Turn around, bright eyes

I haven't posted anything here all month and I feel okay about it. I haven't had anything in the world to talk about to anybody, and I've been okay with that, too. Not that I've been hiding out—in sooth, I have not!—only I seem to have entered a passive state in keeping with the weather (changeable) and the times (uncertain). I haven't felt sunny or fun-filled or even brooding and reflective, I'm just lying low and waiting for the winds to change. You know the feeling. It's both helpful and useless. I read the latest New Yorker this afternoon and when I got to this line in Gary Shteyngart's piece about watches—"Can you hold your own world together while the greater world falls apart?"—I thought well, there it is. That's what's been happening this month.

p.s. The whole thing is a gem: please read it.

+ ditto Adam Gopnik's review of a new slate of books on "is liberalism dead?", which ends like this:

An easily overlooked aspect of Voltaire’s thought was the priority it gave, especially in his later life, to practice. Watchmaking, vegetable growing, star charting: the great Enlightenment thinker turned decisively away from abstraction as he aged. The argument of “Candide” is neither that the world gets better nor that it’s all for naught; it’s that happiness is where you find it, and you find it first by making it yourself. The famous injunction to “cultivate our garden” means just that: make something happen, often with your hands. It remains, as it was meant to, a reproach to all ham-fisted intellects and deskbound brooders. Getting out to make good things happen beats sitting down and thinking big things up. The wind blows every which way in the world, and Voltaire’s last word to the windblown remains the right one. There are a lot of babies yet to comfort, and gardens still to grow.

i.e., no*

* it's through a post on the same at kottke.org that I learned about Betteridge's law of headlines, a principle stating that the answer to Adam Gopnik's question was virtually guaranteed to be no. This is why I still read blogs.

go watch this—it's the best, most delightful and rewarding thing you can do for yourself right now, right here, today: 

Also: Steve Martin is my body icon:

No one asks “What happened?!” when they see Steve Martin. I don’t care if they’re 10 or 100, they just say “Oh, it’s Steve Martin. I know it’s Steve Martin because that’s how Steve Martin has looked the entire time I’ve been alive.”

And: