This is my 2003 journal.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
Also available: 2002 2001 2000 1990s 1980s
Everything on this page:
Copyright 1985-2003 by Thane Plambeck, except where obviously not.
31 March 2003
Two Plane Crash Poems
I've had John Updike's highly amusing poem Icarus up on my quotations page for awhile.
Now I've just run into this (apparently earlier) poem by Billy Collins, in Picnic, Lightning (Pittsburgh Press, 1998):
PassengersThe Updike poem came out in 2000. Looks like he reads around a bit.
20 March 2003
The Snap Decision
John Berger has written that every photograph records not an event, but a decision: that of the photographer to shoot a particular image at a particular moment. (A good photograph, he suggests, is one that can explain its decision: "Photography is the process of rendering observation self-conscious").Susie Linfield in The Threepenny Review, Spring 2003
17 March 2003
Julia Fischer playing Sibelius
Paul Hertelendy writes at http://www.artssf.com/sfs0568.html
The succession of exceptional young violinists continues, seemingly without end.Right on. When she wasn't playing, she looked back at the orchestra, seemingly drawing some kind of (unneeded) affirmation from it. Or perhaps she was merely curious to see what everyone else was up to"let's see, I'm playing Sibelius like a genius, what are you doing?"
She was born in 1983 in Munich.
Sibelius (1904 caricature)
17 March 2003
The Birth of the Stupid
If anyone needs any proof that Kipling is BAD, here it is
Mannequin in The Kipling Room at the Grange
Not bad, for a Mannequin.
17 March 2003
The Phony Warrior
The Phony Warwhat Tony Blair derided yesterday at the Azores meeting as "perpetual negotiation"is at last ending. In the somber days before the action begins, we can ask: How should the U.S. deal with those nations that made the Security Council irrelevant?One might conceivably compose a more ridiculously stupid, breathtakingly blinkered paragraph, but Safire can't be improved upon. He's always at his best in his editorials. He's also shown a surprising research capability, summoning up a dictionary and thesaurus weekly to cobble together his (also amazingly dumb) "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine.
The "On Language" column reminds me of those little cards that drop out of magazines like little so many like pieces of shit'oh no, not one of these damn things again,' one thinks, before hurrying on to whatever actual reading pleasure may be had from the periodical in question.
"Perpetual negotiation" = peaceThe country needs a few Phony Warriors at the front lines. Maybe Safire would like to go. The pen is mightier, you know
16 March 2003
Differential Geometry & Badtz Maru Lunchbox
15 March 2003
Cole's YMCA basketball pizza party was held at Seale Park, a "neighborhood park" that I didn't even know existed until about a year ago, when we stumbled onto it in the minivan.
I was walking through the main play area, looking for the food, when a three-year-old boy stopped me. He waited until he had my full attention.
"There's a bubbleit's high in the sky," he said.
This seemed like a promising start to a conversation. So I stopped too.
I looked up, inviting him to show me. "Where?" I asked.
He looked up just for a moment, not really searching.
"I don't know."
11 March 2003
The Poet Laureate
The current US poet laureate is Billy Collins, as my father discovered after reading some of his poetry, liking it, and researching the matter.
So he called me and had me order him The Art of Drowning (Pitt Poetry Series) at Amazon.
Not to stand in the way of literary appreciation, I ordered it. But when will he learn to use Amazon himself? We agreed that I would do it for him, just this one more time...
Of [Collins's] appointment, Dr. Billington said, "Billy Collins’ poetry is widely accessible. He writes in an original way about all manner of ordinary things and situations with both humor and a surprising contemplative twist. We look forward to his energizing presence next year."here's one
6 March 2003
4 March 2003
Portraits II: The Wall Street Journal Hedcut
Content copied from the Smithsonian Institution's web site at
There are five steps to producing a hedcut for the journal. First, the photographic source image is reduced or enlarged to a size of approximately 3x5 inches. (Originally done with a Photostat machine, Photoshop is now used.) Next, a tracing of the picture is made with pencil, indicating light and dark areas. The resulting image resembles a contour map. The artist then mounts the tracing paper on white illustration board, where the image is easier to see, and develops the subject's features with tiny dots and dashes, using technical pens. To produce a uniform finish, the artist builds up areas of shadow through a combination of small lines (cross-hatching) and dots. Solid blacks are never used; areas are darkened through a denser build up of marks. Finally, the finished drawing is reduced to one-third scale, compacting the marks laid down by the artist.Someone needs to make a Photoshop plug-in that does the same thing. Maybe the Andromeda 'cut filter' that I used to make this could be coerced into doing it.
3 March 2003
Portraits I: Robert de Masmines (1425)
Someone you might see downtown, ordering a sandwich at Subway.
Robert Campin (Master of Flemalle)
3 March 2003
Email to Mike Munro
Subject: The Decay of the Body
According to the papers, Resident Bush can run three miles in 21 minutes.