Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Mad Men lovers might be miffed

February 6, 2011

Daniel Mendehlson is not impressed; another piece from the New  York Review of books.  A taste:

For a drama (or book, or whatever) to invite an audience to  feel superior to a less enlightened era even as it teases the  regressive urges behind the behaviors associated with that  era strikes me as the worst possible offense that can be  committed in a creative work set in the past: it’s  simultaneously contemptuous and pandering. Here, it  cripples the show’s ability to tell us anything of real  substance about the world it depicts.

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On Francesca Woodman

February 5, 2011

Nice piece in the New York Review of Books on Francesca Woodman.

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The legal art forger

January 27, 2011

Here’s a piece in the Financial Times about one of America’s most notorious  forgers.  A taste:

When Gray saw the priest, she was taken aback by his appearance – he was short  and thin with sparse hair and jug ears, and looked frail and sickly. She and Mark  Tullos, the museum’s director, took him to Tullos’s office, where they had trouble  grasping his train of thought. “He had attention deficit disorder worse than anyone  I’d ever met,” says Gray. “He was constantly distracted in the middle of sentences by  shiny objects or jewellery.”

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I Am Love

January 27, 2011

Rented this the other night, a film that came out in 2009, starring Tilda Swinton.  The whole film is in  Italian and Russian and is mesmerizing; shot in Milan, Nice, San Remo and London.  It’s a  “continental” film to be sure, languorously paced, erotic, with tension building quietly as the stifling orthodoxies of family and wealth are ruptured irrevocably by passion. An old story, true, but well  executed, and especially appealing to me, food is the heart of seduction.

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Snow!

December 31, 2009

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On the perils of eating husky liver

February 17, 2009

siberian-huskyI’m slowly making my way through The Aztec Treasure House by Evan S. Connell. The book, published in 2001, is a compilation of historical essays; not topics we obsess on so much, but tales of endearing and dark, enduring folly.

Here we read of journeys in search of the mythical Prester John, of the Innocents Crusade, when children marched toward death or enslavement to rid Jerusalem of the Moslems, of Arctic explorations gone awry, of Spanish and Incans who died for gold, of a king’s hubris and the ship that sank in his service.

Here’s the passage on husky livers:

Mertz and Mawson looked forward to eating the livers of the dogs, not because they were good —in fact they were slimy and stank of fish—but because it seemed to them that the liver must be nourishing. This part of the animal was saturated with a substance  which would be isolated eight years later by  laboratory technicians and named vitamin A. Twenty years after that discovery the effects of an overdose would be catalogued: nausea, vertigo, loss of hair, cramps, skin fissures, extreme fatigue, dysentery, delirium, and convulsions, often ending in death. … Four ounces of a husky’s liver is enough to be considered poisonous. Mawson and Mertz, who ate six livers, swallowed about thirty toxic doses apiece on the assumption it was good for them.

Connell’s wry humor and off-hand insights infuse these pieces with the mark of a keen and irreverent mind. For more on Connell, this Salon piece explores his sanguinary obsessions.