Some updates

If you noticed the Snack Bus theme is gone, it’s because I need to bring my template files up to date with the new version of WordPress. I’m not tired of the snack bus already, but I decided to make my website work better before I make it look better. I may bring it back later.

In the meantime I’ll be using  the default WordPress theme, which is what you see now. The picture in the header is mine, though. It’s from the tile wainscoting inside the Colegio Nacional de Monsterrat in Córdoba, Argentina.

I write like

I fed a few of my blog posts into the analyzer on I Write Like, a website with a tool that compares your writing to a famous author’s. Depending on the post, I write like:

  1. David Foster Wallace
  2. Chuck Palahniuk
  3. Cory Doctorow
  4. Margaret Atwood
  5. Isaac Asimov
  6. Oscar Wilde

Oddly enough, the post I wrote reviewing a couple of old science fiction books, including “I, Robot”, was compared to Isaac Asimov. Maybe the frequent use of the word “robot” automatically returns a comparison to Asimov.

I have read little or nothing from the above authors (and have never heard of a couple of them), so I can’t claim them as influences. Most of what I read is nonfiction anyway, and this website seems to draw its analysis from fiction writers. So as a further test, I entered a handful of fiction attempts. The results:

  1. Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. Ian Fleming
  3. David Foster Wallace
  4. Dan Brown
  5. Raymond Chandler
  6. Stephen King

There’s that David Foster Wallace guy again. The last one is more like it, since I used to read a lot of Stephen King and I have a book on writing by him. I suspect the few paragraphs I write in one of my longer posts is not a large enough sample to consistently return a comparison to any one author. Or perhaps I’m not very consistent.

I Write Like is fun but not very revealing.

Figures in carbon

It’s been a couple of months since I last attended the drawing group. In some ways the break was helpful, and I think I made some progress yesterday.

Graphite drawing of a reclined woman leaning against a cushioned stool.
I had extra time so I sketched in one of the other artists.
Charcoal drawing of an anterior view of a leaning woman.
I noticed skinny figures have better shadows.
Graphite drawing of a reclined woman.
The more I look at this one the more I like it.
Charcoal drawing of a posterior view of a woman leaning on a bench.
The eraser was useful in undoing some of my overdone shadows.

The law of comparative advantage

Our interest in the World Cup plummeted after the quarterfinals so Lore has returned her attention to another staple of Argentinian entertainment: “Showmatch”. It’s a long-running television show which in its current incarnation is sort of like “Dancing With the Stars” but with fewer clothes. It’s also a brilliant example of the law of comparative advantage, as Argentina mobilizes one of its primary resources–vast reserves of beautiful women willing to dance in thongs on television.

Jazz, soccer, and the fourth of July

Another Independence Day weekend, another Iowa City Jazz Festival. I’ve written here before about my difficulty appreciating jazz. It’s like wine: I know when I like something but I can’t explain why I like it. I don’t have any understanding of the subtleties.

Speaking of things I don’t understand the subtleties of: the World Cup. Argentina got pounded yesterday by Germany, so I have a lot of sad in-laws. Then Paraguay lost a close game to Spain, which means their hottest underwear model won’t get naked in public as promised. It was a bad day for the Americas.

This so-called World Cup is really a Eurotrash festival. Europe started out by sending their thirteen (thirteen!) best teams to the tournament–including “England”, which is like letting California have its own team. Germany, Spain, and Netherlands all made it to the semifinals. Uruguay is our only hope.

So, though I struck out with these two things–one typically American (jazz) and another of more international appeal (soccer), I’m tackling something a little more familiar to me this weekend to celebrate the independence of our declining nation. I’m reading a new book about the founders: “Revolutionaries” by Jack Rakove. I’m only about two-thirds of the way through, but so far it’s pretty good. The author attends to some of the less celebrated revolutionary figures (George Mason, Robert Morris, and Henry Laurens) and events (the framing of the first state constitutions, the peace negotiations with Great Britain).

I don’t know why I like reading about the founders so much. Maybe it’s because our present political leaders are such duds. I had a history professor at college who insisted that all historical figures were simply the products of their times. In that case, maybe we’re the duds. Happy Fourth.