likethebeer: (WI spring)
Some crazy English teachers singing this to the tune of "California Dreamin'". I learned more about them than I remember from high school:
likethebeer: (mesmerized)
Lessons on science writing from a 17th-century know-it-all, Sir Thomas Browne

The review of the book, In Search of Thomas Browne
... is really a book about science, nature, faith, toleration, humility, and public debate—the modern world seen through the lens of Browne. (The British title, The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century, better captures its interests; presumably Norton, the U.S. publisher, changed it on the theory that too few Americans would have any clue who Browne was.) Aldersey-Williams’ main argument—spread over a number of chatty chapters loosely organized around Browne’s own major interests—is that Browne’s gentle civility in confronting unreason offers a better alternative to the haughtiness of so much modern science writing and myth-busting.
Sounds interesting to pick up, which I would if I didn't have half-a-dozen books waiting in the wings.
likethebeer: (Andromeda Galaxy)
  1. The Bible, to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself
  2. The System of the World by Isaac Newton, to learn that the universe is a knowable place
  3. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth
  4. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos
  5. The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world
  6. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself
  7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art
  8. The Prince by Machiavelli, to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it

I've read Gulliver's Travels & tried to read the Bible (don't read the Book of Kings), but haven't read any of the others.
likethebeer: (Codex from Avatar)
Just one photo of the two in a library (maybe Norrell's Hurtfew Abbey):

Here's a link on it from Wikipedia:

The question becomes: when can I buy this on DVD? Another one is "can I see this via the internet?"
likethebeer: (Codex from Avatar)

I think he's wrong on the Satan, Sin & Death illustration, but other than that: not bad.

And a pretty good reason for never making Paradise Lost into a movie, since I've had it in my head for years. And, jeez, I don't agree with everything done by William f-ing BLAKE.
likethebeer: (Codex Game On)
Nice find (and subsequent production) of a "little-known, playful short story young Mark Twain had written in 1865 at age of 30:"
likethebeer: (Codex Game On)

MoMA 2013
Hardcover, 40 pages
Billed as "MoMA’s first storybook for kids ages three to eight," Young Frank, Architect tells the story of two architects name Frank, one young and one old. No, it's not a time-capsule portrayal of Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright (though they do make appearances in the book), but two generations of one family—a boy and his grandfather. Overall, a positive review, mostly because the daughter of the person reviewing the book really liked it - that's pretty nice praise!
likethebeer: (Codex Game On)
Jane Austen’s Novels, Ranked; Plus her most devastating one-liners.

This is how the writer ranks them:
Jane Austen’s Novels, From Best to Worst
Mansfield Park
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
I think
Pride & Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey

.... Then, I don't know. And I'm rethinking Emma - maybe Mansfield Park is above that (I think it's because the character of Emma sometimes just annoys me).
And there's this: I Read Everything Jane Austen Wrote, Several Times; Here are some of the many things I learned


Apr. 6th, 2013 07:59 am
likethebeer: (mesmerized)
I always just called myself a geek, but according to the beginning of this article, I'm an egghead:

An egghead who had nothing to do with the Manhattan Project.

And never took Latin.
likethebeer: (Codex Game On)
C.M. Kornbluth's story, "The Marching Morons" involves a man from the 20th Century who wakes up in a future in which the average I.Q. has been lowered to the level of moron (I don't think calling someone whose I.Q. is below 70 a "moron" is allowed any longer, although it used to actually be used). (<--spoiler alert)

Here it is reprinted on-line:
likethebeer: (I am disappearing but not fast enough)
After The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman (about the lead up to the first world war & the first month or so), I'm reading A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918, by G.J. Meyer. The story of the entire war. It gives a good overview of everything (well, more than that at 700 p., but still an overview).

I took this on because, for years I have felt that WWI was "the biggest mistake we've ever made as a species" (there was the meat grinder, the gas, & the long-range effects over the 20th century), but realized that I knew it from history class in grade/high school, and knew things from my studies in art history, but didn't know the specifics. And reading a book is a tastier thing to do than wade through Wikipedia on it.

What I am learning is that the first world war was an even bigger screw up than I thought. There was the fact (from The Guns of August) that the major European powers had actually been planning for a war for over a decade; and, from A World Undone I'm seeing how, over and over again, the leaders are giving the ok to the generals to go again and again to battle in these places when they've proven to be a miserable failure. Like, Gallipoli - started, then lots of people killed, then holding off & doing it again. Or Italy - total failure in every battle. Or Romania - total mistake that they even entered the war. And of course there's Verdun & the Somme. And it wasn't just that they lost battles. Thousands upon thousands of people dying - thousands in a day. Bad coordination, bad communication, soldiers starving, soldiers arriving someplace with no enemy and bad events causing the explosion of the entire depot of weapons & grenades, soldiers going ahead on the line but b/c of bad communication the big cannons are blasting what they're trying to capture (and, instead, blasting them), soldiers being told to march forward when the enemy (who's got machine guns, just like they do) is there, & they're just mowed down.

Here's Meyer writing about the last advance on Verdun on Dec. 15 (near the last day of the battle of Verdun):
.... As [the French soldiers] moved forward to the trenches from which they would once again have to throw their flesh against the machine guns, the French troops began to bleat like sheep. The sound echoed all around. Baaaa, baaaa - the one pathetic form of protest available to men condemned to die [because they had been told that if they broke and ran away from the fighting they would be shot by their own commanders]. More than the fighting, more than any piece of ground won or lost, this was the sign of what was coming next.
One of the things that has horrified me about that war is the Battle of Verdun - between 700-900,000 men dead in 10 months. But I've begun to see that there were battles in which the carnage was thicker, in shorter spaces of time, than Verdun. In the Battle of the Frontiers (in August 1914), Barbara Tuchman describes how, in 3 days, there were about 160,000 French casualties.

Looking on it from this perspective, I've started to wonder why the entire world didn't crumble following this war. Not just the Russian empire (or the German, the Ottoman, Austria-Hungary). And about the art work that drew me into thinking about WWI in the first place.

Although, thinking about it, it totally makes the start of Dada that much more explainable.


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