Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Tower of the Elephant

With the exception of some distasteful antisemitism in the second paragraph, this is a highly imaginative and delightful story by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in Weird Tales in March 1933 (shown).
Link via Project Gutenberg Australia.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flooding and levees breaking because of muskrats...

Muskrat Menace article ....

Over 20 levees have broken along the Mississippi so far this season.
Its wet in the midwest. Here's a map that shows just how wet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Let me show you my Angry Face™..."

The first season of the WB's Buffy spin-off show Angel (vintage 1999) is now available for viewing over teh Internet(s).

Much darker than its pompom laden little sister, this "Batman with Fangs" melodrama presents plots which vier precariously close to Dungeons & Dragons-land and delivers endless streams of snappy dialog designed to crush the comfortable lies our heroes would like to believe about themselves. It also contains an ample amount of gore, social commentary, vigilante justice, and "have at thee!", with scripts which delight in setting up super-hero action cliches, bringing them to satisfying conclusions, or maniacally burning them to the ground.

Sadly, in its later seasons (and especially its last), Angel gets cluttered with too many players with too much back story. That said, the first few seasons are well worth your time...

Art Fairs soaking up the Scene here in Chicago

Chicago lost five galleries in June: NavtaSchulz, gescheidle and giftshop project space in the West Loop; Lisa Boyle in West Town; and Dubhe CarreƱo in Pilsen. Are they victims of the recession, or are other forces at work?

I’ve spent so much time researching for art fairs, going to art fairs and applying to art fairs that I feel like a traveling salesman,” Boyle complains, calling the art world “oversaturated” with fairs. “You take your artists’ work, hang it in some shitty, half-assed booth with 400 [other] booths. It’s not conducive to showing the work.”

-Lisa Boyle, founder of the now permanently closed Lisa Boyle Gallery

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Well Written Lament


"I could believe that the United States would be reduced to torture; we have tarnished our history with more and with less, over the last two centuries, and it would be naive to presume it had ended, say, with the internment of Japanese Americans, or with the officially sanctioned witch hunts of the paranoid and rigorously manipulative McCarthy era. But I would have found it harder to imagine, even eight years ago, that human torture would be considered the more noble choice than refraining from it, or that those that opposed it would be met with such mockery, or such flag-waving revulsion."

[[From what I have read in the last few days, I am of the opinion that this guy is writing the best commentary in Cyberspace about American politics at the moment. Tragic and defiantly partisan; right on target.]]

"If it were merely the war on terrorism, that would be something different, though not necessarily better, but in every aspect of governance we continually have been told that the ethical position is the stupid, foolish one, or that being offended at corruption is the childish position. No news outlets demanded answers, when the Justice Department was staffed with those loyal to party, not country; it was considered expected. The outing of a CIA agent as payback was politics as normal; the urgings to prosecutors to prosecute Americans differently according to party affiliation was for a long while presumed merely one of the perks of power. The task of rebuilding Iraq was considered secondary to staffing it with die-hard conservatives, even if they had not even the slightest bit of expertise towards the job. Scientific reports by the government were either quashed or the findings changed in order to fit The Approved Version Of Reality; it barely resulted in whimpers. Forget the difficult or controversial decisions, even the most basic ones were reduced to simple equations of party advantage and ideological loyalty."

[[Orwell Wins!]]

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Another fun tether-and-magnet visualization. This one uses the unfortunately named "Freebase" wiki as its source. (Link via Information Aesthetics.) (Requires Java.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people."
We already have a solution for this. It's called FISA. It's the law Bush violated in the first place. The last thing we need as a result of a scandal in which the Administration violated Federal statutes regarding domestic spying is a gutting of said statutes and a broadening of domestic spying.

All we need is for the existing laws to be enforced. Period. Is that...


"It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward."
Excuse me while I shave my head and paint the walls of my studio with my own blood. Suffices to say, I don't think I'll be voting for Mr. Obama in the upcoming election.


this is kinda "last year" but cool still

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Supreme Court restores habeas corpus . . .

"The Court's ruling was grounded in its recognition that the guarantee of habeas corpus was so central to the Founding that it was one of the few individual rights included in the Constitution even before the Bill of Rights was enacted. As the Court put it: "the Framers viewed freedom from unlawful restraint as a fundamental precept of liberty, and they understood the writ of habeas corpus as a vital instrument to secure that freedom." The Court noted that freedom from arbitrary or baseless imprisonment was one of the core rights established by the 13th Century Magna Carta, and it is the writ of habeas corpus which is the means for enforcing that right. Once habeas corpus is abolished -- as the Military Commissions Act sought to do -- then we return to the pre-Magna Carta days where the Government is free to imprison people with no recourse."

Could this possibly be the most important court ruling of our generation?
Discuss . . .

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Evil: A Growth Industry!

In honor of the guy with the nice, almost human, eyes a few posts down.
Order of the Stick #446 . . .

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Big Buck Bunny

Blender: it's great!

The following ten-minute cartoon is a superb demonstration of the free open-source software 3d suite as an animation package, what it was developed to do. I've spent a couple Saturdays playing with it, and have discovered that the physics engine and Python scripting interface are exactly what I need to make working virtual prototypes of my mazes. First, I am going to use it for fly-through animations and sectional views of the mosque project, to be included in a presentation scheduled for the end of September.

Link to Big Buck Bunny website.
Link to the Blender Foundation homepage.
Link to Blender for Architecture.
Link to Blender Art Magazine.

Also, check out an older open movie project, Elephant's Dream. Link.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mass Effect: I don't have time to play it right now, so I just listen to its soundtrack again and again...

You can too! :-D

"The Mechanical Tide"

Some loosely connected items:

At the Revolution opening, I met the artist Jesse Seay, who described to me a pachinko-inspired sound installation / kinetic sculpture she had created. She then made a drawing without a template, and seemed satisfied with the resultant sinusoid-mesh. The day I was in Chicago a couple months ago, ferrying artwork, I recognized the description of the sculpture in the Reader; but didn't get to the Columbia College gallery in time to see it. There are images and video on the Web, though. (Link, link & link.) One can tell from the videos that the "Mechanical Tide" succeeds in being an environment in-and-of itself, and mimics the control and chaos of living systems. Seay also administrates the "Favorite Chicago Sounds" website. Link.

Austin (of Tyler Paint, Artvid & Exclamation Gallery) sent me a link to this SIGGRAPH artist whose work is pristine and mathematical. (Link. & link.)

John Cage's "Williams Mix" is a beautiful and textural work. It sounds shockingly contemporary for being written in 1952. Link.

The following video is a great example of youthful iconoclastic energy being channeled properly. This is from a time when such jokes could still be played on straight culture. I like to imagine a Buckaroo Banzai theme here (driving a car through a portal into the world of television), though the Banzai movie was made about 9 years later. (Video running time = 26 minutes.) Link to this video on the Internet Archive.

Link to coverage of an Ant Farm retrospective by WMMNA.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Two Interviews (MP3)

...on a mercifully short episode of This Is Hell (most episodes of the show run a whopping five hours; this one only two). The interviews in question are with Robert Parry, operator of Consortum News website and one of the first investigative reporters to cover the Regan administration's Iran Contra scandal during the late 80s, and "unembedded journalist" Dahr Jamail, who traveled to Iraq in 2003 on a quest to satisfy his own curiosity and returned to the USA as a both celebrated writer and a victim of PTSD.