Friday, December 31, 2010

Lack of Excitement

Hey 2010,

Tale a look at this.

Talking Heads - Burning down the house
Uploaded by Dan_of_the_Land. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

What could be said about this year? Eh, not about that for bold indifference.

Could be worse.

Bring it on 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I Like Certain Dictators..

What happens when you mix the styles of Snoop Dogg...

And the styles, including numerous wigs, of Phil Spector?

While you might end up with the best rap producer of all time, you also end up with the glorious fashions of the great Libyan leader, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. 

All politics aside, you have to admit that the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution is probably one of the best dressed world leaders.  If you put a few sacks of hundred dollar bills, gold bars, and bikini clad women into the photograph above, you would have the makings of a great rap album cover. 

While I don't necessarily want to meet the leader himself, I have to say I have a dude crush on his style. I would love to meet his tailor. I also think it would be a great deal of fun to be there when he meets Kim Jong Il get together and have a naked dictator party. On occasion I hear they invite the pope to discuss how they keep their whites white. Of course, Lil' Kim Il tends to get a little pissy at these gatherings because Muammar has no need for platform shoes. 

Big Pimpin'... Yep, that's what everyone says when Muammar strolls down the streets of Tripoli. And rightfully so. Right now, you know what he is thinking? Muammar is thinking, I am one damn fine pimp and, so throw your hands in the air.

Like I said...Big Pimpin'...

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Every Once In a While...

Ideas run flat...And while posts like this are better suited for the microblog world of Twitter, the figurative plate of life has suddenly become full.

Funny how that works. As the year comes to an end and winter officially drears in, I figure context and perspective is always needed.

So I leave you with a few random images from the Tulean Dispatch, the newspaper published from the interior of the former Japanese American prison camp, Tule Lake.

These pieces of poetry and images are from the Holiday edition of the Dispatch and can only reflect was Christmas and the New Year must have been like behind barbed wire on American soil.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Repeating Images: Two Views of Extinction

My love of taxidermy finds me in conflict with a belief in conversation. While hunting for food is fine with me, hunting for trophy is something I find somewhat troubling. Especially when the beasts that are killed are exceptionally rare.

Take, for instance, this trophy of a black rhino. As a work of art, I greatly appreciate the craftsmanship that went into preparing this mount. But I find it highly unreasonable as an object of sport. Without getting into the politics of it all, the numbers of this species dwindle down to a mere handful and soon it will vanish from the earth.

This imagined mount contrasts as my repeated image as a replica that could fool the untrained eye. While we have never laid eyes on an actual triceratops in real life, we can recreate the musculature of the body from the bare bones and create a reasonable facsimile. The model created, although composed of fiberglass, plastics, and steel and other material evokes the same feel of the rhino mount. 

Do we need a real hide to make a mount? Or can we fabricate the real thing in such a manner to deceive the untrained viewer? While the great white hunter and egoist will always pursue the rare and exploit what will be exploitable, can we placate what them with models? 

If you think about it, good taxidermy is a model of real life--nature preserved in a moment to look still alive. It isn't a dis-articulated skeleton and we know when it looks fake. Perhaps we need life-model-decoys in death.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Some Images Belong on the Side of a Chevy Van...

Who says museum artwork can't kick ass? Because this image of a prehistoric dog attacking a prehistoric antelope with a slingshot-horn on its nose is one of the most METAL things I have encountered ever.

Not only does it scream to be airbrushed on to the side of an upholstered travel van using the the blood of cattle and angle dust, it also has two skulls.... In 3-fucking-D.  The sound of this image is double-kick-drum and bass tuned to D. These are the things that elementary school PTAs try to keep away from neighborhoods if they were found on t-shirts and album covers, but in a museum it is perfectly acceptable. 

Me, I call it magic.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Repeating Images: Bear Skulls and Triceratops Skulls

On my trip to recent trip to Bozeman, I had a few simple goals beyond the one for which I had ventured to the town: see taxidermy, find a comic book store, play some pinball. Of course The comic scene was kind of sad and there was no pinball to be found for miles. Go fig. But I did manage to find some interesting taxidermy mounts. And I saw dinosaurs.

But it was only when I was reviewing my pictures of my venture did I find this odd piece for my occasionally updated theme of "Repeating Images."

The first picture is of various bear skulls from the local hunters of the region. They are neatly displayed mounted in a polite row along a wall in an outdoors store in downtown Bozeman. While it is hard to see, each skull has a number and date on the top written into the skull with dark ink. As far as I can tell, it represents the date of the kill and the statistics of the animal.

The second image is from the Museum of the Rockies and it shows the morphology of triceratops' skulls from adolescence to adulthood. While writing on these fossils is would be forbidden, the paster casts used to preserve these specimen while they are in transport from field to museum or university for study are often scribbled upon with various stats and labels to identify the bones. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Speaking Out...Now Please Shut Up...

While right-wing christian evangelism might seem like a new phenomenon, it has in fact been present for decades. They didn't have the mega-churches they have today. 

I find it funny to think that they relied on the same tactics of leaflets and pamphlets of the Leftist intellectuals and agitators. A few minor changes and this particular pamphlet by Billy James Hargis could pass for an issue of Cometbus. However, the rhetoric would not match up.

So as I head off to a more conservative portion of the country, I have to remember, that I need to keep my smart-ass mouth shut. I could get my butt whooped...For chirst.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Fossil of Oregon...Not Fossil, Oregon

The process of fossilization is a time consuming task that takes millions of years to complete. The basic formula is thus, a carbon based life form dies in some type of muck, and instead of rotting away the more solid parts of the former living item are replaced by mineral deposits. 

In this case a tiny proto-Oregon died and was petrified into a rocky state. It rested undisturbed for millions and millions of years until pesky scientists found this odd fossil and thought, "Hey that looks like a very ancient version of the state of of Oregon..." And thus the scientists chipped this fossil out of rock and hung it up in a museum.

From what we can tell from this fossil of the early form of the state of Oregon, the borders were not well defined. And apparently there was a giant triangle that could we assume to be a primitive version of a mountain inside the this tiny fossil. Unlike dinosaurs and modern day reptiles, this fossil shows how Oregons actually evolved to be much larger than their prehistoric ancestors.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Uncle Sam Fights at Pearl Harbor

A month before the actual attack on Pearl Harbor a coincidental comic was published by the long defunct publisher Quality Comics.

Comic Book Urban Legends posted about this story a while back on Comic Book Resources outlining the story and the odd happenstance of the tale. While the facts of the real event a month later diverge from the fancies of comic writers at the time, it is interesting to see how even then an ominous foresight was at hand. Of course it was the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor and the Spirit of America didn't stave off the attack.

Funny how these things work out.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting For Superman...Wait Not that One...

For today's post, I want to share some interesting pamphlets I found during a late season garage sale.

So for this cold day in December, let's remember what the holiday season is really about...Christian Propoganda.

While children in need of better education standards are waiting for their own Superman, early Christian propagandists/pamphlateers put out desperate cries for their own Superman. I think that they were waiting for Jesus, but who knows. Kind of like waiting for Godot or Guffman, Jesus never seems to be as timely as people seem to want.

But who really needs waiting when you could have "ACTUAL EXPERIENCES." These experiences for young Christian pamphlateers can include the experiences such as highway evangelism, hitch-hiking, and church. Sometimes you can't make these things up, they are just so wonderfully absurdist in their own right. And of course they show their age; no god-fearing contemporary evangelical would venture off of a hitch-hiking trek across town let alone via highway. 

Of course if this is too much for you, target the teen-ager. So Teen-Agers, well, you get the point. Kind of like a sharp stick in a un-lidded eye. Of course, contrary to the cover art, there will be no hand-holding with the opposite sex.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

No Bull...

To hell with a thousand words, sometimes an awkward picture is worth a single blog post.

Note to self-referential self, ask for professional electric massager instead for the holidays.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas

If you're like me, you probably are struggling to find the right gift for the various people in your life. So why not give them the gift of old awkward products from the past?

For Dad and Mom, you can get them this wonderful Two-Speed Massager. Take away all the stress of the work week. Make your scalp feel better. Feel extremely uncomfortable with ungrounded electrical devices meant for "Professional Use."

But since not everyone in the family is a gadget person, perhaps they may be in for a fun game of Bible Lotto. Yes, nothing spells fun like gambling and religion; televangelists have combined the worlds of virtue and vice for years, so why bring the tradition home?

My bet is on loaves and fishes every time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Typography is Important...

Letters are a simple and oft overlooked aspect of life. No, not the postmarked missives that occasionally dot our mailboxes in between bills, catalogs, and fliers for discount carwashes; but the actual characters that form the alphabet.

This can but no more clear than when we place two letters together and they blur creating new and unintended letters. CLi for example have been used recently to form the basis of visual pun of sorts for a British magazine best represented with this image.

Needless to say, I don't think I need to spell out what the visual pun is. Same can be done with typing out the word FLiCK. Basically, this was an old letterers trick in the era of hand lettering in comics. The printing process would often smear the "Li" into a single letter making it appear as a "u" leading to all sorts of fun.

That is why I can't help but think that the following product was an intentional classier attempt at this sight gag:

And this is why I love going to antique shops...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thinkin about Lincoln

I have no idea if  there is a count of presidential statues out there in the world, but I think there must be more depictions of Abraham Lincoln than any of other president of this country.

Portland has it's own statue of Lincoln, unfortunately not shown here in the series of images, showing the long, serious face of the country's leader. As local lore goes, someone once complained to the creator of the local Lincoln's sad look to which the sculptor responded, "He's fighting the civil war..." 

Even when the Gettysburg Address was read, it was generally ignored by the public due to a gentleman setting up equipment to take a photograph of the event. One of America's greatest speeches was upstaged by faddish technology of the era.

Just something to think about...

Some day there might be a statue of Bush the Lesser. And that day will be sad day on which all of the statues of Lincoln will cry copper tears. 
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicago Signs

Presented in no particular order, and with no particular sense of rhyme or reason, are some signs found on various establishments I found fascinating while I was strolling around the neighborhoods of Chicago.

Given that Portland is such a young city in contrast to the rest of the nation, we lack a lot of iconic neon. Interstate Avenue, once the old highway through Portland, had its fair share of motel signs. But in terms of simple business signs, we seem to lack the abundance that can be found in other cities.

I know nothing of the story of this fish.

Here, even the simple font of this Police sign stands out as emblematic. The building itself is older than most establishments in my home town, but the gives off a rough-edge impression of cops wearing crisp blue uniforms walking beats, not the merely sitting in patrol cars drinking coffee. 

And in an age when the "mom and pop" pharmacy is replaced by chain stores and megamarts, it is refreshing to see a strange, yet reassuring message that deliveries, no matter how embarrassing will be made.

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When in Jail...

Explore the history of the jail. Well, that is, if you're not incarcerated and you have the opportunity to see the sites as I had the odd pleasure to do this recent weekend.

Sure you could trade cigarettes for contraband or make hooch out of fruit cocktail, but when there is such a pleasant little collection of a hundred years of history, might as well learn something. At the Washington County Jail, just to the side of the jail's visiting area and a bit beyond the bail payment window, you walk into a wonderful atrium with a nice historical collection.

The pictures display images of the early history of county's law enforcement past. For example, this picture of the first county jail. The structure still stands on the county fairgrounds.

And of course, no jail collection is complete without an antique set of handcuffs and cell key. The fingerprint pad caught my interest. While technology changes, some practices are still the same.

And of course there are the men of law enforcement. 

While I would never have strolled upon this collection under normal circumstances, any chance to spot local collections makes me happy. And to see history and have a recently released inmate ask to borrow your telephone so he can call his buddy to pick him up from the clink is a unique experience as well. 

I don't spend a lot of time in Washington County. In fact, I avoid the place due to the ominous expanse called Beaverton, but there are some fascinating pieces of history in this land. And if you spend time in the local jail, you get to meet the real people of the county as well.