There’s not as much scatology and not as many toilets in Inherent Vice as in Gravity’s Rainbow (but really, that’s the all-time champion in both categories, isn’t it?) But at one point, a remark sends “Doc off down the Toilet of Memory…” And that made me think about Pynchon’s toilets, and his historical novels, and what he’s been up to all these years with memory and history.
Liberal blockquoting is my little attempt to heart things that don’t allow hearts. Like Wille’s writing about his reading.
In a few weeks I head for Europe for a bit, specifically Barcelona, Carcassonne, Tuscany then moseying from Venice to München to Prague. It’s my first serious vacation in nearly three years (goddamn work) and my first return to Europe since 2004’s Oktoberfest.
In the interim, technology has changed quite a bit. I hope to use it well for this trip. I have two questions I’d like to ask to my pals on Twitter and Tumblr. I’m seeking recommendations for:
1. Stuff to do
2. International SIM cards with data
Regarding the first, rest assured plans already include most of the must-see tourist goals, along with rare book shopping, local alcoholic specialities, museums (historical and artistic), architectural antiquity and even Tuscan cooking class.
I’d love more suggestions, please, if you have a moment.
Regarding the second…sad to say, the internet isn’t helping much. Calling rates, yes; data-rates v. roaming, not so much. My modded Android phone is primarily going to be an eReader—I’m taking along a small library of digital books so I have space to acquire more *physical* books. Yet I hope to access maps, my geocaching app and email when wifi’s unavailable. The clearest candidate is TruPhone but I haven’t found many posted reviews. A bunch of similar services are available, but they emphasize calls not data.
I hope a few of you have a moment to respond! Thanks very much.
The Droid is not the same as Android. Android is an operating system made in part by Google. Droid is a brand owned by Verizon with hardware provided by Motorola and HTC, branded as Droid, Droid Eris, Droid Incredible, Droid 2, etc. There are 47 different Android phones on the market today and…
Why do we women seem to dress up more than the men in geekdom? I’m guessing it’s not really peer pressure, when only a minority of our peers seem to notice or care. We can blame it on societal pressures that make us more aware of our dress than many male geeks, or we can blame it on the fact that often those hideous free t-shirts don’t fit us at all, so we don’t have as many opportunities to dress really badly. I’d be curious to see an anthropologist tackle that one.
The premise is key, so I’ll back up a little and summarize the previous post(s) you obviously should have read about my take on Lady Gaga’s feminist commentary but couldn’t because I didn’t write them, I just explained them to my long-suffering boyfriend and also my mother:
One search [for recurring keywords drawn from Lehman Brother’s e-mail trail] in particular targeted a bunch of words and phrases that anybody might use in an incriminating e-mail. They are:
can’t believe cannot believe
I don’t think we should
do not share this
don’t share this
between you and me
just between us
“Media critics write as if the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes, the informational equivalent of “you are what you eat.” As with primitive peoples who believe that eating fierce animals will make them fierce, they assume that watching quick cuts in rock videos turns your mental life into quick cuts or that reading bullet points and Twitter postings turns your thoughts into bullet points and Twitter postings.”—Op-Ed Contributor - Mind Over Mass Media - NYTimes.com (via hellbox)
I now have my nomination for second-best movie review lead. First being—as always—Elvis Mitchell's lead for his 2003 NYT review of “PIrates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl”:
The action comedy ”Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” raises one of the most overlooked and important cinematic questions of our time: Can a movie maintain the dramatic integrity of a theme park ride?
Fans can thank the Lakers and other sports pioneers for discovering that songs like “We Will Rock You” make natural pairings with fade-away jumpers and entrances from the bullpen. But you can thank corporate synergy for the fact that you still hear them.
Sharyn Taymor worked for ESPN in the mid-’90s, when the company was making its first forays beyond television. She was its point person for an out-of-left-field collaboration with the hip-hop and dance record label Tommy Boy — an album of sports anthems called Jock Rock.
Jock Rock pulled together the classic rock songs that were being played at a few influential venues. Soon, the album made its way to just about every coliseum and auditorium in the country.
Jock Rock demanded a sequel, but the first CD seemed definitive. Its cover promised ”The Greatest Crowd-Rockin’ Sports Anthems of All Time,” and it delivered. ESPN and Tommy Boy had to find new anthems, so Taymor says the Jock Jams album took a turn toward contemporary music.
Over the course of four years, they released five successful editions of Jock Jams. Each collected high-energy dance songs that had nothing to do with sports. That is, until ESPN and Tommy Boy said they did.
My hometown’s Seattle Mariners are known for ‘breaking’ some arena anthems, most notably “Who Let the Dogs Out" (for which we apologize—it was meant ironically but A-Rod has always been a jackass). Despite my affection for a good arena anthem, I find myself appreciating the fact they’re entirely manufactured by Tommy Boy and ESPN. Somehow, that strikes me as fitting.
“Shannon’s mom: “The little girls in these child beauty pageants all seem to come from trailer parks, I don’t know how they afford it. ‘Daddy’s getting hazard pay driving trucks for Halliburton in Afghanistan because you need a new tiara.’”—Gems from my friends’ parents that keep me checking Facebook once in a while.
It is an open question how early this understanding emerges, and there is some intriguing experimental work exploring this. My own hunch is that even babies have some limited grasp of pretense, and you can see this from casual interaction. A useful way to spend time with a 1-year-old is to put your face up close and wait for the baby to grab at your glasses or nose or hair. Once there is contact, pull your head back and roar in mock rage. The first time you get a bit of surprise, maybe concern, a dash of fear, but then you put your head back and wait for the baby to try again. She will, and then you give the pretend-startled response. Many babies come to find this hilarious. (If the baby is an eye-poker, you can wrestle over keys instead.) For this to work, though, the baby has to know that you are not even a little bit angry; the baby must know that you are pretending.
Why do we get pleasure from the imagination? Isn’t it odd that toddlers enjoy pretense, and that children and adults are moved by stories, that we have feelings about characters and events that we know do not exist? As the title of a classic philosophy article put it, how can we be moved by the fate of Anna Karenina?
“The view that acupuncture does not have much benefit beyond the placebo effect has really hampered research into the technique,” said Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York, who led the study.
“Some people think any work in this area is junk research, but I think that’s wrong. I was really surprised at the arrogance of some of my colleagues. We can benefit from what has been learned over many thousands of years,” Nedergaard told the Guardian.