Sunday, January 30, 2011

I mean Rielly

These are two works by Welsh artist James Rielly, of whom you can read about more here. To me he's a very fascinating, even inspiring artist. Part of that is that his favorite subjects seem to be childhood, night, disguise, as well as disease and difference. These are all deeply interesting themes. But it's also his treatment. Whatever he illuminates in paint, he also leaves a bit mysterious.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finishing the day with the Friday Random Ten

It's just nice, that's all. Sleep tonight, no pressure to be up early tomorrow. But I can honestly say that I don't dread going into work. The end of the weekend is a challenge, but not a nightmare.

1. Ben Folds Five--Steven's Last Night in Town
2. The Beatles--Yer Blues
3. The Clash--London Calling
4. Blossom Dearie--Put on a Happy Face
5. Ladytron--CMYK
6. Harry Nilsson--As I Wander Lonely
7. Kendra Shank--A Lover's Lie
8. Taj Mahal--Chevrolet
9. The Fiery Furnaces--Cut the Cake
10. Patsy Cline--Always

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You may never look at _____ the same way again (many ways to fill in the blank)


Whom can Nancy Drew trust? Who can trust Nancy Drew? It is a quandary.

Brought to you by Kate Beaton, a Canadian artist and writer who does the webcomic Hark! A Vagrant!. There's some educational stuff there as well as funny stuff. Of course the front page currently has some Batman material that might be NSFW. I say that because if your coworkers saw it, you might be sent for a psych eval.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Putting DC in the closet

It's no surprise that those such as Jim Jordan are jumping at the chance to deny civil rights for LBGT Americans, no doubt in the hopes of ending those scary and confusing dreams about black penises. It's depressing, but it's one of those things you come to expect.

But it's a jarring reminder that in the 21st century, the District of Columbia doesn't even have home rule. If you can get both houses of Congress to agree, you can inflict any draconian and/or moroynic law on the residents of the nation's capital. It's hard to imagine DC being used as a legal playground for culture warriors if it were richer and whiter.

"Hard"? That's unfortunate wording. Try "impossible."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Whited-out Friday Random Ten

More snow came early this morning. It probably came to half a foot, maybe eight inches, and the plows got to it in due time. It was weird during morning commute. And Thayer St was largely without electricity. Meaning that a bunch of stores and coffee places couldn't open and the traffic lights were out. That was kind of anxious.

1. Don Byron--The Penguin
2. The Fiery Furnaces--Ray Bouvier
3. Kendra Shank--Wish
4. Brian Eno & David Byrne--The River
5. Esquivel--Good Morning Heartache
6. The XX--Night Time
7. Soul Coughing--Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago
8. The Beatles--Mother Nature's Son
9. They Might Be Giants--Women and Men
10. Talking Heads--Who Is It?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Late Broadcast

Gonna go waaay out on a limb and guess that the director of this video likes Andy Warhol.

I was a little shocked when I learned that Trish Keenan, the singer from Broadcast, had died. Of pneumonia no less, and I wouldn't figure you'd die of that in a country (the UK in this case) with universal medical coverage. It's sad, in any case, that she slipped away so young.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A great day to be Jacques Cousteau

Wow. Snow is nice. Ice on the streets and sidewalk? Not as nice. And when you have a lot of snow and ice on the ground and it rains heavily all day, that's pretty much the worst thing ever. On nights like this you want to avoid ice patches, stay out of deep puddles, not step in deep snowbanks, and stay out of the way of cars. Sometimes not all goals can be accomplished.

In a fit of seeming masochism, I went to the laundry tonight. Better than putting it off, but man did I feel beat-up when I was through.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Random Ten artprinted

Belatedly picked out a wall calendar for my place tonight. At the neighborhood bookstore, and they're marking them down now. I picked out a Renoir calendar. I hadn't really looked much at his stuff before, but I don't know why. He seems to have been sort of an impressionist-leaning Rubens, which certainly gains points with me.


1. Talk Talk--I Believe in You
2. The XX--Infinity
3. Kendra Shank--That Lonesome Road*
4. Ben Folds Five--One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
5. Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan--Lover Man
6. Brian Eno & David Byrne--The Lighthouse
7. The Beatles--Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
8. XTC--Down in the Cockpit
9. Patsy Cline--When You Need a Laugh
10. They Might Be Giants--We Want a Rock

*Beautiful jazz James Taylor cover

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crock of Cthulhu

A friend of mine told me about this a couple of weeks ago.

He told me that he had seen an old interview with HP Lovecraft on YouTube. This friend is smart, but it's not the first time he's been taken in by a hoax.

One thing that immediately raises suspicions is the idea of the WPA sending a film crew out to interview HP Lovecraft. Lovecraft's fame is almost entirely posthumous. His work in Weird Tales and other pulps certainly was distinctive enough to gain him a cult following, many of whom corresponded with him. Still and all, he was an author of uncollected short stories with no literary standing. The government wasn't going to treat him as a great cultural resource whose thoughts had to be preserved.

The comments about his stories perhaps being filmed "in the far future" are a little too cute, especially coming right before the logo of a Lovecraft movie this clip was plugging. It did make me wonder, though, about what Lovecraft would think about an adaptation of his work where a severed head parts the fuzz on Barbara Crampton.

The makers behind this did do a good job of making the film look distressed and recreating the effect of uneven lighting. Points on that end.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cooler heads have not been prevailing

The question of why Jared Lee Loughner started shooting up the Tucson Safeway, killing six people and putting a bullet in Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's head is just that: a question. It isn't known whether he was a member of any larger group, even self-identified. The YouTube videos credited to him are pretty much entirely incoherent, except for containing actual words.

That said, something has to change. The discussion in this country has been too much driven by people who don't really know what they're talking about but are willing to threaten violence. And to use it, as is obvious now.

The graphic near the bottom of this page is a perfect illustration. (Stay classy, Sarah.) If you're going to communicate to people in metaphors about hunting and rifle sites, you need to make sure they understand metaphor.

Friday, January 7, 2011

(First) (Friday Random) Ten of '11

First full work week in a couple of weeks. The last two Fridays were holidays because the actual holidays were on Saturday. On top of that, the Monday before New Year was a snow day, so that was a three day week. Best not to get used to those.

1. XTC--Ball and Chain
2. Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan--There Are Such Things
3. Brian Eno & David Byrne--Life is Long
4. Ladytron--International Dateline
5. Jackson Browne--Before the Deluge
6. Sly & the Family Stone--Thank You (Faletinme Be Mice Elf Again)
7. L'Attirail--Rocheplate
8. Finn Riggins--Dali
9. Nellie McKay--Crazy Rhythm
10. Talking Heads--Pulled Up

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Erasure Mark

Most of what needs to be said about the NewSouth edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is being well said elsewhere. Maybe some 2¢ to be added.
1. This kind of thing is not new at all. And the fact that a lot of older attempts to neuter literary works have been forgotten may be a good sign.
2. It must be said: "nigger" is absolutely vital to the story of Huck, Jim, and Tom. There are things you don't do to a man, not if you call him "man". You have to call him something else. Substituting "slave" doesn't cut it. It doesn't tell you why just about everyone in this fictional world is content to have blacks enslaved.
3. Schoolchildren who read the expurgated version will be confused to see slave owners and other questionable Old South people avoiding the slur. Especially if they know/find out that the scummier edges of the blogosphere routinely use it to describe the President of the United States. (No need for links. You know how to use Google.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So, Chris Christie.

Christie, the Governor of New Jersey. New Jersey, a state hit particularly hard by the post-Xmas blizzard. You might think he'd want to be there for it, if only because it would look a little better than speeding down Splash Mountain while Jerseyites can't get out of their doors. But you'd be wrong. And if both he and his lieutenant governor were out of state for the entire emergency, you might think he'd show some humility and remorse. Rather than clutching at "My first responsibility in life is as a husband and father." Then lying about still being in contact with the Senate president.

I think the Rude Pundit put it best.

With no due respect, Gov. Christie, fuck your kids. And fuck your wife. You can say, as you did, "I know what my responsibility is. And I know my responsibility as a father. I wanted to be there with my kids," but you just used the oldest excuse in the book and let your apparently whiny fucking children and obviously shrewish wife take the blame for your monumental fuck-up. Here's a tip: if your first responsibility is to your kids' getting to ride Space Mountain on their Christmas break, then don't fucking run for office.

And he doesn't even get into the school superintendents getting axed immediately with a cursory email.

Somehow this abusive prick is being touted as presidential material. The bartender must have just yelled out last call.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whipped something up in the kitchen

What can I say? Dioramas (if that's the right word) constructed in paper towel tubes. It's small. It's delicate. Most people would never think of it. This kind of thing is part of the reason I started this blog.

(She's got some good stuff in other parts of her portfolio, too.)