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Legion. An amalgamated journal.

He Swears

Every so often he swears to start a finer life.
But when night comes with its own counsels,
its compromises, and its promises;
but when night comes with its own vigor
of the body, craving and seeking, he returns,
forlorn, to the same fatal joy.

C.P. Cavafy (trans. from the Greek by R. Dalven)

Hello, Legion. I’ve returned.

Darius Weil

February 6th, 2009 | No Comments

In which my sole commentary consists of HTML bold tags

“That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus,” said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm.

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 4th, 2009

I can and wish to read movies

Check out this incredible series of films rendered as 1960s paperback novels. The Modernist-minimalist paperback cover is one of my favorite design vernaculars, since it’s clever, simple, and colorful all at once—but not cutesy. It’s pretty easy to slap a bunch of high-gloss photos together and plaster the image with gradient-infected schizotype slogans. It’s much more difficult to communicate the meaning of a film with only the most basic design elements, and the result is that much more pleasant for the viewer to decode. As such:

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 4th, 2009

A geography lesson

It might be that Gregg, looking at an upcoming reelection campaign in two years, thinking that his state has been trending Democratic as the southern part of New Hampshire becomes a colony of liberal Massachusetts, that he may lose.

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 4th, 2009

To the victor

From my hometown newspaper, the Nashua Telegraph, which ought to stick to human-interest stories on curling rather than political analysis.

And, for his part, Lynch made it clear he has no interest in depriving the state’s senior senator perhaps an opportunity of a lifetime to serve in a White House Cabinet post should it be offered.

[…]

Whatever one thinks of Gregg’s politics – and we certainly have had our policy differences with him over the years – the fact remains that he has served our state long and well for three decades.

Whoa whoa whoa. Last I checked, administrative jobs that actually with determinative effects on the everyday working of the federal government aren’t parceled out on the basis of whether the appointee is deserving or not. Why all the sensitive feelings about Gregg being denied “the opportunity of a lifetime”? Is this all at once some sort of maudlin family film in which Lil’ Judd has always dreamed of becoming a Commerce Secretary, but finds himself standing up against the scheming designs of the Adults, who just don’t understand him?

In a sense, it is the “opportunity of a lifetime” for Gregg, only for a different reason: he gets to exit gracefully to a comfortable administrative job and misses out on the great fun of a difficult and destructive 2010 reelection bid. Usually when somebody is rewarded so far beyond their merits, they don’t get to set the terms of engagement. Perhaps I will refuse to accept my Harvard diploma if the school does not agree to allow my little brother in to fill my vacating spot.

The editorial goes on:

Gregg shouldn’t be prevented from accepting the nomination because of the purely political and mathematical implications of doing so

Well, of course, it’s not like he’s some sort of … some sort of politician, or something.

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 3rd, 2009

One man’s meat is another man’s poison

I just stumbled across1 a Wired post on an algorithmic composition combining the most-hated elements of music in order to produce the “most unwanted song.” From there, I found a link to an earlier post linking to “the most wanted song.” Thing is, the unwanted song is infinitely better than the wanted song.

To think that I have always remained a staunch partisan of small-d democracy throughout all of its harder trials. I guess it’s about time to rethink that position.

1 Via MeFi

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 1st, 2009

The second-place month

“O happy February! in which man has least to bear—least pain, least sorrow, least self-reproach!”

Immanuel Kant, diary. Qtd. in William Rounseville Alger, The solitudes of nature and of man; or, The loneliness of human life (Boston: Roberts Bros., 1882)

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 1st, 2009

New Young Media

The ever-clever Guardian strikes it rich by using unpaid child labor for interviews. Why the newspaper industry didn’t reach this conclusion earlier is shocking; it seems so obvious in retrospect. Print media: the textile mills of the twenty-first century.

Katie Which animal has the stinkiest poo?

[David Attenborough Golly. Well, that’s a very good question. Quite a lot of animals make a stinky poo, because they want to show other animals that that’s where they’ve been and that’s where they live. And so they have stinky poo that says, “Poo: get out of here!” It says, “If you don’t like this, you go away.” And, er, let me see. Lions have a stinky poo.

Katie Eugh!

DA Yes. Badgers have stinky poo.

Katie Course they do!

DA Can you tell me something that doesn’t?

Katie Well, I don’t know.

DA Oh, well, I’ll tell you. Elephants don’t have a stinky poo. Elephants’ poo actually smells quite nice.

Katie That’s yuck!

DA What?

Katie Every poo is yuck. Yucky.

Garrett Dash Nelson

February 1st, 2009

Superlatives

I wonder exactly how awful Tom Friedman must be at painting, sculpting, singing, tribal chanting, and for that matter all non-literary modes of communication. Because there has to be some reason he decided to make a living by writing. That reason certainly wasn’t ‘talent.’

From a column titled “Elvis Has Left The Mountain,” a headline that most meth addict home diarists can only dream of having published in the New York Times.

The Bernard Madoff scandal, of course, has only reinforced that loss of trust. His degree of betrayal — his alleged willingness to embezzle the life savings of people whom he had known his whole life — is so coldhearted that it charts new territory in human behavior.

Tom Friedman: Holocaust denier?

Garrett Dash Nelson

January 31st, 2009

Taking Judd Gregg’s shoe size

Slate writes on the current speculation over the possibility shunting Judd Gregg over to Commerce, noting correctly that it is only a dramatic political situation because of the way we replace Senators.

One option would be for New Hampshire to take steps to hold a special election, as was proposed in Illinois. A number of states – including Rhode Island and Maryland – are currently considering such moves.

If there are legal or state constitutional barriers to quickly making this shift in New Hampshire, Lynch and legislators there could do what some states did before the passage of the 17th amendment. In the early years of the 20th century, when senators were still selected by state legislators, a handful of progressive states organized “advisory elections,” in which candidates campaigned and voters cast ballots. Once the ballots were counted, the legislature would take the advice of the voters and name the winner to the Senate.

As I understand it, the only legal barrier is statutory, not constitutional, in Title LXIII, RSA 661:5:

661:5 United States Senator. – If a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, the governor shall fill the vacancy by temporary appointment until the next state general election, when a senator shall be elected for the unexpired term.
Source. 1979, 436:1, eff. July 1, 1979.

It would be interesting if the General Court—which is held by Democrats in both houses—rammed through a lightning-quick revision to 661:5 changing the replacement process to a special election, thus forcing Gregg’s hand. Either way, Gregg has been damaged on the right by the episode (just Google “Judas Gregg”), making his already-tricky 2010 race even trickier.

Garrett Dash Nelson

January 31st, 2009