Friday, November 17, 2006

Team-building, and other recent interesting reading

Another in my less-than-regular series of links to things that have caught my eye . . .

---> Seeing as we find ourselves once again at the beginning of college basketball season, third in importance, in this blogger's reckoning, only to Advent and the start of fall semester as seasonal things go (consider this fair warning, those of you new to these parts), I thought I'd start by linking to this intriguing post by's Luke Winn, who, as an extension of's coverage of how 5 different teams have gone about "building" themselves, asked an architect to choose buildings that to his mind embodied the qualities of the teams named. It sounds dumb--it did to me . . . till I read the post. Not only does it serve as a good introduction (or reminder) of some basics philosophies of modern architecture, I think it'll also cause you to think of these teams, at least, in ways other than you might be accustomed to. Go and read, even if you're not a b-ball fan; at the very least, you'll see some pictures of some cool buildings.

Below the fold, the aforementioned Other Recent Interesting Reading:

---> People Reading presents pictures of people and the books they're reading and what they have to say about those books. Simple and intriguing. My pipedream (one of many) is to be a bookseller, but this post reminded me of one of its intrinsic, requisite hazards--that in order to sell books, one has to, you know, actually want to part with one's treasures in exchange for . . . how to say this . . . ::soto voce:: money! (Hat-tip: Teoría de caos)

---> Over at The Times [of London] Online, Daniel Finkelstein is sponsoring something he calls The Chuck Colson Award:
Here's the competition. I am looking for all contact - spotting in the street yesterday, autograph collected in your youth, meeting held with, picture taken with, gift received from, or whatever - with political figures.

Now famous is fine but semi-famous is even better, faintly ludicrous is best of all. Pictures are particularly welcome, especially if they show the semi-famous figure doing something prosaic. Bruce Babbitt shopping for a new television would be ideal.

My own entry, by the way, would be my meeting--at the same time!--Carole Keeton McClellan (now Strayhorn, recent failed candidate for governor of Texas) AND her son Mark when she was mayor of Austin and he and I were in Latin clubs at our respective high schools, at a city-wide Latin Club Olympics in 1979 or '80. Long ago and far away. But not as weird or fanciful, I'm afraid, as some of these. (Hat-tip: Talking Points Memo)

---> Over at the House of Leaves forum, member ModiFIed has initiated an intriguing discussion about these questions:
[W]hat is the future of online worlds? What do you want it to be? Should there be any...hesitation on the part of realists like myself to accept that a "virtual" world can "exist" in the sense of having actual inhabitants, currency, property ownership, etc.? If you get too fond of "living" in your Second Life world, what happens to your "life" in the "real" world? Does it matter?

---> By Neddie Jingo! is a blog I ran across a while back when I was Googling for "musical archetypes" and this post popped up (it is lengthy, but do go read it). I have been a fairly frequent visitor ever since. About all I know about "Neddie" is that he lives in the DC area and is in some way involved in the field of Information Design--this last I know because he talks here about his meeting Edward Tufte, the dean of that field, and, at its conclusion, a moving exchange between them regarding the Pentagon's PowerPoint slides that Thomas Ricks includes in his recent book, Fiasco. The last thing I know: "Neddie" is a fine, fine writer.

---> Long-time readers of this blog know that my fellow Texan N. of Sine.qua.non has been a loyal friend of good old Blog Meridian, often linking to posts here and even allowing me to cross-post at her place every once in a while. In her most recent round-up of the blogosphere, which she calls "Naked Brunch" (and no, I've not asked), she begins by pining for a look at the Lost Maples west of San Antonio before beginning her usual thorough round up of the left-leaning half of the political blogosphere

---> The eponymously-named blog of my long-time online acquaintance Raminagrobis is a must-go destination for fans of theoretically-informed commentary on the various arts. Elegantly written and closely-argued, his posts sometimes make me feel, after reading them, like I'm the blogosphere equivalent of that kid we all knew way back when who'd kind of sit away from the rest of us, drooling on himself. But I'd like to get smarter, I really would, so I always go back and read some more, hoping the smart kids won't laugh while I'm in earshot. You might especially like this elegant discussion of two paintings in the Rembrandt Room at London's National Gallery; this comment on Robert Fagles' recently-published translation of The Aeneid (which features in its comments a debate over how to best translate res--which apparently is classicist red meat); and this tracing-back of the literary linking of Love and Death.

---> Speaking of cultural literacy, Randall Sherman of Musings from the Hinterland has a nice little post up on a subject that's been a recent concern of his, the intersection of orality, literacy, and culture.

---> My colleague "dejavaboom" (not his real name, in case you were wondering) is posting a bit more frequently at his place, Musement Parking. This is a Good Thing, say I. Why, just yesterday, he mused on the theme of personal responsibility and his sense of the decline of a sense of same in younger people generally and in some of his students in particular.

---> More musing: over at Delights for the Ingenious, Fearful Syzygy recently mused on the complications that arise, in this digital age of ours, when thinking about perfectly straightforward ideas (or so you'd think) like "the same song."

---> And finally, seeing as brevity is the soul of wit and this post is singularly lacking in both brevity and wit, I think I'll class up the joint by closing with these stories received by Wired when it asked some People You've Heard Of to write short stories only six words long. (Hat-tip: 3 Quarks Daily)

I hope you'll find something here to enjoy. Thanks, as always, for visiting and reading.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Ooh, ooh--one more:

Most of us have a blog or two that we don't visit often but, when we're reminded of it again and we visit it again, we really enjoy the visit (again) and say, "I really need to link to that," then immediately forget to link to it (again) until the next time it flits across our conscience. Well, for me LanguageHat is one of those blogs . . . or was, seeing as I've just added it to my gutter this morning. The author, a true polyglot (be sure to click "My Languages" if you go visit), writes about all manner of language things (and not just about English, either) in an engagingly smart, witty style. I'm prompted to stop the madness and end this cycle of being-reminded-of-and-then-forgetting-about because I learned that LanguageHat recently (and favorably) plugged the above-mentioned Raminagrobis. The friend of my friend is also my friend, and all that. So go and visit.


R. Sherman said...

Thanks for the plug. Actually, I was hoping to hear your thoughts on the topic in light of your interaction with students over the years.


John B. said...

You're most welcome, and I might be able to whip one up here this weekend or so.

Winston said...

Some interesting suggestions, John. I dove into the deep water at Raminagrobis (drug induced name?) and was lucky to get out alive. Very interesting topics and discussions there, and oh, so deeply intellectual. I will return and drink from that font and wish for some of it to rub off on me. You can attest that I need some spit and polish...

John B. said...

Thanks, Winston.
One thing, though . . .

Raminagrobis (drug induced name?)

I can't attest to all of Grobie's chemical predilections (though I'm pretty sure he enjoys a good pint every once in a while), but I do happen to know that his name is from Rabelais (scroll down a bit). I don't think our Grobie is a begetter of children or, for that matter, is on his deathbed . . . but we should be listening, for all that.

fearful_syzygy said...

Thanks also for the plug. Like so much else, it seemed like a more profound problem before I started writing about it. But at least you get to listen to some PJ.