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#226 :: Ersatz Astrolabe

September 22, 2004

viagra sale this site ‘popup’, here drug ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Exquisite little clockwork instrument, complex of make, simple of mind: It requires no talent to play, and yet rewards with a tinkly, plinky little rendition of Brahms’ “Moonlight Sonata.” Crank it fast or slow, as is your mood, but you have no more control over its workings than over the behavior of a mousetrap. Use it, it makes but one kind of noise as the spines on its tiny drum pluck the vibrating metal tines of its tongue. This one is uncomplicated, devoid – but for the melody – of the kitsch that infects most music boxes. I’ve looked in vain for music boxes that play more challenging music, but alas they’re too expensive to contemplate, or too hard to find. Someday, someone will build one that plays Ramones tunes, and then we’ll know civilization has somehow changed for the better – or ended altogether.
treatment ‘popup’, visit this ‘width=500, case height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Ramune soda itself is nothing remarkable – a pleasant, ineffectual carbonated citrus drink, as clear and forgettable as Sierra Mist, 7-Up and their ilk. But the bottle – a patented marvel of modernized glass-blowing – is a wonderful toy, souvenir and conversation piece. The glass marble waits seated in a rubber collar in the bottle’s thick mouth. By use of a special plastic plunger, you push the marble inside the bottle, where it rattles pleasingly while you drink the soda. The two eye-like dimples at the neck are practical – if you drink with them situated on your thumb, they catch the marble and keep it from rolling up to the lip and plugging it as you sip. You can buy this stuff for about a dollar a bottle at any good Japanese market, or for $1.29 and up online. Some time ago, they added a plastic collar around the lip – presumably to make bottling easier or more sanitary, but if you’re lucky, you can find the old-style all-glass bottle in junk shops in the right Pacific-Rim neighborhoods. The vessel is a cold, dense, weird little testament to the marvelous other-ness of Japanese industrial design.
more about ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>It’s autumn, and these plummet from the sky like alien landing craft. They lie dormant on the earth for a few weeks, benignly green and pine-coneish. But the Santa Ana winds seem to trigger a rot from within that transforms their pulp to flesh, which twists grotesquely and begins squeezing out vermillion seeds like so many alien spoor, or hatchlings oozing from the back of a Surinam toad. Whatever conditions must exist to germinate one of these screaming red seeds do not occur in our front yard, but the huge, 80-year-old tree keeps dumping pods in mute Darwinian hope.
viagra 60mg ‘popup’, purchase ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>The hole is said to be lucky, the characters (identified by my good and knowledgeable friends on the WELL as spelling out the mint date (1988) and the words “go-en” which mean “5 yen” and also sound like the word “fate,” according to this guide. The sheaf of rice curves over rippling water and around the hole, itself ringed by a gear. It’s brass, and relentlessly pretty. I found it in a parking lot. People are said to keep this coin for luck, or offer it at temples for prayer. I’m not sure which route I’ll take, being non-Buddhist and non-Shinto, and only vaguely superstitious. Meanwhile, my son has spirited it away to his “box of treasures.”
this ‘popup’, drug ‘width=500, visit this site height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>The spherical rhythm of astronomic instruments seduces the eye. Ignorant of its real function, you fall into it, sucked deep by a vortex of repeating rings of mysterious meaning. It’s not the power of the instrument to divine the movement of the stars, but the power of the cool thing made of interlocking circles, the desire to pick it up and spin it, see if it looks different when you reorient its geometry. I made this for my then-new wife a few years back – banged together concentric needlework hoop-frames on brass machine-screw pivots, and at its heart stationed a sun, made by punching push-pins into a cedar ball I had fished from the bottom of the closet. I was never mathematical – Cs and B-minuses through high school – and had no hope of ever really having the patience to understand the markings on a real astrolabe. But I wanted to be able to hold one. In the end, it’s really just a cargo cult fetish.

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