Uncle tries out his Blue Steel (or not)


On a recent Wednesday afternoon, yellow-cab driver Ajit Singh Bharth had just dropped off a passenger in Midtown Manhattan when he attracted some unusual notice.

“I knew that I had to catch that cab,” said Quinton Clemm, an account executive at upscale men’s fashion-label Eidos. “Luckily, two blocks later, the taxi caught the light at 55th and I was able to dodge traffic and hop in the back.”

Mr. Clemm was in hot pursuit of more than just a ride. He was struck by the “older gentleman” with “gold-rimmed, aviator-style bifocals, a tan spread-collar shirt, with an awesome, full, white beard.” Once in the car, he offered the 62-year-old cabby an opportunity most people only dream about: Would he be willing to model in a fashion show?

Mr. Bharth was surprised. “But I said ‘OK, it will be a new experience in my life.’ ” The next morning, he made his runway debut at Men’s Fashion Week in New York…  Mr. Bharth, the cabby, tried to avoid direct eye contact with fashion editor guests for more than an hour. “I enjoyed it,” said the driver, who went right back on duty after the show. [link]




Fingernails; Nostrils; Shoelaces by Charles Bukowski (poem)

the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is
to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.
I watch the boxing matches and take copious
notes on futility.
then the gate springs open again
and there are the beautiful silks
and powerful horses riding
agains the sky.
such sadness: everything trying to
break through into
every day should be a miracle instead
of a machination.
in my hand rests the last bluebird.
the shades roar like lions and the walls
rattle, dance around my
then her eyes look at me, love breaks my
bones and I


Junot Diaz on the need to represent, with a clever analogy

You guys know about vampires? You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might seem themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it. [link]

Heinlein and Roddenberry

According to Trekonomics, Star Trek was inspired by and written in reaction to Heinlein’s early space fiction:

The hierarchical structure and naval ranks of the first Star Trek series were geared to appeal to Heinlein’s readers and demographic, all these starry-eyed kids who, like Roddenberry himself, had read Space Cadet and Have Spacesuit — Will Travel. Star Trek used all the tropes of Heinlein but sanitized them. For instance, racial and gender equality were prominent features of Heinlein’s stories. Nobody cared about your sex or the color of your skin as long as you were willing to sign up for the Space Patrol or the Federal service. Starship Troopers’ hero, Juan “Johnny” Rico, was Filipino. In that regard, Heinlein had undoubtedly paved the way for The Original Series’ integrated crew. From Space Cadet onward, he made it a new norm in science fiction that people of color and women (as in Starship Troopers) could also be protagonists. That they were bestowed visibility and full agency in an authoritarian version of e pluribus unum is a different question altogether. Kirk himself, manly, resourceful, and decisive, came across as just dim enough to evince Johnny Rico. William Shatner played up to perfection the character’s kitsch, his martial swagger and womanizing slightly off-kilter in a world ruled by diplomats and scientists, all eggheads and sissies, with or without pointy ears. [link, at BoingBoing]