book

How strangers reached out to help one lonely guy

Article: How strangers reached out to help one lonely guy

Last October, when Jeff Ragsdale, an out-of-work actor and stand-up comedian, got dumped by his girlfriend — the kind of breakup that puts your heart through the blender — he decided to crowd-source his loneliness. He posted flyers all around Lower Manhattan that read, “If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me… Jeff, One Lonely Guy.” His cellphone number was listed at the bottom of the flyer in little tabs that strangers could tear off — anyone who’s familiar with New York will be used to seeing these kinds of flyers offering dog-walking services or futons for sale, etc.

How to park your lawn mower for good: the Meadow Project

Article: How to park your lawn mower for good: the Meadow Project

Got a lawn? Ever stopped to consider the amount of time, money, and natural resources you put into keeping that grass green? The watering, fertilizing (whether through organic or conventional means), mowing, and weeding? No doubt that lawn grass is the most high-maintenance plant on the planet (as the expert in the video above observes)! Even if you’re not a greenie, is that really how you want to spend your time, energy, and money?

Covering Lolita: 150 different covers

Article: Covering Lolita: 150 different covers

This is a 1967 Danish edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Its cover looks like something that Saul Bass would have designed. I found it on an interesting website with scans of the covers of over 150 different editions from around the world of Nabokov’s novel. [Hat tip: Melissa]

Take Ivy finally available!

Article: Take Ivy finally available!

Until quite recently, very few people knew about “Take Ivy,” a discontinued fashion book of photos published in 1965 with a cult following. I had actually blogged about it a couple years ago when a friend mentioned it. I explained then, “In the late 1960s Japanese photographer Hayashida visited our Ivy League universities and documented…

Just Kids

Article: Just Kids

I have a few new obsessions and they’re not your typical gay ones either. I have a new diva I am worshipping these days and she shies away from false lashes and sequined gowns. In fact she’s the anti-diva: grit replacing glimmer, harsh where others are soft. I bought Patti Smith‘s Just Kids on a…

Book spine art

Article: Book spine art

California based artist Mike Stilkey uses the spines and covers of piled old books as a canvas upon which he paints to form larger, often wonderful images. When asked in a recent New Yorker interview on how he selects the books, Stilkey said:
I consider several aspects of the book when I’m selecting for a painting. One factor is the color of the book cover, another is the material of the cover, and a third is the title of the book and how this relates to the narrative of the piece.
Visit Fecal Face’s Dave Kinsey for more on Stilkey’s works.

One more photo after the jump.

Chatting with Ray Anderson, radical industrialist

Article: Chatting with Ray Anderson, radical industrialist

Ray Anderson’s epiphany about his own role in environmental destruction after reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce has taken on mythic status in the fifteen years since. The “spear in the chest moment” he experienced transformed Anderson into a leader in sustainable thought and practice within American industry, and his company, Interface, Inc. (which manufacture modular floor covering primarily for business and institutional customers) is now recognized as a model of transformation. Named a “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine in 2007, Anderson is constantly sought out for speeches, interviews, and even documentary film appearances (THE CORPORATION, and the new SO RIGHT SO SMART)
In September, Anderson (with Robin White) published his second book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Planet — Doing Business by Respecting the Earth. This wide-ranging work not only tells Interface’s story in detail, but also provides a blueprint for how a large, well-established company can literally reinvent itself as both a profitable enterprise and a business that learns to operate in harmony with natural systems.
The word “confessions” in the title is very appropriate: Anderson is very frank about Interface’s successes and setbacks in its climb up “Mt. Sustainability” (a phrase he coined). He also discusses the efforts of other companies, and makes bold, and hopeful, cases for environmental and social responsibility as pillars of successful business strategy in the 21st century. The book is an engaging and thoughtful read for business people, environmental activists, and consumers concerned about the impact of industry on the planet’s future.
I spoke with Anderson on the phone on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.
So much of Interface’s success in “climbing Mt. Sustainability” seems based in really common-sense approaches to design, manufacturing, and distribution. We Americans generally regard ourselves as practical, efficient, etc., yet we encounter such strong resistance on numerous fronts to these kinds of changes… they really seem to scare some people. In your experience, what’s the best way to approach this resistance to new ideas?

It requires a considerable amount of patience, and also persistence. I know in bringing our people along, it was one mind at a time. It’s not something you could dictate, and everyone accepted immediately. Or, it’s not something you can dictate and everybody ever accepted, for that matter. It’s one mind at a time.

Decoding the Grid Index

Article: Decoding the Grid Index

Unless you’re a mathematician or designer who lays down a complex map and then designs over it, Grid Index, “the first comprehensive visual lexicon of patterns and grid systems” complete with a CD of “editable vector graphic data files” might not make a whole lot of sense. Looking at page after page of geometric patterns, it’s difficult (for me, at least) to visualize what the final result might be. But not for author Carsten Nicolai whose most recent sculpture, poly stella, was unveiled in Tokyo last month.

Interview: Don DeLillo talks about Underworld

Article: Interview: Don DeLillo talks about Underworld

If you search YouTube for videos of Don DeLillo, you won’t find much. The author of White Noise and Underworld is not a public man, and he rarely does tours or events. But an enterprising fan known as the Donologist has been uploading DeLillo radio interviews to YouTube. The presentation of these interview clips leaves…

Book Cover Mashup: Face/Off

Article: Book Cover Mashup: Face/Off

A brilliant graphic designer and illustrator known as Spacesick has been making a series of hilarious, pitch-perfect book cover mashups and posting them on Flickr. He takes a classic or contemporary film and recreates it as a vintage-paperback movie novelization. They’re conceptually brilliant, and his Photoshop technique is ace. Here’s the full set, and below…