Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Funny Things About Serious People: James, Lucia and Sam

"In the month Beckett returned to Paris Lucia decided that she was not fitted for a career as a dancer after all, saying that she was simply not physically strong enough. It was a decision greeted with something less than regret by her father, who had always had his doubts about whether it was seemly for the women of his family to prance about on stages in revealing costumes and had been made uncomfortable by his daughter's insistence on doing so."

from Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist, by Anthony Cronin

Stranger with You: Bald Eagles in Mexico

My (Mexican) roommate has a mug that appears to be from Lake Tahoe, in the US Sierra Nevada. It features a somewhat cartoonish painting of a Bald Eagle's head and a block of English text which informs us that "despite its majestic appearance, the Bald Eagle is primarily a scavenger and thinks nothing of stealing food from other birds of prey or taking advantage of carrion…"

It was a surprising way for a coffee mug from the US to present the national bird. Does the Lake Tahoe tourist board just need to hire a new design team? Or was the mug planted at a gift shop by some aging hippie who got a job there in order to disperse subversive messages about American identity amongst unwitting tourists? Or do  all nationalistic artifacts begin to corrupt and degenerate when stranded for too long outside the US borders?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mexico City: Scenes

Crickets for dinner, la Condesa

On the Street: The Boot

Kent Avenue, Brooklyn

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adventures in Rhythm: The Nicholas Brothers

Forty years before Michael Jackson, these guys could knock your crystal-studded socks off: The Nicholas Brothers with Cab Calloway in Stormy Weather from 1943.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Everyone's a Critic: Is There Some Kind of Jazz in Your Poetry?

The interview with Lil Wayne at the end of this video is like a real-life Brüno segment.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Antiquariana: Hardwicke's Science-Gossip of 1887

Two things that don't usually go together.

From the Preface:

The necessity for saying something by way of Preface for the Twenty-Third time renders the formality increasingly difficult with every added year....Twenty-three years is a fair period in which to test the right of such a magazine as SCIENCE-GOSSIP to a literary existence. A good many able competitors and co-adjutors have come and gone; others are still coming and going. There is ample room and verge enough, for a "Struggle for Existence," and a "Survival of the Fittest" among popular scientific journals as well as among other lower organisms.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Spanish Lesson

mancha = stain

Obvious to some, revelatory to me. The first in a series of posts.

Take It and Run

The first in a series of posts on love and theft.

ITEM: A pair of white slip-on sneakers
DATE: Semana Santa 2010
LOCATION: Barra Vieja, Mexico

When I woke in the morning to take a piss by the edge of the lagoon they were gone; a pair of Ked knock-offs I had bought two days earlier, expressly for this trip to the beach, from one of those anonymous shoe shops near the Zocalo with glass cases full of business loafers and tennis shoes. I paid 120 pesos for them. Real Keds cost 500 pesos. The night before I had put them outside the tent next to my friend's rubber flip-flops. As I scanned the sand and dirt around the restaurant and picnic tables, empty of vacationers in the early morning, I convinced myself that the shoes must have been taken by one of the stray dogs that prowled endlessly though the palapas of Barra Vieja—and every Mexican beach town, I imagine—partly because a dog's preference for smelly canvas shoes seemed the best way to explain the flip-flops' calm persistence outside the tent, but more so because one day into my first trip outside the city felt too early to start making generalizations about Mexicans stealing from gringos on vacation.