October 31, 2004

Suiting up for a ride in the park!

Suiting up for a ride in the park!

Anna and I went for a sun-shiney ride in Golden Gate Park: her first ride in several years; I was breaking in a new saddle on a new bicycle ('05 Bianchi Pista). All 'round, a spectacular morning. Traffic was extra light because of Daylight Savings Time.

Posted by salim at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2004

More trouble than it's worth

My shoes have worn through -- my feet poke through the sole, the heel has splintered -- and I thought, aha, perfect! I'll simply order a replacement pair over the internet. That was a month ago. Dozen of shoe specialty shops later, and no go: if I'm fortunate enough to find a merchant which carries the Adidas Samba or Samba Milennium, they certainly do not have a size 46 2/3 / US 12. I tried ordering from my local shoe shop, Harput's (Motto: "We Love Adidas!"), but they don't love their customers. No-one returned my calls; I went to the shop, and placed a special order. No call, two weeks later. Finally, I found Sunset Soccer, who stock the shoe I want in the size I need, speak politely, and even gave me a 10% discount. Sunset Soccer rocks. Phooey to Harput's.

Posted by salim at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

Life during blackouts

Life during blackouts

A California Court has found PG&E at fault for last December's massive blackout.
The yellow bands on the first floor are jimg's yellow plastic; I don't think there was any ambient light except the odd passing car.

from the Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO - A power outage that darkened busy stores near the peak of last year's holiday shopping season could have been avoided if Pacific Gas and Electric had taken preventive steps previously recommended by its own investigators, according to a regulatory report.

The California Public Utilities Commission report released Thursday covered a Dec. 20, 2003 blackout that cut power across a large section of San Francisco beginning in the early evening and continuing into the next night for some customers. The blackout affected about 100,000 customers, including downtown holiday stores bustling with shoppers on the final weekend before Christmas.

A cable failure in a power substation triggered a fire that caused the blackout, but the report concluded the lights probably would have stayed on if PG&E had followed up on the lessons learned from a similar 1996 incident.

PG&E's internal investigation into the 1996 episode produced a list of recommendations that included the installation of a smoke detection system.

But the equipment was never installed - a factor that may have contributed to PG&E's slow response to the fire last December. The utility didn't call local firefighters until two hours after the fire started, said Richard Clark, director of the PUC's consumer protection and safety division.

"We believe the fire and the outage were entirely avoidable," Clark told the PUC's board Thursday. "I find it quite troubling that PG&E didn't implement its own recommendations from its own investigation" into the 1996 fire.

Thursday's report paves the way for the PUC to open proceedings to consider whether PG&E should be fined for last December's blackout. PG&E has already paid $2.3 million in claims to customers who suffered losses during the power outage, PG&E spokesman John Nelson said.

PG&E already had reached conclusions similar to the PUC's findings in a company report released three months ago that coincided with a "heartfelt" apology from the San Francisco-based company.

The utility is making the recommended improvements to guard against future blackouts in San Francisco and other power substations, Nelson said.

Posted by salim at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Scott and Page

Scott and Page

Posted by salim at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004

flickr del sol

1001 is an OSX client for flickr ... but it crashes, which uploadr, flickr's own tool, doesn't. I really like that flickr put the OSX tool at the top of the page.

Posted by salim at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Jacked up? No more!

Jacked up? No more!

Jacked up? No more!

Posted by salim at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)

Sanchez, Steiner, and Duboce

originally uploaded by sprout.virji.

Posted by salim at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2004

After a 28-Year Hiatus, Miss (er, Ms.) Subways Is Back

The New York Times ran a poignant piece about Ms Subway (née Miss Subway). The currently reigning regent staged a performance-art brunch on a southbound A train; lord knows, you have to wait ages for either of them (the brunch and the A, that is).
Happy Hundredth to the MTA!

I found an MTA token (RIP) in my bag today.

After a 28-Year Hiatus, Miss (er, Ms.) Subways Is Back

lot was happening aboveground in May 1941 when the first winner of the Miss Subways contest smiled down on straphangers: Churchill evacuated British troops from Crete; Joe Louis and Buddy Baer were headed for a boxing rematch; and Fanny Brice joked on radio station WEAF's variety hour.

Since then, about 200 photogenic women have held the title of Miss Subways (including identical twins who reigned simultaneously, and at least one crack shot at the F.B.I.). But the contest wilted in 1976 under the heat of feminism. Yesterday, a new Miss Subways was crowned, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the subway system tomorrow. For the record, in a nod to its feminist adversaries, the name is now Ms. Subways.

Unlike her predecessors, who reigned monthly, Ms. Subways will preside for a year. Hundreds of women applied this summer. More than 40,000 votes were cast online or by mail for the finalists. The winner gets a year's free transportation on buses and subways; a 2004 crown and sash; and home delivery of The New York Post (a sponsor).

The winner is Caroline Sanchez-Bernat, 29, of Morningside Heights, an actress who a few years ago performed a piece of guerrilla theater on a subway train. (More about that later.)

For the contest, Ms. Sanchez-Bernat wrote an essay about why she is proud to be a New Yorker. Balancing a plastic tiara precariously on her head yesterday, she said her essay was about how "New York is a template for a lot of other cities, a place where different cultures and ethnicities live together relatively harmoniously."

Ms. Sanchez-Bernat is eager for the limelight, unlike two more reluctant finalists and a third who showed up nearly an hour late.

That finalist, Karen Allison Bobb, 33, of Brooklyn, a personal assistant, said that she had gotten up early for the 11 a.m. crowning ceremony but that "it's a trek to get to the L train from my house in Canarsie."

Another finalist, Elaine Chan, 23, of Manhattan, is a second-year medical student at SUNY Downstate Medical School in Brooklyn. Ms. Chan said she was very happy for Ms. Sanchez-Bernat because she seemed more poised in public than Ms. Chan would have been.

"I'm assuming there would have been a lot of ribbon cutting," Ms. Chan said, with a slight grimace.

The remaining finalist, Kerry Kent Smith, 27, of Manhattan, is an account executive for a financial-software company, Intralinks. Her mother, Eileen, was a Miss Subways in 1967. The younger woman has enjoyed being photographed with her look-alike blond mother, who urged her to enter the contest.

Is Ms. Smith disappointed that she did not win? "Well," she said, "I'm in corporate America (pause) and, uh (pause) it's been enough exposure, let's put it that way."

The Ms. Subways winner was announced at Ellen's Stardust Diner, at Broadway and 51st Street. It is owned by a former Miss Subways, Ellen Hart Sturm (1959), who has helped keep the memory of the contest alive with reunions. Yesterday's event was attended by 18 former Miss Subways.

The oldest was Dorothea Mate, 84, a 1942 Miss Subways. Mrs. Mate said her brother, who was in advertising, got her an interview with the agency that picked the winners. "In those days," she said, leaning over conspiratorially, "you had to know somebody."

She never sat underneath her poster in the subway cars, but her father-in-law did. He proudly buttonholed other passengers about his daughter. But she was shy, Mrs. Mate said, because she was "chubby."

A diet company spotted her and paid her to use its diet. Mrs. Mate lost 25 pounds and won a modeling contract. "How about that," she said.

Over the years, the winners of the Miss Subways contest were far more diverse than winners of other contests of the period, like Miss America.

Long before 1984, when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America, there were Latina, Asian and black Miss Subways.

And then there were others who didn't fit into any neat category. Eleanor Nash, a Miss Subways in 1960, was described in her poster as "young, beautiful and expert with a rifle." An F.B.I. clerk, she was a member of a bureau pistol club who "consistently scores in the 90's."

The Keeler twins were winners in 1958. They were described as "identical as two cigarettes in a pack" but could be distinguished because "Mary smokes, Kathryn doesn't."

And now about that guerrilla theater.

In December 2000, Ms. Sanchez-Bernat, this year's winner, and a group of fellow actors boarded a southbound A train for a performance of "Sunday Brunch 4."

It was a 35-minute piece of performance art re-enacting a Sunday brunch. Riders were perplexed, The New York Times reported.

The dialogue was improvised, Ms. Sanchez-Bernat said at the time. "We were excited, but we were also, 'What are we getting into?' "

Yesterday, as she was surrounded by television cameras and news photographers, Ms. Sanchez-Bernat seemed to know exactly what she was getting into.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Posted by salim at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Scruitinize every word

Greg, as excited and mysterious as I've ever seen him, showed me Eminem's new video yesterday.
Download the video or get the torrent.

Posted by salim at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2004

Drink the long draught down

Offsite: John Peel
BBC1 dj John Peel died.
Posted by salim at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

Who has the best housecoat?

Read This Paragraph

At my local Barnes and Noble, there is a huge wall of Java books just waiting to tip over and crush me one day. And one day it will. At the rate things are going, one day that bookcase will be tall enough to crush us all. It might even loop the world several times, crushing previous editions of the same Java books over and over again.

And This Paragraph Too

This is just a small Ruby book. It won’t crush you. It’s light as a feather (because I haven’t finished it yet—hehe). And there’s a reason this book will stay light: because Ruby is simple to learn.

But Don't Read This One!

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby is released under the Attribution-ShareAlike License. So, yes, please distribute it and print it and read it leisurely in your housecoat. In fact, there will be a contest at the end of the book for Best Housecoat. It’s a coveted award and you should feel honored to even read about it! (Especially if you are reading about it in your soon-to-be-prize-winning housecoat.)

I really like the straight-forward nature of ruby, and contributions like Why'sadd to this enjoyment.

Posted by salim at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

Photographing your city block

Heard a talk by Marc Levoy et al. from Stanford today, presenting their CityBlock project.

Some other sites which present panoramic city views: Cambridge Live; and Seamless City, in which the photographs are manually stitched together.

Posted by salim at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Selling secondhand tobacco?

Phillip Torrone posted about Jeffrey Early's gpsphotolinker, which uses a GPX file to stitch lat/lon information into your photograph's EXIF data.
This is exactly what I wanted. Well, ideally I'd have the GPS embedded in the camera. Soon.

Posted by salim at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2004

in all ways remarkable

Began reading a comprehensive edition of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.

Offsite: Twain Quotations

This particular edition, a nice hardcover example of which I found while tidying my room, contains facsimile pages from recently-discovered textual addenda. Although the manuscript reproductions are perhaps most satisfying to a more scholarly attitude than mine own, the included period illustrations accompany the text beautifully.

Posted by salim at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

Some reading material

A bevy of articles (all PDF) about public transportation.

Posted by salim at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2004

He ... is ... nuts!

Three fixed-gear riders completed this year's Furnace Creek 508 race.

Posted by salim at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

Density calculator

Isn't dense house expensive?

And there are 22 candidates running for Supervisor in District 5 alone. Now that's density. No pun intended.

Posted by salim at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

In which we do not ask for his life story

For more than a decade, I have had a curious poem by John Updike hanging in my apartment (through three Chicago apartments, one in Pittsburgh, and two in San Francisco): "Sunday in Boston". Here, then, is "Sunday in San Francisco":

The dykes on bikes
-- the lemon-lime fixed-gear, a real track bike --
and the upperclass with their derailleurs and yoga mats
The aspiring hippies with patchouli drenched on their clothes
and the vapours of medicinal magic all around

The fags and their gay dogs
purposely walking down to the Park

and I smile a beery hello
from the stoop, the real catbird seat

Posted by salim at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2004

An indictment of the people and the President

Bumped into Adam yesterday, who loaned me a copy of Sleepwalking Through History. I read with some alarm the first two chapters, on Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and titled "The Loser" and "The Winner" respectively. As Carter spent a sleepless final week in office, negotiating the terms of release for the Iranian hostages, Reagan showed little inclination to do other than sleep and party his way to Inauguration.

I blame the subway:

Appearing on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" after the [arms procurement] scandal began, Arkansas Senator David Pryor described it this way: "A few yards from here is Connecticut Avenue, and we all see the beautiful hotels and office buildings and grand shops, but underneath there's a subway system that is running day and night where people are getting on and they're getting off.... Some of the poeple that are getting off that subway ... have either been with the Department of Defense or with a private consulting firm. They go to a contractor. They're in the Pentagon private consulting firms or their own contractors, and they're all sloshing around in the subway system with all of this money and we're in trouble because of it."
Posted by salim at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004

Dancing in the street(car)s!

Kim Epifano's Epiphany Dance company are using MUNI F-Market cars as the setting for their new presentation, Trolley Dances:

All aboard for two electrifying days of modern dance in the streets of San Francisco! Travel along Muni's historic F-line trolley route to see four original dance performances in unexpected places.

Guided performance 'journeys' leave from the San Francisco Public Library every 45 minutes starting at 12:15 p.m. and take 2 hours to complete. Performances are free with a valid Fast Pass or one-time fare of $1.25.

The flyer (pictured on the website) has a stunning photograph of dancers at a Market St. platform.

A few years ago, while riding the F line from 2nd Ave/LES to York St, some enterprising actors took advantage of line construction (and the weekend closure of East Broadway, in addition to Delancy Street) to perform two short plays in the subway.

Posted by salim at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

Like a day in Vancouver

Today broke clear and bright.
Autumnal trees in San Francisco.

Posted by salim at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004


Offsite: iDebate
Posted by salim at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

She loved to argue.

Margaret Sloan-Hunter died last week. I met her on the 71 Haight bus, when she boarded at the Fillmore St. stop and began chatting with me.

Posted by salim at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

The LA literary conspirarcy

As I was being bodily removed from Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore, I picked up a copy of David Fine's Imagining Los Angeles, a literary tour of L.A.. I'm only a couple of chapters into it, but the writing suffers from being overly derivative, especially of Mike Davis' excellent surveys of post-modern representation of the city, and suffers from poor editing.
I also received a sizeable volume of literary L.A., Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which holds a lot of promise. It's in the same series as the volume on Baseball edited by Nicholas Dawidoff.

Posted by salim at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

An argument carried out by other means

Saw Walter Salles' romantic adaptation of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's early diary (the Motorcycle Diaries). Che and a friend rode a dilapidated beast of a Norton around South America, tramping, working, and learning about leprosy. The 1952 journey was one which Guevara undertook expecting it to change his outlook on life, and it did: it opened his eyes to the plight of the proletariat, and he decided that the mass of them live lives of quiet desperation. Of futility.
The adaptation doesn't hide much, but certainly glosses incidents (Che doesn't eat empanadas in his memoir, although in the film two pretty Chilean girls treat him and his hungry traveling companion to a dozen of the savouries. They also give him the nick-name "Che", an apparently common term in Chile for Argentinians; et cetera).
The film shows South America harshly: a continent of hard-working people beaten down by Spanish imperialism and subsequent brutal colonialism. Rather than dwelling on past injustice, the diary and the movie focus on vignettes: an old waitress dying of asthma; day-labourers looking for work in the mines; a festive evening party in Chile. The cinematography is beautiful, and Che's bosom-friend Alberto Granada dances beautifully.

Posted by salim at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2004

Numismatic feminism

Offsite: CNN imagevsOffsite: Silver Eagle Coins
I stopped in at the bank to pick up some of the new fifties th' other day. The sprightly young branch manager directed me to a window, where a grandmotherly woman addressed me: "Slide the card, dearie," and, when she learned my stats from the computer, she called me by my first name. I asked for a couple of the new bills, and she was excited: she unwrapped a package, and began doling them out. I then pressed my luck, and asked if she had any $2 bills. She wandered to each of the other tellers, asking if any had some Jeffersons. She returned, disappointed. "But I'm sure they'll be glad if you give them dollar coins," she suggested. "How old are the children?" And then we decided that I'd give the kids (which kids? She was assuming some bouncing nieces and nephews, no doubt) some Sacagaweas and a few Susan B.s. " ... though the Anthony dollar is not widely used, many operations such as mass transit systems and vendors currently use it." She and I chatted some more, and she asked me why I didn't keep more money in short-term CDs. "It's liquid, but it earns interest!" she told me energetically. I wished her a good day while the bank manager glared -- during our exchange, the queue for the tellers had grown four-deep.

My next-door neighbour (also grandmotherly) gave me a dollar coin when I met her, in 1979. Why are the only two pieces of U.S. currency to feature a woman relegated to short production runs and a usefulness only in mass-transit vending machines? I suggest we put Harriet Tubman on the quarter-dollar. Washington's played.

Posted by salim at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Everybody stop moving.

What's going on at LAX? I'm heading out of the United terminal, and first TSA personnel and now LAPD are combing through the area. We've been asked to stop moving and stand where we are, but I fancy sitting.

Posted by salim at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004


Jacques Derrida died last week.

Guy Billout on Jacques Derrida

Punk is whatever we want it to be

Posted by salim at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)


Bollocks to the network media, the three-finger salute to your dot-com, and a big ol' Bronx Cheer to the newsweeklies: this is how you get the information (and the exercise).

Listening to the beautiful purple-box Galaxie 500 anthology. Little did I know that the label that issues Zappa's back-catalogue (you can buy 65 albums for ten benjamins) would someday put out a suitably understated and beautiful box set for this lovely band.

Posted by salim at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2004

Good morning, captain

From Aram comes word:

All Tomorrow's Parties are very proud to announce that legendary Louisville, KY musical pioneers Slint will surprise and delight fans by reuniting to perform at and curate the first weekend of All Tomorrow's Parties of 2005, on February 25th, 26th and 27th at Camber Sands Holiday Centre, East Sussex, UK.

Core Slint members Brian McMahan, David Pajo and Britt Walford will be selecting an eclectic line-up for the weekend and will themselves be playing music from their albums "Tweez" and "Spiderland" as well as the posthumous untitled ten-inch single. Soon after the 1991 release of the acclaimed "Spiderland," Slint disbanded but their remarkable music went on to inspire and influence an ever-widening legion of fans. Now, for the first time since their separation, Slint returns for this very special edition of All Tomorrow's Parties.

Although I abide by the sticker on the back of the Spiderland disc and only listen to the vinyl copy of the album, I was able to find a shared copy of tweez, and thereby proceed to irritate the bejeezus out of my cube-mate.

Posted by salim at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

How to be a millionaire

Did the bike-and-train thing today, with Mr Bolsinga.
I don't have any kids to put through college, nor do I have to put a down payment on a house, so what should I spend my money on?

Posted by salim at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

These are two of my favourite things!

Picture of the Golden Gate Bike
Posted by salim at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2004

The Secret Lives of Words

This cloth covered the backs of chairs from the nineteenth century on to protect them from greasy hair, unwashed or pomaded or both. The oil was Macassar, a proprietary brand made by Rowland and Son, supposedly from ingredients found in Makassar, part of the island Sulawesi, once Celebes, in Indonesia. Some folk still have antimacassars in their possession, but the need seems not to have survived World War One, not that men began using less oily hair creams, although there was a distinct shift in men's pomade from the brilliantines of yesteryear to less perfumed lotions such as Brylcreem, easily squeezed from a tube and stably perched on the palm. Brylcreem left the hair feeling tight and rigid, with no need of antimacassar behind the recliner's head. Another name for Makassar was Mangkasra, hardly commerically concise.

From the Secret Lives of Words, a hit-or-miss endeavour by Paul West.

I recollect that in Flight 714, the millionaire Laszlo Carreidas is kidnapped while flying his new aeroplane over Sulawesi; the last radio contact is with Macassar tower.

Posted by salim at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)


Moonset in Catalan. The original site has a cheery FAQ:

Q13. What if I used to be a millionaire but then I believed something I read on APOD and now own only a single dented bucket?

The authors also post irrational.

Posted by salim at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

Collect them all!

The Zoomorphs web site is now in full Flash effect!

Posted by salim at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

I'm a Marxist and I read.

Today I learned the word "rivalrous", which means "emulous", or "eager to surpass others". Resources that cannot be shared are rivalrous.
I also picked up three long-time favourite classics of economics: The Marx-Engels Reader; de Tocqueville's Democracy in America; and Mr Adam Smith's "truck, barter, and trade" (the po-mo title of "On The Wealth of Nations").

Offsite: Groucho Marx

Outside of a dog, a man's best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Posted by salim at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2004

Two scoops!

Offsite: SFGate

The San Francisco Chronicle lamely picked up a story featured in yesterday's Examiner. It's a good 'un, though. The original story, from the Examiner:

Reached at her Miami studio Wednesday by The Associated Press, Maria Alquilar said she was willing to fix the brightly colored 16-foot-wide circular work, but offered no apologizes for the 11 misspellings among the 175 names.

"The importance of this work is that it is supposed to unite people," Alquilar said. "They are denigrating my work and the purpose of this work."

but then, the follow-up in the Chronicle:

The artist who misspelled the names of famous people in world history on a large ceramic mosaic outside Livermore's new library can spell one word with ease: N-O.

That's Maria Alquilar's new position on fixing the typos.

She had planned to fly to California and put the missing "n" back in Einstein and remove the extra "a" in Michelangelo, among other fixes. But after receiving a barrage of what she called "vile hate mail," Alquilar said Livermore is off her travel itinerary and there'll be no changes by her artistic hand.

Silver lining: perhaps she was giving a shout out to San Francisco's postmaster, Charles H. Gough.

Posted by salim at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

Carta blanca

Online maps keep getting more and more interesting. Multimap have a not-so-humble motto: "Online maps to everywhere". And the overlays they produce are very pretty. The MIT service has nice lowsrc quips about the application. Ha! Geeky fun.

Posted by salim at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2004

The call of the wrecking ball

In a half-hearted attempt to save San Francisco's disappearing single-screen theatres, the Board of Supervisors approved a temporary, 45-day reprieve for the demolition of independent movie houses.

Posted by salim at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

I started something

Picked up a copy of "The Sound of Settling", b/w a listless cover of The Smiths' "This Charming Man". Which only made me dig out a copy of Hatful of Hollow to hear the original.

Posted by salim at 02:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

The fight in the dog

Today, the Nobel Prize in Physics went to three American scientists, one of whom commented on education: "Dr. Wilczek used the Nobel occasion to put in a plug for reviving the commitment to excellence in American schools. "I want to thank the U.S.," he said, "for supplying the system of public education that did so well by me."

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

I'm not mad at Dwight D Eisenhower any longer. I found that quotation -- his, apparently -- at the Cost of War site, which features dismal accounting for the current US military involvement: "we could have hired 275,837 additional public school teachers in California for one year."

Posted by salim at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

See me got photo photo

After about 30,000 shutter clicks, my trusty camerastarted to register errors. So I got a new one. And here, of course, is the inaugural photograph:


I was a little upset about the old camera bugging because I saw a beautiful chopper outside the Toronado: a bicycle in the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Nico finds the words. And a picture is worth a thousand words.

Posted by salim at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

The sincerest form of flattery

Janet Leigh died this past Sunday, which also saw the "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge" episode of The Simpsons reappear in syndication. Janet Leigh appears in three of my favourite films: Touch of Evil; Psycho; and The Manchurian Candidate. Of her chilling rôle in Psycho, she remembered Hitchock saying, "Whatever I put you in, the audience would immediately think of 'Psycho.' It wouldn't be fair to the picture or the character." That scene has been parodied almost as often as Grant Wood's American Gothic. And the Simpsons episode has a go at the famous shower scene from Psycho.

Posted by salim at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

(all the barbers were anarchists)

Began reading George Orwell's stirring Homage to Catalonia, while listening to Modest Mouse.
I first heard this band while sitting at the Albion (now the Delirium) with Mark Athitakis on a mid-day bender some years ago. I can't remember why Mark was excited to find them on the juke-box, but I do remember (and have repeatedly proven) that they make great drinking music.

Posted by salim at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2004

Yeah, I'm the real one

Through its online store, Apple are offering free downloads of the recent Presidential debate. Now I can mutter about it while looking cool and disaffected.

Posted by salim at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

L'art du zoömorph

Wayne is appearing on national television to promote his new toys.
These toys started when Wayne hung mobiles down at Bar Reis, a once-dank wine bar in Park Slope. The mobiles caught the eye of an entrepreneur, who marshalled Wayne's phenomenal sculpting and painting skills. Some years later, through the travails of fund-raising, suffering through the demise of several large toy-shops, the models went off to the Far East to be cast. Now the first shipment of toys has arrived on a container ship from China, and Wayne & Co. are on tv!

Posted by salim at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

Tell me, where all past years are

Anna was sweet to pick up a book for me from the Children's section of the San Francisco Public Library. The book: "Archer's Goon", a masterful work by British novelist Diana Wynne Jones, whose books I've loved since reading "Howl's Moving Castle," with its conceit from a Donne poem, and its milliner's-daughter heroine.
"Archer's Goon" is a subtle masterpiece, with sewage, finance, education, and words as public resources, each "farmed" by a shadowy sibling of the family in charge of the town.

Posted by salim at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

Último tren i miel

After reading the story of how Apropa't, the Savath and Savalas album from Scott Herren and Eva Puyuelo Muns, I like the soft, wistful album's concertinas and petulant vocals even more. I dug out some older releases -- the beautifully-titled Folk Songs for Trains Trees and Honey and a Prefuse73 10". And get your damn Putney out of my mix.
On a slightly-related note: I bought Pere Ubu's "The Tenement Year" and Crowded House's "Temple of Low Men" both because of the intriguing write-ups in a then-hip Rolling Stone magazine. Now I read The Big Takeover.

Posted by salim at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)