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August 24, 2010

Macondos // J. Lee Morsell

I'm visiting my hometown in rural northern California, and as I write this I'm sitting on an ocean bluff in fog so thick I can't see the water. I am told that this particular bluff is home to the southernmost individual Sitka spruce on the west coast, but the tree is allegedly nestled in a hidden rocky crevice and I haven't located it yet. The fog doesn't help, of course.

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July 14, 2010

Space Baby, Is the Future Getting Closer? // J. Lee Morsell

(Space Baby hasn't learned to talk.)
1984: Oceania, Every Thought 'Tis for Thee
George Orwell's 1949 novel envisioned a distant dystopian future (or a veiled present?) in 1984 (1948?) when the only permissible pleasure is "a boot stamping on a human face," and the government promotes Newspeak, a new version of English devoid of words to express freedom and rebellion.

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June 14, 2010

Ape Escapes, Figurative and Literal // J. Lee Morsell

a. All that is solid melts into air
New Scientist reports that Santa Monica-based Image Metrics has realistically animated a human face. Linda Geddes explains,

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May 10, 2010

Getting Good at Godding // J. Lee Morsell

I came across a terrifying GQ article from February, "Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health," by Christopher Ketchum. Much of the information Ketchum provides has been available for years, and yet has failed to take hold in the United States:

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May 3, 2010

Cigarette Goggles // J. Lee Morsell

1. Have you seen Lady Gaga's cigarette goggles in her "Telephone" video? Two weeks ago I wrote about eyes with crosses over them; I now prefer burning cigarettes for my apocalyptic lens.

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April 26, 2010

James Cameron As Champion; Angels Are the New Vampires // J. Lee Morsell

In my March 29 column, "The Real Avatar in Peru," I mentioned that Hunt Oil is prospecting to drill in the Amazon, and that indigenous protesters recently faced gunfire from police.

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April 19, 2010

Apocalyptic Visions of April 2010 // J. Lee Morsell

In the class I teach, we were discussing John D'Agata's essay on Henry Darger, the man who lived alone. When Darger died, his landlady found his wall papered in the faces of little girls, clipped from newspapers and magazines, all their eyes X-ed out with shiny graphite.

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April 12, 2010

AWP: A particularly satisfying circle of Hell

Then the airplane took off and my girlfriend pulled Sky Mall from the seat pocket. I was writing a review of a book I disliked, a review I wanted to finish, so I was irritated when she interrupted me to suggest that I order a stainless-steel wallet, "resistant to corrosive materials such as salts, acids," on page 28 of the 148-page glossy catalogue.

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April 5, 2010

Tuvalu's Coming Flood // J. Lee Morsell

Last week I wrote about the Maldives, the lowest-lying nation on earth, likely to be swallowed by climate-change-caused rising seas before the end of the century. The similarly fated Tuvalu is the second-lowest-lying nation: islands that are vulnerable slivers where the entire population lives below two meters elevation.

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March 29, 2010

Dreampolitik and the End of the Hundred Thousand Islands // J. Lee Morsell

Recently, while contemplating a glass of red wine and the cork from its bottle, I remembered that there was a time when my primary association with corks was not wine but rather messages, thrown to sea by castaways praying to be rescued from tropical desert islands.

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March 15, 2010

The Real Avatar in Peru // J. Lee Morsell

Shortly after interviewing the artist Adriane Colburn, I saw Avatar, one of seven apocalyptic movies playing in Minneapolis at the time.

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March 8, 2010

A Prescription by Dr. Spaceman // J. Lee Morsell

Welcome to my new column, where each week I will review the Apocalypse. Or perhaps I should say, more accurately, premonitions of apocalypse, such as occur through disasters, anticipated disasters, and fantasies of disaster.

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