Monday, September 30, 2013

Famous Horror Movie Locations on Google Street View

"Not all movies are shot in studios or on sound stages. In fact, many of the most famous horror movies were filmed in real-world locations that you can still drive by and visit today. And if you can drive by them, so can Google. Here are some recognizable horror movie locations captured on Google Street View and Google Maps."

Dear Jesus. I will see you soon. Your friend, America. PS. I hope you will still have some vacancies by the end of the week.
Safety Alert from the Local Merchants' Association

A masterpiece of WTF.  Not "driving while black," but definitely close, laden with extraneous (but sharply-observed) detail:

"We had a man come in similar to the one who shoplifed from the hat store a month back.

He was wearing black baggy pants, a black sports jersey over his shirt.  He had gold square earrings, glasses and a red hat with a bull on it (not a redbull drink hat).  He had two small star tattoos on the corner of his eyes and writing under his eyes.

He sat [sic] some wine and a large gift bag with what my coworker believed to be 'Echo' branded items.  They didn't look like they should be in a bag like that.

He didn't take anything, just was acting a little odd."
Friday, September 27, 2013

The Art of David Byrd, by Rebecca Brown

"Over the long and longer years he started to love the human beings with whom he worked.
The people who surrounded him had wounds. They’d been in war (the World War, Korea, Vietnam) and been rendered twitchy, mad or mute or paralytic. They were deficient, broken, wrong, rejected as an orphan from the 'normal' social/familial units of the world."

Thursday, September 26, 2013
The End of Quiet Music

"[A]fter a year spent slumped at my computer — a year during which I wrote no new music — I decided it would be my last in the industry.

What I missed most about having a label wasn’t the monetary investment, but the right to be quiet, the insulation provided from incessant self-promotion. I was a singer, not a saleswoman. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

I am not so vain to think the music world will be any worse for my absence, or that my failure had nothing to do with the quality of my music, which is dark and sad and weird. But I’m not the only casualty of the new regime. And the rising body count will include artists with far more resonance than me.

My indie wasn’t run by Benz-driving executives but rather passionate music lovers who invested in art that moved them. This tier of the industry was pretty much knocked out by music piracy. Kickstarter, many seem to think, is its logical replacement. Now musicians can raise money to make an album from their fans (if the old model already made them famous) or from their friends and family (if not). What’s less discussed is how this mechanism naturally winnows out the artists who lack the ability, confidence or desire to publicly solicit donations."

I'm probably 99% more entrepreneurial than the rest of the planet, but would never suggest that my weird 70-to-80-hour work week is an appropriate, rewarding or useful one for anybody else.  This article makes a number of well-argued points about loud creators browbeating their way to the top of the heap, and explains, in passing, why I have very little time for most first-time "authors" arriving on a cold sales call with a backpack or briefcase full of self-published writing.

(For the record, PFB does carry some self-published books, but our rejection rate runs about 3 accepted and 97 declined for every 100 new titles brought to our attention).

Donald Fagen's Criterion Collection Top 10

"8.  The Third Man. Carol Reed. I’ve seen this picture a zillion times but always find something new to wonder about. Graham Greene, Carol Reed, Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Nazis, gangsters, Hitchcockian surrealism, innovative cinematography, a moody babe, Vienna, a zither for ear candy: it’s all here."
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A specifically designed room for sensory integration therapy, also called snoezelen; an emotion-oriented psychosocial intervention for people with dementia.

The Sculptures of David Franklin Marshall

"Marshall’s work, having been popular and well received within Vancouver and beyond in the 1950s and ’60s, appears to have become less fashionable in the 1970s. This shift seems to illustrate a change in tastes in Vancouver at this time, from modernism, the style in which Marshall worked, to conceptualism, wherein the idea beyond the work of art takes precedence over the aesthetic qualities of the art [sic]. Marshall’s vein of modernism was semi-abstract, engaging viewers in considering the subject while also demanding their admiration for the surface beauty of the work.While Marshall continued to work in this modernist style, the tastes of the Vancouver art world and its collectors turned to different styles and new local and international artists. Certainly, one of these new groups was the so-called Vancouver School, a group of Conceptual artists whose work often used the tension between the city’s natural beauty and its grittier urban landscape.

It was not just Marshall’s style that detracted from his commercial and academic success. He was consistently hesitant to work with for-profit galleries and promote his own work. At gallery openings, Marshall would happily chat to friends rather than the collectors and influencers who could have significantly benefited his career."

"A kind of electricity skating on the damp surfaces of his eyes."  (Stephen King, Dr. Sleep)
Court judgments, the narrative gift that keeps on giving:

"Mr. Morrison had decorated the room to some extent. The police found three photographs of the accused pinned or affixed to the wall. There was a rock band silkscreen flag belonging to him which was displayed in the room, as well as an ornamental human skull belonging to a friend of his."
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Things I've Looked Up in Bleeding Edge (So Far)

Kugelblitz (also nb. the Heechee hideaway in Pohl's Gateway series)

Benford's Law



Krav maga


Montauk Project


Markov chain

Filter Factory language [sic]


Altman-Z score


It's heartbreaking note day @ PFB.



-afraid of bills

(MY - $60.  Locker $90  cable - $70

-afraid of not making rent for the month

-intensive afraid of having no back up funds for emergencies

-frustrated with having no direction

-afraid of what I have lost

-initially out

-plan to sell all AMs and other stuff

if have it then be happy

-have bath

get vodka

-load car"
Saddest note I've ever found in a book. On a small white notecard taped into a European ex-library edition of Bourdain's A Cook's Tour.  Handwritten. Clunky joined-up blue ballpoint lettering:

"I bought this book when, in Berlin, you said to me that you want a perfect girl, and that I wasn't.  And then you told me you love to eat and live to travel."
Friday, September 20, 2013

David Marshall's studio and garden photographed by Jeff Wall, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Laurent Quenioux's "Anything That Moves" dinner

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"[W]e were on the original route most of the way, Kruk and I were off route for most of the headwall on our attempt, we never found their headwall bivi from the first ascent, maybe it fell off, we found one piton about halfway up the headwall."

(via Dru; my emphasis)
Friday, September 13, 2013
"Two benefits of 'omnivorous eclecticism': (i) You cross-train in a variety of forms; (ii) you don't reject any good ideas that come to you because they're outside the formal boundaries of your purist genre."
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Kim Stanley Robinson, one of my favorite living SF writers, is reading tomorrow night in PFB Main Street's front room from 630-9pm.  If you're around, please feel free to join me, brother Dru, the homeless guy who inevitably wanders into every reading, and what will hopefully be a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, of eager listeners.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Doctor Sleep

"He thought, The only one who can put on the brakes is you.

This thought had come to him many times before, but now it was followed by a new one. You don't have to live this way if you don't want to. You can, of course … but you don't have to.

That voice was so strange, so unlike any of his usual mental dialogues, that he thought at first he must be picking it up from someone else — he could do that, but he rarely got uninvited transmissions anymore. He had learned to shut them off. Nevertheless he looked up the aisle, almost positive he would see someone looking back at him. No one was. Everyone was sleeping, talking with their seatmates, or staring out at the gray New England day.

You don't have to live this way if you don't want to.

If only that were true. Nevertheless, he tightened the cap on the bottle and put it on the seat beside him. Twice he picked it up. The first time he put it down. The second time he reached into the bag and unscrewed the cap again, but as he did, the bus pulled into the New Hampshire welcome area just across the state line. Dan filed into the Burger King with the rest of the passengers, pausing only long enough to toss the paper bag into one of the trash containers. Stenciled on the side of the tall green can were the words IF YOU NO LONGER NEED IT, LEAVE IT HERE."

Investigative journalism, that endangered breed, still showing up to work, still doing its job:

"In an interview earlier this year, Nicole Eason - the woman who disappeared with [the girl] - referred to private re-homing as 'non-legalized adoption.'

"The meaning of non-legalized is, 'Hey, can I have your baby?' Eason said.

She discussed why she was so motivated to be a mother. 'It makes me feel important,' she said. And she described her parenting style this way: 'Dude, just be a little mean, OK? … I'll threaten to throw a knife at your ass, I will. I'll chase you with a hose.

I won't leave burns on you. I won't leave marks on you. I'm not going to send you with bruises to school,' she said. 'Make sure you got three meals a day, make sure you have a place to live, OK? If you need medication for your psychological problems, I've got you there. You need therapy? You need a hug? You need a kiss? Somebody to tickle with you? I got you. OK? But this world is not meant to be perfect. And I just don't understand why people think it is.'"

(The spectres of Gillian Flynn, Denis Johnson, and David Simon, those angry social realists, hovering above this article's furious controlled tone in the best possible way) 
Sunday, September 08, 2013
So naturally enough, inquiring minds want to know what Rose T. Cat would do with the production facilities & resources of a world-class contemporary art studio at her disposal.  Take it away, Rose:


That said, my guess is that Rose might actually make something like this.
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Jean Clay anticipates me:

"We are no longer in a vein of reverent quotation, but of tapping and recycling.  Manet skims from anywhere -- he reverses, assembles, tinkers.  In this wholly prosaic rapport with tradition, the history of art -- its institutions and rules -- is denied the silent authority that it had exercised on every young painter since his first stroke of the brush."

(Jean Clay, "Ointments, Makeup, Pollen," October 27, 1984).

Two takeaways, as the kids say:

1.  Local Frieze reviewers apparently don't read October.

2.  Resemblance is a stumbling block for critics.  If artwork A resembles artwork B, the typical suspicion is that A must be "reverently quoting" B, and, therefore, in the thrall of pernicious influence (qv. Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence).  Even B's creator might be confused.  But resemblance is best considered "ostensible resemblance."  Ostensible because intrinsically different (made at different times, in different places, with different materials, for different reasons). (Borges' Pierre Meynard wants to close these gaps; comedy ensues).  Critics who identify iconographic resemblance have to work harder to prove conceptual resemblance.  Most of the time they can't.

Q:  What if you could have gotten [professional printer X] to print your tree?

A:  I wouldn't have.  I'm not engaged in making copies.

Q:  Or snuck on set?

A:  I'm a peer, not an employee.

Q:  Or seized control of the whole studio production process?

A:  Rose T. Cat would have, sure.  In a heartbeat.  But she's not making my pictures.
"intricate / imperfect various things..."  (e.e. cummings)
Friday, September 06, 2013

One of -- no, make that the best -- bad book review I've read.

"'Don't let this put you off of men, God damnit,' Mike said, firmly. 'I didn't risk my fucking life to have you go lesbo. All men aren't these filth. And if you decide they are, you're spitting on what *I* did . Because the *good* guys want to get laid, too. Understand?'"
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Attacking Syria is a terrible idea.  Let's review some reasons why:

1.  "Limited" cruise missile strikes won't topple Assad & may actually improve his regime's standing with his anti-Western peers.

1a.  Cruise missile strikes guaranteed to cause collateral Syrian civilian deaths.

1aa.  Assad propaganda machine will promptly roll out evidence of civilian deaths, further inflaming anti-Western sentiment throughout the Middle East.

2.  Cruise missile strikes don't address ongoing influx of arms & equipment from Iran and Russia.  They only complicate importation.

2a.  No back-up strategy for when Hezbollah, etc. launches inevitable terrorist attack on American assets in response to cruise missile attacks.

3.  No credible Syrian opposition group ready to assume power if and when if Assad regime eventually topples.

Michael Weiss, writing in Foreign Affairs, labors mightily to rebut me.  He's best on #2, and worst on #3.  His is a well-written, well-argued, totally misguided attempt to involve the US in another adventure that has no clear exit strategy and will undoubtedly cost blood and treasure that the States can ill-afford, but here we go, here we go, here we go.
Why I Write, by Donald Fagen

"The smaller, more fragile kids would try to squeeze into the space between the bleachers and the wall, but Mr. Burdett would march over and yank them out, back into the open, to live in this world of pain. I guess he figured that when D-Day came around again, we’d be ready to hit the beaches.

I decided to describe a typical Bombardment session in a feature for the [high school] newspaper, only exaggerating for comic effect à la Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken. It was really a pretty dumb bit, as I remember. I transformed the two teams into mythic, Olympian armies and, at the end of the period, wounded heroes lay bleeding out on the gymnasium floor. Nevertheless, a number of parents were apparently appalled by my revelations and complained to the P.E. department.

The next day I was filing out of the cafeteria when Mr. Burdett collared me and, with a hurt look, said, 'Why, Don? Why?'"
Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Study for a picture
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Meanwhile, on another one of those "five topics of conversation," some lucky bugger:

"I have no photographic evidence of this but I just met and shook hands with Walter Becker at a store across the street from the theater in [Kansas City]. He refused a picture and autograph (no surprise), but he did shake my hand say hi and give me a smile. Fuckin awesome!"

My workday in a nutshell.
Monday, September 02, 2013
Waste My Time, Please

UNBLINKING WOMAN IN HER 40s WHO ACTUALLY TALKED LIKE THIS:  Hi!  I have another job -- that I work at all week! -- so I can only come in on weekends.  I'm going around town asking for advice and help with my dream of starting my own bookstore.  I mean, is this even possible?

CJB: Uh...

UWIH4WATLT:  I've been doing a lot of reading about how, now, independents are coming back after e-reading.  But, I'm going to need a lot of help!  I have a list of questions.

CJB:  Sorry, that's not really something I'm gonna be able to help you with right this second.  I'm at work.

UWIH4WATLT:  I mean, how would I even go about it?  Do you know of any mentors who could help me?

CJB:  I'm, uh, not really qualified to answer your questions.  I will say, though, if you don't like working sixty to eighty hour weeks, this probably isn't the job for you.

UWIH4WATLT [instantly frosty]:  Well.  I already work those hours, at my job.  So, I don't know what you're implying.

CJB: Uh...

UWIH4WATLT:  Are you the owner?

CJB:  Unfortunately yes.

UWIH4WATLT:  Well you haven't been helpful at all.  With an attitude like that, I have no idea how you succeed in business.

CJB:  Thanks for that. Hey, thanks for coming in.

[UWIH4WATLT flounces out]


CJB:  Yeah, I can't win.  In the old days I'd be a sarcastic dick.  Now I really try to rein myself in, and that doesn't work, either.

ERWGI:  You were really trying, man.

CJB:  Yeah.  There's this refrain -- when I was younger, and lived at home, and said or did something really stupid, my mom would always say -- and this is maybe not so PC -- What's the matter with you, CJB, are ya retarded?

ERWGI:  I hear you.  [Pause] She didn't.

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