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ScissorsLess Glamorous

Part of the problem, officials said, is that as a rule, the government is more inclined to invest money in building new projects, celebrated with elaborate ribbon-cutting ceremonies overseen by elected officials, than in the less visible (and less glamorous) task of maintenance.

Nagourney, A., & Fountain, H. (2017, February 14). Oroville Is a Warning for California Dams, as Climate Change Adds Stress. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/oroville-dam-climate-change-california.html


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Smiles of Rejection

Girls. Would they always drive you crazy? Would their smiles of rejection always drop you into despair and their smiles of welcome lead only into new, worse, more terrible ways of breaking your heart?

Yates, R. (2014). Liars in Love: Stories. Picador.


FactoryNegative Externality

The economic term for such a spillover is a “negative externality,” which occurs when one person’s consumption harms the well-being of others. The classic negative externality is pollution: A factory burning coal or a car using gasoline can harm the air and environment for those around it. A laptop can sometimes be a form of visual pollution: Those nearby see its screen, and their attention is pulled toward its enticements, which often include not just note-taking but Facebook, Twitter, email and news.

Dynarksi, S. (2017, November 22). Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/business/laptops-not-during-lecture-or-meeting.html


Sword-ShieldWeary, Belated Mediocrity

“The Lord of the Rings” was the work of a filmmaker perfectly in tune with his source material. Its too-muchness — the encyclopedic detail, the pseudoscholarly exposition, the soaring allegory, the punishing length — was as much a product of Tolkien’s literary sensibility as of Mr. Jackson’s commitment to cinematic maximalism

But I don’t mean to blame the cultural situation for the specific failings of the movie, which rises to weary, belated mediocrity entirely on its own steam. Mr. Jackson has embraced what might be called theme-park-ride cinema, the default style of commercially anxious, creatively impoverished 3-D moviemaking. The action sequences are exercises in empty, hectic kineticism, with very little sense of peril or surprise. Characters go hurtling down chutes and crumbling mountainsides or else exert themselves in chaotic battles with masses of roaring, rampaging pixels.

Scott, A. O. (2012, December 13). Bilbo Begins His Ring Cycle “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” by Peter Jackson (A Review). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/movies/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-by-peter-jackson.html


400-04866784Magnetic Poetry

The plot makes about as much sense as magnetic poetry on a dorm room fridge.

Tafoya, S. (2014, February 19). The Unloved: Tron: Legacy (Review). Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/87142368


Digital_Movie_CameraHigh Frame Rate

More than anything, it resembles an insanely high-end Masterpiece Theatre production: I, Claudius with a big budget and endless banks of computers
~ The Boston Globe

The best way I can think to describe the quality of the 48fps image in The Hobbit is this: It looks like an ’80s-era home video shot by someone who happened to be standing around on set while The Hobbit was being filmed.
~ Slate

Fox, J. D. (2012, December 14). What the Critics Are Saying About The Hobbit’s High Frame Rate. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2012/12/critics-on-the-hobbits-high-frame-rate.html


SmartPhoneBrought to Ruin

The world is full of people who would see it brought to ruin in order to have dominion over the wreckage.

marcoselmalo (2014, Mar 01). Re: Tim Cook tells shareholders: Apple will not put pure profit over sustainability efforts [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/03/01/apple-cook-shareholders-sustainability/?xid=ob_febtest#


Snoopy's_Dog_HouseMore Than One Night

Charlie Brown: Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone wrong?”
Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.”

Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts


CloverleafInterchangeLoosening the Belt

Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.

~ Based on a 1955 New Yorker column “The Sky Line” by Lewis Mumford


Lightbulb-300pxThe Importance of Failure

Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

J.K. Rowling (2008, June) Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”. Retrieved from https://harvardmagazine.com/2008/06/the-fringe-benefits-failure-the-importance-imagination


No_LifeGuardDrowning Man

Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It creates the failures. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.

Anais Nin (1947, Feb) Diary Entry

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Most Entitled

You know it’s not malice. You know safety comes first. You know flight crews deal with humanity at its most entitled and short-sighted. But you’re still peeved.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 24). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/072414.html

🎯

Truthiness

[Cognitive psychologist Eryn] Newman, who works out of the University of California–Irvine, recently uncovered an unsettling precondition for truthiness: The less effort it takes to process a factual claim, the more accurate it seems. When we fluidly and frictionlessly absorb a piece of information, one that perhaps snaps neatly onto our existing belief structures, we are filled with a sense of comfort, familiarity, and trust. The information strikes us as credible, and we are more likely to affirm it—whether or not we should.

Waldman, K. (2014, September 3). The Science of Truthiness: Conservative beliefs make a lot more sense when you’re not paying attention. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/09/truthiness_research_cognitive_biases_for_simple_clear_conservative_messages.single.html

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Creating Misery

The movie offers no insight, no tragic poetry, no startling yet strangely right filmmaking touches, to compensate for the tawdriness. It’s just a straightforward account of people enduring or creating misery.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, August 29). Review: The Last of Robin Hood (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-last-of-robin-hood-2014

Control is Challenged

It is this catastrophe and the man’s desperate efforts to correct it that link “All Is Lost” with “Margin Call,” Mr. Chandor’s excellent first feature. That movie, about an office full of panicky investment bankers dealing with the unfolding financial crisis of 2008, is in many ways the opposite of “All Is Lost.” It takes place almost entirely indoors, and it’s pretty much all talk. But it is also very much concerned with how powerful men react when their sense of control is challenged, and with the vast, invisible system that sustains their illusions.

Scott, A. O. (2013, October 17). The Strong, Largely Silent Type “All Is Lost,” With Robert Redford at Sea. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/movies/all-is-lost-with-robert-redford-at-sea.html?pagewanted=all

🎥

I’m Going Anyway

Llewelyn: “I’m fixin’ to do something dumber than hell, but I’m going anyways.” This could be the tagline for half the movies ever made.

Orr, C. (2014, September 23). 30 Years of Coens: No Country for Old Men. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/30-years-of-coens-no-country-for-old-men/380610/

👉

A Hill Nobody Wants to Die On

A lot of filmmakers and distributors have that concern: that even if you’re legally in the right regarding Fair Use-appropriated clips, intellectual property rights-holders might still come after you, and try to bully you into removing clips rather than spend money defending your legal right to use them. That’s a hill pretty much nobody wants to die on.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, September 25). Why My Video Essay About “All That Jazz” Is Not on the Criterion Blu-Ray. Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/why-my-video-essay-about-all-that-jazz-is-not-on-the-criterion-blu-ray

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Belt Sander

I hope to shoot at least two [videos] a day because as much as I love the [State] Fair, going every day is like a belt-sander to the soul after a while. To wander into the grounds with a tripod, not knowing what I’ll get – it’s an adventure at first, a job in the middle and grinding despair at the end.

Lileks, J. (2014, August 19). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0814/081914.html

🍓

Easy Pickings

I doubt I need to point out that this is nothing but a particular female variant of the psychological need to believe that others take you as seriously as you take yourself. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, as psychological needs go, but yet of course we should always remember that a deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.

Wallace, D. F. (1997, Fall). Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Retrieved from http://www.theparisreview.org/fiction/1225/brief-interviews-with-hideous-men-david-foster-wallace

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Anger Gene

1) I don’t understand how anyone could ever think this was “real” – except the internet seems to have a hard wired anger gene, attenuated by twitter where ordinarily reasonable people want to get outraged over anything just for the dopamine.

2) This is a side-effect of viral culture. In the pre-Internet days, almost everyone who read the piece would be familiar with the New Yorker, and know that “Shouts and Murmurs” is typically comedy or satire. Now, all it takes is some repost to a link bait site and the clueless hordes will rise up with torches and pitchforks demanding retribution.

Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (2014, Aug 5). Re: Poking the Jazz Hive [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/141657/Poking-the-Jazz-Hive#5670376

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Innate Entitlement

But it fits with the sense of innate entitlement. Because you are ‘creating a great product’ somehow the rules of the little/lesser people don’t apply to you. You are giving them advancement and they should be grateful for it and not judge you.

savagemike (2014, Aug 26). Re: This is Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft?mc_cid=b051b95564&mc_eid=bb561ea0a9#253297600