What follows is the most mind-altering first chapter I've read in a long time, from biomechanist Katy Bowman’s latest book Movement Matters: Essays on movement science, movement ecology, and the nature of movement.
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These items —an electronic car unlocker and a tea bag— are convenient. But what I’ve realized is, when we say or think “convenience,” it’s not as much about saving time as it is about reducing movement. We can grasp sedentary behaviour as it related to exercise because it’s easy to see the difference between exercising one hour a day and not exercising one hour a day. My work, in the past, has been about challenging people to also be able to see the difference between exercising one hour a day and not exercising the other twenty-three. More subtle still—and what I’m asking you to do now—is to see how the choice to move is presented to you every moment of the day, but how most often we select the most sedentary choice without even realizing it.
Our daily life is composed of a lot of seemingly innocuous ways we’ve outsourced our body’s work. One of the reasons I’ve begun focusing just as much on non-exercisey movements as I do on exercise-type movements is that I feel that the ten thousand outsourcing a day during the 23/24ths of your time hold the most potential for radical change. Be on the lookout for these things. To avoid the movements necessary to walk around to all the car doors, or just to avoid turning your wrist, or to avoid gathering your tea strainer and dumping the leaves and cleaning the strainer (in your dishwasher?), you have accepted a handful of garbage, plastic (future landfill), and a battery.
Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series is one of my favorite new storylines in science fiction. After a several year hiatus Harry has brought back Ray Lilly, and all the magic in The Twisted Path.
The Twenty Palaces series tells the tale of Ray Lilly, a former convict turned into a magician's decoy, or Wooden Man. It is Lilly's job to distract evil creatures from the deep and dark, while his master Annalise burns them with primal green fire. They keep on saving the world from some pretty nasty demons that have crossed over.
Wooden Men aren't supposed to last more than one mission, but somehow Ray keeps on surviving. The Twenty Palaces Society has taken notice and calls Ray and Annalise to Europe, this does not bode well.
Connolly's Lovecraft-ian/Geiger-style lore and world building is amazing. I have enjoyed all of his novels and novellas, but none have been as anticipated as The Twisted Path. If you are new to this series, I highly recommend starting with Child of Fire, the which was also Harry's debut novel.
Ray and Annalise' return is every bit as exciting as I'd hoped.
The Twisted Path: A Twenty Palaces Novella by Harry Connolly via Amazon
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Michael Wolff's book about Trump, featuring treason accusations from former ally Steve Bannon and reports of the president's dementia, is being released early. Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House can be bought immediately at Amazon.
"Due to unprecedented demand," the book about President Trump's White House by Michael Wolff will be released Friday, four days ahead of schedule, according to the book's publisher. The announcement comes hours after President Trump's personal lawyer issued a cease and desist letter over "Fire and Fury: Inside Trump's White House" to Wolff and Wolff's publisher, Henry Holt and Company. Wolff, too, confirmed the early on-sale date on Twitter.
Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:
-- What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him
-- What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
-- Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
-- Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room
-- Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing
-- What the secret to communicating with Trump is
-- What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers
Evidently, Trump's threats were to no avail.
Previously: Bannon: Trump Jr and Kushner meeting with Russians was "treasonous" Read the rest
Martin Salisbury's The Illustrated Dust Jacket, 1920-1970
is a wonderful overview of the innovative illustrators who prompted many a book purchase with their lovely design work. Read the rest
Creator of the Cherpumple (and other retro-fabulous foods) Charles Phoenix has a new book that celebrates "classic & kitschy American life & style." It's titled Addicted to Americana and it looks amazing!
Here's a look inside the book (click on image to embiggen):
The book is available for $22.32 on Amazon.
Charles is also on a book signing and comedy slide show tour (mostly in California). If you've never seen him perform, please do yourself a favor and get thee to one of his shows. They are a hoot. Read the rest
The British Library has scanned an anthology of herbal remedies published in the 11th century. It was translated to Old English and illustrated throughout from an original Latin document attributed to the 4th-century scholar Pseudo-Apuleius. Read the rest
Decades before the term "world music" became common parlance, Charles Duvelle was traveling the globe recording the sounds and sights of indigenous people around the world. The material that Duvelle collected, and his design sensibilities, avant-garde for the time, were communicated to the public through Disques Ocora, the record label founded in 1958 by musique concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. Duvelle was an intrepid musicologist and explorer, living for long periods as a researcher in West Africa, Central Africa, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, and Southeast Asia. Tragically, many of the incredible cultures that Duvelle introduced to the world are on the verge of extinction.
To enable us see the world through Duvelle's eyes, Sublime Frequencies' Hisham Mayet in collaboration with Duvelle have released The Photographs Of Charles Duvelle - Disques OCORA And Collection PROPHET, a lavish tome contains field photographs from 1959-1978, an interview, complete discography including Duvelle's post-Ocora label Collection Prophet, a report he prepared for Unesco in 1978, and two CDs of music. Of course my favorite track on the compilation is "Cengunmé," a recording of Mahi musicians in Benin that was included on the Voyager golden records launched into space forty years ago this month. (The track has always been misidentified in title and location in writings about the Voyager record but Duvelle provided me with the accurate information for inclusion in the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition that I co-produced.)
The Photographs Of Charles Duvelle - Disques OCORA And Collection PROPHET is not only a magnificent monograph but also an important one. Read the rest
I love Jonathan Carroll's stories. Teaching the Dog to Read is a fantastic tale of magical realism!
Tony Areal is living a pretty mundane life, when suddenly his greatest wishes start to come true. Offered the chance to live out his dreams, Tony switches places with his dream-land alternate self and then things get really surreal.
Carroll writes relationships and change like no one else. I really enjoyed this short and fast read, and hope to read more in this world, where dreams and life interchange.
Teaching the Dog to Read by Jonathan Carroll via Amazon
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In University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Jody Foster's new book The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work, she shares sound advice on dealing with narcissistic co-workers. From an excerpt at Quartz:
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On a day-to-day basis, appealing to this person’s egocentricity can be very effective. The occasional recognition of the person’s achievement, strengths, or values may go a long way in avoiding anger or demeaning comments; in some instances, you may simply want to remark upon a person’s good efforts. Fanning the embers of narcissism is particularly effective in avoiding unwanted conflict. Particularly if the Narcissus is your boss, you have to let them think that you perceive them as important. No matter how difficult it may be to do this, the Narcissus boss can make the workplace a living hell for anyone who they think is not on board with their success. Give them compliments, and try to do so without mocking them.
Remember that the only commentary that the Narcissus will be able to actually hear will contain some degree of praise in it. So when asking for a favor or for some type of change that could be perceived as an insult, definitely attempt the route of first praising him in some way. Even a simple statement like a reminder about a deadline might need some positive reinforcement embedded in it: “I can’t wait to see your draft of the proposal on Friday.” Remember that the Narcissus has special techniques for avoiding hearing criticism and can interpret even a simple suggestion or reminder as an insult if it doesn’t contain anything positive.
Kory Stamper, author of the new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries describes three criteria Merriam-Webster uses for inclusion of words like truther, binge-watch, photobomb and the 1,000 other words that make the cut in a typical year. Read the rest
I read pretty much every Disneyland history and fact book I find. Chris Strodder's The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom lives up to its massive title.
A simple alphabetical listing of just about every First through Fifth order-of-interest item in the park. Everything from the amazing history of the Golden Horseshoe Review to fun facts about a tobacco shop that disappeared 27 years ago lies between the covers of this book. These are truly encyclopedia style entries and are chock full of facts with less emphasis on story telling. I think it'd be a great book to have at the park.
I did a cover-to-cover read through of this at home. I'd prefer to have it electronically on my phone via Kindle to look at while in the park. Go e-version if you can.
The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom via Amazon
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Abuses in my youth have left me in a lot of pain. Robin McKenzie's Treat Your Own Back helped me more than any doctor.
I was desperately searching for an option other than letting doctors I do not trust operate on my spine. In response, a friend sent me a copy of this book. Spine, neck and lower back expert Robin McKenzie's Treat Your Own Back delivered enough information to let me hold off on the surgery and return to a fairly functional life.
Treat Your Own Back gives a lot of information about why the pain is happening, and what posture can do to alleviate it. Simple exercises that'll help relieve pressure on nerves, and build core strength. Common sense approaches to dealing with back pain, rather than running right for surgery.
Someday I think I'll end up under the knife. I have some good friends who have had wonderful success with it. Until I find I really need it, and I've run out of self-care options, however, I'm going to keep looking for books like this one.
Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie via Amazon Read the rest
William Powell, author of the iconic counterculture how-to guide The Anarchist Cookbook, died last year of a heart attack. His death was just made public. As a teen, I learned many important things from The Anarchist Cookbook: mixing iodine crystals with ammonia is indeed explosive, smoking banana peels won't get you high (contrary to the book), and Rikers Island is to be avoided. Powell wrote the book when he was 19 and disavowed it later in life after becoming a Christian. The Anarchist Cookbook remained in print, much to his chagrin. “The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change,” he wrote on the book's Amazon page. “I no longer agree with this.” From the Los Angeles Times:
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“The Anarchist Cookbook,” which has sold at least 2 million copies — printed, downloaded or otherwise — and remains in publication, was originally a 160-page book that offered a nuts-and-bolts overview of weaponry, sabotage, explosives, booby traps, lethal poisons and drug making. Illustrated with crude drawings, it informed readers how to make TNT and Molotov cocktails, convert shotguns to rocket launchers, destroy bridges, behead someone with piano wire and brew LSD.
The book came with a warning: “Not for children or morons.”
In a foreword, Powell advised that he hadn’t written the book for fringe militant groups of the era like the Weathermen or Minutemen, but for the “silent majority” in America, those he said needed to learn the tools for survival in an uncertain time.
Photographer Chris White takes readers behind the scenes of making his surf photography book Dark Light. Read the rest
Eric Schlosser's book and film Command and Control look at the terrifying prospects of nuclear friendly fire, where one of America's nukes detonates on US soil. It also looks at what might happen if a false alarm gets relayed to a trigger-happy general or President. He starts this New Yorker piece with a terrifying story from June 3, 1980:
President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was asleep in Washington, D.C., when the phone rang. His military aide, General William Odom, was calling to inform him that two hundred and twenty missiles launched from Soviet submarines were heading toward the United States. Brzezinski told Odom to get confirmation of the attack. A retaliatory strike would have to be ordered quickly; Washington might be destroyed within minutes. Odom called back and offered a correction: twenty-two hundred Soviet missiles had been launched.
Brzezinski decided not to wake up his wife, preferring that she die in her sleep. As he prepared to call Carter and recommend an American counterattack, the phone rang for a third time. Odom apologized—it was a false alarm. An investigation later found that a defective computer chip in a communications device at norad headquarters had generated the erroneous warning. The chip cost forty-six cents.
Lots more scary info at the Command and Control film website.
• World War Three, by mistake (New Yorker)
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Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can read editor John Reppion's introduction to the collection for free. Here's a description of what lies inside the book:
Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.
Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.
Spirits of Place, edited by John Reppion
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Anthropologist Emma Tarlo just published a new book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, investigating the weird culture and business surrounding hair, from Jewish wig parlors to its use in Hindu temples to hair loss clinics. In an excerpt at Smithsonian, Tarlo tells of the hair trade, tracing the path from the growers to the sellers to the buyers:
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An Ohio woman who goes by the pseudonym Shelly-Rapunzel sold 38 inches of her ankle-length brown hair on BuyandSellHair.com for $1,800. “All money is going to doctor appointments that have to be paid upfront,” she says. She is not alone. The website is full of women auctioning their hair to the highest bidder. Not all have tales of hardship: some simply want a change of hairstyle; others do it to raise money for specific purposes such as education or charity; others are regulars who use the hair on their heads to bring in some extra cash every few years.
As a hair seller whose identity is at least somewhat known, Shelly-Rapunzel is an anomaly in a largely anonymous world. The gathering of human hair is on the whole a backstage business about which little is known to those outside the trade. Transactions of this sort where named individuals negotiate good deals for their hair make up only a tiny fragment of the billion-dollar trade in human hair...
Much of the hair procured for wigs and extensions on the global market today is collected in bulk by intermediaries in contexts where hair sellers and buyers occupy different social and economic worlds.