April 30, 2009

Our President and First Lady

Pencil Pushing

I recently did some small pencil sketches for a commission in San Francisco, but I will restrict my aesthetic comments in favor of the more urgent pencil issues.

Most of the sketches are in pencil, small, and on ordinary sketch paper, or on composition books - as skteches, they are a thinking process and not meant as finished works.

The elaborate ones all used several pencils, sketched in 2h, 3h or 4h, and finished with HB, F or 2Bs, or the Bic, which seems to be a sort of F style.

My primary pencils were:

1) The Bic Disposable 7mm with hexagonal sides. For this most useful of pencils, with a smooth and controllable lead, there is sadly a deterioration of the pencil holder here noticed by many artists of my acquaintance. The original black plastic holders are tighter fitting around the lead, and the mechanism failed less often, the lead not sliding back up into the holder.

Why not a proper mechanical pencil? They are expensive, and you lose them, most are unfortunately round, and I've had trouble finding the right lead anyway. The Bic is the workhorse I carry around- stress free, it comes with 3 rather than 2 leads, and it's mechanism with the thumb click, is superior in practice to other brands; although the lead tends to slip more than in the original design. The hexagonal sides allow your hand to note the position of the wear pattern on the lead- again, an important factor for controlling the line quality in a drawing.

2) A selection of Tombows. Performing without any notable flaw, the Tombows kick some serious pencil ass, laying down a remarkably even tone. But they are almost...too smooth- and they seem have a noticeably different color in the graphite- it reflects differently from lesser pencils, which is fine, unless you're mixing pencils, which I usually do. There might be a little too much wax in the mix for it to be my favorite feel.

3) A Utrecht Surprise- Utrecht's half labeled box O' pencils on the counter. A discount store advertiser, cheaper than their store brand art pencils, the simple fact of the matter is that this was my favorite pencil to use in these drawings. A little chalkier and darker than the Tombow, it's perfect for sketching, absolutely perfect. It comes in 2, nothing else. It's 50 cents. That's it. Like it or leave it. It's round and I still like it.

4) Old American Dixons- I had some Ticonderoga's "Extra-hard", good for the first light lines in the design. Solid pencil and really, really hard, with dense wood as well. I will miss these, and the cheerful yellow and green design.

5) De Staedlers, the go-to art pencils, they are like Mercedes: Great, it's great, fantastic, so well done. That much, huh? What else you got?

A noted truth: Paper is the on other side of pencils, and the selection of your paper should really determine your choice of pencil. On my cheap composition books, the Bic is a total pleasure. On good high linen content separate sheet acid free drawing paper, I would go for De Staedler normally, although I might just sink 5 bucks into this weird Utrecht off brand. For a quick sketch on decent drawing paper pads, perhaps Tombow. And all of this depends on the paper's "tooth," or the aggressiveness of the texture.

The Supreme Court to the Rescue

Dr. X posts this from his fucking house:

"The Supreme Court has ruled that even a single expletive in a television broadcast can result in a fine. The consequences of this are incalculable. Consider this modification to an upcoming episode of my pilot, Young / Mad / Crazy, an action-dramedy targeted for Fox:
[Leonard aims the flamethrower at Wanda and Pearl as Rocko looks on. Cut to Pearl noticing that Leonard is standing right under the emergency chemical shower. Pearl looks meaningfully at Wanda. Wanda distracts Leonard by kissing Pearl while Pearl throws the switch to 'inundate'. Before Leonard can recover his equilibrium, they taser him to death.]

Rocko: Damn.

"Obviously this will have to be rewritten. The current draft, which I have not yet approved, goes like this:

[Leonard aims the flamethrower at Wanda and Pearl as Rocko looks on. Cut to Pearl noticing that Leonard is standing right under the emergency chemical shower. Pearl looks meaningfully at Wanda. Wanda distracts Leonard by kissing Pearl while Pearl throws the switch to 'inundate'. Before Leonard can recover his equilibrium, they taser him to death.]

Rocko: Golly!

"This used to be a free country."

April 29, 2009

Pencil Porn

Two sets of California Republic Palomino pencils just arrived (6 HB w/erasers, 6 2B w/o). Some have touted it as the heir of the legendary Blackwing 602. Expect a full report in the near future.


The only solution is to raise Awareness.
People are not Aware.
We can change this. Yes.
We, ourselves together, can raise Awareness.

Door-to-Door and screen-to-screen shall we tirelessly travail,
Nose-tips bobbing in social engagement,
Raising Awareness.

Awareness, well, right now it's here.
Not very much is it?
But it can be up here! Imagine!
If we only lose our reticence,
And speak our minds,
And begin the conversation,
Awareness will grow like blossoms on the dogwood.
Awareness will multiply like Swami Flu,
Hand-to-heart and mouth-to-mouth,
A pandemic of enlightenment.

Awareness will spread like the
Rich Raspberry Jam of Truth on the
Oft-Buttered Toast of Consciousness.

Man to Woman, Woman to Man,
Woman to Woman, Bro to Man,
Girl to Butterfly, Woman to Cat,
Boy to Lego Man, Cat to Other Cat
The Awareness shall spread,
And all shall become possible.

Let fly the pamphlets and press kits,
Let sing our experts,
Let the echos of our message
Nibble the soft ears of the Unaware.

Ignorance- No More!
Foolishness- Erased!
Isolation and Fear - eradicated, step by mindful step!

Yes. It is the way, the path.
Raise Awareness we must.

Now, we have only to decide
Of what
To become Aware.

April 28, 2009

From Auschwitz to Provence

Message found in a bottle from Auschwitz mentions this fellow, who is now giving interviews. Two morals:

1) Even in Hell, it is possible to have a voice.
2) In extremis, throw your lot in with the Poles.

Sets the Schaudenfreudanator to Kill

Arlen Specter becomes a Democrat.

, bitches.

April 26, 2009

In these challenging times

Dr. Kapital posts this from a Tony Robbins seminar in Berne:

"These are challenging times, especially for successful financial services executives and their wives. Here are some economizing tips for you and your newly-disgraced friends:
  • "The Mirado Black Warrior is a manageable extravagance - a subtle way to let your cellmate know you are down, but not out. And it doubles as a shiv, if it comes to that...
  • "If you've been spending your TARP money down at Starbucks, several hundred million pissed-off countrymen would like a word with you. As you beat your retreat, may I suggest a more economical office coffee machine - perhaps a Nespresso, which comes with its own aspirational lifestyle magazine. You'll need the milk frother, too...but you can hide that in the postage budget.
  • "Ah, so that Russian website downloaded more than entertainment, and annihilated your laptop? Not to worry - get an Ubuntu Netbook. They say Ubuntu's user interface is just as slick as Apple's or Microsoft's. It's not, but no one will know because only you will have it. It's cheap, and it (mostly) works. No, it doesn't play games! May I remind you: you took U.S. government money.
  • "If it has come to that, and you cannot afford a new PC, go retro and make a commitment to superior design: get yourself a Palm Pilot. It has most of the advantages of an iPhone (its calendar actually works), without the annoying monthly bill from the phone company. No, it doesn't run Facebook or play Hannah Montana songs. But then again, who would want to?
  • "If you're like most rich people, you've followed Barton Biggs' advice and procured a secure, inconspicuous, defensible place in the country where you can wait things out. But ammunition is so expensive! Here's a hint - use the cheap stuff. It's just as good."

April 25, 2009

Seahawks get LB Aaron Curry

This is a good thing. Curry wasn't expected to be available at #4, but the Chiefs unexpectedly took DE Tyson Jackson at #3, opening the door for Seattle. Scouts Inc. graded Curry #1 overall in this year's draft. Reportedly, he has a sterling character and work ethic. Get ready for Tatupu to be the second-best linebacker for the Seahawks.

Cue highlight video:

The bad news: Michael Crabtree went to the 49ers after the Raiders incomprehensibly passed him over.

The Seahawks traded their second-round pick (#37) for Denver's first-round pick next year, which makes absolutely no sense for the Broncos, as they are gonna suck this year.


Seattle traded back into the second round (again, with Denver) to pick C Max Unger at #49. For this, they gave Denver their 3rd and 4rth round picks this year. BTW: Unger was a player Seattle was originally looking to take at #37 (until Denver made them an offer they couldn't refuse), so essentially Seattle traded their 3rd and 4th round picks this year for a first round pick next year. Here's a good analysis of Unger and how he will fit in at Seattle.


Reportedly, Unger was an art major at U of Oregon.


April 24, 2009

Bill Maher Time

...Look, I get it, "real America." After an eight-year run of controlling the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, this latest election has you feeling like a rejected husband. You've come home to find your things out on the front lawn -- or at least more things than you usually keep out on the front lawn. You're not ready to let go, but the country you love is moving on. And now you want to call it a whore and key its car.

That's what you are, the bitter divorced guy whose country has left him -- obsessing over it, haranguing it, blubbering one minute about how much you love it and vowing the next that if you cannot have it, nobody will.

But it's been almost 100 days, and your country is not coming back to you. She's found somebody new. And it's a black guy.

Bio Blurb for Dr. O's Latest Book: Lamb Shanks For the Wounded Heart With Mint

Lamb Shanks for the Wounded Heart With Mint is Dr. O's latest uplifting and inspirational collection of wisdom for overcoming sadness with happiness, and defeating loss with triumph.
He occupies a unique place in American literaprose as the stylistic innovator who "practically invented the Nihilistic Self-Help section," according to Maya Angelou, with the book The You Are a Noble Gas Diet.

7th son of Ambassador Bill Chiclets, the French Ambassador under Truman who had proposed the invasion of Ottawa late in World War II, he first came to national prominence when he published May Thine Llama Wilt Thither, an psychotropic account of his youthful travels around Peru with only a trained support support team of only 47 including at most three caterers. This was soon followed by n!, the true story of bringing polynomials by camel train to Krygykystan.

Although these adventures soon exhausted the Chiclets fortune, Dr. O, who received his Phd from Harvard in Women's Studies and spent 10 years conducting medical experiments for the government before the investigation, hit it big in the chick-lit field with "Luna Finds Herself Locked" and "Girl, He Finds You Terribly Unattractive."

Dr. O is the author of many works including Mamasita, Anon! and It was a Smoldering, Twisted Burning Wreck Spewing Toxic Waste When I Laid Down Upon It. Dr. O holds the record for appearances on Oprah without getting his own talk show, although he was recently featured in Oprah magazine's special O section on prominent Os. Most recently he wrote the final episode of the cable hit "Misplaced." He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children and a large troop of rescue monkeys.

April 23, 2009

And Now a Word From Our Only Sponsor

Paintings, purchase, rental and pricing information are now available at Jamie.Bollenbach.googlepages.com, here.

Yes, that's full retail.

April 22, 2009

Bio Blurb for the Laird's Latest Work, My Quiet, Noble Struggle With Nut Cancer

My Quiet, Noble Struggle With Nut Cancer (Meine Verkehrsarm, Edlen Kampf mit Mutter Krebs), is the 45th of the Laird's autobiographical works, books that have entertained, alarmed, inspired and confused a generation, particularly of Germans, from his first work, Shoving in A Clue, to 1989's NYT best seller, Additional Hats Beneath My Hat, to the book that changed urban duck hunting forever, What's Your Problem?

While most people have only one autobiography in them, Laird's annual autobiographies are anticipated by his legions of adoring, loyal fans, the Millionentreuenliebenswertenfans who once a year gather in Baden-Baden to celebrate the release of his latest work, which often takes nearly a year to write. Since 1998 when I Fear Very, Very Few Men was published, the event has been televised on Zweites Deutsches Fernsen; at its peak, when the lager has been well-distributed by the beloved blond Bierhündinnen in their native De Stihl uniforms, the Laird himself addresses the crowd on an enormous screen from his 35,000 acre emu ranch in Southwest Oregon, reading selections from Repetitions of Significant Accomplishments, the hit of the 1992 Vienna Biennialle, and Timeless Glories of 5.

My Quiet, Noble Struggle With Nut Cancer covers the period where he had cancer of the nuts and then heroically beat it by repeatedly lying down on cold metal tables, waiting in depressing, appalling decorated rooms, arranging to pay doctors large amounts of money, and suffering. It sold out its first two german language runs before it was even finished. Der Spiegel said "his struggle makes Lance Armstrong appear to be some sort of yankee doodle buffoon. By comparison with Laird's soaring example of iron spirit, what was the point of bike-boy even having cancer in the first place? Was obtaining access to the inside of Sheryl Crow's admittedly well-fitting pants really worth it?"

When not at his emu ranch, or with his wife, Lady Wife, Laird maintains a estate in Marin county, where he produces a rare bourbon whiskey, "Nutstrong Sour Mash Process." He is expected to make a full recovery in time to write next year's work, The DMV Archipelago.

Nice person or ass kisser?

What's the difference between a nice person and an ass kisser?

A nice person is nice to everybody.

An ass kisser is only nice to people he has to be nice to.

I'm looking forward to this decision

The Supreme Court is deciding whether strip searching high school kids for ibuprofen is ok.

I'm sure Scalia and Alito are on board, and Roberts has a thing about letting police do things to bad little girls. From a PBS briefing:

[In one] case, Hedgepeth v. WMATA, Roberts voted along with the other judges to uphold the arrest, handcuffing and detention of a 12-year-old girl for eating a French fry inside a D.C. Metrorail station.

"No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation," Roberts said, according to the Legal Times, but he ruled that the police did not violate the girls' Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights.

Because if you let little girls do anything they want, they're bound to become vectors for terrorism (or dancing).

I know I shouldn't, but I can hardly wait to read Scalia's insane reasoning on the strip search decision. Of all the Supreme Court decisions we will see, I think this one will have the best chance of using the term "vagina bomb." C'mon guy, don't let us down!

April 21, 2009

Suddenly, it all makes sense...

...doesn't it?

Huffington Post: Harsh Interrogation Tactics Used To Try To Find Iraq-al Qaida Link

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

"While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

Why the Huffington Post is namby-pamby-ing around with "harsh interrogation techniques" is, at this point, beyond me. The U.S. tortured people to get them to say what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney wanted to hear. Count me as one Obama voter who is not satisfied with "looking forward." I want these assholes behind bars.

Gimme Five!

I told Corresponding Secretary that she'd never find it, but she proved me wrong.

Ladies and gentlemen: give it up for the Lovers of Five!

Lovers of 5

With the NFL draft just four days away, my head says: "pick an offensive lineman," but my heart says "pick Michael Crabtree":

(Too bad he's "too short" and "too slow" to be an impact player in the NFL -- LOL, are you FREAKIN' KIDDING ME???)

I guess from now on, John Yoo will be Teaching his Dictatorial View of the Executive Branch up at the Statesville Prison.

Obama opens the door to prosecutions of the lawyers who did their best to rot out American liberty at the deepest level. Will John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales go up the river for legal cover for torture under the Bush Administration? Side note: Ted Ullyot, general counsel for Facebook, and former chief of staff to the Justice Department under Gonzales, might want to friend his criminal defense contacts.

Regarding a Question of Enlightenment

Painters will tell you of an interesting phenomenon: A single mark against a canvas creates the illusion of infinite space in relation to that mark. Once that happens, you may add more marks, more little shapes: hundreds and thousands of complex relationships of light, illusion, space and stuff. Each of these represent choices, often technically difficult ones, and in excellent paintings, complex choices rich with emotional and intellectual challenge.

But you can add more, and more and more. The space of the painting cannot really be filled. Once the spatial illusion exists, the horror vacuui, the fear of the emptiness, an art term meaning a push to add material to fill all the empty spaces, can not really be eradicated.

But without that first mark, that thing by which the space is seen in relation, the infinity does not exist.

All of this]of course is the mirror of the human mind. A painting is mud on a board, but one that serves as an active mirror of consciousness. The "I am" is necessary to recognize infinity, and I think, enlightenment, whatever form that might take.

April 20, 2009

Those racist Americans

I had lunch today with an old friend, and we couldn't think of any nation other than the U.S. whose current head of state is not a member of the largest ethnic group in that country. Historically we came up with Disraeli and Fujimori.

Here are the current G-20 - it turns out there are a couple, but none except us among the 'Great Powers':
  • Country - Most common ethnicity, ethnicity of leader. Got it?
  • Argentina - 86% of population of European descent, so is their Palin-like President
  • Australia - 90% of European descent, as is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
  • Brazil - 50% white, President is Lula who - well, I can't tell. He blames recent developments on "white people with blue eyes", so I guess he isn't one.
  • Canada - Very White, Very White.
  • China - Han, Han (ok, I'm guessing, but he doesn't look Zhuang or Manchu to me)
  • France - French White, French White (can't tell if he's Roman, Celt, or Gaul, but he's definitely white).
  • Germany - German, German
  • India - Not Sikh, Sikh. Whoa.
  • Indonesia - Javanese, Javanese (pretty sure)
  • Italy - Italian, Italian
  • Japan - Japanese, Japanese
  • Mexico - Mexican, Mexican
  • Russia - Russian, Russian
  • Saudi Arabia - Arab, Arab
  • South Africa - South African, South African
  • Turkey - Turkic, Turkic (reformed Islamist)
  • U.K. - English, German
  • U.S. - Ta-Da!
I'm looking forward to the day we see an Algerian head of state in France, or an Uzbek at the Kremlin. Until then, the ROW can have a big cup of STFU.

April 19, 2009

Teenage Kicks for the new millenium

Dr. X posts this from Soapland:

"These kids today. Their music is crap. But once in a while, a glimmer of light. A critic gets one 'I heard it on my car radio and was so moved I pulled over and cried' in his life. This is not mine, but I sure liked it."

"Upon further review this band rules. As usual I may be am the last person on earth to have noticed them - Mothersbaugh uses them as the hold music for his phone system . Here are two more:
"As they say in the military intelligence, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. This band is real."

[Update Update]
"This one's good, too. Of course the acid test is live...Oh Christ..."

April 18, 2009

Notes in preparation for a conversation about actors

Can never keep Kevin Kline and Jeremy Irons straight. Let's see...is Kline is the American who got his Oscar from a British movie, or is that Irons is the Brit who got his Oscar from an American movie...? All I know is my girlfriend in the 80s dug them both. A few notes if you are ever caught in a conversation about the two of them (you can access this from your iPhone while pretending to do drugs in the bathroom).

Born, active since
Irons - 1948, 1971
Kline - 1947, 1972

Long married to...
Irons - Sinead Cusack
Kline - Phoebe Cates

Irons - no
Kline - yes

Breakthrough stage role?
Irons - Godspell
Kline - The Pirates of Penzance

Academy Award?
Irons - yes, Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune
Kline - yes, Best Supporting Actor, A Fish Called Wanda

Irons - yes, The Real Thing
Kline - yes, The Pirates of Penzance

Irons - yes, Elizabeth I
Kline - no (ah HAH!)

Famously discriminating about his roles?
Irons - yes, "because I'm now successful, what I'm being offered as an actor is more and more of the same."
Kline - Reputedly nicknamed "Kevin Decline" in the industry.

Irons - "I constantly experience failure in that my work is never as good as I want it to be. So I live with failure. What buoys you up? The people who you have deceived who think you are great and congratulate you on things. Of course, you know there is no good or bad basically. And that gives you comfort when you read terrible reviews."
Kline - "I've never felt completely satisfied with what I've done. I tend to see things too critically. I'm trying to get over that. I've got the Jewish guilt and the Irish shame and it's a hell of a job distinguishing which is which."

Modus operandi
Irons - " I think I would not be described as a character actor in that I don't take on characteristics which are very alien to me. "
Kline - Q: "Is it hard playing gay?" A: "No. I just think of all the men as women."

I hope this proves as useful to you as it has been to me.

I have been giving this talk quite a bit lately


(We'll see if the hotlink holds - if so, thanks to Douglas Scott Adams for allowing it to.)

April 17, 2009

What an interesting fellow

I took notice of A.J. "Freddie" Ayer twice during my college career, on both occasions because a close friend undertook an energetic denunciation, the point of which was, if I heard correctly, that one ought not to take Wittgenstein's Tractatus too literally.

Some things I hadn't know about Ayer:
  • At age 77 he intervened to prevent Mike Tyson from raping Naomi Campbell.
  • He liked the ladies, and they liked him back. He had four wives, and his biographers have so far accounted for a couple dozen lovers. One of them said "girls came and went, or came and stayed. Progressively I became a part of a trio, a quartet, a quintet and sextet (plus Renee). All the ladies knew about me, I knew all about them, but none of them knew about each other."
  • He watched a lot of Buster Keaton.
  • His first book was a hit. In the preface to a later edition he wrote "I understand this book has maintained high popularity, for reasons not wholly related to merit."
  • He once choked almost to death - his heart was supposedly stopped for about four minutes. He recalled being comforted engaged in conversation by some kind of non-empirical being, manifesting itself as a red light. He commented that "my recent experiences, have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death ... will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be."

For the record

The story of recording Heroes, as told by co-producer/engineer Tony Visconti to Sound on Sound magazine. One of many interesting bits:

"David likes to do these backing tracks, he gets very enthusiastic about them," Visconti explains, "but we send the band away very quickly and maybe keep a person like Carlos [Alomar] for an extra day or two so that we can double-track some of his parts. With 'Heroes', on the other hand, we built the track over the course of an entire week of careful overdubbing. For instance, Brian [Eno] brought his EMS Synthi with him, which is a synthesizer built in a briefcase, and it has no real keyboard — it's got a kind of flat, plastic keyboard which Brian very rarely used. He used the joystick a lot, and the oscillator banks, and he would do live dialling — they look like combination-safe rotary knobs on the three oscillator banks. Brian goes down on record as saying that he's a non-musician — he even tried unsuccessfully to have that listed as his occupation on his British passport — and, like David, he thinks very radically and from a completely different space.

All facets are covered in detail, including what to do if you are stuck in cold-war-era Berlin without a cowbell and you, well, need more cowbell.

[When] the two men wanted to add a cowbell and didn't have one immediately to hand, they sufficed with an empty tape reel of the German variety; a metal plate on which the tape basically sits. The echoey result of David Bowie and Tony Visconti alternately bending it out of shape with a drumstick was achieved not using artificial reverb, but by miking it in the large room at Hansa.

I'm not an audiophile, but I'm guessing that even if Heroes isn't one of the best songs ever written (according to the story, it was barely "written" at all), it may rank as on of the most interesting recordings made in the analog era. Again, a guess: if one is inclined to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to listen to vinyl, the artistry of the recording is probably as important as the artistry of the composition and performance recorded.

Keek ball, geet check

Ronaldo shows you how.

Bullet Time is history

Bio Blub #4

For the Corresponding Secretary's Latest Collection, The White Girl Is On the Move

Unusual for a world-renowned American author, Ms. Secretary has read even more books than she has written. And indeed, she is prolific. In some airports, bookstores carry only her books. Interestingly, these works are Utah's sole economic export.

In a now legendary incident, Gore Vidal once wryly remarked that she "makes Steven King look like Harper Lee." Ms. Secretary retorted at Vanity Fair event that if Vidal "keeps being this wry he'll be toast. " Later, charges of assault leveled against her by Mr. Vidal were dismissed due to the last minute recanting of the victim's statement.

Her family had some hard times. Raised in a christmas wrapping tent by the side of the road with 38 siblings, they subsisted mostly on donated leaves with occassional cannibalism on Thanksgiving. After once finding a lipstick case, she wrote her first 800 page work, " I Looked Up And Saw Santa Claus," a sentimental work of home life written literally on her sisters Mae, Jenny, Lilly-Mae, Candy-Mae, Soda-Mae, and her favorite sister, I Ain't Filling Out No Goddamn Government Paperwork Again.

The scholarship to Oxford, arranged by her first husband, a back-alley podiatrist, set her up with a meeting with King Lombatu of the Ivory Coast, who was so charmed that he misappropriated the entire year's public health budget to fly her to Manhattan for that fateful meeting at the New Yorker, the subject of her first blockbuster essay, "I Don't Get It."

Her many novels in English include "Loathing Austria, " "Shoe Seam Serenade", "Potty-Mouth of the Last Frontier," "Interests Among Emma," "A Minute of Your Divinity," "The Vulgar Boatmen," "A Coal Miner's Daughters' Bat Mitzvah, " and a horror novel, "The Seedling;" biographies including ""Steven Fry in the Ointment," and a collection of 15890 Poems, "An emotion doth rise anew/ as a layered onion in beef stew."

This collection of her most recent 57 novels and 1692 short stories is now available on audio cassette, recorded by the actress Lauren Bacall 7 hours a day between the years 1983 and 2008.

More Backjacket Flap Bio Blurbs

For Popmonkey's latest work, Traditional A.I./Robot Cooking of Tuscany

This is a marvelous introduction to the world of robot-prepared Tuscan rustic cooking, ready for the kltuziest home chef! The idea came from Mr. Popmonkey's early innovation of adapting the Pentagon's robot hunter-killer AI code to target delicious estate grown olive oil and the finest Roventini from the very freshest organic pig's blood. He shows you how, with a little code and a lot of love, your robot can make you think your Tuscan villa is home to a bleeping Italian chef convention.

Long rumored to be an escaped Browser War criminal, Mr. Popmonkey's controversial defense of his life during those years, The Great Netscape, was banned in his native Andora, his native Madagascar and his native Redmond, Washington. After a successful stint in the black market software trade wind-surfing illegal Mexican computer code across the Gulf of Leyte, he later burned a Moldovan general on a coke deal, kidnapping his daughter, a noted actress and neurologist whom he both later married and received an experiment pre-frontal lobe replacement operation, er, from.

Best known to world movie audiences as the "Art-House Mel Gibson," Popmonkey's many movies include the extremely thrilling independent action thrillers "Tatya, I Remember Only the Blood," "Ambiguity IV: The Exploder," and a marginally successful Venezualan comedy, "O, Je-Je!"

His several novels include A Dagger of Borscht, Two Dumps in the Fountain, and a work of poetry, "Behold, for I am Gdansk." His non fiction works include "Delusions of Grand Rapids," "Home Surimi Pre-Processing," as well a successful cookbot, the Batalli 9347L7, Model "B."

April 16, 2009

And Now Your Latest Book's Back Jacket Flap Bio Blurb

For Dr. X's Latest Work, Capital Swap

Among the best-known celebrity ontological positivists on the world talk-show circuit, three time ASP world surfing champion Dr. X wowed the world in 1989 with his publication in the journal Chemical Physics describing "Tepid Fusion." While the technology did not bear out, the mathematics were later used by unscrupulous Ukrainian monks to create a remarkably creative range of financial products, sold under the trade name "Solid Mortgages." Dr. X's exploits running guns, salt and investment capital between Chad and Fiji lead to both a fascinating New York Times series and the famous Senate hearings. His many works include papers on musiconomics, the infamous New Yorker piece "Urkel Agonisties," bipolar ostrich farming, potato physics and the play Wittgenstein on Smack, which won a Tony for Most Enlightening Musical.

Capital Swap is his first historical romance novel, called by Kirkus Reviews "The most deft combination of derivative analysis, rich Malthusian characterization and bodice-busting cleavage action we've ever seen." He lives in the Bay Area in the Mies Van Der Rohe home known as "The Gray Cube, " the famously rigorous cube of slightly-grayed glass, and nothing else, with his wife and children, who also wear slightly-grayed, square fiberglass clothes at all times.

He also wrote the ubiquitous introductory textbook for Business majors, "Take in Money Good, Spend Too Much Money Bad," available, now on sale, for $783.99 everywhere where fine textbooks, cases of Red Bull, and Axe personal care products are sold.

For the Viceroy's Latest Work, Situation: Understated!

The Viceroy is a world-renowned author best known for his Novel "Dr. Neutrino in Love" and a poetry collection, "Down the Stairs With Apple Cobbler Did I Trip." An accomplished musician who directed the Vienna Sousaphone and Glockenspiel Trance Orchestra in the early 2000s, he holds world records for Atomic Wedgies and Most Sanskrit Shipping Manifests translated in a 24 hour period. He is also beloved for breeding the pot-bellied elk, a charming addition to any home.

His 53 Books include the "Situation: Space Murder!" series with the irascible alien Police Lieutenant Jon Spencer-8Q97!x!*, O.B.E., and non-fiction works from "The Eight Thai Brides of Karl Rove" to "The Big Book of Unusual Carpet Stains." He is happily married and lives on a private, uncharted artificial island off the Olympic Pennisula, where he raises his dog, Kenai, and breeds ever-smaller elk.

April 15, 2009

When 85/100 sucks

Dr. X posts this from Sound Chamber #9:

"I enjoyed this encounter with an audiophile from Gizmodo.

"But isn't this just quintessentially American? One pays $350,000 for a stereo, and then listens...to David Bowie? And from the David Bowie oeuvre, one chooses 'Heroes'? (With apologies to the President in Exile.) It just seems to play into the hands of our European critics.

"Bowie's work looms large, by the way, in my upcoming lead article for the Journal of Quantitative Musicology, which empirically derives an efficient frontier of art vs. popular appeal. Optimality is described as maximization of A relative to P, after, of course, deducting a penalty for the risk-free level of artistic achievement. The referees have already been very kind, so I anticipate a warm reception upon publication.

"I would like to post more, but I have purchased a $6,000 food processor and am looking forward to using it to make a cheese sandwich."

April 14, 2009

Constitutional law, Texas style

A breathtaking display.

Cost of ignorance

This from Reuter's suggests that Saudi Arabia is paying the price for an educational system (and culture) based on religious fundamentalism.

The English-language Saudi Gazette newspaper said some buyers were willing to pay up to 200,000 riyals ($50,000) for an old Singer sewing machine proven to contain red mercury.
Mobile phones are supposedly employed as instruments to prove the existence of the phony substance. Popular belief in the Middle East has it that it can help uncover hidden gold treasures, though there are other theories which say it can be used to create a nuclear bomb.
"If the line cuts off when the telephone is placed close to the needle ... that proves the existence of the substance," Saudi Gazette said.

April 13, 2009

Did we mention not to fuck with us?

Three shots, three dead men. From boats, in the dark.  Only could have been better if the Seals had been using six shooters recommeded by John Taffin.

Book plug

This is a fun read. Website here.

April 12, 2009


Scurvy dogs sent to Davey Jones' locker.

Or the modern equivalent, no doubt involving SEALs, snipers and SCUBA suits.

It does make me wonder what sort of tactics, training and squads they've developed for this and if we'll see improvements in the future.

April 11, 2009

Writing goodly

Denunciation of Strunk & White is here, and there can be found an enjoyable Fark thread.

A light little poem has been written by me in response, although a bit of influence from Hillaire Belloc is acknowledged.

Remote and ineffectual Scot
That dared attack my Strunk & White,
With that poor weapon, half-impelled,
Unlearnt, unsteady, hardly held,
Unworthy for a tilt with men –
Your quavering and corroded pen;
Scot poor at Bed and worse at Table,
Scot pinched, Scot starved, Scot miserable
Scot stuttering, Scot with dirty looks,
Scot nervous, Scot pitching his book;
Scot clerical, Scot ordinary,
Scot self-absorbed and solitary;
Scot here-and-there, Scot epileptic;
Scot puffed and empty, Scot dyspeptic,
Scot middle-class, Scot sycophantic,
Scot dull, Scot brutish, Scot pedantic;
Scot hypocritical, Scot bad,
Scot furtive, Scot three-quarters mad;
Scot (since a man must make an end),
Scot that shall never be my friend.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Scot different from those noble Scots
With hearts of gold like Sir Lancelot,
Who shout and bang and roar and bawl
The Invisible Hand across the hall,
Or sail in amply billowing gown
Enormous through the Sacred Town,
Bearing from Edinburgh to their homes
Deep cargoes of gigantic tomes;
Scots admirable! Scots of Might!
Uprising on my inward sight
Full of energy and derring-do,
Winners of the field at Waterloo.
Scots valiant worthy of the land;
Scots rooted; Scots that understand.
Good Scots perpetual that remain
A landmark, above the plain –
The horizon of my memories –
Like large and comfortable trees.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Scot very much apart from these,
Thou scapegoat Scot, thou Scot devoted,
Scot to thine own damnation quoted,
Perplexed to find thy trivial name
Reared in this verse to lasting shame.
Scot dreadful, rasping and wearing,
Repulsive Scot past all bearing.
Scot of the cold and doubtful breath,
Scot despicable, like Macbeth;
Scot nasty, skimpy, silent, level;
Scot evil; Scot that serves the devil.
Scot ugly – that makes fifty lines.

There is a Canon which confines
A Rhymed Octosyllabic Curse
If written in Iambic Verse
To fifty lines. I never cut;
I far prefer to end it – but
Believe me I shall soon return.
My fires are banked, but still they burn
To write some more about the Scot
That dared attack my Strunk & White.


Yesterday afternoon we went to a wedding at a winery in Livermore (beautiful place with an interesting history).

As the officiant went through the vows with the bride and groom a couple of fighters roared over, drowning him out. He has to pause for a minute or so until they went away.

Twenty years ago I was in a garden in Thalwil, Switzerland, helping a friend with his weeding. A military jet was orbiting in the clear afternoon sky.

"The Army...has too much money," he muttered.



Time traveler cheat sheet

Hang this up in your time machine.

April 10, 2009

Laird: "I invite all Republicans to teabag me"

Rachel Maddow almost kept a straight face for a couple of seconds during this segment:

April 09, 2009

Who's with me?!

For every problem, there's a Libertarian solution.

Oddly, I find myself actually agreeing with this one for the pirate problem.

A plague O' Both Your Houses

..ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I
am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o'
both your houses!

77 Year old woman misses d20 saving throw vs. crazy relatives

I've found the first film for my re-education camp.


Plus it gets bonus points for the Kirbyesque art.

April 08, 2009

London Times: Pirates Overboard

In the best news story ever, an American-flagged (!) cargo ship crew has retaken the vessel from the pirates who took her and tossed them in the water.

It was the mark of the degradation of America during the Bush years that PIRATES became a problem again. PIRATES!

And now: All Hands on deck! Clear for Action! PREPARE TO REPEL BOARDERS!!! Don't Give Up the Ship!! HAHA!! We have just begun to fight!! Ten gold sovereigns and a barrel of Jamaica rum for every pirate in the water!! HA! A souvenir of the ship, dog, you won't be needin' that paw where you're going! Blue Bill, Look lively there! You've got a spare ear, stop yer blubbering! Say Ahoy to ol' Jack Death, Ye lubberly blackguards! Seize their breeches to the mizzen stays and hoist em by the small clothes! To the DEEP NINES WITH YE, YE SCABBY SEA-JACKALS!

Huzzah, M/V Maersk Alabama! Huzzah!

My enjoyment of this story is total. Well done, universe!

April 07, 2009

The Next Seahawk

The NFL draft is under three weeks away. Thanks to their (lousy) 4-12 finish, the Seahawks has the #4 pick, after Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

The Lions are expected to take the top QB in the draft, Matthew Stafford, but many commentators I read expect them to do something smarter, like take the top offensive tackle, Jason Smith, or trade down to get more picks. The problem with trading down is not deciding you want to do it, but finding someone to take the other side of the trade. Draft picks and number-one-overall-pick deals are very expensive, and return on investment is far from a sure thing (especially if the player picked is a quarterback).

If the Lions don't take Jason Smith, the Rams almost certainly will at #2. They just parted ways with future-Hall-of-Famer left tackle Orlando Pace.

I don't think I've seen a mock draft that doesn't have linebacker Aaron Curry, the top defensive player, going to the Chiefs at #3. The only thing that could fowl this up for KC is if somebody trades ahead of them to pick Curry, but teams rarely demonstrate that much desperation for a linebacker.

This brings us to the Seahawks. Seattle has demonstrated some interest in Stafford, and picking Stafford makes a certain amount of sense, depending on how many more years Hasselbeck can play. They've also shown interest in Mark Sanchez, considered the second best quarterback in the draft.

I can't dismiss the possibility of the Seahawks taking a QB at #4, but I am skeptical that their interest in these guys isn't to promote the value of the pick to a team they might trade down with -- a team that is more desperate for a quarterback than Seattle is.

Unless Seattle can trade down, I expect them to draft offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (pictured) at #4. Future-Hall-of-Famer left tackle Walter Jones is going to be winding down his career in the next few years, and Hasselbeck (or any QB) isn't going to last long without some improvements to the Seahawks O-line. 2009 is has a great crop of offensive tackles (four expected to go in the first round), and next year well have better pickings at quarterback, so I'm told.

The worst case scenario for Seattle, by my reckoning, if the two tackles (Smith and Monroe) are picked first and second, KC still takes Curry, and nobody will trade up with the Seahawks. I think this is the situation most likely to have them end up with Stafford, or even WR Michael Crabtree.

April 06, 2009

The Internet is a Doo-Dad Kind of Town

Upon that cafe chair,

Creation dropped an oxygen-thieving blond,

her skin so,

her voice so,

her countenance so the very mask of Botticelli's fevered scribbling after Venus, you know.

And I happened to have a bag of 600 poets.

So into the jaws of Beauty, into the gates of Helplessness, wrote the 600.

  • To crack the playfulness and reveal what is serious, to crack the seriousness and reveal what is playful.

  • Press the button and the shadows speak:

    See that we have cast ourselves upon this bright stone wall.

    We lay before you knowledge, riches and protection.

    Revel with the honey voices of Shades, with beauty that cannot spurn you, with all that you have been unjustly denied.

    Dream upon this cold floor, thou

    Identified, dream.

    Delight forever in our perfect company.

  • Right now,

    20 Billion pounds of brains,


  • Dad handed the seven year old

    A huge, dark, greasy war rifle,

    Full-stocked, converted to twenty-twos.

    Snap and zing it fired in my hands,

    Cabin roof to beach mud,

    Clods exploding for little boy god's eyes,

    Shelling terror onto the lives of clams.

    Six decades gone, the Enfield Had not forgotten the trenches:

    The bivalves were the German.

  • Grendel glowers in the hall, keeping faith with capitalism.

    It hisses: You will not be missed.

    But dead or not, a friend sends a postcard:

    "I am in India now, drinking a marijuana smoothie with Hindi monks.

    Things are good."

  • A jolly-fat wren flit

    To the sea-cliff Alder:

    Cut that and the bark bleeds red.

    I found the old mark bright-colored,

    Set to trap symbols.

    A dog snarled.

    The wren perched, relaxing.

  • Inspiration? You breathe already, Fool.

    Food falls from trees.

    Time and stuff from a single point arose.

    Love tears unbidden through you like gunfire.

    Eat these ashes, and sob in wonder.

  • A woman walks swiftly there.

    Photons fly lazily, feathering her image,

    Darting in and out of branches,

    Eroding my recognition.

    April winds take her.

  • Shoring metal rivers,

    Hemmed by asphalt fields,

    The white birches stir, First of trees.

    Poets chant unconscious to Persephone:

    Come home.

  • Safe inside the interstitial,

    The ordinary American speeding,

    I am a shade severed wisely from attachment.

    But I beheld the Sequoia, praying without faith.

  • She opens, like perfect diction from silence,

    To the man crouching in the stony dolmen.

    Charged to sing her radiance,

    He shuts his teeth, and folds his hands.

  • Through three-ring screens sweats a commercial universe,

    Training the eyes;

    The cherry tree is axed,

    Blossoming as lumber.

  • A glance behind to view what followed-

    No footfall, save my own.

    And at the crossing of an icy creek:

    A high bridge raised of ashen leaves.

  • Your warm palm presents a small round stone:

    a planet of colored crystals, eon-worn, a host of flora.

    It wants the study you cannot give.

  • He stares long at a flat light stone.

    An ibex appears, breathing, fleeting, the salvation.

    Eyes close and open, his fingers fly,

    Soft charcoal trails the vision.

  • Ceaseless prayer to Mammon: Here is what you want.

    Acidic brands dissolve beloved faces;

    The mind's garden, paved.

  • Digital shadows flicker, pallid as a debt.

    O for your voice tumbling the air,

    breathing wine, eyes gleaming,

    a particular tilt of that beloved head.

  • - From Jamie Bollenbach's Facebook updates. (c) 2009 , just in case.

    April 05, 2009

    The Conversation America Celebrates the Most

    "Oh, since you're looking, I mean since the sun's just up, at what we thought was so awesome last night and then it got too dark,"


    "and how it's ginormous stripes, you know the whole time during the battle, when we were peeking over the boat's sides, were flapping around all over the place looking wicked awesome with its stars and all, and when the artillery shells kept blowing up and the rocket fire lit up the thing and its stars in the dark making it look red,

    "That was pretty cool."

    "...totally showed how it was totally still there last night at least!"

    "That's a bit tautological."

    "Hey, that flag, is that flag still up? Flapping over this brave, liberty-lovin' country the whole time? "

    "Brave? You'll have to tell me since you were the one cowering behind the ramparts and had to ask me if the flag was still up. That is to say, yes. And you can stand up now. "

    April 04, 2009

    Viggo plays hard to get

    No more movies for him, he says.

    The root of all evil?

    At Philosophy Talk.

    April 03, 2009

    Good soldiers, bad causes

    Dr. Kapital with three Tweets today:

    1) "Hayek was not a conservative, as he understood the word, and would have no truck with the mullahs who today preach in his name."

    2) "For Hayek and Hirschman conservatism meant resistance to change, preservation of institutions. US conservatism is precisely the opposite."

    3) "Adam Smith, same thing. Two examples: he thought markets should be regulated, and warned of the corruption of Parliament by business."

    "Don't make me go all LBJ on your ass."

    Obama tells bank CEOs: "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

    About those green Seahawks uniforms

    It was an April Fool's joke.

    April 02, 2009

    I think that was the last one

    'Art banking' is dead. In happier times.

    Fast, Furious, Footloose and Fancy Free

    Ebert is disappointed. C'mon Roger, you once did love it, not without reason... Anyway, who are you going to believe, Ebert or your own eyes? (dig that Youtube HD...)

    They'll never, ever top the original ("more than you can afford, pal").

    That one scene explains everything anyone needs to know about California. I love it so.

    Note, too, how that little scene tells us a lot about the characters. Diesel is not a one-dimensional action hero...he can feel fear. And Paul Walker's character is not just a goody-goody undercover cop, he's a guy who, if you push him a bit, is fucking crazy. Diesel's character wouldn't mind if he could,somehow, get back into normal life...Walker's will do anything to get out.

    Ok, it's not Bergman. But that little bit of character complexity (apparently absent from the new film) was enough to make the The Fast and the Furious the Henry V of this decade's car movies.


    The best goaltenders

    Did you know that in the history of the NHL, no one has ever scored on a Cuban-American goaltender? Makes you wonder why they keep recruiting in Bemidji.

    Request for Dr. Kaptital

    Dear Dr. Kapital,

    I understand that AIG FS was using CDS's to create tax shelters in a "Son of BOSS" scheme, and that earlier Son of BOSS schemes involved "reinsurance" and "Bermuda," but I can't remember any of the details. Can you explain what a Son of BOSS scheme is?


    April 01, 2009

    Goggles do nothing etc. etc.

    New Seahawks jersies unveiled. What has been seen cannot be un-seen...

    I'm just about done with Facebook

    A few Eisengeisters haven't joined Facebook, yet. My advice: don't. You just have way too little control over who sees what information about you, and even well intended actions can lead to unintended consequences.