Monthly Archives: February 2005

Better Email

Jeff Nolan writes about the functionality he wants in email. Two items from his list that rank up there for me include "better mobile integration, take email with me everywhere," and  "better spam and spyware detection baked in, 100% effective with no false positives." Although, frankly, right now I would settle for a spam filter that effectively keeps me from seeing every iteration of that email about an overseas guy who wants to send me a portion of his funds if I will only help him unblock his accounts. I’ve long lost count how many versions I have received. I was surprised to find that the so-called "Nigerian scam" actually dates back to the 1920s, long before the advent of email, according to Do the spammers think my days as a Swiss banker make me more likely to fall for the scam?

Literary Blogs, Their Online Niche

Zoetrope friend Laila Lalami is mentioned in a USA Today (2/16) piece about literary blogs.

The explosion of blogging among book lovers
corresponds with a general rise in the use of blogs among the computer
literate. A recent study by the Pew Foundation finds that 8 million
people have created blogs, a 58% jump in the past year, and about 25%
of all Internet users read them.
The online book media have grown so much that Publishers Weekly,
the book industry’s primary trade magazine, recently replaced its
editor in chief of 12 years, citing the need to revamp the magazine in
light of such competition and to tap into the public’s interest in
reading about books online.

What many blogs do better than the conventional print media is offer a sense of the global literary culture by providing links to foreign book coverage.


James Borcoman on the photography of Eugene Atget.

The adventure of seeing in Atget’s work, however, extends beyond its
formal properties to other levels, the most mysterious of which is the
appearance of the "accidental." This word is placed in quotation marks
because the extent to which the photographer is the victim or the
controlling agent is a moot point. The phenomenon of the apparently
accidental incident or of the inclusion within the frame of an
apparently insignificant object has been known to photographers since
the beginning of the medium. Some have delighted in it, others have
deplored it, and the more astute have exploited it. Oliver Wendell
Holmes, American physician, essayist, and poet, recognized the power of
the so-called unintentional in the photograph when, in 1859, he wrote,
"The more evidently accidental their introduction, the more trivial
they are in themselves, the more they take hold of the imagination."
One critic has recently put a name to it – punctum: that which
unexpectedly reaches out and pierces the viewer, thereby giving new
meaning to the image.

Joy to the World: Night Train

Some praise for Night Train from

Although the holiday season is over, there were
several times while reading Night Train that I wanted to jump
up and shout, “Joy to the World!” The fiction is just that good.
Both editors and writers are to be congratulated for this impressive
reading experience. The editors achieved their goal of discovering
“wow” fiction, and the writers created a satisfying read through
unique characters and complicated plots which entertained and

We reopened our reading period in early February.

Writer’s Clog

My friend Daphne Buter (who is ridiculously talented both as a writer and graphic artist) has a new blog,  Daphne Buter’s Writer’s Clog. It seems like it is going to be quirky, like the "bios of the day" she writes on Zoetrope. ( I have been bugging her to collect some of them and publish them as a book. Join me in bugging her.)

Happy Lunar New Year: Lion Dance (photo)

Lion Dance

Discovering Nanfang Ao (Photographer Shen Chao-Liang)

I was in an Eslite bookstore in downtown Kaohsiung yesterday afternoon, when I came across Shen Chao-Liang’s (沈昭良) Discovering Nanfang Ao, a collection of photographs about the fishing port near Ilan, Taiwan.

"Shen’s Nan-Fang-Ao is not just a picturesque harbor, the pavement is
bathed in the blood of a whale shark being cut open, the plastic mac of
the fisherman holding up a tuna is smeared in fish scales, the years
are etched into the ladies praying," said Jules Quartly in The Taipei Times, singling out some of the images, including Shen’s Cutting Up a Tiger Shark. Much of the collection (more than 40 images) appears on His photoessay "Here’s Looking at You, Babe," where he documents the birth of the child of his friends Fuyi and Lina, appeared online  on Sinorama.

Shen is a Tainan, Taiwan-born photographer, who studied at the World College of Journalism
and Communications (majoring in Film), and from the Department of Visual
Arts at Nippon Engineering College (Japan).