Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘welcome to my past

Thursday Night Linkdump

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* I hope someday my admirers are moved to unearth my terrible college fiction: Wes Anderson’s “The Ballad of Reading Milton” (1989).

* The true size of Africa. Also has the true side of Australia and the USA as a bonus.

* Liberal blogs are trotting out cell phone effect again. Looks like it’s time to call November for the GOP.

* “In these challenging economic times, it’s good to know you can get some financial protection for unexpected illness and injury to your pets,” the e-mail reads before listing the many benefits. Federal Employees Can Purchase Health Insurance For Their Pets, But Not Their Same-Sex Partners.

* Running it up the flagpole: Wheel of Fortune‘s Pat Sajak argues at National Review Online that public employees shouldn’t be allowed to vote in at last some state and local state elections.

* And in twenty years, we’ll need another Earth to sustain us. Time to get building.

They Don’t Do Much Forming of Captain Planet These Days

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

Lone Wolf

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Whenever I mention Lone Wolf a friend or two reveals that they too loved the series as children. This post is for you: Project Aon has released a client for playing through the books. (Via MetaFilter, which has bonus links to some Let’s Play playthroughs as well.) For more instant nostalgia, there’s always TV Tropes. (WARNING: Again, this is a TV Tropes link. Click at your own risk, and not if you have anything to do.)

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August 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

Wednesday Wednesday

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* In case you missed it, I have pieces in Reviews in Cultural Theory and American Literature online now.

* Mission accomplished: Obama has lost everyone. Well, almost everyone.

* “Something of a waterloo for publishing”: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publications are suing four librarians at Georgia State University for making portions of electronic copies of articles available to students when the text is places on reserve in the library, which is likely protected under fair use.

* Closing arguments in California today in the determining the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

* Celebrating Bloomsday all over: 1, 2. Thanks Tim!

* How to keep someone forever: create a sick system. Via MeFi.

* The 2010s will bring you edgy Fraggles.

* A secret history of beloved Northern New Jersey field trip site the Cloisters.

* And Flickr has hidden posters of the long-sealed-off Notting Hill Gate Tube station.

Candide 2.0

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All Possible Worlds is the digital extension of the New York Public Library’s current “Candide at 250: Scandal and Success” exhibition; one of the highlights is Candide 2.0, a “networked edition” of the text annotated by professors, novelists, playwrights, and translators. I’ve been having an email conversation with the curator, Alice Boone, about reading Candide as a kind of proto-science-fiction novel, which I’ve always thought it was; something between a thought experiment and a dystopia, Candide was even on my “SF, Modernity, and Empire” exam list at one point.

More than that, though, Candide is one of those books I read as a teenager and could just never forget; it’s probably one of the ten novels most responsible for building my young leftist, atheist self…

Written by gerrycanavan

February 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Infinite Summer #4: You, Me, and Everyone We Know

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Rather short Infinite Summer post from me this time around as I put together all the things that need to be put together for my late-summer stint as an instructor at the Duke University Institute for Gifted Youngsters. Like last year, posting will be somewhat slow the next three weeks; I’ll mostly be posting only in the very early morning, at night, and on weekends, with occasional daytime posts here and there whenever I’m able to commit a little time theft.

With IGY on my mind, I was really struck by footnote 76, which provides as good a summary as you’ll find of the inner life of anyone stamped “gifted” when they are young, not just Hal Incandenza but also my IGY students and me and most of the people who have become my close friends over the years and maybe you as well:

Hal Incandenza had been thought for a while as a toddler to have some sort of Attention Deficit Disorder—partly because he read so fast and spent so little time on each level of various pre-CD-ROM video games, partly because just about any upscale kid even slightly to port or starboard of the bell curve’s acme was thought at that time to have A.D.D.—and for a while there’d been a certain amount of specialist-shuttling, and many of the specialists were veterans of Mario and were preconditioned to see Hal as also damaged, but thanks to the diagnostic savvy of Brandeis’s Child Development Center the damage assessments were not only retracted but reversed way out to the other side of the Damaged-to-Gifted spectrum, and for much of the glabrous part of his childhood Hal’d been classified as somewhere between “Borderline Gifted” and “Gifted”—though part of this high cerebral rank was because B.C.D.C.’s diagnostic tests weren’t quite so keen when it came to distinguishing between raw neural gifts and the young Hal’s monomaniacally obsessive interest and effort, as if Hal were trying as if his very life were in the balance to please some person or persons, even though no one had ever even hinted that his life depended on seeming gifted or precocious or even exceptionally pleasing—and when he’d committed to memory entire dictionaries and vocab-check software and syntax manuals and then had gotten some chance to recite some small part of what he’d pounded into his RAM for a proudly nonchalant mother or even a by-this-time-as-far-as-he-was-concerned-pretty-much-out-there father, at these times of public performance and pleasure—the Weston M.A. school district in the early B.S. 1990s had had interschool range-of-reading-and-recall spelling-beeish competitions called “Battle of the Books,” which these were for Hal pretty much of a public turkey-shoot and approval-fest—when he’d extracted what was desired from memory and faultlessly pronounced it before certain persons, he’d felt almost that same pale sweet aura that an LSD afterglow conferred, some milky corona, like almost a halo of approved grace, made all the milkier by the faultless nonchalance of a Moms who made it clear that his value was not contingent on winning first or even second prize, ever.

The incredibly slippery slope from this sort of childhood precociousness to adult dysfunction is something we’ve talked about here once or twice before in connection with the films of Wes Anderson, whose thematically similar The Royal Tenenbaums pops up around the fringes of IJ discussion quite a bit. And we can see now what a hard-luck case I really am: thirty years old and I’m still a student, still chasing the same damn high.

Most of the rest of what I’d have to say about today’s spoiler line was already covered in my post last week on DFW, addiction, and suicide, for which Joelle is something of an exemplary case. This weekend’s pages were pretty much all Joelle, all the time, not that I’m complaining. She’s an interesting character and somehow able to bring us closer to the mind of Himself than anyone else we’ve met thus far.

K & I

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Krugman says he found himself in the science fiction of Isaac Asimov, especially the Foundation series—”It was nerds saving civilization, quants who had a theory of society, people writing equations on a blackboard, saying, ‘See, unless you follow this formula, the empire will fail and be followed by a thousand years of barbarism.'”

Krugman and I have something in common. (via io9)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm