Posts tagged literacy rocks face
Posts tagged literacy rocks face
Jeffrey Brown’s new children’s book “Darth Vader and Son” looks like a real hoot. Real charming illustrations.
Just finished reading the trade paperback version of Ratfist, a webcomic by neatotastic dude Doug TenNapel. It looks like a graphic novel, although it has the daily-payoff pacing of a webcomic. It’s fun! And it has the worst Spider-Man pun you’ve ever read, guaranteed.
What if scenes from our lives were critiqued by reviewers?
Here’s a short piece by John Warner, editor of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, that ran in Book magazine in 2002. It’s also featured in expanded form in Warner’s book Fondling Your Muse, which I recommend if only just for the best burn of Tom Clancy ever committed to paper.
I’ve been reading Listen to This by Alex Ross, which is pretty cool. Ross is the music critic of The New Yorker, and the book is largely a collection of his writings for the magazine, along with some updates and original material.
Mentioned in the chapter about Björk is a selection of songs from Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire that she performed for a music festival. The fansite Björkish has some info on the performance:
On August 4th, 1996, Björk appeared at the Verbier Festival, and performed Schöenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, with conductor Kent Nagano, the Opera orchestra of Lyon, and Murray Hipkin, who later worked with Björk on John Tavener’s Prayer of the Heart.
The performance required three months of rehearsals, and was never officially released.
The decision not to record the performance was actually Björk’s. As explained to Alex Ross in one of his pieces:
“… Kent Nagano wanted to make a recording of it, but I really felt that I would be invading the territory of people who sing this for a lifetime.”
Which is a remarkably well-grounded position, and one which I respect, but at the same time I MUST HEAR THIS GIVE THIS TO ME
What happens if you use police composite sketch software on descriptions of characters from literature? This is what happens.
If you read Dinotopia as a kid but haven’t for years and years, I have excellent news for you: it is every bit as magical as you remember it being. And if you never did, then you won’t regret doing so now.
I just finished reading The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway’s first book. Colin pimped it heavily to me for quite a while, and I even read the first chapter of his copy last year, but I only now got my own copy.
It’s sort of a sci-fi book about the apocalypse and war and hazmat truckers and identity and reality and pancakes, but it’s really hard to describe when you try it like that, so instead I’m just going to quote the narrator’s discourse on sheep from chapter five:
A war zone is a bad place to be a sheep. It’s not a good place to be anything, but sheep generally are a bit stupid and devoid of tactical acumen and individual reasoning, and they approach problem-solving in a trial-and-error kind of a way. Sheep wander, and wandering is not a survival trait where there are landmines. After the first member of the flock is blown up, the rest of the sheep automatically scatter in order to confuse the predator, and this, naturally, takes more than one of them onto yet another mine, and there’s another woolly BOOM-splatterpitterslee-eutch, which is the noise of an average-sized sheep being propelled into the air by an anti-personnel mine and partially dispersed, the largest single piece falling to earth as a semi-liquidised blob. This sound of its concomitant reality upsets the remaining sheep even more, and not until quite a few of them have been showered over the neighborhood do they get the notion that the only safe course is the reverse course. By this time, alas, they have forgotten where that is, and the whole thing begins again. BOOM.
The first corollary of this is that sheep are a nightmare if you’re trying to construct a perimeter defence, because they can end up cutting a path right through it and leaving themselves in pieces as markers showing the cleared route to all comers. For this reason, many military officers now order a mass execution of unsecured sheep when fortifying a position, incidentally incurring the deep displeasure of local shepherds and creating yet another group of grumpy, armed persons who will shoot at anything in a uniform. Knowing this, George Copsen has taken a pro-sheep position, in the vague hope that Baptiste Vasille or Ruth Kemner will begin the ovicide (which may or may not be the official word for a killing of sheep) and suffer the consequences. So far, it hasn’t happened, and a kind of steely cold war of livestock has developed in which we drive sheep toward the other forces in the hope of triggering a slaughter, and they drive them at us with very much the same in mind. An unofficial book is being made on which area commander will snap first, and the betting heavily favours Ruth Kemner, who is apparently something of a scary lady.
The second corollary, which is more interesting in an academic sense, but utterly irrelevant in the real world, is that sheep surviving for a prolonged period in a heavily mined area will gradually evolve, and left long enough would develop into more intelligent, combat-hardened sheep, possibly with sonar for probing the earth in front of them, extremely long legs for stepping over suspect objects and large flat feet to distribute pressure evenly and avoid activating the fuse. A warsheep would be a cross between a dolphin and a small, limber elephant.
The sheep currently surrounding us have not yet had time to evolve physically, and in the meantime have evolved behaviours and coping strategies instead. They follow humans quite precisely, walk slowly and the flock unit has been replaced by a loose-knit affiliation of individual sheep carefully watching each other for signs of suddenly flying into the air and getting spread all over the place. Some have started walking in single file. Loud bangs no longer scare them, or possibly they have gone deaf, and there is a sharp, alert feeling about them which suggests they know exactly where they have just stepped and can retreat along their own hoofprints quite readily. The march of progress has reached even unto the sheep of Addeh Katir.
Read this book.
I just finished the book The Prodigal Tongue by Mark Abley a few days ago. It was a pretty enjoyable look at the influence of other languages on English and the influence of English on other languages. Here’s a review by The Telegraph if you’re interested.
The Madidi titi, a species of South American monkey, was mentioned in the book. From Wikipedia:
Rather than choosing a name themselves, [British biologist Robert] Wallace, his team, and WCS auctioned off the naming rights to raise funds for FUNDESNAP (Fundación para el Desarrollo del Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas), the nonprofit organization that maintains Madidi National Park. The online casino GoldenPalace.com, one of over a dozen bidders, paid US$650,000 to have the species named after them.