Posts Tagged ‘lists’
Perhaps understandably, most people tend to ignore scraps of paper they see lying on the ground. But Sydney-based artist Laura Sullivan has always found herself intrigued by the promise of scrawled handwriting, and has been picking up stray to-do lists, IOUs, poems, and angry letters for the past twelve years.Now, a selection of the 400 notes she has collected in public spaces around the world will be exhibited in a gallery show that puts the intimate concerns of anonymous strangers on display for all to see…
The serendipitous story in full at “Turns out, Other People’s Shopping Lists Are Oddly Poignant.”
* Edgar Allan Poe
As we celebrate chance, we might send thrilling birthday greetings to Ross Thomas; he was born on this date in 1926. The author of 20 novels under his own name, and another six as “Oliver Bleeck,” Thomas specialized in building yarns around the machinations of professional politics and the intrigues of global corporations– so successfully that he is considered by many to be the Len Deighton or John Le Carre of the U.S.– only funnier. As the Village Voice put it, “what Elmore Leonard does for crime in the streets, Ross Thomas does for crime in the suites.” His debut novel, The Cold War Swap, won the 1967 Edgar Award for Best First Novel; Briarpatch earned the 1985 Edgar for Best Novel; and in 2002, he was honored with the inaugural Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award, one of only two authors to earn the award posthumously (the other was 87th Precinct author Ed McBain in 2006).
Just in time for summer reading…
Goldman Sachs: financial giant, hotbed of enthusiasm for subprime mortgages, and hapless recipient of your hard-earned money. Who better to tell you what to read?
Well, now they are telling you what to read, in the form of a recently-published recommended book list. We’re talking about people who incurred $550 million in fines for schemes to turn a profit on the civilization-threatening financial crisis they themselves had helped create, and the line between genius and chutzpah is notoriously hard to draw, so, yeah, I’d like to know what’s on these folks’ bedside tables.
First things first, and no big shock: they’re really into capitalism…
More at “Don’t know what to read? Let Goldman Sachs tell you.” The list is here.
[Image above, sourced here]
* Arthur Schopenhauer
As we pack for the beach, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 that Sylvan Goldman introduced the first shopping cart in his Humpty Dumpty grocery store in Oklahoma City.
Our friends at Public Domain Review have gone all Buzzfeed on us, creating a collection of lists that runs from “7 types of drunkard” through “114 proved plans to save a busy man time” and “9 types of newspaper adverts with a sexual purpose,” to “162 recorded sightings of sea serpents from 1522 – 1890.” Enjoy them all at “17 Numbered Lists from History.”
“17 numbered lists that will restore your faith in humanity, specifically in its ability to make numbered lists.”
* H. Allen Smith
As we enumerate, we might pause to celebrate the founding of Boston Latin School, both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. As the town records of Boston report:
On the 13th of the second month, 1635…At a Generall meeting upon publique notice…it was…generally agreed upon that our brother Philemon Pormort shall be intreated to become scholemaster for the teaching and nourtering of children with us
Formally opened in April of that year, the school has produced four Harvard presidents, four Massachusetts governors, and five signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin and Louis Farrakhan are among its better-known dropouts. Current students aver that Harvard College, founded a year later in 1636, was created for Boston Latin’s first graduates.
From Aitken’s to Zipf’s— some of them coined by their namesake (e.g., Parkinson’s); others, based on their work or publications (a la Moore’s): consider the rules, adages, observations, and predictions that make up The List of Eponymous Laws.
As we take the oath, we might spare a thought for Persian polymath Omar Khayyam; the philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, epigrammatist, and poet died on this date in 1131. While he’s probably best known to English-speakers as a poet, via Edward FitzGerald’s famous translation of the quatrains that comprise the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Omar was one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period. He is the author of one of the most important treatises on algebra written before modern times, the Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which includes a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle. His astronomical observations contributed to the reform of the Persian calendar. And he made important contributions to mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology, and Islamic theology.
What’s a reader to do? The disciplined Matt Kahn has a plan: he’s reading– and reviewing– every one of the novels that reached the number one spot on Publishers Weekly annual bestsellers list, starting in 1913. All 94 of them.
Check out the list, and follow Matt’s progress at Kahn’s Corner.
* Frank Zappa
As we renew our library cards, we might send wistful birthday greetings to Douglas Noel Adams; he was born on this date in 1952. A writer and dramatist best remembered as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams surely, by merit, belonged on Kahn’s list. That will never be; Adams passed away in 2001. Still, one can honor his memory in a couple of month’s time by celebrating Towel Day.
From The New Yorker, The Hundred Best Lists of All Time.
As we rankle at the rankings, we might note that this was the Feast Day of the Ass in ancient Rome. The festival honored Vesta, the daughter of Chronos (Time) and Rhea (Earth), and legendary founder of the Vestal Virgins, a cult of six virginal women priestesses who were charged with keeping alive the flame burning in their temple at the center of Rome. The celebration was named as it was in honor of the donkey that saved Vesta’s honor: As told by Propertius, the young Vesta was being sought by the “horned” Priapus, who approached one night as she lay sleeping. Her ass’s loud braying awakened her in time to defend herself from his advances.
Because one never knows when one will need to know: The List of Lists of Lists.
[TotH to Pop Loser]
As we scrawl scintillating series, we might send carefully-lined birthday greetings to Herman Melville; he was born on this date in 1819. The author of Moby Dick (along with other novels, short stores, and essays) was a fan of an altogether different kind of listing:
I am sick of these terra firma toils and cares; sick of the dust and reek of towns. Let me hear the clatter of hailstones on icebergs, and not the dull tramp of these plodders, plodding their dull way from their cradles to their graves. Let me snuff thee up, sea-breeze! and whinny in thy spray. Forbid it, sea-gods! intercede for me with Neptune, O sweet Amphitrite, that no dull clod may fall on my coffin! Be mine the tomb that swallowed up Pharaoh and all his hosts; let me lie down with Drake, where he sleeps in the sea.
– White Jacket (1850)