Accountants hover over the earth like helicopters,
Dropping bits of paper engraved with Hegel’s name.
Badgers carry the papers on their fur
To their den, where the entire family dies in the night.

-From A Dream of Suffocation by Robert Bly.

Dated: 08.15  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Quote: The Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest piece of literature known, but it has lost nothing of its original freshness. Gilgamesh for Apes is an attempt to translate it into the pictorial language used by American and Japanese primate centres teaching language to great apes.

Its creator (Wilfried Hou Je Bek, of, who previously brought us Primate Poetics) notes that she does not know if an ape coming upon her translation would be able to make heads or tales of it, saying that, in terms of narratives, apes tend to glean most information from body language and in as much perhaps a stage play would better please an ape audience. In any case, it’s a fine idea, and I applaud the effort. Much more info available at the bottom of the Gilgamesh for Apes pdf. 

Dated: 08.14  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Though I am an avid science fiction reader, and fond of my dear girl poetry, the bastard child of the two remained unknown to me (as bastard children, and ultra sub-genres, seem prone to do) until I stumbled across some sci-fi poetry, or speculative poetry as it’s also called, by accident. I knew immediately an overwrought illustration and slapdash post were in order! One is above, the other below. Form your own conclusions.

Infoetry: The Science Fiction Poetry Association, Speculative Poetry Symposium, Ultimate Science Fiction Poetry Guide, About Science Fiction Poetry, Writing Science Fiction Poetry, Dialogues by Starlight, Notes on Speculative Poetry, Gnawing Medusa’s Flesh, The Failure of Genre Poetry.

Poetry: Strange Horizons, Author’s Den, A-Z, Journal of Mythic Arts, Bruce Boston, Andrew Joron (audio), The Removes, Scott Speck, Robert Calvert, Electric Velocipede, Goblin Fruit, Lone Star Stories, Whispering Worlds, The Pedistal, New Myths, Ideomancer, Abyss and Apex, Sci-Fi haiku, and Robot Folk Tales.

And yes, I just coined a kick-ass new word. Hands-off! I’m selling it to Tufte.

Dated: 08.13  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Quote: ‘Depression’ was not a particularly common term in the eighteenth century, at least not in the modern psychological sense. Samuel Johnson in his famous Dictionary of the English Language (1755) has three definitions for the word, none of which is to do with mental dejection. Only with the verb ‘to depress’ is one definition given as ‘to humble, to deject, to sink’. While ‘depression’ was sometimes used in its modern sense during the period, other terms were far more current, including melancholy, hypochondria (and its popular versions, such as hippish), spleen, vapours, and a host of others, all expressing variants in terms of supposed cause and anticipated effect of the basic experience of ‘depression’.

From the accompanying pfd for the show currently on view at Shipley gallery, 18th Century Blues. The Image is, of course, a detail from Hogarth’s etching “The Bathos.”

Dated: 08.12  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Recently New York officials announced a project that would allow citizens to view “live traffic conditions” via a slew cameras set up along roadways all throughout the city. The announcements on all the local news channels were so “gee-whiz! aren’t we all so lucky?!” in tone that I couldn’t help but envision the meetings which hatched the campaign, with city officials asking one another- “but how can we introduce the city-wide grid of near-omniscient security cameras without causing an outcry? How can we make these rubes actually want cameras everywhere?” It struck me that these traffic cams were almost certainly phase-1, the public relations leg let’s say, of some larger plan. Speaking of which…

Before we all shift our fat asses toward the couches’ edge to watch the next batch of soon-to-be-revoked precious medals awarded in Beijing, have a read of these two pieces by Naomi Klein outlining the idea that these Olympics are “the coming out party for a disturbingly efficient way of organizing society, one that China has perfected over the past three decades, and is finally ready to show off.”

The Olympics: Unveiling Police State 2.0, and China’s All-Seeing Eye.
Interesting stuff. Now back to work!

Dated: 08.08  Comments: 2   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

UK rag the Daily Mail has put up an expose purporting to “unmask” graffiti phenom Banksy. On the one hand it makes me cringe, it’s just so damned silly. But then, I suppose since Banksy’s chosen graffiti as has mode of expression, the whole “law breaker” aspect would warrant, in law enforcement circles at least, some genuine interest in his identity. I for one am happy to let him remain a shadowy figure with passable artistic skills, some good ideas, and a set of giant, often hilarious, balls.

In his own words: I have no interest in ever coming out. I figure there are enough self-opinionated assholes trying to get their ugly little faces in front of you as it is. And: I am unable to comment on who may or may not be Banksy, but anyone described as being ‘good at drawing’ doesn’t sound like Banksy to me. Hahah. Bravo.

Dated: 08.07  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Here we have a detail of the Bagdad Metro, work on which evidently began in 1983 but was stopped not long afterward when hostilities between Iraq and Iran heated-up. This is the same Bagdad subway which was famously cited by both Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, during the run up to the current war, as being part of the vast underground network of tunnels used to store WMDs. There were no WMD’s of course, and the subways we found? Ahem. Evidently, hard as it may be to believe, the plan to build a metro is back on the table. I would have to assume they plan to rebuild the destinations before they bother with the subway.

Click here to see the map, designed by Richard Dragun for Design Research London sometime in the early 80’s, in full.

Dated: 08.07  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

The openly atheistic Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers, who filed suit in 2007 against “God” evidently had his day in court on Tuesday. He filed this suit to “make a point” obviously. Unfortunately that point was not “Since this God character can’t even be bothered to show up for his own court appearance, and shows no respect for the authority and laws of this great land, perhaps we ought to think twice about involving or invoking him in matters of legislative policy.” Here are the papers filed (pdf) in case you missed them.

Dated: 08.07  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

The kids could be cruel. He could see them, groaning at the sight of him, as he rolled up in the volvo. They were embarrassed they’d say. They’d call him weird and look away. His wife always seemed tired. She didn’t laugh at his jokes anymore. She often slept on the couch with the television on. Sure, she’d smile big for the family portrait, but in private, in the bedroom, things were strained. As with so very many husbands and fathers across this wide world of ours, it seemed that no matter how hard he tried, and no matter how much he wished it were otherwise, Wendell’s wife and children just didn’t “get” him. You know?

Dated: 08.06  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »

Here we see reader, and fellow “neoyorquino,” Evan wearing the first Nonist T-Shirt ever sold, seated in front of a spanish-language version of the poster which inspired it. Cheers Evan, you are a scholar and a gentleman. As soon as I receive the $3 profit I made I will tape it on the wall above my desk like a proud deli owner. And to everyone else currently rocking a Nonist tee- feel free to send a photo of it “in the wild” as it were. 

Dated: 08.06  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post:   Email this post: »