Re: Policing aspiration

1

I'm holding out for the Kindle chair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 6:43 PM
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I like the attempt at color-coding genres. Also seems to be part of a somewhat larger collection.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 6:43 PM
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3

They sell the coffee mugs at the Terrence Conran shop under the Queensboro Bridge.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 6:52 PM
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4

Hmm, sidebar/thread order reversal between comments 1 and 2.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 6:54 PM
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5

Sorry to say I had to Wiki H. E. Bates. Going thru his bibliography, I can't think of any 20th century American author that is comparable. Wharton?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 6:57 PM
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And for winter fun, an Ethan Frome toboggan.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:02 PM
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7: And a War and Peace troika!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:07 PM
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8

Beach towel!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:09 PM
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My impression is that Bates is pastoral, gentle, whimsical, rural, dramatic but rarely tragic. Best-selling and absurdly prolific (499 items in the bibliography). Known for essays as much as fiction.
My guess is that every literate Englisher has read a half-dozen Bates books

What, we can't do pastoral in America? No freehold farmers and small towns? Why not?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:15 PM
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Children's playset!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:15 PM
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Apron!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:23 PM
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Model railroad!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:24 PM
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13

Bedspread!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:26 PM
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14

Car seat cover!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:26 PM
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15

Oh, man, I can't bear to look at the additional links (well, okay, some), but seriously? Those chairs? Seriously?

I mentioned here before some NPR story interviewing some woman who makes purses and wallets out of books. Because books have always been a fashion accessory, she explained.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:31 PM
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Car windshield sun shade!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:36 PM
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17

For the record, I don't actually agree with the post. I get where Ben's coming from but, given the blend of graphic simplicity and (mostly) unpretentious titles, the chairs strike me as mostly funny and a little clever. I just don't see The Big Sleep as being able to bear the meaning Ben's trying to load it with.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:36 PM
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18

Drapes!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:39 PM
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19

Because books have always been a fashion accessory, she explained.

All too true, or pretentiously false?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:39 PM
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What, we can't do pastoral in America? No freehold farmers and small towns? Why not?

Race.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:43 PM
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21

17: But JRoth, they cost 70 ... pounds. Like 100$ dollars! Please.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:43 PM
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22

Topical:

Ms. Stewart's poison garden was begun three years ago, when she started working on the book. She wanted a writer's garden, so she put in a wooden chair, a desk, the bones of a floor lamp. There are also books, some half buried, others nailed to shelves in such a way that their pages turn in the breeze. Disintegrating, they fit in surprisingly well, returning to the earth as naturally as a cornfield after harvest. "Autopsy for an Empire," with its dried-blood-colored jacket, is planted beside the hellebore, which the Greeks used to poison the water of their enemies. P. D. James's "Original Sin" and Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" sit on a bookshelf, which is also disintegrating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:45 PM
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There is a story about a semi-famous bookseller who now operates out of Hay-on-Wye who got his start by working at stringing together nicely-bound volumes of whatever for interior decorators. The idea was that he put together linear feet of fine, or at least pretty, bindings into easily moved and shelved units by driving stakes, like rods, laterally through their centers.

One day he realized that something he was doing this to was, like, a major first edition of something. Joyce or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:00 PM
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17: well, I don't have a lot invested in this post, but it seems, at a minimum, kind of tacky. Ok, sure, on the one hand, The Big Sleep. But on the other, why do you want a lawn chair adorned with the jacket from The Big Sleep?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:09 PM
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25

One question arising is whether the mugs would provoke the same anti-parvenu reaction as the deck chairs. I'm guessing not.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:09 PM
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19: All too true, or pretentiously false?

If the books on your shelves are there in order to make an impression on the people who come into your home, it's all too true. I don't know many any people like that, but I know they exist.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:11 PM
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27

I own the playing cards. They were a hand-me-down, but I'm not embarrassed to admit that I've enjoyed using them.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:13 PM
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28

I wouldn't mind having a "The Invisible Man" mug.
I have a "Hello, my name is Legion" mug at work, but no one is scared.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:16 PM
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29

We have a couple of the mugs. The playing cards also strike me as fine. I think the chairs are in a different category, somehow.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:18 PM
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30

I have a cliff dweller mug. I like it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:18 PM
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31

25: The mugs are pretty ugly too. I don't love the mugs here (given as a gift to my roommate) that depict Monet's waterlilies. But coffee mugs I figure are the kind of thing that nobody really carefully selects. You just wind up with them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:19 PM
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32

31 before seeing 27 to 30. Sorry for saying anything's ugly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:22 PM
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why do you want a lawn chair adorned with the jacket from The Big Sleep?

The seller calls them deck chairs, which makes me think this would be perfect.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:23 PM
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34

My best mug (oink.me.uk) broke years ago, and now I just don't care any more.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:26 PM
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35

24:I have coffee mugs embossed with Dallas Mavericks, Cowboys & Houston Rockets. Some have Starbucks logos. Why not The Big Sleep?

My first reaction was not that the chairs were tacky, but that they were a kind of sophisticated camp or kitsch. The Penguin covers aren't exactly fine art or great design, and the blandness adds to the irony.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:32 PM
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36

One of my neighbors has a deck chair with a giant stuffed penguin sitting on it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:34 PM
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37

I'm glad those covers are classic rather than current.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:35 PM
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38

My first reaction was not that the chairs were tacky, but that they were a kind of sophisticated camp or kitsch.

There was a discussion here before about garden gnomes. It referred to another thread on CT, I think. Possibly one point of contention is that there's a fine line between sophisticated camp or kitsch and tacky.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:41 PM
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39

Personally, I'd be more likely to buy one if it had the same design but titled "BOOK" by "Author".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:42 PM
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40

39: you could make one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:43 PM
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41

garden gnomes

Start your morning with gnome dew.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:47 PM
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42

These are the mugs that get used the most here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:56 PM
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43

I think the chairs are kind of whimsical. I probably wouldn't own them, but then I don't own much of anything that includes logos, titles, brand names, etc.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:57 PM
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44

38: Yes, these do approach SkyMall territory, but from the other side.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:57 PM
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42: Now, see, those appear to be a good size. That's important. We use the Monet waterlilies ones a fair amount because they're a good size, and robust in heft.

Otherwise I use the plain black mugs, or the one (gift) from I/ota Cafe, which I favor for coffee, because -- look at their logo there in the upper left-hand corner. That's on the mug. I like it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:11 PM
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46

I deleted most of a comment on grounds of excessive playfulness, but I did want to save a line:
"Wears erudition lightly, with an understated elegance and raised pinky finger" so I could work on it later. Not sure if "raised" is idiomatic, and wanted to work bashful, blushing, and coy in somewhere. Allude to Carlyle.

Now I will watch Wall-E


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:34 PM
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Bob, I'll be interested to hear if you enjoyed Wall-E. I was just mentioning it to someone the other day. It's been a few months since I watched it, and I had a great time seeing it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:52 PM
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Doesn't self-satisfaction and unselfconfident ostentation describe the particular neuroses of 95% of Unfogged commenters? I'll confess.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:57 PM
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49

I plan on wallpapering my home with comment thread printouts.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:00 PM
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50

I try to go for self-abnegation and wildly arrogant plainness, personally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:03 PM
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51

White and delightsome, indeed.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:33 PM
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52

I am not clicking on the links in the comments but I sense these wares are not offered with a Cafe Press degree of customization.

I assume the Horizonal Man chair reclines well.


Posted by: Econolicious: 'Rearrange this.' | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:34 PM
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53

I am annoyed at "The Horizontal Man" for muddling the name of my yet-to-be-announced production company, "Vertical Man Productions."

Quoth Auden:

Praise if you can
The vertical man
Though we honor none
But the horizontal one.

Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:44 PM
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54

Doesn't self-satisfaction and unselfconfident ostentation describe the particular neuroses of 95% of Unfogged commenters?

I wouldn't say so, really. Not 95%, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:46 PM
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I am annoyed at "The Horizontal Man" for muddling the name of my yet-to-be-announced production company, "Vertical Man Productions."

Nonsense. The two names are totally orthogonal.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:49 PM
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56

My big beef with the chairs is that they look uncomfortable. The mugs are cute and if you're in a literary field seem apropos. I could see gifting someone with one of a book that you knew they liked.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:51 PM
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57

I see teo's casting doubt on the poem's use of parallelism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:54 PM
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58

50: Deny, deny, rumspringa, deny.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:54 PM
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59

57: Quite rightly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:55 PM
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60

My big beef with the chairs is that they look uncomfortable.

Seriously! But I fear those who think so are missing the point so entirely that they might as well not even bother trying to sit in them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:57 PM
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61

Teo's violating the use/mention distinction, to his everlasting shame.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:59 PM
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62

You can't have your use and mention it too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:00 PM
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63

Parsimon gets it right. The point is to buy them for one's frenemies, to make the uncomfortatble.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:01 PM
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64

60: Yes, yes, I know - but I must admit that that was my first thought. Trying to show off your literary aspirations doesn't much bother me, but if you're going to shell out the bucks and risk looking foolish, they should damn well be comfy at least!*

* This is said by someone currently sitting on a both ugly and uncomfortable futon - but hey, it only cost me $20!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:02 PM
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65

Actually that kind of design of deckchair is quite comfortable - providing the width is right.

I bought a J. R. R. Tolkien mug for my dad. He still uses it.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:02 PM
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66

Deckchairs are perfectly comfortable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:03 PM
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67

63: You can make a frenemy of yourself if you don't have any others available.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:04 PM
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68

65: The width on these looks off. Then again, that could just be my fat ass.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:05 PM
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69

67: Story of my life, babe.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:05 PM
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70

Objects on screen may be bigger than they appear.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:08 PM
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71

futon

feuilleton


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:09 PM
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69: But you don't buy yourself uncomfortable rickety-looking deckchairs for $100 with canvas depicting Penguin Classics. So you're not that far gone.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:10 PM
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73

57: Quite rightly.

All too normal around here.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:14 PM
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74

I should note that I had never heard of "The Horizontal Man" until this thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:18 PM
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75

I won't, though, because of the self-abnegation and such.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:18 PM
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76

OR WILL I?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:19 PM
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77

Should you, teo? Should you note it? Do you dare? Do you dare molest a skunk?

I shall wear a Tyvek jumpsuit, and walk upon the junk.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:21 PM
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78

(apologies.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:21 PM
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79

world.std.com still exists?

I'll be damned.

I wonder if they ever deleted my account?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:24 PM
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80

73: It's hard to be perpendicular.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:28 PM
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81

79: We'll give you the most prestigious E-mail address on the planet (you@TheWorld.com)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:30 PM
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81: I don't quite know where they come up with prestigious. It was the first commercial ISP, though. As far as I know it was still the only option for regular schmoes when I originally got my account.

They ran the whole thing off a slow-ass SGI that, as it turns out, everybody and their brother was owning constantly.

Meeeeeeeeemmmoooooooorrrriiiiiiieeeeeeees....


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:34 PM
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83

Of course I loved Wall-E, every minute of it.
Best Picture!

1) Needs rewatching.

2) Wall-E reminded me instantly of the very first Pixar production, Luxo Jr. (before that, at Lucasfilms, was The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. hmmm)...mostly in the motion of Wall-E's head. I think there is self-interrogation goin on here, more than just a Pixar injoke.
Wall-E is to Eve as Luxo Jr is to Wall-E? Awkward vs sleek, but awkward had the courage? Or don't let the technology forget the heart? I've often felt Pixar interrogating its art while making it.

3) And the end-credits, the history of art ending thru Seurat to heavily emphasized Van Gogh, I think is doing it again. In addition to the obvious story in the frames, use best technology to return to nature.

4) Although they done good with Wall-E and Eve and gender roles, I would have liked the leads to be just a little more androgynous. It was a terrific opportunity, and they could have gotten away with it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 12:35 AM
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84

83: well, using technology to express human emotions (and, more broadly, humanism) has been their M.O. since Andre and Wally B, which, I'm sure you'll recall, was the first time anybody even attempted to render figures expressing emotions using CG (as Lasseter's goofy, secondary impulse to showing off some new procedural tree rendering, but still).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 12:45 AM
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85

Well, this is a bit late now, but (contra 35) the classic Penguin covers are usually regarded as an example of great design & this, as much as the books, is (surely) what the replication of that design in other forms is all about. There is a fairly recent book, hoping those tags work, devoted to the subject. ie, these are not bought as proof of erudition; they are something more like design references to a more egalitarian age.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 3:32 AM
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86

Yes, to 85.

Contra the 'cloth-eyed', they are classic design.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 3:58 AM
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87

There's nothing camp or kitsch about them, at least not in Britain, to echo what 85 and 86 said. Penguin covers are absolutely revered over here. In fact, there's one leaning against the wall as decoration in the Seven Stars pub in London, which is frequented mostly by very staid barristers.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 5:10 AM
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88

Also, people complaining about the price should be aware that furniture is exorbitantly expensive in the UK. £70 is a bit pricey, but not especially. A crappy looking metal and plastic garden chair from John Lewis costs £64, according to their website.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 5:17 AM
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89

It should also be pointed out that a deck chair can be an important weapon of last resort.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 5:29 AM
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90

There's nothing camp or kitsch about them, at least not in Britain, to echo what 85 and 86 said. Penguin covers are absolutely revered over here.

ttaM forgets that, in the US, reading a book that doesn't have an embossed author's name is evidence of being tremendously intellectual.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:04 AM
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53: Praise if you can
The vertical man
Though we honor none
But the horizontal one.

no, it's

Let us honour if we can
The vertical man
Though we value none
But the horizontal one.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:07 AM
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re: 88

Yes, and, generally, we earn more money. Not sure if that balances out the exorbitant cost of living in the UK, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:20 AM
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81: I don't quite know where they come up with prestigious.

If you literally had "you@TheWorld.com" as your address, that would be prestigious.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:23 AM
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I mentioned here before some NPR story interviewing some woman who makes purses and wallets out of books. Because books have always been a fashion accessory, she explained.

Ther's an artist at BU, Morello, I think, who did a whole series of photos of books at the Boston Athenaeum. They're really beautiful---the photos and the books themselves.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:27 AM
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95

85: I have that book. My favorite are the pages dedicated the tiny little black-and-white signet stamps on all the covers.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:29 AM
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96

Otherwise I use the plain black mugs, or the one (gift) from I/ota Cafe, which I favor for coffee, because -- look at their logo there in the upper left-hand corner.

You D.C.-area people should go see L/a/s/t T/r/a/i/n H/o/m/e at Iota this weekend.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:37 AM
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97

I think the design works as the cover of a book - or as a poster - in a way that it doesn't work as a draped piece of fabric. Draping destroys the crispness of the look they've created. Presenting it in a static, rigid format preserves that look.

That said, I'd never pay $100 for a deck chair unless it could seat me, Rah and three of our friends.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:46 AM
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98

ttaM forgets that, in the US, reading a book that doesn't have an embossed author's name is evidence of being tremendously intellectual.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:50 AM
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99

ttaM Ginger Yellow forgets that, in the US, reading a book that doesn't have an embossed author's name is evidence of being tremendously intellectual.

Better.

I'm with the other Brits on this one - not self-satisfied nor ostentatious.

I quite like the hanging swathe though - what sort of curve would that make? A catenary?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:53 AM
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100

Lately, I've been reading only non-fiction and fiction with wizards. I keep trying to read Infinite Jest and keep failing to get past the first chapter. But, you don't need to reproduce the cover on canvas to make a chair out of Infinite Jest. Just get two copies and you've got a stool.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:54 AM
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101

Just get two copies and you've got a stool.

If you eat them, sure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:55 AM
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102

"Not sure if that balances out the exorbitant cost of living in the UK, though."

From talking to my relatives, I don't think it does, except possibly in comparison to Manhattan/NYC and a few other places. Housing alone is so much more expensive in the UK, and that's before you get to all the other things like booze and fags and food and entertainment and so on. That said, I've noticed the last few times I've been back that US restaurant food is a lot more expensive than it used to be - portions are still much larger, of course.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:56 AM
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103

85,86:Firstly, I am confused ( and ignorant. What are the "Penguin covers", the three bars or as in these examples? Look, you will not get me to look at the big 'U" Ulysses cover next to Penguin three-bar and say:"Wow. Brilliant improvement"

2:As 97 says, what might work on a book cover becomes kitsch on a deckchair.

3:I understand the affection Brits would have for their first affordable editions of classics. I also realize that affordability in 1935-46 might have limited some options at the dawn of pb publishing.

4:I might accept modernist functionalism in my silverware and even my furniture, but I want something more distinctive & personal in my books. A reference shelf can be designed by Corbusier; each new edition of Balzac should now be an opportunity for an artist. Reprints can thus be shared celebrations.

Can one definition of "kitsch" be the commodification of art?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:14 AM
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104

re: 103

The Penguin cover style of the period before they introduced illustrated covers is quite beautiful as a piece of design. If you don't see that, we just have different tastes.

These aren't kitsch, any more than any other piece of good non-contemporary design is kitsch.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:20 AM
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105

OMG, McIrvin wrote those Lem pages. They're quite good.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:21 AM
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106

I don't think that anyone is disputing that they are good design (and I too adore those text-only covers beyond reason), but there is certainly an argument to be made that putting art -- no matter how great -- on a deck chair or a beach towel is kitschy*. Those tshirts they sell at the Louvre with pages from the Tres Riches Heures on them are kitschy and saying that "It's actually an incredibly important illuminated manuscript" doesn't really answer the charge.

*And there is yet another argument to be made that there isn't necessarily anything wrong with kitsch. Recognizing something as kitsch isn't saying it's irredeemable shit.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:27 AM
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107

I don't think that anyone is disputing that they are good design (and I too adore those text-only covers beyond reason), but there is certainly an argument to be made that putting art -- no matter how great -- on a deck chair or a beach towel is kitschy

I don't think it necessarily has to be kitsch, though. I think that's where some pieces of modernist design and/or typography lend themselves to re-purposing of this type, because the nature of the design tends to resist 'kitschification'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:29 AM
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108

104:Another example of the bourgeois attempt to experience the old elite pleasure of books as fine-art objects, those libraries of leatherbound handcrafted editions. But it's parody, pathetic kitsch, cubic zirconia, and not my kind of socialism.

The old Penguins are a great example of 20s & 30s Institutional Leftism. Reminf me of Raymond Massey in a miniskirt.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:33 AM
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109

re: 108

The UK has the Everyman series which is hardbound and of high quality. However, those were cheaply priced and aimed partly at workers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everyman%27s_Library


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:40 AM
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110

I have a Penguin tea towel. Surely we can all recognize at least that as kitsch?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:42 AM
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111

Which is to say, something possessed with full, but detached awareness of its naff aspect. It is the tacky tea towel I choose to own because I also genuinely like the design (and the Wodehouse book enshrined there); I am not up for frolicking hedgehogs. But it's a tea towel! A novelty tea towel.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:47 AM
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109: I have a couple of those and love them truly. Why does no one make small hardcovers anymore? Don't people carry books around with them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:55 AM
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"Not my kind of socialism" is my new favorite phrase, to be used wherever "not my cup of tea" or "thanks, but no" might have sufficed. Thanks, Bob!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:58 AM
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I am, as I write, looking at bookshelves containing 100s of mass-market pb's, mostly mystery & detective in this room, and each book, or at least each reprint series, is unique in color and design.

With the exception of my old Informants, by Matanovic out of newly free Yugoslavia.

The lyrics of the old ballads were finally written down about the time uniforms became civilian wear.
Fordism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:01 AM
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I think one of the things that prevents these deck chairs from being kitsch is that the design was originally for a mass market product. That was indeed Penguin's entire raison d'etre. Hence the commodification of art argument is a bit redundant. The other thing is that the design itself is so restrained, whereas kitsch tends to be extravagant.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:03 AM
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112: No.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:08 AM
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It's still a novelty deck chair, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:09 AM
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118

Define novelty. It's a deck chair with a classic design on it. Better than stripes, surely.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:13 AM
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119

Actually, I rather like stripes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:15 AM
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120

Actually, I read Bullshit in small hardback format. Very satisfying.

BTW, thanks to the Brits for chiming in. I left after 19, and so was unable to make the point in 85. But I think that bringing up kitsch is more or less irrelevant - one of the things people often misunderstand about Warhol* is that he wasn't being ironic - at all. He had a non-mainstream sensibility, but he didn't do tomato soup cans as some sort of sendup of commercial culture or retail design - he loved those things, and thought they had value. And was unafraid of re-commodifying and selling them.

I'm not claiming that he would like these, or that he would, personally, like to see his design work on deck chairs (though he well might); I'm suggesting that it's a mistake to treat mass market design as something sacrosanct, that can and should only be appreciated thus.

* whom I bring up because his use of commercial products in art - and vice-versa - seems awfully relevant to this question


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:15 AM
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121

||

On the subject of Warhol, how cool is this: near my house, they've built a new, rather high design retail complex. Part of it is a drug store, and the developer wanted shop windows, but of course drug stores don't do display windows anymore, so what to do? They put Warhols prints in them, with quotes from Andy. But the best part is that they're real* prints from the Warhol Museum - they have so many that they can never show them all, so what the hell. I'm sure 99% of the people passing by assume they're recent copies of originals in the museum.

* for a Warholian value of "real"

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:20 AM
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re: 112

Actually, I've noticed they are coming back. I've seen a couple of different ranges of compact hardbacks recently.

Just the other day I noticed a load of small format hardback classic detective fiction in our local Borders: Raymond Chandler, mostly. There's been a similar edition of Wodehouse for a while, and I've seen a few ranges of hardback classics too.

None of them are as nice as some old Collins-produced hardbacks I have of Dickens and R.L. Stevenson. Which are pocket sized -- really really tiny -- but have marvelously clear print and are printed on a very nice onionskin paper.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:21 AM
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What's needed is a low cost but still high quality deck chair that will bring leisure to the working classes. Also, low cost high quality decks.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:22 AM
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124

122: I have some of those: Collins World's Classics, right? Lovely editions, and ideal jacket-pocket size for reading on the bus. I have "War and Peace", "Pilgrim's Progress" and "Lays of Ancient Rome" (stop laughing at the back there).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:24 AM
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125

Hawaiian Punch has a penguin outfit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:25 AM
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126

re: 124

Yeah, I think so.

Easy to find in Glasgow bookshops, of course, for obvious reasons. There's a place that used to be just off Byre's Road always had dozens of them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:25 AM
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118 - or that woven nylony stringy stuff that catches your hair and makes it full of static.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:26 AM
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128

The most important feature in a beach chair is to be very, very low to the ground. Then the whole world is your cupholder and raised foot rest.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:26 AM
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129

Hawaiian Punch has a penguin outfit.

But she doesn't seem to like it much.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:29 AM
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130

I love the Everyman's Library.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:32 AM
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131

Aren't hardcovers in the UK typically smaller than those in the US? (Those that I've picked up there are, anyway, but maybe there's some sampling bias.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:41 AM
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128: Also, if you drink a few gallons mai-tai's or whatever in th sun, you haven't got far to fall when you eventually try and get up. Just saying.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:42 AM
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re: 131

It depends. You get some big US style bricks, but the Everyman and Collins series discussed above are small. Sometimes there are even four editions of mass-market fiction: a huge blockbusting hardback, a smaller sleeker hardback, a glossy large paperback and a small mass-market paperback.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:43 AM
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Aren't hardcovers in the UK typically smaller than those in the US?

Higher population density. Means the UK's better for building mass transit systems, but you'd never be able to open a US format hardback without putting an elbow in someone's lap.
In the Netherlands it's even worse; a lot of them commute to Germany just to have room to read the paper.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:45 AM
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Any qualms I had on the chairs were not around the design, which I think works very well, but rather having a specific book on it, which is why I suggested the generic alternative. If there was an agreed upon "iconic" Penguin title that might also work in a manner similar to Warhol's soup cans, but as presented, I think having an actual title dilutes the design statement since people tend to have an opinion about Book A versus Book B.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:45 AM
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136

135 gets it right.

as presented, I think having an actual title dilutes the design statement since people tend to have an opinion about Book A versus Book B.

In fact, it completely replaces the design statement with a statement to the effect, "I want people to know that I paid a huge premium for this chair in order to show my love for 'A Room With A View'."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:49 AM
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121, thanks, I would never have imagined Warholgreens was actually doing that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:50 AM
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re: 136

I don't think it really works that way in practice. There's a bookshop locally that stocks them, and I think you basically have to take what they've got.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:54 AM
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136: Yeah, I kind of had that sense too - part of why I brought up The Big Sleep as a title probably not trying too hard - yes, it has a certain cachet among snobs, but fundamentally it's just good pulp fiction.

I think they were wise to (mostly) stay away from Major Literary Classics, which would say far too much for a deck chair. But I guess it's a fundamentally fraught decision.

I would note that Warhol didn't only do tomato soup - I know he did chicken noodle, and I think cream of mushroom. But the nature of soup is that you'll get 3-5 varieties accounting for 80% of sales, whereas you'd never see that with books.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:57 AM
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132: Exactly! But it is harder to get out of the chair.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:58 AM
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OK, thinking about the idea of taking a famous book with an iconic cover - say Gatsby with the floating eyes - and putting it on a deck chair, I totally get the vibe people are objecting to. But the reason that I don't get that from the Penguin covers is that the design is so simple that it doesn't draw attention to itself, or to the book, or to the specific tastes of the owner.

Indeed, of the 9 on the original linked page, I only see 2 that would seem at all fraught (Room of One's Own, Man or Superman). Most of the rest are light puns, but would come down to color selection more than anything else.

I might add that this discussion raises an interesting issue in the context of people who spend a fortune on one Eames or Breuer reproduction chair. Is that somehow more respectable and less aspirational?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:05 AM
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Category:Why I dislike modernist design, at least as compared to arts & crafts or art noveau.

Wall-E End Credits or social theory for younguns.

Youtube, not as clear as it could be. For instance you can barely see that the penultimate allusion, the kid fishing in from of the ruined spaceship, is to Seurat (bourgeois paralysis). And then Van Gogh, and stop, as if Vincent were the peak and the answer.

(Well, not counting the bluebird of happiness, and the Tree of Life growing from the Totalitarian Boot)

I know it ain't Braudel, and I think we have returned to more sanity recently(tats!). But to me, one of the stories of the first quarter of the 20th is the murder of anarcho-socialism by the Fordists and corporatists of the right and left.

We should not be celebrating the inorganic uniformity of the early Penguin design. It's the devil.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:27 AM
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Oh, and of course straight lines, primary colors in blocks, the font. Heteronormative Patriarchy all the way.

Don't know about ttaM, but I prefer curves.

(I have already revealed how oppressed I feel by parallel lines everywhere.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:33 AM
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Speaking of curves, watched an hour on Ovation Tuesday about this great mid-century British sculptress. Umm, think Henry Moore, but intimate not monumental. Eggish, smoothed driftwood, a very huggable marble. Warm abstraction.

Was background, so I don't have her name.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:42 AM
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145

Barbara Hepworth?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:50 AM
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Certainly fits the description.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:51 AM
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Barbara Hepworth. Beautiful.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:53 AM
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Warhol didn't only do tomato soup - I know he did chicken noodle, and I think cream of mushroom.

He did several dozen, if I remember right, one of every kind of soup that Campbell's produced at the time.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:13 AM
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148: That certainly would make sense; I just couldn't swear that he had.

AB & I were judges at a soup event*, and I tried to take some Warhol-homage pics of Campbell's cans on the donation table, but I'm not sure any of them quite came out.

* people brought soup cans for a soup kitchen, and local restaurants gave out tastes of their own soups


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:33 AM
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I HATE ANDY WARHOL.


Posted by: opinionated mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 12:06 PM
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I don't know if opinionated mcmc is the real mcmc, but I agree with 150.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 12:21 PM
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145,146,147:Yes, thank you all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 1:50 PM
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#150. YOU SAID IT, SISTER!


Posted by: Valerie Solanas | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 2:08 PM
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Y'all are nuts. Warhol was awesome. Among other things, his pre-Pop illustrations are brilliant.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 2:23 PM
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The only genius ever with an IQ of 60. Warhol made himself the embodiment of the cliche "stupid as a painter". He created a vortex of stupid that is twirling to this day.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:28 PM
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He created a vortex of stupid that is twirling to this day.

This made me laugh. But I'm not going to argue about it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:35 PM
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That is, I more or less agree.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:36 PM
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Also, unfogged's time-stamp is off by 13 minutes or something,


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:37 PM
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Yeah, it's been doing that for a while.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:43 PM
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Well, it's good to realize it, though it appears to have taken me a while to notice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:51 PM
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I may have noticed it relatively early because I'm in the same time zone. I'm used to the timestamps corresponding to the actual time, so it was quite noticeable when they weren't.

That said, I don't know how long this had been going on when I first noticed it. Maybe everyone else already knew about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:09 PM
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It's hardly news that unfogged tends to be a little behind the time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:14 PM
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||

I hope I'm not abusing presidential, or prime ministerial, privilege here...I don't have anything scurrilous or scandalous to recount, but, while I don't care if/that people here know who I am, I'd rather this not be too google-able.

It's a boring real estate question. Basically, we bought a house, signed a contract, handed over ten percent (with another ten percent due at closing), secured a mortgage, etc., etc. Our closing date is 15 June, and we just did a 30-day lock with a great interest rate for our mortgage, allowing an extra 4 days after the "on or about June 15" of our contract just in case (so: our rate is good to the 19 June). We do not want to lose this great (and fixed) interest rate.

Our seller is now making noises about not being able to leave by the closing date. Apparently seller bought a new-construction condo, and it's not going to be ready by the agreed-upon date. I don't want to be unreasonable, but (and there's always a "but," of course). We are willing to extend the closing date by 8 or 9 days (we talked to our mortgage guy, and apparently we can extend the mortgage rate lock-in by a few days, possibly free of charge, or possibly for a fee of about 60 dollars a day). But I find myself quite strongly opposed to the suggestion that we allow the seller to stay in the house beyond the closing date (which date I am willing to move by about a week or so). She would have to reimburse us for mortgage, insurance, etc, during that period, and of course it would all be written up in a legally enforceable contract. But I'd just as soon not take the risk of having to enforce that contract in some awful/stressful way. I mean, I'm sure it's a very remote possibility, but: what if the seller stalled beyond whatever later date we then agreed to, and basically refused to vacate the premises? Which would almost never happen, but what if it did?

Also: we have told (though have not promised in writing) our current landlord that we will be out of here by 1 July at the latest. He has plans to renovate the apartment for his sister and brother-in-law, and has set dates with contractors and etc, and I'd just as soon not mess with his plans, either (especially since he's allowing us to apply our security deposit against the June rent, which means not paying rent for June, basically, which frees up some much-needed cash, when he could legally demand that we pay the rent upfront and then he later refunds us the security).

I realize that property is theft, but my gut feeling is: once we've signed on the dotted line and forked over the dough, I want full possession of the damn property (so, yes, Emerson is quite correct: home ownership makes us more conservative, but/and I'm really not interested in a communal ownership situation with the seller of the house we are buying (which it wouldn't be, of course, but it just didn't sit well with me at all).

Am I being unreasonably paranoid? or prudently cautious? or something in between? or something else altogether? And has anyone else ever encountered/experienced a situation like this, where the seller wants to delay the closing date and possibly stay in the house beyond closing?

|>


Posted by: Zoé Lafontaine, l'épouse de Wilfrid Laurier | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:19 PM
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IANARealEstateAgent, but I don't think you're being unreasonable. When you close on the house it becomes yours in a significant way, emotionally, and you also become (outside the circumstances of a well-written, legally enforceable contract which you say you would have) responsible for a lot of what happens there. I think I could have tolerated moving the closing date on our house but not closing and then letting them live there for a few days. It seems like a trifle, but the whole house-buying process is so stressful and fraught that I think it's necessary to have a cut-off date, a moment when you know it's going to be all over. If letting them stay would take that away from you, suggest that they get a hotel room. It's not like they won't have just gotten a fat check.

I also - and again, IANAProfessional, so grains of salt all around - just feel like that legally enforceable contract might be risky in and of itself. How many times has your real estate agent had to have a similar contract written up? I would make the uneducated guess that the answer would be never, that this is so unusual that almost no one is experienced at dealing with situations, and thus that the potential for things to go haywire if you had to act on that contract would be much higher than with most other contracts.

Have you talked to your real estate agent? This is part of why they're there, to offer advice based on prodigious experience the average buyer lacks.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:39 PM
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So you're going to be homeless while the seller lives in your house? There are short term rental apartments that are ideal for persons in the seller's situation. Tell them to look into it. Or get a lawyer and have the lawyer tell them. Or tell them you want your ten percent back. It's a buyer's market, and the seller would be unwise to blow the deal over this issue.


Posted by: bad ruthless person | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:42 PM
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Actually, my impression is that this was fairly common back in the days of the sellers market.

But, I can understand your being wary. If they drag their feet you will have very little practical recourse.


Posted by: bailey | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:49 PM
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I'm not an estate agent, but I've both bought and sold houses, and unless you have to make nice to them for some reason - ie, if they can cancel the sale - tell them you're willing to let them move the closing date by up to five days if they let you know what the new closing date is by noon Monday, but thereafter, the closing date is fixed and they have to be out on or before that date.

You are still, in fact, being generous by letting them move the closing date, but be clear they have to re-set it soon and they have to stick to that date once it's re-set.

It's their bad luck, which they are trying to make yours. Their possessions can go into storage, and they can take a short-term let or stay in a hotel for a few days.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:50 PM
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