Miscellaneous Characters

I was looking through a Linotype specimen book today from 1920, glancing at the faces, the advertising figures, some info on “the Rogers Tabular Matrix,” that sort of thing, when I came upon a page in the “miscellaneous characters” section which made me pause. It was a page titled “party emblems” and featured icons meant to represent 10 separate political parties. I thought, “In 1920, less than a single lifetime ago, there were 10 political parties in America taken seriously enough to warrant a logo?” My my, how times have changed.

01.13. filed under: design. history. observations. politics. 6


Don’t know if you caught the little back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama earlier in the week on the topic of foreign policy experience. It was actually fairly interesting in a “no we will not, not ever, actually talk about anything of substance, but will quibble over ridiculous shit, like we’re slapping a colorful shuttlecock over an invisible net made of human suffering” kind of way. Hillary took Obama to task for intimating that his years spent in Indonesia as a child somehow correlated to “knowing the world.” It’s a valid point I suppose, though I wouldn’t say Obama was really trying to ride it. When asked about her own foreign experience Hillary characterized it as “Unique” and went on…

11.27. filed under: design. op-ed. politics. 1


Quote: “In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” And you thought the wheel of samsara was complicated now! Ha. Wait and see what some good ‘ol fashioned bureaucracy can do… A lifetime of karmic actions in triplicate anyone? The Pope may have to rethink his stance on purgatory… The real punchline though is less amazingly and perfectly hilarious. Ah well.

08.22. filed under: belief. headlines. politics. 3


It strikes me that most of we lay-folk, unversed in the “art of war” as we are, find ourselves dismayed and horrified by the goings-on in Iraq (yes, lest we forget in the fog of news on other ugliness, we’re still there) and I wondered whether there was anything I could do to help my fellow citizens better grasp the situation. After much research I was surprised to find that the Bush cadre does indeed have an exit strategy, and that the violence, strife, and chaos we see daily on our idiot boxes is not exactly what it seems. Following this brilliant strategy the Administration in fact has the broiling insurgency right where they want them. In as much I decided to take the initiative and create a handy, hands-on, illustrated handout, suitable for the White House website, social studies teachers and parents wishing to instruct the young, or indeed any lay person seeking to better understand the Bush administration’s exit strategy. See below.

08.06. filed under: !. criticism. politics. 4


What shall we use to fill the empty spaces?

I took this picture what seems a thousand years ago, when I was still a lad and my father was working on the 72nd floor of the Empire State Building. (You could actually just walk over and open the widows like they were the little sliver of a bathroom window in your apartment.) At the time it was just a bad photograph. Not quite perfectly exposed, not quite perfectly framed. A couple of buildings and a shroud of thick fog. Fwap! Onto the pile. But now? Well, with that whole “buildings in heaven” look it got going on perhaps it’s found a new relevance?

07.12. filed under: !. ideas. life. op-ed. politics. 12


That G.W. Bush does not bother reading the paper is a on the record and well known. That the current Administration in Washington on the whole dislikes the press is obvious. First there was the uproar over the revelation of the N.S.A. wire-tapping program. Just last week we witnessed the President, Vice President, and other members of the Administration lash out angrily over the New York Times story which disclosed a secret C.I.A. program to trace financial records. Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, even called for a criminal investigation of The Times. It seems that something must be done.

07.02. filed under: !. criticism. headlines. politics. 2


Some ramblings about American culture.

What would you call something which, having become poisoned and yet dominant, seems to impede, in its way, the further forward development of human culture at large, the hard won notions of the enlightenment, the happiness of individuals everywhere, and possibly the advancement of the species as a whole? I call it American culture.



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


Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead.

He’s not only merely dead, he’s really most sincerely dead.

Wake up you sleepyhead. Rub your eyes, get out of bed. Wake up Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s dead. Tra la la… This morning the news was a-buzz with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an air strike. The reporters were all just possitively a-twitter. “Death, Terrorism, and ‘good news’ all in one story?! Whoopee!” I believe I actually saw one correspondent wet himself. I can’t help but react exactly as I did when it was reported that Saddam Hussein was captured, with a resounding “...AND?” It changes nothing.

06.08. filed under: !. death. headlines. politics. 5


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