B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Archive for the ‘book’ tag

Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty was uploaded to Flickr

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my summer read

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/niKZFc

I took Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty on May 10, 2014 at 06:31PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on May 12, 2014 at 07:27PM

Written by eggplant

May 12th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Jungleland: In search of a lost city

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Jungleland cover
jungleland_cover

Sounds fun – exploring without leaving the comfort of my office couch…

The true story Christopher S. Stewart has to tell in “Jungleland” resembles nothing so much as the set-up for one of H. Rider Haggard’s old pulp adventure novels. It’s got a fabled lost city somewhere in the midst of a trackless rainforest, intrepid explorers, stoic guides, assorted dangerous animals and sinister bad guys, and a dash of espionage. Even the local tribesmen get in on the act, issuing forth vague warnings about “forbidden” zones, the voices of the dead, evil spirits and monkey gods.

Stewart, a journalist specializing in war and organized crime, first heard about Ciudad Blanco — the White City, a magnificent ruin rumored to be buried deep in the jungles of the Mosquitia region of Honduras — while reporting on the booming Honduran drug trade in 2008. An American ex-soldier who had been involved in training the Nicaraguan contras told him about the legend while describing Mosquitia as the “shittiest, buggiest shithole jungle in the world.” Stewart was soon obsessed, and in a few months, he was on a plane for Central America.

He was far from the first to heed the call. Explorers ranging from Columbus to Cortes had taken note of the rumors, and the first Catholic bishop of Honduras informed the king of Spain that he’d heard tell of the city from the lips of an “Indian princess;” she said its aristocrats ate from solid gold plates. Charles Lindbergh claimed to have spotted the white ruins of “an amazing ancient metropolis” while flying over Central America, and many other visitors to the region have found artifacts that seem to be the remnants of a sophisticated culture. The most recent and apparently reliable eyewitness account dated back to 1940, when Theodore Morde, a 29-year-old adventurer from Massachusetts, claimed to have stumbled on the city while wandering in the heart of the jungle.

(click here to continue reading “Jungleland”: In search of a lost city – Salon.com.)

Available in a couple weeks, I’ll tell you how it is.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 31st, 2012 at 12:30 am

Posted in Books,Suggestions

Tagged with , ,

Barrelhouse Words Defines the Blues

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“Barrelhouse Words: A Blues Dialect Dictionary” (Stephen Calt)

Ooh, I’m getting a copy of this dictionary. Sounds fun…

Enter Stephen Calt, a blues historian and amateur linguist whose new book, “Barrelhouse Words: A Blues Dialect Dictionary,” published by the University of Illinois Press, is an impeccably scholarly, irresistibly readable guide to the language heard on the recordings of the great blues singers who were active in the first half of the 20th century. If there was ever a time when you found yourself wondering what it means to get a “stone pony” or “make a panther squall,” Mr. Calt is your man. As far back as the late ’60s, he was interviewing aging blues singers and sifting through arcane printed sources in the hopes of untangling the verbal mysteries of the music he loved.

All this and much, much more is made manifest in the pages of “Barrelhouse Words,” perhaps the only dictionary on my bulging bookshelf that can be read for pure pleasure from cover to cover.

Part of the pleasure arises from Mr. Calt’s donnish sense of humor. He must have been smiling quietly to himself when he defined “crying shame” as “an exceedingly lamentable occurrence.” No less enjoyable, though, are the examples of contemporary usage that accompany his definitions, all of them drawn from classic blues records. A few are genuinely poetic, while others are drop-dead funny. Look up “business, pork-grindin’,” for instance, and you’ll be confronted with this stanza from Kokomo Arnold’s 1935 recording of “Sissy Man Blues”: Lord, I woke up this mornin’ with my pork-grindin’ business in my hand / Now if you can’t send me no woman, please send me a sissy man. This is a family newspaper, so if you can’t figure the rest out for yourself, turn to page 42 of “Barrelhouse Words.” I haven’t laughed so hard while reading a reference book since the last time I consulted H.L. Mencken’s “New Dictionary of Quotations.”

[Click to continue reading Barrelhouse Words Defines the Blues | Sightings by Terry Teachout – WSJ.com]
[non-WSJ subscribers use this link for full version of article]

postscript: I hope there is an entry on Little Red Bike, as discussed here

I had not heard Kokomo Arnold’s version of this song, only these two, with similar lyric. Connie McLean sings: with my business in my hand, and Josh White sings what sounds like “pork grinding business“, but the words are a bit hard to make out:

  1. Connie McLean’s Rhythm BoysSissy Man Bues


    The Copulatin’ Blues Compact Disc

  2. Joshua WhiteSissy Man


    Roots N’ Blues: The Retrospective

I’ll have to look for the song. Looks like an album of 24 Kokomo Arnold songs is available at Amazon for $8.99.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 26th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

So You Think You Know Pasta

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“Encyclopedia of Pasta (California Studies in Food and Culture)” (Oretta Zanini De Vita)

“I think of her as a kind of Julia Child,” said Mona Talbott, the executive chef at the American Academy in Rome and coordinator of its Rome Sustainable Food Project, founded by Alice Waters. “Julia Child demystified French food. Oretta demystifies pasta.”

Indeed, in its 300-odd pages, the “Encyclopedia of Pasta” ranges from abbotta pezziende, a short pasta that means “feed the beggar” in Abruzzo dialect, to the zumari of Puglia, a long pasta traditionally added to vegetable soups. In between there are the corzetti of Liguria and Piedmont, the little stamped-out coins; pi fasacc of Lombardy, which look like little babies in a papoose; avemarie, which cook for as long as it takes to say a Hail Mary; and several dozen variations on macaroni and ravioli. Each illustrated entry lists ingredients, provenance and how the pasta is traditionally served.

The range of shapes shows that cooking “was a way of self-expression for women to show their creativity and imagination with little or no resources,” Ms. Talbott said. She cited gnocchi ricci, or curly gnocchi, a specialty of Amatrice in Lazio, the city famous for spaghetti all’amatriciana, which are made by kneading together one dough made with flour and eggs, another made with flour, boiling water and salt.

The book also explodes a few myths. Do not think of mentioning the popular belief that Marco Polo had a role in the history of pasta. “Ma no,” she said in a jovial paroxysm of outrage. “When Marco Polo came back they had been eating pasta in Italy for 200 years!”

Instead, she notes in her encyclopedia, dried pasta made with durum wheat was found in Italy starting around A.D. 800. It was spread by the Muslim conquerors of Sicily, and by the 12th century the maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa marketed dried pasta.

“Documents exist to prove this, should there be anyone left — and it appears that there is — who still believes that Marco Polo introduced noodles into Italy in 1296 on his return to Venice from China,” she writes.

[Click to continue reading So You Think You Know Pasta – NYTimes.com]

If I didn’t know better, I’d think I had Italian DNA coursing through my body. Wine, pasta, espresso, poetry, what more could one want?

Written by Seth Anderson

October 13th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Posted in Suggestions

Tagged with , , ,

Reading Around on September 8th through September 10th

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A few interesting links collected September 8th through September 10th:

  • dy/dan » Blog Archive » What I Would Do With This: Groceries

    – “The express lane isn’t faster. The manager backed me up on this one. You attract more people holding fewer total items, but as the data shows above, when you add one person to the line, you’re adding 48 extra seconds to the line length (that’s “tender time” added to “other time”) without even considering the items in her cart. Meanwhile, an extra item only costs you an extra 2.8 seconds. Therefore, you’d rather add 17 more items to the line than one extra person! ” I’d add – when I do the mental calculations as to what checkout line to choose, I also add gender and age into the mix (of cashier and customer both)

  • Pchela (Bee) No 5 1906..jpg
  • Post Office Buyer May Not Deliver | NBC Chicago – my photo used by NBC Chicago with a fairly crappy credit link: better than none I guess, but NBC didn’t ask either.
  • Peapod celebrates 20 years :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Business

    – Thomas Parkinson, co-founder with his brother Andrew of online grocer Peapod 20 years ago, recalls checking customers’ 1200- and 2400-baud modems while he delivered groceries in those early days.

    “There were moments of sweat rolling down my face as I thought I’d messed up someone’s hard drive,” recalled Thomas, Peapod’s chief technology officer. “One woman asked, ‘What do I use this foot pedal for?’ Turned out, it was the mouse.”

    Andrew Parkinson serves as president. The two brothers started Peapod 20 years ago in Evanston with $25,000 they’d raised from friends and family.”

    I find I use Peapod more frequently in the winter months

    William Blake - Ghost of a Flea.jpg

  • Tasty ways to use seasonal tomatoes | Frugal Village – “photo by swanksalot

    If you have an abundance of juicy tomatoes this season, consider yourself lucky to have escaped late blight. For folks not so lucky, I’m sharing recipes that don’t use a ton as the main ingredient but will let you savor every delicious bite.

  • Interview: Wallace Shawn – Chicagoist

    “I suppose I should say that all my roots are all in Chicago,” Wallace Shawn told us. “Both sides of my family. My parents were very identified with being from Chicago, really. My childhood memories of visiting the relatives in Chicago are central to my being. And all sorts of things that some people associate with New York, I associate with Chicago, like going to hear jazz. I went with my uncle to hear Erroll Garner in Chicago.” Shawn is usually thought of as the quintessential New Yorker (in fact his father William was the long-time editor of The New Yorker) but his new book is published by Chicago-based Haymarket Press.


  • Wonk Room » Joe Klein Compares ‘Left-Extremist’ Van Jones To ‘White Supremacist,’ ‘Nazi’ – ”

    Joe Klein, the prominent Time Magazine liberal columnist, has embraced the right-wing

    Hate that Joe Klein aka Joke Line is still called a liberal columnist, even after being a Republican suck-up for twenty years or more.

  • Terror Slaves of the Nile - March 1963.jpg

Written by swanksalot

September 11th, 2009 at 7:59 am