Posts Tagged ‘literature’
Ever had that sense of deja vu when reading a news posting online? Well, the Sunlight Foundation has your back: they’ve created Churnalism– a simple search tool that let’s one quickly determine whether what one’s reading is “a product of real journalism or just a spin off of another story posted elsewhere.”
As we root out the sources, we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that Evelyn Waugh wrote a letter of protest to the Times Literary Supplement. His complaint wasn’t that they’d misjudged his novel (Decline and Fall); their reaction was, like the book’s wider reception, quite warm. Rather, he objected to the fact that throughout the review he was referred to as “Miss Waugh.”
… 9 Film Frames aims to distill that truth even further: ”an attempt to showcase a film by using only 9 of it’s frames.”
Many more reminders of why we want to see all of the movies at 9 Film Frames.
* Jean-Luc Godard
As we head for the nearest rep house, we might send fantastic birthday greetings to L. Frank Baum, born on this date in 1856. After trying his hand at acting and marketing (he was a pioneer in the then-fledgling field of “store displays,” founded the trade magazine The Show Window, and helped start the longest continuously-running trade association in marketing, what’s now known as The Society of Visual Merchandising), he found his true calling, creating Dorothy, Toto, the Wizard, and the “Wonderful World” he ruled. In the end, Baum wrote wrote fourteen Oz novels, and a host of other works: 55 novels in total, plus four “lost” novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and an unknown number of scripts (pursuant to numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen). Something of a futurist, his works anticipated such century-later commonplaces as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and– in a return to his roots– the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work).
Courtesy of The Week, a look at the pecuniary consequences in the U.S. of “Happy Mother’s Day”…
The amount Americans will spend this Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day spending survey
Moms in the U.S., according to the latest stats from the United States Census Bureau
The average amount American consumers will spend on mom for Mother’s Day 2013
The average spending last year. This year’s figure is an 11 percent increase.
Mother’s Day’s ranking, after Christmas and Valentine’s Day, in terms of the amount of money spent by U.S. consumers…
* Mark Twain
As we reassure ourselves that it’s the thought that counts, we might send nonsensical birthday greetings to Edward Lear; he was born on this date in 1812. An accomplished ”ornithological draughtsman,” Lear published his first work– Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots– at age 19, a collection that was favorably compared to the work of Audubon. But Lear is better remembered for his verse (and the illustrations he supplied to accompany it). In 1846 he published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks helped popularise the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published; and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat (which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby). They were quite successful, and any other works followed.
Lear’s facility– his verbal inventiveness, his knowing liberties with poetic form– led many to suspect (a la Shakespeare) that his poems were actually the work of another, better-educated author: his patron. (Conspiracy theorists noted that “Lear” is an anagram of “Earl”– so that “Edward Lear” might be code for “Edward, Earl”). But Lear was real enough, and earned his place– alongside Lewis Carroll and W.S. Gilbert– as one of the great purveyors of nonsense of the Victorian Age.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
- St.3, The Owl and the Pussycat
… time to crack Inherent Vice in a coffee shop, time to trot out V on a train, time to wield Against the Day at work… It’s Pynchon in Public Day!
As we give ourselves over to the glories of glittering prose, we might send crafty birthday greetings to the man himself; Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. was born on this date in 1937. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and National Book Award winner (for Gravity’s Rainbow), Pynchon studied with Nabokov* at Cornell. He is frequently mentioned as a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
* The famously- misdirecting Nabokov later said that he had no memory of Pynchon; but Nabokov’s wife Véra, who graded her husband’s class papers, has reported that she remembered Pynchon’s distinctive handwriting, a mixture of printed and cursive letters.
- The narrator’s father in Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown (1798)
- William the Testy in Knickerbocker’s History Of New York by Washington Irving (1809)
- A woman in Jacob Faithful by Captain Marryat (1834)
- A blacksmith in Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (1842)
- Sir Polloxfen Tremens in The Glenmutchkin Railway by William Edmondstoune Aytoun (1845)
- The sailor Miguel Saveda in Redburn by Herman Melville (1849)
- Mr Krook in Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1852-53)
- The whisky-sodden and derelict Jimmy Flinn in Life On The Mississippi by Mark Twain (1883)
- A character in Docteur Pascal by Emile Zola (1893)
(One admires the discipline with which Warner excludes the female cook in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), who was merely “in a frame of mind and body threatening spontaneous combustion”…)
As we retreat to the other end of the thermometer, we might recall that it was on this date in 1927 that Clarence Birdseye patented “fish fingers” in the U.K. Birdseye had already patented a range of “flash-freezing” processes and devices, inspired by his experiences as a biologist and trapper in Labrador earlier in the century. He had noticed that while slow freezing creates ice crystals in frozen foods– crystals that, when thawed, create sogginess– meat exposed to the extremely cold temperatures in the Canadian North– frozen essentially instantly– didn’t create internal ice, and were as tasty when thawed months later as fresh. Birdseye created quick-frozen vegetables and meats as a storable option to fresh. But “fish fingers,” later introduced in the U.S. as “fish sticks,” were his inaugural product created expressly to be frozen.