Guy talking to his friend on the F train:

“I keep thinking about the Higher Power, you know, and how I want to do some kind of work that involves serving people and making their lives better, just like I want God to do for me…”

An absolutely wretched homeless man gets on the train, asks for money, standing right in front of Mr. Charitable Service, who does absolutely nothing.

Thoughts on garment construction

The incredible fragility of paper pattern pieces and cut pieces of fabric — their vulnerable fraying edges — — the goal of “sewing” is to make them strong.

Sewing is Oulipean — the pattern is the restraint within which so many variations can emerge. The final results, though, are aleatoric– the way, for example, a particular sort of fabric will interact with a pattern — how it will drape the body, and so on.

It’s an incredible struggle. Far more dificult than writing.

Fungibility! Engaging the visual and tactile senses in particular. But then there’s the smell of the sewing machine — sweet and dusty-hot — and it’s purposeful whirr.

Everyone should try to construct a garment at least once, if only to deepen their respect for the people who do so, at sweatshop wages, for a living. When someone asked me why I think people get paid so little for sewing, I replied — “because they are so good at it.” Cruel paradox!

Become aware of your seams.

The miracle of a seam — just one, and there’s a garment’s incipience!

Without forgetting to consider… the incredible complexity … of a textile mill. I bow my head.

What I enjoy, I realize, is not so much “poetry” or “cooking” or “dance” or “parties” — but rather the combination of elements to create a fungible, gestural whole.

Everyone knows that honey makes the best extemporaneous face masque, and it’s fun to lick off the lips.

But listen! Try using the granulated honey and you’ll get exfoliation as well as the circulation-enhancing, pore-refining qualities of smooth honey.

Lacan, Trumped by a Bird

From an article in the NY Times today on the changing concepts of the “birdbrain”:

“Magpies, at an earlier age than any other creature tested develop an understanding of the fact that when an object disappears behind a curtain, it has not vanished.”

This would make magpies smarter than my cats, who seem to believe that a hand under a piece of fabric is not a hand but a toy.

The article also mentions crows in Japan that throw walnuts under the tires of cars, and then, when the coast is clear, run to eat the shelled nuts,

that pigeons can memorize up to 725 different visual patterns and show evidence of deceptive behavior (a sign of intelligence…),

that parrots “can converse with humans, invent syntax and teach other parrots what they know.”