The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: March 2005 (page 2 of 5)

the pain of bradford pears

They are almost lovely and would be if not for the associations that we all have with them. The shallow rooted Bradfort Pears are in bloom in the parking lot of every Southern shopping center. In every slightly upscale trailer park. In every wish-this-were-really-an-upscale development (mostly in the mediums).
In many ways the bradford pear is a perfect landscaping tree. It’s heat resistant. It’s drought resistant. It’s fast growing (to a point). Few pests are interested in it. It will grow in polluted air (say those mediums).
Because of the fast growth, the trees tend to split easily. Ice storms and snow will strip them down to the trunk if not splitting the trunk itself.
But the worst feature of the bradford pear is that they stink! Not just a little, but they are putrid. And later their stone sized fruit is translated into dark bird poop which will definitely end up on a difficult to reach place on your car (because you parked near one on an unaviodable trip to the mall).
There are more reasons why we should all avoid bradfords. But that’s a good start. Did I mention that they have nasty thorns and are an invasive species?

Additive art – museum editions

The British graffiti artist, Banksy, practiced the art of giving art at four of New York’s fine museums.
At the Amercian Museum of Natural History, he hung his drawing of “Withus Oragainstus” a beetle with sidewinder missiles and satillite dish in the Hall of Diversity.
Withus Oragianstus
At the Brooklyn Museum, he hung a colonial era portrait with anti-war graffitti, “Soldier with a Spray Can.”
Soldier with a spary can
At the Museum of Modern Art, he hung “Discount Soup Can,” a silkscreen print that Warhol would appreciate.
Discount Soup Can
And at the Metropolotian Museum of Art, “You have beautiful eyes,” shows a period woman in a gas mask.
You have beautiful eyes
His site also has a short clip of him, dressed as Inspector Clousseau, installing his Brooklyn piece to the music of the Pink Panther Theme.

Soft Tissue of T-Rex

The Museum of Natural Sciences announcement today describes how soft tissue was discovered in a T-Rex femur. Several important findings here. One that the soft tissue, the cells and blood vessels of T-Rex resemble those of an ostrich–supporting the dinos are big ass birds theory. The discovery is repeatable and has been repeated on two other T-Rexen and a hadrosaur. The scientific paper by NCSU’s Mary H. Schweitzer and Jennifer L. Wittmeyer will appear in the journal Science tomorrow.
[I refered to this announcement earlier as a reason to go to Raleigh]

The Pleasure was Mine — Again

Tommy Hays was interviewed on today’s WUNC State of Things show on the subject of memory (yes you can catch is online). Tommy is author of “The Pleasure Was Mine” a novel about memory loss in age.
This is to help remind me that Tommy will be reading at McIntyre’s Books in Fearington on Saturday April 16 at 11 am.

Quiz Show Connections

Charles Van Doren Faces the Press
Just getting around to seeing Quiz Show (1994). The scandal of the fixed quiz shows of the 1950s is revealed by a tight focus on three characters, contestants nerdy Herb Stempel and handsome Charles Van Doren — and the author/producer of the movie Richard Goodwin played Rob Morrow. Goodwin is by far the most complex character. Stempel is portrayed as a sort of stock character almost. Van Doren as an over privileged WASP trying to get his famous father’s attention.

Not unlike the phoney “news” shows of today, our phoney press conferences, etc, the quiz shows were seen by the networks and sponsors as entertainment while leading the public to see them as reality.

But the story after the story is more telling. The after credits tell us of the fates, as of 1994, of most of the important characters. Even a brief bit on Goodwin:

Richard Goodwin became a speechwriter for the 1960 Kennedy campaign and then a member of the White House staff. After the assassination of Robert Kennedy, he retired from politics to become a writer.

Doris Kearns Goodwin meets the Press
One bit of trivia not in the aftercredits is that his second wife — his first wife died — is Doris Kearns Goodwin. A Pulitzer Prize (1995) winning historian and author, Kearns Goodwin was discovered to have plagarized large portions of her books from others. The scandal was complex full of denials and cover ups and revelations as this longish description of the “developing story” from the History News Network from 2002 show. Slate’s Timothy Noah was less subtle writing an article in January 2002 entited “Doris Kearns Goodwin, Liar” that she not only plagarized and lied but that she also “paid hush money to one of the people she plagiarized.”

It makes you wonder what she was thinking as she was watching Quiz Show. What was in her mind when the Goodwin character questioned the Van Doren character about his book in progress on Lincoln? What is she thinking now as her next book, due October 2005, is “Master Among Men : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”

You are the News you read

Forwarded from many folks, most recently the poet Terri Ford. I am solidly in numbers 3 and 11 (but prefer the Weekly World News):

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country–if they could find the time and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country … or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12. None of the above is read by the guy who is running the country into the ground.

Wirelessness round here

Fiona Morgan has a long cover article in this week’s Independent about local wireless access. My favorite access place, Weaver Street Market, gets great coverage (yes Jeff that’s an intentional pun).
Back in January, I noticed an oddity in an Nextel advert. Fiona uses that same oddity to begin her story.
Also of note and also by Fiona is a sidebar about a Philly-like tale being played out in the smaller town of Laurinburg, NC (16,000 and once my home) between the town and BellSouth.

Two reasons to go to Raleigh

Two reasons to go to Raleigh.
woven stick bust by Patrick Dougherty
Artist Patrick Dougherty is creating a giant woven bust on the grounds of the NC Art Museum. The News and Observer did a good write up on the project, but it’s nowhere to be found on the Museum’s own site. Dougherty’s work is original and delightful. I recall his woven cacoons relaxing on the front porch of the house he rented near campus. Then the flowing forms that seems to appear around town and even, as I recall, at the NC Art Museum some years back. Patrick Dougherty has since created over 100 stick weavings all over the world. He’s just back from Wisconsin where his work was documented on a daily basis as he created a piece called “Putting Two and Two Together” for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

From the Museum of Natural Sciences:

WHAT: Joint News Conference between N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences & N.C. State University

WHEN: Thursday, March 24, 2005, 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences Auditorium, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh

WHY: A remarkable dinosaur discovery in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana has exposed a never before seen specimen. This discovery
could change the way modern scientists view fossilization. This is part of an embargoed story that will appear in Science Magazine this week.

WHO:? Leading author, Mary Schweitzer, Ph.D, Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at N.C. State University, and Jack Horner, Curator of Paleontology, Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana will be available to answer questions.

Note: News Release will be available at 2 p.m. on Thursday when the embargo is lifted.

The Eyes of Holland Are Upon You

All the live long day. The eyes of Holland are upon you. You cannot get a way.

Patrick Herron and Kent Johnson – Saturday

Carrboro Poet/Gawd Patrick Herron writes to alert us of his reading on Saturday.

Who: Patrick Herron and Kent Johnson
When: Saturday March 26 @ 8 pm
Where: Internationalist Books on Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
What: High-energy Poetry Reading

More from Patrick:

Kent Johnson is the caretaker of perhaps the most controversial work of poetry in American history since Ginsberg’s _Howl_, and he has been my mentor and friend for the last six years. You can read about the Yasusada controversy extensively covered in the Boston Review in 1997 ( and Or, alternately, you can read about his life that includes working with the Sandinistas.

Read a fine example of his poetry, a play on the children’s book _Goodnight Moon_ which is arguably the most remarkable poem in the famed _Poets Against The War_ collection.

Don’t come for me, come to hear Kent–he is truly phenomenal. Poets this good don’t come around often in a lifetime. This is not to be missed.


John Edwards Podcast 1 released

As previously announced, John Edwards has started releasing podcasts. This one [xml] recorded not far from ibiblio over at the School of Government here at UNC. Wonkette has a bit about the podcast and announcement.

Robert Hass at UNC

Went over to hear Robert Hass (don’t be an ass; it’s pronounced Hass) read his poetry as part of the Morgan Series. Hass read new poetry which has not yet been collected. Several of note including tributes to Milosz (Hass worked with Milosz on translations for about 20 years) and to influences including Pound (whose politics are the polar opposite of Hass’ own). Hass ended his reading with a prose poem, currently called POEM, (slightly reminicent of “Pascal Lamb”) that included Viet Nam and Iraq and aerial bombardment and the shift over the 20th century from army deaths (90% in the first 20 years of the 20th century according to Hass) to civilian deaths (90% in the last 20 years of the 20th century according to Hass).

Pam Samuelson at Duke Thursday

Jennifer Jenkins of Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain sends us this announcement:

Professor Pamela Samuelson, an extremely influential expert on intellectual property in the information age, will be delivering the annual Meredith and Kip Frey Lecture in Intellectual Property at Duke Law School this Thursday, March 24, at 12:10. You are invited to attend. Details are below.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to anyone who may be interested in attending.

Professor Pamela Samuelson of the University of California at Berkeley

Enriching Discourse on the Public Domain

Date: 03/24/2005 Time: 12:10pm Location: Duke Law School, Room 3041 Reception to follow

Pamela Samuelson is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Pamela Samuelson is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, with joint appointments to the School of Information Management Systems and the School of Law, where she is a Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. An internationally renowned expert on intellectual property in the information age, she teaches in the areas of intellectual property, cyberlaw and information policy, and has written extensively about the challenges that new information technologies pose for legal regimes, especially for intellectual property law. Professor Samuelson is an advisor for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is a Fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Meredith and Kip Frey Lecture in Intellectual Property is a lecture series that was established in 2000 by Duke Law School alumnus Kip Frey ’85 and his wife, Meredith, to increase discussion about emerging issues in the areas of intellectual property, cyberspace, and science and technology law. Noted intellectual property law scholars Lewis Branscomb, the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management emeritus at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Stanford University, and Yochai Benkler, professor of law at New York University, delivered previous lectures in this series.

Living in Revelations

Enjoying “The Angel that Stands By Me” about visionary artist Minne Evans (from

West-ern Culture

Spent yesterday with Jessamyn West. She spoke to my class of graduating seniors and later to a larger group of mostly grad students and faculty. The slides from her talks are online and have some links that she didn’t have time to follow during the talks.
Jeff Pomerantz’s class came over to the later class and Jeff has some good notes on that talk on his blog.
Locked in the Library
Jessamyn and I took a quick tour of some of the collections in Wilson Library including the North Carolina Collection, the Rare Book Room and the North Carolina Gallery. In the Gallery, Keeper Neil Fulghum gave us a tour of the collections and restored rooms, especially the private library from the Hayes Plantation once the largest private library in the state (in the late 1800s). We were so caught up the talk and in the presentation of the Siamese Twins, Eng and Chang Bunker, that we ended up locked inside the building! We were not alone. University Librarian Sarah Michalak and two visitors as well as a family touring the campus were stuck there with us. Luckily the Keeper appeared and didn’t keep us there.

Jessamyn West at UNC Tomorrow!


Jessamyn's got the answers
Who:’s rarin’ librarian Jessamyn West
When: Monday March 21 2:00 (Vernal Equinox)
Where: Freedom Forum Conference Center, 3rd floor, Carroll Hall
What: Postcards from the Other Edge of the Digital Divide. Political Choices and the Information Poor

About the talk: While we read blogs, tag content and swap lifehacks, people in rural areas are still learning to type. Public libraries are making many more technological choices just to provide basic information and Internet resources nowadays, yet the paradigm for learning to work well with technology differs dramatically from learning to work well with books. Jessamyn West will be talking about being a tech-savvy librarian in a profession struggling into the 21st Century.

More about Jessamyn West:
Jessamyn West is wrapping up her job as an outreach librarian at a rural public library in Vermont. She has worked in public, special and college libraries and done stints of on-the-fly reference at Burning Man, the WTO and the Democratic National Convention. She has maintained, a weblog for radical librarians and other interested parties, since 1999. She is fascinated by the intersection of technology, the public sphere and politics.

In Bloom for Spring

Spring in NC is solidly here. Everyone is out walking — until the games start. We took our walk down to the Botanical Gardens. Just a little hike through our neighborhood. Then a brief walk along the stream trails to see what’s in bloom.
The American Trout Lilies are incredible and everywhere. A few Trilliums are mixed in with the lilies. The trilliums that we saw all had dark red to purple blooms; these are the trilliums know as toadshade or Little Sweet Betsy. Dark tight flowers rising out of the mottled triple leaf.
Now on to basketball!

Is That Legal? War on Freedom of Information

Sally, blogging for Eric Muller at, reports on the FOI restrictions as interfered with Dan Carter’s work on his bio of George Wallace and his book on the Scottsboro Boys. Carter goes on to talk about increasing restrictions on public record access (as described by Sally).
Then Sally notes a story in today’s paper. Legislation has been proposed to allow a town to sue its citizens who ask for public records. All the town would need do is assert that those records are not public afterall. Talk about a chilling effect.

Fetishizing the Original

Dropped in on the 75th Anniversary of the Southern Historical Collection this evening. Dropped in only on the last session of a day and a half long symposium. Sally had been to the whole conference. I did get to drop in on two great talks.
One by John Hope Franklin who talked about his experience as a young African-American historian coming to work in the archives of North Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama during the 1940s.
One by Ed Ayers who talked about digital projects including his famous and wonderful Valley of the Shadow project.
So far not obvious fetishizing or at least not as pertains to the title of this post.
In question time, one concerned audience member spoke of the feel of the paper, the scrawls on the back of a photograph (never mind that the photo had faded so far from the state in which it was seen in the past), the smell of the archive (this the smell of the archive rotting like a slow compost), etc.
This impassioned talk reminded me of Walter Benjamin’s Work of Art in the Age of MechanicalReproduction. An essay in which Benjamin worries that photography will completely replace painting and that the value of the original, the aura, will be lost as seamless reproductions are made generally available.
Of course, we now see that Benjamin was completely wrong. That we rush to see the Mona Lisa because we are familiar with that painting. Our desire to see the “real” Mona Lisa is increased at each viewing of a reproduction, a surrogate.
What painting would we go to see by Grant Wood? Most likely the one we know from surrogates, from parodies, from endless reproductionsAmerican Gothic (it’s at the Art Institute of Chicago).
The ultimate fetishizing of the original resulted in the daring and somewhat bizzare theft of Edvard Munch’s Scream. Desire may have led to destruction of the desired and we will have been left with its many many many surrogates.

IBM Emerging Technologies Tool Kit and Portal

The Emerging Technologies Tool Kit may have already existed, but the Portal seems to have been announced only yesterday (March 18) according to the IBM ET Blog/.

The ETTK Portal says of itself:

The Emerging Technologies Toolkit (ETTK) is a collection of technologies from IBM’s software development and research labs that have special relevance to IBM’s emerging software strategy. An ETTK technology indicates that IBM has attached importance to the emerging technology area, and is dedicated to giving it appropriate incubation and exposure.

These technologies are bundled to help technologists learn about a subject area by providing tools, example code, documentation and executable demos that illustrate IBM’s current approach on these topics.

The technology list below has links to the latest ETTK technologies. On-line demos or presentations are also available that show what each downloadable package has to offer. A Laszlo-powered technology navigator helps to get a quick sense of each ETTK technology (Macromedia Flash viewer required). Please be sure to subscribe to the ETTK RSS feed to receive notifications as new ETTK technologies are added and updated.

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