Wednesday Reads: Chairs…Chairs would be nice.


Oh, I know it is late. I spent last night…or should I say the early morning hours spying images to use for this afternoon’s post. Geez, imagine all that time being sucked into a black hole of Pinterest Far Side pins…and then realizing it is 5am and you have written nothing.

On the plus side, I do have some great cartoons for you, so enjoy those at least. (Most of them are from Gary Lawson, but there are other artist included as well…)

Now a few links,  I’m introducing this article with a clip from Absolutely Fabulous…it is a quick little bit about chairs:


Starting at the 14:31 mark, the character Catriona is giving her suggestion for a editorial in the Magazine…and she mentions “chairs”:

And chairs I thought might be interesting.
I’ve got a friend with some lovely chairs in her shop.
– Jocasta? – Yes.
She believes chairs are as important to civilisation as a masterpiece or something.
I wrote it down somewhere.
We could print that up and do some lovely photos.

And now the link:

Sitting Up: A Brief History of Chairs

A brief history of chairs.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

There is a pivotal early scene in David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia in which T. E. Lawrence and his superior, Colonel Brighton, visit the desert encampment of Prince Faisal, a leader of the Arab Revolt. The royal tent is spartan yet luxurious, patterned woven cloths hang from the low ceiling, a large brass samovar gleams in the candlelight, the ground is covered with a rich carpet. There is no furniture; the men sit on the carpet. Brighton, in his tailored uniform, polished Sam Browne belt, and riding boots, looks distinctly ill at ease with his legs awkwardly stretched out in front of him. Lawrence, a lieutenant and less formally dressed, appears slightly more comfortable, with his legs folded to one side. The prince, attired in a dark robe and a white ghutrah, reclines on a pile of sheepskins, while his colleague Sherif Ali leans casually against a tent pole. The various postures cinematically underline a central point: the relaxed Bedouins are at home in this place—the desert—while the stiff English colonel is an interloper. Lawrence is somewhere in between.

The world is divided into people who sit on the floor and those who sit on chairs. In a classic study of human posture around the world, the anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes identified no fewer than a hundred common sitting positions. “At least a fourth of mankind habitually takes the load off its feet by crouching in a deep squat, both at rest and at work,” he observed. Deep squatting is favored by people in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but sitting cross-legged on the floor is almost as common. Many South Asians cook, dine, work, and relax in that position. Certain Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as Melanesians, customarily sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out or crossed at the ankles. Sitting with the legs folded to one side—Lawrence’s position above—is described by Hewes as a predominantly female posture in many tribal societies.

The diversity of different postures around the world could be caused by differences in climate, dress, or lifestyle. Cold or damp floors would discourage kneeling and squatting and might lead people to seek raised alternatives; tight clothing would tend to inhibit deep squatting and cross-legged sitting; nomadic peoples would be less likely to use furniture than urban societies; and so on. But cause and effect does not explain why folding stools originated in ancient Egypt, a region with a warm, dry climate. Or why the Japanese and Koreans, who have cold winters, both traditionally sat on floor mats. Or why the nomadic Mongols traveled with collapsible furniture, while the equally nomadic Bedouins did not.

imageTake a look at the rest of that, it is interesting.

Sticking with non-Trump articles for now…BBC – Culture – The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films

The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.

That is the main link, but if you are like me you would rather read a criticism of the thing…

Here is one from TCM’s blog – The Greatest Films of the 21st Century

I suffer from chronic list fatigue, initially eager to scroll through the latest re-ordering of greatest hits, but inevitably collapse into a heap before I ingest the whole thing. Enter the BBC to test my illness. Yesterday they unveiled the results of their mammoth “Greatest Films of the 21st Century” poll, in which 177 critics submitted their top movies of the current century. It confirms that David Lynch’s  fractured, terrifying Hollywood fairy tale Mulholland Drive (2001) is the consensus film of the age. It has been topping lists of this ilk for years now, and I welcome a film so mysterious as our millennium-overlord. My narcolepsy is triggered not by the quality of the works cited, but the recycled nature of the discourse it elicits, which tends to ignore the films entirely for a “this-over-that” essentialism that reduces complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list. Which reminds me, now it is time for me to reduce complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list! Below you’ll find my top ten films of the 21st Century that were not included in the BBC’s top twenty five, in a modest effort to expand the conversation.

Go and check out that list, you may be surprised by what is included.

imageFrom Jezebel: 177 Critics Picked the Best Films of the Century. Guess How Many Were Directed By Women!

The BBC published its long-awaited list of the 21st century’s best films, as selected by 177 film critics from around the world. Lists like these are meant to drum up conversations and controversies, and when appearing online they’re usually the creations of a single author—a single critical mind. But the BBC has provided a decent chunk of data to supplement its numbered list, so we have a pretty good understanding of who those film critics are.

The 177 are from 36 countries, but nearly half (81) are from the US. Going down the list:

“19 from the UK, five each from Canada, Cuba, France, and Germany, and four each from Australia, Colombia, India, Israel and Italy. Lebanon, the UAE, China, Bangladesh, Chile, Namibia, Kazakhstan and many others are represented too.”

OK! Great. So they did a little work attempting to create a truly international pool of people. But what about gender? Of the 177 critics, there were 55 women and 122 are men. That’s roughly 31%, which is depressing until you look at data released earlier this summer that says women make up only 27% of film critics, at which point it becomes ever so slightly less depressing.

Similar feelings may arise when looking at the breakdown of the directors on the list. Of the 102 films (there was a three-way tie for #100), 12 (or roughly 12%) had women as directors, which is just three percentage points higher than the industry as a whole.


More at that link.

On another issue, yes I must mention the Trump campaign: Yes, CNN and ABC Really Did Live-Stream Mike Pence’s Haircut | Mediaite

It seems like only yesterday the big news in candidate’s hair was that high dollar haircut Edwards treated himself to years ago. Remember? Now, the media is fucking covering the haircuts live!

I think this politician should be running on the GOP presidential ticket…sound like he is pretty successful to me: America’s Only Dog Mayor Gets Elected to Third Term | Mental Floss

Just a few links now that may bring up your blood pressure:

WikiLeaks posted medical files of rape victims and children, investigation finds | Media | The Guardian

Why is WikiLeaks publishing private individuals’ personal information? | PBS NewsHour

imageFrench police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban | World news | The Guardian

‘It’s about freedom’: Ban boosts burkini sales ‘by 200%’ – BBC News

Mylan CEO saw 600% pay increase during EpiPen price raise – NY Daily News

Revealed: Zika’s damage to babies’ brains more extensive than microcephaly

At least one woman finally gets what is owed her: Homeless woman proves Social Security owed her $100,000 | Tampa Bay Times

Last for those who have the cash:

Get ready to strap Aunt Edna to the roof: the Vacation car is apparently on sale · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Everybody knows you can’t take the whole tribe cross-country without the proper chariot. And as fans of the 1980s comedy classic National Lampoon’s Vacation will tell you, there’s no holiday roadster better suited for a jaunt to road trip-purgatory than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Now you, too, can know the luxury of gliding across the U.S. in a dinged-up metallic pea tank—“honky lips” graffiti not included—with a Houston-based auto dealership claiming to have theVacation car on sale for a measly 40 grand.

Listed as a “1979 Ford LTD,” the car features a Walley World bumper sticker, a dog leash, and a luggage rack, perfect for transporting any late relatives you might happen to pick up (and then drop off) along the way.

(Image: Carlyle Motors)

Of course, the seller makes no guarantees that this particular extremely ugly vehicle is one of the five Trucksters used in the film, so you’ll just have to take it on faith that this isn’t one of the many replicas people have made in tribute to the movie. (To quote the listing on the collectible car marketplace Hemmings, “Although this particular car is believed to be used in the filming of the movie, there is no documentation that comes with the car.“) We’re sorry if that’s a big disappointment for you, folks. Moose out front should have told ya.

Enjoy the cartoons!


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18 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Chairs…Chairs would be nice.”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Have a good evening…

    • pdgrey says:

      Minkoff Minx.thank you so much for the Gary Larson. In the 80’s and 90’s that was my only calender! I really needed that.

  2. Sweet Sue says:

    Minx, thanks for the Gary Larson toons. As one who is often visited by the chicken of depression, I think they’re hilarious.

  3. Enheduanna says:

    I love Far Side MM – thank you for the toons!

    I also loved the story of the homeless lady getting her money. Imagine looking for a job at age 80….

    Also the Epipen story is enraging – at least on the face of it. How long to those pens typically last if not needed?

    • quixote says:

      12-18 months, and caregivers have to have two sets. (If you have to use one set, it’s a bad idea to be without any until the new delivery arrives.) So that’s about $1200 per year. In 2006, for the exact same thing, same manufacturing costs (pennies!), same out-of-patent epinephrine active ingredient, the cost was $100 per set (still outrageous!), or $200/yr.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    Here is the Story from VOX that pulls the curtain on the AP story that implied, but did not convince that Hillary & the Clinton Foundation were improperly interacting.

    This is a story that is going to haunt Hillary even though there is not there, there. We all need to know enough about the details to defend her.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Haw! So whether they {supposedly} reward donors or not they get bad press. And just taking money from donors they have no intention of helping (for-profit colleges) earns them a slap? Clinton Rules X elebenty million.

      I sorta hope they keep the foundation going – liberals are always caving for the shallowest reason that “it looks bad”….FK EM!

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Hear, hear!

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I agree…..They should keep the foundation going. Turn it over to a non-family member or to another Charity like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but keep the Clinton Foundation name and hold it in trust as their Foundation so that someday they may work again in it’s causes. They do a ton of good work and stopping that work would be a terrible mistake for the recipients.

    • palhart says:

      The right-wing Clinton haters are still at work. Jane Mayer, a highly regarded investigator reporter/writer whose work is published in The New Yorker, has written a book aptly titled, “Dark Money”. The conservative billionaires, like the Koch brothers and Richard Scaife (funded a network of anti-Clinton investigation), own the Republican Party; for example,166 members of Congress signed the Koch brothers’ pledge to vote against any climate change bill they didn’t like.

      I can’t draw a direct line to these shadow moneyed haters, but Hillary’s e-mail stories have been beaten to death. There are pathetic side-tracts, like accusing her of murdering a Benghazi son. The reporting is distorted because Trump is the biased, corrupt one, who ,of the two, might be persuaded to fall in line. The lies about Hillary keep on coming because she is a huge threat to the wealthy string-pullers, the GOP, and Supreme Court possible 180.

      It’s going to get brutal.

    • janicen says:

      I saw this whole Clinton Foundation story described as “Swiftboat.2” Perfect description IMO.

    • NW Luna says:

      What a non-story. I am continually disgusted by the media’s bending over backwards to make unremarkable circumstances look sinister.

      The Clinton Foundation is an exceptionally well-run and and focused charity. Most people who are also interested in public policy and have plenty of of discretionary income are going to donate to charities. I bet there are other charities in common among that group of donators. BFD.

  5. quixote says:

    The information about different ways people sit was fascinating. I can imagine one reason ancient Egyptians had chairs: scorpions. Bedouins would have had less trouble with that since they didn’t have buildings. As for the Mongols having folding stools: it snows where they live. And the Japanese may sit on mats, but they’re in sturdy houses well above ground. (See? There’s always a plausible story! … Probably all wrong.)

    • NW Luna says:

      I too thought that was fascinating!

      I normally find a deep squat the most comfortable position for working in the garden and some other activities, instead of kneeling or sitting on the ground. Maybe it has something to do with inherited flexibility. OTOH I like sitting at a table to eat, but that’s probably because I usually read at mealtimes, which both my parents did too.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Love the Gary Larsen cartoons, JJ. I like how he makes some human foibles stand out by showing how they’d look in the animal version.