The Secret History Of The Revolving Door

The revolving door is most often thought of today, if at all, in connection to the various forms of workplace-related dread it has come to be associated with. As the entranceway to office buildings it’s the cause of pavlovian groans (Christ! Here I am again at this hell-hole). As metaphoric short-hand it’s a stand-in for conflicts-of-interest, matters of ethical oversight, and corruption. Like snapshots from your last colonoscopy, or a multi-million dollar Damien Hirst painting, the images conjured aint pretty. The revolving door has, of course, not always been saddled with such negative connotations. There was a time, not so very long ago, when it was a shining symbol of modern man’s ingenuity- evidence of an energized drive toward the future. Yet surprisingly, even in the glow of the revolving door’s youth, when it was being enthusiastically installed in buildings the world over, few people were aware of its true origins.

01.10. filed under: history. lies. people. 5

It’s perhaps not well known that for a short period after Sherlock Holmes’ death in 1915, amidst the confusion and grief, a ne’re-do-well calling himself Jonathan Holmes, and claiming to be Sherlock’s estranged brother, sought and was granted legal control of the Holmes estate, and (more to the point) the Holmes name. It seems that for the 8 short months Jonathan Holmes held the rights to the famous name, before being discovered, he attempted most vigilantly to cash in on its renown. At some time in early 1916 receipts reveal that he employed the services of an American printer by the name of Stanley Wieden to create a group of broadsides in the hopes of enticing the public to part with some coin to learn for themselves the “recondite practices” of the beloved master detective. Above we see the only surviving example of Weiden’s efforts. (click here for larger version) How effective this vague (yet vaguely familiar) tack proved remains unknown.

12.05. filed under: design. lies. 1

Mr. Men: The Movie

Way back in 1971 Roger Hargreaves, a London Ad man, wrote and illustrated a little book called Mr.Tickle. It was the birth of the immensely popular Mr. Men franchise which would make Hargreaves the third most selling British author in history, published in over 22 languages. Some of the older among you surely remember these. here is a screenshot.) Why am I telling you all this? Why would a person like myself, with an admittedly acerbic sort of outlook, put myself in a position to have to post an image which contained not just rainbows and butterflies and picnic blankets but kites and hot-air balloons to boot?! Read on…

10.17. filed under: film. lies. play. 6

Or, Beter tú lait a kandel dhan tú kers dhe darknes.

Let me get right down to it folks, I have it on good authority that within the next two years we may become witness to one of the most profound changes in American life imaginable. I’m not talking about the stamping out of political corruption, nor a sudden, seemingly miraculous, turn toward competency in the news media; no I’m talking about the obliteration and recasting of the english language itself. If you can read you truly can’t afford not to read this post.

09.06. filed under: !. lies. 7

The Old Musician by Edouard Manet, 1862.

Extrapolation: The Old Musician

The old musician sat amongst the beggars. Many passersby on the afternoon streets would certainly make no distinction, and call his playing for coin begging as well. For him this was respite though. Sunday among the despised. He would play among these people for a time and forget about coin. Much like the saying “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter” there isn’t much use in “begging a beggar.” Among them he could play whatever pleased him, the childhood favorites of his homeland, the dirges, the sad songs, things the people on the street wouldn’t pay a soda-cracker to hear.

07.23. filed under: art. !. fiction. history. lies. 1

Endless battle of the Monkeys and the Crabs

Or: no blood for persimmon juice!

There is an old story in Japanese folklore which is told to teach the following lesson: “If a man thinks only of his own profit, and tries to benefit himself at the expense of others, he will incur the hatred of Heaven.” The story is called Battle of the Monkey and the Crab and there are many versions, which though different in their particulars, share that same nugget of implied wisdom. Just recently I came upon a version of the story which deviates from the norm enough to be not only a broad lesson in human nature but strangely applicable to modern events as well. Creepily applicable you might say. I’ve transcribed it below…

06.14. filed under: art. !. books. death. fiction. lies. politics. 6

I was recently made a gift of a valise which belonged to a great-great-uncle whom I’d never known nor indeed ever heard of. Inside his valise, which must have been close to a century old,  were some personal effects, nothing of great interest, but among them I found a small bundle of printed matter, folded into a yellowing envelope and tied with a bit of unravelling string. Upon opening the envelope I was surprised to find that they were keepsakes from a circus of some kind called “Dr. Peppy’s Superb Symmetrical Circus.” There was an advertisement (pictured above) as well as some promotional cards, highlighting what I have to assume were star attractions of the circus. Each had handwritten notes on the back. I’ve scanned the cards and transcribed the notes below for your wonder and amusement.

06.04. filed under: !. lies. play. 8

“Excuse me Sir. Do you support the Arts?”

An innocent enough question I suppose, but coming as it did from one of a pair of squeaky-clean teenagers wearing bright pastel-orange polo shirts (complete with matching, embroidered, institutional logos) and holding tell-tale clipboards, well it rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’d just been the long week I’d only moments before began trying to put behind me.

05.27. filed under: art. !. lies. observations.

The ever ingenious inventor and old master Leonardo Da Vinci has yet again proven himself wise beyond all measure. This newly unearthed mechanical sketch, completed it is thought only hours before his death, is a truly prescient wonder. The text which accompanied it, “coded” in Leonardo’s own backward written script, described the invention as follows:

05.20. filed under: !. criticism. lies. 4

The Bitter Pill

Or: how to tell if you are a cynic.

Each day, faced with a cascade of decisions, every one in itself a tiny course correction on our philosophical path, we choose between A or B, and in so doing re-affirm our view of the universe. Some of these choices seem weighty and are, in as much, weighed carefully. Others are so miniscule as to be invisible, the mechanics of their resolutions seeming involuntary. It’s the totality which frame you as a pessimist, an absurdist, an elitist, an idealist, a romatic, or what have you. I’d like to focus on one of these seemingly miniscule choices today…

05.12. filed under: !. ideas. lies. observations. 3

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