Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day Rabbit

Lapin or Lièvre?
May 1st Meeting.
International Workers Day, Unite! 
All Socialists, Marxists, Communists. 
Even Anarchists are invited. 

At the Savage Rabbit, aka Café du Lièvre. 
Lapin, Lièvre? Splitting hares.

WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT.

So raise the scarlet standard high.
Beneath its folds we'll live and die
Jim Connell (1889)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ode on an unornamented floor

A dominating design
Moving day…

Keats: “Oh Arab design of tangled vines and trodden weeds.” I want to move this to my next house.

Byron: Friend Ketch, such carpets are so kitsch.

Keats: That is the difference between us. You describe what you see. I describe what I imagine. Like the carpet, the imagination is full of riches.

Byron: Roll up the carpet I say, simplify your life and throw it away.
_________________
Voice-over

Middle Eastern carpets are admittedly ornate, and for some, this may complicate a room. Carpet or rug, call it what you will, it must be proportional to the room. Perhaps Keats’ problem was trying to fit a 3 square meter rug into a 4 square meter room; like a verbose poet, it dominated the floor.
...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Framing the earthquake story

In the newsroom…
100 aftershocks of Magnitude 1+ per day










First Journalist:  Headline: Japanese city Kumamoto flattened by by Magnitude 7 earthquake.

Editor: We’re not a tabloid newspaper. We need a less sensational, more scientific approach.

Second Journalist: Lead: The first shock was Magnitude 6.2 on April 14 and killed nine people, injuring 800. The next night another earthquake, Magnitude 7, struck killing 39 people and more than 1,000 people were injured.

Editor: That’s better. It’s curious. Reverse of the usual. Foreshock followed by a main shock.

First Journalist: As a result, houses standing after the slightly weaker first shock fell down in the stronger main shock. Human interest: some people survived the first shock, but died in the second.

Editor: Verging on the tabloid again, but a fair follow-up.
______________
Voice-over
The article:

Kumamoto suffers a foreshock and a main shock

Kumamoto’s first shock was Magnitude 6.2 on April 14 and killed nine people, injuring 800. The next night another earthquake, Magnitude 7, struck killing 39 people and more than 1,000 people were injured. Some people survived the first shock, but died in the second. Usually the main shock is followed by a series of aftershocks. As a result, houses standing after the slightly weaker first shock fell down in the stronger main shock. Later shocks often exacerbate damage.
...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Structures of Narrative: News stories, Magazine stories, Novels

News, magazine articles, novels…

Neo: They’re all just stories, right?

News Story Structure
Skelley: The structures are different.

Neo: Not just beginning, middle, end?

Skelley: Not at all. News stories put all the important facts at the front, magazine articles maybe start with a human interest story or a question to pique your curiosity, and novels usually build up to the important facts at the end.

Novel Structure
Neo: This is always so?

Skelley: Well, there are journalists who write magazine style, just as there are novelists who write like journalists.
_________________
Voice-over
The inverted pyramid defines the news story structure. A triangle on a graph simplifies the timeline of a novel.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Primavera: A garden with no dead plants?

Figures conversing in a painting…
Plants have to be beautiful and healthy

Chloris: Your garden always looks so… so WELL. But something puzzles me. There are no DEAD plants in your garden. I think that when they get sick you throw them out?

Flora: I can’t stand looking at anemic pathetic plants. They have to be beautiful and healthy.

Chloris: That’s a bit brutal.

Flora: I say to them: “You have five days to turn yourself around or you’ll be replaced.”

Chloris: When I see a sick plant, I put it in my plant hospital, I nurture it back to life.

Flora: Nursing is a noble calling.
__________
Voice-over

Flora may sound a little severe but she’s a busy goddess with a big territory to cover (500 species of plants in this corner of her garden alone). And it is heartening that she acknowledges the happiness in healing. Open to interpretation of course. The Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey might have intoned “noble calling” rather archly.
...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Describing flowers and food

On a geranium...
Chocolate and burgundy

Arthur: Intriguing. Black and red.

Guinivere:  The florist said it’s a "black velvet red" which has "dark enigmatic foliage."

Arthur: But this has vivid green leaves with dark red burgundy flowers.

Guinivere: So I'm almost tempted to describe them as "beguilingly broody blooms."

Arthur: A woman might put it that way.
___________
Voice-over
Flower commentators borrow from the metaphorical verbiage of wine critics. The flower has chocolate-colored centers blending into burgundy at the edges. Colors you can taste! Eyes triggering an explosion of dessert delight on the palate. The flower is the signifier, the words of color signify. Shadowing Umberto Eco who saw signs everywhere.
...