Ten Things, 2023-22/23
Here are ten things.
- Let's get architectural: two of my favourite kinds of dwellings are surf shacks and A-frame cottages. The playful spirit of the so-called “gingerbread cottages” of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (like the so-called Pink House) come in at a strong third.
- In what the great Spencer Hall called a “controlled demolition,” New York Times art critic Jason Farago takes a scalpel to the Brooklyn Museum's new Pablo Picasso exhibit, whose title is so embarrassing I can't will my fingers to type it out here.
- For GQ, Howard Beck on napping as a practice in the NBA. If an evening nap is good enough for Jimmy Buckets, it's good enough for me.
- Danny DeVito talked to Arnold Schwarzenegger for Interview Magazine, and it got existential.
- RIP Blaseball. As the pandemic started to ramp up in early 2020, I stumbled into the tail end of this eldritch baseball simulation's first season, cheering on the lowly Seattle Garages. I watched aghast as our star pitcher was Incinerated by the Forbidden Book. I watched the game grow and blossom in a veritable cultural phenomenon. I'm sad it's gone, but frankly, I'm surprised it stuck around as long as it did. Nothing this insular or weird was ever going to be compatible with the desires of venture capital. Godspeed to you, The Game Band, for gracing the world with your creation when it needed it most; I look forward to what's next. Godspeed to you, fellow fans, and may your eternal Party Time be a happy one. Garages forever!
- Speaking of baseball: here's Cincinnati Reds rookie Elly De La Cruz simply annihilating a Noah Syndergaard fastball.
- The Atlantic's Walt Hunter lays out what I know firsthand because I did it as a workshop exercise: ChatGPT can't write poetry for shit.
- Watchlist Roulette: closing out the Blank Check Buster Keaton miniseries with College, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and The Cameraman, and a Maya Deren double feature of The Private Life of a Cat and Meshes of the Afternoon.
- RIP The Iron Sheik. I will be 93 and riddled with dementia but I will always remember him calling Caillou “the jabroni of the earth.”
- “The Weather-Cock Points South” by Amy Lowell:
I put your leaves aside, One by one: The stiff, broad outer leaves; The smaller ones, Pleasant to touch, veined with purple; The glazed inner leaves. One by one I parted you from your leaves, Until you stood up like a white flower Swaying slightly in the evening wind.
White flower, Flower of wax, of jade, of unstreaked agate; Flower with surfaces of ice, With shadows faintly crimson. Where in all the garden is there such a flower? The stars crowd through the lilac leaves To look at you. The low moon brightens you with silver.
The bud is more than the calyx. There is nothing to equal a white bud, Of no colour, and of all, Burnished by moonlight, Thrust upon by a softly-swinging wind.