Wednesday, December 23, 2009


From a projection in Singapore. Photo by Darren Soh.

Image source here.

a place to have a haircut in London

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Guinea Pigs

Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot performed by guinea pigs here.

Guinness Guide to Oysters

A brief history of the man who created this ad here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the Queen who wanted to be King

In 1977 Neil Simon depicted Richard III as gay for comic effect.

The Known Universe

Thursday, December 17, 2009

cerebral aneurysm

Frank Gehry's Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, Las Vegas.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son, 1820-23


A 45 year old Andy Warhol shot by a 42 year old Ron Galella in New York, 1973.

Andy Warhol is the art market bellwether, explains The Economist here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

landscape of the dispossessed

"Writing tames what you have lived."
- Herta Müller [born 1953], 2009 Nobel Laureate

Photo source here.

best Nobel speech

Nobel Prize dinner, Stockholm, Sweden

William Faulkner's 1949 acceptance speech:

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12th century

Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

- Omar Khayyam, Excerpt from The Rubaiyat, 1120 C.E.

obedience in the same direction

The essential thing "in heaven and earth" is, apparently [to repeat it once more], that there should be OBEDIENCE in the same direction, there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living; for instance, virtue, art, music, dancing, reason, spirituality -- anything whatever that is transfiguring, refined, foolish, or divine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

last civil war veteran

Dead Confederate soldiers, Battle of Antietam, 1862.

Confederate veteran Pleasant Riggs Crump [1847-1951] died at the age of 104.

largest bike parking facility

ASCOBIKE is the largest bike parking facility in the Americas and is located an hour from São Paulo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

how big is the internet?

Commenting on the vastness of future storage capacity, Google's Eric Schmidt predicts that today's Internet would fit into one standard Smart Phone sized device within 15 years.

Graphic source here.

Personality Test

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


The Civilization of Man, British Museum entrance portico, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London.

Image source here.


Daily Mail founder Sir Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, circa 1917.

“News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”
- Lord Northcliffe [1865-1922]

Monday, December 7, 2009


"I had to be the funniest guy around just to not get the crap kicked out of me."
- Richard Pryor according to Robin Williams


Sunday, December 6, 2009

hand cut

bespoke cowboy boots have a 3 month waiting list

Saturday, December 5, 2009


"Ten yards too far in winter and ten yards too close in summer."

Image source here.


"The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music."
- Lewis Thomas [1913-1993]

Friday, December 4, 2009


"The sea is the last free place on earth."
- Attributed to Ernest Hemingway [1899-1961] by Humphrey Bogart [1899-1957] according to Lauren Bacall [born 1924].

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Führer reading

Adolph Hitler in Mein Kampf:
A man who possesses the art of correct reading will, in studying any book, magazine, or pamphlet, instinctively and immediately perceive everything which in his opinion is worth permanently remembering, either because it is suited to his purpose or generally worth knowing ... Then, if life suddenly sets some question before us for examination or answer, the memory, if this method of reading is observed ... will derive all the individual items regarding these questions, assembled in the course of decades, [and] submit them to the mind for examination and reconsideration, until the question is clarified or answered.
A look at Hitler's library here.

If Germany had won WWII

robot blob

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


In the Navy I flew A-6's off carriers...In combat, events have a duration of seconds, sometimes minutes... But what you're going through goes on day in and day out. Whether you're ready for it or not, week in, week out... Month after month after month. Whether you're up or whether you're down. You're assaulted psychologically. You're assaulted financially, which is its own special kind of violence.
From the screenplay The Insider.


"The future does not come with the sound of a drum."
- Paul Theroux [born 1941] quoting an African proverb on the futility of forecasting.


[Vincent van Gogh's brother] Theo suffered from recurrent depressions and became psychotic at the end of his life; his sister Wilhelmina spent forty years in an insane asylum with "chronic psychosis," and his younger brother Cor committed suicide.
- Kay Redfield Jamison, Touched with Fire, pg. 141

pervasiveness of denial

"Human kind cannot bear very much reality."
- T.S. Eliot

hoped to be nearly crucified

"The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him."
- John Berryman [1914-1972]

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It turns out that “low-intensity” negative moods are linked to better writing than happy moods.
It isn’t surprising to discover that in order to improve, writers first have to become more unhappy. After all, lemons make great lemonade, and the literary canon is full of authors who are depressed.
Story here.

sleep in a box

Source: The Raw Feed


Dylan was now having blackouts at frequent intervals. On more than one occasion he had been warned by his doctor that he must go on a regime of complete abstinence from alcohol if he was to survive ... Dylan seemed exhausted, self-preoccupied, and morbidly depressed. He went out alone, and an hour and a half later returned to announce, "I've had eighteen straight whiskeys. I think that's the record."

He died shortly after at the age of 39 .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Crack-Up

In 1936, thirty-nine year old F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about his experiences with mental illness for Esquire here.
... I had been only a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even of my talent.
After a period of recuperation:
I shall manage to live with the new dispensation, though it has taken some months to be certain of the fact. And just as the laughing stoicism which has enabled the American Negro to endure the intolerable conditions of his existence has cost him his sense of the truth -- so in my case there is a price to pay. I do not any longer like the postman, nor the grocer, nor the editor, nor the cousin’s husband, and he in turn will come to dislike me, so that life will never be very pleasant again, and the sign Cave Canem is hung permanently just above my door. I will try to be a correct animal though, and if you throw me a bone with enough meat on it I may even lick your hand.
He died in 1940.

Friday, November 27, 2009

dreamer of dreams

"He would deal with three or four alternatives at the same time and endeavour to conjure up every possible eventuality—preferably the worst. This foresight, the fruit of meditation, generally enabled him to be ready for any setback, nothing ever took him by surprise … perhaps the most astonishing characteristic of his intellect was the combination of idealism and realism which enabled him to face the most exalted visions at the same time as the most insignificant realities. And, indeed, he was in a sense a visionary, a dreamer of dreams."
- This description of Napoleon is by Louis Madelin, his contemporary and biographer.

what Hemingway ate

Nobel Banquet Menu 1954. More here.


Play old Atari games online:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

100 Best Last Lines from Novels

24. Go, my book, and help destroy the world as it is. –Russell Banks, Continental Drift (1985)

49. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. –George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)

80. Everything had gone right with me since he had died, but how I wished there existed someone to whom I could say that I was sorry. –Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1956)

American Book Review's entire list here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


“Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done.”
- Linus Torvalds [born 1969]


Slingjaw Wrasse

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Honor Code

"Cadets will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."
- United States Military Academy at West Point motto

Image source here.


"We were paid anywhere from £75-£150 per night to perform, but we were smashing £250-£300 worth of equipment. Fortunately it all worked out."
- Roger Daltrey [born 1944] on the early days of The Who



Monday, November 23, 2009

Thorn Apple

'Flint Castle' by J. M. W. Turner, 1835 (watercolour)

"Eat a little, and go to sleep. Eat some more, and have a dream. Eat some more, and don't wake up."

natural body language

Dorothea Lange [1895-1965], Migrant Mother [1936]: "Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children."

selling luxury

"You only desire what you cannot get," says Jean-Claude Biver who is the saviour of several Swiss watchmakers. "People want exclusivity, so you must always keep the customer hungry and frustrated. At the best of times, he freely admits, it is hard to justify spending $100,000 on a watch. But the fact that they keep time well, he hopes, will continue to serve as the "little bit of rationality that lets you sell the irrational."

imploding empires

"Be good. Do good."

“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.”
- Swami Sivananda [1887-1963]

Sunday, November 22, 2009


"He was more furniture than man."
- Cambridge professor Adam Nicolson on King James I


"He who knows not how to dissemble knows not how to rule."
- Roman historian Tacitus [c. 56-117]

Saturday, November 21, 2009


"The United States and Russia have 90% of the world's nuclear weapons, which are capable of wiping-out the earth multiple times."
- Ted Turner, who is America's single biggest individual landowner.

dirty spivs

"The coming year will be a vintage one for the cowboy, who will be quick to spot new loopholes and make a killing from them. It will feel a bit like the 1970s, when endless recession and aftermath of the secondary banking crisis in Britain made it a high time for spivs and villains. In 2010 there will be a new cast of infamous billionaires―and they won't be MBAs bloated with theories. They will be the barrow boys quick on their feet and lacking any scruples. Their grubby success will make business look dirtier still."
- The Economist, The World in 2010: Beyond the Economic Crisis, pg. 31

Friday, November 20, 2009

a way to stay in France

50% cheaper than hotels. Gîte accommodation here.