shiny things in messy little piles

Tag: dogs

The Books of April

Things I Read:

Mir­ror, Mir­ror, on the Wall: Women Writ­ers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
— Kate Bern­heimer, ed.
These essays about per­son­al rela­tion­ships to the genre of fairy tales might be okay as one-offs, but an entire col­lec­tion of rem­i­nisces about the role that fairy tale played in story-teller and aca­d­e­m­ic lives is cloy­ing and dead­en­ing. There’re only so many tales of moth­ers good and cru­el, and sex­u­al awak­en­ing, and preda­to­ry males that you can read before they all run togeth­er into one sad, homog­e­nized lump. Seek out the writ­ings of your favorite authors on all sorts of sto­ry telling and leave this col­lec­tion on the shelf.
* too many sim­i­lar essays *

The Fairy Tale Review — Ochre issue (2016)
A new to me annu­al pub­li­ca­tion that focus­es on new fairy tales, retelling of old fairy tales and fairy tale schol­ar­ship. This issue con­tains sev­er­al fab­u­lous pieces. The prize-winning Court­ney Bird’s The Dia­mond Girl, a retelling of the clas­sic Dia­monds and Toads tale, sings with orig­i­nal­i­ty and class. Also fairy tale poet­ry does­n’t have to suck.
* enter­tain­ing enough to order back issues *

Mr and Mrs Dog — Don­ald McCaig
McCain tells the  sto­ry of attempt­ing to get to the World Sheep­dog Tri­als in Wales with his two dogs June and Luke. McCaig knows his dogs well and his descrip­tions of them work­ing are lyri­cal.  Sto­ries about tri­als, and train­ing, and dogs he has known, alter­nate with some inter­est­ing insights into the var­i­ous dog train­ing “camps” (I say inter­est­ing because I do not always agree with him but he argues well.) He’s a lit­tle too fond of Kohler and too dis­mis­sive of the more recent pos­i­tive meth­ods. Though he, like I, find that the best train­ing method depends on the dog, the train­er, and the task. I just come down a lit­tle fur­ther away from the old­er Kohler school than he does.
The tales of sheep­dogs and sheep and the small world of sheep dog tri­al­ing are fun to read and his thoughts on dog train­ing will chal­lenge you no mat­ter what your philosophy
* if you like dogs or James Herriot *

A Plague of Doves — Louise Erdrich
Anoth­er tale of those who live on and near the reser­va­tions in North Dako­ta. Once again she uses mul­ti­ple nar­ra­tors — all them relat­ed in some way by either blood, mar­riage, or sto­ry. Each brings a par­tic­u­lar per­spec­tive on the cru­cial start­ing point of the sto­ry: the mur­der of a set­tler fam­i­ly and the sub­se­quent ret­ri­bu­tion hang­ing of the wrong Indi­an men many years ago. Which sounds ghast­ly when laid out so bare and bald but the sto­ries area typ­i­cal Erdrich, full of per­son­al­i­ty and ele­gant language.
* some of the most effec­tive braid­ed nar­ra­tive you will ever read *

Rose Met­al Press Field Guide to Flash Non-Fiction — Din­ty W. Moore ed.
Third of a tril­o­gy of books of craft essays address­ing very short forms of writ­ing. (Flash Fic­tion, Prose Poet­ry, and Flash Non-Fiction) Flash non-fiction is more actu­al­ly what we should call the very short essay. Things that man­age to express them­selves in less than 750 words. (Or so — oth­er venues con­sid­er the short essay to be any­thing less than 2000 words.) I found the dis­cus­sions of tech­ni­cal aspects — POV, tense, you vs I, fram­ing — to be the most use­ful. It’s a good resource. It will also point you to Brevi­ty mag­a­zine and it’s many excel­lent blog posts. The exer­cis­es are occa­sion­al­ly useful.
* bet­ter writ­ing man­u­al than most *

Things I listened to:

Zero His­to­ry — William Gibson
Last of the most recent tril­o­gy often referred to as the Blue Ant tril­o­gy — once again about brand­ing and mer­chan­diz­ing and secret mar­kets. Not my favorite of the three but always a good sto­ry from Gibson.
* more than you ever want­ed to know about secret mar­ket denim *


Hat Full of Sky — Ter­ry Pratchett
In the sec­ond book of Pratch­et­t’s series for younger read­ers, Tiffany, now age 11, is grow­ing into her role as the witch of the chalk. She leaves home to appren­tice with anoth­er witch and is men­aced by a being called a hive. Once again the Nac Mac Fee­gles help and hin­der in equal amounts. The sto­ry is sim­ple and a lit­tle didac­tic but many of us will rec­og­nize the world of pre­teen girls and enjoy the com­pa­ny of many of Pratch­et­t’s reg­u­lar cast of witch­es includ­ing Granny Weatherwax.
* who does­n’t occa­sion­al­ly feel beset by the Nac Mac Feegles? *

Har­ry Pot­ter Book and the Sor­cer­er’s Stone




Har­ry Pot­ter and the Cham­ber of SecretsJK Rowling.
I’ve actu­al­ly only read the first Har­ry Pot­ter. But I’ve seen all the movies. These great big (and get­ting big­ger books) pro­vide light enter­tain­ment to lis­ten to while I’m doing house work, etc. They are sim­ple enough that you can miss a few sen­tences when your atten­tion is drawn to some­thing else (How did the soy sauce get in the fridge?) with­out los­ing the plot.
I have to say that I now under­stand some of the crit­i­cisms of the movies — par­tic­u­lar­ly the flat­ten­ing of the char­ac­ters of Ron and Hermione.  So yes, this is pri­mar­i­ly enter­tain­ment but you can also learn a lot about how vast sprawl­ing fan­ta­sy sto­ries work by listening.
* yeah, it’s a lit­tle late for me to be get­ting around to these. *

Morning Linkage (Nov 5)


I have no expla­na­tion for the face paint that match­es the hel­met. But it’s the nicest B&W bike pic I’ve seen this week.

Vin­ta­gent pulls togeth­er a brief his­to­ry of a 1938 BSA Gold Star for sale in Oz. Bonus pic of the “movie-star hand­some”  Wal Han­d­ley who earned the cov­et­ed gold star at Brook­lands for BSA.

None of the rac­ers I know has this kind of class. The FIAT trans­porter that fer­ried around the Fer­rari cars in the late 1950s isn’t exact­ly with­in the bud­getary con­straints of most of my rac­er mates either.

Offi­cer Silent is sneak­ing up behind you. First it was the elec­tric cars in the NYC fleet. Now Utah based ATK would like to sell your local LEOs some elec­tric bikes.


The physics of the wet-dog shake (as well as mice, rats, and griz­zly bears.)

Why do gigan­tic pump­kins always look like they were left in the sun and melt­ed? All squat and squashed? There’s an answer to that. It’s a bet­ter shape than round for grow­ing out sized squash.

Art. Images, and Design

Ani­malar­i­um high­lights the ani­mals por­trayed in the work of two Finnish illus­tra­tors. San­na Annuk­ka whose work for Marimekko you can find on her web­site. (The look into the pro­duc­tion process for Marimekko fab­rics is cool.) And Klaus Haa­panie­mi whose large-scale pic­tures of fan­ci­ful ani­mals always make me smile.

The Book or Rev­e­la­tions is puz­zling to even the most devote of schol­ars. Com­men­taries have been writ­ten through­out the cen­turies. Bib­liodyssey brings images from the Bea­t­us Apoc­a­lypse. Noah’s ark fea­tures some par­tic­u­lar­i­ty unset­tling animals.

I have to agree. The posters for Black Swan are so unlike the usu­al run of actor’s faces poor­ly pho­to­shopped onto stand-ins’ air­brushed bod­ies in front of CGI explo­sions that at first I did­n’t real­ize that Black Swan was a movie. (It’s a ballet/psychological thriller movie. Who’s going with me?)

Love­ly cal­lig­ra­phy exe­cut­ed on video. Lega­cy of Let­ters pro­mo piece. Luca Bar­cel­lon­a’s econ­o­my of motion while let­ter­ing is amaz­ing. (Video)


When you have a band named the Kandin­sky Effect. the best pos­si­ble pro­mo video would fea­ture a piece (or two) of Kandin­sky art, no? (Video)

But is you need some­thing a lit­tle less high-brow you can’t go wrong with the episode of Saari. A preschool pro­gram designed by a Finn and pro­duced in Spain. Charm­ing. (Video)

And that’s it for this week. be hap­py, have fun, be safe.

Morning Linkage (May 21)


Sweet lit­tle pho­to gallery of cars par­tic­i­pat­ing in a recre­ation of the Mille Miglia. Includ­ing the win­ning BMW 328.  Don’t miss the ulti­mate ped­al car.

And here’s a gallery of black & whites from the inau­gur­al MM won by the BMW fea­tured above.

More old stuff. 1915 Indi­an, 8 valve board­track rac­er. Run­ning and unre­stored. All the mov­ing part­sare  hang­ing out in the open on this fire breath­ing dragon.

Pret­ty girls and bikes. It’s been going on a long time, as this 1951 por­trait of the win­ner of the  Miss Cal­i­for­nia Motor­cy­cle Beau­ty Con­test show.

Science and Technology

An inter­est­ing muse on the nature of “curat­ed com­put­ing“and why the iPad is rel­e­vant to the future of infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy. Note that I said infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy; the _author_ is call­ing it computing.

More good news. Google will begin allow­ing https con­nec­tions to Encrypt­ed search­ing is now yours.I plan on using it.

Art, Images, and Design

Yeah I know there’s almost no excuse for post­ing some­thing this inane. But come on, pho­to­shopped dogs doing yoga. It just makes you smile.

Absolute­ly lus­cious travel posters. Adver­tis­ing steamship lines in Japan at the turn of the (last) cen­tu­ry. Some­thing here will inspire you for the day.

Friday Animation

Lost Howdy Doo­dy car­toon. Howdy Doo­dy and His Mag­ic Hat. Found in the dank con­fines of the LoC. Brought to you by the fine folks at Dinosaurs and Robots.

and that’s the week…

Oh, and some­body get this fixed for me ‘kay?  (min­ions, not minkies, clear­ly there are idiots in shipping.…)