2005-01-02American Photographs: The Road
These lovely photos of 1935 America were taken by a pair of Soviet satirists! It's quite interesting to see what they note and what they ignore; the two cultures have different approaches to modernity, never mind their medieval heritage, and the roots of those different approaches were already established in '35. I love it. I could almost do the same for Ukraine today.
P.S.: The soundtrack to this essay—you'll understand why after a couple paragraphs—is 'America', from Bookends (Simon and Garfunkel).
Dictionary of American Regional English
And, rounding off this spate of posting-what-I-had-left-open-in-my-browser, the Dictionary of American Regional English is everything that scholarship ought to be (except inexpensive, sigh). Viz., it is comprehensive, precise, respectful, and a whole lot of fun. I want one. Hmm, maybe after I blow $400 on a microprinted OED, which isn't soon, I'll start accumulating another $500 for the DARE.
The quandary of price has started stirring thoughts in my head. Isn't it possible that people with shared interests could get in contact with others nearby (something like the way meetup.com works, but with larger geographic divisions for these much rarer interests), and organize nonprofit private library-like associations? Say, the professional and amateur linguists, philologers, and litterateurs of western Washington could pool funds to buy an OED and a DARE and other tasty things, and either keep them themselves or donate them to a conveniently-located public or university library. I'll keep mulling this over.
Here we have Urban Freeflow discussing Parkour Fundamentals and the nature of the sport. It sounds rather interesting, something like a marriage of steeplechase and breakdancing. The point is to flow, to move across the landscape, taking advantage of obstacles as a way to express economy and grace in movement. And it's refreshingly attitude-free. They claim everybody plays Parkour until about the age of ten, and then for some reason most of us stop. I think that sounds about right.
Miss Abigail's Time Warp Advice
Miss Abigail's Time Warp Advice is a delightful site in which a modern-style advice column is wedded to amusing and provocative excerpts from previous decades' books of manners.