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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

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Location: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

100 things about me

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Quite a quote

Women would be amazed if they knew what men desire about them. Yes, of course, they want to see women naked and supine and melting, but male desire is far more readily stimulated by what the oblique glance discovers: the parted lips, the micron of eyelash which the mascara brush missed, the changing angle and shadow of cleavage, the bra-strap alternately displayed and covered up, the ripe-camembert plumpness at the edge of hips. There is, inside every adult man, a relentless Peeping Tom, a perennial 14-year-old boy, still amazed by the phenomenon of women on display, flagging their sexuality, their availability, with every square inch of visible flesh, clothing, make-up and curve.

We desire the personality that we discern in the walk, the clothes, the laugh … We look, and sigh, and wish to do certain things to her, first urgently, then luxuriantly, and keep doing it indefinitely; but we also hunger to have her do certain things to us, unimaginable though it may seem – we want her to want us. We don’t just want her surrender, like a slave captured in battle; we want her approbation, her adoration; we want to enchant her to desire us back. For, no matter how humble we feel before the dizzying fact of female beauty, men are just as narcissistic as women.

— John Walsh

via Nightmare Brunette (via gauntlet) (via mandalay)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Passion, moldy browser tabs, and infographics that make the world more real

I'm one of those people who lets tabs build up in my web browser. I open pages that I promise myself I'll return to when I have a few minutes to squeeze in some reading. They stay open, sometimes, for months.

The number of things I'm keen to read so dwarfs the number of minutes set aside for reading them, I occasionally have to go on a browser-tag-killing rampage. No telling what extraordinary pieces of prose and video I have zapped into oblivion, never to touch my mind, my heart, my life.

Oh, well. It's just a part of being in the flowing river of content that is the privilege of our times.

But sometimes I'll hang on to a piece for no good reason I know of, its browser tab opening every time Firefox fires up, for months on end. And then, eventually, in some interstitial moment, I'll start reading. ...and I'll be grabbed by my chest hair and pulled toward the screen.

I was just about to delete this piece, from Rolling Stone, way back in mid March. But decided I should scan the opening sentence or two before obliterating this piece of months-old ancient history.

Scanning those first words compelled me to the end of the first paragraph, and I was super-glued until the closing full-stop.

Topic: Financial crisis and the US bailout of the banks. Not exciting, and we all think we've heard e-freakin'-nuff about it, by now. I know the facts. I can explain what a credit default swap is. I'm already angry. So, I was pretty sure I didn't really need to read this. Well, screw it. I needed to read it. Highly recommended.

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).

So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream.

And if that ain't enough to get you there, have a look at this masterpiece of inforgraphics on the same topic. I am awed by great infographics -- the art of representing data/information in a visual mode so that the clarity and impact of the data is increased. This is a great infographic. Not 3d. Not in colour. Just monochromatic boxes. And yet...

Simple task: compare the "total outlay for all the bailouts to date" with "every major one time expenditure of the USA, including ... the moon shot, the New Deal, Iraq, Viet Nam and Korean wars. (Omitted from the graphic are WW1&2 and the total of all NASA budgets, but when included the bailout is still bigger.) All historical figures are inflation adjusted.

The article from which this comes is here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”

- John Wayne

via Surfing With The Alien.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea." -- Sir Francis Bacon

(ripped off from Lawrence Wilkinson)

Monday, June 15, 2009


His thesis project at art school.

Man desires a world where good and evil can be clearly distinguished, for he has an innate and irrepressible desire to judge before he understands.

Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel, 1986

(Hat tip to the Truck Man.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

That's how I roll.

A letter to his young self

Readers outside the UK are unlikely to have seen this piece (excerpted below) from Stephen Fry, which was published in The Guardian some weeks back.

(...and, moreover, are perhaps unfamiliar with the profound cultural treasure Stephen Fry is.)

The piece is, ultimately, a state of the union on gay rights in the UK.

But it is so much more than that.

It is a letter to his 16-year old self.

Dearest Absurd Child:

I hope you are well. I know you are not. As it happens you wrote in 1973 a letter to your future self and it is high time that your future self had the decency to write back. You declared in that letter that "everything I feel now as an adolescent is true". You went on to affirm that if ever you dared in later life to repudiate, deny or mock your 16-year-old self it would be a lie, a traducing, treasonable lie, a crime against adolescence. "This is who I am," you wrote. "Each day that passes I grow away from my true self. Every inch I take towards adulthood is a betrayal."

Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence. How filled with true feeling, fury, despair, joy, anxiety, shame, pride and above all, supremely above all, how overpowered it was by love. My eyes fill with tears just to think of you. Of me. Tears splash on to my keyboard now. I am perhaps happier now than I have ever been and yet I cannot but recognise that I would trade all that I am to be you, the eternally unhappy, nervous, wild, wondering and despairing 16-year-old Stephen: angry, angst-ridden and awkward but alive. Because you know how to feel, and knowing how to feel is more important than how you feel. Deadness of soul is the only unpardonable crime, and if there is one thing happiness can do it is mask deadness of soul.

I finally know now, as I easily knew then, that the most important thing is love.

The rest is here.

The Good, The Bad and The Ukelele

Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

via The Rumpus
We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.
— W. H. Auden

via Nightmare Brunette

God's love of silly stories

A few things from Simple Space Annex (which is not safe for work).

God invented mankind because he loved silly stories. - Ralph Steadman

There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow. - Fay Weldon

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. - Epictetus

Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting. - Alan Dean Foster

No, you never get any fun out of the things you haven’t done. - Thomas Nash

Patience is a tree with bitter roots that bears sweet fruit. - Chinese proverb

You have to go through the falling down in order to learn to walk. It helps to know that you can survive it. That’s an education in itself. - Carol Burnett

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. - Jules Renard

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

via Surfing with the Alien

How did I not know about this???

Old Jews Telling Jokes

“You can’t give your photograph soul with technique. I want my photos to be fresh and urgent. A good photograph should be a call to arms. It should say, ‘Fucking now. The time is ripe. Come on.'"

Terry Richardson

via That Obscure Object.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Two lovers celebrating his birthday

Walking along the Seine, in Paris, with my Flame-Haired Angel.

Photo by Gabe Vizzard.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Champagne stopper

I remember one of the tiny thrills of setting up house in Paris, years ago, was buying a Champagne stopper. Just the idea that we were likely to have Champagne in the house often enough, casually enough, to open bottles and not finish them, was thrilling. It felt as grown up as getting a mortgage.

Then, when we had to replace the Champagne stopper, because we'd worn it out from use, I felt I had truly arrived in the world of presumptively casual glamour. And a little like a lush.


Music for the Flame-Haired Angel

We've been groovin' to the music at this juke joint.

It's *made* for Flame-Haired Angel in party mode. ...but I think I caught my mom dancing to it, too...

Nyle: "Let the Beat Build"

From the vimeo site: "This video was filmed in one take, with audio being recorded simultaneously with the film."

Pretty stunning.

Nyle "Let The Beat Build" from Nyle on Vimeo.

Dedicated to my friend Bill Stuart, who recently became a dad

Spent a wonderful stretch with 1001 Rules For My Unborn Son, the other night. I like the lede mightily: "Let's get some things straight before I get old and uncool."

As I was reading the whole damn thing, I became increasingly convinced that the author and I are very nearly the same person. The advice about white Oxford shirts and facial hair, aside, pretty much every line got me nodding or laughing. Every musical reference was a touchstone.

And then it struck me that my old friend Bill Stuart is pretty much the one man in my life who actually lives by all these rules, rather than just aspiring to them. He may not like the New York Dolls, but that's forgivable.

Here's to young Keane Stuart growing up to be just as fine a man as his daddy. A tall order.


days with my father

One of my guilty web pleasures is the blog Le Love. The folk recently tipped me off about this extraordinarily beautiful work. To say that it's moving doesn't begin to capture it's power. Le Love called it "insanely touching". That creeps in the right direction, but the experience of the work is its only appropriate summation. Have the experience.

days with my father

One small note for the anal retentive (like me): The navigation of the site is quite innovative, but also non-intuitive. You can scroll up, down, sideways. Don't worry about linearity. Just immerse yourself. It's part of the beauty.

Things I've been meaning to jot down...

The next in what will hopefully be a short-lived series. Some more serendipitously accumulated stuff I've been meaning to share. Enjoy. Some of these are a little bit sexy. So, if that bothers you, avert your tender eyes.

For me, what’s compelling about sexuality is the way that desire transforms what we take in through our senses, the ways in which our bodies betray us or rescue us by insisting on their own non-negotiable truths.

Catherine Brady
via Nightmare Brunette

She’s aware of her power but she isn’t sure yet how to use it, what to do with it, how much she even wants it. That body is still new to her, she’s still trying it out, thinking it through, a bit like a kid walking the streets with a loaded gun and deciding whether he’s packing it to protect himself or to begin a life of crime.

— Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
via Nightmare Brunette

Here's one I don't agree with, but found catalytically provocative. A good brain push.
Some people labor under the delusion that happiness is mankind’s natural state of being. But happiness has never been our birthright; anger, sadness, and death are our birthrights. Sleepless nights and haunted days are our birthrights. Heartbreak, anxiety, and self-doubt are our birthrights. Death, decay, mourning, failure, and rejection are our birthrights. Happiness is more like a pleasant surprise we get every once in a while, like a rainbow. Or a blowjob.

via For Her Eyes Only -- which is WAY not safe for work.

People only see in us the contemptible skirt-fever which rules our actions but completely miss the beauty-hunger underlying it. To be so struck by a face sometimes that one wants to devour it feature by feature. Even making love to the body beneath it gives no surcease, no rest. What is to be done with people like us?

— Lawrence Durrell, Justine
via Nightmare Brunette

We can deny everything, except that we have the possibility of being better.

— His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
via Nightmare Brunette

via Big Fun

Move away from home, get a menial job, fall for as many untrustworthy men as it takes to get all that nonsense out of your system. Don’t even think about college until your mind is parched and you are frantic to learn. Don’t marry in your twenties. Don’t be kind to yourself. Keep in touch.

— Jincy Willett, The Best Of Betty
via Nightmare Brunette

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy

— John Mason
via Big Fun

I’m as confused as a baby in a topless bar.

- Anonymous
via Unpolitically Correct

Lastly: I'm sure lots of folks know this history, but I sure as hell didn't. If you've ever grooved to Lou Reed's iconic "Walk on the Wild Side", then you've heard these words:

“Holly came from miami f.l.a.
Hitch-hiked her way across the u.s.a.”


“Candy came from out on the island
In the backroom she was everybodys darling”

What I never realised, until Bohemia clued me in, was that those aren't fictional characters. They're Reeds buddies from Andy Warhol's Factory. And here they are. Holly (Woodlawn) and Candy (Darling) are bottom and right, respectively.

Oz "Great Firewall" crumbles. Houston's faith restored.

I haven't been writing about it much (or about anything much, recently), but I've been passionately following the debate about the Australian government's attempts to put a national "great firewall" in place to monitor and censor *all* internet traffic going into and out of Oz.

After so many years of the ridiculously imperious John Howard government (non-Aussies: think of a short, unattractive ideological copy of George W Bush), one would have hoped that a policy as anti-populist as this would never have gotten up under current Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. I wondered about Rudd's motivations on this issue in a previous post.

Packaged under a cynical and false ribbon of protecting us all from child porn and terrorists, the proposal was, in essence, to give the Aussie government the same powers over internet content that the Chinese government has (and uses).

Well, it appears to be over. About a week ago, this was in my industry's trade press:

Oz telecoms minister backtracks on mandatory Internet censorship proposals

After all the macho posturing and endlessly-repeated bloodly-minded determination to ignore outraged public opinion, the Australian government is now suddenly back-tracking on its much-vaunted and virulently-criticised plan to pass legislation that would impose Orwellian levels of censorship on the Internet browsing habits of its citizens...

Read the rest HERE, and have a beer.

(And on a side note, that is some damn fine writing for an industry trade rag. It's got snap and real pace. Kudos to Martyn Warwick of TelecomTV.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Big Fun

I haven't blogged in a while, but that doesn't stop the stockpile of stuff I *want* to blog about from growing and growing and growing.

Here's a whole mess of stuff Big Fun has been pointing me to. I've been meaning to write a little about each of these, but that's just keeping me from posting them, at all.

"...Instead of gathering on collective farms, we gather in collective worlds. Instead of state factories, we have desktop factories connected to virtual co-ops. Instead of sharing drill bits, picks, and shovels, we share apps, scripts, and APIs. Instead of faceless politburos, we have faceless meritocracies, where the only thing that matters is getting things done. Instead of national production, we have peer production. Instead of government rations and subsidies, we have a bounty of free goods."

Kevin Kelly in Wired, “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online” (via somethingchanged)

“ This is why our problem is not just economic; it’s spiritual. We have mistaken consuming for living."

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, in the Atlantic

“ I want to remind you that financial success is not the only goal or the only measure of success. It’s easy to get caught up in the heady buzz of making money. You should regard money as fuel for what you really want to do, not as a goal in and of itself. Money is like gas in the car — you need to pay attention or you’ll end up on the side of the road — but a well-lived life is not a tour of gas stations!"

Tim O’Reilly
(via poortaste, via wreckandsalvage, via klaatu)

“ I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does."

Jorge Luis Borges
(via affremblequotes)

“ The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

Friedrich Nietzsche