes that tout le monde knows that
‘capsaicin’ is the active ingredient in the hotness of peppers)
(and marks the conceit that the torture of mole rats is Science)
(and with thanks to Nick for the capsaicin, C18H27NO3)


RSA animations of verbal presentations seem always to be WONDERFUL. This morning’s example is UBERwonderful, encapsulating a lot of things I’ve thought over the years, but never managed to express coherently. Supremely worth 10 minutes of your time:

…and I’m reminded how valuable it’s been to me to have this medium to lay down markers for my own discoveries and learning. Sometimes it seems that the Audience is my own very, very self… but that’s OK too.

Lydon on Pakistan

Christopher Lydon’s podcasts are almost always interesting (though sometimes I don’t expect them to be, especially the poetry ones… but I’m often surprised), and his summer 2011 series on Pakistan was fascinating. He’s edited those down to two hours of summary, which I’ve downloaded for listening as I walk. It will be especially interesting to hear what he’s chosen as the highest points, and how it’s structured into coherence!

Some audio experiments

Thinking about what to do with audio, I remembered that I’d uploaded some stuff to The Internet Archive a couple of years ago. The items turn out to be pretty interesting to re-encounter, and suggest that I should do more along these lines:

A couple of experiments I did in 2005, using an MP3 recorder to capture what was on mind mind as I walked to work: 16 March 2005 (just under 4 minutes) and 25 March 2005 (just over 4 minutes)
…and On Musical Variety (17:50) constructed in late 2004 as a come-on for a course in World Music (taught at Washington & Lee in Winter 2005)
…and Charlie Skinner tells a story (1:17)

18 months later

A seven mile walk is, well, easier if there’s an audio stream accompanying the relentless fall of the feet. I usually load up the MP3 player with something fairly current –recently acquired music or podcastery– but this morning I looked in the Archives and (thinking about recent bloggery) pulled out James Kunstler’s 14 July 2006 appearance on BazookaJoe’s Small World, mostly concerned with issues raised in Kunstler’s The Long Emergency: Surviving the converging catastrophes of the 21st century (2005). I recall listening to this when it first appeared, and thinking Kunstler a bit alarmist, but one time’s alarmism is another time’s prescience… For example:

[since the book’s publication in 2005] The one thing that really has yet to occur is that the bottom hasn’t fallen out of the American consumer economy, but I think that we’re very close to seeing that, and that the inertia of the last couple of decades has been tremendous and is sort of carrying things onward, you know, running on fumes. But I think we’re on the verge of seeing a great deal of trouble in the… among the homeowners who have bought houses in the last 5 years, using creative mortgages, and they’re going to get in trouble I think with their mortgage payments, and we’ll see a great deal of carnage out on the real estate scene, where a lot of American individual wealth is invested. You know, that’s going to be reflected in this consumer economy, which is 70% of our economy, so I don’t think we’re far from seeing trouble with that, and as that occurs, you know, the political trouble is going to ramp up… [41:30-42:28]

(The podcast is archived here and makes an interesting hour, whether one’s motivations are Schadenfreudian or social-historical)

Chicken Little had it right

About a month ago [correction: it was in May…] This American life did a program that was THE clearest and best explanation I’d heard (or read) for the Crisis we seemed to be in: The Giant Pool of Money. Last night’s episode of This American Life was another winner: clear, un-partisan, multi-perspectival: Another Frightening Show About the Economy. You really NEED to download it and listen. And I’m adding NPR’s Planet Money to my blog reading…

Mary Jo Salter

Christopher Lydon is almost always interesting, surprising, enlightening. Today’s wonder is an encounter with a poet, Mary Jo Salter. What first caught my eye was the text of Salter’s “Young Girl Peeling Apples” and I predict you’ll enjoy it too. Here’s the 34-minute interview, and it’s quite worthwhile. Me, I don’t usually buy poetry, but I’m making an exception by ordering her Phone Call to the Future. The UPS Man will deliver it in a couple of days.

On creativity, and bittersweetness

Don’t miss ZeFrank in his Last Week of The Show. Today’s episode is both poignant and pointed, as the best of his whatevertheyares generally are. Trying to find the words to describe my own emotional entanglement with The Show, I’m projected toward polyvalent and semantically fraught expressions from other languages: the Portuguese Saudade and the German Sehnsucht as in Reitz’s Heimat series, and Wikipedia points me to the Japanese expression Mono no aware. The archive of the year’s shows (mentioned today, and to be sponsored by ??Dewar’s??) is gonna be rich territory for mashups.

and a followup

Stephen Downes’ blog has a pointer to the text of Gardner Campbell’s There’s Something in the Air: Podcasting in Education from EDUCAUSE Quarterly. I’m really glad that I heard it before reading it, and it’s interesting to reflect on how different the experiences are. That’s really a matter of how Gardner reads it –the care he puts into phrasing and timing. The experience is not unlike hearing Lenny Henry read part of the first chapter of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.

Something in the Air

I listen to a lot of MP3s, some of them overt podcasts and others productions that don’t quite fit into the ‘podcast’ rubric as it’s been developed in a year of experimentation. Generally I am most moved, inspired, and informed by audio that has the freshness of conversation, and only occasionally do readings get to me in the same way. When I do succumb to a reading, the charm is largely a matter of the skill in the voice. Case in recent point: Gardner Campbell has a simply glorious version of an EDUCAUSE piece, There’s Something in the Air: Podcasting in Education, published in the Nov/Dec EDUCAUSE Review –not a wasted word in 47:30 golden minutes. I can think of a score of people whom I’d love to nail down and insist that they listen, because if they did, they’d finally get it about the utility and importance of the medium.
But 47 minuteses are difficult to command. The best inducement I can think of is to ask that score of folks to invest 2:30 in an excerpt, in which Gardner is deliciously eloquent on Magic in the human voice, on the Theatre of the Mind, and on the Explaining Voice: “when we hear someone read with understanding, we participate in that understanding, almost as if the voice is enacting our own comprehension…”