Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carroll. I’ve read other books about quantum mechanics. Nothing else has got me as close to feeling like I get it. A masterpiece of explanation.

The Shoemaker Who Put All the Hats in the Wrong Place

Once there was a shoemaker. (Name of Barrister, go figure.) This shoemaker was a real dab hand at making shoes. Just shoes of all varieties, materials, and colors. Her real specialty, though, were simple, longlasting, durable, plain, comfortable shoes. Pretty much entirely ignored by the fashionable set, but highly prized by those who valued ache-free feet.

One day her friend the Haberdasher (went by Toothpuller of the Eastern Toothpullers) needed a whole mess of hats moved into a new hat warehouse. Toothpuller wondered if Barrister could make her a sign letting people know about the new hat emporium, so to speak.

The shoemaker made the sign, because the haberdasher was such a good friend. Unfortunately, neither of them noticed the address was missing from the sign until much later.

Moral: Sometimes you’re much better off hiring the right person for the job at the start.

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison is a delightful story of a princess raised by bears and dragons. I’m amazed I’d never heard of it before, but happy I finally did. Track down a copy. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Lidless Links (Undying Umbrellabird* Edition)

Some things I stumbled across lately or not so lately.

  • Whoever’s behind Kicks Condor is definitely more into blogging than I am–with a level of seriousness I just can’t muster. I appreciate the energy behind this deliriously visually expressive site. I’d be happy to see some of that early 2000s blog energy come back though!
  • Kicks Condor has this cool tool called Fraidy Cat for keeping track of a bunch of stuff (blogs, twitter, instagram, etc) in once place. Me, I just use Netnewswire (have been since its beginning), but I’ll give Fraidy Cat a whirl.
  • Communion of Saints is a 77 track album (it almost needs some other word…) of songs that commemorate 77 of the canonized saints. Haunting and mesmerizing. (I’ve been streaming it. I’m on track 39, Jessica Way – Daughter Of Light (St Philomena)). I’m mostly just impressed with the scope and execution of this project. (Found on The Last Blog.)
  • “Stab a Book, the Book Won’t Die” by Craig Mod. As a bibliophile, I always enjoy reading what Craig has to say about books and the book industry. Looking at things, historically, from the perspective of the book can lend some intriguing insights, as this essay does. “A printed book is an object over which no third party has agency once in your possession.” Contrast this with [fill in the blank with a modern technological contrivance, such as a smartphone].
  • Related to the above: “Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction” by Mairead Small Stead. For me, reading books was often a distraction from other things, so it’s weird to have so many distractions now from reading books. Beautifully put: “The gift of reading, the gift of any encounter with art, is that this time spent doesn’t leave me when I lift my eyes from the book in my lap: it lingers, for a minute or a day.”
  • Sometimes I recall books and then can’t remember their titles. I find this deeply frustrating, but sometimes I manage to track them down, like Stephen Elliot’s book Happy Baby. I saw him read from this book at Powell’s Books a long, long time ago.
  • This visual essay about maps on Lapham’s Quarterly is beautiful and worth checking out.
  • That’s all for today.

* I found it on this list of animals that start with U.

Finished reading Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer last night. A good read before bed, during that liminal drowsiness. Cuts to the emotional heart of what’s so dire and sad about climate ruination and humanity’s complicity in it. A tough book to stomach, rewards careful chewing.

Some Bands

Scrabb Puhtaytozz and the Frabby Bunch — Scrabb rocks hard on his wail guitar while the Frabby Bunch provide backing vocals and twenty-three different percussive mechanical sounds. Check out Scrabb in his velvet jumpsuit! Check out Scrabb in his frantic jodhpurs! Check out Scrabb in his one-strap overalls! Check that moppy hair, the sixteen inch platform shoes, the sneering mechanical moustache! You won’t stop dancing even after the music ends, courtesy of the parasitic earworms provided gratis at every Scrabb Putaytozz and the Frabby Bunch performance!

Nuelis Clav and the Extradimensional Choir — Which one is Nuelis Clav? No one knows. She’s one of the Extradimensional Choir, but no one knows which one, only that her heavenly voice hits highs and lows that will have your brain gasping for more. Trip out to the melodies and harmonies this choir provides. You may be put off by their identical bald heads and shapeless infrared robes, but don’t fret. Once they open their mouths and sing, you’ll be seeing stars.

Bagby Jones — What can we say about Bagby Jones? He’s got an acoustic guitar and a cheap plugin amp. We can’t actually remember anything about his music (nor can anyone we interviewed) but we just know we really have to hear him play again. Really. We’ll pay good money if you know when and where he’s playing again.

Glamera — Glamera’s the diva’s diva. (For real, we spotted Cincy Kidd and Blondette at her last show, fangirling out.) She can belt a tune and dance her ass off. If you don’t have fun at a Glamera show, you are LITERALLY a corpse, and even then… Good luck getting into one of her shows, though. She’s sold out for the next 400 years.

The Endless Car Ride, or, My Hat Looks Better on You

Driving feels like always having been driving
Every car ride more of the endless car ride
Especially when the rain turns sight into a grey muddy mess
Or nighttime with the lights shining sliding away across the glass
And me reflecting or not thinking about anything at all

You’re wearing my hat
But I wouldn’t know it from all the glances spinning your way
It’s a fine hat that went for a ride one day and never came back.
Everyone’s saying so.

A Grab Bag of Links (Go-Round Gorilla Edition)

I’ve had more dreams in the last week than I’ve had in the last couple months probably. Wild! I don’t remember much, apart from going through doors. That’s dreams for you! Anyway, here are some interesting things I found on the internet thingy.

  • Looks like I’m going to be running this groovy game, Ultraviolet Grasslands by Luka Rejec, for some friends of mine. It’s just the kind of gonzo stuff I’m into. Feeling pretty excited about it! (I listened to a chat with Luka on the Rollin’ Bones podcast and he’s just as interesting as I was thinking he would be.)
  • The Last Blog has some great music on it. All fascinating and weird in the best way.
  • I’ve been listening to songs from KEXP’s Song of the Day podcast for years now. A lot of good stuff. Occasionally a song sticks with me and I’ll dig a little deeper into the band, such as In Dreams by Math and Physics Club. I had never heard of them before, even though they’re a Seattle band and I lived there for years. I was deeply charmed by this photo of the band at a Seattle library.
  • Alan Jacobs honed in on something that stuck with me too from Neal Stephenson’s last novel, Fall, or, Dodge in Hell, namely, what to do about people who have veered off into a completely disconnected reality tunnel and are determined to stay there no matter what.
  • “Strange Meeting” by Wilfred Owen. Probably time to start reading some of the old war poets again.

The Walled Garden

Once there was this jungle. It was kind of shady. Also, there were tigers in it. People sort of wandered around and picked fruit and berries and sometimes built treehouses and then swung vines between them. Everyone was having a pretty fun time swinging between the treehouses. Sometimes the vines would break or you would swing to a treehouse that wouldn’t end up being there anymore, but that was mostly ok, because there were a lot of treehouses. Some of them were pretty fancy, with bright flashy lights and spinning signs and sometimes just a lot of construction work that never seemed to end. Even though there were always new people showing up, it always seemed like there was enough room for everybody. Then, one day, this walled garden showed up. People who swung into there tended not to swing out again. I mean, they could leave, there was nothing nefarious there, but they did tend to stick around. There was so much fruit to eat in that walled garden. It was so sweet! But, you know, it didn’t seem very filling. And some of the fruit seemed sweet at first, but then led to some real digestive issues later. Yikes! Still, it seemed like kind of a “friend garden” because it seemed like your friends were already there already. Also, since they were just hanging out there people just kind of started to work in that garden. The work mostly involved moving fruit from one side of the garden to the other. Sometimes someone would try to build a sort of on-the-ground treehouse, but those never seemed to work out. For some reason. One day this monkey just started throwing shit into the garden. And then it seemed like a LOT of monkeys started throwing shit into the garden. People just sort of shrugged and kept on hanging out in the garden. The fruit didn’t taste nearly as good, because it had shit on it. Yuck! Then everyone realized, boy, we shouldn’t be blaming monkeys, it was really just someone in this garden dressed in a monkey suit! Some people had been swinging outside in the jungle (remember that?) this whole time. They were still having a pretty good time, hanging out in treehouses and stuff. Occasionally, they tried to let people in the garden know how fun it was.

Moral: Why work in someone else’s garden, when you can swing through the trees with the greatest of ease?