Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Couch Shadow (Home Geography)

Term: Couch Shadow

Definition: A geographical feature of the common home, describing an area of floor behind the slanted back of a couch that does not get foot traffic due to said slanting couch back. The length of a specific couch's couch shadow is generally equal to the length of the specific couch; the depth of a couch's couch shadow can vary, and is determined by the degree of slant of a given couch's back.

Whether or not it is acceptable to leave footwear in a home's couch shadow (or shadows) is a subject of some debate.

See related: rain shadow

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Map: Hardest Places to Live in U.S. - Note on Oregon

The New York Times' The Upshot published a cool map back in June, showing by color code where in the U.S. it's the relatively easiest and hardest to live. They explain the map's making, and the six data points used:
Annie Lowrey writes in the Times Magazine this week about the troubles of Clay County, Ky., which by several measures is the hardest place in America to live. The Upshot came to this conclusion by looking at six data points for each county in the United States: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. We then averaged each county’s relative rank in these categories to create an overall ranking.
The obvious upshot: the American south, notably the most politically conservative region of the country, is a gigantic shit-pot for people who don't have a gigantic shit-ton of money. But I noticed a less obvious one, and highlight it here, for my old friends in Oregon.

See that roughly rectangular bit of blue well-being in Southern Oregon, right on the California border? (Click on pic to enlarge.) I circled it in white so you could see it:


That's my old home of twenty years, the relatively lefty, liberal island of Jackson County (Hippy.com!), in the otherwise very conservative sea of light orange that is Northern California and a huge chuck of Southern and Eastern Oregon. Us old hippies, we try to see that everybody does okay. We try, anyway.

Here's a video on the map, by Dave Rubin, of the recently launched Rubin Report:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"An Impolite Interview With Joseph Heller" 1962

Came across this November 1962 interview in the now defunct The Realist by Paul Krassner, primarily about Heller's 1961-released Catch-22. Several pages long, fascinating, funny, often over my head, enlightening—including on the origin of the name "Yossarian" (it was meant to be from "an extinct culture, somebody who could nto be identified either geographically, or culturally, or sociologicaly..."). Haven't finished it yet, but I will soon—and I'm counting on it making me smarter, damnit.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Australia: Cannibal Horses



Holy gods, this place
As Don Driscoll returned from a snow trip in Kosciuszko National Park this winter, he was confronted with a disturbing sight.
At Dead Horse Gap, the Australian National University environment professor chanced upon a dead brumby, with three other brumbies standing around it. 
"Two of the horses had their snouts inside the gaping stomach cavity of the dead horse and they were eating out the insides of it," he said. 
"We were really quite shocked to see that, we just couldn't believe our eyes.
Pretty sure we'll soon find out they're venomous. And can fly. Because...Australia.

I must also note that "Dead Horse Gap" - well where else would you find cannibal horses?

• Photo, not of brumbies, from here.

Random Thought: We Are Their World

You don't get to succeed at the game of rolling out wholly invented, manufactured, international super-celebrities along the lines of Justin Bieber, the Kardashians, and the latest iPhone, unless you've successfully created an international framework through which and in which those products can so massively, and so perversely invasively disseminate and flourish, like so many maggots, parasitic wasps, and bacteria in a corpse bloating down by the lake.

Most unfortunately, and obviously: that framework has been created. And it's made of us. Countries and countries and countries of us. Just waiting for the next super-celebrity to come rolling out of the factory.

We are losing this one.

Update: This graph says so much about what I just wrote:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yow! Blast From the Past: 1985, Athens Version

An old friend just time-machined me, sending me a fragment from a time long ago:



Annabels was a legendary place in Athens, a fairly rundown favorite of buskers from all over the world, run by an English expat couple, John and someone. (Amanda?) I stayed there for some months in 1985, in the midst of a several year busking blur. (Counts to himself: 29 years ago. Ow.) We'd play on the city trains for a few hours in the afternoon, make enough for another night in the hostel, food, retsina, beer, ouzo, whatever else we needed, then—the night. Yow. Mostly unshareable memories. Beautiful, wonderful, musical, friend-filled memories.

Annabel's is long gone, unfortunately. Glad to see the street name, though! Koumondouro Street, properly spelled, was a hell of a location, just a walk north of the Acropolis. Perhaps C. and I will walk down it one day in the not to distant future.

Thank you, Sara F. B., for that completely unexpected blast from the past!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bottomfeeders: selected cuts




CDBaby, the great online music distribution site, has just made a new music player available, as seen above. Here we have a few cuts from my 2000 album Bottomfeeders. Please enjoy a test-run, feel free to add a cut or two to your music collection.

My favorite, musically: "Sigh." My favorite, for personal reasons: "Donald."

Thanks for listening.

LT

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Landslip Collaroy, Aug. 19, 2014

Heavy rains for days led to a bit of a cave-in yesterday at an already sketchy building site at the end of our street. Took out part of a unit block's driveway.

Pics and video from the this morning, August 20, showing the backfill process beginning (video does not play sideways):



The crater you see here is the building site. The slide or slip damage you can see in the back, the dark slabs with the white marks on them being bits of tarmac from the driveway that collapsed. Very close to that building.



From yesterday, this is the left-hand-side of the crater, just to give you an idea of how close this building site is to existing structures. They were trying to tuck a nine-unit apartment building between this home you see here (a Collaroy historic site; more info here) and that apartment block on the right you can see in the other photo. Oy.


Here's a good short Instagram video, taken from above the site, of the excavation, with a gratuitious show of the view from up here of the Tasman Sea (which we don't have in our peasant's abode on the street below, no thank you very much).

Super Bonus:


Update, August 21:  Updated info and better views here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Screenplay: The Texas Brainsaw Massacre


My next movie will be built around these four paragraphs:

According to a ruling last week by the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals, Michael McIntyre and Laura McIntyre removed their nine children from a private school in 2004 to homeschool them.
Michael McIntyre’s twin brother, Tracy, testified that the parents used empty space in a motorcycle dealership that he co-owned as a classroom. But Tracy said that he never saw the children reading books, using computers or doing arithmetic. Instead, the children were seen playing instruments and singing.
“Tracy overhead one of the McIntyre children tell a cousin that they did not need to do schoolwork because they were going to be raptured,” the court document noted.
After Tracy confronted the parents about the curriculum, the school was later moved to a rental house.

Never mind the similarities to the Harry Potter story, this will be 100% original. I've got the whole thing worked out in my head, right down to Cate Blanchett's pigtail length.

Cate—and Steve Buscemi—please clear your calendars.

Photo