Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Angels in the Architecture

I have often wondered, "How many pins can you stick into the head of a dancing angel?" But of course, such ponderences are idle wandering, especially when one encounters such fine artwork as presented here.

Nothing says neo-classical, rococo painting like a cherub necking with a woman in heaven. And I mean, nothing.

I didn't bother to look for a date or the name of the painter as a good historian should have. Maybe it was because if you look at the placement of the baby angel's right hand, cradling the woman's head, in relation to the rest his body the angle, this arm must have an abnormally long. Proportions do weird things to perception. That angel's right arm would be as long as its legs and torso combined. That's just weird. Well, that and a baby with wings canoodling with a mature woman is a little off as well.

But enough of that. I want to give you something simple to clear your mind. These were removed from chandeliers and aptly labeled on the box.

Nuff said...
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Yard Saling...Odds and WTFrank?

After hearing about the freed plastic horses of Portland, I decided to take one final look around this small yard sale's goods and take a few pictures. Surprisingly, there were a number of interesting objects and knick-knacks.

The hippie's doll collection was quite interesting, though she kept referring to them as her babies and how it broke her heart to sell her babies. This of course added to the humor of selling liberated horses...but I digress. 

She also had a number of nice baskets. Some appeared to be hand-woven; others were manufactured. 

And then there were more dolls.

And then as I moved a few items around, there was this...ummmm...wooden object. A wooden phallus--purpose unknown.  

I managed not to laugh, but I should have asked what it was. Instead, I shall leave it up to people's imagination and retell a story from my mother.

Last weekend she too went off to an estate sale in her neighborhood. My father ventured to the basement to see what was available and she went to see what was upstairs in the house. The first room she entered was filled with gay porn. As she described it, "There were penises everywhere. pointing this way and that, up and down, and men in all sorts of positions. But all of the porno magazines were neatly arranged so you could see everything clearly." She decided to leave the room and venture into the next where one of the estate sale employees was working. The room happened to be free of gay erotic photography, but was filled with holiday ornaments. While my mother is exceptionally open minded individual, the shock of walking into a room filled with gay porn was a bit much and she needed to express as much.
"Wow," she stated out loud to the estate sale worker, "That is a lot of Christmas."
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

All the Pretty Horses

Summer has finally arrived in Portland and that means yard sale season. Today, I happened upon an interesting one worthy of a few photographs I will share in the near future. But first, a bit of back story.

For the past couple of years a number of creative type folks and various copycats around town have been  attaching plastic horses to the remnants of Portland's pre-car past. Throughout the city, if you look at the sidewalks you will see little metal rings, sometimes rusted and mangled with age, affixed to the cement. These were originally intended as hitches for horse, or at least tie-ups for the reigns of people's horses through out town. As sidewalks have been replaced, these have been lost over time, but they are a still common feature of the scenery.

With this history in mind, people were hitching plastic ponies to these old relics adding a bit of humor and color to the normally gray dull city streets.

In my neighborhood there were quite a few of these horses, but someone took offense to these inanimate objects being chained up. As I perused the yard sale today, the woman told me how she liberated all of the horses in the neighborhood. "I can't stand to see an animal chained up. It symbolize all of the animals being oppressed. So I set them free even the plastic ones, because they need to be free too." 

The woman began to get a blissed-out, glassy eyed appearance as she spoke on and on about the horses. And I thanked her for showing me her wares. As I left a simple thought crossed my mind, "You freed these plastic horses so you could sell them...HA!" 
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Friday, June 25, 2010

She's Got Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes...And Her Dress is Made of Silver Dollars. What a Bitch!

There are many reasons why I love the state of Nevada, but I think the garish nature of the state's art makes me the proudest. While Las Vegas has a trashy appeal that I will never understand, they also have a Liberace Museum and the World's Largest and Most Valuable Rhinestone. Think about that phrase for a few moments. And then there is Reno, my place of origin...and I thank my folks for moving to the Pacific Northwest and making me a Portlander at nine-months. And then there is Virginia City where you can find the Silver Lady. This painting contains hundreds of silver dollar coins worth many thousands of dollars and a number of gold coins as well.

To add particular charm to this postcard is the image of the owner of the painting and his wife standing in front of this majestic work of art. The gentleman in the tan suit obviously looks like he hates being there, standing mouth gaping, with a get-off-my-lawn demeanor.

More Nevada Postcards to come in the near future. 
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Picture Postcard Japanese American History

My grandparents were avid collectors of postcards. Most of the cards they acquired are the typical tourist fair, but on occasion, an odd historical oddity appears. The one posted below definitely caught my attention.

The image is of, according to the caption at the bottom corner, is of a Pioneer Japanese Woman's Grave. That is pretty much an accurate description of the image, but a few things catch me off guard with this image and its purpose. The card is an example of a "real photograph postcard." These were non-mass produced images usually taken by individuals and then processed at a local shop which would print their photograph onto the standard postcard size and paper of the era. This style of card was popular from around 1903 to the early thirties.

In an era when "Alien Exclusion Acts" prevented Asians from owning land in California, this image still strikes me as odd. Usually postcards of these types were of local buildings, parades, civic events, or other  historical occurrences, but a grave marker rarely falls into this. My only guess as to the original photographer is that he or she must have been another Japanese individual in the community and that my grandparents purchased the card while in their travels.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When i Think of California...

Most of us have probably played word association games: One person will state a noun, verb, or adjective and we have to state the first thing that comes to mind. When the name California is mentioned, two things always come to mind for me. The first would be palm trees. And for some odd reason, I always associate palm trees with Sacramento and Vallejo. Why those two places? Well, if memory serves correct, the avenues lining the way to the state capital in Sacramento are lined with palm trees. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, such foliage is an oddity. It would be like strolling across a baobab tree in a field of wheat in Ohio; out of the ordinary.

The other thing that comes to mind when I hear the word California is gold miner. Well, technically that is two words, but I will count it as a noun phrase and thus as a unit of one. And in my mind, I like to think that all Californians look like this. From as far north as Weed to all the way down to San Diego, I am certain that all Californians have been out gold panning and have some hidden claim on a river somewhere. Even the fancy Hollywood types have a hidden supply of flannel and denim that they pull out for prospecting.

There was a long period of time, be for the hipster influx to Portland, were the vast population of the United States thought that everyone in Oregon was a logger and wore flannel all year long. And, well, for a long time, people did wear flannel all year long. In fact I have mostly flannel shirts in my closet. Alas, I don't have an axe or chain saw. 
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Sometimes, It's Just Too Easy...

I've met a few Tools in Leather, and I am sure you have as well. Perhaps it was a biker, or maybe it was at a gay bar, or maybe it was a Joey patient wearing over-priced Italian shoes and with a spray on tan that gave him the complexion of a terminal hepatitis who kept talking to you about how he loved drinking Long Islands. 

Just remember, "Working with leather is fascinating and profitable," and opens you up to endless ridicule from your peers. 

Today's Feature: Inappropriately Shaped Rockets

The following image is from an issue of Omega Men, the Artist is Dave Gibbons.

The rocket, is well, one hell of a rocket.

My only question is this: Why the hell do they do this?

Keep reading the Wonderful World of Clutter for future postings of Inappropriately Shaped Rockets over the next few months. 

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Dam It!

Today, I went for a short trip to Oregon City to see the falls and it brought to mind a box of old postcards that I had recently acquired. Included in the collection of aged ephemera were three picture postcards of the damns of Northern California. So presented here are very boring images of the Folsom Dam and the Nimbus Dam.

By no means do they have the magnificence of the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee, or even Bonneville Dam, they just are dams in Northern California. Kind of exciting? 

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Awkward Moments in Super-heroics

The life of a super hero is always challenging. You have to face difficult moral decisions, evil villains who want to kill you and those around you, stop natural disasters, prevent social unrest, and the list could continue ad infinitum. This life is made even more difficult when you are a throw-away character such as Argus. Argus was created in the early nineties during the Bloodlines cross-over in the DC Universe titles. His back-story, and all of the "new blood" characters spawned from this event, were pretty simple--Evil space aliens attacked them and sucked out their spinal fluid to feed their giant "mother-alien", leaving the victims for dead, but also triggering a meta-gene which gave a comicdom select few superhuman powers. Argus got the power of "Argus Vision."

He appears here and there in the Flash books after the events, but mostly has no real role in whatsoever until this tale. Apparently a madman is attacking a fashion show and he has arrived to stop it.

However, his madman is just a kid interested in seeing real-life naked women in real life. And this kid has acquired a special gas-gun that shoots some type of spray that dissolves clothing.


Well, it gets even worse. The kid's mother shows up and protects him from Argus, hiding her own agenda. Apparently the kid's mother is a gun runner of some sort...And very, very evil. Oh and the kid threatens to sue Argus for foiling the plot to disrobe all of the supermodels at the fashion show. 

And of course, to top it all off, Argus was doused in the clothes-dissolving gas which leads to another awkward moment in super-heroics when he has the mandatory exit interview with an ever-present news reporter. 

Now I shall leave you feeling awkward and confused--the same way I felt after reading same comic.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Metamorphosis

This morning my blog woke up and turned into a giant cockroach...wait, dammit Gregor, get away from the keyboard. Okay, so the Wonderful World of Clutter went through a slight change of window dressing today. Hopefully it makes things a little bit more appealling to the masses and to those who want to fill their lives with ephemera, comic book knowledge, bad puns, and paranoid writings about plots by evil simians.

Of note, I have added the "Wonderful World of Clutter Magic Word Finding Machine." Given the broad scope of topics the WWOC has covered over the past year, I figured people my want to have an easier way to refer back to the history of this chronicle to learn about things like prarie dogs, wontons, Sonic Youth, and/or awkward Superman Moments.

So while there have been changes to The Wonderful World, unlike poor Gregor Samsa, I hope they have not landed this blog on its back with its legs sticking up unable to right itself, terrifying family members due to the strange chirping noises it makes from...

I am not a cockroach DAMNIT!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Rainy Day Activity Fun

With the economy as bad as it is these days, you may not have any sheet metal laying around you home for this particular money making activity because you have probably already taken it all to the scrap yard along with your the brass fixtures from the neighbors' house that mysteriously disappeared last week...but we won't worry about that. But, if you do happen to have sheet metal, you can make sharp, pointy animals out of that metal and then decorate your house with these creations.

If you think that this hobby is too archaic to be hip, try and find some brass, make a seagull out of the sheet of brass by modifying the instructions below, and call it "steampunk." Then you will have a gaggle of goth kids flocking to your home to see your creations. Why a seagull? Well, seagulls are more steampunk than horses because by using steam power, horses will be obsolete. Seagulls however will never be obsolete.

Your brass seagull and your cacti garden will make you the favorite of the DIY kids all over the rainy day nation. The steampunk kids will love you, the horticulturists will love you. In fact everyone will love you for you are an industrious creative soul...making seagulls out of brass because it is raining outside.
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Brightest Day Thoughts and General Nerdery

Blackest Night has finally come to an end and what have we learned? Well, I am not quite certain. We still have our Rainbow Coalition of super heroes galavanting around the universe, earth, and other places. "Dead" with a capitol "D" does not mean dead in the DC universe to all of our comic book characters, because we have seen that the White Light can bring little animals back. Ergo, death in comics still means comic book death, in which a character can come back when needed or wanted. And we have also learned that DC Editorial has chosen the worst name possible name for the new source of energy for the White Lantern's source of power: The White Power Battery.

But what else have we learned?

Well, a lot of the problems in the universe come from two alien races: The Zamarons and the Guardians. And one point in history these two lived side by side on the same planet. But way back in history, that changed. The blue-skinned Guardians became blue-skinned and trollish, giving up emotions, hiding their feelings leading to the creation our intergalactic police force we all know so well. But the Zamarons wanted love; so they created Star Sapphire, had the Predator Entity, and some weird BDSM type thing going on.

So the vital lesson of the whole Blackest Night is don't hold in your emotions. And if you are a blue-skin troll-man, and a tall attractive warrior woman is in love with you and your culture...DON"T IGNORE THEM!

Way, way back in the 1980s, there was a comic book event where these two took off to make babies in some hidden dimension. There is only one word to describe this: awkward.

So what does any of this have to do with Brightest Day? Well, I don't think that any of us really have a clue. I have one idea, given that there is a now a White Power Battery, I think that the new White Lantern will be Captain Nazi and the who Brightest Day story arc is leading up to the dystopian future foretold in the pages of the Justice Society's Current story Arc. A more serious prediction has to do with the current collection of major villains resurrected into the DC Universe.

The Anti-Monitor is back; the Hand of Krona made an appearance in Legion; Hawk who transformed into Monarch then Extant is back; Manhunters will be back with Cyborg Superman as their Grandmaster. That makes four major villains of various events running around in some capacity able to cause chaos. And I am pretty convinced that the Time Trapper is out there being devious as well.

So who knows what we will see next summer when Brightest Day ends. Hopefully not a Nazi future. No one likes Nazis.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Delaying Sexual Death...

In our modern world, there is no need to delay sexual death, for with modern medication, your sex life can be practically immortal. If it is dead, it can be resurrected like Frankenstein's monster with a couple of zaps of electricity with pretty much the same gruesome effects. 

Yes, sexual death occurs for everyone. Sometimes it happens swiftly; sometimes it is a slow drawn out process that we try to avoid with pills, porn, and/or prostitutes. According to this little diagram of sexual death, by 90 if your body isn't dead, your pecker probably is past its prime. But is there a way to stop this from happening? Can sexual death be halted?

Well, the illustration above doesn't really tell us how to accomplish such a task, so we must regard it as completely unhelpful. Instead, we have to turn to the best source of information out there tabloid media. It is a proven fact that there are no better ways to learn how to live than by learning by the unfortunate mistakes of celebrities. In this case,  we turn to the life lesson learned from actor David Carradine. If you want to delay sexual death, don't practice auto-erotic asphyxiation. Besides being a very unsexy way to go, auto-erotic asphyxiation really speeds up sexual death and, well, physical death. And in that case no one is a winner. 

Other than that...maybe you can eat oysters or something...I don't know. I think the joke on this post ran out about ten sentences ago. 
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Open Letter to DC Comics: Super Team Proposal

Dear DC Comics,

It has been a long time since I have written any of your staff to provide an idea for a comic book idea, but I have a really great new team book idea that I would like to share with you. It somewhat riffs off of the old New Guardians ideas of the 80s but modernizes them for the new millennium, which is kind of ironic since Millennium is the birth of the New Guardians, but I digress.

China has its super-team, America has numerous teams, Argentina has its own team featured in the Flash Annual a number of years back--but what about the European Union as a whole? They are a powerful federation of nations and they will need protecting when the next villainous threat of "Back-To-Europe American Extremists" start making a claim that Europe rightfully belongs to them in a reverse-nativist land-grab takes place.

But who will be the protectors of Europe? The team I have created is called the European Union Nation's United Coalition of Heroes Society. The EUNUCHS will fight for all of Europe, from Finland to Greece, Ireland to Poland.

In my first story arc, I see the nations forming the team, some stalwarts of past heroic teams will be on this one for example, I see maybe Little Mermaid from Denmark being a central member. But other members will be new and fresh. Hip even. Other members will be from Germany, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Luxembourg.

In the second story arc I envision the team joining the ranks of a time displaced All-Star Squadron to fight Nazis. The EUNUCHS and the ASS will have to figure out a way to trust each other and know that Europe will be safe in the far future when the odd seemed stacked against them.

So there you have it. I think the European Union Nation's United Coalition of Heroes Society will be a top seller.

Thank you,


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meowable Song of the Day: "The Ditty" by Paperboy

I firmly believe that 1992 was the best year for hip-hop and rap music ever. First of all you had Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" representing the Northwest sound, then Gansta Rap breaks through with Dr. Dre's "The Chronic," Arrested Development brings the urban conscious hip-hop to the masses with "Mr. Wendel," and finally, we have this single released by Paperboy.

The Ditty.

One the Wonderful World of Clutter Meowable Song Scale it ranks a 10 for the samples. As for the lyrics...well that is a completely uncharted territory.

Paperboy is a skilled rapper with a very quick lyrical flow, however, I have no idea what he is saying in many instances. Looking at the various lyric sites on the internet, it seems many other are in similar standing to me. Often the transcribed lyrics included bracketed "unverified lyric" or "unknown word" in their words. In one instance a site mistranslated the word prophylactic to a more creative t noun phrase "purple lactic." I am not entirely certain what this is or what is a "purple lactic" would be, but I don't think I would like to meet one, a la Ogden Nash.  Mistranslations aside, as far as I can tell, the lyrics of the song include many references to breakfast foods, and safe sex with prostitutes. Well, whatever works.

I once tried to perform this song at a karaoke bar against better judgement. I have a long standing belief that white people should not attempt to rap at karaoke bars; the same rule should be applied to half-Japanese-half-Irish individuals such as myself because the end result is a tragic mess of slurred words, mumbled awkwardness, and microphone pauses in a bar filled with strangers jeering at bad performers.

So sit back and bob your head to The Ditty

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rainy Day Activity Time: Cacti Gardens

For almost three solids weeks now, Portland has had constant rain. And so, like any industrious Portlander, one has to find things to keep themselves entertained. So I turned to my old 1950s era Money Making Hobbies publication by Popular Mechanics to see what I could during this current deluge of dreariness.

I found this money making activity particularly appealing given the vast amounts of rain we have had: Cacti Gardening.

Pretty straightforward, though I would have to say one of the slower and more boring pursuits one could have. But with a bungalow full of cacti, your damp little home could be a happy hacienda, a casa del cactus...Or just give you the thinly veiled impression that somewhere, more than likely to the south, there is someplace dry enough to grow cacti.

In all honesty, as a child, I even tried this hobby, though not for the pursuit of money. I did learn a few things about cacti. They do need water. They don't need nearly as much water as I had provided them since most seemed to mildew at a certain point of me owning them. And despite what they might say about blooming once a year or so, it never happens. 

So next time it starts raining, and you know that it won't stop for at least a week, try planting a cactus garden. It will give you that south of the border feeling. Or make you feel like your in Arizona, in Oregon, with papers, and without a nagging feeling of getting deported so looking a little bit different.  
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Presented With No Reasonable Explanation...


I will let these pictures tell their own story.

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Contemporary Education or Pop Psychology Get's Popped

A few years ago I took a psychology class. Psychology as a science can be somewhat dubious in nature, I say this not from a space-alien-worshipping-Scientologist-viewpoint, but one that critiques its standing as a "hard science" as compared to biology, physics, and chemistry. Social sciences are fine and dandy, but they lack a great deal of the empirical evidence and use of scientific method in many of their theories/postulations that would give them valid credence. If anything, it is great observation.

So as an observationist, yes I know that is a made up word, I sat in this class knowing it was a farce. The professor didn't teach but read word for word from the text book in a monotone voice. Needless to say, I found myself extremely bored and agitated. I sat there taking notes from the non-lecture lecture and soon found myself not really writing anything important.

Well, I figure it is best for you to read a sample from two pages of one typical day in class...

Of note is the doodle Sperm Whale, Hula Hoops of Death, and occasional cursive writing. Click on the images to enlarge...

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