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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Not mocking T. Frank on this count; I don't travel with an iron either.

Based on my own experience, 3 quite possibly true, 7 surely false. 1, 2, and 4 (esp. 2): Excellent advice.

Time between previous post and Wed. evening largely spent in unincorporated county territory near Port Orchard, right on Puget Sound, fairly far from the ferry that takes you to downtown Seatlle, though close to the one that takes you to West Seattle. Cabs are not plentiful at either terminal of the latter, however, which led to my missing the anticipated Mecca Normal show. Our gracious hosts: the aforementioned mother-of-the-bride, a retired social worker who now sculpts, quite fluidly, in stone (and gets commisions to do so) and takes personal-growth and social-responsibility courses from The Landmark Forum; strangely, Foucalt and Lewis Hyde were mentioned in connection with this. And: Husband Rick, a semi-retired math teacher who not only bakes (damn good) bread and homebrews nut-brown ale, but built the damn bread oven, not to mention a kayak and a retaining wall. They're members of a class I don't encounter much here in L.A.; definitely boomers, but possessing a higher quality-of-life/lower offensive-consumption-rate than they otherwise might by locating themselves somewhat remotely and by, well, making their own bread and beer.

Many Edward Abbey and Annie Dillard books on the shelves; I whiled away some time skimming The New Humanists: Scientists at the Edge, ed. John Brockman -- a collection of essays by supposed "Third Culture" biggies (who seem to be exactly what used to be called "futurists"): Ray Kurzweil, Jaron Lanier, Daniel Dennett. Lotsa big talk about Moore's Law, which didn't hack me off nearly as much as several (not all) contributors' kneejerk bancruptcy-of-pomo-and-even-mo-arts-and-humanities-ism, which made me feel a lot better about never having read Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. This is quite explicitly Brockman's own view, but I give him credit for including a section of dissenting responses to his introduction to the collection at the back. (Lanier seems to have a moderate enough view, but I still doubt I'd care for his music.) This whole swath of scientists-turned-public-intellectuals only rarely impinge on my pretty heavily Second Culturalist sphere of interest. (Or whichever one is 'first'; C.P. Snow is not at hand.) It would be a worthwhile project to know something more about their assumptions, ambitions, and degree of influence.

Did make it to Pike's Place Market Tuesday, and hence to Left Bank, picking up MN's self-released Janis Zeppelin, left behind on consignment. Covers of "Like A Rolling Stone" and Sonny Boy Williamson's "One Way Out" -- who knew? Then Elliot Bay Books (where Clinton would be signing his Lyn Hejinian bite the very next day; the phone was ringing off the hook), the Rem Koolhaas library-of-the future (is a Tony Oursler piece hectoring you in the escalator shaft a good idea?), and dinner with the Powers-Weisbard family unit, who appear to be thriving. Though Ann had her doubts, Eric was fairly insistent about taking us to OK Corral BBQ, and I'm glad. Fruit punch referred to as "Hood Juice," family-style platters of ribs, chicken, and dense, snappy links (though I also dig the looser kind I happen to associate with Oakland) which, piled together, surely exceeded the separate dinners we actually ordered, mismatched seating (not in a cute way, either), and very rough bill-estimation. Among its few decorations: A Sonny Boy Williamson poster. As for Rebecca Brooklyn P/W: She does not like the car seat, but can be appeased, at least temporarily, by a few well-timed stroller-donuts.

There's more, but that's enough.

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