morning 06.26.16

It’s funny how Simon Critchley now possibly most famous for his love of David Bowie. A search on Twitter turns up dozens upon dozens of mentions of his book on Bowie. Anyway, Critchley’s written a piece on Rousseau’s play Narcisse, posted recently on Naked Punch but presumably from 2006. The play itself isn’t very good it turns out. However, inequality and narcissism!

Why Jorge Luis Borges matters 30 years after his death. It’s a fluff piece, but Luisa Valenzuela has a bit in there. The Lizard’s Tail has been on a list of book to check out for many years. I looked her up to find an interview with Valenzuela in the Paris Review that I’ve not read before. Whenever I read in earnest again, her work needs to be explored immediately.

Gurdjieff’s special salad! This looks… shall I say…. absolutely disgusting. Gurdjieff’s palate was very different from mine. Dangerous Minds also threw in a link to Peter Brook‘s Meetings with Remarkable Men.


midday 06.25.16

Poison used on arrow tips 13,000 years ago in East Africa. Nifty. Kuumbi Cave on Unguja Island off Zanzibar. The poison is supposed to be from the Mkunazi plant. I think this is Ziziphus mucronata. It’s the sap and not the fruit that’s used in arrow poison. There’s sparse documentation of the sap being mixed with beetle larva for arrow poison by the San people. Odd. This feels worth digging into more. Exciting.

France trolling Britain over Brexit is good stuff. “A nation that can’t behead its Queen is not to be trusted!”


We laugh ourselves into the abyss.

These jade axeheads from the Italian Alps that wound up in Scotland are beautiful. They’re dated as 6.000 years old. One is the Cairnholy fragment. The featured one is the Greenlaw axehead. Another complete one came from Sweet Track (yeah, not Scotland.)

A review of Peter Green’s translation of The Iliad. The argument about Achilles’ spear is far funnier than it probably should be. Continuity, people! Continuity!

The Corpse of the Author: Literary Pilgrimage 400 Years After Cervantes. “el manco de Lepanto.”

morning 06.25.16

The theme music of Democracy Now irritates the shit out of me. I love the show, but damn it.

Jacobin has an interview with a teacher explaining the Oaxaca struggle. It’s been a pain digging up substantial reporting on what’s going in Mexico, mostly reports on the violence, but few details on what the Nieto administration is pushing through that is causing such strife. (Slate has a decent piece.) It’s a little surprising that there’s little connection to the 2014 mass kidnapping and murder of 43 Iguala students.

I noticed a few people posting & tweeting how cool it is that a woman is now the mayor of Rome. Yeahhhhhhh…. about that… Virginia Raggi is a member of the Five Star Movement. When that name popped up in the news articles breathlessly reporting how exciting it is to have a woman in charge, the gears began turning. Italian politics is not any strength of mine. A friend used to keep me up on Italy’s politics way back when, but we’ve drifted apart as years have crept by. The Wikipedia article has the movement’s ideology as something kinda sympathetic, but they clearly have creepy fascist tendencies. A Jacobin article from last fall helps flesh out a little more about the Five Star Movement. It’s even more relevant now because with Britain’s referendum declaring intent to leave the European Union, the Five Star Movement looks like the force that will drive any effort to cleave Italy from the EU. BTW Its leader has repeatedly made racist comments, about London’s first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan and posting a photo of an opposition politician in blackface, accusing African immigrants of importing tuberculosis. So good luck cheering the election of Virginia Raggi, American progressives.


midday 06.20.16

I got around to watching “The Big Short” this weekend. We’re still fucking doomed. I never read the Michael Lewis book, but was familiar with the dissections of the aftermath through other journalism. It agitates me that the movie was a critical and financial success, but apparently the lesson of the story didn’t connect with most people. Wall Street and the government colluded in taking the world economy to the brink of utter disaster yet got away with the loot, starting the cycle again. No one should be making a credible campaign on a continuation of Obama’s policies, especially not Clinton. We’re fucking doomed. Doomed. ((The cute celebrity cameos didn’t do much for me, but were used more sparingly than I expected. A relief.))

Now we have Wall Street rattling sabers at Clinton at the possibility of Warren as her VP pick. That too could be kabuki though. Everything at this stage seems to be theatrics. It’s too convenient. Wall Street won’t even boast what was in Clinton’s speeches. Why would they openly throw their weight around protesting Warren? Yeah, this is bullshit.

One thing I learned from the movie is Michael Burry is now focused on water as a commodity. That’s absolutely terrifying. Don’t forget that the Bushes bought a 98,840 acre ranch in Paraguay a decade ago, allegedly to grab a piece of the water rights of the Guarani Aquifer.

It’s painful to see how many science academics on Twitter support Clinton. When it washed over me that these are exactly the kind of professionals who value education over everything, who benefit most from the idea of meritocracy, it was a painful sensation. I admire these people and their work. They should be able to recognize rebranded Social Darwinism in the New Gilded Age.

10 Great, Old Concerts You Can (Legally) Stream in High Quality. Pitchfork’s right. I don’t use the Internet Archive nearly enough. That Brian Eno interview and the 1989 Robyn Hitchcock performance require coming back to in the immediate future.

The Islamic Roots Of Science Fiction. Nifty article by Charlie Jane Anders. Most of the material is familiar when I was on an Arabian Nights tangent/binge, but I never followed the threads further. I also keep toying with picking up Anders’ novel. The premise doesn’t grab me but I dug her Io9 articles.

morning 06.19.16

Tabby Boyajian’s Kickstarter for $100,000 to pursue the study of KIC 8462852 has been fully funded! I think I donated.

Iranian Archaeologists Uncover Palaeolithic Stone Tools On Qeshm Island. Bam-e Qeshm. 40,000 years old. I’m holding out for hope that something older might turn up on future expeditions because coastal migration. These sites could likely be underwater.

Fish may have evolved to live on land more than 30 times. Yay evolution. It’s always great to see an adaptation, trait, behavior, ect. arise multiple times because it’s key in persuading Intelligent Design people that none of this is by design.

Chapo Trap House has been entertaining me for the past couple of days. These guys had been popping up on my Twitter feed for awhile. I didn’t follow them as closely because they delight more in shit-talking than the kind of stuff Billmon posts. I love shit-talking, but tend to use Twitter more as a newsfeed with commentary, as opposed to clowning dipshits. I give up. I need Chapo Trap House in my life now. Binging on the old episodes has been bracing me for this shitshow the Clinton administration will be, because they’re further along the curve on acceptance of that absurd horror than I have.1 Connor Kilpatrick of Jacobin eased me into rooting for Hillary as an accelerationist strategy. The Justified riff with Boyd Crowder as a Bernie supporter & Woke Raylan Givens is fucking genius.

  1. I’m still hung up on the FBI investigation of the private email server, probably a dead end. []

Midday 06.17.16

No additional piece of the Antikythera Mechanism have been found at shipwreck survey. Well, that sucks. Here’s to future expeditions. It’s still mystifying that it’s a singular object, with no evidence of its design being widespread.

Primordial Galaxy Has Farthest Oxygen Ever Detected in the Universe. 13.1 billion light-years distant. Galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2.

Small Asteroid Is Earth’s Constant Companion. 2016 HO3. This is nifty. It’s only a couple hundred feet in size. It should be sticking with us for a few centuries.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 has an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth

morning 06.17.16

Remainder: Tom McCarthy and Omer Fast’s avant-garde explosion. Oh, a film adaptation of Remainder has been made. That seems unnecessary, but it could be interesting. “a redoubling of the redoubling of the redoubling.”

Never fucking mind. I’ll be watching the shit out of that. It still pains me not to have seen the adaptation of Ballard’s High-Rise

The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife. Speaking of redoubling, I love a good historical fraud, but this is something else. It’s a shame Umberto Eco isn’t around to see this story to unfold.

LIGO Does It Again: A Second Robust Binary Black Hole Coalescence Observed. More evidence of gravitational waves. GW151226: The Boxing Day event. Observing Run 2 starts Fall of 2016.

How the Homo floresiensis kept their tools as they shrank into island life. They retained tool use but the technology didn’t advance. I was ignorant how Mata Menge looks now. Surprising.

noon 06.15.16

Yesterday was Pessoa’s birthday. Tonight will be 200th anniversary of the night Mary Shelley to bed with a bad headache.

Ancient DNA analysis explains spread of domestic goats from fertile crescent into Caucasus. present-day Azerbaijan 7,500–8,000 years ago.

A terror watchlist is no way to determine who doesn’t get a gun. No due process. Of course Clinton would think this is a great idea. Hypocrite.

‘Mysterious Object’ May Be First ‘Extinct’ Meteorite. 470 million years old. Österplana or Öst 65. Spinels are different and it posses different chromium to oxygen isotope ratio.

A chiral link to life’s origins? Scientists find mirror molecules in interstellar cloud. “The molecules of propylene oxide were detected in a huge cloud known as Sagittarius B2 North, about 28,000 light-years from Earth, during a scan that used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.”

morning 06.14.16

I have nothing. The Orlando shooting itself hasn’t wrecked me. It’s a tragedy, but that’s not it. It’s the derangement of the aftermath that’s sucking all of the air in the room. It’s depressing enough with the Clinton versus Trump dynamic, but with one going for insane overt bigotry and the other opting for cautious liberal bigotry, it’s outright exhausting. Yes, let’s further cripple due process and ramp up bigoted profiling processes! September 12th, 2001 was awesome! I felt so… no, wait.

Now I recall. I didn’t trust the Bush administration and understood we were making terrible mistakes. Fuck Clinton. She’s learned absolutely nothing. She’s always been a hawk and always will be a hawk. She’s not evolved one bit. It’s not even worth calling that stooge Trump out. He’s her stalking horse, veering further right to make Clinton’s ugly agenda more palatable to easily spooked liberals.

Too many raging bigots are giving cover to “normal” people who feel compelled to support shitty policies. It’s all through social media. Exhausting.

midday 06.13.16

There is nothing much to say about the Orlando mass murder that hasn’t been said already. I’m against murder (surprise.) I’m against persecution of LGBT people. I’m against semi-automatic rifles in the hands of civilians. It’s horrifying. Meanwhile, the presidential election will be less about economic justice and brutal, hawkish foreign policy than it was before. So it goes. So many innocents murdered and there will be no justice. Their deaths will be used as a smokescreen for to avoid other ugly truths.

The Clinton voters are still scolding people who don’t like Hillary on Facebook. One especially long, rambling defense of her played a whatabout Petraeus?! Who gives a shit? It’s a different case. This reddit post has better analysis of what Clinton claims about her private email server versus what is in the IG report, sourced with relatively objective articles.

Plus, Petraeus belongs in prison. So does most of the Bush administration. Stop lowering the bar.

While I was sorting through the comics, I caught up on the second half of season 6 of Venture Bros. Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer took the show to yet higher levels. The references are perversely arcane. The Legion of Doom from Challenge of the Super Friends is Andy Warhol’s Factory:

  • Edie Meenie: Edie Sedgwick & Toyman/Bumblebee
  • Serpentine: Ondine & Copperhead
  • Ultra Violent: Ultra Violet & Star Sapphire
  • Billy Maim: Billy Name & Cheetah
  • Frigid – Brigid Berlin & Captain Cold
  • Gerard the Gorilla: Gerard Malanga & Gorilla Grodd
  • Hard Candy: Candy Darling & Bizarro
  • Trashenstein: Joe Dallesandro & Solomon Grundy
  • Wes Warhammer: Andy Warhol & Lex Luthor
  • Black Mariah: Black Manta, but I’ve no idea who the Factory equivalent is. Black Hole of the camera itself?

The Miller’s Crossing homage was brilliant, with riffs of Scorsese thrown in. The arcs thrown in across the season paced along nicely and meticulously referenced an absurd number of obscure lines and gags from earlier seasons. The show is dense with its references, both self-referential and various genres. It’s baffling that I know more people who save their praise for a relatively two-dimensional bro comedy like Archer.

This Paris Review piece “My Autobibliography” is nifty. I’ve pretty good notes for where most of my books came from, their histories and how they fit together in shaping me.

Vice talks to Alan Moore about Show Pieces, his screenplay for The Show, and his creative process. I’ll get to watching Show Pieces in the coming weeks.

Digging up grievances, Moore, Morrison & Supergods. I’ve read both Supergods and Lance Parkin’s biography of Alan Moore. While I love the work of both of them, Morrison’s been coming off more poorly for the past several years. Supergods put me off of reading Morrison interviews until now. I have no idea how he feels about how DC discarded many of the good ideas from New 52, to speed into a retread of the extreme ’90s. Muliversity is a magnificent superhero comic. Annihilation and Nameless were both interesting, but had a peculiar sour taste to them. Is Morrison feeling okay?