Philip K. Dick’s Galactic Pot-Healer presages the appearance of Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction. Dick called the remedy Hardovax, and I imagine him snickering as he concocted his less-than-delicate pharmenclature.
But Viagra, evoking an ejaculatory Niagra Falls gushing-forth of your, er, vitality, could be considered yet less delicate. The book was written in 1969. Viagra reached market in 1998. Truth is once again stranger than fiction.
You’ll also recall (below) that the title of the book was mistranslated to the French. In the book, there is a game known (in a sociologically ominous way, it seems) simply as The Game, and it involves using poor (over-literal and phoneme-based) computer translators to mangle book titles and then translate them back to the original language, producing riddles to be ciphered (such as “The Lattice-work Gun-stinging Insect” for “The Great Gatsby”). I wonder if the French translator altered the title to Cathedral Healer to be ironic in light of this game in the story. Probably not. They probably thought Galactic Pot-Healer was a horrible title.
Okay, a couple posts ago I tried to explain RSS to you fellow newbies out there. The honeymoon between me and RSS is not over, so bear with me.
RSS reinvents the subscription model of the web. Most people, desiring more and current information from their favorite websites, hand over their email addresses to these sites in order to receive updates via email. This works moderately well, and we’ve been doing it here on mindmined.com since July of 1999. And as long as email remains a good avenue for this, we will continue to offer email subscriptions.
But email, for many, is sacred space. Many prefer to manage personal or business affairs through email and to receive nothing but directly interpersonal messages in there. Others may not be so strict about it, but nonetheless find themselves in the “mood” to interact with news-type content more often when surfing the web, not attending to email.
With RSS feeds, you can receive updates from your favorite websites outside of your email. Instead of giving the website your email address, give your news reader program a link to the XML feed from that website. Do you see what happened there? The RSS way, you didn’t have to tell anyone who you were.
Privacy is not the goal however. That’s just a perk. For me, time I spent websurfing is now spent more often in my RSS news reader… and less time. This morning I reviewed feeds from National Public Radio, Wired and Slashdot, in under 15 minutes, when I might have spent 45 minutes or more waiting for pages (and often, ads) to load for the self-same content on their respective websites.
Granted, sometimes the feeds are mere teasers, and you need to click into the website if you are interested in reading more. But that is a crucial “if” when it comes to your valuable time. If you are not interested in the post, delete it in the news reader as if it were an email.
So there’s another plug for RSS. Try it. And Blackberry users (some of my friends from Liberty Mutual were wielding RIMs yesterday at the Asia restaurant) should check out Newsberry. I am sure it rocketh socks just like my SharpReader for Windows. Onward!
I love to read, so I figured having a book learnin’ section of this blog site would be nice. I don’t plan on writing reviews, exactly, but maybe to record a thought or two for each book. Sometimes my impressions of what I read disappear with time, like waking from a dream and starting the process of forgetting.
My so-called “recommended reading” list is here, but any comments I make will be in this blog.
Right now I am reading Galactic Pot-Healer by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. It’s about a ceramics repair man, not a proponent of medical marijuana as I suspected before reading the book. I am a huge Dick fan, but I am careful about what company I admit that in. These are bigotted times.
It was curious to note that one French translation of the book didn’t even attempt to recreate the title as Dick intended. Here it’s “Cathedral Healer”! There is a cathedral prominent in the novel, but c’mon.
Tired of clicking those “XML/RSS” buttons only to see a screen full of XML formatted data? I finally tried an RSS client. I downloaded SharpReader and am satisfied, but here is a list of programs for all platforms.
What is RSS? I didn’t really get it until I tried it. I was getting used to thinking of the web as the be-all-end-all of killer apps. How else could I possibly want to get my news than by surfing to Salon, Fark, the BBC and Village Voice?
Well, for one, RSS news feeds are presented on a headline-by-headline basis. Your RSS program has something ressembling your email inbox, which organizes headlined stories fed to you from various news sources and blogs. RSS feeds rarely include ads, and they make getting your information online a lot easier, and less distracting, than surfing webpages.
I could go on about news feeds, but please: just try it. It’ll take you 10 or 15 minutes. Ask someone you know who is already using an RSS program and maybe they can help you get started if you have any trouble. And when you do, don’t forget to subscribe to the Garden of Blog RSS Feed. This very post is going out on the wire.
The lineup for Mindfest 2005 has been announced. Once again, the event will take place in Middleton, New Hampshire. Hope to see you there.
I wanted to establish this little section of my blog (“Ear Candy”) early on, so that I could rave or jeer about the latest music I discover. Tell me what you’re listening to, too.
Beck has a new one out called Guero. I grabbed it a couple weeks ago after Jessica heard it was out. Highly recommended. How does he do it? My favorite cut is “Missing.” He definitely picks up the pace again after the occassionally dirgy though still excellent Sea Change.
What can I say, it just pours out of me. Nothing like blogging can bring out the stream of consciousness writer in all of us, the Joyce wannabe, the guy or gal, frankly, who can’t shut up. And who is often indecipherable.
Still, the urgent sensation persists to arise, and if and when I make it to the bathroom on each such occasion, you should see a post here on this webpage. Dear Diary. I hope someone cares to sneak a peak at you.
Most often uttered phrase before the modern blogger makes a post:
Blogs are sound bites for the page. I’m surprised it took us so long. Now the web is just as shitty as TV.
When I was a kid in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, there was a used book store called That’s Entertainment I liked to linger in. Their collection of old comics was killer, but the dusty porn mags in the back gave it that extra appeal for my boyish mind. They had plenty of regular books as well but I rarely looked at those.
I would always hang out by the comics (perfectly happy), but when the clerk wasn’t looking I’d steal out back to the aluminum filing cabinets full of decades-old girlie publications.
This was the early ’80s, so most of this treasure was from the ’50s and ’60s. In truth, it was pretty classy stuff by today’s standards. Centerfolds back then could pass for extremely tasty art today. The girls were beautiful (and natural) without exception, with the authentic doe-eyed look of innocence that nary a chick I know could halfway fake these days. After doing a couple-three amateur Choke-On-My-Dick videos for the internet (and, goddamn it, $400), it must be hard to nail that sweet, expectant smile.
But what do I know? I’m just a slightly grown up kid, now surfing the web like it was the back room of That’s Entertainment, thinking: I might be finally sick of porn.