These are two words that,

These are two words that, in very different contexts, have disappeared from our everyday language. I remember when I was a kid, between the ages of 1 and 16, people would send me birthday or holiday cards addressed to Master Andrew Boardman. I asked my mom why I was called master and I remember the answer being that “boys were called masters and men were called misters.” What was I a master of, though? For many years, I couldn’t even use the toilet correctly. Nowadays, you don’t call a child Master, although you might call a child Miss — pejoratively.
Likewise, I remember feeling that nice red-around-the-ears-and-throat feeling upon first hearing a techie saying to me, “We’ll just hook up that slave to the other device and it should work fine.” It was a common turn-of-phrase, right? I always wondered how computer folks decided to use this term, but it’s not hard to figure why they don’t any longer.

My good friend and colleague,

My good friend and colleague, Claudia Horwitz, just released her book The Spiritual Activist: Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work, and Your World, for which I did the illustrations.
The book is now at Amazon, as you can see, and it’s a must read for anyone interested in incorporating spirituality into their work and their workplace. In fact, I think it’s the only read out there if you are interested in the topic. I will soon be helping Claudia to put up a Spiritual Activist Web site for her to discuss this book and its myriad of related issues. Please stay tuned. Congrats Claudia!

There are just so many

There are just so many great Canadian bands out there that I thought I would just recommend a few, as we were in Toronto and Vancouver for much of the month of August. The stereotype (no pun) of Canadian music is beery winter party songs. These bands from Montreal put the lie to this lie.
I love these albums. They are full of deeply felt cries, hilarious hi-jinx, block-rocking beats, strange orchestral music, and life found on the street. You’ll hear voiceovers, tremolos, cymbals and hilarity at all that music has to offer. Lots of violin, angry drums, orchestral music which makes for alternately soothing and electrifying music. I’ve written about this before. All of these bands are apparently somewhat related and they exchange band members like children exchange colds. Here are some favorites:
Godspeed You Black Emporor!: f#a#
Do Make Say Think: Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead
Silver Mount Zion: He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corners of Our Rooms (ed: an amazingly beautiful title)

Okay, according to yesterday's late

Okay, according to yesterday’s late day NPR report, there is this HUGE Ellen Feiss fan club out there and it concerns me (well, only slightly). Ms. Feiss is a high school student who appears in one of Apple’s “Switch” ads — apparently, the ad’s not been on TV and you can only see her on the Apple site. She looks and acts stoned in the ad. And it’s funny.
She’s totally beautiful, no doubt. But hey, she’s like 14 and there are 10,000 guys who have started Ellen Feiss fan sites out there, including the nicely managed Her mug is appearing on mugs. Her glazed red eyes are being found on shirts. Apparently, Ms. Feiss is big not in Japan but in Germany and the Netherlands. What’s next for Ms. Feiss? Mum’s the word.

The idea of retreating to

The idea of retreating to the “country” (e.g. not the city nor the suburbs) is extremely sound in our popular imagination.
I was recently caught purchasing a copy of the nicely designed Country Living magazine, which showcases home decoration, gardening, and cooking for the country set lifestyle. The magazine is replete with antiqued (not antique) furniture, old fashioned looking kitchenware, wallpaper that looks like it came out of a landfill, and comfort food filled with meat. It’s all beautiful, but why?
While the U.S. used to be an agrarian economy, I believe only a few percent of people live and work on a farm. “Tools” are now computers, “land” is now property, and “work” is now typing and hauling. Our desire to capture the agrarian lifestyle of our Protestant ancestors is telling us something: We desparately want to slow down. We are dying of thirst for quiet and solitude. We want to make things ourselves. We wish we had a community to hold our hands. We long for the days when everything was neat and tidy, even though pre-industrial folks lived until 42.
Gee, I’d be almost dead.
There are many other examples of this countryfied living, if you’re interested. Pottery Barn is brilliant and showing beautiful country objects d’art. They call it “modern country.” Real Simple is just that: simple things for simple people. And Martha does a grand job of shepherding us through the travails of country living. More about her later.

Okay, this is a stolen

Okay, this is a stolen link from Matt’s Wholelottanothing, but it’s an important one.
For some sane reason, Sun Microsystems has decided to pare back its entire Web site to four little colorful sections that allow you to get anywhere, ostensibly, in a hurry. Sun — this is the company that sells incredibly complex software and hardware systems, that produces Java-based code, and complicated applications that only trained engineers can run. The site, beyond the home page, is quite ugly. But I’m interested in what their logic was for paring down so dramatically.

Having finished a number of

Having finished a number of good books this summer, I’m starting in on reading the well-received, if depressing, The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen. Jensen, a writer of strong passions and incredible stamina, paints a very large picture of atrocity and death in the 20th century — mostly driven by racial hatred and prejudice.
In 700 pages, Jensen argues that Western culture and globalization has made us immune to the ravages we have ourselves hefted on others. I disagree with some of his assumptions (particularly around capitalism and its discontents), but the book is a powerful read about how our social structures have blinded us to our extravagances. The book seems to me a kind of historical continuation of Guy Debord’s important little book The Society of the Spectacle, albeit less theoretical and aesthetically oriented.

This is what Mr.

This is what Mr. River said in an email to me about these “lamps”:
We are glad to introduce our new products POLY CARFTS LIGHT series.
They have following advantages:
If you book some order,we are sure you can earn big money!”

They’re kind of beautiful, no?

This is very random, but

This is very random, but if you ever want to look at the style sheets (which essentially tell the Web browser what fonts to use on which page) that Apple uses on most, if not all of its, Web pages, here it is.
Hey, I just got home. The only thing really interesting about this, besides the fact it’s out there, is that Apple uses Geneva and Lucida Grande — both unusual fonts that Apple is pushing now with OS X.