Wednesday, February 28, 2007

collages from another artist

I received a couple of great little pieces from another collage artist, Scrapatorium (Angelica P.); She has a fantastic blog with all sorts of great images, which, of course, are much better than mine.
The first one is called "Polka Dots" and the second "Captive Audience"

Check out her sidebar collage categories, which are very very very cool. This and this and this and this and this and this are a few of my favorites.

* There will be a real blog post tomorrow -- I promise!

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ha ha ha!


Monday, February 26, 2007

How soon we forget

As I perused the latest news today, I was struck dumb with disbelief by the obsessive attention being paid to such a petty and inconsequential event as the Academy Awards. Article after article analyzed, ad nauseum, the endless parade of incredibly expensive gowns, the meaningless debate over fashionable trends, and the seemingly limitless Oscar bounty of free luxury goods and designer "swag".

Shouldn't we, as a society, feel ashamed?

Where is the outrage, the damning critique of the cynical excess oozing from the television? While we sit mesmerized, feverishly engrossed in the opulent display, we seem to forget the fact that the "real" news is forgotten-- news that has a real impact on our lives, as well as the lives of those around us. While we continue to dissect the artificial spectacle that is Hollywood congratulating itself, we overlook the stories that are truly important-- the stories that really matter to our society and the rest of the world.

Have we forgotten that it was only 16 days ago that the most influential Playboy centerfold of our time collapsed in a hotel room? How soon we abandon the tragedy of the beautiful jeans model, the pneumatic bride of the senile billionaire, the struggling reality-show star, the ultimately tragic mother! Her voluptuous surgical enhancements, the courtroom drama, the public meltdowns, the volatile weight loss, the great big whopping gobs of cash -- they were an inspiration to us all. But her story is already being forgotten as the fight over her burial, her daughter and her millions is relegated to an abbreviated article squeezed between two underwear ads on page 8.

While our fickle society gravitates toward the superficial celebrity awards and delights in the post mortem on red carpet madness, the more important post mortem is ignored; the motives of the men claiming paternity are no longer examined in excruciating detail; the breathless reporting on prescription drug use and illness is now silent, the all-too-brief life of tragedy neglected.

How have we come to this?

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

ah.... nostalgia

An old photo from Ybor City's Sugar Palm Club, where a bunch of us used to dance almost every weekend.... from left to right in the back: Taylor, Tiffany, and my friend Kym (I forget the name of dancer at the bottom)

I love this picture and just ran into it accidentally. It was the best place to swing dance / lindy hop, and you could see people dressed to the nines and getting tossed up in the air on a regular basis....

le sigh

People usually didn't take too many photos as they were too busy dancing, but here are a few more images I located....

a couple of old flyers:

and yes, people were being highly ironic

*update: the black-and-white photo at top and the photos on the flyers were taken by Kym O'Donnell, the fuzzy dancing ones were taken by me, and the bottom left dancing photo was sent to me

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Anomalies and Curiosities Part II

More quotes from the informative and chatty Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (1896):

"Le Cat speaks of the bite of an enraged duck causing death, and Thiermayer mentions death shortly following the bite of a goose, as well as death in three days from a chicken-bite."

"In commenting on suicides, in 1835, Arntzenius speaks of an ambitious Frenchman who was desirous of leaving the world in a distinguished manner, and who attached himself to a rocket of enormous size which he had built for the purpose, and setting fire to it, ended his life."

"Pantophobia is a general state of fear of everything and everybody. Phobophobia, the fear of being afraid..."

"There is a tale told of a Hungarian monk who affirmed that he was able to decide the chastity of females by the sense of smell alone."

"Sometimes in the older writings we find records of incredible abstinence. Jonston speaks of a man in 1460 who, after an unfortunate matrimonial experience, lived alone for fifteen years, taking neither food nor drink. Petrus Aponensis cites the instance of a girl fasting for eight years."

"The theories advanced by the advocates of spontaneous human combustion are very ingenious and deserve mention here.... From an examination of 28 cases of spontaneous combustion, Jacobs makes the following summary:--
1) It has always occurred in the human living body
2) The subjects were generally old persons
3) It was noticed more frequently in women than in men
4) All persons were alone at the time of the occurrence
5) They all led an idle life
6) They were all corpulent or intemperate
7) Most frequently at the time of occurrence there was a light and some ignitible substance in the room
8) The combustion was rapid and was finished in from one to seven hours
9) The room where the combustion took place was generally filled with a thick vapor and the walls coverd with a thick, carbonaceous substance
10) The trunk was usually the part most frequently destroyed; some part of the head and extremities remained.
11) With but two exceptions, the combustion occurred in winter and in the Northern regions"

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Some Vargas playing cards I haven't posted before

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My favorite blog comment(s) of the week (in response to the post on microlending to people in developing nations)

Mariana: "This is the sort of idea I love, but am also scared of. What if the people who should be putting the money to good use are corrupt or incompetent?"

Happy and Blue: "I can answer Mariana's question as I have been a supporter of an organization like this one for several years now. The bawdy house that I support in Peru is doing very well. I have been laundering their money for quite a while now and I can assure you that profits are going up,up,up.. "

* on a random side note: I think I'm going to get this because it is cool

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Anomalies and Curiosities!

* Kathie, Brandt, Colin and SAS popped on over for dinner the other night along with a couple of frisbee acquaintances who managed to not run away screaming from our ** conversation. An added bonus to the charming evening was the book (pictured at left) that Kathie and Brandt decided to give me as part of a belated birthday treasure trove of goodness.

Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (George M. Gould, M.D. and Walter L. Pyle, M.D.) was written in 1896 and contains a wonderful smorgasbord of information ranging from "monstrosities", "colored saliva", "men suckling infants" and "the odor of insanity" to "perverted appetites", "spontaneous combustion of the human body", "death from joy and laughter", "the dancing mania", and "presentiment of approaching death".

A few notable excerpts:

"One of the most remarkable forms of idiosyncracy on record is that of a student who was deprived of his senses by the very sight of an old woman. On one occasion he was carried out from a party in a dying state, caused, presumably, by the abhorred aspect of the chaperones."

"Another curious fact associated with pregnancy is the apparent influence of the emotions of the mother on the child in utero. Everyone knows of the popular explanation of many birth-marks, their supposed resemblance to some animal or object seen by the mother during pregnancy, etc. ....Plot speaks of a child bearing the figure of a mouse; when pregnant, the mother had been much frightened by one of these animals... The Lancet speaks of several cases-- one of a child with a face resembling a dog whose mother had been bitten.... "

"Bijoux speaks of a porter or garcon at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris who was a prodigious glutton. He had eaten the body of a lion that had died of disease at the menagerie. He ate with the avidity the most disgusting things to satiate his depraved appetite. He showed further signs of a perverted mind by classifying the animals of the menagerie according to the form of their excrement, of which he had a collection. He died of indigestion following a meal of eight pounds of hot bread."

below are some sample illustrations

* for those who are interested, she is having a solo show in Las Vegas at the beginning of March

** you can see affordable prints of some of their work at CircusPosterus

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as requested....

"Somewhat Odd Yet Very Tasty Couscous"
(suitable for vegetarians, takes about 20 minutes)

Ingredients (as best as I can remember):

3 Tablespoons olive oil
8-12 scallions chopped into bits
4-6 garlic cloves (pressed)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 pinches of cayenne pepper
4 cups hot vegetable stock
1 container of firm tofu, smashed
1 bag of frozen peas
2 cups quick-cooking couscous (preferably green colored for purely aesthetic reasons)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 bag dried apricots, sliced into bits
1/2 - 1 cup of shelled pistachios
salt and pepper to tast


1. heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add scallions, garlic and spices. Saute on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Don't forget to stir

2. add the hot vegetable stock and the tofu. cook for another 4 minutes

3. stir in the peas, the apricots, and the pistachios. cook for another minute or two

4. add the couscous and butter and cover the pan. remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes

5. stir the couscous mixture with a fork to fluff it up a bit then serve with a smile. Can be used as a side dish or an entree.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lazing About....

Current Status: Lolling about indolently
Outlook: further lazing around, general droopiness and sloth

I'm supposed to be shopping for ingredients, as I'm hosting a teensy little dinner to-night. However, I sense a mad dashing about and last-minute panic in my future. Exhaustion has set in after yesterday's ultimate frisbee tournament -- the Presidential Plastic Platter Hatter. My team was named "The White Lies", which, rather unfortunately, sounds just like "The White Lice!! Go White Lice!!!" when cheered from the sidelines.

The road trip consisted of my driving my tiny pink station wagon crammed full of sweating, farting men who entertained me on the way back by whistling such favorites as "This Land is Your Land" and "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". Truly a magical experience. heh heh

The question for today is: what shall I serve for dinner tonight?

Perhaps a nice "Luncheon Meat Pate"? It's just oozing with cream cheese, green olives and yummy lunch meat goodness! The festive garnishes of leftover christmas tree branches and red licorice are an especially nice touch I think.

Of course, I can always opt for the "Tomato-Tuna Mold garnished with deviled eggs" and served with what appear to be milkshakes, pumpernickel bread and bowls of dish soap. Mmmmm mmmm!

But really, I think I will choose the thrifty yet economical "Spam 'N' Limas", which is both 'ah inspiring' and chock full of mysterious, slithery, spammy delight. It's certain to be a hit at any dinner party, regardless of the season!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In (Belated) Honor of Valentine's Day: Another Post on Odd Art!

(click to enlarge)

This absolutely incredible bronze and limestone work is a captivating portrait of George Phillip Vierheller, a former director of the St. Louis zoo. Sculpted by artist Richard Frazier in honor of Vierheller's retirement, this masterpiece captures the poignancy of the love between a man who loved animals and an animal who apparently loved him back.

While perhaps slightly inappropriate for very young children and elderly persons somewhat prone to apoplectic attacks, this seminal piece of work, which is also very green, proudly follows in the ancient tradition of erotic art long typified by such artists as Lorenzo Lotto, Antoine Watteau, and someone else whose name quite escapes me at this time.

One can only wonder: was this a love that dared not speak its name? Why would a man in such a position bear such a stoic expression on his face? And most importantly: is this really legal outside Alabama? The art historian can only ponder such mysteries; the answers may be lost to us forever.

* additional art reviews may be found under the "Odd Art" drop down under my avatar

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Incredibly Esoteric Movie Reviews!

After the completely melodramatic posting this week, I feel quite certain that everyone is clamoring for some good old-fashioned, angsty teen poetry! Yeah!

However, I have instead been requested by my lovely friend Brian to post some movie review samples for him, as he would like me to start writing for someone's online something-or-other. "Make them esoteric!" he commanded. "We want things that people haven't really seen or heard of before, and I know you're just the person to do it!"

Brian, I have included two abbreviated examples for you-- one filled with glowing praise, the other a dreadful pan. I certainly hope they are esoteric enough for you.

Damn, Girl! (1974) is a suspenseful and elegantly complicated action-drama that seems both somber and piquantly hyperactive as it poses a difficult and provocative question to the viewer: how can a badass pimp-hustler mothaf*cka feel tha funk, avoid the fuzz and get revenge while chillaxin' with his honeys, his rollerskating kung fu army and his tricked-out shag wag? This magnificent film illuminates the somewhat obscure political landscape of 1970s Chicago, but also one man's internal landscape where forbidden desires and cardinal principles coalesce. The flourescent psychedelic jumpsuits, roller skaters in hot pants, daring midnight helicopter escapes, blurry cocaine-sex parties, trained assassin dolphins, great big whopping gobs of cash, CIA ninja conspiracists, Chinese acrobats, big-rig car chases and screaming PCP freakouts-- they all combine to form an astonishing visual and narrative masterpiece that highlights the harsh absurdity of a surprisingly tragic yet ultimately meaningless disco song. (4 1/2 stars out of 5)

Road of Tears (1976) is a relatively obscure example of the romance genre that starred an as-yet-unknown Meryl Streep (under the pseudonym of "Tiffani Mellons"). While pretentious film students might think that she made her film debut in 1977's Julia, she actually had brief cameos in Naked Coed Slasher Party (1974) and Night of the Deadly Spiders (1975) before starring as the ill-fated heroine in the ill-fated Road of Tears -- a full year before the 1977 drama that launched her career. However-- rather unfortunately for Ms. Streep-- the only noteworthy aspects of her Road of Tears performance are her enormously heaving bosom and a horrible faux French accent. She maintains the same baffled expression on her face throughout the movie, whether she is woodenly sobbing at the edge of a cliff or woodenly slobbering over her costar. Her platinum wig shows more talent than she does here, and it definitely deserves a line in the credits. Like any romance film, it will make you want to cry buckets -- but only because you made the mistake of watching this soupy, treacly mess in the first place. (-1 1/2 stars out of 5)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Bonus Beauty Ad Blogging!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Back to our regular programming shortly

but possibly not tonight

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Friday, February 02, 2007

on a side note...

This is my favorite blog post for today.

An excerpt:
"In fact, I also found a baby carriage big enough for twins! It could be a great way to wheel groceries home from the supermarket, because if the cops catch you with a shopping cart, even if it's one that you found, they're liable to take it from you. Plus, this way, if I ever get kicked out of my place, I can wheel all my wordly possessions around in it. And it could even conceivably be a chick magnet!"


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Road Trip!

Very shortly I shall be off on a road trip to Savannah with an odd assortment of people who obsessively drink beer and play with frisbees. I have packed an assortment of snacks, fuzzy blankets, cookies and fruitish things, in addition to a small number of books in case of emergency:

1. The Book of Five Rings, which was written more than 350 years ago by Miyamoto Musashi, focuses on the technical and spiritual elements of confrontational skills, which may or may not come in handy on an Ultimate Frisbee field. Useful chapters include: "On the Teaching of Having a Position Without a Position", "The Body of the Short Armed Monkey", "Stabbing the Face", "Advantage in Dueling", "Infection", "Crushing", and "Beating the Grass to Scare the Snakes", among other helpful hints.

2. The Age of the Gladiators, which was written by Rupert Matthews, details the development of the "savagery and spectacle" in the ancient blood-soaked arenas of Rome. Surprisingly, these games originated as spectacles that were part of funeral celebrations. In addition to sword fights, they also flooded arenas to stage mock naval battles, held wild animal fights that included everything from elephants to crocodiles, and organized chariot races. However, the ancient Romans were not sophisticated enough to think of flinging discs at each others' faces.

3. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami tells the story of a future society where the fascist government pits high school classmates against each other in a literal fight to the death with an assortment of weapons and other tools. There are machine guns, hand grenades, knives, poison, bows and arrows-- but again no frisbees.

Regardless, these are all great reading for anyone participating in a sporting event!

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