Readin’ and Ridin’: Transportation within Transportation

Forty degrees and rain, soggy train platforms, and an unhappy toddler–my daughter, not happy at being dropped off at daycare–can make for a miserable start to a day.  It was only partially redeemed by finally finding dry shelter in the shape of a subway car for the ride into Manhattan. After my wife had disembarkedContinue reading “Readin’ and Ridin’: Transportation within Transportation”

Photocopiers and the Failure to Agree on Meaning

Brett Weiner at The New York Times has put together an amusing Op-Doc titled “Verbatim: What is a photocopier“? As  Weiner describes the provenance of the piece: In a deposition in Ohio, a lawyer became embroiled in an absurd argument about the definition of a photocopier….The dialogue was so sharp, inane and fully realized thatContinue reading “Photocopiers and the Failure to Agree on Meaning”

Falling Off the Wagon

I had a bad week. Starting Friday April 18th, my brain went on the blink. In the following nine days, I only blogged twice (instead of my usual daily schedule), went to the gym only three times (instead of my scheduled seven times), read no books, and only entered into minor bouts of editing. IContinue reading “Falling Off the Wagon”

The AllRounder Kickstarter

I don’t normally make fundraising pleas on this blog, but I’m going to make an exception to that rule today. Very soon, I will be contributing articles to a new online sports journal The Allrounder, one to be marked by its thoughtfulness and breadth; it will feature the writing of some 60 different writers, who bringContinue reading “The AllRounder Kickstarter”

Rust Cohle and Naked’s Johnny

As I watched Rust Cohle in True Detective, it occurred to me he reminded me–in some ways–of another character I had found memorable; Johnny in Mike Leigh‘s Naked, . Johnny doesn’t seem to have a quite as philosophically inflected take on life as Cohle, but his dialogue delivery makes his lines epics of rage and dryContinue reading “Rust Cohle and Naked’s Johnny”

Jacob Bronowski on the Missing Shakespeare of the Bushmen

Jacob Bronowski–who so entertained and edified many of us with The Ascent of Man–was very often a wise man but he was also Eurocentric, a weakness that produced astonishingly reductive views about the ‘East’, about ‘uncivilized’ and ‘uncultured’ societies. This inclination is noticeably on display in his dialog The Abacus and the Rose,¹ in the courseContinue reading “Jacob Bronowski on the Missing Shakespeare of the Bushmen”

True Detective: Eight Points of Contention

I finished watching True Detective last night. I found the finale deeply disappointing but I can’t say that I was surprised; the show had seemed incapable, over the last few episodes, of sustaining the portentousness it had built up in the first three or so installments. I still think the show was outstanding, but IContinue reading “True Detective: Eight Points of Contention”

The Police Precinct as Augean Stable

Over the past few years, I have met some–very personable and intelligent–young men who seemed possessed by the same passion: they wished to join the police, to “serve their community”, to “give something back”. They knew the police forces they wished to become members of were dysfunctional and corrupt, but that was precisely why theirContinue reading “The Police Precinct as Augean Stable”

Marty Hart Comes Undone

The fourth episode of HBO’s True Detective–“Who Goes There”–is justifiably famous for director Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s epic six-minute tracking take of a gun battle gone spectacularly, violently wrong. There is another scene in the episode that should be just as famous: Marty Hart‘s epic, rage and profanity-filled meltdown on finding out his wife Maggie hasContinue reading “Marty Hart Comes Undone”

Don’t be a “Crabby Patty” About AI

Fredrik DeBoer has written an interesting post on the prospects for artificial intelligence, one that is pessimistic about its prospects and skeptical about some of the claims made for its success. I disagree with some of its implicit premises and claims. AI’s goals can be understood as being two-fold, depending on your understanding of theContinue reading “Don’t be a “Crabby Patty” About AI”