Art, Technology

Technics and Human Development: The Birth of Meaning

Sun, 18 Feb 2018

Lewis What first set humankind apart from other creatures was the ability to make meaning, argued Lewis Mumford, in his 1967 book "The Myth and the Machine Volume One: Technics and Human Development." Born from dream and excess psychic energy, meaning made the universe around us, helping us not only to describe what was in front of us, but what could be, or what might have been. Philosopher Max Muller called it the Fundamental Metaphor, a "universal mythology, this flowing of our spirit into objective chaos and recreating it in our own image." Click to Read More...


What's the Story, Morning Glory? Joan Didion, Jann Wenner

Thu, 08 Feb 2018

Joab The collection of essays that make up "The White Album," Joan Didion asserts almost immediately, are about the collapse of meaning, about the dissolution of the narratives told to guide us through life. In the era when she penned them, the late 1960s and early 1970s, western culture itself was shifting from order to disorder, seemingly. The entrenched powers of the old were giving way to the strength of the young ("They got the guns, but we got the numbers," the Lizard King sang at the time). On the personal level, Didion's defense mechanisms were failing as well. So, what is left, this book asks. Click to Read More...


Stir a Cauldron, Point a Bone, Paint a Throne, Crown a King: Prog Rock in the 1970s

Sun, 14 Jan 2018

Book Like so many artifacts of the 1970s, progressive rock was something that seemed perfectly normal at the time, but in hindsight was pretty much another batshit crazy relic of that era, alongside leisure suits, shag carpeting, and waterbeds. Dave Weigel's "The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock" does an excellent job of capturing both the madness and the occasional shimmers of brilliance from this curious genre of music. Click to Read More...


Venice Beach in Three Songs

Sat, 30 Dec 2017

A My three favorite days this year spanned the Labor Day weekend I was in Venice Beach. I didn't do much of anything. I napped on the beach, ate Cheerios, got my Zen on. I procured and then sun-and-surf faded a baby-blue Venice Beach tee. I knew no one there; I was completely anonymous. Click to Read More...


The Happiness Delusion

Mon, 11 Dec 2017

A We may think we see the world around us clearly, but our view is distorted by the powerfully magnetic influence of natural selection, our genes' insistent push to see everything in terms of passing themselves on to a new generation. "Natural selection didn't design your mind to see the world clearly. It designed your mind to have perceptions and beliefs that would help take care of your genes," Wright writes in his new book, "Why Buddhism is True." Click to Read More...


The Night Tanya Tucker Came to Hopewell

Fri, 28 Jul 2017

A We saw Tanya Tucker play in Hopewell, Virginia, about a 30-minute drive out of Richmond. What was in Hopewell? Not a lot, it looked from the town as we drove in as the sun was going down. It is one of those many small towns in the U.S. that were vibrant a century ago, but whose picturesque storefront shops look sadly empty these days, their main streets quiet of the activity they so richly deserve. Click to Read More...


All Kinds of Time

Tue, 04 Jul 2017

A Our understanding of time has always been closely intertwined within culture. This is the basic premise of Frank Adam's book "About Time." The idea requires a close reading of both history and our understanding of time, which has changed and grown more exacting through the centuries. Adam follows this very closely through the centuries, though loses focus somewhat as he enters into the modern era. Click to Read More...


Women Singers in Country Music: The Gregarious Patsy Cline

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

An Patsy Cline, in today's parlance, gave zero fucks.

I feel a certain kinship to Cline, if only because I attended the same school she did, Gore Elementary, 12 miles west of Winchester, Virginia (though I attended 30 years after she did). Back up against the Blue Ridge Mountains, Gore is a tiny unincorporated town, mostly a few buildings coalescing around a single road breaking off Route 50.

Many of the refined folk in the nearby metropolis of sorts, Winchester, had looked down on Patsy Cline, as being from the wrong side of the tracks, even after she became famous. Click to Read More...


Grand Funk: "We're an American Band"

Sat, 24 Oct 2015

Grand For these three minutes in 1973, Grand Funk Railroad were the smartest kids in the room (cribbing no doubt from Todd Rundgren, who produced the track, "We're an American Band"). Bet Freddie King still beat them at poker though.

GFR got its start in Flint Michigan, just up Route 75 from Detroit, a city where, at the time, a band couldn't BUT to learn rock n' roll. The prog-rockers could wallow in the studios and confabulate delicate imaginary musical worlds, but GFR would slog from town to town and boogie HARD every night so everyone across the land can party down. Click to Read More...


Routine and Rebellion in Software Versioning

Sat, 26 Sep 2015

How While everyone probably agrees a consistent numbering scheme for software releases is a Good Thing, there are those software and package managers who flout the largely agreed-upon conventions of numerical versioning, either out of ignorance or of a willful disregard. This is the subject of Sentimental Versioning where Dominic Tarr seems to both hold in awe and at the same time subtly mock the singularly odd versioning schemes of a few software packages, such as Node.js and Tex.

Draw inspiration from the way their version numbers express intangible aspects of the project, and are a work of art on their own, Tarr writes, maybe in jest, maybe not. Click to Read More...


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