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Being "always on" is being always off, to something.

Natalie Merchant | Leave Your Sleep
Topic: Arts 7:52 am EDT, May 18, 2010

Financial Times:

Natalie Merchant's seven-year sleep has blossomed into this double album of poems set to music that traverses the whole range of American vernacular, from Bluegrass to Cajun to miniature chamber music, and beyond.

See also Carla Bruni's No Promises, from 2008.

From the deep archive, circa 2003, long before OK Go:

Natalie Merchant has stepped off the pop treadmill.

Natalie Merchant | Leave Your Sleep


Chapter 3 of the Lady Dior saga : Lady Blue Shanghai
Topic: Arts 7:52 am EDT, May 18, 2010

David Lynch and Marion Cotillard in Shanghai a la Wong Kar Wai.

From the archive, Lynch:

Ideas are like fish. Originality is just the ideas you caught.

Louis Menand:

Ideas are not "out there" waiting to be discovered, but are tools -- like forks and knives and microchips -- that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves. Ideas are produced not by individuals, but by groups of individuals -- ideas are social.

Chapter 3 of the Lady Dior saga : Lady Blue Shanghai


How To Destroy Angels
Topic: Arts 7:52 am EDT, May 18, 2010

Trent Reznor:

Rebecca Brock:

She tells me she's ready. She may be small, she says, but she's mean. She outlines her plans for fending off terrorists. She says, "I kind of hope something happens, you know?"

She wears an American flag pin on the lapel of her blazer. She sits on the jump seat, waiting for her life to change.

How To Destroy Angels


The Johnny Cash Project
Topic: Arts 7:52 am EDT, May 18, 2010

Participants may draw their own portrait of Johnny Cash to be integrated into the collective whole.

As people all over the world contribute, the project will continue to evolve and grow, one frame at a time.

See also:

You and 472 other people have the chance to recreate Star Wars: A New Hope.

Always remember:

There are 260 million people in America, and you are one of them.

The Johnny Cash Project


A Suitcase Full Of Cash
Topic: Society 7:41 am EDT, May  6, 2010

danah boyd:

When you think about Facebook, the market has very specific incentives: Encourage people to be public, increase ad revenue. All sorts of other things will happen from there.

Bill Gurley:

Customers seem to really like free as a price point. I suspect they will love "less than free."

Josh Harris:

Everything is free, except the video that we capture of you. That we own.

boyd:

Big Data is made of people.

Decius:

Money for me, databases for you.

Michael Osinski:

Oyster farmers eat lots of oysters, don't they?

Denton Gentry:

We might recoil from this, but I suspect it is not something which can be stopped. The technology has reached the point where these things are feasible, and there is a huge economic incentive to do so. A concerted effort to stop it results in the technology being less visible, not absent.

Ellis:

All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it.

Libby Purves:

There is a thrill in switching off the mobile, taking the bus to somewhere without CCTV and paying cash for your tea. You and your innocence can spend an afternoon alone together, unseen by officialdom.

Erasing David:

David Bond lives in one of the most intrusive surveillance states in the world. He decides to find out how much private companies and the government know about him by putting himself under surveillance and attempting to disappear, a decision that changes his life forever. Leaving his pregnant wife and young child behind, he is tracked across the database state on a chilling journey that forces him to contemplate the meaning of privacy and the loss of it.

Cordelia Dean:

There are those who suggest humanity should collectively decide to turn away from some new technologies as inherently dangerous.

Marc Lacey:

In other words, there has to be a line people will not cross, even for a suitcase full of cash.


The Sound Of My Audience Getting Better
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:03 am EDT, Apr 21, 2010

Seth Godin:

Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.

Colin Marshall:

Who doesn't want to be more productive?

Merlin Mann:

People wanted nonsense. People wanted something to distract them for a little while.

It takes a lot of patience and it takes a lot of self-awareness to be open to the fact that you may become popular about something that you didn't want to become popular about. At a certain point, you don't get to pick that anymore.

I love when I post something on Twitter and a bunch of people unfollow me. It delights me, because that is the sound of my audience getting better.

Ira Glass:

Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap.

Alain de Botton:

We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to.

Decius:

Life is too short to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.

Caterina Fake:

Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on.

David Foster Wallace:

There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

Lauren Clark:

It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.


Fashion As A Metaphor
Topic: Arts 7:29 am EDT, Apr  7, 2010

Aditya Dev Sood:

The lights go brighter for a moment before dimming, the music starts thumping, a thrill ripples through us all, and four models appear on the far end of the catwalk. Your correspondent has never been so aware of the dramatic tension between camera, focal length, object and field. The contemporary, globalizing fashion show, of course, is a media practice, which requires the collaboration and participation of so many players to create this sense of the new, the now, the it, which one can either be with, or else clueless about.

All is expectation while the model is still walking towards you, but nothing prepares you for the odd way in which she walks right on past, going on vogue the cameras, which crackle like crickets in the darkness. Notwithstanding a couple of thousand years since the natyashastra defined abhinaya, the art of communicating emotion through facial expressions, the model is a blank slate and cipher. Perhaps it all makes sense, for the point is the clothes she is wearing, not the character she is playing. If her expression means anything at all it means I have something very important to tell you, but it's slung from my hips.

The lights come on, and just like that, we're done.

Noteworthy:

I have long held the view that when alien space explorers assess Earth (or any planet) to determine its relative level of civilization, they will study fashion.

David Luhnow:

Unlike their rough-hewn parents and uncles, today's young traffickers wear Armani suits, carry BlackBerrys and hit the gym for exercise.

Virginia Postrel:

Political figures as glamorous as Obama are rare. But glamorous policy proposals are not.

The pleasure and inspiration may be real, but glamour always contains an illusion. The image is not entirely false, but it is misleading.

Kenneth R. Harney:

Don't feel guilty about it. Don't think you're doing something morally wrong.

Michelle Gillmartin:

The world is full of things in need of embellishment.

Ezra Klein:

The implicit assumption of these arguments about strategy is that there is, somewhere out there, a workable strategy. That there is some way to navigate our political system such that you enact wise legislation solving pressing problems. But that's an increasingly uncertain assumption, I think.

Ellis:

All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it.

Fashion As A Metaphor


A Power to Persuade
Topic: Politics and Law 7:23 am EDT, Apr  7, 2010

Virginia Postrel:

In an era of tell-all memoirs, ubiquitous paparazzi, and reality-show exhibitionism, glamour may seem absent from Hollywood. But Barack Obama demonstrates that its magic still exists.

The pleasure and inspiration may be real, but glamour always contains an illusion. The image is not entirely false, but it is misleading.

Magnificence, like spectacle, produces awe; glamour, by contrast, stokes desire.

James Lileks:

The Apple tablet is the Barack Obama of technology. It's whatever you want it to be, until you actually get it.

The Economist on Obama, from November 2008:

He has to start deciding whom to disappoint.

Jeff Jarvis:

After having slept with her (Ms. iPad), I am having morning-after regrets. Sweet and cute but shallow and vapid.

Decius:

Sarah Palin is the slick corporate VP who is all image and no substance, and they love that about her because they have convinced themselves that if they do away with substance it will free them from the problems that substantial people attempt to address.

Kathleen Parker:

Giving up being liked is the ultimate public sacrifice.

Postrel:

Glamour not only makes things look better than they really are. It also tends to edit out human complexity -- including, in the political realm, the complexity of disagreements, of clashing values, of diverse wants, of technological, economic, and moral tradeoffs.

Political figures as glamorous as Obama are rare. But glamorous policy proposals are not.

Atul Gawande:

The most interesting, under-discussed, and potentially revolutionary aspect of the law is that it doesn't pretend to have the answers.

That's the one truly scary thing about health reform: far from being a government takeover, it counts on local communities and clinicians for success.

An exchange:

Moe: Think hard, and come up with a slogan that appeals to all the lazy slobs out there.
Homer: [moans] Can't someone else do it?
Moe: "Can't someone else do it?", that's perfect!
Homer: It is?
Moe: Yeah! Now get out there and spread that message to the people!

Richard Haass:

Let's not kid ourselves. We're not going to find some wonderful thing that's going to deliver large positive results at modest costs. It's not going to happen.

Viktor Chernomyrdin:

We wanted the best, but it turned out as always.

A Power to Persuade


McCain the Maverick Fights for His Soul
Topic: Politics and Law 7:23 am EDT, Apr  7, 2010

David Margolick:

Many of the GOP's most faithful, the kind who vote in primaries despite 115-degree heat, tired long ago of McCain the Maverick, the man who had crossed the aisle to work with Democrats on issues like immigration reform, global warming, and restricting campaign contributions.

"Maverick" is a mantle McCain no longer claims; in fact, he now denies he ever was one.

After retreating on a number of issues, the erstwhile iconoclast has morphed into what the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, calls "a fabulous team player."

Yet here was Palin, urging her fans four times in 15 minutes to send McCain the Maverick back to Washington.

Decius:

Sarah Palin is the slick corporate VP who is all image and no substance, and they love that about her because they have convinced themselves that if they do away with substance it will free them from the problems that substantial people attempt to address.

Kathleen Parker:

Giving up being liked is the ultimate public sacrifice.

Margolick:

For all McCain's talk about money's malign effect on politics, he has millions of dollars on hand, collected from the state's economic and business elite ...

Decius:

Your right to freedom of speech is an inalienable right. Even if you are rich. That's what an inalienable right is. I don't have a solution for the problem of bad taste.

A parting thought:

What hidden potentials exist within YOU?

Perhaps you're a wholly reasonable person, with the potential to become an irrational fool?

Perhaps you're a team player, with a potentially argumentative loner lurking about inside you?

Or perhaps you're a dreamer, within whom lives a potentially disillusioned grouse, simply waiting to take flight on the wings of bitterness?

McCain the Maverick Fights for His Soul


Letting Things Die
Topic: Technology 7:23 am EDT, Apr  7, 2010

Paul Scrivens:

Why is it really that hard to let go? For me it's hard because I know what is needed to get the project to where I would be happy with it and all I need to do is go on and do that stuff. However, I find something else to do, but tell myself that I can still make the project a success. If I really wanted to make it a success then I would have stuck with it. There is a huge difference between wanting something and wanting something. Just because you tell yourself you want it doesn't prove anything. Just like relationships, it's your actions that need to do the talking.

Garrison Keillor, quoting you:

I could have done that. I could have done that while doing all the other things that I do. Why didn't I?

Viktor Chernomyrdin:

We wanted the best, but it turned out as always.

David Gelernter:

Instead of letting the Internet solve the easy problems, it's time we got it to solve the important ones.

Theodore Roosevelt:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

On John McCain:

In all his speeches, John McCain urges Americans to make sacrifices for a country that is both "an idea and a cause".

He is not asking them to suffer anything he would not suffer himself.

But many voters would rather not suffer at all.

Letting Things Die


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