A note on terminology
Interestingly, the Crusades weren’t called the Crusades when they were occurring. The term didn’t come into common use until four to five hundred years afterwards, and the foot soldiers, who wouldn’t have recognized the term crusader, viewed themselves as something closer to armed pilgrims.
Considered broadly, the Crusades were a 200 year stretch of minor wars, undertaken for various religious, economic and political reasons, with the overarching aim of protecting Western access and interests in the Middle East.
I wonder what name they’ll come up with for the last two decades (or a hundred years, if you go back to the British in WWI) of war given a few hundred years. I humbly suggest: the Iraq Wars. The disambiguation page on Wikipedia for Iraq War already refers to eight different conflicts; that’s not disambiguation, that’s a pocket history! Wouldn’t it be more honest, and simpler for discussion’s sake, to acknowledge that this new intervention is but one small piece of a long running campaign?
“I am satisfied that defective vision and blindness will pretty soon be a prominent characteristic among the American people … I make this assertion without having seen any statistics whatever on the subject of blindness. I found out long ago that a cup of coffee leaves a night-shade on the…
I don’t think it’s wrong, exactly, to say that the American people often suffer from defective vision and blindness. I hope it’s not the coffee that’s responsible.
On a perhaps related note, I think my neighborhood is reaching Peak Coffee. Yesterday, a huge new coffee shop (La Colombe) opened up two doors down, really, two doors, from a neighborhood cafe (Lola Bean) that’s been here a few years, and which I’m pretty sure brews La Colombe beans. Not that I’ll be going to either with any regularity - my choice is usually between longtime stalwart Rocket Cat and newcomer Steap & Grind, both of which are marginally closer to my house. There’s also Reanimator, a few blocks away, but it’s not for me - I order cafe au laits, and it seems a waste of good coffee and cash to pour half a cup of steamed milk into a cup of hand-poured third wave (or whatever, I admit to not understanding the New Coffee, with its steam punk devices and high degree of manual labor) coffee.
Mazzy Star performing Fade Into You in 1994 (MTV): “You live your life, you go in shadows, you’ll come apart and you’ll go black, some kind of night into your darkness, colors your eyes with what’s not there…”
Wow, 1994. When I saw them play in Philly last year, this still sounded great.
Pushing the feeling old lever one notch further: my son was born 19 years after this song came out. Here are a few songs that came out 19 years before I was born, in 1960: Money (That’s What I Want), Wonderful World, Save the Last Dance for Me, The Twist. Old songs, but on the bright side, they still play them at weddings.
I get so nervous when I see someone who doesn’t have a case on their smart phone. Like how much self assurance do you need to casually walk down the street texting with your caseless iPhone 6 like some calm and graceful maniac? How reckless are you in other parts of your life? You just spent hundreds of dollars on a phone, shell out $25 for a decent case and give everyone some peace of mind, honestly.
Respectfully disagree. I think it’s a shame when people take these incredible devices - I kind of hate the term “form factor,” because I think what it often means is “fashion factor,” but let’s face it, smart phones are pretty magical - and put them in cases that hide the designs. It’s like when people buy gorgeous sports cars and put those rubber bumper guards on them.
"There is a secret that casinos possess, a secret they hold and guard and prize, the holiest of their mysteries. For people do not gamble to win money, after all, although that is what is advertised, sold, claimed and dreamed. But that is merely the easy lie that gets them through the enormous, ever-open, welcoming doors.
The secret is this: people gamble to LOSE money. They come to the casinos for the moment in which they feel alive, to ride the spinning wheel and turn with the cards and lose themselves, with the coins, in the slots. They may brag about the nights they won, the money they took from the casino, but they treasure, secretly treasure, the times they lost."
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
Next time, listen up
They said we were fighting them there so we didn’t have to fight them here, but apparently we’re fighting them there so we can fight them there forever.
I mean, it’s been 11, or 13 years, depending on how you count. Half a generation, no signs of slowing. The only thing that ever got me actually physically out onto the street to protest again and again was invading Iraq. Current events proving yet again that it was indeed a stupid fucking idea gives me some small satisfaction, but mostly a deep sadness: we told them this might well happen, and they turned a deaf ear.
Accidental Uber: like a cab, but sketchier
I was at a conference in Houston last weekend, and eight of us headed out to dinner Saturday night. We asked the hotel for two cabs, and they got us one regular cab and one Uber car - same price, they said.
Point for Uber: the driver took a different route (he navigated with his phone in his lap, though, not so safe), and beat the cab to the restaurant by a few minutes. He charged us the exact same amount as the cab charged the other group, which I can’t imagine was coincidence, but I don’t know how it worked - there’s no meter, which was anxiety-inducing to us out-of-towners. (I paid, and asked for a receipt, and he gave me one from a car service company, which was confusing.)
Point against: the driver was high pressure and a bit scammy, trying to talk us into an overpriced ride to the airport the next day. (A regular cab to the airport cost $55. His first offer was $80, then $60. “Because Uber is better than a cab,” he said.) Afterwards, everyone felt relieved we hadn’t been ripped off.
Notes on the Rothko Chapel
The universe is full of texture.
There is no true black.
Several of the paintings are, I think, midnight blue, not black.
All of the gods are in the chapel.
The natural state of the room is quiet, but it wasn’t wrong when a couple came in with a little girl, who asked her parents whispered questions. It added texture to the air and sound.
Looking at the paintings felt similar to letting my eyes adjust to a dark room. At first, I saw nothing. By the time I left, half an hour later, each painting was quite distinct in terms of color, pattern, texture and movement.
“He attempted one of the most ambitious feats the human imagination can undertake: he tried to picture, by turns seriously and playfully, not just how humanity might appear fifty or a hundred years down the line, but a thousand, ten thousand, or more.”
The future according to writer Stanisław Lem.
Automatic Lem! I’m currently halfway through Pirx the Pilot. He takes such a different approach than most science fiction writers, it’s always refreshing.
"They’re using it for Twitter spam, the dark web equivalent of boiling the bones for stock."
The Russian ‘hack of the century’ doesn’t add up | The Verge
Dear Tech Writers,
Please include the “dark web equivalent” expressed as a culinary metaphor in all future stories about hacking. It makes them much more enjoyable.
What’s the dark web equivalent of deglazing a skillet? Clarifying butter? Heating olive oil until it shimmers, or testing a cake for doneness with a toothpick? The world awaits your metaphors.
Elaine Stritch rests her bike, reads a note, almost causes a riot.
NEW YORK, June 26—TOLD TO KEEP HER SHIRT ON – Blonde Elaine Stritch, understudy to Ethel Merman in the Broadway hit, “Call Me Madam,” wears halter and shorts which cause her arrest in Central Park. Today she was fined $1 and told by Magistrate Emilio Jones, “A beautiful girl like you could cause a small riot and cause a large crowd to collect by removing your shirt.” “Well,” she replied, “I was there all day and nothing happened.” (AP, 1951)