reading and reading

Boing Boing used this lovely pic to illustrate its announcement of rules for posts for the period of the election campaign. I quite like it. Obamitt.

Finished Volume 3 of Sandman last night. I am finding this pretty interesting. I especially liked the story in this volume which was about how Dream (Sandman) commissions Shakespeare to write “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

This is Shakespeare and his son, Hamnet, in the story. Shakespeare also acts in the play, taking the role of Theseus, Duke of Athens. Gaiman wittily has S forget his opening lines.

Dream commissions the play to commemorate the actual Auberon and Titania who along with most of the faerie folk have abandoned humanity and return to watch Shakespeare story based on them.

Very clever.

I also appreciated (but did not read all the way through) the original script of the first story in this collection. One does wonder exactly how Gaiman transmits his ideas to his team of creative collaborators. This script shows how he does it and has his own comments (which I sometimes found illegible since he scribbled them right over the script) in red and comments of his artist (Kelly Jones) in blue.

Not a Gaiman script, but his were like this. No story boards just description and direct comment to the artist.

I also read a bit in In Search of the Missing Elephant by Donald N. Michael this morning. It’s written in that faux technical prose that seems almost willfully obscure to me these days. His ideas are interesting. He is talking a lot about the same dilemmas that Maier addresses in his Among Empires. But more from a general point of view of planning a tumultuous future.

I find it so interesting that our colleges and universities cultivate this sort of silly prose.

For me clarity and ease of reading are windows into meaning. If the sentences are convoluted and the words bigger than they need to be, it reads like sort of drone like in my head.

What can I say?

I notice that my usual progression in the morning lately has been from the “word” beauty I find in poetry (lately I have added John Donne to my morning list of poets), then to ideas I find in non-fiction, then to a bit of music practice (which I actually skipped this morning). After that relaxing sequence, I feel ready to face a little blogging and then the rest of day. (I read fiction later in the day)

I started a huge biography this morning.

I ran across James Forrestal in Bacevich’s The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Bacevich points out that Rumsfeld’s wrongheaded willfulness as a cabinet member could be seen as a revenge for what happened to the brilliant but flawed first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal (under FDR).

I find myself attracted to the biographies of flawed American leaders and men. I have read biographies and autobiographies of Nixon, Whitaker Chambers and Bill Clinton. Forrestal promises to give insight into how America was governed around WWII and after.

I have read a couple chapters and so far it seems pretty good.


3quarksdaily: Everything Americans Think Is Complete Crap — Why Occupy Wall Street May Be Our Last Best Hope

Haven’t finished reading this yet, but I like how it starts out: America now as worse than apartheid South Africa.


King of All Nations –

Of all the Martin Luther King things I read, I found this pretty interesting. Mostly because it talks about Brit history and perception around racism. It mentions the statue of King I saw on the facade of Westminster Abbey and points out that there are no British black people commemorated, only King.


Land Carvings Attest to Amazon’s Lost World –

More mysterious lines that can only be seen from upper altitudes.


Why Is Europe a Dirty Word? –

The demonization of Europe and other civilizations in the U.S. has always struck me as speaking from a lack of understanding and historical knowledge. Did you know that the USA introduced union leaders into the reconstruction of Post WWII Europe via the Marshall plan. The idea was to help them understand how unions contribute to economic rebuilding.


Bitter Politics of Envy? –

I know I linked this on Facebook, but I love the Elizabeth Warren quote in it:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But, I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea. God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”


North Korea Plans Permanent Display of Kim Jong-il’s Body –

Stalin, Lenin,

The body of Chinese leader Mao Zedong lies in state in a crystal sarcophagus. Mao's body can still be viewed at a special mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.

Mao Zedung, all weirdly displayed corpses…


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