A Supposedly Funny Thing: David Foster Wallace

DFW discusses his delightful non-fiction book — A Supposedly Funny Thing, which is a collection of essays and articles about various topics, places and almost-adventures.  DFW was often commissioned by slick New York magazines to write articles about subjects like cruises, lobster festivals, tennis tournaments, etc. Note the difference between DFW’s articulation and the interviewer’s […]

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David Foster Wallace discusses his views about television’s impact on authors and their novels.  David Foster Wallace is one of my personal favorites, especially his non-fiction works, which are simultaneously amusing and informative and prophetical. DFW had this to say about the use of ironic pop culture references in fiction:  “Anyone with the heretical gall to […]

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Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano:  Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed “by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time.” In this video, two writers discuss how […]

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A Few Things About Pigeons

This amazing video reveals three Things You Never Knew About Pigeons.  As most of my regular readers are aware, I like pigeons and animals in general.  You can read more about the Prison Pigeon Project over at prisonlawblog.com.  But before that, please enjoy this short video about our feathered friends.

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The Phenomenon of Man

This video discusses de Chardin’s infamous book entitled The Phenomenon of Man.  Some interpret the book as a metaphysical work.  Others interpret it as a theological expression.  And still others propose that the book is simply a scientific treatise.  Each reader will have to come to his/her own conclusion.  The video reflects a scientific perspective of […]

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Teilhard de Chardin

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy cccprod.com

He was at a friend’s apartment in Manhattan when it happened – the “grace of all graces.”  Looking out the friend’s window at the New York skyline, a sharp pain lanced through his chest.  Unconscious, he fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes.  Some time later he regained consciousness for a few fleeting moments.  He had no memory of toppling.

When the doctor arrived, after a quick examination of the man, he looked up and shook his head.  “Better send for a priest,” he suggested.

The priest arrived, but was too late.  The man was dead.  Last Rites were administered.  Then the body was removed and transported to a mortuary for routine preparation.  The mortician carefully embalmed the body.  Then it was necessary for the coffin to be selected, which is usually done by a family member.  Since no family members were present, a phone call was made to the headquarters of the Diocese of New York.  After a quick consultation, which concerned cost, a coffin was chosen.  Luckily, there was one in the warehouse.  Another phone call was made, and the coffin was shifted onto a delivery truck.  Upon its arrival at the mortuary, the coffin was inspected for damage.  It was perfect, except for a layer of dust it had gathered while in storage.  Someone swept the dust away, and ran a damp cloth over the exterior.

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Georges Bataille

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy www.magazine-litteraire.com-

Consider the Titans of old and the incredible, monolithic edifices they constructed.  Vast halls, ruthless arches supported by volcano-sized columns and towers stretching up like signals.  On a smaller scale, the Abbey Vezelay is such an edifice.  Its architectural elements coalesce into forms nobler because the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.  Utter beauty. 

Surely this structure is holy; surely God cannot resist visiting; surely mankind is closer to God when within the Abbey than when outside in the so-called secular world. 

Strange then that in one of the graves in the nearby Vezelay Cemetery, a man, who once considered taking Holy Orders and attended seminary, but then renounced his faith, is buried.  Yet Vezelay, France is where he chose to reside permanently, forever after.  At the end of his life he even lived nearby, in rue de l’Hotel de ville.

The headstone is simple:  a mid-sized white rock, smooth, not like the glaze of quartz, but smooth like a chunk of chalk cut in two, with a vestige of texture to it. 

Rocks and wild grass decorate the cemetery.  There are few trees.  A gentle breeze puffs here and there, as if too satisfied to do more.  Perhaps the puffs are the pulses and drafts of angels’ wings, for the air carries the scent of the glistering realm.  And if you cease all thought and all feeling, and really listen, you can hear a faint throb, like a visible disturbance the ear hears but the eye cannot see.

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CHANEL – Part 2

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy hypebeast.com

Four years later, Coco Chanel introduced her line of clothing, which was masculine in style, sporty and displayed clean, functional lines.  Her ability to foresee this ‘trend’ made her clothing an instant success.  In 1923, she launched the Chanel Suit, composed of a skirt and a short, masculine-looking jacket.  It has never gone out of style and is worn by millions of professional women throughout the world today.  So, too, is Chanel’s little black dress, a starkly simple, close-fitting one-piece garment.  This dress defined and illustrated haute couture.

Coco’s visionary designs changed not only the way women dressed, and the way they looked, but also the way they behaved.  The tight, binding chains of prim prudishness dissolved, to be replaced by flamboyant minimalism.  This change in female behavior, in turn, changed the attitudes of men.

Chanel No. 5, Chanel’s eponymous perfume, was devised by Ernie Beaux and built upon the scent of aldhehydes.  Its ingredients were all artificial, made in a laboratory.  A total break from the natural model of perfumes which prevailed up until this point.  The success of Chanel No. 5 is difficult to quantify.  The best way to put it into perspective is this:  one bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume is sold every thirty seconds.

Yet Coco Chanel

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