“In interviews at the time, Mr.Giraud said he was not really sure how he came to be involved in the making of what came to be a science-fiction horror classic. ’I do everything with no premeditation,’ he said. ‘The things just happen to me.’”
From Paul Vitello’s obituary of the comics artist Jean Giraud (“Moebius”) in The New York Times on March 19, 2012 (referring to Mr. Giraud’s involvement in Ridley Scott’s film “Alien”).
“When Sean O’Hara was snorkeling off Bali and saw some manta rays swimming nearby, he was fascinated by how they moved. ’They undulate in such a soft, relaxed way.’ said Mr. O’Hara, a furniture designer in Glenmoore, PA.”
From “Give a Man a Fish, for Inspiration,” by Elaine Louie in The New York Times on March 8, 2012 (describing the inspiration for “the curvy Mobu Bench, named after Mobulidae, the fish family that includes the manta ray”).
“This third ‘Law & Order’ series came out of my life-long addiction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. Vincent D’Onofrio’s stunningly idiosyncratic portrayal of Detective Robert Goren has catapulted the series into the top-rated show on Sunday night. Katie Erbe’s Detective Alex Eames is not only the perfect foil for Goren but has provided an entirely new spin on the Dr. Watson role.”
From writer/director/producer Rene Balcer’s “liner notes” (or whatever they’re called) in the six-disc package of DVDs of the first year of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (telling me something I never knew about this particular series, my favorite of all the “Law & Order” series, which in turn are my favorite TV shows and to which I am addicted, as I am to Sherlock Holmes. Whew).
“News Fast,” an editorial in the March 12, 2012 issue of the Jesuit magazine America, puts a new spin on Lenten fast-and-abstinence. Bringing a private practice into the public forum, the editorial posits that “there is one civic practice Christians might think of giving up: election news.”
Wow, did that resonate with me, a former MSNBC addict who gave up cold-turkey last Lent. I had discovered the non-stop arguing-head fests during the 2008 election cycle and became, well, addicted. Or mesmerized or fascinated or whatever word you want to use. For three years. It was so easy to watch and listen and give in! Finally, on a retreat — a silent retreat — I decided to take seriously the idea of “guarding my senses” by at least using the channel selector, if not always the on-off switch, on my TV.
My MSNBC excuse was that I was educating myself. There was some of that, sure. But I was also agitating myself to no good end and allowing the spaces in my imagination to be filled up with the mental equivalent of someone else’s Twinkies.
Like a good Jesuit spiritual director, the America editorial goes on to suggest specific positive actions to replace what’s being given up — for example, “surveying the news of the world rather than ingesting the trivia of election-year journalism,” or “every evening (taking) 20 minutes to read about an issue — the Keystone XL pipeline, the Eurozone crisis, the withdrawal from Afghanistan — rather than taking in the evening news.”
I can’t remember what led me to research ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation), which is based here in the Bay Area, but I found myself reading the official bio of Tony La Russa. And there I found — under the heading “Trivia” — this sentence: ”Baseball manager Tony La Russa and his wife, Elaine, co-founded ARF in 1991 after he rescued a terrified stray cat that ran onto the field during an A’s-Yankees game.”
As someone with a certain amount of experience caring for animals that no one else wanted, I say that there’s nothing trivial involved! And I also say good for that pussy-cat, and good for Mr. La Russa recognizing an idea when he saw it, and acting on it.
“The idea for the fair came to her after realizing that many of the artists working in the park also made functional objects to help support themselves.”
From an “Events” listing in the June 23, 2011 issue of The New York Times (referring to Alyson Baker, the executive director of the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, which hosts an annual arts/crafts fair called Makers Market).
“Authors need obsessions; it’s their immoderate, uncontainable, sometimes irrational preoccupations that feed their creative energies. The best writers can lead readers to share their manias. If Melville hadn’t been overly invested in whales, no ‘Moby-Dick.’ If Twain hadn’t been drawn to the Mississippi, no ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ If Tolstoy hadn’t been appalled by social hypocrisy, no ‘Anna Karenina.’”
From “Smoldering Subversives,” a book review by Liesl Schillinger in the February 5, 2012 issue of The New York Times (introducing the obsessions (“curvaceous, charismatic icons of femininity”) cultivated by M.G. Lord, author most recently of “The Accidental Feminist,” about Elizabeth Taylor).