Friday, July 29, 2005

About vandalism

I wanted to give this entry the title "Shocked and appalled", after the pervasive cliché, but then it would give this rant an element of levity I didn't want.

Nervertheless, I am shocked and appalled.

I am a tremendous user of my local library, not only for works of fiction and non-fiction, but also for reference books. This week, I picked up a book on 19th century art, an oversize, beautifully written book by H. W. Janson. Hundreds of b/w pictures accompany the text, and there are dozens of color plates of various pieces of art. (The paperback version on is worth over $90US)

Here comes the shocking part: several color plates had been cut out with a razor blade. Millet, Delacroix, and others, gone. How can someone deface a book this way? What kind of person would have no thought for all the other users of this book? In some cases, the text was also gone, because the picture was at the reverse of it. That person deprived others, me included, from being able to learn from this book. The use of a razor blade, instead of tearing off the wanted pages, was even more shocking to me. It spoke of a premeditated, conscious act: excising what they needed, leaving the rest.

The appalling part of this is that it speaks of a lack of social respect, a scorn of the needs of others, a tremendous egotism. Not to mention a total lack of manners. This is worse than graffitti, which, as insensible as it may be, at least is a form of expression, a need to communicate. This is more than plain destruction of property, because it is sneaky and vile. How many other books did this person destroy or deface? Which other ways are they using to reach a goal?

Because this is what is the worst: for people like that, the end justifies the means. It speaks of a moral turpitude that leads, eventually, to the lack of social conscience we have today.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Where fiction meets reality...

...or maybe it's the reverse. At first, I thought they were incredible ping-pong players. Then I realized they had a "little" help.

The video is hilarious, the skit ingenuous. A smile for the beginning of the week.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Currently Reading...

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, by Umberto Eco.
"The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Eco's fifth novel, follows Giambattista “Yambo” Bodoni, a man who loses his memory after an accident. In an attempt to deal with his amnesia, he travels to his childhood home, where he reconstructs his life through a collection of old newspapers, comic books, school papers, record albums, and his grandfather’s diary. After a few days he is visited by another misfortune, and slips into a coma where he begins to have increasingly strange hallucinations. The work is heavily illustrated with accompanying images reflecting Yambo’s collection of memorabilia."
Not as strange as The Island of the Day Before, but as compelling, Queen Loana gives us an Italian perspective of the war era through pop culture of the time. I was particularly fascinated by the translated comics, like Flash Gordon or Mickey Mouse. Many of the pieces come from the author's collection, giving us an intimate peak at Eco's own history.

Yambo, the protagonist, is as hazy as the fog he is so fascinated with, and so are the other characters in the book, mere sketches as backdrop to time travel. This is especially evident during the coma section, where pop culture takes over as reality. Challenging, fascinating, bizarre. Pure Eco.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ansel Adams Landscapes

Some eye candy for the end of the week. This one is of an oak tree in Yosemite, taken in 1948. Well worth the visit.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

How to unburden yourself

Ever wanted to dump all those negative feelings you have about a family member or an ex-friend? In general, our normal societal hang-ups prevent us from doing so, but we all have this deep-down wish that we could let go and damn the torpedoes.

Well, there's help on the horizon from Dr. Chinese, who has devised the Dysfunctional Family Letter Generator. There's an intense satisfaction to choosing raving insults and a sheepish feeling of guilt. Here's my version:
Dear Cindy,

I just wanted to let you know that you have completely fucked up my life. If you had access to sharp objects you would be dangerous. I have had shock therapy to try to forget your existence because you have manipulated me one too many times. I have frequently looked the other way, which makes me a doormat.

This time you have painted yourself into a corner.

I have never shirked my responsibility to tell you that you are the missing link. You would be so much better off if you would just lay off of the welfare and get a job. You must be the product of inbreeding. If I have to hear you tell me that one more time, I will hurl. You are SICK. It is time for you to stop being a leech. Let this also serve as notice that all future visits have been cancelled as I would rather claw out my eyes than see you.

Drop dead you waste of space,


PS: Please do not reply back, this email address is dead. I need time to report your whereabouts to the repo man.
Of course, there is no Cindy, and I'll never send the letter but, man, like in the song, I feel good!