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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Seuss

“Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future”*…

 

From MIT’s Media Lab and it Pantheon Project, an interactive mapping tool that let’s one visualize the history of cultural production.

You were not born with the ability to fly, cure disease or communicate at long distances, but you were born in a society that endows you with these capacities. These capacities are the result of information that has been generated by humans and that humans have been able to embed in tangible and digital objects.

This information is all around you. It is the way in which the atoms in an airplane are arranged or the way in which your cell-phone whispers dance instructions to electromagnetic waves.

Pantheon is a project celebrating the cultural information that endows our species with these fantastic capacities. To celebrate our global cultural heritage we are compiling, analyzing and visualizing datasets that can help us understand the process of global cultural development. Dive in, visualize, and enjoy.

Pantheon allows one to select a time period, then see the results sorted by place of origin (as in the chart above) or by profession, and provides a ranked listing of people.

It’s all fascinating, but the “professional” sort is especially telling, as Kottke observes:

Up until the Renaissance, the most well-known people in the world were mostly politicians and religious figures, with some writers and philosophers thrown in for good measure.  Starting with the Renaissance through the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, politicians, writers, painters, and composers become more prominent.  For the past 50 years, athletes and entertainers dominate the list, with footballers making up almost a third of the most known. (If you only go back to 1990, actors dominate.)

Politicians rate slightly behind tennis players (but ahead of pornographic actors) and religious figures are not represented in the graph at all.

Visit Pantheon to see for yourself, and find more on the data and methodology used here.

* Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

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As we put down the remote control and pick up a book, we might send tasty birthday greetings to the culinary genius behind green eggs and ham, Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he was born on this date in 1904.  After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of young readers.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)

 source

Written by LW

March 2, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch”*…

 

Australian photographer T.Q. Lee has thing for food… or at least, for what looks like food…

Waxed Rolled Socks w/ Dirty Hot Shaving Cream  Now with ten times the fibre of regular donuts! It took me a few tries to work out how to get these brown, rolled socks to accept the wax treatment without simply absorbing it. In the end, refrigeration was rather aptly, the key ingredient in my wax frosting.

His series, Inedible, composes a wide– and often revolting– variety of ingredients into appetizing photos of “food.”

Telephone Cord in Papier-mâché Sauce w/ a glass of Betadine  All of my images for Inedible are lit with natural light in contrast to and to highlight the artifical subjects being photographed. At times the distinction between real and fake became indistinguishable, and so I would add a final element that causes the viewer to question what they are seeing. In this instance, I felt the combination of telephone cord, mashed-up serviettes, soap and green cardboard clippings was too convincing alone. I was also coming down with a cold, so I fortunately had access to plenty of sore throat gargle to complete the dish..

Lee explains…

Part visual pun, part social comment on convenience food, Inedible is a still life photographic series of meals made from unconventional ingredients. Every element in these dishes are considered inedible in insolation. Together, do they whet or surpress your appetite?

Kitchen Cupboard Sushi  My first awareness of sushi was from the cult-classic, The Breakfast Club. In the lunch scene, rich-kid Claire (Molly Ringwald) explains that sushi is “raw fish, rice and seaweed” to the disgust of school-criminal, Bender (Judd Nelson) and, supposedly, the audience. How things have changed. Sushi is now a staple lunch for the modern workforce. It was precisely this ordinariness that I wanted to capture in this Inedible work. “Kitchen Cupboard Sushi” is made from ingredients found in a common kitchen cupboard, with just a few additional inedible materials from my craft box. See if you can figure out all of the raw details.

Browse the buffet at Inedible.

* Orson Welles

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As we wonder what he’d do with green eggs and ham, we might spare a thought for Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he died on this date in 1991.  After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of nascent young readers.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)

 source

Written by LW

September 24, 2014 at 1:01 am

Tis the season…

from “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”

Your correspondent is headed into the ice and snow of his annual holiday hiatus; regular service will resume early in the new year…  But lest readers be at loose ends:

From classics like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

email readers click here

… to Christmas Evil, the film John Waters called “the greatest Christmas movie ever made”…

email readers click here

… “13 of the Weirdest Holiday Movies Ever Made.”

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As we deck the halls, we might recall that it was on this date in 1966 that CBS first aired Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Directed by the great Chuck Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff (who also voiced the Grinch), it featured songs with lyrics by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel himself.

TV Guide, Dec 17-23, 1966 (Chicago edition)

source

Happy Holidays!!

“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it…”*

If the diagram above makes sense to you, you may have succumbed to one of the most pernicious perils of our time.  Check the list of symptoms at “25 Signs You’re Addicted To Books.”

And on that subject, enjoy this lionizing of libraries

* Groucho Marx

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As we keep up with the jones, we might spare a thought for Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he died on this date in 1991.  After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of nascent young readers.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)

 source

Written by LW

September 24, 2013 at 1:01 am

Let me tell you a tale…

 

This map, by social realist artist William Gropper, was created to showcase the diversity of national myths and folk stories and was distributed abroad through the U.S. Department of State starting in 1946…

Gropper, born in New York City’s Lower East Side to a working-class family, deeply identified with labor movements and the Left throughout his life. He worked as a cartoonist for mainstream publications New York Tribune and Vanity Fair, as well as the leftist and radical newspapers Rebel Worker, New Masses, and Daily Worker. During the Depression, like many other out-of-work artists, Gropper designed murals for the Works Progress Administration.

The “folklore” on display in this richly illustrated map is a soup of history, music, myth, and literature. Frankie and Johnny are cheek-by-jowl with a wild-eyed John Brown; General Custer coexists with “Git Along Little Dogies.” Utah is simply host to a group of “Mormons,” in which a bearded man holds up stigmata-marked hands to a small group of wives and children, while a figure labeled “New England Witches” flies over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont…

Click here (and again) to see the map in much larger format (or find it at the Library of Congress); read the full story at Vault.

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As we revel in regional differences, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that Theodor Geisel– Dr. Seuss– published The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.  Geisel had published And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street the prior year; 500 Hats was his second children’s book and the first of three (it was followed by The King’s Stilts and The Seven Lady Godivas in 1939), all of which were, atypically for him, in prose.  He returned to the rhyming form for which he’s known with his fifth book, Horton Hatches the Egg.

 source

 

Written by LW

September 1, 2013 at 1:01 am

Hanging around…

 

Rothko, Grant Wood, and so many more:  Great Art in Ugly Rooms.  (C.f. also, Great Video in Ugly Rooms)

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As we wonder if, in fact, context is all, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that the musical fantasy film The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T was released. The only film ever written by Theodor Geisel (better known, of course, as Dr. Seuss), it was an early disappointment: several attendees of the Hollywood premiere walked out after 15 minutes, and box-office receipts were sparse.  But in the years since, Dr. T has grown in both critical and popular estimation.  (Your correspondent admits to loving it.)  It is, in any case, surely the only children’s film that could comfortably be co-programmed with the work of David Lynch or Roman Polanski.

 source

 

Written by LW

June 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

Knowing the Distance: More Fun With Numbers…

The Fibonacci sequence describes the golden ratio (or golden spiral), an ideal form found in the more beautiful corners of nature, and much beloved by designers everywhere.

The Fibonacci numbers are the sum of the previous two numbers in the sequence, starting with 0 and 1:  0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…

A Fibonacci spiral created by drawing circular arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in a Fibonacci tiling; this one uses squares of sizes 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and 34. (source)

It turns out that the Fibonacci sequence also neatly matches the relationship between kilometers and miles. Three miles is five kilometers, five miles is eight kilometers, eight miles is 13 kilometers.  It’s not perfect: eight miles is actually 12.875 kilometers– but it’s close enough in a pinch.

If one needs to convert a number that’s not in the Fibonacci sequence, one can simply break out the Fibonacci numbers, convert, and add the answers.  For instance, 100 can be broken down into 89 + 8 + 3, all Fibonacci numbers. The next numbers are 144, 13, and 5, which add up to 162. 100 miles is actually equal to 160.934 kilometers.  But again, close enough.

photo: Matt Hampel

[TotH to MNN]

Special bonus arithmetic amusement:  the quadratic equation, explained (as though) by Dr. Seuss.

As we marvel at math, we might wish a Happy Birthday to a master of “numbers” of a different sort; author and prankster Ken Kesey was born on this date in 1935.  While at Stanford in 1959 (studying writing with Wallace Stegner), Kesey was a paid volunteer in CIA-funded LSD trials (Project MKULTRA), an experience that informed his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and that inspired him to form the “Merry Pranksters” and embark on the cross-country school bus trip memorialized in Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”

“Leave no turn unstoned.”

source

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