Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January was Get Organized Month?

Who knew? But after watching this . . .

. . . I'm feeling much more okay about having missed it.

Epictetus may have been talking about desk clutter when he said:
People are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.

As for me, I don't want to be disturbed, so I try not to view my desk too often.

I suppose I could take a picture of my desk and post it here, but I think we'll all be less disturbed about it if you just pick the one that impressed you most in the video and use your imagination.

Monday, January 28, 2008

And while we're on the subject . . .

. . . of Northern Exposure, for your enjoyment and my own, I post here my favorite moment from the series:

In this Season 4 episode, Chris collects lamps and lights from everyone in Cicely and uses them to create a sculpture. You'll find more of the story line in the episode notes for Northern Lights, along with the text from this clip and the sources of the quotations in it.

This scene was my first exposure to the music of Enya. For the longest time after the show, I tried to find out the name of the song or who the artist was, but I couldn't find anyone who knew. How I eventually found out is a strange story. I almost never listen to country-western music, but for some reason I tuned in to a country station one day and left it on. Once you've heard Ebudæ, you know it's anything but country-western, so you will be as amazed as I was at what happened next. The deejay mentioned that a Northern Exposure episode had featured a song he was about to play, and that although it wasn't country music, he was going to play it anyway. I held my breath, hoping... knowing!... that it would be the song from this scene, and of course it was.

Gaelic Lyrics:

Amharc, mná ag obair lá 's mall san oíche,
Ceolann siad ar laetha geal, a bhí,
Bealach fada anonn 's anall a chóich.
English Translation:

Look, women working by day and late at night,
They sing of bright days that were,
A long way back and forth forever.
(Translated by live people at Irish Gaelic Translator)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Remembrance of Things Past

I must admit right up front, I've never read Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, but one of my favorite quotations comes from Swann's Way, Chapter 1:
When from a long distant past nothing persists, after the people are dead, after things are broken and scattered, still alone, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long, long time like souls, ready to remind us, waiting, hoping for their moment amid the ruins of all the rest, and bear unfaltering in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence the vast structure of recollection.
I was introduced to this quotation in an episode of Northern Exposure, one of the best TV series ever. The quotation was read by Chris (John Corbett) in a Season 3 episode called The Body in Question:

Here's the quotation in the original French:
Mais, quand d'un passé ancien rien ne subsiste, après la mort des êtres, après la destruction des choses, seules, plus frêles mais plus vivaces, plus immatérielles, plus persistantes, plus fidèles, l'odeur et la saveur restent encore longtemps, comme des âmes, à se rappeler, à attendre, à espérer, sur la ruine de tout le reste, à porter sans fléchir, sur leur gouttelette presque impalpable, l'édifice immense du souvenir.
You'll find both the English and the original French texts online if you're interested, and there are many Proust websites and blogs if you care to delve deeper into À la recherche du temps perdu. The links in this post are enough to get you started.

Out of curiosity, I used Babelfish to translate the quotation. I don't speak French at all, and I was curious to see how the auto-translation would compare with the efforts of a live, thinking brain:
But, when of an old past nothing remains, after the death of the beings, the destruction of the things, only, frailer but more long-lived, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, the odor and savour remain still a long time, like hearts, to remember, wait, hope, on the ruin of all the remainder, to carry without bending, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense building of the memory.
Not too shabby, huh?

But... I digress! Oh, how I digress! I am not here today to hand you over to Proust, but to invite you to play with a very cool Flickr Toy called phrasr and to see the slideshow I made with my favorite quote (give it a minute to load):
Proust: Remembrance by TK
And I hope you will join in the fun and please, please!, elevate the company in which my quotation sits. As you'll see in the archives, such entries as "I'm boring" (doubtless true of the unimaginative sloth who wrote it) and "What do you had for breakfast" (grammatically alarming) give you the opportunity to distinguish yourself as brilliant and educated. And don't be afraid to change the images that come up automatically--you are given a large selection to choose from for each word, so you should be able to find something that keeps the spirit of your quotation or brilliant thought.

Go ahead, impress me! And when you're done, use the comment section below to share your quote so I can go see what you did with it.

One caveat: my quotation was, if I recall correctly, 73 words, and I spent at least an hour choosing the images. You might want to start with a shorter phrase. But not too short! Two or three words doesn't make much of a slideshow.

By the way, "Rawr, I am teh overlard" was written by someone who either has or will someday have a driver's license. This is the reason you should always drive defensively.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Show your camera some love!

You'll find all kinds of photography and image-editing ideas, tips, tutorials, links, and other cool stuff at Photojojo. You can visit the Photojojo Newsletter Archives for past issues, subscribe to the free biweekly newsletter so you don't miss anything in the future, and read the Photojojo Uncut blog while you wait for the next newsletter. Both the newsletter and the blog are also available by RSS feed.

Unphotographable is an example of why you shouldn't miss Photojojo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Learn history in one minute a day.

Old Picture of the Day is way more fun than history class.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Let It Go

Dignity and Respect

Acceptance of Not Perfect

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to the Futuristic

Spend a little time looking back at looking forward. Paleo-Future celebrates its first anniversary in the blogosphere today. Matt has reprised his original "welcome" post, which will give you a good idea where he's coming from.

Sampling the archives, you might enjoy a post from May 1, 2007, Delicious Waste Liquids of the Future as imagined in 1982, especially in the light of the recent news stories about Los Angeles' drinking water.

Do your shoes look like violin cases? An Associated Press article from 1949 predicted Taller Women by Year 2000. See Matt's January 3, 2008 post for more about that.

Don't miss Matt's other blog, Older Than Me, where he shares items he's found that don't fit into Paleo-Future but are interesting nonetheless. Last week's For Tighter Marriage, Just Button Your Lip! (1959) is a good place to start!

Monday, January 21, 2008

This is where it's at . . . or is it?

brought to you by TravelPod, the Web's Original Travel Blog ( part of the TripAdvisor Media Network )

My Traveler IQ is 88. I've played three times and couldn't get past Level 5. What about you?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where on earth have you been?

More fun with maps! States I've been to (or merely through, in many cases)are shown in red on the map below. (Do you suppose the creator of this nifty personal mapper widget is an optimistic Republican?)

I've also been to Canadian provinces Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, as well as Jalisco and Nayarit, Mexico.

Create your own visited states map.

If you've been further afield, there's a Visited Countries map too.

Other maps you could create:
  • places you hope to visit someday
  • places your ancestors came from
  • where your friends live
  • where your relatives live

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Geography isn't everything in these . . .

. . . strange maps.

Marzipan Europe?

French Kissing Map?

Spam maps? Well, spam is maps spelled in reverse, so why not?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thanks for the laughs, Tom Pry. R.I.P.

Tom Pry blogged at The Old Man and the c:\ from April 9, 2005 until December 10, 2007.

He died December 21 after a battle with lung cancer, so there won't be any more posts added to his blog, but the archives are still available for visiting when you're in the mood for an interesting story or some redneck humor.

Tom was a good storyteller whether he was telling real stories from his life or just a joke. I always leave laughing.

Sometimes my eyeballs are rolling too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Where in the world are . . .

. . . Burkina Faso? Nauru? Comoros? Look 'em up! Atlapedia Online has full color physical maps, political maps, and key facts and statistics on countries of the world.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008