Jun 12, 2005

bits & bobs

Upside down on a mortgage
If this is true, this is a really horrifying situation to be in. While I wouldn't wish this on anyone, I fear there are going to be a lot of people in this situation at some point over the next few years. Say it with me - debt you can't absolutely pay off is bad.

Sony DataTiles | DataTile Pictures | DataTiles
Would win hands down for "real-life technology most likely to appear in a science fiction movie". I'm not sure really what it does, if it's practical, or what it would be good for, but it's clear this belongs in a movie.

MSN Toolbar Review | IE Tabbed Browsing an Embarrassment
I agree with this. I like most Microsoft software but this is just out of left field for them. It is a truly horrible piece of software that I'm sure the IE7 team is none too happy about. Let's be clear - I think MSN should be spun off. It is trying to compete in a market where Microsoft does not excel - services.

The Lovecraft Industry
I used to read Lovecraft in high school - horror stories with an other-world, quasi-religious bent. I'm a little surprised that scholars like him. He's a little repetitive and never quite gives you the goods at the end of the story. Whenever some amazing otherworldly thing was about to happen, it was too otherworldly for the human to describe. Quite a cop-out.

Tyson's Career Likely Over
I loved watching Tyson when I was younger. He was, for a while, the most dominant boxer I've ever seen. I believe he would have eaten Ali alive if they were both in their prime. But I think it was that anger and animalistic nature which led to his destruction. One wonders what he'll do now. He's bankrupt and probably won't fight again. He's probably looking for a book deal.


Andrew said...

I'm always surprised by what turns scholars on. If I were feeling magnanimous about it, I'd suggest that scholars recognize the unique formality and structure that make a Lovecraft tale unmistakably Lovecraftian, an adjective that leaves no doubt about the nature of the noun it is describing. I'd also suggest that Lovecraft is the popular embodiment of a littérature sinistre that's historically significant, although its many practitioners are mostly forgotten: August Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, Guy deMaupassant, Algernon Blackwood, even illustrators like Sidney Sime. Also, there's a Surrealist component of Lovecraft's work that I'm sure will pass over every scholar's head: H.P.'s preoccupation with the remote threat of horror and its manifestation in dreams hew closely to the art-from-sub-conscious-chaos models (or lack thereof) that Andre Breton and other, more cerebral Surrealists espoused loudly and often.

I hope scholars also don't miss two critically important elements of Lovecraft's writing: the fact that his most interesting characters were essentially auto-biographical (Charles Dexter Ward) and that he was a consummate self-parodist, recognizing in mid-career that he had perfected a voice that lends itself to skewering.

I, too, discovered Lovecraft in the high-school years, and have recently returned to him out of a desperate yearning for colorful language and outrageous cosmic concepts -- something a lot of modern fiction sorely lacks. It's nice to see him get the full red-carpet treatment from Penguin Classics, which, with S.T. Joshi's erudite editorial notes, make for a great piece of scholastic immersion.

Andrew said...

Oh, and I wrote lovingly about my hero Lovecraft way back here. ;>