links for 2008-03-31

Continue Readinglinks for 2008-03-31

Design is Dead says Phillippe Starck

The hilarity of this recent news item is only enhanced by my having just finished watching the movie Art School Confidential mere moments before I read it:

BERLIN (AFP) — Renowned French designer Philippe Starck says he is fed up with his job and plans to retire in two years, in an interview published in a German weekly on Thursday.

“I was a producer of materiality and I am ashamed of this fact,” Starck told Die Zeit weekly newspaper… Everything I designed was unnecessary… I will definitely give up in two years’ time. I want to do something else, but I don’t know what yet. I want to find a new way of expressing myself …design is a dreadful form of expression.”

Starck, who is known for his interior design of hotels and Eurostar trains and mass consumption objects ranging from chairs to tooth brushes and lemon juice squeezers, went on to say that he believed that design on the whole was dead.

“In future there will be no more designers. The designers of the future will be the personal coach, the gym trainer, the diet consultant,” he said.

Starck said the only objects that he still felt attached to were “a pillow perhaps and a good mattress.” But the thing one needs most, he added, was the “ability to love”.

Continue ReadingDesign is Dead says Phillippe Starck

Book Review Catch-Up – Spring 2008

Boy, am I behind on recording what I’ve read. I’ve had this post in progress forever trying to summarize some of these books, and I kept tacking new titles onto the end. I finally stole enough free time to get it finished.

The Geographer’s Library
by Jon Fasman
A literary history suspense novel, along the lines of The Davinci Code. it follows two separate threads – one of a rather lazy young reporter at a sleepy small-town paper investigating the death of a college professor from his alma mater, and the other thread the fate of a collection of various alchemical objects put together by a court librarian/philosopher in 10th century Sicily. It takes a rather long time for the two threads to come together, and when they finally did, I was too impatient to care much about what happened.

Locked Rooms (Mary Russell Novels)
by Laurie R. King
I’d forgotten how much I like this series of mystery novels until I picked up the latest. King’s Mary Russell series is a continuation of/homage to Sherlock Holmes, but unlike some I’ve read, this series is well done. Holmes purists tend to sniff at them — but if you think about that for a minute, the idea of there even being Holmes purists to begin with is rather silly. Conan Doyle wasn’t exactly a literary lion, and King’s novels have some weight to them in terms of character voice and plot. The series is based on a Sherlock Holmes that has “retired” from London investigations and fallen in love with the titular Mary Russell, a brilliant young woman half his age but completely his equal.

This particular novel is set in San Francisco, where Holmes and Russell have traveled to wrap up her family’s estate and to stumble into what really happened when her parents met their deaths in a long-ago automobile accident. It’s a nice picture of early San Francisco history during and post the great fire. The mystery comes together decently at the end, but I enjoyed the ride so much I wasn’t all that hung up on whether it did or not.

The Art of Detection
by Laurie R. King
The fifth book in King’s Kate Martinelli series. I haven’t read the first four (somehow I got a bit mixed up when I was buying this) but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of this book. Martinelli’s a San Franciso cop and lesbian mom with a toddler who gets a strange case indeed. A man who enjoys dressing up like victorian detective Sherlock Holmes is killed in an unusual fashion, over what turns out to be an original, lost story of Sherlock Holmes, set in San Francisco. (Yep, the book had some subtle references to the “Locked Rooms” book I read just before this. Not necessary to read both, but I love neat continuity stuff like this.)

Standard Hero Behavior
by John David Anderson
Standard Hero Behavior is a funny teen fantasy novel written by one of Stephanie’s former co-workers. Mason Quayle is a bard in in the small town of Darlington (formerly Highsmith) whose hero father went off 10 years ago with the rest of the town heroes on a mysterious quest, never to return. Now the town is threatened, and only Mason and his friend/sidekick Cowel can save the day – by locating the lost heroes and brining them home to defend the town.

I really like that Anderson wrapped up the novel completely, but there are some tiny signs of where he could go with a sequel. I’ve mentioned before that leaving fantasy fiction novels wide open at the end is one of my pet peeves, this is one satisfying example where that doesn’t happen.

I have to say there was a character in the novel I have concerns about because the character could be interpreted a couple different ways, and I could see where some folks I know might take offense. That’s a question I’ll have to ask Dave next time I run into him, though, about what he was trying to convey.

The Best of MAKE (Make)
by Mark Frauenfelder and Gareth Branwyn
I read this entire book when we were stuck on the plane for six hours on the way to SXSW. Some of the electronics stuff is way over my head, but with some specific instructions and possibly some help from Steph’s dad, those projects aren’t beyond my reach.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home
by Joss Whedon, Andy Owens, Georges Jeanty, and Jo Chen
The first volume of the comic book version of Season 8 of the show – it doesn’t go back and recap for new people, so you’ll want to start reading the Omnibus comics from the beginning or pick up the DVDs. Volume 1 is great – if you’re a Buffy fan, you’ll definitely want to own this.

Marvel 1602
by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
Neil Gaiman writes a graphic novel where Marvel’s classic characters (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Peter Parker, Nick Fury, Daredevil) come to life in Elizabethan Age. Nicely done!

Continue ReadingBook Review Catch-Up – Spring 2008


My post below about Butler student Evan Strange who asked Chelsea Clinton an inappropriate question spawned an interesting response. I received several emails from Butler student Lauren Laski defending her fellow student. I’m not going to go into detail of what they said, other than that Lauren really needs to take a logic course while she’s there at Butler. But I want to talk about this a little more, because I still think Evan’s a moron, but apparently I need to spell out why for some.

Let’s look at the question Evan actually asked: He asked Chelsea to give her opinion “on the criticism of her mother that how she handled [Bill’s affair] might be a sign of weakness and she might not be a strong enough candidate to be president.”

First, where the hell is this “criticism” coming from? Evan asked the question like everyone has heard this, and it’s a statement of the obvious, and that it’s a question in the minds of most Americans — but it really isn’t. There are a tiny handful of people out there making this criticism – but it’s not average Americans, it’s people like drug-addled Rush Limbaugh, who also thinks Clinton shot Vincent Foster and faked the moon landing herself. The criticism doesn’t have any legitimate basis; it’s a smear campaign like all the others coming from the same right-wing conspiracy nuts. Given that, the question really didn’t need to be asked.

But let’s even suppose there’s actual merit to the question. is Clinton’s “credibility” today affected by the decision she made ten years about how to handle her marital difficulties?

Of course not. The answer to that is so obvious that again, the question really need not be asked. Hillary’s choice about how to handle “Bill’s affair” was a choice that over 100 million Americans have had to face. What do you do when you have a serious problem in your marriage; is it better for your family to stick it out, or to get a divorce with the help of family law claims attorney? There’s no right or wrong answer to that question, as anyone who’s been through it can tell you.You can also contact attorneys from law firm for divorce charges as they can help you legally in dealing with the matters related to relationships. You have to pick what you think would be best for your family and even your community, and hope and pray that the decision you’ve made is the best one. You can also contact experienced divorce attorneys serving in Crossville to give you legal counseling and take the best decision for your future. And you may not know whether it was for decades.

But no matter which option you pick – there’s not a moral failing in making it. Suggesting that Hillary’s credibility is in question over the choice she made to stay married is also calling into question the credibility of 100 million other Americans who’ve had marital difficulties and had to make that choice. That’s a pretty audacious thing for a 20-year-old unmarried college student to do. If Evan has anyone around him who’s been divorced, they should be bitch-slapping him right about now.

I believe that the above answer to Evan’s “question” is obvious to 99% of America. Most people understand exactly what Hillary went through when her marriage got such a public and painful challenge, and most people would have the common sense not to judge her for how she handled it. Most people would never ask such a question in the first place.

Now let’s go back to Evan’s claim that he’s a Hillary supporter and was trying to help her out. I don’t have any evidence as to his real motivation, but his body language and tone belie what he’s saying. Anyone with common sense would understand that asking this question does nothing to help the Clinton campaign – perhaps Evan is genuinely lacking in that common sense, but I don’t think so.

It’s my opinion that Evan wanted to be on national television, that he didn’t mind causing Clinton some bad news cycles, that he was savvy enough to know that Monica’s name uttered in a room with Chelsea Clinton would be explosive, and that he was willing to make himself and the state of Indiana look dumb to ask the question.

Lauren claimed that Evan didn’t intend for his question to make the news. That’s a bit of a stretch, considering that he had interviews with 12 different media outlets; appearing on Fox News and the Today Show, among others. If he was sincere about his question to Chelsea and his motivation in asking it, when the media came calling he would have said “no comment.”

Continue ReadingCredibility

Butler student insults Chelsea Clinton

Leave it to an idiot Hoosier to embarrass the state of Indiana now that we’re in the national spotlight. I’m sure it’s the first of many bonehead moves Hoosiers will make when they see television cameras. From the Chicago Tribune:

INDIANAPOLIS – The college student who got a stinging brushback from Chelsea Clinton when he asked about the Monica Lewinsky scandal said Wednesday he’s a Clinton supporter who was trying to get her to show “what makes Hillary so strong.”

Evan Strange, a Butler University student who works on the school’s newspaper, The Butler Collegian, said he had asked Chelsea Clinton her opinion “on the criticism of her mother that how she handled the… scandal might be a sign of weakness and she might not be a strong enough candidate to be president.”

Strange’s question at Chelsea Clinton’s appearance Tuesday at the school brought a stinging rebuke from Clinton’s daughter. “Wow, you’re the first person actually that’s ever asked me that question in the, I don’t know maybe, 70 college campuses I’ve now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business,” Chelsea Clinton said during the campaign visit for her mother.

Evan, you’re a dumbass. And you’ve made us all look like dumbasses. Thanks, idiot. If you want to know what Evan looks like so you can, perhaps, throw a mudball at his head if you see him in the street, here’s a video of the moron trying to explain is his idiot question.

Continue ReadingButler student insults Chelsea Clinton