Monday, February 25, 2019

Pencils. Music. Soup.

Nothing funny this morning. Instead, I shall impart some knowledge you may find, if not vitally useful, at least utterly useless. Johann Eberhard Faber was born in Bavaria in 1822, moved to the United States in 1848, and opened a pencil factory in 1861. (He was descended from an ancient lineage of pencil-makers back in the old country.)There is no connection here with the bassist and composer Eberhard Weber, but you should check him out anyway. Anyway, Faber reportedly named his Mongol pencil after purée Mongole, his favorite soup. I will find a recipe, cook it, and write about that.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 6

Arthur Schopenhauer is confusing – a racist anti-Semite abolitionist proto-Buddhist, a eugenicist and an animal rights advocate. According to Wikipedia, his ideas had a tremendous influence on folks like Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Wittgenstein, Schrödinger, Mahler, Einstein, Jung, Shaw, Borges and Beckett, which probably goes without saying to anyone who has noted their common rejection of epistemological transcendental idealism. What the article does not mention is Schopenhauer’s brief cameo in a typically witty Ira Gershwin lyric. Also, I recommend finding a picture of him and deciding for yourself if he was responsible for the haircut on that guy from Flock of Seagulls.

Monday, February 11, 2019

ecru au lait

Odd to think that every paint company has at least one person whose job it is to think up new words for beige. Unfair that expensive trousers of the same nominal size are roomier although poor people tend to be fatter. Peculiar when commercial bakeries sell home-made bread, unless maybe they’re sleeping there. Weird to talk about the courage it takes to be a leader without giving any recognition to the cowardice required of followers, and ironic to observe a roomful of folks in neat business casual attire dutifully taking notes as a self-appointed expert conducts Lessons in Effective Leadership.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Nobody's from Venus.

Science fiction was more fun back when the solar system was inhabited by near-human races who epitomized their respective planets. Warlike Martians, jovial Jovians, grumpy Saturnians. Now we know for a fact that even if there’s something approximating life in, say, little moist pockets of Mars, these alien critters are likely to be microscopic, anaerobic, and stubbornly uncommunicative. Worse, since Pluto was demoted, my very excellent mother just says, um… no.  No pies. It’s okay. I have a cool mnemonic for recalling the names of the planets. I just say to myself, “Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.”