The implicit ‘too’— What matters

BLMTooWe are not a nation known for nuance— apparently what’s implicit is not always obvious. But if a sensitive, painstaking explanation is what’s required, then let what’s viral be helpful.


Thing is: The sniper who shot the officers in Dallas did a devastating disservice to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and to all African Americans. He created a situation wherein the ignorant and racist will choose to use it to reinforce their beliefs. Though he wasn’t, in fact, affiliated with those in the hopeful and peaceful collective, we live in a Post-Factual democracy— facts mean little or nothing; misconstruance will win the day.

His myopic, misguided actions poured gasoline on a burning building. And that is a tragedy we’re all subject to.


bits n’ bobs: notes, quotes & other nonsense

I have a lot of pages in the notes app on my iPhone. I mean A LOT, and it’s all just random, just a hodge podge of lists, miscellaneous ideas, quotations or passages, stray thoughts, &c. A delightful mess to wade through!

Here are just a few things I found today while looking for a specific bit of info. ENJOY

“The young man’s ambition was to be known, not to be good.”
— Frankensten on Dr. Frankenstein, Penny Dreadful


Late afternoon
on the Atlantic

Long shadows
render mountain ranges
of the prints of terns’ feet
in the sand


“We live in time, and through it, we build our huts in its ruins, or used to, and we cannot afford all these abandonings.”
The Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner


(To Ben at Riis beach:)
I love the edge of the world. It’s always a good time at the edge of the world.


(On a black cigar box that TL had lined with red velvet:)
It looks like a coffin I want to do the Charleston in!


“…whispered of old dead faiths that the day had shattered”
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald


“The job of the artist is to look for the antidote to the emptiness of existence.”
— Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen


“Don’t be mysterious. It’s the last resort of people with no secrets.”
— The Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes


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Sincerest form of flattery*

Derby party at Commonwealth Brooklyn- a posterYou may recall this poster I designed, which I posted here on April 20th. Well, I went to the party in question yesterday to watch the Derby, and Ray, who commissioned the poster mentioned that I ought to page through the current Time Out New York, as there was an ad for the Royalton which bore a more-than-coincidental resemblance to my design.

Royalton Kentucky Derby Party ad

While it’s not an exact lift (clearly it was all redrawn and a different layout, fonts etc), I do agree with those who’ve told me it looks ‘copied’ from my design. Sadly, the designer didn’t bother to do any research— there is no saddle, for example, and the poor horse’s head looks more like that of a dog. Also: the Kentucky Derby is run on a dirt track, not turf. Please!

“It’s a lazy steal”
— Zac G.

Picasso is famous for having said “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.” But there’s a caveat: if you’re gonna steal or lift an idea, it’s incumbent on you to make it better than what you stole it from.

* A note on the title: the full phrase is “Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery”, coined by Caleb Colton. I share it because of its inherent contradiction: flattery is, by definition, insincere. (An earlier version was “Imitation is a kind of artless flattery”, coined by Eustace Budgell.)

Forks, frames, staghorns— and a fish

Institute Benjamenta
A follow-up to the last post— I watched Institute Benjamenta last night. A surrealist experimental film by the Brothers Quay, their first live action project (as opposed to stop-motion animation). Tap the image above to see a bunch of stills.

The basic premise follows Jacob to the eponymous institute, to learn how to be a servant. The story is based on a novel, Jacob von Gunten, by Robert Walser, and you can read more about it here.

Institute BenjamentaIt’s beautifully shot and directed, with precise framing and timing of every shot. The light and shadow are treated almost as animated characters, and the look of it is very typical of a Brothers Quay project— worth watching on these merits alone. Personally, I want to live in the set.Institute BenjamentaHowever, as it nears the climax of the film, it begins to fall apart as a story-telling device, or at least to begin to lose one’s attention. The filmmakers attempt to sustain an unreal tension for too long— it was mainly, I think, the score in the last 20 minutes or so that seems to cause the failure, making the ending of the film feel anti-climactic, disappointing, but was perhaps intentional.

Still, well worth watching, and Mark Rylance is very adept in the waking dream sort of atmosphere of the film.Institute Benjamenta

I’ve finally been inside the inner chambers, and I hate to say they don’t exist. There is only a goldfish.

My project is a staff pick on Kickstarter!


“The Twelve Houses: 2015 Zodiac Calendar by Elizabeth Daggar” ☺

— KSR Staff Picks (@ksr_staff) August 29, 2014

[When] Did you learn how to write?


Above is the headline and subhead of an article on, one that’s both unsettling and disheartening. First (though least important) I disagree, on the whole, that teaching classics may be a waste of time in high school. Certainly not all of the reading need be ‘classic’— there are many more contemporary writers that could fit in well and probably be more engaging to high school students; more likely to be relatable and hold interest, but the problem is that it sounds as though kids are expected to learn how to write properly in high school!

By the time a kid is in high school, he should already know how to write properly, if not well. The process of learning the basics of grammar and structure must be taught gradually, all throughout primary school (grade school, elementary school— once called GRAMMAR school, for a reason). As anyone who has studied a foreign language knows, trying to jam all of the parts of speech, the understanding of infinitives, gerunds, etc, is a daunting task even if you already understand them in your native language.

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la petite revue

Le Week-End

Saw Le Week-End the other night. It’s bloody gorgeous. For the obvious reason, of course, that being it’s shot in Paris. But no, not just visually, it’s such a finely told interval in these characters’ lives, with brilliantly subtle dialogue and interaction. Utterly believable connection / tension between them.

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