Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

books & literature

mar
22
2011

Ernest Hemingway, Yelper | McSweeney's Internet Tendency

If Hemingway had written Yelp restaurant reviews, by Alex Buckey.

nov
22
2010

Literary City

Brain Picker, curator / aggregator of beautiful links, shared this wonderful stop-motion video recently. “This Is Where We Live” was produced in 2008 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of publisher 4th Estate. (If you can’t see the video above, it’s …

oct
21
2010

Everything You Know Is Pong

For perhaps obvious reasons, I love this poster, for an event and book to benefit 826NYC: (Link via Rob.)

oct
14
2010

'Chance Favors a Connected Mind'

I haven’t yet read Steven Johnson’s new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, but (despite my knee-jerk hatred of the word “innovation,” a buzzword overused to the point of meaninglessness) I do like this illustrated whiteboard trailer. (Link via the …

sep
19
2010

He had a rare talent for finding the interesting parts of someone’s generally uninteresting comments so that, when speaking to him, you felt that you were an exceptionally interesting person with an exceptionally interesting life.

— From “Norwegian Wood,” by Haruki Murakami (source)

sep
14
2010

Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred.

— Kurt Vonnegut, on writing with style (source)

sep
11
2010

Stories make sense when so much around us is senseless, and perhaps what makes them most comforting is that, while life goes on and pain goes on, stories do us the favor of ending.

— John Hodgman, on storytelling (9/25/01) (source)

dec
23
2009

Lost and Found

This week we bought the illustrated children’s book Lost and Found as a gift for a friend’s little boy. This evening, Rob came across the trailer for an animated short based on the book: (If you can’t see the video …

apr
23
2008

what i'm reading: at the library

Arlington County Public Library’s online catalog has long offered the ability to “hold” a title and have it delivered to the branch location of your choice. Meanwhile, recent renovations to the main Arlington County Government building in Courthouse Plaza included …

feb
20
2008

transit map of the world

I came across the book Transit Maps of the World at the National Gallery last November and was instantly (geekily) enamored of it and its large collection of (as the name implies) public transit (train, subway, etc.) maps — historic, …

sep
18
2007

quote of the day: small talk

Small talk is small in every way except when you try to get around it. Then it’s enormous.” — Chip Kidd on avoiding awkward conversations, in the novel The Cheese Monkeys

jun
18
2007

chins up, ladies

On Thursday I went to a reading / booksigning by Laurie Notaro, a humor writer I used to work with at The Arizona Republic. We both left the Republic around the same time in the summer of 2002 — me …

mar
18
2007

what i'm reading now: 'darkness at noon'

I confess, I bought Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon on the basis of its cover, which vaguely reminded me of Soviet propaganda and Saul Bass movie posters. But the book itself, while occasionally a bit stilted, is rather interesting on …

nov
19
2006

what i'm reading now: interface culture

I’ve been doing a lot more reading since I started taking the Metro to work every day. In my mind, this can only be a good thing. Right now, I’m reading Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We …

nov
17
2006

ghost map indeed

I just finished reading The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson’s recent book about a 1854 cholera outbreak in London and the research that led to a scientific breakthrough in discovering the origins of the disease (contaminated water) — as well as …

oct
27
2006

hodgmania

On Tuesday night, I went to a reading by humorist John Hodgman, perhaps best known these days as the nerdy P.C. guy in the recent Apple commercials. His book of made-up trivia, The Areas of My Expertise, just came out …

jul
12
2006

on the bus, on the trail

I just finished reading The Boys on the Bus, Timothy Crouse’s book about the journalists that covered the 1972 presidential election. I bought the book a few years ago, on the recommendation of a journalism professor in college. It was …

jun
21
2006

the tribe has spoken

My friend Chris just published his first book! Tribal Warfare: ‘Survivor’ and the Political Unconscious of Reality Television is an examination of the popular reality television series through the lens of class politics. Tribal Warfare thoroughly investigates a central element …

feb
27
2006

wandering the stacks

Since I’m in Seattle, there was one place that I absolutely had to go during my visit: Elliott Bay Book Company. Melanie introduced me to it on our last trip to Seattle, and it became an instant favorite. It’s such …

jan
19
2006

evening activities

Getting the wedding invitations printed yesterday went surprisingly well, so, instead of spending my evening cutting up invites, I ventured over to the Olsson’s bookstore down the street for a reading/booksigning by humorist Dave Barry. I came in a few …