Adamkhan.net

 

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Gay Day at the Park Olympus C5050 London, England Thursday, June 12th, 2008.

Rich Wooden Ceiling
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Rich Wooden Ceiling iPhone 6S Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, England Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018.

Harlequin Ed
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Harlequin Ed iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Thursday, April 19th, 2018.

Fire Lasers
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Fire Lasers iPhone 6S Hyde Park, London, England Wednesday, April 11th, 2018.

Joins
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Joins iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, April 9th, 2018.

Life Ring
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Life Ring iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, January 14th, 2018.

Stand by Your Man
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Stand by Your Man iPhone 6S Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017.

Children of the Sun
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Children of the Sun iPhone 6S Golden, Colorado Saturday, October 14th, 2017.

Rest from Grandchildren
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Rest from Grandchildren iPhone 6S Marbella, Spain Saturday, August 26th, 2017.

Clay Decoration
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Clay Decoration iPhone 6S Surrey, England Tuesday, May 30th, 2017.

Nature’s Confetti
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Nature’s Confetti iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, December 7th, 2016.

Lobby by Armani
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Lobby by Armani iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Friday, September 30th, 2016.

Green Tea
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Green Tea iPhone 6S Herzlia, Israel Thursday, September 29th, 2016.

Drunk on Media
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Drunk on Media iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, September 12th, 2016.

Mini’s Buxom Rear with #69’s Mad Roof
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Mini’s Buxom Rear with #69’s Mad Roof iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Saturday, July 30th, 2016.

I’m Too Sexy for My Tiles
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I’m Too Sexy for My Tiles iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, January 20th, 2013.

That’s Satoyama Life, Folks
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That’s Satoyama Life, Folks iPhone 4S London, England Friday, May 25th, 2012.

Jolly Bannister of Atomium
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Jolly Bannister of Atomium iPhone 4S Brussels, Belgium Tuesday, May 15th, 2012.

Tree and Tubes
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Tree and Tubes iPhone 4S Brussels, Belgium Monday, May 14th, 2012.

God Morgen
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God Morgen iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, April 24th, 2012.

We Made This
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We Made This iPhone 4S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, April 17th, 2012.

Mensch Bench
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Mensch Bench iPhone 4S Herzlia, Israel Saturday, November 19th, 2011.

Furry Balcony
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Furry Balcony Olympus C5050 Helsinki, Finland Friday, January 8th, 2010.

Good People on the Way
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Good People on the Way Olympus C5050 Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, June 30th, 2009.

Who Do You Think You are Kidding, Mr Finjan?
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Who Do You Think You are Kidding, Mr Finjan? iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Sunday, May 24th, 2009.

Brighton Life
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Brighton Life Olympus C5050 Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, March 31st, 2009.

•••

About

Briefs

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Great fun illustrated article on the aesthetics of Trumpism by Nick Hilton.

This next product, emblazoned with the number 45, looks more like a golfer’s baseball cap than a trucker’s … that styling — №45 in fancy serif font — would be perfectly at home on the label of a $100 bottle of scotch. Someone wearing this cap would not be immediately outing themselves as a ‘deplorable’ (as was, to a large extent, the appeal of the MAGA hat). It’s a flashback to a moment when the Trump brand was all about luxury hotels and links courses. No wonder it’s on sale.

Hilton also wrote a piece on Trump-based magazine covers.

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

I keep referring back to this article by Kyle Chayka — beautifully and ironically illustrated by Daniel Hertzberg — and in a nice homologue I keep forgetting the term it coins, airspace:

It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes.

The title says it’s sterile but is it? The word never appears within the article. Isn’t airspace more a vocabulary? Here in Brighton there are nasty pastiches of it (Tortilla: Real Californian Burritos and Tacos), lovely expressions (Gails Bakery) and sophisticated extensions (Smallbatch Coffee).

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

“Jon [Favreau] said, ‘Look into his eyes. If you look into his eyes you will know. Is he being asked a question or is he asking the question?’” On the making of Iron Man’s HUD.

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Since I’m returning to it for some refreshment, time to add the link: “How to Use Clashing Fonts” by Jonathan Hoefler. “It’s often the dialogue between typefaces that most effectively communicates how information is meant to be understood.”

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Craig Mod’s interview with Offscreen Magazine. “In my life, America is three locations: New York City, the Bay Area, and Asheville in North Carolina.” This writer/designer, who first impressed me with his review of the Apple Watch, lives in a small coastal town in Japan — some sort of digital-hipster James Bond. Things are very considered.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Ward Nicholson summarizes the current state of play regarding web typography. He mentions my two go-to Adobe plugins, BalanceText and Dropcap, both of which will eventually be part of CSS.

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Nice piece exploring how gradients are ok again because Nature.

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Labor without counsel is not design.

Mike Monteiro, Design’s Lost Generation

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Good gumption. Frank Chimero expresses many thoughts I’ve had on the depressing explosion of complexity in web development. I particularly agree about being able to View Source, which is one important reason I don’t use CSS pre-processors: I want people to be able to read the CSS as I coded it, whether to know what to copy or what not to copy.

Friday, January 26th, 2018

A deep dive into iPhone X’s notches by interaction designer Brad Ellis. [via Daringfireball]

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products

Leander Kahney

♦♦♦♦

In what seems a common pattern, Jony Ive started early, eschewing the liberal education of say Oxbridge, instead selecting the most renowned college in the field in which he was already winning prizes: industrial design. And this great achiever of our times grew up under the happy and mighty influence of his father, an educator who rose to prominence due to character and a drive to bring design literacy to British education.

The bulk of this book about Ive constitutes one of the stronger, more detailed histories we have of Apple itself, told mainly from the perspective of the IDg, the internal design group he leads. We learn for instance that in order to meet Steve Jobs’ deadline for creating the iMac — the first product upon Jobs’ return and which revived the company — they needed to streamline the product process by making the files of the design software interoperable with those of the manufacturing software.

Someone says Ive is even less replaceable at Apple than Jobs. This isn’t quite fair because Jobs worked to make himself replaceable. Let’s hope Ive does as well.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Inside Apple

Adam Lashinsky

♦♦♦

Engagingly written albeit disappointingly somewhat thin, the useful angle here is how Apple differs from conventional wisdom.

Secrecy, even internally, is paramount; it helps alleviate internal politics and keep people focused. There is little internal promotion, taking seriously the Peter Principle. Unlike the rest of Silicon Valley, perks are minimal; working at Apple is the perk.

A product of its time (2012) and of the author’s lack of access, the book is marred at the end by pessimistic obsession with Apple’s viability post-Jobs, but is nonetheless ultimately worth reading because it does convey an impression of what Apple is like.

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

City Journal has a nice new design by Goodfolk of Chicago. Dig the topics list, both the titles and their order. And on mobile at least the article titling over the imagery is intense.

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I appreciate this nicely laid out summary of wisdom reminders for the working life by Studio Lovelock, This Much We Know.

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

What an internet treasure. Standard Ebooks is — according to their web site — “a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.” These are some beautiful, consistently-designed ebooks. The epub version works a charm in iBooks.

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Wired on Apple Park.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Nicely presented on Vimeo, Jen Simmons of The Web Ahead podcast gives a 1-hour talk on web design at a 2016 An Event Apart conference entitled Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts. Lots of nice slides of magazine layouts, where she suggests web designers should be returning for inspiration.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Anyone who goes to [Beethoven’s] Ninth Symphony then sits down and designs a wallpaper pattern is either a confidence trickster or a degenerate.

Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Regarding these great pithy quotes typographically set by London-based graphic designer Kyle Robertson, they all look very different but most use the same font: Archer!

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Looking for a way in to a responsive refresh, and because Engaging has a paid-up account at cloud.typography.com, I switched the main font at my personal site adamkhan.net from Georgia to Archer. However, this AIGA article, “Is Archer’s Use on Target?”, points to the font’s role in our larger socio-economic situation, and that I’m about 7 years behind the curve. There are also the Archer Alert and Archer Beat blogs. Turns out it’s everywhere, from US postal stamps to One Direction albums. Nonetheless I feel slightly redeemed by the conclusion at “The Devil Uses Archer”.

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Goodbye, grids, I at least hardly knew ye. Ethan Marcotte, coiner of the very term responsive design, argues that a web design today should “algorithmically generate a responsive layout that best reflects the importance of the information within it.”. Yes! Another choice quote: “The breakpoints we introduce to our responsive designs aren’t tied to the shape of a device’s screen. Instead, our media queries defend the integrity of the content we’re designing.”

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Interesting, easy-to-understand breakdown of colors used in iOS app icons in 2015. Reds are most popular, then blues. By Hwee-Boon Yar. [via MacStories]

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

I’m not sure that I agree with the author’s criticism of the Apple Watch screen, and unlike him I like how small the thing is, but his comparison—that Apple Watch leather is to leather as the pink chicken sludge of chicken nuggets is to chicken is insightful and in retrospect obvious. Article is complete with apt photo illustrations. [via Daring Fireball]

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Anyone noted the similarity between an Apple Watch and a NASA astronaut? I think we should be sold.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

♦♦♦

Simplistic, kind of repetitive, engrossing, not too much I didn’t already know I don’t think, but necessary reading. Nice last paragraph even if redundant last chapter.

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Stand up for your work! Or as The New York Times puts it, “Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics”.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Andy Ihnatko, MacTech Conference attendee, on the group tour of Disney Animation, an advance screening of Wreck-It Ralph, and John Lasseter’s desk. [via TidBits]

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Frank Lloyd Wright archives are moving to New York, reports Arch Daily; paper to Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library , models and prototypes to MoMA.

Monday, August 20th, 2012

The Making of The Spy Who Loved Me by the BBC for the Open University, 1977. Episode #1: Cubby Brocolli, Producer. #2: Ken Adam, Production Designer (“not indispensible”, “preferable”, “unique”, “important”). #3, Barbara Bach, Bond Girl.

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Fascinating, that Apple’s Sony-inspired designs for the iPhone back in 2005 were more like the iPhone 4 than what was subsequently initially released. Had they been leading up to the 4 style all along?

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

“in casa un espresso come al bar”: On the marriage of coffee and aluminum, icons of modernity, in Bialetti’s Moka Express.

Monday, June 18th, 2012

An interview at frocktalk.com with Being There costume designer May Routh. “Rene Magritte: I think that this came after shooting of the film and can be seen in the advertising and posters, but I never heard it discussed.”

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Designs from the 2012 International Contemporary Furniture Fair brought to the rest of us by the estimable and venerable The New York Times. I really should subscribe and support it.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

On Windows 8, and an illustrated history of Windows itself, by Steven Sinofsky. Long and juicy. [via daringfireball]

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

“Nation on the Move” is the magnificent second episode of the America Revealed PBS series. Interestingly, the show is British-made.

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Photos by Paul Ringstrom of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Muirhead Farmhouse which I had not heard of until this moment. I just love it. Beautiful brickwork that seems to be just the same as unbeautiful brickwork. Perfect shapes. The slightly outcropping wooden ziggurat on top. Oooh. Also the Sims House.

index topics design design
Yes

It’s a Somewhat Rauschenberg World

I don’t like this use of animals, like Damien Hirst’s. The artist could not have asked the goat for permission so should not have assumed it was granted.

Black Tracks the Presidents

The great virtue of Conrad Black’s Flight of the Eagle is its steady track across the entirety of the nation’s history, treating each president equally under its own law and order.

Homepage Design 2016

No matter the screen size, a web site should feel like itself, even if it doesn’t look it. So do “mobile first” second.

Yes

From iPhone 4S to 6S: An Appreciation

The increased size, something I was so hesitant about, feels fine to me now. And because it’s thinner it feels less obtrusive in my pocket.

Spectreview

With the villain’s quasi-sibling bond to the hero, 2015’s 007 movie deflates to an incestuous Möbius Strip.

In Gaza, Israel Should Own its Terrible Tactic

Although such excoriating labels as “collective punishment” and “state terrorism” aren’t entirely wrong regarding Israel’s application of the Dahieh Doctrine in Gaza, history does suggest that the method is effective in fighting a fundamentally defensive war.

Go Deny Yourself

This four-letter little word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.

Some Consumer Affairs

I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.

Yes

From Nokia N95 to iPhone 4S

Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Dry, Juicy, Linear, Luminous

The dancers in the ape-suits; how they move is an incredibly energetic output for us. Contrast their physical reaction when witnessing the monolith to that of the astronauts in the newly-minted 21st century.

The Mouse and the Cantilever

Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.

Friendship is for Weenies

It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust US President Obama.

Before the Setup

It’s 1983: Go for the Apple IIe with 64k that could be opened up as a hobbyist machine? Or the smaller, sleeker and newer IIc with double the memory but a closed case?

At Modi’in Mall

There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown: Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.

Yes

The Israel I Love, the Bad So Far

If the signage were a bit more effective, the staff’s diction and demeanor more professional, then we might have avoided this testy altercation.

Shanghai Europe

So, finally, we stopped yesterday; the Israeli assault on Gaza of late 2008/early 2009 is over. With it, Israel lost moral purity and made vital strategic gains.

Yes

Panning for MacBook Pro

Even if it did nothing, was just a prop in a futuristic movie, the MacBook Pro would be impressive; it’s like a sculpture of my previous computer, the MacBook, except it’s actually an improved computer!

Stop Yesterday

Is the goal of Israel’s current assault on Gaza to discourage Hamas from firing rockets or to render them incapable of doing so? These are two quite different projects.

Short-circuiting Place-based Longing

If there’s one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere.

A Crawl Across Crawley, Part 1

Irit, the Jam and I walk from Brighton to Gatwick Airport.

Clash of the Midgets

I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled and dominated, reverberating with this old geezer’s most naff yap.

Yes

Israel’s Greatest Victory Since Osirak?

If Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was part of a masterplan to staunch the damage done by the victory of the Six Day War in 1967, then today we see another step in its unfolding.

The Small Adventures, Part 2

There in the empty restaurant by the water at Dieppe I had toast with foie gras, a carafe of red wine, a huge plate of mussels and chips, and finally a crème brûlée. Somehow, though I’ve eaten in restaurants hundreds of times, I felt grown up.

Yes

The Small Adventures

Late for the 11pm train to Milan, we enquired frantically among the taxis for one who’d accept the two dogs and take us to Termini Station so I could begin our journey to Britain.

Tony Blair and the Four-State Solution

Ariel Sharon’s disengagement policy reflected an understanding that ownership of the Palestinian issue is shared with Egypt and Jordan. If Tony Blair were to acquire this view, perhaps he really could help facilitate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Restoration and Return

There she was, sitting outside the apartment block! How did she do it? Dogs—or at least Jam—must have some sort of navigational sense we don’t understand.

Curs to Fate

Yesterday I lost Jam in Villa Borghese, the central park here in Rome, some five miles from Talenti, the neighborhood where we’re staying. She has not turned up since.

Yes

Jam and Bread, Jam and Bread!

My dog Jam has spent over a third of her time here in Italy as her fixtures have fallen away—first Maddie, then me. But now I’m back!

Yes

This Trip’s Last Day

I went to Astor Place Haircutters. I crossed Manhattan Bridge on foot. I walked west along Canal St, seeking a bamboo steamer.

I, Thou and Pastor Bob

At the Calvary Church here in Fort Lauderdale the Biblical locations feel so far away that they can be abstracted and spiritualized. There is religious energy here.

Yes

The Big and Easy

The American stage is grand, as are the achievements and ambitions, but daily life seems lamed by a compulsive denaturing.

A Drop in Time

The camera hit the ground lens first, bashing it in so that it would no longer wind in and out, and couldn’t switch on. Without it, my perception of an important personal era was degraded.

A Ride to Gatwick Airport

Airports. They’re so charged, so symbolic, and so empty once you’re at one; I dream of them so often.

Only the Rustle in the Trees

Grief, loss — these are the great teachers surely. What one has will pass.

A Cabaret, Old Chum

It’s a last bastion of civility, being allowed to drink at Penn Station, Brian mused ruefully as we carried our beers to his train home to Great Neck.

Fatahland and Hamastan

Now Israel has a dog in a real Palestinian fight: the nationalists rather than the Islamists.

Yes

Stars, Stripes & Superlatives

Here in Los Angeles I am bombarded with superlatives. Daniel’s record collection. The Bikram Yoga College of India world headquarters. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. All mixed in with the most ravaging mediocrity.

Shite on Brighton

“Like many provincial towns,” the Private Eye reviewer stabs, “Brighton, as depicted in this hacked-together tribute, defines itself more by what it isn’t than by what it is. It’s not London, for one thing.”

Daily Yin

For my first test of the day as day, I open the back door and step outside to the little patio to see the sky and feel the air. I realize not everybody does this, so if people tell me I’m a miserable bastard then perhaps this little habit will correct their impression.

Mind the Dream

Dreaming about our passed companions as if they are alive requires tricks to the dreaming mind to overcome what it believes and knows to be true.

The Dharma Tits

Buddhism is the philosophy and psychology closest to Cognitive Therapy and vice versa.

Yes

Still Got the Jam

Jam was one of Maddie’s nine puppies, the one who remained after the others were all taken. That was always my plan, to keep the runt.

Such a Tramp

Maddie, who died 18 months ago today, was a mangy mutt and stank, but she was also among the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen and for me the longest, richest, widest, deepest streak of feeling lucky.

So You Noticed

I have had something very flattering: a request. Juan Carlos has asked me for comments on Casino Royale.

Fly the Blag

Ryanair has brought wretchedness to the skies. Rather than existing on a privileged plane, you stew in a poisoned atmosphere.

Approaching Infinite Justice

Immediately after 9/11, the burgeoning war on terror was named “Operation Infinite Justice”. Within days it was renamed “Operation Enduring Freedom”, but is the new name a mere cloaking of the first?

On the Seventh Day

The Mrs is skeptical of David Allen’s Getting Things Done self-management system because it eschews the rigors of time management in lieu of what feels right. But GTD is about informed feeling.

Don’t Panic!

An academic romp through Jewish American comedy starts out as a veritable rollercoaster ride, but grinds to halt with its obsession with one Bob Dylan.

Photographing a Handsome Old Man

I want to get people in my pics, but it’s tougher when you’re no longer a wide-eyed teenager, because people generally don’t like to think they are a spectacle.

The Beauty of Rain

Rain makes the rocks shine. It puts in motion things that are otherwise static. It illustrates gravity most prettily.

Ode to Salame

It’s supposed to be the arsehole of Tel Aviv, Salame Street, running east-west at its southern tip, but it always does me darn good.

I Love Laundry

How pleasing it is to have my own washing machine. If all isn’t right with the world, not even in my world, at least the laundry cycle is functioning.

Lovely Scenery, But Walks Getting Boring

Unless I drive somewhere new, it’s not much fun to just step out the door and wander. But driving to go for a walk seems a tad ridiculous.

For Love of Economy

It disturbs me to be driving a car that gets fewer kilometers to the shekel than did my previous.

Shinui and the Seven-Year Itch

How refreshing to see Asian faces out shopping in Tel Aviv, or Africans riding the bus to Ra’anana. With them Israel is given fresh wellsprings of culture.

Allah Help the Jackals

While it’s obvious that overplaying your power can result in a downfall, it’s less obvious that underplaying it also leads to trouble. America did this in the 1970s under Carter. Israel seems to have done it almost perennially.

Yes

For Tel Aviv, Better a Skylift Than a Subway

Rather than copycatting a transportation system from the 19th century, Israel could inject into its civic planning the same audacity and resourcefulness that it has historically brought to agriculture and defence.

Yes

Canada Obscura

There’s not a patch of water to be seen—the most liquid thing is the word “Coffee” on one of the low-slung strip-mall buildings. It’s a scene more artful than art itself.

Tour of Kitchen Duty

There was yelling and spray and I raced to keep up. One can enjoy, briefly, the company of men.

Independence Park Up for Grabs?

To this day men of many ages walk these bushes, they delicately lurk these bushes, and stand in places odd to choose.

Yes

Tira Saunters

The one-lane road is empty; down below is the Sharon Plain, looking vast. Israel may be a small country but we’re still speaking here of land.

A Call to Thumbs

When you hitchhike it’s out of your hands, and that’s therapeutic. Paradoxically, you also see how much control you do have.

 

Briefs (cont’d)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Tyler Cowen: Why read news?

If you follow the news, you will work at it every day, more or less. Better those compound returns than to do something else once every three months and a half.

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Michael Chabon on Finnegan’s Wake [2012].

As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

First she called herself a Joycean, then she realized she’s more of a Joyceaholic. A great fun rueful erudite walk around the city that is James Joyce.

This is not the first time I’ve broken up with Joyce. A couple of years ago I decided we were in a co-dependent relationship. Except how could that be true if I was the only dependent one?

Friday, June 15th, 2018

What a lovely episode of Westworld is the latest, “Kiksuya”. I think the show has been great recently, such as crashing into the Shogun version of Sweetwater in “Akane no Mai”, and James Delos’s incarceration and repeated relaunches in “The Riddle of the Sphinx”.

There is so much death depicted in Westworld; I haven’t watched Game of Thrones nor The Walking Dead so perhaps that is par for the course nowadays on tv but it’s new for me. In reality this level of mayhem only exists in pockets (and of course among the non-human), so I suppose it is important that we be reminded of it.

I love the ongoing reversal within Westworld that the real world shot outdoors is fake while the indoor sets underground, reached through Lost-like hatches, are real. And the music; beautiful! And the scenery, beautiful! Without these two elements, how great can a moving picture story ever be?

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

The US Supreme Court has ruled 7–2 in defence of Colorado baker Jack Phillips who refused for religious reasons to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple who subsequently sued him.

Justice Anthony Kennedy: “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Bernard Lewis, 102 by Yonoson Rosenblum:

Lewis was one of the first to take note of the “Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders,” issued in an obscure London Arabic paper in February 1998 by Osama bin Laden. Lewis began his piece in Foreign Affairs as only one deeply immersed in Arabic literature could, with attention to the declaration as a “magnificent piece of eloquent, at times even poetic, Arabic prose.”

More:

At times, he has been a player, not just chronicler of events. Well before the Yom Kippur War, he was tasked by Egyptian diplomat Tahseen Bashir with bringing to Israeli leaders the message that President Sadat was ready to make peace. Bernard met with then prime minister Golda Meir, whom he describes as having a “personal filtration system” that allowed through only what she wanted to hear, as well as Moshe Dayan, Yitzchak Rabin and Menachem Begin. Only the last was eager to pursue the diplomatic feelers.

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

The Dawn of Day

Friedrich Nietzsche

♦♦♦♦

This is a delicious book to pick up in spurts — BMW punchy as Emerson is Rolls-Royce bubbly — but I couldn’t say what it’s chiefly about, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits in with Nietzsche’s other books, nor whether I’ve even read it before (I do remember particular points but perhaps they’re also mentioned in the other books). As usual this 19th-century giant sounds as if he writes… this morning.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Newsweek excerpts Ronen Bergman’s upcoming book about the Mossad, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. The chapter recounts an Egyptian missile program being developed by ex-Nazi engineers (comic-book nefarious!).

After failing to subvert it with mail bombs and intimidation, Israel recruited a high-living Hitler favorite and produced enough evidence — echoes of Netanyahu’s recent evidence cache on Iran’s nuclear program — to persuade the German government to take benign steps to intervene and halt the program.

The institutional fallout included Isser Harel’s ouster, the IDF coming in to rebuild, and it seems the resignation of Ben-Gurion himself.

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Having just seen Sam Smith on a televised weekend concert, I was reminded of Spectre and went and found a podcast episode where they satisfyingly eviscerate his lazy theme song, “The Writing’s on the Wall”.

Revenge of the Audience. In the comments after this Variety article about Solo, people consider why this movie is a box office disaster.

Watching Carrie Fisher tell her son about his Dad in Catastrophe, s3e6, she removes her glasses and her bitter old character eccentricities and we see just her face and eyes and she is as glittering onscreen as ever. Yet in the two new movies they gave her static scenes, which I think is a significant reason for Star Wars fatigue: what they did to the original troika in these new movies is distasteful.

I know why I didn’t see Solo: because The Last Jedi.

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Reality-driven development: a good critique of agile in favor of kanban for software development.

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

Prince William will make the first ever official tour of Israel by a member of the British royal family (Jordan first though).

I think this is quite a big deal; Britain has complicated feelings towards Israel — to wit, the country’s non-appearance to date in 25 James Bond movies.

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Michael Pollan’s everywhere-on-the-internet excursion into psychoactives is excerpted in The New York Times Magazine.

“I” now turned into a sheaf of little papers, no bigger than Post-its, and they were being scattered to the wind. But the “I” taking in this seeming catastrophe had no desire to chase after the slips and pile my old self back together.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

From February 2016 to February 2018, global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius, reports Aaron Brown in Real Clear Markets. He notes that “none of this argues against global warming” as “the 1950s was the last decade cooler than the previous decade” but worries that “statistical cooling outliers garner no media attention”.

Great fun illustrated article on the aesthetics of Trumpism by Nick Hilton.

This next product, emblazoned with the number 45, looks more like a golfer’s baseball cap than a trucker’s … that styling — №45 in fancy serif font — would be perfectly at home on the label of a $100 bottle of scotch. Someone wearing this cap would not be immediately outing themselves as a ‘deplorable’ (as was, to a large extent, the appeal of the MAGA hat). It’s a flashback to a moment when the Trump brand was all about luxury hotels and links courses. No wonder it’s on sale.

Hilton also wrote a piece on Trump-based magazine covers.

Monday, May 21st, 2018

The Closing of the Hi-Gloss Colonel of American Letters Tom Wolfe’s Eyes. The New York Times obituary by Deirdre Carmody and William Grimes.

Caroline Glick praises the genius of Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital. I’d go further: its most important function is as the crowning piece of pressure on the Palestinians to finally strike a deal with Israel and end the existential conflict; it transforms East Jerusalem from a given they have pocketed into a prize they can win.

What a bonanza it will be when the Palestinians, like the surrounding Arab nations, finally acknowledge they are licked, and accept what they can get from intense genuine negotiations. There should be little shame in admitting defeat — after all, the combined armies of the Arab nations repeatedly failed to defeat Israel. The ideal models here are Japan and Germany, which, after defeat by the United States and the Allies, reconstituted themselves, moved on, and with their national genius become formidable in their own realms. The Palestinians too can become formidable, well positioned to become at very least the eternal prospering middlemen between powerful Israel and the wider Middle East.

70 years after independence, Israel is flourishing in nationhood and statecraft, with a burgeoning birthrate, economy, set of alliances; it has likely possessed nuclear weaponry since 1963, an ICBM global delivery system since 2008. Indeed, Israel under-projects its power; David Goldman accurately coined her a “pocket superpower”. All this means that as Israel strengthens and they weaken, the longer the Palestinians continue to hold off the less they will eventually get.

Up to now, the only pressure the Palestinians faced to encourage them to make a deal was Israeli settlements in the West Bank, bargaining chips being built in front of their eyes. Now under Trump, the USA has changed its approach and added its own diplomatic pressure to bear — epitomized by the Jerusalem recognition. More fundamentally, the region has changed; the Palestinians’ traditional patrons and enablers — Egypt and Saudi Arabia — have at the very least lost interest in their perpetual campaign against Israel.

This sea-change will hopefully lead the next generation of Palestinian leadership to realize that there is no longer any benefit to holding out (not that there ever was) and succeed in conveying this to the people. Here’s hoping, and to fruitful and harmonious דו-קיום (co-existence) sooner than we think possible.

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Make it work, ‘cos you’ve got opposites.

Irit Levy

Friday, May 11th, 2018

It’s ominous yet futile, the Western media’s circumlocutions to avoid the traditional names of the various wars between Arabs and Israel. Here’s an example from today, “1 Gazan killed, 49 wounded by Israeli fire in border protest” by the Associated Press and posted at Yahoo (currently owned by Verizon). The paragraph in question:

Another large-scale protest is planned for Tuesday, when Palestinians mark their “nakba,” or catastrophe, referring to their mass uprooting during the Mideast war over Israel’s 1948 creation. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out or fled homes in what is now Israel. More than two-thirds of Gaza residents are descendants of refugees.

I can’t remember when I last saw the capitalized term “Independence Day” in any international media news reports, nor the term “War of Independence”. Ditto for the Yom Kippur War, the Six Day War and the somewhat less heroic Sinai War.

I understand that these are inherently pro-Israel terms, told from an Israeli point-of-view. But they are vivid, concise, accurate, individuated terms. I’d also have thought that if they were transliterating Nakba they’d also be doing Yom Ha’atzma’ut in the vaunted name of balance. Moreover any war from which a nation-state arises deserves the term War of Independence.

“The Moment” is an occasional column/blog by novelist Amit Chaudhuri in The Paris Review.

Jony Ive talks watches with the founder of the Hodinkee watch magazine.

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

In the wake of America’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, an Israel-Iran war is unlikely but still…

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Even as the USA is troubled at the national level, it is often flourishing locally, argues James Fallows, who has spent five years criss-crossing the country with his wife.

“America is becoming more like itself again,” he writes. “More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware.”

This is good, it seems to me; better than if the reverse were true.

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

I keep referring back to this article by Kyle Chayka — beautifully and ironically illustrated by Daniel Hertzberg — and in a nice homologue I keep forgetting the term it coins, airspace:

It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes.

The title says it’s sterile but is it? The word never appears within the article. Isn’t airspace more a vocabulary? Here in Brighton there are nasty pastiches of it (Tortilla: Real Californian Burritos and Tacos), lovely expressions (Gails Bakery) and sophisticated extensions (Smallbatch Coffee).

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Ben Thompson concisely contrasts Amazon and Apple. “I’m not sure that Amazon will beat Apple to $1 trillion, but they surely have the best shot at two.”

Eric Posner and Glen Weyl provide some diagnosis of and solutions for our new Gilded Age.

Joss Whedon on making The Avengers: “There’s very little that I didn’t look at. It’s like, This is a Dr. Strangelove moment. This is The Abyss. This is His Girl Friday. It’s constant. You have to have all that stuff sort of in a blender in your head.”

“Jon [Favreau] said, ‘Look into his eyes. If you look into his eyes you will know. Is he being asked a question or is he asking the question?’” On the making of Iron Man’s HUD.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Ehud Yaari in The American Interest: “Israeli inaction came face-to-face with Iranian proactivity, and Israel now finds itself counting its losses even as the Syrian war winds down.” It seems we have been fighting the last war.

Jaron Lanier on social media: “We got into this by trying to be socialist and libertarian at the same time, and getting the worst of both worlds … we have to choose.”

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

“Our statement is a non-statement.” In this 2007 interview, Robert Culp (“the talent”) speaks of I Spy and his partner Bill Cosby (“the genius”).

Friday, April 27th, 2018

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un enters South Korea for a summit with President Moon Jae-in. They jointly plant a tree and sign a friendly declaration.

This review of The Jewish Joke: An essay with examples (less essay, more examples) has examples.

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

I liked Michelangelo because the obsessive and extreme torsion of his figures was so obviously derived from that of Jack Kirby.

Geoff Dyer, Comics in a Man’s Life

I can’t go for a few moments without sliding back my chair and gazing with massive self-love at my library.

Geoff Dyer, on books, in Unpacking My Library

Living abroad meant a move out of quotation marks.

Geoff Dyer, on books, in Unpacking My Library

Of course they should do it, what are they waiting for? Venice mulls charging for day-trippers — again.

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Being drunk is better for creative problem-solving.

We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.

In Amtrak’s magazine The National, alum David Schisgall welcomes the College’s new overlordettes, for in July 2018, after years of legal wranglers and decades of dusty nazal-gaving, Deep Springs will go co-ed.

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Another nice ongoing Grauniad series, this one where authors and writers describe their typical writing day.

The Paris Review compiles interviews from its archives on writing while under an influence.

Eventually I get down to writing and then the real problems begin.

Italo Calvino

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Camels are surprising enough on the face of it, but so, really, is everything.

Paul J. Griffiths, “Letter to an Aspiring Intellectual”

 
 

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Newsroll

A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.