Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18

Lawyer-turned therapist Will Meyerhofer has many cogent, perceptive things to say about the legal profession:

The high suicide rate among lawyers isn’t hard to explain: you trade away your life for money and clutch at possessions to substitute for what’s missing. You’re already dying.

Having spent a good amount of time inside BigLaw firms in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, in both "permanent" and temporary paralegal professions, I can only concur with Meyerhofer about the toxicity of the environment in those places. It destroys a lot of people, and seeing that happen was one of the reasons I could never persuade myself to go to law school (which I wrote about here at PMD on June 9 of last year).

Once again, balancing depressing stuff with a Day Brightener, in this case the colorful and energetic illustrations of Jim Flora:

I actually own this Mambo for Cats LP; it is the awesomeness:

Michael Dirda, the great Washington Post book reviewer, has written a wonderful account of the fiction of Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811):

I am indebted to the Lit Lists blog for pointing me in the direction of many useful and amusing lists, such as this one by John Mullan of ten great unfinished literary works:

Another excellent blog, The Latin Americanist ("The English-language forum for all things Latin American, covering business, politics, and culture"), brings us a video visit with the great 102-year-old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Be sure to go to full-screen mode for the full effect:

The second part of the interview is here:

I'm well aware that Robert Hughes, never to be taken lightly, has some unkind things to say about Niemeyer's Brasilia in The Shock of the New, and his strictures are pertinent, but they must be balanced against the visionary quality of this capital city designed from scratch. The Wikipedia article on it is very thorough:

io9 helpfully catalogues all the ways sex can go wrong in science fiction:

Among notables born on this date are designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, psychologist Hans Asperger, physicist Ernst Mach, artist Yoko Ono, cartoonist Gahan Wilson, novelists Wallace Stegner, Toni Morrison, Len Deighton, Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece), Alexander Kielland (Norway), and Sholem Aleichem (Yiddish language), Puerto Rican poet and politician Luis Munoz Marin, film directors John Hughes, Milos Forman, and Istvan Szabo, country musician Pee Wee King, poet Audre Lorde, and a bus-load of actors -- Edward Arnold, Greta Scacchi, Cybill Shepherd, John Travolta, Molly Ringwald, Mary Ure, Jack Palance, Matt Dillon, Sinead Cusack, and Adolphe Menjou. Since Yoko Ono has always gotten a bad press in certain quarters, I want to go on the record with my admiration for her. She was a major conceptual artist before she ever met John Lennon, and has always been a most thoughtful and interesting woman. The notion that she "broke up" the Beatles is asinine; she re-invigorated John Lennon's artistry, and the Beatles's late albums benefited from her presence on the edge of proceedings.

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