September 30, 2011

I never understood the appeal...

...until now.

September 27, 2011

I promise to use this power only for good

How to hack a Diebold voting machine.

September 25, 2011

We used to do it with our fists

Split wood with a knife.

September 24, 2011

What, are you high?

Republicans demand...
Um, here's a counteroffer: fuck off.

Oh, and don't give up on Rick Perry, we fear him.


Then they came for the watch bloggers...

September 23, 2011

2011 already?

Yeah, they can read your mind.

September 22, 2011


Sell Texas to Mexico.

An Eisengeiste Alert

Artist Jamie Bollenbach will be discussing his work at NOMA Gallery tonight. The show will run through October 15.

September 21, 2011

Sorry I missed that

"And then I remember nothing else. And I woke up the next morning in my clothes smelling of vomit."

Later, an audience member told Glass that he organized a human pyramid composed of himself, Maddow and Hodgman...


Bay Area billionaires.

September 20, 2011

Carnivores for Bachman

Vote for her, Laird. You know you want to.

[UPDATE: There's video. Hot, slicy, meaty, video.]

Attention: Fringe German Party Takes Seats in Berlin.

In this case, a sort of bucaneery sort.

I will reiterate my  joke:

tall and tan and young and lovely
the girl from Ipanema goes walking
and when she passes 
each pirate she passes 
goes "Arr."

Review of Jamie Bollenbach "The Amplitude of Time" by Dewitt Cheng

Noted Bay Area arts writer Dewitt Cheng has a nice capsule review of the show and more photos.

Jamie Bollenbach, "The Amplitude of Time," Noma Gallery

Those solemn reports of the death of painting (or art) that seem to recur every generation or so, prematurely, get no respect from Jamie Bollenbach. In an increasingly electronic contemporary world, the Seattle artist champions handicraft, the tradition of painting, and the creative struggle with and against a chosen medium, loved (“I like the juicy.”) but refractory. Working with models, he isolates certain elements that seem to extend themselves into surrounding space , perhaps like cubist planes or futurist lines of force; gradually the process, memory, imagination, and a host of other associations (history, politics, etc.) enter the work, sometimes completely obliterating the nudes beneath, but leaving a human presence in his tumultuous,  semi-abstract landscapes. Bollenbach: “My subject matter evolved from organic abstraction toward the exploration of transitory human presence, represented temporally in paintings as traces of light and color and gestural marks within a specific shape of space. I begin frequently from a live model. Elements of desolate, imagined landscape enter the work, pushing figuration to the edge of winking out—my version of the traditional symbol of the soap bubble as the fragility of life.” Also: “...Just standing in a a room is an amazingly complex system. And making art is a way to comprehend and express the mystery and wonder of a person just standing in a room probably better than other processes.” Artist talk Thursday, September 22, 6:00-8:00pm. Through October 15.

P.S. The shameless publicity will continue for a while. Thanks, capitalism.  

PPS. Note hilarious photo of me refuting Berkeleyan idealism. 

September 19, 2011

Krugman: the Clooney Version

September 16, 2011

Bollenbach at NOMA

Bollenbach with a Bollenbach

Bollenbach Annotates Bollenbach


Man and a Bollenbach

More information on the NOMA Bollenbach exhibition can be found here.

Michelangelo's David returns to Italy...

After a two year tour of the US, Michelangelo's David returns to Italy.

September 15, 2011

Young guest bloggers present...

September 10, 2011

These kids today...

...have better toys that we could imagine in our wildest dream.

September 09, 2011

The Day of the Silent Sky

I was told what had happened by a young waitress, over coffee and pancakes.  I cherish that I heard from a real human voice.

One of my professors, who was from Europe, asked what America was likely to do. I said: "Our vengeance will be terrible." 

I saw the wreckage three months later. A thousand fliers of the missing: New Yorkers, on weathered photocopies.

As before, a great nation stirred.  But our bad leadership and obsessive judgement weakened us, and it made for bad wars.  To add to the loss of our brother and sister Americans, we lost - and are still losing -soldiers who wanted to serve their nation, their generous and hopeful and humanistic nation, at its best; and we killed a lot of people, easily a hundred thousand, far too few of whom were the malicious and deluded and evil men we had a right to destroy.  And we tortured, not in desperate moments, but as a matter of state.  On 9/11, blinded by grief, steered by fools and criminals, America lost our way. 

What a lost opportunity.  Criminally lost. How I wish that perfect blue in that sky silent of aircraft had been the rise of a democracy's much greater aspiration.

Then the whale said: "time to die!"

Chase was repairing the damaged boat on board when the crew observed a whale, that was much larger than normal (alleged to be around 85 feet (26 m)), acting strangely. It lay motionless on the surface with its head facing the ship, then began to move towards the vessel, picking up speed by shallow diving. The whale rammed the ship and then went under, battering it and causing it to tip from side to side. Finally surfacing close on the starboard side of the Essex with its head by the bow and tail by the stern, the whale appeared to be stunned and motionless. Chase prepared to harpoon it from the deck when he realized that its tail was only inches from the rudder, which the whale could easily destroy if provoked by an attempt to kill it. Fearing to leave the ship stranded thousands of miles from land with no way to steer it, he relented. The whale recovered and swam several hundred yards ahead of the ship and turned to face the bow.
I turned around and saw him about one hundred rods (550 yards) directly ahead of us, coming down with twice his ordinary speed (around 24 knots or 44kph), and it appeared with tenfold fury and vengeance in his aspect. The surf flew in all directions about him with the continual violent thrashing of his tail. His head about half out of the water, and in that way he came upon us, and again struck the ship. —Owen Chase
The whale crushed the bow like an eggshell, driving the 283-ton vessel backwards. The whale finally disengaged its head from the shattered timbers and swam off, never to be seen again, leaving the Essex quickly going down by the bow. Chase and the remaining sailors frantically tried to add rigging to the only remaining whaleboat, while the steward ran below to gather up whatever navigational aids he could find.
The captain's boat was the first that reached us. He stopped about a boat's length off, but had no power to utter a single syllable; he was so completely overpowered with the spectacle before him. He was in a short time, however, enabled to address the inquiry to me, "My God, Mr. Chase, what is the matter?" I answered, "We have been stove by a whale."

Poster time! Bollenbach opening at NOMA Gallery, Friday Sept. 16th

POSTER for Bollenbach opening, Sept. 16th, 2011, at NOMA gallery in San Francisco.

September 08, 2011

So true, so true

Why didn't the FSL do this?

Given his obsession with both art and adorable kittens, I'm shocked that he wasn't consulted on this project.

Or maybe he was, but I can't tell as the site is entirely in Japanese.

September 07, 2011

A superior commencement address

Anthony Wong delivers his commencement address to the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.

The address in full, as translated by my wife:

(In English) Ladies and gentlemen! (In Cantonese) Small little kids and adults!

Dear students, good morning.

Very formally: I represent the Academy Alumni Association, and welcome you.

Have you all paid your fees yet?

In these few years you have to enjoy your theatrical life, and once you are out, then you'll taste the medicine.

The most important thing...when you have to join the Alumni Association.

Thank you.

Not on View

What you will not see at my show: ironic juxtaposition, ironic re-contextualization, re-contextualized ironic juxtaposition, conceptual gamesmanship, re-contextualized ironic cultural tropes, juxtaposed icons, ironically conceptual juxtaposition of re-contextualized culturally-specific tropes, ironic icons, actual icons, actual cons, and/or Jeff Koons, or a track of me singing folk songs. So I'm ruling out the Turner Prize, and painting, ironically, a sky.

It's official - we're sluts

FSL called it.

September 06, 2011

If only there were some way to deal with this menace

Writing in the journal Proceedings B, scientists report a large, reproductive population of crabs in the Palmer Deep, a basin cut in the continental shelf.

The crabs are voracious crushers of sea floor animals and will probably change the ecosystem profoundly if and when they spread further, researchers warn...

Judging by the density of the crabs and their tracks, the scientists estimate there may be 1.5 million crabs in the basin.

Ordinarily I say live and let live. But with an entire eco-system at stake...well, we all need to be ready to do our part.

September 04, 2011

Retreat to Norway?!

Dr. Kapital tweets:

Your country's terribly precarious financial position is illustrated here.

It's the Breaking Up of the Ice-Bound Stream of Time

Moby Dick, "Chapter iii," 

Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn, you found yourself in a wide, low, straggling entry with old- fashioned wainscots, reminding one of the bulwarks of some condemned old craft. On one side hung a very large oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted.

But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through. - It's the Black Sea in a midnight gale. - It's the unnatural combat of the four primal elements. - It's a blasted heath. - It's a Hyperborean winter scene. - It's the breaking- up of the ice-bound stream of Time. But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture's midst. That once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great Leviathan himself?

In fact, the artist's design seemed this: a final theory of my own, partly based upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with whom I conversed upon the subject. The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads.


I'm reading Moby-Dick for the first time (having successfully evaded it in high school).

I am now about 35% through the novel.

This is far and away the weirdest book I have ever read.

September 03, 2011

Let's go to the text

Stephen Prothero asks the obvious question, which has somehow eluded the mainstream media until now: what kinds of Christians are these?
I understand the impulse to draft Jesus into your political campaign. At least in U.S. politics, Jesus is good for business. But if you are going to call Jesus to your side, you need to let voters know how that affects your politics. Might you change your mind if you saw that a political position of yours was contradicted by the Bible? Or is the Bible a dead letter, useful for invoking divine authority but never for correction or reprove?

The point is particularly sharp when we take up the case of the poor. Jesus talks endlessly, in all four Gospels, about helping the weak (he was, apparently, an early Rawlsian). Whatever kind of Christian you are, there is no way to read the Gospels without getting the message that you are on the side of the poor.

It also impossible to miss the message that the rich are - if not doomed to damnation - on notice. The famous eye of a needle parable has been parsed with care and no respectable theologian can see how a rich man gets a pass. One commentator in my library dryly notes that a lot of energy has been expended to "find a loophole big enough to fit a rich man through."

This, for me, is the most frightening passage in the Bible, or for that matter any work of religious literature (Matthew 25:31):
[T]he King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

There are a lot of things you could say about this passage, and of course non-Christians are free to disbelieve it. But it doesn't strike me as unclear in any way. In fact, it's about as clear as any religious text I've ever read.

So, what kinds of Christians are these?

PRESS RELEASE: Jamie Bollenbach at NOMA Gallery, September 16th.

   Jamie Bollenbach "Untitled" 2010-11, oil on board 

NOMA Gallery and curator Cosio Delaunay presents Seattle artist Jamie Bollenbach’s first San Francisco solo exhibition, “The Amplitude of Time” September 15 to October 15 2011.

“The Amplitude of Time,” quoted from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” concerns Time’s reconstructions of a human’s remembrance of things and people. The lasting remnants of an experience or memory is transformed by the operation of time, which Bollenbach’s paintings and sculpture in his solo exhibition illustrates are further paralleled and manipulated in the process of painting.

Bollenbach sees his approach towards painting as a parallel to the senses forming human consciousness: “Think of someone you were very close to ten years ago. What do you actually recall? It’s not still image…what you experience is a more like a lava lamp of different senses: sound, scent, color, glimpses and memories of intense but uncertain emotions – fluid, eternally transforming, winking in and out of being. Even when we are in the same room, the reality of how we are to others, and they to us, is terribly fragile.”

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska in 1964, Jamie Bollenbach began painting professionally in the Bay Area. He attended Reed College, and achieved an MFA in Studio Arts, Painting from the University of Washington in 2002, where he began intricate, highly spatial abstracts based on the human figure. He founded a studio-gallery in Portland, Oregon, and has taught painting, drawing, and design at the University Of Washington School Of Art, Kirkland Arts Center, the Northwest College of Art, and other Seattle-area colleges over the last ten years. He recently gave lectures on his work and approaches to creative practice at Evergreen State College, Microsoft, and University of Washington. Bollenbach’s paintings have hung in galleries and private collections nationally, and he has exhibited throughout the West Coast including the Seattle Art Museum Gallery and the Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska.

I am against movie violence

Um, mostly. But this looks awesome.

September 02, 2011

"Jamie Bollenbach: The Amplitude of Time." At NOMA Gallery, San Francisico, Friday September 16th.

'"Jamie Bollenbach: The Amplitude of Time," opening Friday, September 16th, at NOMA Gallery, 80 Maiden Lane, San Francisco.   
The large, rich paintings in this solo show push figuration to the edge of oblivion.  Showing through mid-October."
Painting: "Amila II," 72" by 72" 2001-2011. photo by: Michael Korhonen. ' More at