Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
From the always-illuminating folks at Dangerous Minds:
It’s arguably the greatest LP gatefold image of all time: the drool-inducing food porn Mexican spread from the inner fold of ZZ Top’s 1973 Tres Hombres album. Only Coven’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reap Souls comes close to matching it’s exemplary use of the medium, but as far as gatefold images go, it’s hard to top THE TOP.
In what is destined to be the the greatest short film of 2016, Austin chef Thomas Micklethwait lovingly re-creates this enviable meal and proceeds to eat the shit out of it.
As someone who has often dreamt of being at that fabled table, all I can say is kudos to the chef for allowing me to live vicariously through him and yet not have to experience the following day’s Afterburner tribute.
Fans of ZZ Top or grande burritos, take note:
* Mark Twain
As we settle in for Concussion Fest 50, we might recall that today is Pork Rind Appreciation Day.
* Marisha Pessl,
As we characterize ourselves, we might send rhythmic birthday greetings to Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley; he was born on this date in 1945. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, he helped pioneer and popularize (first with his band The Wailers, then on his own) the musical genre we know and love as Reggae.
One love, one heart,
Let’s get together and feel alright
– from “One Love” (cowritten with Curtis Mayfield)
From the Marx Brothers to The Simpsons, from Richard Pryor to Amy Schumer: “The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy“… critique it, argue with it– that’s what lists like this are for– but most of all, enjoy it.
* Osgood (Joe E. Brown) to Daphne/Jerry (Jack Lemon), Some Like It Hot (one of the 100)
As we fiddle with our funny bones, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that a film that might well have made the list– Modern Times— was released. Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, who stars in his iconic Little Tramp persona, the film comically dramatizes a factory worker’s struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world. Chaplin’s first overtly politically-themed film, it was also the first in which his voice is heard. It is widely regarded as a classic by film historians… and inspired French philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merlau-Ponty to name their journal, Les Temps modernes, after it.
Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch’s visionary triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, has stoked discussion since it was completed (sometime between 1490 and 1510); critics and scholars have confidently proclaimed it everything from a “didactic warning on the perils of life’s temptations” to an “erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty”… occasionally both.
Photographer Lori Pond was moved to incorporate Bosch’s vision into her own photographic work after she visited the Prado in Madrid, where his masterpiece has been on display since 1939.
After an emotional reaction to the painting and its mythologized mysteriousness, Pond decided to create a series of photos based on Bosch’s work — isolating details from Earthly Delights, as well as The Temptation of St. Anthony, and The Last Judgment.
The photos themselves look like they could be more minimalistic paintings by Bosch, but the arrangements you see were mostly achieved in-camera. Pond used materials gathered from swap meets, and enlisted the help of a motley team made up of a taxidermist, a prosthetics designer, her friends, and their closets…
More examples from Pond’s portfolio at Bosch Redux on her site; more back ground at “Arresting Photographs Remake Images From Hieronymus Bosch’s Grotesque Biblical Fantasies” and “Recreating Hieronymus Bosch.”
Then wander over explore the wonderful interactive documentary “Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Delights” (part of the transmedia tryptich: this interactive documentary, the documentary film “Hieronymus Bosch, touched by the devil,” and the Virtual Reality documentary “Hieronymus Bosch, the Eyes of the Owl,” coming this April).
And finally, check out the “newest” Bosch painting, recently (re-)discovered.
* Hieronymus Bosch
As we follow in St. Augustine in praying that God grant us “chastity and continence, but not yet,” we might send modern birthday greetings to Joseph Fernand Henri Léger; he was born on this date in 1881. Best known as member of the Cubist movement (in which he was unique for his use of cylindrical shapes, earning him the label “tubist”), Léger was also sculptor and filmmaker. Indeed, in his later life, he added book illustration, mural creation, stained-glass and mosaic work, and set and costume design to his repertoire. In those later years, his gravitated to modern subject matter, which he treated in simple, bold, and accessible ways– for which he’s now considered an important forerunner of Pop Art.
In October 1822, Gregor MacGregor, a native of Glengyle, Scotland, made a striking announcement. He was, he said, not only a local banker’s son, but the Cazique, or prince, of the land of Poyais along Honduras’s Black River.
A little larger than Wales, the country was so fertile it could yield three maize harvests a year. The water, so pure and refreshing it could quench any thirst – and as if that weren’t enough, chunks of gold lined the riverbeds. The trees overflowed with fruit, and the forest teemed with game. Painting an exotic, Edenic vision of a new life abroad, his proposal offered quite the contrast with the rainy darkness and rocky soils of Scotland.
What Poyais lacked, he said, was willing investors and settlers to develop and leverage its resources to the fullest. At the time, investments in Central and South America were gaining in popularity, and Poyais appeared to be a particularly appealing proposition.
Scotland didn’t have any colonies of her own, after all. Could this not be a corner of the new world for her own use?…
Gregor MacGregor’s massive fraud and how he brought it off: “The con-man who pulled off history’s most audacious scam” (excerpted from Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game).
* John Dryden
As we demur from accepting wooden nickels, we might recall that it was on this date in 1922 that Los Angles police were summoned to the home of silent film director William Desmond Taylor by a call about a “natural death” that had occurred the night before. When they arrived they found actors, actresses, and studio executives rummaging through the director’s belongings… and Taylor lying dead on the living room floor with a bullet in his back.
Mary Miles Minter, a teenager, had become a star in Taylor’s films and had fallen in love with him– much to the dismay of her mother, Charlotte Shelby. After Taylor’s murder, a love note to Taylor from Minter was found in his home, along with her nightgown in the bedroom. Then other damning facts came to light: Minter had once tried to shoot herself with the same type of gun used in Taylor’s murder; Shelby had previously threatened the life of another director who had made a pass at her daughter; and most portentously, Shelby’s alibi witness received suspiciously large sums of money after the murder. Still, no one was ever prosecuted for Taylor’s death– the case remains officially unsolved.
The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification turns ten in 2016. Created by artist Julian Montague [bio here], the book attempts to bring clarity to a world littered with shopping carts far away from their birth stores. Written in the voice of a character who takes the project as seriously as a birder would take a birding guide, the book is as complex as it is wry…
A winner of the 2006 award for Oddest Book Title of the Year [c.f. this earlier visit to that list], Montague’s guide received a decent amount of media attention when it came out. But, published in the rudimentary years of social media, it missed out on a chance for the level of virality it may have achieved today. So far, there are few, if any, efforts to add to Montague’s research. Perhaps it’s too good. Perhaps it’s too insane…
See for yourself at “A Look Back at the Greatest (and Only) Stray Shopping Cart Identification Guide Ever Made.”
* Benjamin Franklin
As we return our baskets to the queue, we might recall that it was on this date in 1904 that “CQD” (Morse code – · – · – – · – – · ·) became the official distress signal to be used by Marconi wireless radio operators. A few years later, judging that “CQD” was too easily mistaken for the general call “CQ” in conditions of poor reception, the signal was changed to the now-ubiquitous “SOS” (· · · – – – · · · ).
In 1912, RMS Titanic radio operator Jack Phillips initially sent “CQD”, which was still commonly used by British ships. Harold Bride, the junior radio operator, jokingly suggested using the new code, “SOS”. Thinking it might be the only time he would get to use it, Phillips began to alternate between the two.