Thursday, December 29, 2005

and now for something completely different...

I'm pretty picky about poetry, but I came across this today in one of those rambling Google experiences...started out in the NY Times review of the Year in Art, went on to look for pictures of Damien Hirst's works, back to the art review where there was a mention of the NY Public Library's auction of Asher B. Durand's "Kindred Spirits". Didn't know what that was, so I Googled it. Found this page, where the history of the painting (turned out that's what it was) was explained. In the explanation was a quote from this poem by John Keats. I like it, so here it is for your enjoyment:

O SOLITUDE! If I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; - climb with me the steep,
Nature's Observatory - whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes - its rivers crystal swell,
May seem a span: let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavilioned; where the Deer's swift leap
Startles the wild Bee from the Fox-glove bell.
Ah! fain would I frequent such scenes with thee;
But the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
-John Keats, 1795-1821

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Your 2005 Song Is

Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz

"Love forever love is free.
Let's turn forever you and me."

In 2005, you were loving life and feeling no pain.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice!

We finished decorating our tree last night, just in time. Even though we still call it a Christmas tree, I'm identifying more with it as a pagan symbol. Seeing as that's what it originally was and all... I've been trying to come up with some ways of recognizing the Winter Solstice as a primary holiday for us this season. Seems that most of the symbols and decorations commonly used by Christians to mark the Christmas season all have pagan origins (evergreens, mistletoe, holly, etc).

Anyway, in my little bit of research into Winter Solstice traditions, I came across this interesting tidbit I wanted to share with you:

In Greece, the Winter Solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysus was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysus would be reborn as a baby - birth again being celebrated as well as ritually eating the deity. (See this page for more information.)

I think I'll stick to the mistletoe and tree decorating, and go without the ritual diety eating this year. I'll just bake some cookies instead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Contrary to what you might think, porn is NOT better in 3-D. It just has a lot of apples, bananas, and disembodied penises flying at you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

By nature, I am a rule follower. I like following instructions, and I participate in very few illegal activities. I am a model citizen in that, after receiving a $165 speeding fine, I now actually follow the speed limit (on that particular road, anyhow) more closely.

But I have recently found that when it comes to illegal Chinese designer knockoff handbags, all bets are off. I have bought knockoff handbags in The City before, the ones you get from street vendors or in any one of the millions of tiny identical shops on Canal Street. The ones that look like designer bags but lack the labels...the handbag equivalent of a dime bag that's really just oregano mixed with catnip.

Apparently, unbeknownst to my sometimes naive self, Canal Street is a lot like Amsterdam's Red Light District...except that the constant passing whispers aren't "treeps, treeps, cocaine...", but "Louis Vitton, Gucci, Prada...". I'm not sure if this is mandated or not, but all of the whispering young Asian women seem to wear the same coat--the long puffy North Face one that makes you look like you're wearing a big black sleeping bag. Respond to their beckoning, and they will lead you a block or 2 off Canal Street to one of many nondescript buildings where bountiful illegal merchanise awaits.

The first one we entered was filled with Chinese men playing ping-pong. I have been told that there was a sign on the door that read "Chinese Ping Pong Training Center," but I didn't see it myself. We were shuffled past the players into a makeshift room smaller than my kitchen. It was filled with handbags...Coach, Prada, Louis Vitton, you get the idea. At first, in my ignorance (and also because my brother-in-law said so), I believed that at least some of these bags were the Real Thing, but now I'm fairly certain that at most, they were just very good imitations. We didn't buy anything at the Chinese Ping Pong Training Center because our one seasoned buyer couldn't negotiate the kind of deal she wanted. I sadly put down the 3 bags I had in my hands and we left.

Later, we ended up in a warehouse type space that had been outfitted with 4 or 5 of the small rooms. They were each run by someone different. I ended up with a Prada, a Coach, and a Balenciaga bag, plus a small Coach wristlet, all for about $100. Of course they aren't real, though the Coach I got is an excellent reproduction, and even has a very real-looking price tag (MSRP: $280). The Balenciaga is a piece of's pretty much made of plastic but they certainly did a good job with the overall look of it. Note to self: next time, check the inside first to make sure the prong of the fake metal label isn't actually poking through the fabric. The Prada seems to be decent quality-wise, and might even be real leather, though the lining is not of the highest quality. My mom is getting it for Christmas. The Coach bags are for my sister. Being in the midwest, they don't have access to these things, so what may seem ubiquitous and cheap to us on the east coast is probably going to be pretty exciting for them as they stumble mindlessly through the cornfields, eating cheese and watching for tornados. I won't try to pass the bags off to them as the real thing. While I may be capable of such naughtiness as making off-Canal Street illegal purchases, I'm still a shitty liar.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I usually avoid writing about work, but I couldn't pass this one up.

This is from a transcript of a symposium on glaucoma surgery (from which I am expected to produce a coherent manuscript):

"Could nonpenetrating glaucoma procedures be the next step in that evolution, whether we are talking about using rooster comb to inflate to outflow channels, or using a pork rind to maintain filtration through the sacrectomy route."

Can you guess which parts are the transcriber's mistakes?? It may be harder than you think.