Mike Jarboe, in memoriam; or, snapshots of a newspaperman

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Mike Jarboe at the Times Union in 2010.

I am still in disbelief that Mike Jarboe is gone. I am so glad to have read so many stories about him and tributes to him, and that his family knows how many people he has touched and how deeply. Everyone who’s ever met Mike Jarboe has a Mike Jarboe story. Here are some of the things that come to my mind.

We worked together on the Times Union news copy desk for about six years. One of the best things for me about those years were the “slot/rim” meetings I had with him.

Continue reading “Mike Jarboe, in memoriam; or, snapshots of a newspaperman”

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A modest proposal for a future word that means ‘self-driving vehicle’

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A horseless carriage (1901 Kidder Steam Wagon by the Kidder Motor Vehicle Co. in New Haven, Conn.) from the New England Historical Society.

 

One thing I often say to visitors to the contemporary museum where I work is that when they look at something they don’t quite understand their brains will try to make meaning out of the new or strange thing by equating it to things they already know. That is, the experience of something new is filtered by the past: we are always moving forward with our eyes on history.

I recently heard or read something (maybe it was a podcast?) that said language works in a similar way: a new thing is named by its relationship to the past. Thus, we didn’t have “cars” at first, we had “horseless carriages.”

The podcasters were bringing this up in relationship to the clumsy name we now have for the latest vehicular technology: the self-driving vehicle. I have a name for it: automobile, which is a combination of the Greek for “self,” and the Latin for “movable.”

Yes, of course, I know people call their Priuses (Priuii?) and SUVs and Beamers “automobiles,” but I’d argue that the term has been wrong all long. None of those vehicles drove themselves. They all required an operator, or a driver, which is also an interesting word. And the act of driving, of course, is what makes a term “self-driving” necessary, because we understand “automobile” to mean a vehicle that is driven (though that isn’t literally what it means).

This kind of word repurposing is nothing new. The word “car” itself is quite old, from the fourteenth century, referring to vehicles with wheels in Latin (carrus), and also thought to be related to a similar word “carriage,” which just means to carry and is said to be from the twelfth century.

Anyway, this is just to say that it doesn’t seem unlikely that soon-ishly (maybe in twenty years) English speakers will finally be using the “automobile” correctly, in reference to self-driving vehicles.

The portable video game truck

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We heard the screams from down the block during our evening walk. They could’ve been coming out of any of the homes in the neighborhood, sounds muffled with windows and doors closed up from the heat.

Then we turned a corner and saw this truck.

Maybe it was a birthday party inside. Kids were screaming. Now and then, a loud thump echoed out: feet stamping the floor? fits hitting the wall?

Imagine: being a kid and getting to walk across your lawn and being sealed up in a truck and getting to play video games with your friends, shielded away from your parents eyes?

Imagine: having a birthday party for a kid, and never having to have the cake and ice cream sticky finger video game playing kids in the house?

So is this the future?

 

 

 

#tbt: Soviet Fabrics of the 1920s and 1930s

Soviet Fabrics, 1920s-1930s via The Retronaut prostheticknowledge:

Soviet Fabrics, 1920s-1930s via The Retronaut

Amazing patterns – above is only a sample. Lots more to be found here

tbt: Tsang Kin-Wah at Mori Art Museum, 2011

Originally published Oct 5, 2011: tsang kin-wah: the fifth seal  meggieschwendemann:

tsang kin-wah: the fifth seal – he shall deliver you up to be afflicted and killed as he was
mori art museum, tokyo
on now until january 15th, 2012

 

via designboom.com