II. Other kinds.
Ask me anything
Some photographers think the idea is enough.
I told a good story in my Getty talk, a beautiful story, to the point: Ducasse says to his friend Mallarmé — I think this is a true story — he says,
“You know, I’ve got a lot of good ideas for poems, but the poems are never very good.”
Mallarmé says, “Of course, you don’t make poems out of ideas, you make poems out of words.”
Really good, huh? Really true. So, photographers who aren’t so good think that you make photographs out of ideas. And they generally get only about halfway to the photograph and think that they’re done.”
i’m trying to figure out, is a dam a building?
i mean, it’s built, and it can hold people both on and in it, so i guess that makes it a building? which in turn makes it architecture?
ok, great. because this dam (conveniently hidden in the middle of hollywood) is beautiful, whether it’s architecture or engineering or a happy combination of the two (i mean, i guess all buildings are a combination of architecture and engineering).
according to the fancy plaque on this fancy dam it was built in the 20’s by the same person who built another dam that had previously fallen down. so, to prevent this dam from falling down they put a few million tons of earth on it’s south face, thus reducing it’s south face from a few hundred feet tall to about 50 feet tall. and thus giving hollywood even more odd parkland (apparently there are a couple of juvenile mountain lions co-habitating in the park created at the base of this once tall dam).
the dam itself is just the right combination of utilitarian and ornamental, looking at times like a giant water fortress and at times like an art deco wall decorated with bears heads (see the picture).
i’m hesitant to tell you where the dam is, as even though it’s open to the public it’s never crowded.so, if you find it, or if you already know about: great. but otherwise you can pretend that it’s some art deco brigadoon-esque fortress that only shows up once every 40 years.
oh, and i hope you had a nice weekend.
p.s-just for fun i did some old timey processing to one of the pictures so we can all pretend it’s 1927 and we’re working for the wpa.
Textile detail from the Smolyan region in Bulgaria.
"Les différents types de chikwangue traditionnelle commercialisés à Brazzaville"
Chikwangue is a type of gelatinous bread made from cassava (manioc) of which I am rather fond.
“ Reactions that I’ve heard both abroad and at home have been interestingly divided. The most common objection is that, even if it works, this kind of one-on-one, on-site mentoring “isn’t scalable.” But that’s one thing it surely is. If the intervention saves as many mothers and newborns as we’re hoping—about a thousand lives in the course of a year at the target hospitals—then all that need be done is to hire and develop similar cadres of childbirth-improvement workers for other places around the country and potentially the world. To many people, that doesn’t sound like much of a solution. It would require broad mobilization, substantial expense, and perhaps even the development of a new profession. But, to combat the many antisepsis-like problems in the world, that’s exactly what has worked. Think about the creation of anesthesiology: it meant doubling the number of doctors in every operation, and we went ahead and did so. To reduce illiteracy, countries, starting with our own, built schools, trained professional teachers, and made education free and compulsory for all children. To improve farming, governments have sent hundreds of thousands of agriculture extension agents to visit farmers across America and every corner of the world and teach them up-to-date methods for increasing their crop yields. Such programs have been extraordinarily effective. They have cut the global illiteracy rate from one in three adults in 1970 to one in six today, and helped give us a Green Revolution that saved more than a billion people from starvation. ”
But some cultural categories are more persistent than the fading diversity of language . Research conducted in 2007  paints a pretty strange, and surprisingly tenacious, set of borders across Western Europe. Its subject? “An often overlooked institution, the family”: some academics had “noted strong patterns of family structure, with clear regional variations and persistence over time and linked them to significant social and economic outcomes.”
The research considered family types based on two criteria. One, the relationship between parents and children. If children flee the nest at an early age, the family type can be said to be “liberal.” If they stay at home and under the authority of their parents long into adulthood, even after having married themselves, the relationship can be classified as “authoritarian.” Second criterion: the relationship among siblings. If they are treated equally (in inheritance law, for example), the relationship is classified as “equal,” but if one child is favored (the firstborn son, say), the relationship is “unequal.”
Combining the criteria results in five distinct family types:
* The “absolute nuclear” family type is both liberal and unequal. Children are totally emancipated, forming independent families of their own. The inheritance usually goes to one child, often a son.
* The “egalitarian nuclear” family type is both liberal and equal. Children are as emancipated and independent as in the previous type, but equal division of the inheritance encourages stronger parent-children relations before the passing of the parents.
* The “stem” family type is both authoritarian and unequal. Several generations live under one roof, with one child marrying to continue the line. The other children remain unmarried at home, or leave to get married.
* The “incomplete stem” family is as above, but with slightly more equal inheritance rules — an intermediate with the last family type.
* The “communitarian” family is both authoritarian and equal. All sons can marry and bring their wives into the ancestral home. The family inheritance is divided equitably among all children.
According to the researchers, these five family types could help explain the regional disparities in family size, education and wealth across Western Europe. Interestingly, the distribution of the types is almost completely at odds with the modern borders of Europe. The researchers speculate that the origin of the areas might be medieval, or even older. For instance, the prevalence of stem families in Ireland, along the western coast of Britain, in Brittany and on the northern shore of the Iberian Peninsula coincides with areas where Celtic populations settled two millennia ago. The noticeable concentration of a communitarian area in central Italy resembles the area of Etruscan civilization at its pre-Roman height, over 2,500 years ago.
Interestingly, the areas are not distributed in contiguous blocks: the only other main communitarian area outside the Etruscan zone is in the Finnish hinterland. The absolute nuclear family types are clustered in southern Norway, Denmark, the Dutch coast, most of Britain and everywhere but the tip of Brittany. The incomplete stem family type dominates a swathe from the North Sea to the Swiss border, including large tracts of France and Germany, and also prevails in southern Switzerland, northern Italy and central France (perhaps close to that elusive butter/oil border). The egalitarian nuclear type rules the roost in most of Iberia, much of northern France and parts of northern and southern Italy.
(17) In the third set of the ’06 final, at three games all and 30-15, Nadal kicks his second serve high to Federer’s backhand. Nadal’s clearly been coached to go high and heavy to Federer’s backhand, and that’s what he does, point after point. Federer slices the return back to Nadal’s center and two feet short — not short enough to let the Spaniard hit a winner, but short enough to draw him slightly into the court, whence Nadal winds up and puts all his forehand’s strength into a hard heavy shot to (again) Federer’s backhand. The pace he’s put on the ball means that Nadal is still backpedaling to the baseline as Federer leaves his feet and cranks a very hard topspin backhand down the line to Nadal’s deuce side, which Nadal — out of position but world-class fast — reaches and manages to one-hand back deep to (again) Federer’s backhand side, but this ball’s floaty and slow, and Federer has time to step around and hit an inside-out forehand, a forehand as hard as anyone’s hit all tournament, with just enough topspin to bring it down in Nadal’s ad corner, and the Spaniard gets there but can’t return it. Big ovation. Again, what looks like an overwhelming baseline winner was actually set up by that first clever semi-short slice and Nadal’s own predictability about where and how hard he’ll hit every ball. Federer sure whaled that last forehand, though. People are looking at each other and applauding. The thing with Federer is that he’s Mozart and Metallica at the same time, and the harmony’s somehow exquisite.
By the way, it’s right around here, or the next game, watching, that three separate inner-type things come together and mesh. One is a feeling of deep personal privilege at being alive to get to see this; another is the thought that William Caines is probably somewhere here in the Centre Court crowd, too, watching, maybe with his mum. The third thing is a sudden memory of the earnest way the press bus driver promised just this experience. Because there is one. It’s hard to describe — it’s like a thought that’s also a feeling. One wouldn’t want to make too much of it, or to pretend that it’s any sort of equitable balance; that would be grotesque. But the truth is that whatever deity, entity, energy, or random genetic flux produces sick children also produced Roger Federer, and just look at him down there. Look at that.”
“ The case on Proposition 8, the 2008 California voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage there, was filed in 2009 by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies on behalf a two same-sex couples who sought to marry. The two lawyers argued on opposite sides in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that settled the 2000 presidential election. ”
What a week!