Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
December 2, 2020
100 Days, 100 Nights
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Great R+B.
From my work shared playlist.
Stress Me Out
Nice pop.
I like Pomplamoose and pay attention when stuff surfaces on my Youtube recs.
I'm a Fool to Want You
Billie Holiday
Mentioned in Obama's "Dreams from my Father": I fell back on the couch and lit a cigarette, watching the match burn down until it tickled my fingertips, then feeling the prick on the skin as I pinched the flame dead. What’s the trick? the man asks. The trick is not caring that it hurts. I tried to remember where I’d heard the line, but it was lost to me now, like a forgotten face. No matter. Billie knew the same trick; it was in that torn-up, trembling voice of hers.
Defaal Lu Wor (Once In a Lifetime)
Wasis Diop
Very different Talking Heads cover...
My friend Candace mentioned it.
Mellow pop.
Thought I heard my neighbor playing a song with the line “I’ll pack myshit” on his guitar... not sure if this was it or not.
Lose Yo Job (feat. DJ Suede the Remix God)
musical remix of a meme, talking no crap from the cops
via The 5 Most Ridiculously Glorious Memes Celebrating Joe Biden’s Election Win, Ranked

Public Enemy Number Won (feat. Mike D, Adrock & Run-DMC)
Public Enemy
Awesome homage.
Youtube rec.

Never Going to Let You Go
Madison's Lively Stones
Weirdly I couldn't find a youtube video (and someone gifted me the MP3) but this video gives the spirit of the Trombone Shout Chorus.
I played tuba behind a School of Honk trombone sectional and they introduced this one.
Go Your Own Way
The Cranberries
I do like the vocalist's trademark sound.
Just browsing for covers.
Don't Look Back (feat. Kotomi & Ryan Elder) [From Rick and Morty: Season 4]
Rick and Morty
End credits, soft pop.
Not sure if they're commissioning music for the show or what...
Seagulls! (Stop It Now)
Bad Lip Reading
Strong David Byrne (or in the negative view, Robin Thicke)
From a pleated jeans entry.
Brass Monkey Brass Band
Kind of a more somber edge to this one, a more minor key.
My friend Candace mentioned it.
Send Me On My Way
Rusted Root
The old 90s song.
from this BoobsRadley tweet "I hate when a car is parked rudely but has bumper stickers I agree with. Taking up two spots? *Not* the way to represent Rusted Root."

Bad Guy
Too Many Zooz
Very nice cover of the Billy Elish song.
Youtube rec.
December 1, 2020

Like Buddha said, you know we are all just here to fuck.
Charles Châtenay in "Red Dead Redemption 2"

When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archaeological dig. I was talking to one of the archaeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of "getting to know you" questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What's your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don't play any sports. I do theatre, I'm in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW, That's amazing! And I said, "Oh no, but I'm not any good at ANY of them."
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: "I don't think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you've got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them."
And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn't been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could "Win" at them.
Kurt Vonnegut
Beautiful episode of Poetry Unbound on Dilruba Ahmed's poem "Phase One" - a meditation on self-forgiveness.

Bringing it to me (which is something I do a bit too often, but I forgive myself for :-D After all I'm the only person I have first hand knowledge of):

My first thought was, maybe I'm better than average at self-forgiveness, and forgiveness in general (Sometimes it makes juggling friendships tough when some of my friends are NOT so forgiving/tolerant of other of my friends... but of course, I'm not in a place to judge my friends for being judgey.)

I was molded with a sense of "judge not lest ye be judged" - or maybe more accurately, I have a kind of deep empathy for those terrible "Only God Can Judge Me" tattoos. I have a deep sense of an objectively True, God's Eye View of things, even as I live with intense skepticism about the form of God that resides there. So I don't point out the specks in my brother's eye even as I am happy to gloss over any lumber in my own.

But... maybe a lack of self-forgiveness is what drives my steadfastness. For example, I enjoy my time playing tuba in bands... but I always show up even when I really don't feel like it, or push off some other demands, because I couldn't quite forgive myself for being unreliable. Or, more accurately, because I think the objective truth might not forgive me, and I struggle mightily to be a conduit of that.

Of course a more mature view might point out that I'm doing all kinds of curation of what is judgement-worthy all the time. Subjectivity is the sea we all swim in... still, I find it an important act of empathy to keep thinking there's an island of Objectivity we can get to, and that other people might be sighting land in a way I can't.
she had curves in all the right places, and all the left places, also, and in places forgotten by time, and in places known only by dwarven scholars
November 29, 2020
A while back I started playing with timelines - I wanted to be better able to see the footsteps of my life so far.

That's one thing about life: it's easy to forget how much of it many of us our blessed with. Days rush by, weeks drags, and years can fly past - but there's a lot in there if you pay attention. That's good news if you're living a life (as long as you're having a reasonable time of it!) but bad news if you're trying to make an information-rich detailed graphical representation of it.

In making my main timeline, full of photos of places and people that I've loved, I experimented with different visual displays. This weekend I put together one more form: the rainbow-like arch:
click for full size

As usual with the experiments, I condensed things to where I've lived, jobs I've had, and people I've had some kind of romantic connection with.

Using a divided arch was interesting - it's more bounded than a simple linear timeline, and the curve gives a bit more room to cram stuff in, making better use of the plane.

Although Tufte famously warns against pie charts, I think this display does invite comparisons of ranges, without too much distortion.

(Also, I was thinking a bit about Jastrow illusion where two identical thick curved rails appear vastly different in size depending on how they're nested.)
November 28, 2020
My mom sent me a NY Times article by Dwight Garner about his keeping a commonplace book for 40 years which he published as "Garner's Quotations: A Modern Miscellany".

I enjoy setting my two decades of blogging in the context of commonplace books - starting as text files on my Palm Pilot in 1997. As in the case of this book, it can just be a bunch of quotes. Garner lumps them by topic a bit, usually in clumps of 3 or 4, though the lumps are titled, so part of the pleasure is recognizing the commonality.

Anyway, here are my favorite quotes from it... usually I'm a little hesitant to bring in quotes wholesale, but what the hell. I especially like the Richard Avedon quote on how surfaces are all we have to work with.
I'm not much but I'm all I have.
Philip K. Dick, Martian Time-Slip

One melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realization that you can't make old friends.
Christopher Hitchens, in Harper's Magazine

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, journals

If dolphins tasted good, he said, we wouldn't even know about their language.
Lorrie Moore, "Bark"

I pick twenty [cherries] at a time and stuff them all into my mouth at once. They taste better like that.
Anton Chekhov, A Life in Letters
He is so right!
If you're not at the table, you're on the menu.
Origin unknown

A wise old chef once told me: Wait till peas are in season, then use frozen.
Fergus Henderson

The better a singer's voice, the harder it is to believe what they're saying.
David Byrne

Two of the saddest words in the English language are "What party?" And L.A. is the "What party" capital of the world.
Carrie Fisher

The surface is all you've got. You can only get beyond the surface by working with the surface.
Richard Avedon

Some exemplary unpleasant facts are these: that life is short and almost always ends messily; that if you live in the actual world you can't have your own way; that if you do get what you want, it turns out to be not the thing you wanted; that no one thinks as well of you as you do yourself; and that one or two generations from now you will be forgotten entirely and that the world will go on as if you had never existed. Another is that to survive and prosper in this world you have to do so at someone else's expense or do and undergo things it's not pleasant to face: like, for example, purchasing your life at the cost of innocents murdered in the aerial bombing of Europe and the final bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And not just the bombings. It's also an unpleasant fact that you are alive and well because you or your representatives killed someone with bullets, shells, bayonets, or knives, if not in Germany, Italy, or Japan, then Korea or Vietnam. You have connived at murder, and you thrive on it, and that fact is too unpleasant to face except rarely.
Paul Fussell, Thank God for the Atom Bomb

We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them.
Evelyn Waugh

Time misspent in youth is sometimes all the freedom one ever has.
Anita Brookner, A Misalliance

Freedom isn't speaking your mind freely. Freedom is having the money to go to Mexico.
Nell Zink, Mislaid

What is the most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
Susan Sontag

Somebody put it on the Internet and it went bacterial.
Donald Hall, A Carnival of Losses

When people call you intelligent it is almost always because they agree with you. Otherwise they call you arrogant.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

My chest bumps like a dryer with shoes in it.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.
H. L. Mencken, attributed

We're all just walking each other home.
Baba Ram Dass
November 27, 2020
As a kid, I loved reviews of video games, especially if they were colorful. I just managed to trackdown one of my favorites that someone scanned online - the December 1982 copy of Games magazine (All I remembered was that it had a time travelling detecting story "The Hemlock Kiss-Off"). I was really taken by monkeyshines, a game I wouldn't even see footage of for years, there's something so weirdly appealing to me about autonomous little monkeys...

Also, "Microsurgeon" certainly has a memorable screenshot:

trying to figure out if the machines schools in the 80s had were mimeograph or ditto machines. haven't thought of that weird purple ink ina long time... hard to explain to a kid in age of photocopies and printers. almost as weird as microfiche.
Nothing bums me out like finding quotes I put on my blog from a book I don't recall reading. It's like a reminder of how quickly any mark I leave on the world is likely to be eroded away, I can't reliably place a mark on my own psyche!
Speaking of old video games... On the FB Atari Age group Herb Branan writes "The warranty card I found in the box for a Magnavox Odyssey 3000, circa late 70's."

Question #8 is just amazing. Such a weird way cart before the horse way of thinking about what a player might like in a game... (also the salary ranges and the lack of zip code in the address are quite telling of the time.)

Being a reader these days is amazing in terms of being able to almost effortlessly look up any reference, no matter how obscure. I'm reading a Dwight Garner's commonplace book, absolutely nothing but quotations loosely categorized (but without having the topic explicitly listed) and being able to find out more about who said any particular thing, or maybe get it in context... amazing.
Dolly Parton is even more amazing than I thought!