Archive for November, 2008

November 29, 2008

One afternoon, my friend and I were lying on the trampoline of our catamaran. We weren’t going to dive again that day, so we had anchored to the southwest of Saint Kitts and were relaxing.

This friend was older, and Canadian. To me, she seemed wise and beautiful, a practitioner of the sort of dolce vita afforded young people in soft-socialist countries where the state runs the universities, the kind of person who might spend one year working on her dissertation on Husserl, and then another as a ski bum or surf instructor~in short, a formidable union of goods.

So we’re lying there, and the conversation makes its way to grad school. She starts telling me about her friend who’s studying to become an aesthetician. Naturally, I am enthralled, and start asking all sorts of questions. But things start to feel awkward.

And slowly, it begins to dawn on me that my friend is talking about an aspiring manicurist.


Deep Thought

November 24, 2008

Russia has always considered herself the world’s redeemer, but she’s never told a story that anybody wanted to hear.

November 22, 2008

“To meet whatever fate sends in the attempt to reach the highest for oneself is altogether right and glorious.”

~Plato, Letter VII

Quick Quiz

November 22, 2008


An antiques dealer’s irritating window display, or the irritating cover of Paul Auster’s irritating new book?

November 22, 2008

Last night, I finally got around to watching my current netflick, Visconti’s “Death in Venice”. The casting of Andresen is correct, and deservedly famous. But there’s not much to like here besides that, and the opening shot of the steamboat on the Adriatic.

Yes, the necessary lack of dialogue makes this a challenging project, but a music video for Mahler 3&5 is a hedge, not a solution. Mann deserves better than a camera man who only knows how to zoom in, and “Hello, Dolly” art direction.

Werner Herzog could kill this, but I wonder if he isn’t too unsubtle to realize it.

Which leaves the door open… Jaewon, you down?

November 20, 2008

Did you hear the one about al-Zawahiri calling Obama a house-slave?

Nice not to have to fight this one with a hand tied behind our back anymore.

November 20, 2008

The first day I ever saw Venice, I walked the city end to end. It is a very good place to get out of your system~Venetian kitsch is pernicious, and Americans are highly susceptible to it.

When I got tired, I stopped at an internet cafe. While surfing Wikipedia’s “Recent deaths” page (which I recommend, even if you are not an obituary connoisseur), I read that my cousin Julia had succumbed to bladder cancer that day.

I still don’t know quite what to make of this.

November 19, 2008
She's trying, dammit!

She's trying, god damn it!

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life?”

November 19, 2008
The Obama office on Nassau Street~now closed. I remember its grand opening in September.

The Obama office on Nassau Street, now vacant.

November 19, 2008

“All of these jobs suck. I would rather live jobless, on a beach somewhere, off the money from a large inheritance, than have to work in any one of these crapholes.”

~Michael Scott, “Job Fair”