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An ad from a financial newspaper I saw this past fall. In contrast to the German ad for gold bars, with its emphasis on security (Wollen Sie ruhig schlafen?), of course the American one equates investing in precious metal with being a maverick.

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Kunsthistoriker Party 2I liked this ad for a party thrown by art history majors at Heidelberg University in January. It takes a page from the world-famous Codex Manesse (which is housed in the university library) and slips some modern accoutrements (a cigarette, a bottle of Rothaus Pils, a boombox) into the fingers of its fourteenth-century figures.

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Breaking Through

In an interview several years ago with Ben Marcus for The Believer, Saunders defended the time spent in an M.F.A. program by saying, “The chances of a person breaking through their own habits and sloth and limited mind to actually write something that gets out there and matters to people are slim.” But it’s a mistake, he added, to think of writing programs in terms that are “too narrowly careerist. . . . Even for those thousands of young people who don’t get something out there, the process is still a noble one — the process of trying to say something, of working through craft issues and the worldview issues and the ego issues — all of this is character-building, and, God forbid, everything we do should have concrete career results. I’ve seen time and time again the way that the process of trying to say something dignifies and improves a person.”

– from a profile of George Saunders by Joel Lovell, New York Times, January 3, 2013

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BalingenZollernschloß, Balingen. Home of great little collection of weights and measures sponsored by the local scale-maker, Bezirba.

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Das Gold von Caxamalca

Bought this book for a euro at Antiquariat T. Hatry on the Hauptstraße. Written by Jakob Wassermann in 1923, the novella recounts the story of Pizarro and Atahualpa, using William Hickling Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru as a major source.

Liked this (just-discovered) marginalia inside:

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Old Friend

May Spread

Thanks to my profile on, I’ve recently gotten to correspond about this old friend, the subject of my master’s thesis. It appeared last year in an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, its first loan (I believe) away from the Ashmolean since the First World War.

I remember a professor of mine once describing the experience of seeing paintings he had written a book about in a museum after many years. The expectation that the painting must recognize you in some way, be grateful for your attention, a reciprocation of your own feelings of familiarity. The humility that comes upon realizing that you are, of course, nothing to the object, just another museum visitor, and that it remains ever as inscrutable to you, despite the years of thought and labor.

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A failed attempt at scanning in the Uni Bib. I set the overhead machine to “color” and it kept zooming out to capture my yellow sweater sleeve and ruddy hand. The book is The Warning Carriers by Judy Jowett.

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