The Repugnant Mugs of Ugly Bugs

Bugs- weird, off-putting, unknowable, swarming and creeping and crawling masters of the Earth. Even when seen from across a poorly lit room, at only a few millimeters long, scurrying for cover, we, the thumb-flexing warhead-builders, fear and revile them. Their “otherness” disturbs us I’ll venture to guess, because in nearly every encounter we reflexively let the boot-heels fall. So how, as a species, do we usually come to terms with things which we do not understand? Why, by looking at them more closely of course! Were we to make the effort and take the time to look at our insect neighbors more closely, face to face as it were, we’d see something in them that would bridge that gap of “otherness” and quell that deep-seated horror; we’d approach some new enlightened understanding which would, over time, in perhaps as few as two generations, effectively curb our instinct for instant murder, replacing it instead with feelings of fellowship for they who are, after all, not so very different from ourselves… right? Uh… think again.

Ten years worth of entries for the Oklahoma Microscopy Society’s Ugly Bug Contest, which are essentially micrograph mug-shots, ought to dispel any of those human/insect utopian notions. Check it out: 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99, 98, 97. Yeesh. Where did I put my hobnailed boots ?

01.03. filed under: play. science. 5

Shadow Play

Though the term “shadow play” might bring to mind some sort of salacious fetish practiced by overzealous goths and pre-teen wickans, it is, of course, no such thing. Shadow play refers instead to one of the more ancient forms of theater, one whose roots are so old as to be, beyond a certain point, seemingly untraceable, whose practice can be found, in varying incarnations and distinct traditions, all across the world, and whose contrivances account for some of the most gorgeous puppets to ever to cavort, skulk, vault, or swoon across a stage.

12.05. filed under: art. design. history. play. 4

If you are anything like me good reader (and since you are here at all I must assume that, in some small way at least, you are) you look at the image above, and you read the caption, and you wonder, “what does that mean?” It seems simple enough. A quirky drawing; a short caption. You can’t help but run through possibilities– A comic strip? A children’s book? An illustration from an exposé on the secrets of magic? A rejected New Yorker Cartoon? And yet… it remains opaque somehow doesn’t it?. I mean “M. Ivorde’s little man?” That seems odd. And what’s with the space helmet? And what’s that he’s holding? A metal detector? A street sweeper’s dust-pan? Just what exactly is happening here?

I came across this image accidentally, much as you have, and if you’re anything like me you’re a curious sort and would like nothing better than to just click a link real quick, satisfy that curiosity, and move on. Well, having been down that road I have to ask you, in all seriousness, is that really what you want? I mean, couldn’t you just let it go?

11.28. filed under: ideas. misc. play. wtf. 11

Seed text: The first 6 lines of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem I Am Waiting (a critique of the American status quo, touching on false religiosity, crass consumerism, and the general absurdity of it all c.1958) which are as follows–

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail.

Filtering mechanism employed: Google Maps.

Result: Voxx, 8230 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.

Quote: “Voxx is the world’s most pre-eminent scholar regarding Demonology and Witchcraft. Voxx is featured in the book, “The Top 100 Psychics in America.” She is an initiate of several magickal orders, and is the High Priestess of the Circle of Aradia. Among her abilities are the casting of Astrodice, Bibliomancy, Channeling, Pyromancy, Scrying, and Spirit Evocation. She is one of a handful of individuals who can fluently speak the the Magickal Enochian language. Voxx has appeared on many national television and radio shows, as well as in several films. Voxx is a published poet. Voxx is also a Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Photographer, Painter, talented electronica musician, and Multi-Media Artist. Voxx’s clients (who include the members of Motley Crue, Tara Reid, and Howard Stern) have been regularly astounded by her ability to successfully and accurately predict the names, dates and details regarding their future Soul Mates, as well as the subsequent birth of their children.” 

This result was the first returned because Voxx is mentioned on a site called rip-off report by a consumer in Staten Island who had paid for and cast Voxx’s “spells” but wasn’t initially satisfied because his “demands were not being fulfilled.”

Conclusion: Intentional misuse of data filtering tools shifts context and allows for the machine discovery of multilayered, wail-worthy, illustrative perfection. Truly a wonder.

11.23. filed under: bits&bytes. misc. play. 2

Little Wars

Or: a brief appreciation of carousels

Quote: “The earliest carousel is known from a Byzantine Empire bas-relief dating to around 500 A.D., which depicts riders in baskets suspended from a central pole. The word carousel originates from the Italian garosello and Spanish carosella (“little war”), used by crusaders to describe a combat preparation exercise and game played by Turkish and Arabian horsemen in the 1100s. In a sense this early device could be considered a cavalry training mechanism; it prepared and strengthened the riders for actual combat as they wielded their swords at the mock enemies. European Crusaders discovered this contraption and brought the idea back to own their lands, primarily the ruling lords and kings. There the carousel was kept secret within the castle walls, to be used for training by horsemen; no carousel was allowed out in the public.”

11.11. filed under: design. history. play. 6

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