Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Been real busy today, but I do have this for you:

Ernesto "Che" Guevara's first nickname: not Che, but "Fuser."


It's true.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Mystery of Alum

We were buying spices the other night and noticed a bottle of a strange white powder called alum.

"What is this alum?" I thought.

It turns out that it's a chemical used in pickling cucumbers and fixing dye. It's also used in styptic pencils, and can also be used as a fire retardant, or underarm deodorant (or both, if you're worried about burning your axillae).

Also, it apparently has a sour/bitter, puckering taste that used to be used as a gag in movies and cartoons, such as in Back Alley Op-Roar where "Elmer feeds Sylvester Pussycat alum-laced milk, shrinking his head and driving his voice up several octaves while singing Figaro."

I think the obvious next step would be to get some alum, put it in my mouth, and see if my head shrinks.

Stay tuned!

Here's what the paper looks like

New Stationary

As if it weren't already cool enough to receive a letter from me, now you'll receive it in my newly-designed custom stationary! I can send it to all my friends.

Now I just need friends.

Send me your address and I'll send you a letter! It won't necessarily be a great letter, but I'll send something.

Niemann's latest

I thought this was one of the funnier illustrations I've seen in a while. From this week's New Yorker's Financial Page. The article, "The Trust Crunch," discusses the lack of trust between financial institutions following the meltdown, or crash, or fracas, or whatever we're calling it.

The guy on the far side of the court looks so confused, so sad!

The artist is Christoph Niemann, who always does awesome stuff.

It's rare that something on the Financial Page makes me laugh out loud.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ringo Starr the grumpy barr

Tensions Mount between Ringo Starr, the World.

This article's hilarious.

"Former Beatle Ringo Starr will no longer sign memorabilia for fans and will throw away all fan mail he receives in the future, he has said."

Apparently he made a video (wearing all black) in which he stated the new policy, and posted it on his website. Could this have all begun in April when "a foliage sculpture of Starr outside a train station in Liverpool was beheaded by vandals"?

Apparently they were upset about an interview in which Starr said he missed nothing about the city.

I am dead

I seem to be dead.

But I don't feel dead. I guess you're only as dead as you act.

This Thomas Meaney (at right) was born in 1865 in Limerick, Ireland, and died in 1951 in Brooklyn, where this photo was taken. What a lifespan: to be born in the last year of the civil war, and live long enough to see UNIVAC, the first commercially available computer.

It's a bit weird to see one's name on a tombstone. My tombstone will look a little different, of course. The dates will be different, obviously. Also my wife will have to get her own damn tombstone. And mine will be made of porphyry. And there will be a golden statue of me atop it, wrestling a bear.

Its beauty will be a great consolation to my inheritances-less heirs.

If you'd like to find a tombstone with your name on it, just go here.

New toy

Yesterday's trip to Costco was a new record. We spent almost a week's wages.

"On what?" you may ask, with a little sneer of incredulity.

Well, among other things:

3 pounds of ground beef
4 giant pillows
1 fire extinguisher (responsible, no?)
1 lb mini cucumbers
2 rump roasts
1 lb of shrimp
2.5 lbs spinach
6 heads Romaine lettuce
A dozen chicken breasts
et cetera

and this:

The most bitchin' blender/food processor yet created by man. Hummus, applesauce, instantly-grated zucchini, homemade salsa,'s all within our reach now. Stay tuned for the results.

Friday, October 10, 2008

U R hakt!

Zup peeplez! I iz Patrick, dee enemee! I'z hakt in2 dis syztem, 2 put up dee reel pixure uv me, dat sir Lame-0 (i.e. Thomas) not wants u 2 C.

Aiz kool! I'z rad. Tommy's a noob/dork/lame-o.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Never judge a movie by its working title

In 1977, I, personally, would have probably passed on a project called:

The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Taken from the 'Journal of the Whills': Saga I - Star Wars

But that would have been a big mistake.

Fortunately, they ended up just using the last two words of the working title for the final title.

An insult! A crime!

I've been maligned. The arts themselves have been subverted and molested by a philistine whom, up until now, I had the naivete to trust:

My brother, my own flesh and blood, took the brilliant self portrait that I posted earlier and defaced it. What could motivate such a cold-hearted assassination of beauty I cannot even fathom. I reproduce it here as a warning.

Perpend! Oh, perpend my loyal readers: this is what happens when a normal adult brain gives in to the dark wraithes of the subconscious, when the delicate scales that keep man balanced beween the rational and the bestial are tipped horribly and irrevocably to the side of the savage:

Patrick's hat

Patrick has the coolest hat ever. Look: pretty cool, right?

Aaa, tres sophistique, mon Chappie.

But wait: it gets better. Press a secret button concealed in the brim, and the chapeau comes to life!

A hitherto-invisible illuminated skull appears within the hat. Spooky music plays, and an eerie Bela-Lugosi-style voice cackles and says "Don't be frightened."

Could there be a better hat?


Self portrait with wax

Maybe he doesn't want to see. See things like this:

Ah, so dark and cool beneath the scarlet wax. Me no come out. Me stay here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lisa Crafts

I happened to stumble upon the work of animator and painter Lisa Crafts today, and I think she's great.

I don't really know anything about her, but I like her work a lot. The paintings have a rich, bright, warm quality that's really a cool juxtaposition with the fantastic, sometimes kind of eerie content

Also love this frame from her her animated short The Flooded Playground:

Anyways, check her out at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


So maybe you thought this was pretty deep:

Or maybe you thought this was really deep:

Or maybe you're one of those types who thought this was really deep:

Well you were wrong.

Those things are not deep. You know what is deep?

Voronya Cave: the deepest cave on Earth.

Check out this great photojournalism piece on National Geographic about a team that got down to 6,824 ft in 2004.

I guess getting to the bottom of the deepest cave in the world is not just a matter of lowering yourself down on a really long rope. The 56-person expedition took two weeks, and involved a number of points where they had to scuba through freezing water to get through "sump" sections.

The new Voronya record was set in 2007 at a depth of 7,185ft.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Universal Pictures = Jove

So I was listening to this fellow's version of the Black and White Rag, and it inspired me to read about silent Westerns, whereupon I came across this awesome ad:

How many companies these days are willing to assert that their product is superior to both writing and weapons?

Of course, they probably weren't thinking of this movie when they wrote that.

Kitty break!!!

Watch out kittehs!

Meaneys in Motion

My dad just sent me this picture he took of Patrick and me walking. I kind of like it. We weren't aware that we were being photographed. It's sort of rare to see a candid photo of oneself.

Do I sneer like that all the time?


The Originality of Roy Lichtenstein

I've always liked Roy Lichtenstein, and part of what I thought was so cool about his work was that he was very clever about capturing the look and feel of comic book art...that his paintings totally could have been frames from 50's-era comic books.

However, what I recently found out is: they were frames from 50's-era comic books. He copied them. Line by line. Word for word.

And I'm not sure how to feel about it.

This fellow David Barsalou has somehow found all the originals and set up a great page where you can look at them side by side.

I mean, maybe everyone knew this except me. Maybe Lichtenstein was very open about it, and that was part of the statement or something.

I suppose there's nothing wrong with copying. My favorite play Hamlet was essentially a ripoff of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy. [Spanish has the best alternate title ever: The Spanish Tragedie: or, Hieronimo is mad againe].

There is a painting that, I think, directly addresses the copying. Lichtenstein rarely altered the original version's text -- the sound effects, the speech and thought bubbles -- at all. But there's one painting where the speech bubble has been changed completely.

The original depicts a pair of nervous eyes and the text: "What? Why did you ask that? What do you know about the Stones of Babylon? Speak up!"

However, in Lichtenstein's version, we have the same worried eyes, but the text has been replaced with, "What? Why did you ask that? What do you know about my image duplicator?" which, if you ask me, can be nothing but the artist saying, "Yeah, I know they're copied...duh!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Why am I so unpopular in Finland?

The numbers are in, and the Finnish situation looks grim. I can no longer deny the undeniable: Finns hate my blog.

Zero hits. None. Goose egg. L'oeuf*.

There hasn't been enough Finland-related content, apparently, but we're going to change that.

Did you know, for example, that the official bird of Finland is the Whooper swan? The whooper swan is white, has a yellow and black beak, and is HUGE! According to Wikipedia its wingspan ranges between 81 and 93 inches! That's what...6' 9" - 7' 9"!

And they can weigh up to 33 pounds! That's two bowling balls. How do they fly?

The two boaters in the picture give you some perspective:

Also, Finland has a population of 5.3 million, won their independence from Russia in 1918, and have a beautiful parliament building.

Oh, also, according to Wikipedia: "Becoming intoxicated has remained the central characteristic of Finnish drinking habits."

I wonder if getting full has remained the central characteristic of Finnish eating habits.

*(French for "the egg", which looks like a zero, which when said in English sounds like "love" which is why love in tennis means zero!).

Chowchilla snaps

I just came across these photos I took in Chowchilla, CA, a few months ago. It's a tiny little agrarian town out by Fresno. A lot of people know it as the location of the Chowchilla Bus Kidnapping (1976) which is a pretty amazing story (especially the part about the bus driver recalling the license plate number of the abductors under hypnosis).

They grow a lot of walnuts and a lot of soybeans (based on what I saw). Downtown there's a great bakery with a huge ceramic oven that the owner told me is at least a hundred years old. The baker gets up at 3:30 every morning to start cooking.

Once a year there's a big speedboat race at a nearby lake.

Chowchilla is also home to two maximum-security women's prisons, including the one that houses California's female death row. That's why we were there.

So while my dad visited his client at the Central California Women's Facility, I walked around town and took a few pictures.

That big green field: those are soybeans, I think.

My birthday cake

Here I am, by the way, with the amazing birthday cake that my neighbor Ashley and her friend Lauren made me. Amazing! No one besides my mother has EVER made me a birthday cake.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Key Project

This is what I'm working on at Fox these days: organizing a sackful of keys into a cabinetful of (labeled) keys.

Yup, I spend a lot of time with keys. Keys keys keys. The other day I spent all day sorting keys, then when I left for the day got all the way to the elevator before realizing I'd forgotten my car keys! Man, we had a laugh about that one.

Ha! Ha. ha. ha.

Oh, boy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good song

Heard this on the radio this morning on the way to work, and thought it was great. Best listened to when driving on a beautiful sunny morning in LA with an ice-cold Red Bull/Halcion.