My oh my. It’s that time already? Seems like it was just yesterday we were trampling old women and clothselining one another for some electronic gizmo. And yet here we are! Christmas time again! Well last year, to do my part in spreading the holiday cheer, I whipped up a few holiday cards for your viewing, emailing, printing, and/or mailing pleasure. I’ve decided to continue that tradition and create a new batch for this, Xmas 2006. I only managed to make 4 this year, but added to last year’s 6 that makes a solid ten. See below for the whole collection, and a very merry to you and yours.

12.17. filed under: !. design. personal. 7

Some bits from the history of scissors

Quote, “The obvious is so commonplace that when waved in front of our noses we often don’t give it a moment’s thought or even realize it’s there. We take certain objects so for granted that we probably never stop to ask ourselves how they first figured in the life of man. This is the case with scissors: do they date back one century, two centuries or twenty? Our stainless steel kitchen scissors were probably bought from a market stall around the corner, but when did the first scissors come into the world? Attempting to track down the name of a crackpot inventor would certainly be of no avail; as in many similar cases, scissors were not invented in a flash of creative genius, but rather evolved, step by step, alongside many other tools destined to cut, separate and pierce, undergoing modifications of design, material and decoration from the first, primitive examples — or at least from the first examples revealed by archeology and literature — to the scissors of today.” - From Scissors by Massimiliano Mandel.

12.16. filed under: !. books. design. history. 1

A couple of weeks ago I saw a link somewhere to a “list of fictional something-or-others” at Wikipedia. Might have been fictional expletives or fictional gods (which by the way is far too long a list since it could have been summed up easily in a single word, I’ll let you guess what that word is); I can’t rightly remember. I got the bright idea though to do a broad search for “list of fictional” at Wikipedia, thinking the results might make for a nifty little post. The search turned up a whopping 2150 results! That’s a lot of fictional stuff. Too much in fact. I mean how do you choose between fictional chimpanzees, fictional drugs, fictional robots, fictional universes, fictional narcissists, fictional books, notable mustaches in fiction, etc, in order to craft a cogent post? You can’t. So I scrapped the idea.

12.16. filed under: bits&bytes. fiction. theory. 9

Quote, “Rockets, canoes, bagpipes, fish, good old chaps with patches on their elbows and jokes about Derrida: Glen Baxter’s world is always instantly recognizable. Blunt, innocent-looking lines tether its extravagant surrealism to the page like guy ropes, the economy of those pen strokes undermined by the accompanying text, blocked out in hand-written capitals, which sheds often surprising light on the dummy-blank expressions of the characters.” from an old Guardian article called King of the surreal. Anyone whose work contains multiple Giacometti jokes, or indeed a constant stream of art gags, gets the nod in my book. So let me ask you, are you, like myself, an admirer of this Glen Baxter by any chance? Well, you are about to become one.

Links: Glen’s homepage, Thorogood, Modernism Inc, The Tate, Flowers East, Int. Herald Tribune piece, and a short audio interview.

12.13. filed under: art. comedy. people. 3

It may surprise you to learn, good reader, that in our splintered, chaotic and perhaps irreducibly complex world there yet remains something pure. In my research, relentlessly poking every facet of human experience, I have identified something so widespread and yet simultaneously so unlikely as to be truly worthy of the overused adjective- extraordinary.

12.12. filed under: !. life. observations. play. 5

“Redhead or Blonde?” The Opthalmologist by Jose Perez

The above (picturing a decidedly unorthodox color blindness test) is from a series of whimsical, satirical paintings by artist Jose S. Perez. Collectively titled Perez on Medicine the 29 separate pieces each focus on a different medical specialty. The whole series, which was initially published as a book in 1993, is presented online at The National Library of Medicine site. Each plate includes a written interpretation as well as initial pencil studies. Very nice.

12.10. filed under: art. 1

Quote, “Some books are ahead of their time. Some books convey a message which threatens prevailing notions, and are therefore brushed away. Some books are mixtures of profound insights and garbled speculations. Hamlet’s Mill, An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (1969) partakes to varying degrees in all of the above. Hamlet’s Mill began a revolution in understanding the profound sources of ancient mythology. Although it tottered on the edge of oblivion for years, it has reemerged as the fundamental inspiration for many progressive researchers who find the precession of the equinoxes lurking within ancient creation myths around the world.” - From an intro to the complete online text of Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. (Via.)

12.10. filed under: belief. history. humanity. ideas.

Quote, “Some stars undergo a natural process that generates acoustic waves similar to those produced by wind instruments. The gas inside the star contracts and expands, which leads to a heating and cooling cycle. This periodic change in temperature alters the star’s light intensity, and astronomers can detect the resulting pulse patterns with telescopes. Kolláth and Keuler use this data as a basis for their music, but after one critical adjustment: Since the frequencies of star sounds are much too low for humans to hear, the team uses a computer program to shift the pitches by as many as 30 octaves—over four times the difference between the highest and lowest notes on a piano. So essentially, stars produce sound waves that appear visually as patterns of light, which are then translated into music.” Seed story on astrophysicist Zoltán Kolláth and composer Jenő Keuler’s Stellar Music Project.

Related: space sounds, space audio, ESA sounds from space, space weather vlf receiver, listening to leonids, sounds from space: sonification applications, NPR The Musical Sounds of Space, and the sounds of Titan.

12.10. filed under: bits&bytes. space.

Chances are when you conjure in your mind’s eye an image of a “psychedelic” 60’s rock poster (whether for fun or because you’re an ex-hippie flashing back involuntarily to your blocked-out youth from within the soft leather comfort of your Mercedes) you are likely, without even realizing it, envisioning a Victor Moscoso.  It’s been said that Moscoso “was the first of the rock poster artists with academic training and experience.” He studied at the Cooper Union and at Yale (under Josef Albers) and it shows.  Moscoso’s own style is, at this late date, damn near synonymous with the form in the same way that you think “band-aid” when you envision of a little adhesive-backed bandage. Likewise though Robert Crumb went on to be the most famous underground artist of the era I guarantee when you think of Zap Comix you think of Moscoso’s dancing mr. peanut / mr. penis cover. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say Moscoso’s style was aped and absorbed by the culture to a such degree that it just seems to be a force of history in retrospect rather than the inspired work of a really talented designer.

To see and read more try: Fine Arts Museum SF, the Neon Rose series & Victor Moscoso at Wolfgang’s Vault, the Victor Moscoso poster gallery, more Neon Rose, the music machine, an interview at the Comic’s Journal, Liberatore: A portrait of the artist as a counterculture connoisseur, and 1960s Psychedelic Rock Concert Posters and the Broadening of American Spirituality.

12.09. filed under: art. design. history. people.

Yes ladies, by all means, draw your shawl near to yourself and beware The Man With the Green Moustache! There is no telling where it, or he, has been! This image was taken from an extensive and beautiful collection of magazine covers stretching, mainly, from the 1890’s through the 1940’s. (Via / If you scroll down you’ll see the full menu.) It is presented by a site dedicated to Ellis Parker Butler, with each of the magazine covers representing an issue which contained his work. Unfortunately the story of the dreaded “green moustache” was penned by someone else, so we’ll most likely never know its wonders. The site offers a few Ellis-penned surrogates though in the form of some similarly mysterious sounding men like- The Man Who Did Not Go to Heaven on Tuesday, The Man Who Murdered a Fairy, The Man Who Was Someone Else, and The Man With the Glass Front in their reading room

12.09. filed under: art. design. history. people. 5

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