Pigeons Rummaging

Day 21: Monday

Good morning Zak,

I got my hair cut on Saturday, and now I have the exact same hair as literally every dude in Milan: long on top, short all around.  I’m using “literally” in the hyperbolic sense of the word.  If my memory of English serves me, this is an acceptable usage, but correct me if I’m wrong.  It’s been a while since I’ve lived in an English-speaking community.  Anyway, the point is, I’m sure not everyone in the city has this hairstyle; I just haven’t seen the guy yet with a different one.

In any case, negotiating the cultural obstacles to getting a haircut is a bigger accomplishment than you might think.  I usually try not to worry too much about what people think of me, but it’s hard for a bum like me not to feel at least a little bit self-conscious about getting his hair cut in the fashion capital of the world.  Anyway, it’s settled now and I can relax.  I’ve disappeared as an individual into the fabric of society—at least as far as hair is concerned.

The other day I found these pigeons rummaging through the leaves in the park.  Their tiny little feet made these exquisitely subtle crinkle sounds as they walked.  It was like a delicately woven web of white noises.  All I had was my cell phone, but I thought I should try to record them even if the sound quality isn’t the best…

In the picture, it’s a little hard to see the pigeons clearly.  They almost kind of blend in with the fallen leaves.  But I think that was an intentional part of the aesthetic they were going for.  It’s a poetics of invisibility.  Their sounds also almost disappear into the fabric of the surrounding sonic environment.  You might not even notice them when you first start listening.  That’s what makes it so interesting.

For a similar effect, take a plastic wrapper and crinkle it next to your ear. Then contemplate the complexity of human identity as you chew on the candy inside.

I was going to include the Tom Lehrer song, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” in this post, but I listened to the lyrics again and realized something: I hate that song.  I mean, Zak, I don’t get emotional about too many things, but poisoning innocent pigeons?  The poor defenseless little creatures, you hardly even notice that they’re there.  No offense, but anyone who thinks that’s funny is sick.

Until tomorrow,


Properly Curating Cats

Day 17: Tuesday

Good morning Zak,

I don’t have much to write today.  In the space of this entry, I think I’ll just curate a few quotations.  I guess I’ll also write a little bit about love, just ’cause… what else is there to write about?

Quotation 1

Just like us here at Thily Fin, Tim Urban also has a strong interest in the weather.  He’s specifically interested in rain.  Here’s a quotation from his instructions on How to Pick Your Life Partner:

“I’ll leave the butterflies and the kisses in the rain […] to you […] and spend this post trying to figure out the best way to make Forgettable Wednesday as happy as possible.”

Hmm… kisses in the rain… what’s the best way to curate kisses in the rain?

Urban seems to think that relationships might be most interesting if romance plays only a peripheral role.  The mundanity of Forgettable Wednesday is beautiful if you curate it alongside a healthy relationship.  Conceptually, this may be a little bit different from curating a committed relationship next to rat intestines, but accidents happen sometimes.

Anyway, that’s one perspective on love, but I got more quotes to show you all…

Quotation 2

A lot of life is mostly about enjoying mundane conversations about the weather.  There was some beautiful weather on a beach somewhere recently.  Rarasaur happened to get a picture of it as the sun set.  She was careful not to look directly at the sun, since that’s bad for your eyes.  The picture is curated on her blog.

“There’s so much that happens just out of sight, so much in our peripherals.”


Quotations 3 & 4

So I kind of have a bit of a thing for writing songs sometimes.  Right now I’m writing one based on some of Dante’s love poetry, and it has this very strange line in it:

“And often times it happens as I think on death

That there comes to me so gentle a desire

As to change the color of my visage.”

Sometimes I think that Dante was really a better curator than a poet.  The theme of longing for death due to unrequited love is not his original idea; it’s just something he happened to come across in the mundane (worldly) poetry of the troubadours.  But in this beautiful poem of his, Dante curates this element of secular love poetry right alongside elements of religious poetry, which makes us think of another meaning that the same theme might have…

“I long to bear the death of Christ / Let me take part in his passion / And remember his wounds. […] And when my body dies / Let my soul be given to the Glory of paradise.” -Stabat Mater

I have to admit, it’s really a clever “miscommunication.”

Item 5

Some artists make a point of never doing more than curating pre-existing objects:


Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel

Installing a bicycle wheel on top of a stool might be one approach to finding beauty in mundane objects.  Maybe blogging could be another.  I mean spoons, shoelaces, conversations about weather, and swordfishes are all very interesting objects.  They just need to be properly curated.  You might feel like there’s nothing inherently interesting about a ten second video of some guy not catching a fish, but when you curate it as a documentary on Sword(fish) fighting, it takes on a new meaning.

Today’s unusual use for a spoon: escaping from Alcatraz.  At Thily Fin we are committed to providing you with reliable, scooping-edge spoon scholarship.  That’s why every publication of unusual uses for spoons is subject to a rigorous peer review process.

Thank you, Zak, for your wonderful picture of cats.  It was very well curated alongside the rigorous prune-juice scholarship and carefully chosen cross-references.

Until tomorrow,