What did the Desert Prowlers do, exactly?

via youmightfindyourself

I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World – is a bestselling collection of more than seventy military patches representing secret government projects. Here author/photographer/investigator Trevor Paglen explores classified weapons projects and intelligence operations by scrutinizing their own imagery and jargon, disclosing new facts about important military units, which are here known by peculiar names (“Goat Suckers,” “Grim Reapers,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. The precisely photographed patches—worn by military personnel working on classified missions, such as those at the legendary Area 51—reveal much about a strange and eerie world about which little was previously known.


R.I.P. the marvelous Donald J. Sobol creator of Encyclopedia Brown

I am really, genuinely saddened to hear this. Didn’t mean for this to be a “funeral themed Thursday” blog edition – but I had to mention that Mr. Sobol passed away because his books meant so much to be as a child. I would not be the voracious reader I am today without his books. I had very little interest in reading until I started reading about this super-smart 10 year old kid detective. I will always have a place in my heart for this man and those books. He will be severely missed by me, but one of the great things about authors is, their legacy lives on in print.
via boingboing via washingtonpost

Stuff makes us sad

In the Boston Globe, Beth Teitell discusses Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open their Doors, an accessible, illustrated text that summarizes the research of four archaeologists and anthropologists who did a long, deep study of 32 middle-class LA families, and who report that nearly everything that these families had striven for — material possessions, good jobs, extracurricular enrichment for their kids — made them wholly miserable.

via boingboing

R.I.P. the Amazing Author of the Toynbee Convector

Stuff your eyes with wonder,” he said, “live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,” he said, “shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
– Ray Bradbury

via danfrth

Stop Ruining My Childhood!

The Golden Ticket by pirateman2
The Golden Ticket, a photo by pirateman2 on Flickr.

I’m yelling at myself in a blog post title. And it should really be titled “Stop Ruining My Childhood Memories!”. Because I’m not a child now, so I can’t really ruin a childhood I am not in. I am in the one ruining this particular important memory though, which is why I am yelling at myself.

I almost never watch “Faces of Death” or all the viral videos where you can see be-headings, torture, people getting shot, all of that stuff. I know that I am too fragile for it. I internalize it. Then I feel bad about our world and my existence in it. I get depressed. Since I know this about myself, 95% of the time I don’t look at the car crash when I drive by. There is 5% of the time where I’ll take a peek. I feel like everyone else gets to look, and they are having all the fun, so why can’t I be a man and look at it, too? It might be really cool. It’s not fair, I think, so I go against my own better judgment, and sometimes it’s actually fine. So having said all that, if you love the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, or any of Roald Dahl’s books, then please DON’T READ THIS. I AM WARNING YOU. If you only loved the movie, than you are safe. I used the image from the movie because I love it too, but you can put the two things in separate camps and be okay – I’m giving you that permission. Thank you for your time.

P.S. The article itself is very well done and I enjoyed it, despite its content.

image source: pirateman2 on flickr
via boingboing.net

Napier’s Bones

Napier’s Bones came in the mail on Saturday. I am really hyped to read this one. Sounds like one of the concepts you get immersed in and start seeing it everywhere. Cory Doctorow on boingboing wrote a review of it that made me immediately hit the button on Amazon. You should read what he wrote, but the basic plot is that there are numerates that roam the Earth, and numbers and math are like their magic. They shape these numbers floating around us and they use them as they go through life. They have to do things like hide the serial numbers on their money before they use it. That little detail about the money was really interesting to me and hooked me right away. So I’ll write a review as soon as I am done this one. I do an ADD thing with reading books, so I’ll be reading this one and the others I am in the middle of at the same time.

Art Garfunkel’s Bookshelf

ceiling-bookshelf by courtfkizer
ceiling-bookshelf, a photo by courtfkizer on Flickr.

I am not a Paul Simon fan. I did buy Graceland when I was in high school, because I really liked “You Can Call Me Al” and “Boy in the Bubble” at the time. It is a really really good album, and I do still appreciate it, but other than that and maybe “Kodachrome”, I don’t listen to much Paul Simon. Wait – I thought of one more – I love the Yes cover version of “America”. Does that count?
I still read the article about Paul Simon in Rolling Stone. Why? I am not sure. It was sitting there in front of me and I just thought, “I wonder if there is something about Paul Simon I am missing”. So I read the article and halfway through I realized I should be reading something else.
Then I came upon a paragraph about Art Garfunkel, and there was something cool: Art Garfunkel keeps the book on his bookshelf in the order he’s read them. What an awesome idea! So he knows the order he’s read them, which is pretty cool, and he puts a “ladybug” sticker on the spine of the books he really liked. Another cool idea. He’s read over 1,000 books. I can’t do this myself because I sell back the ones I’ve read and don’t feel like I need to keep through Amazon so I can get more money for books. But if I didn’t have that issue, I’d definitely do this.
Who knew Art Garfunkel could lay down something cool on me?

There’s still adventure to be had (Part II)

I am really enjoying the book The Lost City of Z. Growing up you always want to believe there is still adventure and mystery and that every part of the world hasn’t had a footprint on it yet. I will do a full review of it, but this book pushes aside your assumptions that this is the case. That it turns out you are very wrong, and there are tribes of people deep in the Amazon that will kill you with poison darts and explorers still searching for lost cities with treasure among inhospitable jungles filled with deadly animals and poisonous fauna. Really cool stuff. I will write a full review later, but this book is a winner right now.

I did not care for the other book I was reading (I like to read a few at the same time – like an ADD thing) The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. I am sure it is an awesome book, and others would enjoy it, but the beginning of the book that delves into his relationship with his father and the village just didn’t compel me for some reason. I may have to keep it and try it again in a year. Sometimes that works for me, but I have vowed I do not have to finish every book I start now – life is too short – so it is in the discard pile for right now.