Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Bloody Table

My friend Dave who lives in Memphis would be all over this table (which sadly, isn't a table yet, just a concept). I haven't seen Dave in about 15 years and I have no idea what his place looks like but I know that this would fit perfectly.

For more from the artist's portfolio:

Happy Birthday...

My mother and my brother have the same birthday. And it's today.

Happy Birthday Mom and Dave!

Where the hell is Matt?

This isn't exactly's been making the rounds for weeks now but in case you haven't seen it, check out this video. You'll feel better.

(Be patient and give it some time to load. It's hi-def and can be choppy if you don't.)

For more information about Matt and his adventures, check out

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"A rather fruity maiden aunt"...

Wow. Not at all sure what to make of this! Unrepentantly stolen from Neatorama...

According to Robert Dawson Scott in "The man with the 300-year-old voice":

[Maniaci] does not sing falsetto, nor does he have a baritone register, as counter-tenors do. On the other hand, he is whole and male (he obviously shaves; he assures me he is fertile). It is just that some quirk in his development led to all the appurtenances of puberty appearing except one – his larynx did not grow along with the rest of him. As a consequence, his voice never broke.
. . .
He may be the only man on the planet who can sing [the role of Atis in Reinhart Keiser's 1711 opera The Fortunes of King Croesus] at pitch, which goes up to a B natural, two octaves above middle C.

Maniaci’s speaking voice is light and high, but, because he is an adult with a stocky frame, it is oddly resonant, like a rather fruity maiden aunt. His singing voice probably comes close to those castrati voices of long ago – although with only one antique recording available we can only really guess.

Laurie Anderson interview...

Unrepentantly stolen from Boing Boing ( today...

The new issue of Smithsonian includes a concise interview with avant-garde multimediatrix Laurie Anderson. In it, Anderson talks about pop music, her tenure as NASA's artist-in-residence, Andy Warhol, and some odd jobs she took just for the experience. From Smithsonian:

You've also worked at McDonald's.
Yeah. I began to think, "How can I escape this trap of just experiencing what I expect?" I decided maybe I would just try to put myself in places where I don't know what to do, what to say, or how to act. So, I did things like working at McDonald's and on an Amish farm, which had no technology whatsoever.

What do you need to "escape" from?
At heart, I'm an anthropologist. I try to jump out of my skin. I normally see the world as an artist first, second as a New Yorker and third as a woman. That's a perspective that I sometimes would like to escape. It's why in my performances I use audio filters to change my voice. That's a way to escape as well.

For the entire interview...

Recognize any of these characters?

Discovered on the blog Locusts and Honey, a short film called "The Process".

Imagine if a marketing team was charged with the development of the Stop sign.

As Bob Newhart would say, "I think it might go something like this..."


Gregg Easterbrook had an article on the June issue of The Atlantic that addresses the threat of asteroid impacts on earth. The evidence suggests that catastrophic impacts are much more common than previously suspected and he argues that NASA should be focusing resources on preventing just such a disaster.

Good read...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An auditory illusion...

One more quick post for today...

Boing Boing has an interesting auditory illusion presented in the video clip below called the Shepard Scale.

"From Wikipedia: A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower."

So if you play the clip again and again and again, you'll get the illusion that it keeps rising in pitch when in fact, it does not!

Bush as The Joker...

From Vanity Fair's website today...

Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians, sent us the following visual comment. It is entitled "No Joke."

And for comparing and contrasting purposes, I present you with a promo still from The Dark Knight featuring Heath Ledger as the Joker...

Which one is creepier?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rush on Rush...

Check out this clip of Rush, backstage on the Colbert Report, playing Tom Sawyer on the video game Rock Band...

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Block Island line...

Block Island is a small island off the coast of Rhode Island which isn’t an island at all. Jillfoil and I spent two days there this week…without Littlefoil! (I should note that we missed him terribly but were delighted that he wasn’t with us!)

People who are of the type to say such things have told me that Block Island is like Nantucket was 50 years ago. I wasn’t alive 50 years ago and have never been to Nantucket so I can neither confirm nor deny. It certainly appears to me that the people of Block Island have wisely set aside a lot of space for preservation making for nice hiking, biking and beaching.

With tourism as the primary industry though, Block Island still has lots of gift shops and restaurants and inns and houses and cars and, especially on weekends during the summer, people.

Jillfoil and I stayed over on Monday and Tuesday nights though and the mid-week crowds were very manageable. We had a great time biking the island and playing in the surf. We also had a great room with a private deck overlooking the main strip.

The best thing about the island was that we could indulge our desire to find out-of-the-way places where we could just hang-out by ourselves. At the same time, we could go down the street from our room and get bagels and coffee. Sort of the best of both worlds.

Just a great mix and a great couple of days. I didn’t bring my broken camera but my mobile phone has a camera giving me the chance to try and capture some of the fun.

The trip starts with a 60 minute ferry ride. I found this to be a quick and efficient way to slide into vacation mode…which is important when your vacation lasts for just two days

Jillfoil trying to keep a secret…


We watched a storm roll in as dusk fell…

This was a rare opportunity to catch a 1980’s era preppie in his natural habitat. The hot-pink grosgrain ribbon belt is a dead give-away. Notice also the fanny pack. While not widely seen in the early 80’s, the fanny pack did gain traction with the preps in the 90’s.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

39 years ago today...

Six hours after landing on the moon at 4:17pm eastern daylight time, Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module “Eagle” onto the surface of the moon. Buzz Aldrin followed about 20 minutes later. Michael Collins was orbiting the moon in the Command Module “Columbia” waiting for Armstong and Aldrin to rendezvous and return to earth.

Wonder. Awe. Etc.

Today I share some images of Buzz Aldrin. "Merely" the second man.

Buzz on the surface...check out the reflection of Neil taking the picture in Buzz's visor.

I love this picture of Aldrin's footprint.

Beautiful picture of "earthrise" over the lunar surface. This shot was taken from the Command Module while orbiting the moon.

Splashdown. Home.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Something to learn today...

Today I'm going to add a video to the blog. I've selected this clip of Italian police officers demonstrating their skills on motorcycles.

Let's see how this looks...

How 'bout that??!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

39 years ago today...

Apollo 11 launched 39 years ago today. It was a Wednesday. July 16, 1969.

Space geeks like to talk about why the manned space program today doesn’t have the same cultural currency that it did 40 years ago. They talk about the drama of the cold war and the “race against Russia”, the sheer technological audacity of putting men into space and onto the moon for the first time and the perception that launches are now routine.

But I think that it’s mostly about the rocket. The Saturn V was such a bad-ass! At 363 feet tall, it was a monster with three tiny humans sitting on top of it. At 363 feet in height, it was 193 feet taller than Niagara Falls!

363 feet would be the approximate height of a 36 story building - a 36 story building filled with rocket fuel! When the engines on the Saturn V ignited it was like unleashing a primal force.

Another overlooked element has to be the flight suit. The Mercury and Apollo flight suits were otherworldly silver jump suits or white suits with cool mirrored sun visors. You put on a suit like that and you’ve got instant cred. The shuttle astronauts on the other hand wear golf shirts! Or even worse, rugby shirts! To be fair, they do wear orange flight suits that look kind of cool for ascent and re-entry but during their time in orbit they dress like models for Land’s End.

You want to generate more interest in the manned space program? A rocket like the Saturn V and a new wardrobe would be good first steps.