Architecture, Ed Townsend, Magic, Anger, Saki

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The House Where You Live Forever

Amelia Schonbek | Longreads | 16th August 2016

Profile of architect Madeline Gins, whose deliberately awkward buildings were designed to “destabilise” inhabitants physically and mentally. In a Gins building you had to stay alert to avoid falling over, which Gins thought was the key to a longer life. “Procedural architecture, as they called their technique, was a way of creating buildings that had far more in common with poetry, in which the writer experiments with language to achieve certain effects, than with most traditional architectural practice” (7,065 words)

Natural Resources

J.M. Martin | Oxford American | 15th August 2016

The inspiring, bewildering, up-and-down life story of Ed Townsend, who wrote songs — including Let’s Get It On — for Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole, and Etta James. He produced hits for Brook Benton, the Shirelles and Johnny Nash. Al Bell gave him “carte blanche” at Stax. After losing his studio to fire in New Jersey he built another at Mound Bayou in Mississipi. His “restless effusiveness” and “crooning, dapper majesty” won over everybody he met; until, in the end, drink won over him (3,800 words)

Are Rotisserie Chickens A Bargain?

Karin Klein | Priceonomics | 15th August 2016

You are shopping for dinner at the supermarket; you see raw chickens “pale and cold” in the cabinets; then you see the rotisserie chickens sizzling on the spit. “They are golden and warm and herb-scented and ready to eat. You could grab one off the shelf this very moment. And even though the deli has done all the work, it doesn’t seem more expensive. It seems like an unbelievable bargain.” But are the rotisserie chickens really such a bargain? And, if so, why are they such a bargain? (2,200 words)

Wishing And Hoping

Bonnie Johnson | The Rumpus | 16th August 2016

Encounters with the fortune-tellers and magicians of Los Angeles, including an evening at The Castle, clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts: “The audience went silent when Gaughan introduced a live re-enactment of Robert-Houdin’s moon-and-Pierrot piece, in which an English magician named Mystina floated beside a talking, three-dimensional crescent. The woman danced and somersaulted above the floor, and passed through a ring Gaughan held before he slipped into the wings” (3,900 words)

Forgive And Forget

Andrew Stark | New Rambler | 15th August 2016

Respectful but dissenting review of Martha Nussbaum’s new book, Anger and Forgiveness, according to which Nussbaum deprecates anger as a generally futile response to wrongdoing; it is an expression of desire for more wrongdoing, which crowds out forgiveness. Stark argues that anger can equally well form part of a process of reconciliation. Anger is an appropriate response to wrongdoing, which incites the wrongdoer to show remorse, creating the conditions for forgivenesss (2,800 words)

Ferrets Can Be Gods

Katherine Rundell | London Review Of Books | 11th August 2016

When a German sniper shot Hector Hugh Munro on the Somme in 1916, England lost its wittiest writer. Under the pen-name “Saki”, Munro wrote macabre, sparkling short stories, half-Wodehouse and half-Kipling, in which tyrannical aunts and obtuse majors mingled with man-eating tigers and feral boys. He inspired Roald Dahl; his spirit lives on in George Saunders. “What we do know of Saki’s life reads like one of his own stories. His mother died after being trampled by a cow on a country lane” (1,940 words)

Video of the day: Versus

What to expect:

Dazzling wildlife short created to demonstrate the capabilities of Maxon Cinema 4D software (1’24”)

Thought for the day

Every beginning ends something
Paul Valéry

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