Sunday, 1 December 2013

rorschacht or pareidolia

Via Laughing Squid comes this growing Twitter gallery of objects of objects that appear to have anthropomorphic faces, whether by chance or accident, like the mesa that became the Face on Mars due to the camera angle and the human tendency for identification. There are a lot of really good ones but among my favourites is this hungry, hungry helicopter with an appetite for soldiers at the link and the more abstract extensions of the occurrence. It was really weird when an alien face appeared in my beer glass and was quite persistent or the montage of the three wise men on our freshly painted wall, though I do not have convincing photographic evidence. What examples do you have?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

a-list or he knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake

Though it's maybe too early for the decorations and music, it is the right time to think about ones greeting card list. The Retro Christmas Card Company allows one to personalise and automate—after a fashion, since carefully nicking open an envelop to a honest-to-goodness card is the still best part, even if it was handled by a third-party.


The middle-man was not the NSA this time, but another good reason for sending out cards now is that it allows the intelligence services to know who in advance of the holidays constitutes a frequent and sustained contact in ones life. The service, custom-printing and mailing, offers lots of swank retro designs—plus a selection of motifs from the Mid-Century movement of 1950s and 1960s Americana.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

in the room the women come and go, talking of michelangelo, or prufrock and other observations


Julien Peters delivers an excellent recitation of T. S. Eliot's seminal modernist's work, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, illustrated in comic strip style. The artist has given several dozen classic pieces of poetry the same treatment and it's fun and moving to follow along with stanza and verse converted to panels in the form of graphic novellas.



Friday, 27 September 2013

aca, ada, abracabra

It is the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1882, as amended, that puts the American government in the precarious situation of dismissing some one-third, deemed non-essential—which has the interesting ring of the imagination of Douglas Adams (not a statesman)—of its workforce without compensation. The government will still discharge its duty to protect, duty to warn with a skeleton crew, who themselves will not see their salary until such time as Congress has set a budget, being legally bound against the incursion of further debts that it cannot vouch for. The last time a full government shut-down happened, notwithstanding many intermediate close-calls and political staring-contests, was in the winter of 1995 and 1996 and I remember being quite frustrated that the National Galleries were closed to visitors and I came expressly to see a special Rembrandt exhibit.
I was content, however, at the time with making snow-angels on the Capitol. There were dread inconveniences (a weak word) to public services and those employees embargoed, and this time we can only project the impact of disrupting the paper-push of bureaucracy the hardship of individuals just now starting to recover from the last rounds of an administrative-, as opposed to an emergency-, furlough, though the predictions of doom and despair did not come to fruition at-large and the output of the federal government is largely invisible and looks expendable until one is personally affected by the loss of a cog or two. Though the causes reach back much further and the US government has expanded into something unwieldy and self-serving—surely to be redressed by follow-on show-downs like the looming matter of America's debt burden that will make this intransigence seem like theatre, the major bone of contention that is keeping the legislative branch staunchly divided is over another Act, the Affordable Care Act (a new idea only to America, though, with most of the rest of the world having put universal health-coverage in place long ago), and not in costs, immediate nor long-term, but rather in perception and principle. The devil's advocate seems to keep company with a business-lobby not renowned for its fair labour-practices to begin with, and considering that all of the really awful and onerous laws that the US has implemented and unleashed upon the rest of the world (lately, at least, if not always) have been done so at the beck-and-call of this same cartel, perhaps it would be wise to consider careful what these groups through inflexible fear-mongering might be trying to un-write.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

yaarg! or a darkly-adapted eye

Although losing an eye was certainly an occupational hazard (I can only imagine terrible incidents with splinters), the stereotypical pirate did not, it seems, wear an eye-patch only to cover up a handicap nor to look like a veteran.

The accessory is only associated with the rogues of the sea-going profession but seems to have a scientifically confirmed practical use in preserving night-vision. Constantly rushing below and above deck takes time for vision to acclimate, especially when entering into the dazzling sun and preserving one eye accustomed to the darkness and switching sides allowed the pirate captain not to be completely blinded in the transition.  What other costume items do you think might need disabusing?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

the sound and the flurry - we've got a million of them

Quirk Books has a clever series of ice-cream flavours taken from book-titles, with some nice iconic packaging that is an homage to both industry-standards.  Be sure to check out there other entertaining and literate posts.  What sorts of similar product cross-overs can you come up with?




Thursday, 11 July 2013

lexical extraction

Always worth the daily gander for its compilations and master-sessions, Mental Floss, has an illustrated list of graffiti art terminology for different genre, techniques and media for street art. Though the terms are unconventional and probably not standardised and adopted by all artists, that such categories exist shows respect and maturity for such works.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

picture-picture or instamatic

Kottke, purveyor of fine hypertext products, presents a thoughtful reflection on how pervasive photography, saying it and sharing it with pictures, marks a fundamental change in how we experience things and how we in turn incorporate and interpret those moments. It is certainly an idea to give one pause, as images and the medium depart from documentation, archiving to communication itself. Rather than being worth a thousand words, the tales that illustrations impart could be an even greater abbreviation. What kind of shutter-bug are you? Do time and distance make photos, artefacts, more dear and meaningful or can instant and constant mirroring co-exist?

call your parents

The BBC reports about a new “Elderly Rights Law” enacted in China to promote, under pain of fines or jail time, adult children visiting their parents and never neglecting the spiritual and emotional needs of older people. Though a nice message, regulating visits and enforcing the policy maybe such not be something left up to the authorities and perhaps the criticism is somewhat deserved, since there's no equitable way to apply it and no allowance to help keep children in compliance. I miss my parents and family very much but personally don't need legislated guilt to encourage me to make the time. What do you think? Is such a law necessary and do people need this sort of nudge?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

heel, toe or a shoe-horn, the kind with teeth

Every time there is a strong gust of wind, the astroturf on my balcony of my little apartment flies up at the edges and forms bubbles across the surface. When the winds calms down, I try to flatten it out and readjust it against the edges, which is difficult to do since portions of where it was pasted to the concrete still hold fast and there's no where to step where the carpet shouldn't be—and I am not going to attempt bracing myself up since I am not on the ground floor and should not try any dangerous acrobatics. I decided I needed a weight to hold the edges and a planter or anything heavy would have sufficed, but I got it in my head that I should have one of those “anchors” I always see at flea markets.
I always thought that they looked kind of cool but I could not imagine until now what they might be good for, besides stubbing one's toes on. I did not spy any for a couple of weeks, and even asked and told H about my idea—“You know, those little anchors.” No one knew what I was talking about, especially something that one can always find. I found one, but it turns out it's not an anchor at all, but I suppose could be modified for that purpose, but rather a cobblers' tool, like a little anvil for forming and beating a shoe into shape. It always works for the purposes of holding down indoor-outdoor carpeting.

Monday, 13 May 2013

tremolo heroism or darlings of oblivion

Here is a compact and gorgeously executed reflection on the ephemeral hardships, annoyances great and small with a significant license and latitude whose resolution and denouement does not rate, it seems, as the stuff of literary treatment. Film abounds with lucky breaks, some of which could be classified as what Vladimir Nabokov called his “darlings of oblivion,” but they are seldom acknowledged as something plot-forwarding. Minor annoyances make up the surplus of our days, unfortunately, and while those irritations overcome are not really the defining matters. Sometimes what rules the day is nothing savoury or bidden to repeat, despite the fading but all-consuming importance it once demanded. Is there more of a demand to merely relate or commiserate with a book? I don’t know—it seems like what’s ephemeral and overcome, a laundry-list with its associated dirty laundry is something never summarily done away with and still exists as nagging distractions for a faithfully limned character and a species of simplification for the reader. Are such trifles really eliminated and what does it mean if they are?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction, purchase

I suppose all targeted advertising, by its nature, is somewhat recursive, and there are limitations to what product or service can be matched to content, but for those of you who dare dither towards the bottom of the page, perhaps you’ve discovered more about “decorating the walls,” my sponsors and just perhaps, a little bit about yourselves (or rather at least how demographic sub-routines and marketing algorithms might describe you, though we don’t care what they think or give them any credence).
Meditating on these strange and spammy haikus, however, I grew more and more intrigued about the workings behind these simple text ads. I imagine it’s quite primitive and probably would not yield anything useful—the mechanism, but I wonder if there are some sort of organic, spontaneous commercials that build themselves according to the latest visitor and content of the web site, rather than being apportioned from a pool of existing advertisements. It’s primitive, I guess, in so far as no one is really paying for that service and the effectiveness would be too big of a gamble (right now, at least), but it would be pretty keen if computers could generate a well-executed ad and find a product for it afterwards.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

austatten

There is a certain range of predictably and com- mercially classic, which one could expect to find decorating the walls of hotel rooms and dormitories the world around. Nothing against the gaffers’ and grips’ taste and sense of style, as I am sure everyone can recall his or her first exposure to The Kiss, La Chat Noir, an unseasonable string of Christmas lights, beaded-curtain, or at least the touch of disen- chantment, because maybe you wanted to do the same, that these worthy works (testified by their infinite reproduction) displayed are not very original. I am grateful that my dear landlords equipped my work-week apartment with less conventional art work. It’s funny though, because if I look at the photo-safari souvenir of the elephants a bit askew, my eyes are drawn into a mirage of Gustav Klimt—something with the patination of the baby elephant’s ear.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

shoal

Ichthyologists have recently determined that social fish “smell” distinctly different to members of their own species according to maturity and size. Researchers believe that this mechanism developed in order that schools of fish could more quickly gather and sort themselves for protection, assuming a uniform front against predators, since from a fish-perspective, I imagine that it would be hard to judge size by sight. Schooling also helps with foraging for food and facilitates finding a suitable fish-mate.

Monday, 21 January 2013

it slices, it dices

We picked up some paper napkins from the Einrichtungshaus decorated with this very clever pattern (Muster) of antique kitchen implements. I have a general aversion to disposable napkins and try to use them sparingly and always twice, but they are important to presentation like the vintage catalogue depicted. I hope that these anonymous designers know that their work does not go unappreciated.
We have a growing collection of fish knives, relish-trays, cake servers, coasters, salt-cellars, moutardes, mortars and pestles, coffee mills, icing spoons, and more usual utensils, like these silver forceps for grasping a hot, hard-boiled egg or these serving tongs for slippery asparagus, which we try to put to purpose every chance we get and not just have as decoration. It is not about etiquette or intimidating table-manners but rather just opportunity.  Do you have a quiver of specialized kitchen tools just waiting for their moment to shine, as well?

Monday, 31 December 2012

silvestergala

Like old Father Time says in the New Year’s card, “May good health attend you and happiness befriend you throughout the coming year.” Our greetings to remind you, that wherever fate may find you, there may joy be—and good cheer. All the best to you and yours and thanks for visiting.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

katzenjammer

Der Spiegel (only in German, although this subject, I think, does not require much translation) has a biography and collection of images from piglet, puppy and kitten photographer and proto-meme-artist Harry Whitter Frees of Florida. I think I might have seen a few of these patiently staged vignettes before, billed last year as the original LOL Cats, but such things of course bear repeating (ad absurdum). From the 1880s through the 1930s, Frees’ pictures sold as sweet and carefully posed postcards and calendars were insanely popular, and now everything old is new again.

Friday, 14 December 2012

no asssembly required


Thursday, 13 December 2012

making spirits blithe

It’s funny how the latitude of bad (but not chaotic) weather compartmentalizes things, not in a way, hopefully, to create a chore or hardship out of every errand but rather to mask, imbue it with some seasonally fun challenges. Of course, a lot of underlying support goes along with the invitation to be out-of-doors and resist the urge to hibernate or curse the snow and ice, reliability to oppose the exception throughout the rest year of good health and adequate sanitation and infrastructure.
I suppose (though I am the first to admit to being not among the it-getters when it comes to skiing) it’s like the thrill of being outside of one’s comfort-zone that comes with winter-sports and being able to take to the slopes and to push oneself to enjoy the elements. Jingle, jangle, jolly.









Sunday, 18 November 2012

salutations and studio cards

The one-holiday-at-a-time approach is probably best, but it is the thought and planning that counts.

Searching for some inspirational designs for greeting cards for Christmas and New Year’s, I stumbled on the cards, posters and other ephemera in the archives of the Geffrye collections, the English Museum of the Home—a contributor to the Europeana project, which also an excellent resource for vintage material, including old films and music as well as graphics. One could easily find elements to personalize and make one’s own unique greetings that can’t be found in shops. We’ll have to get busy designing ours. Meanwhile, for all our readers in the States, PfRC would like to send out wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving feast to kick off the season.