Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Monday 31 December, 02012

Art then & now

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:43 am

More Bruce Sterling:

This poem, the “Mountain Wreath” [by 19th-century Montenegrin Serb Petar Njegoš], is mostly about tribal patriarchs flying into a righteous rage and cutting each other’s heads off. It’s very like the Iliad in that way; it’s full of noble perorations that are mostly along the line of, “Rascal, you’ve done something unbearable for years now, and I was constrained to get involved in this awful mess you’ve created; but this time it’s personal. So, prepare yourself: I’m taking your head, your pistols, your horses and all your women, and I may even burn your farm.” In the context of this artwork, it’s certainly the right thing to do. It’s the definitive thing to do; it’s how you know you’re alive.

Then you compare that artwork — written by an aristocrat, an authority figure in deadly moral earnest — to this kind of ontological-trickster writing, this kind of “What is Reality, Mr Njegos,” postmodern gendankenexperiment, of which me and my sci-fi colleagues are so enduringly fond… Well, keen as I am to write that stuff, it can seem like pretty thin soup.

There are mountain guys in Pakistan and Afghanistan who think just like Mr Njegos now. They’re not going away. They’re not even losing their wars, and they’ve got the highest birth-rates on Earth.

Friday 28 December, 02012

Well now

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:44 am

Bruce Sterling & Jon Lebkowsky’s annual, and always stimulating, State of the World discussion on the 27-year-old online community The Well has begun:

My personality changes with these differences in my locale. Belgrade is a spiritual home for me. Italy is where I feel most intelligent. Texas is where the heart is. Traipsing from one to another is like pitchforking a compost-heap. It aerates me, somehow.

Sunday 09 December, 02012

Rolled oat pancakes recipe

by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:27 am

This is a very delicious recipe that I make most weekends. It comes from Eliza’s primary school cooking class exercise book.

1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c milk (or whey)
1 egg
2 T (~30 g) melted butter
1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
2 T sugar

… and fry up pikelet-sized blobs thereof. Toppings we like are maple syrup, sugar & lemon juice and blueberries (frozen ones in the microwave for a minute or so).

Friday 07 December, 02012

Local food movement naive

by Matthew Bartlett @ 6:06 am

Parke Troutman, in ‘Carrots are not enough: the limits of the local food movement’ writes:

What I have seen is that local food activists figure out what to do by looking around them and seeing what they can do and then doing it. That’s certainly been my approach. The problem is that it allows you to stick with what is comfortable even if it is not effective.

Better is to ask where you want to go and work backward to figure out what it would take to get there. In short, you need to plan. This is not meant to be utopian. Plans almost never go as expected. That’s life. The purpose of plans is not to give you a rigid road map into the future. Rather, they give you a sense of what scale you must operate at. On that level, there’s an abyss between the actions of local food activists and their dreams.

The whole article is worth reading.