April 22nd, 2004

benpeek

Berlin Bins Speak.

"In a uniquely German mix of hi-tech gadgetry and environmental awareness, Berlin authorities are installing talking trash cans in some of the German capital's most popular squares.

Pop your litter into one of the bins and it's liable to say thank you. Or welcome you to Berlin in English, French or Japanese. Or even sing.

After a successful trial period, 20 of the bins have been installed in the Zoologischer Garten area of western Berlin's biggest shopping district and at the bustling business and entertainment hub of Potsdamer Platz.

"The bins all have a name corresponding to their various characteristics," said Bernd Mueller of Berlin's municipal rubbish collection agency.

There's Siggy Sport, which shouts "Gooaaal!" when someone drops in trash. Kalle Kiez (Kalle from the 'hood) says "Thanks, really cool of you."

Susi Schlau (smartie Susan) is the clever, trilingual bin. Finally there's Hitlist Harry, which belts out "Fill me, O please fill me now" to a soft pop tune.

The orange bins look just like any other, except they are equipped with a solar panel on their lid and have a sound mechanism."

here.
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benpeek

Some Bill Hicks Quotes.

i just came across them a moment ago, and i figured i'd copy and paste, because hicks was always funny.

See we just had a misunderstanding. I thought we lived in the U.S. of A., the United States of America. But actually we live in the U.S. of A., the United States of Advertising. Freedom of expression is guaranteed? If you've got the money!

-On being censored from "The Late Show with David Letterman"


If the FBI's motivating factor for busting down the Koresh compound was child abuse, how come we never see Bradley tanks smashing into Catholic churches?

They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.

We all pay for life with death, so everything in between should be free.

site is here.
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benpeek

A New Universal History of Infamy, Rhys Hughes.

i read rhys hughes' a new universal history of infamy a few weeks ago, and a few minutes ago, i came across an excerpt from it at the agony column, and i figured i'd link it and also post a bit about it.

hughes is, for me, a hit and miss author. i've thought that some of his short fiction has been brilliant, yet some of it has left me cold. his linked collection nowhere near milkwood was enjoyable, but it had more than a few clunky moments in it, and his novel the percolated stars felt as if it had been written very early on in his career, before the finer details of pacing and prose had been worked out. thus, when approaching a new universal history of infamy, i didn't know what to expect. i had only recently discovered jorge luis borges, who wrote the original a universal history of infamy, which i loved, and... well, i had reservations.

hughes, however, does something truly surprising with a new universal history of infamy: he does not create a sequel, or even a new 'imagining', but rather, he creates a companion to besides borges' work.

let me say now, that you can read this book without having read borges but, in my opinion, you'll be missing half the joy of this book. to sit down and explain to you how hughes has built a companion would involve a detailed critique of the two books, noting how hughes builds his references, style, and even the narrative flow of the pieces up. but, trust me when i say that if, when picking up this book, you get yourself a copy of borges collected fiction (where a universal history of iniquity (the difference of iniquity and infamy is in the translator of borges) is the first seventy pages) and read this before hughes book, then your experience will only be heightened. i'll have you note that i never thought i'd write such a comment, but there you go.

the main part of both pieces are the fictional histories, and it his here that hughes is at his best, having built his narratives from the skeletons of borges, creating his own puzzles of prose that are a delight to work through. indeed, such is the joy of these, that i wanted them to continue. but, alas.

there is only one large hiccup in a new universal history of infamy, and that is when hughes parodies borges' 'man on a streetcorner' (also translated as 'man on pink corner') with 'streetcorner mouse'. technically, as parodies go, it's without fault except that i believe he references the wrong character in the first line, to keep with the makeup of borges' very excellent story. but that's debatable, i guess, and so is the parody itself--for some people, it's going to really work for them, and for other people, they're really going to dislike the whole idea. technically, i enjoyed how it was put together, but personally, i hated the whole idea.

the rest of the book, however, continues in the early vein of the book, and concludes with three parodies, two of which i greatly enjoyed, and one (the john sladek) which got a bit tedious, though the end made me laugh. this, however, is possibly because i've never read sladek, so the parody itself was lost on me. but, the two parodies, especially 'finding the book of sand', were great.

anyhow, so the excerpt is one of the histories, and you should go here and read it. then you should buy the borges book, buy the hughes book, and then make others buy both, so you can discuss how hughes has pulled of a book that isn't a sequel, isn't a re imagining, isn't any kind of cheap thrill, but rather is a companion book that the author has obviously laboured extensively over.
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benpeek

The Livejournal Answering Machine.

Hi.

You've reached my livejournal, but sadly, I'm not here. I've gone to a city that was designed by anarchist magicians who laid curses into the road designs. Yes, I'm in Canberra. Right this moment, I am being threatened by a sugar rushed and insane toddler whose Mother (under the influence of those streets) put Vulcan ears and a Star Trek uniform on him, thus insuring his place at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder. Being an understanding sort, I don't blame him for the anger, but I got to wonder where that blood on the blade he's holding came from. I had a companion yesterday. Where the fuck is she? Anyhow, because I don't think anyone needs to hear be beating a toddler within an inch of his miserable life, I'll leave it here. Please leave a message after the beep.

Thanks.


Beep.
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