The Art

title={On Writing},
author={King, S.},
publisher={Pocket Books},
comment={Stephen King tells a memoir about developing as a writer, then gives his tips on writing. The first 100 pages are his memoir about growing into being a writer. Then he has a ‘toolbox’ for writers.},
category={The Art, writing}
% The first foreword is the most interesting part. In it he says that he asked Amy Tan what question he wished people would ask at Q&As. And she says “nobody ever asks about the language.” It’s the thing that set him thinking he should write about writing. He had his doubts because, as he says: Colonel Sanders sold a lot of chicken, but nobody really wants to know how he made it. And they ask the DeLillos and Updikes about language, but not popular authors.
% (Actually, I’m sure there’s lots of people who would like to ask Stephen King and Amy Tan about language – but those people are probably vastly outnumbered at Q+As with those authors by idiots. Such is the burden of the popular author.)
% The memoirs are well written, of course, but I skimmed it because it’s not that interesting. The usual stuff about rejections and his own doubts, and encouragements by other people, and being a drunk. You could just guess it all, if you wanted to.
% His ‘toolbox’ is mostly a recapping of Strunk and White. See comments in my notes on writing.
% And the ‘writing’ section is a recap of all the advice you’ve ever heard before: the paragraph is the unit of composition; cut anything that doesn’t move the story forward even if it’s good (“murder your darlings” is literally quoted, with attribution.); you can’t be a good writer if you aren’t a good reader; dialog is a gift for people with an ear for it, always make story the boss, never do character studies, Etc.
% It would be exciting to get one piece of advice from King that isn’t a rehash of stuff you’ve heard a hundred times. Surprise me man! Give me a little nugget or secret to your wild success that isn’t somethig I can learn elsewhere. % Still, this book is good, despite the fact that it’s all rehash of the same old advice, it’s way more accessible than most other sources of those advice. For those who don’t have the internal energy to push through Strunk and White (short as it is) this book gives you the same stuff in a much breezier and quick-reading way.
% Page 189: nobody is the ‘best friend’ or the bad guy in real life. Write all your characters as if they are the central voice in their lives, because that’s how real people are.
% Page 191: On The Dead Zone: Making the presidential candidate the bad guy “called for a dangerously unstable politician… a fellow who could climb the political ladder by showing the world a jolly, jes’-folks face and charming the voters by refusing to play the game in the usual way.” % Page 192: “I want the reader to be constantly thinking: This guy is out of control—how come somebody can’t see through him” King goes on to see similarities in his main antagonist with Jesse Ventura’s running for governor of Minnesota, and then dismisses that comparison because Ventura didn’t want to start WWIII like his antagonist. So: King wrote a book about a present dude realizing the president is a madman, 30 years before the president was a madman by exactly the same mechanism as in his book! % This also tips King’s hand to the weakness of his writing: wouldn’t Dead Zone have been a much more interesting story if the character found out the presidential candidate was planning to start WWIII by some means other than magic? I never read the book, but his description of it makes the prescience idea sound extremely unsatisfying and unnecessary. I have no memory of the presidential assassination plot in the movie version. Maybe they dropped it because it was dumb? What I remember from the movie is the ability to foresee the deaths or horrible – but every day – things that might happen when the protagonist touches people (or maybe I’m mostly remembering the SNL sketch). Prescience of everyday horror is way more interesting than prescience of global consequence. Global consequence should be rooted out by either an everyday person who just happens to be in the right place at the right time (think Pentagon Papers or Snowden), or by some brilliant character who disentangles a complex web to reveal the truth. THIS is basic storytelling, and it just shocks me that King is so blind to his shortcomings around this kind of thing. I like the dude himself, and his advice on writing, and some elements of his books, but most of the ones I have read (at least the stories with supernatural elements) suffer from this kind of ham-handed handling of the supernatural. I do not understand how he made his name by that means.
% King’s core advice is simply: story above all else. Which is not bad advice for a beginning writer. A legible story will almost always make a book accessible. But it shunts aside the “Dopesmoker” style of book — where you get the sensation of spending time in a different world, maybe with interesting character, and story is a secondary consideration or maybe not there at all because the created world is such an engaging place to be in. Certainly many (most?) of my favorite novels are like that, and for that reason. Maybe a better, more high-minded example than Dopesmoker (not even a book) is The Recognitions, which, certainly thank god for the story in it — which is unquestionably there and holds the whole thing together, and it would be unreadable without it — but it’s the experience of being in that world (that version of NYC) that makes it so enriching and compelling a read.
% For all his insistence on making story the primary focus of your writing, he doesn’t have much advice on how to tell a good story (or what makes a good story). This seems to be the most critical thing missing from this book. (And that NY Times piece on sustaining mystery maybe the only thing I’ve ever read that directly addresses it.)
% See also: germs ‘what if I were to teach writing’
% The best part of the book is the coda where he tells the story of being hit by a car while walking “driven by a character from one of my own novels.” This occured during the writing of the book. It has a poignancy and pain that the earlier autobigraphical part lacks.

Author={Marchese, David},
Title={Brian Eno Reveals the Hidden Purpose of All Art},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Interview with Brian Eno where he talks about peeing on a Duchamp.},
category={The Art, brian eno, Music}

Author={Sloan, Will},
Title={The Cartoon Mystery That Stumped the Internet},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={A screen showing a cartoon from the 1990s in the background of family photo sets off a giant hunt on the internet to identify it. Even though at one point searching for the picture was more likely to yield results that were the hunt itself, the identity of the cartoon was eventually established.},
category={The Art, Criticality, cartoons, internet}
% Not discussed: that for every one of these desperate internet searches, there must be dozens that never rise to the attention of the internet. There is still SO MUCH that is NOT on the internet. SO MUCh that would require this amount of work by all these people to earn a spot on the internet consciousness.
% There’s much more here than what the article is about. Really, it is about cultural consciousness. So much more has slipped from the cultural consciousness than remains in it.
% There’s different categories: There’s things actively in the cultural consciousness.
% There’s stuff that is rememberd by many if mentioned, but not actively discussed (Roots)
% There’s stuff that is remembered by few or very few, and those few are online enough to identify a query by someone else (This cartoon).
% There’ stuff that is remembered by very few, but NOT identifiable by anyone online (older stuff, this cartoon until it WAS identified).
% There’s stuff that’s not remembered by anyone, but exists in a record somewhere.
% There’s stuff that’s not remembered and not recorded anywhere. (Likely the biggest category).
% And these categories are JUST things I would call “cultural consiousness” materials — things that MANY people shared at some point. There’s also so MUCH MORE that’s within personal or family/friend group consciousness only.
% And there’s also a distinction between stuff that only makes it to a level of consciousness among a small group of fanatics (say, Laibach) and stuff that is common household knowledge. And there’s CURRENT and ACTIVE common household culture (Lord of the Rings), and forgotten household culture (All in the Family).

Author={Blum, Jason},
Title={A Scrappier Model for Netflix Might Be More Sustainable},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An interesting insight into the economics of movie-making. Streaming services (read: Netflix) pay high wages up front to people who create and work in television and movies so they can wholly own the final product and not have to share any details about the success for failure of geetting people to watch the thing with the creators. This is extremely expensive and removes much if not all of the economic motivation to create a commercially successful movie. Traditional movie-making models paid out to creators from an obscure and hard-to-follow ‘percentage points’ system which preserves the motivation for commercial success, but resulted in a lot of legal wrangling over the complexity of the system. Blum argues that his method: where actors and creators are paid a straight share of box-office receipts but get paid the union minimum for their initial product – creates a motivation for the creator to make a commercial successful product because they will make a lot of money off it from box office receipts, and the result will be more movies that are better commerially and artistically. He argues streaming services need to move to a model like this.},
category={The Art, Economics, film, tv, movies, movie production}
% It’s interesting that he feels like creators need an economic motive to create a commercially successful work, but the artistic motive will be inherent and does not require any economic motive. It is not unheard of for movie financers to WANT artistic quality, though unusual for sure, and maybe not great business.
% He also warns about the creator who wants up-front payout without having made a hit already in lieu of a later payout at the box office. But he doesn’t warn about the creator who might be willing to forego commercial success ENTIRELY in favor of an artistic piece.

@book{charters1997literature, title={Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama}, author={Charters, A. and Charters, S.}, number={v. 1}, isbn={9780312137700}, lccn={96086766}, url={}, year={1997}, publisher={Bedford Books}, comment={My giant literature textbook from college.} category={The Art, literature, robert frost} } % Page 1098: The Road Not Taken was actually intended as a joke for Robert Frost’s friend Edward Thomas. Thomas could never make up his mind about anything, and Frost teased him by saying, “No matter which road you take, you’ll always sigh and wish you’d taken another.” Frost sent the poem to Thomas in a letter, but his friend missed the joke entirely, thining it was a poem about decisions Frost had made in his own life. According to bographer Lawrence Thompson, Frost could never bring himself to confess that the poem had not worked as he had intended.

Author={Wells, Pete},
Title={Peter Luger Used to Sizzle. Now It Sputters.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Pete Wells trashes Peter Luger Steak House. 0 stars.},
category={The Art, restaurants, pete wells, peter luger, steak}

Author={Wells, Pete},
Title={At Sushi Nakazawa, Only the Price Remains the Same},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An updated review of Sushi Nakazawa, in which Pete Wells argues that maybe the restaurant’s catering to American audiences has gone a little too far and it’s getting a little in the way of the quality. Though he appreciates the populism. 3 stars.},
category={The Art, sushi, nakazawa, jiro dreams of suhi, restaurants, pete wells}
% Also see the original review in the Times where he gave it 4 stars:
% \url{}

Author={Reyburn, Scott},
Title={A ‘Great Wealth Transfer’ Is Coming. What Will It Mean for Art?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Something like 1.9 trillion dollars in art will be passed from baby boomers to younger generations in the coming decade. But tastes for art dictate the art market values, and it’s not clear that younger people care that much about art — particularly blue chip art — and the value may drop off drastically in years ahead. ``wealthy people aged 70 and over now list art as their sixth most popular interest, passion or hobby. Art drops off the list among those aged under 70, with sports, technology and philanthropy the most popular interests among the under-50s.’’ Article also includes estimates of wealth transfer values in general, not just art.},
category={The Art, Economics, inheritance}

Author={Buckley, Cara},
Title={Movies Starring Women Earn More Than Male-Led Films, Study Finds},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Movies with a female lead and that pass the Bechdel test make more money than movies featuring dudes. “A lot of times in our business there is a lot of bias disguising itself as knowledge,” Haubegger said. ``While women account for about half of movie tickets sold, Haubegger said she believed the greater success of films starring women and people of color can be attributed to a thirst for fresh storylines. “You’ve got superhero fans that haven’t seen innovation in superhero movies in 36 years,” she said. Haubegger also said the perception that such films are risky means they face more studio scrutiny from the outset.’’},
category={The Art, movies, women, bechdel test}
% Of course the implied argument is that if more movies with women are made, they would stop making more money than those led by men…

Author={Deb, Sopan},
Title={Chicago Pulls Kerry James Marshall Painting From Auction Following Criticism},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={After public outcry, Chicago decided not to sell a mural by Kerry James Marshall. The painting is in a library and could have brought in 10-15 millions dollars which would have been spent on upgrades to the library. Marshall said ``I am certain they could get more money if they sold the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza.’’},
category={The Art, chicago}
% An interesting notion this - selling public art to fund public works.

Author={Lim, XiaoZhi},
Title={These Cultural Treasures Are Made of Plastic. Now They’re Falling Apart.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Plastic pieces in museums are degrading. This includes national treasures like Armstrong’s space suit and the first artificial heart, as well as famous art. This article has some nice clear descriptions of what plastic is, including that it’s thousands of different compounds which have a tendency to try to order themselves more efficiently over time so the plastic “shrinks.” And that certain chemical “plasticizers” migrate to the surface of the material over time, in the form of white powder or sticky liquid. But removing those surface chemicals can cause MORE migration furthering deterioration.},
category={The Art, plastic, preservation, space suits}
% The material is pretty amazingly terrible: chosen for being light and strong and lasting forever, but failing because it is cheap and weak and decays rapidly!

Author={Weiner, Jonah},
Title={Where Do Dwarf-Eating Carp Come From?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Covers the unique genius of the creator of Dwarf Fortress. Not so much the game itself.},
category={The Art, video games, dwarf fortress}
% This is the article that finally got me playing Dwarf Fortress after years of thinking it was too complicated to play.

title={Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara & Other Writings},
author={Robinson, T.},
publisher={Lilliput Press},
comment={* Tim Robinson made amazing hand-drawn maps of the areas around Galway. He then sort-of annotated those maps with these essays. * The A Connemara Fractal essay functions as a correction to a claim in his earlier essay Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara that the coastline of a certain section might be more than 250 miles long if measured along all its intricate curves. However, he discovers that in fact the coastline is fractal in nature, and thus measuring a coastline that way essentially yields a measurement of infinity. So this essay starts from this very practical space and expands into a very accessible discussion of the what and why of fractals (I’ve never really seen a “why” explanation of fractals before). He discovers that the coastline is neither 1 nor two dimensional, but is closer to something like 1.2 dimensions, (or 1 and a half if you go by Mandelbrot’s original estimation.) This essay also veers off into a discussion of how stories (particularly of local spoken word tradition) are attached to the landscape, with a story of a town named for a large rock of quartz (put their by ancients) that looks like a horse grazing in a field. (This concept is akin to the way Adam Curtis talks about communities need to be in touch with their stories in that talk with Alan Moore.) He covers Patrick Pearce’s fiction stories and how they reflect the landscape and the mythology of a free Ireland. * Place/Person/Book is about John Millington Synge who visited the Aran Islands at the turn of the 20th Century and wrote plays about the people there that were put on in London and Paris. * Listening to the Landscape draws out the significance of place names — that they are bound up in this part of the world with the geology of the landscape and the stories the folks tell. It is, in fact, impossible to even understand Irish place names without going to look at the geology of the place and hearing the stories (again: Adam Curtis) that people tell about the place. * The final essay is called “Through Prehistoric Eyes” which argues that the placement of some boulders by Bronze Age inhabitants of the part of Ireland around Galway not only aligned with the sun setting between two mountains, but shows an aesthetic choice that transcends time, religion, and culture. He argues that the boulders could have been put anywhere along the line of the setting sun, but they chose the only part of the landscape that anyone would chose, because it aesthetically feels right. It is, essentially, the argument for the core of Modernism in art.},
category={The Art, bronze age, ireland, modernism}
% Not just an argument for modernism, but perhaps the MOST convincing argument that there is some kind of univeral aesthetics inherent to humans that I have ever read.
% Those shared aesthetics would be deep down and fundamental, (and easily confused with making broad generalities that are really more about culture than not - say that classical music has universal appeal) but they may in fact be there, in the way that these peopel 4000 years ago chose the same site that any of us doing the same activity today would have chosen.
% Is there something about the move that they were making - a change to the landscape - that could become a universal aesthetic gesture?
% Or that within the cultural requirement they had (that we don’t understand why) of marking the line of the setting sun, that they were THEN (with that rule applied) put into a position of making an aesthetic choice, and it was at that moment, within those constraints of their culture, that they made a more fundamental universal choice for aesthetics?
% page 51 – he references the hag predicting a loss in battle to the marching O’Briens:
“Quietly the broad-sworded warriors [of clan-Brian-Rua], many in number, in closest order, came hard by loch Rask; all together they looked on the shining mere, and there they saw the monstrous and distorted form of a lone ancient hideous hag that stooped over the bright loch’s shore. The loathly creature’s semblance was this: she was thatched with elf-locks foxy-grey and rough as heather, long as sea-wrack, inextricably tangled; had a bossy wrinkled foully ulcerated forehead; every hair of her eyebrows was like a strong fish-hook and, from under them, bleary dripping eyes peered with malignant fire between lids all rawly crimson-edged; she had a great blueish nose, flattened and wide, copiously and snortingly catarrhous; lips livid, white-rimmed, pustulous, that outwards turned up to her snout, and downwards to a stubby beard… The crone had a cairn of heads, a pile of arms and legs, a load, of spoils, all which she rinsed and diligently washed, so that by her labour the water in its whole extension was covered with hair and gory brains.”
Page 72: The Twelve Bens overlook everything, instilling daily ways with a certain thoughtfulness, like a great cathedral among busy streets
Page 186: “Tailoring, I am told, was the easiest trade to take up in the old days, for all you needed was scissors, tame-measure and thimble. Tailors were often despised as being unfit for hard physical work.” (Related to Xala’s observation that sewing is extremely skilled, and extremely underpaid work.) Page 187: “A peculiarity of these old songs is that, to make any sense of them, one has to know circumstances of their composition not explicit in the song itself; the song is the kernel of a nut, the shell of which is a dense fabric of personal histories and place-names – not always the most digestible of stuff, but without it the kernel loses its savour.” (This is, of course, true of ALL songs not just old Irish ones.)

Author={Ramm, Benjamin},
Title={A Controversial Restoration That Wipes Away the Past},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The Chartres Cathedral in France went through the most major renovation in 800 years. Filth and grime were removed and it was restored from a dark interior to gleaming white, as it was thought to be when new. Its famous black Madonna, that had been painted white at some point, has been restored to black. The problem is, not everyone thinks it’s such a great thing. Visitors think it is arrogant. Some people argue that the restoration makes the cathedral look fake and new. Others argue that is what it was intended to look like, and there’s no reason to get romantic or nostalgic about dirt. The black Madonna was commissioned as a copy of a white earlier one.},
category={The Art, Humanity, cathedrals, religion, france, art history, restoration}
% Some things are not talked about in this article, but might bear consideration:
% - it’s likely that the educated art historians who have read the scholarly
% works are Mostly in favor of the restoration. While people who are actually
% religious are against it. There’s religious power to something that has 900
% years of grime built up on it. While I’m sure there was something amazing in
% its original intention, the weight of age is not something to be thrown away
% lightly.
% - There is also a chance that the original builders understood that the they
% were building a building for the ages. That it would be there 1000 years
% later, and that it would not look the same. We don’t build buildings like that
% now, so we have no sense that we are building something for history.
% Still waiting for someone to apply the hygiene hypothesis to art.

Author={Yin, Steph},
Title={Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Paintings by artists over centuries have consistently underestimated the number of root-like veins in a lightning strike, researchers found. As a culture, we developed a visual language that conveys lighting — the zig-zag line. That comes from Greek represenations of lighting in the hands of gods. There ends up being this huge gap between our pictorial images of lighting and what it actually looks like.},
category={The Art, Science, lighting}

Author={Giaimo, Cara},
Title={In Massachusetts, an Artist Explores an Old Dye Factory’s Toxic Influence},
journal={Atlast Obscura},
comment={Dan Borelli changed the colors of the streetlights in Ashland Massachusetts to reflect the contamination of drinking water below ground by a dye factory in the town.},
category={The Art, Urbanism, streetlights, color}

Author={Oppenheimer, Mark},
Title={Joe Frank Signs Off},
comment={On the life and death of Joe Frank, the boundry-pushing, influential, and obscure radio host. Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, and many other influential radio personalities cite Joe Frank as their inspiration. His stuff is radical and uncategorizable. An aesthetic all his own. He started on WBAI many years ago, and found an audience in late night radio in LA.},
category={The Art, Criticality, joe frank, wbai, radio, npr}

Author={Fox, Margalit},
Title={Mike McGrady, Known for a Literary Hoax, Dies at 78},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Obituary of Mike McGrady who spearheaded a hoax to write a book full of sex and posing as literature called Naked Came the Stranger. He worked at Newsday and wanted to prove how ridiculous modern literature was. He worked with 24 other people to write the book, including axing writing that was TOO good, and then promoted it as a serious fiction book. It sold 20k copies before it was exposed as a hoax, and then sold far more moving up to 3rd place on the NY Times bestseller list.},
category={The Art, writing, hoaxes, literature, porn, sex}

title={The Elements of Style},
author={Strunk, W. and White, E.B. and Kalman, M.},
series={A Penguin book : Reference},
publisher={Penguin Books},
comment={The classic book on writing style, with illustrations by Maira Kalman. The first part (half?) is elemental sentence structural stuff, I guess by Strunk. The second part is more about the structure of a written piece itself, I guess by White.},
category={The Art, writing}
% Generally this is (I believe) the book that is the source of pushing the active voice, positive terms, and brevity. (Brevity being the result of active voice and positive phrasing.)
% Some of the most useful stuff:
% White talks well about using the paragraph as the basic unit of composition. P. 31
% He argues to use specifics: “their words call up pictures” p. 37
% He argues to put the words (or ideas) that need emphasis at the end of the sentence, paragraph, composition. This includes the introduction of new ideas. P 52. See NY Times essay on building suspense: childsuspense2012
% A list of the things in the “Words and Expressions Commonly Misused” section that I know I am guilty of: but, claim, due to, fact, enormity, gratuitous, is a man who, hopefully, importantly, in terms of, lay/lie, along these lines, meaningful, one of the most, personally, so, than, that/which, foreseeable future, the trust is, type, unique, very, would
% The glossary of grammar terms added to this edition of the book is very helpful. I wish I had realized it was there when I began reading the book.

Author={Frost, Laura},
Title={ Is Shuttering Its San Francisco Sex Dungeon},
comment={Kink, the world’s largest fetish film company, which was a success because of its transparency and healthy and fair worker practices, shut down its production studio in San Francisco because of gentrification. Though they are just shutting down porn production, they will still keep the space as a party venue.},
category={The Art, Urbanism, porn, kink, gentrification, san francisco}

Author={Poniewozik, James},
Title={The Trump Administration Shakes ‘House of Cards’ Hard},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that political television shows were dependent on the fantasy that politicians are brilliant, schemeing and Machiavellian. They assume there are still norms governing politics and generate drama by pushing against those norms. Like in Veep the main characters have to control their foul mouths in public. But the article points out that the reality now is that there are no norms. ``“House of Cards” isn’t less crazy than reality. But it assumes a greater baseline of normalcy in its larger world.’’ It then argues that Sopranos and Arrested Development are much more fitting shows for our times with their blundering dominating corrupt family power struggles.},
category={The Art, television, house of cards, veep, arrested development, Politics, Sopranos}
% I would argue that the Trump era has just exposed for everyone the truth that there hasn’t been a baseline of normalcy since at least Nixon.

Author={Bank, Justin and Alfano, Sean},
Title={The First ‘Star Wars’ Through The Times},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The Times reviews their early coverage of Star Wars.},
category={The Art, movies star wars}
The movie that shares my birthday, both of us 40 years old today.

Author={Associated Press},
Title={Christo Umbrella Crushes Woman},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The AP account of Christo’s killer giant umbrella.},
category={The Art, christo, umbrella}
% Maybe it’s just because it’s an AP article, but I feel like if this were written about in the NY Times today there’s no way it could be so matter-of-fact just-the-news style. There would be a whole level of both sympathetic and at the same time snarky tone to writing about such a bizarre event.

Author={Segnit, Nat},
Title={Good Plain English},
comment={Critical review of a bunch of new writing guides. Particularly writers promoting business casual'' style, focussed on clarity and against prose, flowerly language, or waffling. He says, The effect recalls no one so strongly as Michael Scott, the delusional middle manager from The Office. Tip by tip, acronym by iron imperative, it’s hard not to detect a whiff of one sort of bullshit being replaced by another.’’},
category={The Art, Criticality, writing}
% See also this meme that adding “And then the murders began” to the opening line of any book makes it better: \url{}

Author={Onion, Rebecca},
Title={Hand-Drawn Early-20th-Century Charts Showing the State of African-American Economic Life},
comment={W.E.B. Du Bois put together an exhibition for the 1900 Paris Exposition that included hand-drawn statistical charts of the lives of African-Americans, particularly in Georgia. They are extremely modern looking, but the hand-drawn quality gives them a unique aesthetic.},
category={web du bois, The Art, statistics, graphic design, turn of the century, georgia, african-americans, Economics}
% Slate article includes link to Library of Congress online scans of the works. Also see this article: \url{}

Author={Tait, Amelia},
Title={The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does},
journal={New Statesman},
comment={People on the internet believe they saw a movie called Shazaam in the 1990s staring Sinbad as a genie. But the movie doesn’t exist. This article looks at the possibility of collective false memories, confusion with a real movie staring Shaq as a genie calle Kazaam, the possibility that people from paralell universes are crossing over with their own memories to ours, and that beings running the simulation we are living in are messing with the details. (Cites Neil deGrasse Tyson’s odds that there is a 50-50 chance we are living in a simulator.)},
category={The Art, neil degrasse tyson, sinbad, false memories}

Author={Albrecht, Leslie},
Title={Harvest Dome Floating Art Project Sucked Under by Toxic Gowanus Canal},
journal={DNA Info},
comment={An art project (an orb made of old umbrellas and plastic bottles) was deployed in the Gowanus canal, but sank after one of its anchors caught on a sunken boat — which sank after a group of artists had a party and set it on fire. The EPA will remove the sunken art projects as part of their canal cleanup.},
category={The Art, gowanus, sculpture}

Author={Edgars, Geoff},
journal={The Boston Globe},
comment = {Long form article looking at the infamous disaster of trying to curate a huge art show by the artist Christoph Büchel at Mass MoCA.},
category = {The Art, curation, mass moca}

Author={George, Tara},
Title={Thumbelina’s Secret Architect, Creating Fairy Houses on a New Jersey Trail},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Someone was building tiny tasteful fairy houses'' in some woods in New Jersey. But they became so popular that people started bringing their kids looking for them, and building their own, with garish low-brow materials like plastic. This left some people not wanting to decide what qualifies as a fairy house’’ against those who thought the new ones violated good taste.}
category = {The Art, new jersey, nature, fairies}

Author={Bowley, Graham},
Title={Peter Doig Says He Didn’t Paint This. Now He Has to Prove It.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Dude has a painting from the 1970s that he claims is a Peter Doig. But Doig claims he didn’t do the painting. Now Doig is being sued, and he has to prove in court that the painting is not his.},
category = {The Art, doig, painting, canada, authentication}

Author={Vanderbilt, Tom},
Title={Letter of Recommendation: U.S.G.S. Topographical Maps},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Vanderbilt waxes poetic on the beauty of USGS topo maps. ``“The older is a flat map or a globe map,” the geographer Arthur Robinson once observed, “the more likely it is to be called an art object.”’’},
category = {The Art, usgs topographic maps}
% By the author of Traffic vanderbilt2009traffic

title={Blueprint for Counter Education},
author={Miller, L. and Stein, M. and Cronin, P. and Henrichs, M.},
publisher={Inventory Press},
comment={Reprint of the book originally released by Doubleday in 1970. ``Maurice R. Stein and Larry Miller’s Blueprint for Counter Education is one of the defining (but neglected) works of radical pedagogy of the Vietnam War era. Originally published as a boxed set by Doubleday in 1970, the book was accompanied by large graphic posters that could serve as a portable learning environment for a new process-based model of education, and a bibliography and checklist that map patterns and relationships between radical thought and artistic practices—from the modernist avant-gardes to postmodernism, from the Bauhaus to Black Mountain College, from Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin to Buckminster Fuller and Norman O. Brown—with Herbert Marcuse and Marshall McLuhan serving as points of anchorage. Blueprint for Counter Education thus serves as a vital synthesis of the numerous intellectual currents in the countercultural debate on the radical reform of schools, universities and ways of learning. To accompany this new facsimile edition of the book and posters, an 80-page booklet features a conversation with the original Blueprint creators, Maurice R. Stein, Larry Miller and designer Marshall Henrichs, as well as essays from Jeffrey Schnapp, Paul Cronin and notes on the design by Adam Michaels of Project Projects.’’ From \url{}},
category={The Art, revolution, marcuse, mcluhan, design, 1970s}

title={Blueprint for a Higher Civilization},
author={Flynt, H.},
publisher={Multhipla Edizion{'\i}}
% I still need to read this book. People sure liked their “blueprints” in the 1970s.

Title={Dutch Master},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment = {New Yorker review of two books about Han van Meegeren, which both tell the story of the greatest art forger of all time, who forged Vermeers at a time an in such a way as to fool all the contemporary experts and the Nazis. But the books also show that he was undeserving of his reputation as a Dutch national hero, and that his painting live painting to prove his innocence and that he was the forger was in fact a publicity stunt. Includes the notion that forgeries rely on current notions of things: ``Superior forgeries typically secrete subliminally up-to-the-minute associations, which pass, at first blush, as signs of “timeless” genius. The art historian Max Friedländer, who said, “Forgeries must be served hot,” promulgated a forty-year rule—four decades or so being how long it takes for the modern nuances of a forgery to date themselves as clichés of the period in which they were painted.’’},
category = {Art & Film, forgery, fakes, painting, nazis, vermeer, han van meegeren}
% Also see the wikipedia entry on van Meegeren: \url{} which tells the more traditional story about how he fooled everyone including the nazis, and eventually his OWN works started to be faked. And that Jesus Among the Doctors (the painting painted to “prove his innocence/guilt” now hangs in a Johannesburg church — which at least suggests that his work is good enough to do the actual work Vermeer would have created paintings for: to praise the glory of God.)
% Also see this op-ed in the Times which argues to appreciate forgeries; that the genius of artists is more often the idea than it is the execution. \url{} This op-ed also brings up how forgeries CONTINUE to fool experts regularly. It’s not like lessons were learned from van Meegeren. Also points out that forgers help break down the insanity of the art market by devaluing the insanely overvalued art.
% Also see Schjeldahl’s response to the Times op-ed: \url{}

Author={Banks, John},
Title={‘I Cheated,’ Says Woodworker Who Fooled the Antiques Experts},
journal={The New York Times},
category={A brilliant forgery of a Civil War era secretary fools expert museums that collet antiques.}
category = {Art & Film, forgery, fakes, civil war, secretary}
% This article doesn’t talk about this, but it suggests many of those things about forgeries that work: the museum WANTED to believe it was real. I think antinquers are particularly susceptible to this because they want to collect the things that reflect the story of history as they WANT to see it. This secretary had everything: from that area of Connecticut, a dramatic tale about civil war brothers, reflections of the power of preserving the union, even a faked bit of flag.

Author={Groeger, Lena},
Title={How Information Graphics Reveal Your Brain’s Blind Spots},
comment = {An article about how different representations can have different meanings. Contains a number of references to interesting bits on the internet, including: the study of judges who made more favorable decisions after lunch, the airport that tricked people into thinking they were waiting less by making them walk further, how active investors do very poorly, a list of 100 mental quirks, classic optical illusions, and a recap of New York Times and other interactive graphics of recent years.},
category = {optical illusions, graphics, The Art, perception}

Author={Hoberman, J.},
Title={Tony Conrad, Experimental Filmmaker and Musician, Dies at 76},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Tony Conrad’s obituary in the NY Times. Apparently he was responsible for the name of the Velvet Underground. In addition to his experimental music Tony Conrad made the famous film The Flicker.},
category = {tony conrad, The Art, experimental music, the flicker, velvet underground}

Author={Alden, William},
Title={Art for Money’s Sake},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A new art warehouse/storage place in Long Island City has a complex and robust database of the art stored there. The business of investing in art is growing as more and more people see it as a good way to make money, so there are more high-tech warehouses in which art is now stored. In the old days the rich ``did hang their art, which was the fruit of their wealth, not its source.’’},
category = {The Art, Economics, warehousing art}
% This reminds me of nothing as much as the descriptions of the economic impacts of grain elevators in Nature’s Metropolis. If there are warehouses that hold art, with its known value, might they not become the source of futures markets like the grain in the old grain elevators? The monetary value of art could be completely separated from the art itself, and art could become literally a straight comodity.
% Is this the beginning of art as a true financial commoditiy?
% See also this article on the most expensive painting ever sold: \url{}
% And this article about one of the families that stockpiles art in free ports: \url{}

Author={Klein, Scott},
Title={Infographics in the Time of Cholera},
comment = {Dude finds one of the earliest examples of a newspaper published infographic from the 1840s about Cholera. Carved by hand into a wood block (backwards). It has detailed instructions about how to read the fairly simple line graph. Which is pointed out by the author that even today you should never assume your graphics are ``intuitive’’.},
category = {cholera, infographics, health, The Art, design, newspapers}

author = {Michelle V. Hauge and Mark D. Stevenson and D. Kim Rossmo and Steven C. Le Comber},
title = {Tagging Banksy: using geographic profiling to investigate a modern art mystery},
journal = {Journal of Spatial Science},
volume = {0},
number = {0},
pages = {1-6},
year = {0},
doi = {10.1080/14498596.2016.1138246},
URL = {},
eprint = { } ,
abstract = { The pseudonymous artist Banksy is one of the UK’s most successful contemporary artists, but his identity remains a mystery. Here, we use a Dirichlet process mixture (DPM) model of geographic profiling, a mathematical technique developed in criminology and finding increasing application within ecology and epidemiology, to analyse the spatial patterns of Banksy artworks in Bristol and London. The model takes as input the locations of these artworks, and calculates the probability of ‘offender’ residence across the study area. Our analysis highlights areas associated with one prominent candidate (e.g., his home), supporting his identification as Banksy. More broadly, these results support previous suggestions that analysis of minor terrorism-related acts (e.g., graffiti) could be used to help locate terrorist bases before more serious incidents occur, and provides a fascinating example of the application of the model to a complex, real-world problem. },
comment ={Scientists use a data-mapping process to show that Banksy’s works are geographically related to the places Robin Gunningham has lived. (The person The Daily Mail has put forward as the most likely person to be Banksy.)},
category ={The Art, street art, banksy, spatial science}
% See this Times article about the research: \url{}
% By being identified (more or less) I think Banksy really loses something. On the other hand it shows the futility of trying to remain anonymous these days.

Author={Child, Lee},
Title={A Simple Way to Create Suspense},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Good writing advice about how to build a sense of suspense and mystery within a story/paragraph/sentense to keep a reader engaged.},
category = {The Art, suspense, mystery, writing}

title={MY CROWD Or, Phase 5: A report from the inventor of the flash mob},
author={Wasik, Bill},
comment = {The guy who invented the flash mob tells how he did it.},
category = {flash mob, hipsters}

Author={Mondkar, Bhushan},
Title={Behind the Scenes at the NYC Sanitation Dept’s Art Gallery of Scavenged Objects},
journal={Untapped Cities},
comment = {One awesome NYC garbage man has been collecting cool stuff from the trash from years, and keeps it on display in an unused space the department of sanitation owns.},
category = {garbage, trash collection, museums}

Author={Bailey, Jason},
Title={How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA},
comment = {A breakdown and explanation of why midbudget films (of a few million dollars) are not being made, and why we are living in a golden age of television},
category = {golden age of television, film, budgets, john waters}
% There’s some interesting stuff in this article, but the fundamental argument that this is BAD for film doesn’t totally follow. It shows how its GOOD for TV. So if the fortunes of the moderately well-off filmmmakers eventually turn back their way (which seems likely to me, that’s a market biding its time, not under permanent collapse) will this guy write the same article about the corresponding loss in quality of television?
% Besides that he references the 1997 Times article saying the cost of the average film has gone up to $60 million, and how ridiculous that seems now. But in adjusted dollars that’s like $84 million, so it’s not that big a jump. The biggest jump in film cost actually came in the early 1990s, but he doesn’t address that.

Author={Cima, Rosie},
Title={Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue},
comment = {An update to the blog post from a couple of years ago about why so many movies have started to use the color scheme of orange and teal, or blue.},
category = {movies, action, organe and teal}

Author={Stanley, Alessandra},
Title={Revisiting ‘Deadwood,’ a Lawless Prelude to TV’s New Golden Age},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Looks back at Deadwood. ``But threaded through the spew of swear words would be sudden flights of near-Shakespearean eloquence. Comforting a slighted henchman, the town pimp and saloonkeeper, Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), was soothing: “Whatever lurks ahead, whatever grievous abominations and discord, you and me walk into it together, like always.”’’},
category = {The Art, deadwood, television, reviews}

Author={Barry, Dan},
Title={Comedy’s Sweet Weapon: The Cream Pie},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A lost second reel of a Laurel and Hardy pie fight short is found. ``et’s give them so many pies that there never will be room for any more pie pictures in the whole history of the movies.’’},
category = {cream pie, comedy}

Author={Poniewozik, James},
Title={Streaming TV Isn’t Just a New Way to Watch. It’s a New Genre.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Essay arguing that streaming TV is a new form of media more akin to video games than episodic TV of the past. Streaming TV depends on sucking you in to pay attention to the details in every single episode.},
category = {streaming tv, entertainment, netflix}
% Interesting in the context of the current ``golden age of television’’ that we are livining through.

ISSN = {07479360, 15314790},
URL = {},
author = {Richard Buchanan},
journal = {Design Issues},
number = {2},
pages = {5-21},
publisher = {The MIT Press},
title = {Wicked Problems in Design Thinking},
volume = {8},
year = {1992}
comment = {Applying the wicked problems concept to design.}
category = {wicked problems, design thinking, design}
% This article looks interesting and I’d like to read it, but I don’t have access to it.

Author={Scott, A. O.},
Title={Review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ Still Angry After All These Years},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A. O. Scott’s review of Mad Max. Notably: Even in the most chaotic fights and collisions, everything makes sense. This is not a matter of realism — come on, now — but of imaginative discipline.'' She and her comrades evolve from eye candy into a feminist guerrilla force. They are joined by a band of older women called the Vuvalini, who along with Furiosa, decide to give Immortan Joe’s patriarchy a taste of its own medicine.’’},
category = {mad max, movies, film, action, apocalypse, feminism, reviews}
% Also totally worth watching the making of: \url{}
% And 18-minutes of b-roll footage: \url{}

Author={Schuessler, Jennifer},
Title={Rare King James Bible First Edition Discovered at Drew University},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Graduate student finds a He'' version of the first edition of the King James Bible. (There's also a She’’ version.)},
category = {KJB, King James Bible, Drew University}

Author={Mock, Brentin},
Title={Disrupting the Cycle of Urban Violence With Arts and Culture},
comment = {New Orleans and the Bronx both spontaneously created systems that used art and culture instead of violence to settle grievances. The Bronx are covered in the movie Rubble Kings.},
category = {rubble kings, NOLA, Bronx, New Orleans, hip hop}

title={Isotype: Representing social facts pictorially},
author={Burke, Christopher},
journal={Information Design Journal},
publisher={John Benjamins Publishing Company}
url = {},
comment = {Paper about the history of Otto and Marie Neurath. Talks about how they created the idea of the ``transformer’’ who analysed data and shaped it into draft graphic form, balancing the desire of the expert to include every detail with the needs of the user, who only needed enough to get the general idea.},
category = {transformer, Otto Neurath, Marie Neurath, isotypes, graphic design}

Author={Dunlap, David W.},
Title={An Opulent Bronx Library in Decay, and in Search of a Purpose},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Article about refurbishing Gould Memorial Library of Bronx Community College (formerly of NYU.) Sam Holleran says, ``This article touches on so many interesting pieces of NYC history: NYU in the Bronx, spooky libraries (better than Hogwarts), Gilded Age architecture, and 1960’s student demonstrations.’’},
category = {NYU, Bronx Community College, libraries}

Author={Almukhtar, Sarah},
Title={The Strategy Behind the Islamic State’s Destruction of Ancient Sites},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Reasons behind ISIS’s efforts to destroy ancient cultural sites. They also used a Roman amphitheater to film executions. They added an ancient Roman site to the destruction list too: \url{}},
category = {Islamic state, antiquities destruction, executions}

Author={Lewis, Michael J.},
Title={How Art Became Irrelevant},
comment = {Gives a history of modern and postmodern art in the 20th Century and the decline of meaning in art. Includes refereces to Jane Jacobs (as a critique of Modernism’s ability to create humane cities) and the Bilboa Effect. Ultimately he argues that the American public enjoys museums for the spectacle, while actually being alienated from the art itself.},
category = {art, criticism, art history, design, architecture, modernism, postmodernism}
% This is an excellent essay. Though I don’t agree with the negative conclusion. So the iconoclasts have been successful at smashing everything. So what? How is that worse than art being exclusively a hobby for the wealthy? Why does he assume that an ancient Egyptian masterpiece is more valuable than a 1960s industrial design piece? Maybe we have simply wiped the slate clean and now we are simply awaiting something better. It’s amazing that this essay could be written without reference to Laibach though.

Author={Pavlus, John},
Title={“No UI” Design’s Next Move: Fake UI},
journal={Fast Company},
comment = {Looks at the positives and negatives of UIs that lie to the user about what they are doing. ``Eytan Adar, a human-computer interaction researcher at the University of Michigan, co-authored a paper on what he calls “benevolent deception” in UI design, and he thinks our current era of smart systems offers more opportunities to deploy it than ever before. “We’re seeing the underlying systems become more complex and automated to the point where very few people understand how they work, but at the same time we want these invisible public-facing interfaces,” he told me via email. “The result is a growing gulf between the mental model (how the person thinks the thing works) and the system model (how it actually works). A bigger gulf means bigger tensions, and more and more situations where deception is used to resolve these gaps.”’’},
category = {UI, design}

Author={Donadio, Rachel},
Title={Le Corbusier’s Architecture and His Politics Are Revisited},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Was Corbusier a fascist or not? There’s a lot of Laibach between the lines of this article. ``The show’s organizers and many scholars see the Modulor as a humanist expression that helped form the basis of human-scale architecture. “For me it’s exactly the opposite,” Mr. Perelman said. “It’s the mathematicization of the body, the standardization of the body, the rationalization of the body.”’’},
category = {}

Author={Tumey, Paul},
Title={Figuring Out George Carlson (Part 1)},
journal={The Comics Journal},
comment = {George Carlson was a first half of the 20th century cartoonist. The neat thing here is he was hired to illustrate instructions on how to understand/use a major time capsule buried under Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.},
category = {The Art, comics}