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August 26, 2008


1) Disturbed that after watching a few Madonna videos on YouTube, I'm forced to admit she's entertaining.

2) Ortega y Gasset: unreadable, or nearly so.

3) Lake Pipple-Popple. Edward Lear.

4) Momentarily fascinated by Marfa, Texas. Wikipedia:

In 1971, Donald Judd, the renowned minimalist artist, moved to Marfa from New York City. After renting summer houses for a couple of years he bought two large hangars, some smaller buildings and started to permanently install his art. While this started with his building in New York, the buildings in Marfa (now The Block, Judd Foundation) allowed him to install his works on a larger scale. In 1976 he bought the first of two ranches that would, to him, be his primary places of residence, continuing a long love affair with the desert landscape surrounding Marfa. Later, with assistance from the Dia Art Foundation in New York, Judd acquired decommissioned Fort D.A. Russell, and began transforming the fort's buildings into art spaces in 1979. Judd's vision was to house large collections of individual artists' work on permanent display, as a sort of anti-museum. Judd believed that the prevailing model of a museum, where art is shown for short periods of time, does not allow the viewer an understanding of the artist or their work as they intended.

I recommend the Marfa Prada slideshow

Posted by tplambeck at 10:39 PM

August 25, 2008

Saturday NYT crossword reinkings


1 ACROSS: Oil-based paste mentioned in the lyrics to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." (10). I gave this one a mental sing-through and wrote in PLASTICENE. But it's PLASTICINE.

19 ACROSS: Thanksgiving dishes (5). I wrote in BOWLS after having BO filled in. BOATS, instead.

54 DOWN: 0, for 180o (4). I wrote in MINS with the IN crossings, which looks kind of dumb now in a moment of quiet reflection. The answer was SINE. Math answers always fool me, because I assume no one knows math but me (usually accurate).

42 ACROSS: Small, narrow bays (7). I had LETS as the last four letters and tried to write in INLETS before noticing an extra blank square. Oops. ARMLETS, instead.

* * *
Postscript: I'm getting a little disturbed that it's taking me less and less time to solve crossword puzzles. I don't want to be able to solve them quickly, because I depend on them to provide me entertainment at those points of the day when I have nothing better to do (dr appt, waiting for the car, on hold with a phone company, etc). I've already taken to carrying cryptics around, and on Monday and Tuesday (sometimes Wednesday!) I carefully mutilate the NYT puzzle, removing half the clues (ie all the Across, or all the Downs) by tearing the page up, prior to solving it. I really don't want to be one of those people who carry big books of puzzles around. Or Sudokus. One thing that stops me from progressing even more quickly is having a rule to *never* look up answers on the web (well, almost never), and I've never looked at a crossword solution either, at least as far as I can remember. In this way, I slow my progress, because if I don't know a common word for Sweetmeats this week, and couldn't figure it out, well, I won't be able to fill it in next week, either, unless I'm able to guess. To slow myself down, I use a pen and try to fill in the puzzle clue-by-clue, not jumping around the grid at all, like "water flowing down the page." This slows me down a bit. Also, knowing almost nothing about pop music, actors and actresses, and movies helps quite a bit too.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:17 PM


Shadow of cat's ears, visible under door
shadow of cat's ears (and tail, far left)

He'd like to get out
he'd like to get out

Posted by tplambeck at 08:44 PM

August 23, 2008

Angry porcupine contest

Angry porcupine contest
Originally uploaded by thane
This didn't go well for me. I did not handle the media well, despite having both conceived the contest and having suggested the medium. Somehow I got a Hannibal Lecter porcupine, instead.
Posted by tplambeck at 10:06 PM

August 20, 2008

Chez Palo Alto Sol

THANE: (To Gloria) I see that your two sons aren't too inclined to wait for you to be served before they dig in to their respective meals.

GLORIA: Yes—Cole, Owen—if you would like to learn some manners, well, I'm available to help you. Maybe you can use them on a date or something, you know, when you're trying to impress someone.

THANE: Right—some kind of formal class, led by your mother. Sort of like cotillion. She'd lead the class early in the morning for you two.

COLE: Is it polite to take notice when someone is not being polite?

THANE: Ah—good one, good question. I wished I'd thought that one myself. Perhaps when I'm slurping cereal or bread crumbs are tumbling out of my mouth I'll use that one. Anyway, here comes your mother's soup anyway. Why not just dig in? I'll confess to having had a little bit myself.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:32 PM

August 17, 2008

Junior Olympics diving in Maryland

Cole won a gold medal (in platform diving) and two silvers (1m & 3m springboard) at the 2008 USA Diving Age Group National Championships in Germantown, Maryland last week. Gloria took a photo of Cole's name atop the leaderboard:

Cole atop the leaderboard

Gloria also showed me how to access the results at this meetcontrol.com page showing Cole's most recent diving results. They show steady progression since he switched from gymnastics to diving.

I copied the Germantown results in case that page goes away:

Diver: Cole Plambeck
Coach: Ryan Wallace

12-13 Boys 1m J.O - (Final) 2nd place 232.30
12-13 Boys 3m J.O - (Final) 2nd place 239.15
12-13 Boys Platform J.O - (Final) 1st place 274.15

Posted by tplambeck at 11:24 PM

August 16, 2008

Conversation overheard outside Longs Drugs

THREE YEAR OLD GIRL: Daddy, can I open my candy now so that I can save it for later?

MAN: No.

Posted by tplambeck at 01:17 PM

August 15, 2008


Converts one digital photo to a 3-D flythrough:

Posted by tplambeck at 09:57 PM

Notes on Treasure Island

1) Long John Silver is a bad guy (I think; Owen and I haven't finished reading it, but we're agreed in the general plot direction).

2) Fo'c'sle: One of those words I've spent decades avoiding having to pronounce. Words with two apostrophes challenge me—they seem to say, "Yes, I'm a word so familiar, so well-worn, that I've been abbreviated not once, but twice. Yet, dear reader, you are somehow entirely ignorant of the rich literary and cultural tradition underlying my ridiculous spelling." I went with Foke-sul. Sounds good; no idea if that's correct though. At least Nor'wester has only one apostrophe. But it hasn't come up in this book. Nor does it have two apostrophes. You can lay to that.

3) "lay to," as in "You can lay to that": Too much of this, particularly from Silver. It's contagious.

4) Treasure Island itself: wasn't that it at Disneyland, across from Pirates of the Caribbean? I've looked at a couple of online Disneyland maps and it looks like that body of water is in Frontierland, and the island is called "Tom Sawyer Island." So, no.

5) Dr. Livesey. LIVE-SEE? No—I went with "Liv ESS ee." But only after saying "LIVE SEE" a couple of times and slowly coming to realize that's stupid.

Posted by tplambeck at 09:30 PM

Shuffling cards

When we saw properties (H4), (H5), (H6), we hollered "Wait, this is all about shuffling cards!" Knowledgeable readers may well think, "For these two guys, everything is about shuffling cards."

Carries, Shuffling and An Amazing Matrix

Posted by tplambeck at 04:09 PM

August 13, 2008

Day Tripper

I plan to study the first 16 seconds of this video closely to expand my repertoire of forgotten 60s dance moves

Posted by tplambeck at 11:12 PM

August 11, 2008


From "My Literary Malady" by Geoff Nicholson in a recent NYT essay:

I'm sure there are as many gouty plumbers as there are gouty writers, but the suffering of the latter is more likely to be set down for posterity. The classic description of gout comes from Thomas Sydenham, writing in 1683: "The victim goes to bed and sleeps in good health. About two o'clock in the morning he is awakened by a severe pain in the great toe; more rarely in the heel, ankle or instep. The pain, which was at first moderate, becomes more intense. Now it is a violent stretching and tearing of the ligament, now it is a gnawing pain and now a pressure and tightening. So exquisite and lively meanwhile is the feeling of the part affected that it cannot bear the weight of bedclothes nor the jar of a person walking in the room." In the 18th century, James Gilray caricatured gout as a black devil gnawing at the outside of the foot. My own mental picture is of a small, hot, angry rodent inside the joint, trying to burrow its way out. If you think all this sounds exaggerated or self-dramatizing, we can safely say you are not gout-afflicted.
Posted by tplambeck at 07:31 PM

August 10, 2008

plambeck.org, now returned from R&R

Originally uploaded by thane
Looks like this web server took a little break (probably a power failure at the web-hosting cooperative I belong to).
Posted by tplambeck at 04:26 PM

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