Harry Potter 1
Last night, I watched the first Harry Potter movie (Sorcerer’s Stone). Before that, I hadn’t watched the movies or read the books, as part of an informal boycott of what always seemed to me a rip off of Ursula LeGuin’s Wizard of Earthsea.
Here’s what I learned from the movie: if you are granted, by birthright, admission to an elite private school where all of the teachers will cut you huge breaks when you flagrantly and needlessly break the rules, even though you’re a middling student, just because of who your parents were, you can achieve great things. The thing is, I’d already picked up this lesson from the lives of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.
Quidditch is a good analogy to the way the story presents the world: only the actions of the chosen few (the seekers chasing the gold bug) have any real impact on the final outcome - all of the efforts, teamwork and pain of the players toiling (literally) down below don’t really matter, in the end.
1. Halloween, Dream Syndicate
2. Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Bauhaus
Repeat. Forget the last thirty years, forget you were born. It’s Halloween, cross-quarter day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Oh, Bela.
A classic Riker from 2011
Slowly working my way through TNG, currently in Season 3 (holy cow, “Yesterday’s Enterprise” was incredible). Riker remains a paradox: through some sort of jujitsu, the bad acting seems to strengthen the character and his role on the show - a counterpoint to Patrick Stewart’s unassailable earnestness.
(Source: swankyjanks, via mermaidbones)
"[The House vote] ended with a bizarre moment, when a House stenographer ran to a microphone and began shouting religious messages. She was forcibly removed from the chamber."
"The first House Republican attempt [at a debt ceiling/government shutdown compromise] was shot down in a closed-door meeting that had begun with members singing the hymn ‘Amazing Grace.’"
#the corduroy underground
Did you know that corduroy is basically just velvet arranged in rows? It’s true, you can look it up, but don’t even bother opening that tab, you can trust me. This next part is questionable, though: I think perhaps that the entire reason corduroy exists is to avoid sentences such as, “It’s so pleasant to wear velvet pants on a rainy, autumn day.”
Baby Monitor Lizard
“Oh, that’s our baby monitor. It’s extremely sensitive. It gives us such peace of mind.”
MOBY DICK by Herman Melville.
I really enjoy these - a nice mix of classics and contemporary fiction. My request would be Infinite Jest, if she hasn’t already done it. Not as impossible as you might think.
"One thing about this wild, wild country / It takes a strong, strong, it breaks a strong, strong mind / And anything less, anything less / Makes me feel like I’m wasting my time"
Bill Callahan, “Drover”
A song that changed me
The new Mazzy Star album makes me so, so happy.
One thing that’s so great about this album is that it could have come out ten years ago and sounded just as fitting - it’s a continuation of what they were working on back then, what they’d developed in the three previous albums. And that’s so exciting because it means that they haven’t become one of those oldster reunion bands that basically just cover their younger selves. Sure, they’re older, but they’re more or less continuing to make their art in their way, as they have been for the last two decades. They never stopped being their band; their band has been their life. That’s so great.
If you’re looking for a place to start, try the first track, “In the Kingdom.” It’s one of my favorites so far.
You Won’t See This on TV: A former public defender on the broken gears of American criminal justice →
"If middle- and upper-class American communities were policed in the same manner working-class and working-poor communities are—that is, if standard operating procedures, applicable criminal codes, and the U.S. Constitution were applied equally, at both the arrest and prosecution stages, against citizens of all socioeconomic classes—a substantial percentage of our nation’s criminal statutes would soon be appealed, repealed, or dramatically amended."
The police state that many of the people in the United States already live in is much more frightening to me than the one that involves someone in a cubicle in Maryland reading my emails (though I’m unhappy with that one, too, for the record).