Random Notes

What’s with movies these days?

November 19, 2010
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I went to the movies last night and I’m beginning to feel like Dylan’s Mr. Jones. You know, the line from 1965’s Ballad of a Thin Man: “Because something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones.” What’s with movies these days? Not that I’ve been living on Mars […]


Vonnegut’s shapes of stories

November 16, 2010

Somewhere, Kurt Vonnegut wrote that writers should begin a story, any story, novel, whatever, as close as possible to the end.  At least, I think he said that.  Did I dream that?  Anyway, great advice.  And here’s a fine little chalk talk by Mr. Vonnegut.  He’s talking about the simple shapes of stories.  Entertaining and […]


Birds of the British Isles – 1964, Swinging London and all that

November 15, 2010
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What kind of screwed up world do we live in where American kids don’t care about Swinging London? Kids of my g-g-generation marked the beginning of Modern Cultural Life in 1964—specifically February—Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the subsequent glorious British Invasion of Sixties bands, fashion and…the gorgeous girls—Jane Asher, Jean Shrimpton, Vanessa Redgrave, Patti Boyd, […]


The electrickal method and Mark Twain

November 5, 2010
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One hundred and ten years ago, somebody was thinking about electronic publishing. On October 17, 1900, George Harvey, president of Harper and Brothers Publishing Company wrote to Samuel Clemons’ literary agent about the great man’s on again off again autobiography.  Clemons, though he had barely begun on the project, refused to allow any publication of […]


The Next Big Thing: Facebook and the Network Effect

October 24, 2010
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There’s a Silicon Valley technoid sort of thing called the network effect. It’s an algorithm, you know, something from math class. Now, I have to say that I don’t think about algorithms on a daily basis and I bet you don’t either, though in my distant computer networking technology life, I lived that stuff every […]