'noble experiment'



If the sadness of life makes you tired
And the failures of man make you sigh
You can look to the time soon arriving
When this noble experiment winds down and calls it a day 
Time has come now to stop being human
Time to find a new creature to be
Be a fish or a weed or a sparrow
For the earth has grown tired and all of your time has expired 
All the gardens are sprouting with flowers
All the treetops are bursting with birds
And the people all know that it's over
They lay down all their airs and they hang up their tiresome words
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Ohio's in a downward spiral. 

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"And you know, he might be going to Toledo, I don't know."

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"Well, we are all equal. We’re all equal. And we’re all vulnerable."


three essays






I guessed that she must have read the opening scene, when the narrator overhears a conversation at a restaurant. A middle-aged man, “Big Silver,” is talking to a young woman he’s invited to his table. After a while, the young woman interrupts to tell him a strange story of her own, about a scuba diving trip, which is also a story of being hurt by someone in her life. 
'You talk a lot don’t you?' Big Silver responds. 
'It was not easy to convey to him,' Levy writes, 'a man much older than she was, that the world was her world too… It had not occurred to him that she might not consider herself to be the minor character and him the major character.'

Ayşegül Sava, 'The Cost of Reading.' Longreads, July 2019.

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'The Crane Wife' is a story from Japanese folklore. I found a copy in the reserve’s gift shop among the baseball caps and bumper stickers that said GIVE A WHOOP. In the story, there is a crane who tricks a man into thinking she is a woman so she can marry him. She loves him, but knows that he will not love her if she is a crane so she spends every night plucking out all of her feathers with her beak. She hopes that he will not see what she really is: a bird who must be cared for, a bird capable of flight, a creature, with creature needs. Every morning, the crane-wife is exhausted, but she is a woman again. To keep becoming a woman is so much self-erasing work. She never sleeps. She plucks out all her feathers, one by one.

CJ Hauser, 'The Crane Wife.The Paris Review, 7/16/2019.

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Eat what you want when you want. It sounds simple. But many of the women I know seldom ask themselves what they really want. Women of my generation, in particular, still grapple with all their appetites. As I write this, I am sitting at my dining room table, feeling the day’s first flicker of hunger. What do I want? There are doughnuts on the kitchen counter, fancy ones. Do I want those? No, I’ll crash and burn in a few hours. Do I want another cup of coffee? I don’t know. What about the leftover frittata from last night’s dinner? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. 
Eventually I eat a fried egg sandwich. It is exactly what I want.

Laura Lippman, 'Whole 60.' Longreads, July 2019.

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From top:

3 Terracotta female figures,ca. 1400–1300 B.C. Met Museum Open Access.
Figures of monks and nuns made to open, wooden playthings from Berchtesgaden, 18th century. Via 50 Watts.

moon men


Buzz Aldrin had hoped, and briefly expected, that it would be he, and not Neil Armstrong, who would take the first human step on the moon. The astronaut Michael Collins, who manned the control module that orbited the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin walked below, has said of Aldrin that he 'resents not being first on the moon more than he appreciates being second.' On the moon, Armstrong took photos of Aldrin posing, but Aldrin took none of Armstrong doing the same. One of the few photos that shows Neil Armstrong on the moon was taken by Armstrong himself—of his reflection in Aldrin’s helmet, as Aldrin salutes the flag. We are petty and misbehave on Earth; we will be petty and misbehave in space.

Rivka Galchen, 'The Race to Develop the Moon.' The New Yorker, 4/29/2019.

'moon watched me home'



Originally posted 11/14/2011.

scaled


NASA Lunar Surveyor Mosaic: Day 318, Survey G, Sectors 11 and 12, 1966-1968:

'this is the myth in which we transcribe the most obscure and real powers of language'


Leandro KatzLunar Sentence II, 1980. Created using an 'invented alphabet made with photographs of the faces of the moon.'

It reads:

WHEN WE PULVERIZE WORDS, WHAT IS LEFT IS NEITHER MERE NOISE NOR ARBITRARY, PURE ELEMENTS, BUT STILL OTHER WORDS, REFLECTION OF AN INVISIBLE AND YET INDELIBLE REPRESENTATION: THIS IS THE MYTH IN WHICH WE NOW TRANSCRIBE THE MOST OBSCURE AND REAL POWERS OF LANGUAGE.

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Originally posted 11/9/2011.

silver + gold




DAGUERREOTYPES OF THE MOON. (from The Schoolmate, January 1854, p. 75):

Probably most of our readers will like to hear of this remarkable experiment in daguerreotyping. This wonderful invention has been used for years to amuse the public, and minister to our affections, by presenting faithful portraits of the absent or lost ones. It has now been fairly pressed into the service of the science of astronomy, and has been eminently successful.
A lunar daguerreotype was taken by Mr. S. D. Humphrey, of Canandaigua, N. Y. At a meeting of the Cambridge Scientific Association, in 1849, five of Mr. Humphrey's pictures were exhibited by Mr. Wells. Since that time Mr. Whipple, the daguerreotypist of Boston, has been very successful in daguerreotyping the moon, using the great reflecting telescope at Cambridge for that purpose. But lately he has quite popularized these lunar transcripts by the newly-discovered art of daguerreotyping on glass. This art, which is called crystalotyping, has never yielded more beautiful results. Mr. Whipple's crystalotype of the moon ranks among the wonders of the age, and, by its easy reproduction, enables every person, whose cultivated taste leads them to care for such things, to possess a picture of the moon, actually drawn by herself. The picture, let us observe, is a faithful copy of the lunar features--as faithful as an ordinary daguerreotype of a friend's face. Nothing more curious has ever fallen under our notice.

John Adams Whipple: 

View of the Moon,  February 26, 1852. 
First daguerreotype of the Moon, 1851.

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Originally posted 11/15/2011.