28 February 2009

stop recycling. start repairing.

"Platform21’s Repair Manifesto opposes throwaway culture and celebrates repair as the new recycling.

With our new project, Platform21 = Repairing, we seek to make repairing cool again – with your help. Let the manifesto inspire you, comment on it or add to it. Rediscover the joy of fixing things and share your most ingenious repair, your tips and your tricks. You could present them in person later, or see them on our website or in the exhibition that opens on Friday 13 March.

This project is about sharing knowledge and skills. Together we can start a movement, one that isn’t new per se but has been forgotten. So if you know a way to save a product, let us know by emailing info [at] platform21.com."

(via the always dope Arthur)

26 February 2009

undressing a sow's ear

The Brothers Coen help to dispel the myth of "clean coal" in this ad they directed for The Reality Campaign:

(via HuffPo)

25 February 2009

God bless the "FUSA" and all who sink with her . . .

Dmitry Orlov compares the eagle and the bear in an excellent talk he gave in San Francisco on 13 Feb 09 for the Long Now Foundation entitled "Social Collapse Best Practices."

An excerpt:

"By the mid-1990s I started to see Soviet/American Superpowerdom as a sort of disease that strives for world dominance but in effect eviscerates its host country, eventually leaving behind an empty shell: an impoverished population, an economy in ruins, a legacy of social problems, and a tremendous burden of debt. The symmetries between the two global superpowers were then already too numerous to mention, and they have been growing more obvious ever since.

The superpower symmetries may be of interest to policy wonks and history buffs and various skeptics, but they tell us nothing that would be useful in our daily lives. It is the asymmetries, the differences between the two superpowers, that I believe to be most instructive. When the Soviet system went away, many people lost their jobs, everyone lost their savings, wages and pensions were held back for months, their value was wiped out by hyperinflation, there shortages of food, gasoline, medicine, consumer goods, there was a large increase in crime and violence, and yet Russian society did not collapse. Somehow, the Russians found ways to muddle through. How was that possible? It turns out that many aspects of the Soviet system were paradoxically resilient in the face of system-wide collapse, many institutions continued to function, and the living arrangement was such that people did not lose access to food, shelter or transportation, and could survive even without an income. The Soviet economic system failed to thrive, and the Communist experiment at constructing a worker's paradise on earth was, in the end, a failure. But as a side effect it inadvertently achieved a high level of collapse-preparedness. In comparison, the American system could produce significantly better results, for time, but at the cost of creating and perpetuating a living arrangement that is very fragile, and not at all capable of holding together through the inevitable crash. Even after the Soviet economy evaporated and the government largely shut down, Russians still had plenty left for them to work with. And so there is a wealth of useful information and insight that we can extract from the Russian experience, which we can then turn around and put to good use in helping us improvise a new living arrangement here in the United States – one that is more likely to be survivable.

The mid-1990s did not seem to me as the right time to voice such ideas. The United States was celebrating its so-called Cold War victory, getting over its Vietnam syndrome by bombing Iraq back to the Stone Age, and the foreign policy wonks coined the term "hyperpower" and were jabbering on about full-spectrum dominance. All sorts of silly things were happening. Professor Fukuyama told us that history had ended, and so we were building a brave new world where the Chinese made things out of plastic for us, the Indians provided customer support when these Chinese-made things broke, and we paid for it all just by flipping houses, pretending that they were worth a lot of money whereas they are really just useless bits of ticky-tacky. Alan Greenspan chided us about "irrational exuberance" while consistently low-balling interest rates. It was the "Goldilocks economy" – not to hot, not too cold. Remember that? And now it turns out that it was actually more of a "Tinker-bell" economy, because the last five or so years of economic growth was more or less a hallucination, based on various debt pyramids, the "whole house of cards" as President Bush once referred to it during one of his lucid moments. And now we can look back on all of that with a funny, queasy feeling, or we can look forward and feel nothing but vertigo. "

You can find the entire transcript at Orlov's blog or listen to audio from the talk here.

23 February 2009

Water Pattern by Tomo
* * *
"There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
And that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all."
Ogden Nash

21 February 2009

change we can bereave in

Rad performance art/live sculpture from Olivier de Sagazan.

Return to Close:

20 February 2009

Map of Dante's Hell by Barry Moser from the Mandelbaum translation (c.1980).

18 February 2009

dum, dum, dum, de dum dum, de duh de duh de dum dum dum... ah ah

Pondering what will follow the global "slump" into which we further and further spiral ourselves has sent me back to this brilliant tune from Stereolab. Ping Pong, from 1994's Mars Audiac Quintet has perhaps the highest bleak outlook to danceable groove ratio of any song I can think of.

Here are the lyrics and further below a video so you can either listen as you read or watch the crew kicking it in our grainy future:

Ping Pong

"It's alright 'cos the historical pattern has shown
how the economical cycle tends to revolve
in a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop
a slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more

bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery
huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery

you see the recovery always comes 'round again
there's nothing to worry for things will look after themselves
it's alright recovery always comes 'round again
there's nothing to worry if things can only get better

there's only millions that lose their jobs and homes and sometimes accents
there's only millions that die in their bloody wars, it's alright

it's only their lives and the lives of their next of kin that they are losing
it's only their lives and the lives of their next of kin that they are losing

it's alright 'cos the historical pattern has shown how the economical cycle tends to revolve
in a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop
a slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more

bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery
huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery

don't worry be happy things will get better naturally
don't worry shut up sit down go with it and be happy

dum, dum, dum, de dum dum, de duh de duh de dum dum dum... ah ah
dum, dum, dum, de dum dum, de duh de duh de dum dum dum... ah ah"

17 February 2009

Death And Taxes
Jess Bachman

"Death and Taxes is a representational poster of the federal discretionary budget; the amount of money (our federal income taxes) that is spent at the discretion of your elected representatives in Congress. The data is from the President's budget request for 2009. It will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress by October 1st to begin the fiscal year.

The poster provides a uniquely revealing look at our national priorities, that fluctuate yearly, according to the wishes of the President, the power of Congress, and the will of the people. If you pay taxes, then you have paid for a small part of everything in the poster."

Take the jump for ordering info or to just zoom in around the image.

16 February 2009

going back to catepillar

Turritopsis dohrnii

It seems that cockroaches won't be the only ones to survive whatever catastrophe eventually rocks our global ecosystem. This "immortal" jellyfish will do so by turning into many smaller and younger versions of itself.

From National Geographic News:

" . . . when starvation, physical damage, or other crises arise, "instead of sure death, [Turritopsis] transforms all of its existing cells into a younger state," said study author Maria Pia Miglietta, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

The jellyfish turns itself into a bloblike cyst, which then develops into a polyp colony, essentially the first stage in jellyfish life.

The jellyfish's cells are often completely transformed in the process. Muscle cells can become nerve cells or even sperm or eggs.

Through asexual reproduction, the resulting polyp colony can spawn hundreds of genetically identical jellyfish—near perfect copies of the original adult."

14 February 2009

why i'm a lincoln cat

Should have posted this on the 12th:

The Gettysburg Address
by Lord Buckley

Milords and Miladies of the world of people
most restfully and most humbly
and with the deepest reverence
for the great and precious American Saint
Abraham Lincoln.
I shall translate in the modern sematic of the hip,
this new zig-zag sematic,
his beloved Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln himself, a great lover of humor and beauty,
would understand
and condone, I'm certain, this prelude to the address.

Now let me hip
you cats and kitties just how the scene went down.


cat that swings with the rhythm of love of life
has some certain cat that he
digs more than he does the next cat.

Now, you see that cat over there by
the tree?
Well he's a G.O.T. Washington cat.
He digs duckin' the flow
and stoppin' the woe.

But the cat next to him, he's a Benny Franklin
He digs watchin' his cash and coolin' his stash.

And the cat
right next to him with the feather in his hat.
He's an Eisenhower kiddie.
He digs, "Let's not play the fool and lose the cool."

But dat pretty
chick right next to him,
wid da violet eyes and da crazy look,
she's a
Sinatra chick.
She digs, "Sweet rhythm swings the world."

But me -
I'm a Lincoln Cat.

I dig old sweet long lanky non-stop Abe.
Linc" dey call da cat back in dem days.
Well Lanky Linc went to a
speechafyin' one time
and had a little MIS-understandin'.
Dere was an LP
type talkin' cat named Eddy Everet.
And dis here cat got up on de podium and
wailed away
and beat on his chops for so long and so loud
that he shaved
the place twenty-seven times,
rearranged it nine, and adjust it twice,
and da cat is still up dere beatin' on his chops,
and Lanky Linc is
sittin' down in da bleachers
goofin' with his scratch pad,
tryin' to get
somethin' down.

And he's gettin' somethin down.

But, what he's
gettin' down ain't movin' him.

But when dey called old Lanky Linc up to
de podium
and he dug all dem cats and kiddies swingin' on the green sward,
great love look come on his Saint face,
and he put dis issue down to
'em, he say:

Four big hits and seven licks ago,
our before-daddies
swung forth upon this sweet groovey land
a jumpin', wailin', stompin',
swingin' new nation,
hip to the sweet groove of liberty
and solid sent
upon the Ace lick dat all cats and kiddies,
red, white, or blue, is created
level in front.

We are now hung with a king size main-day Civil Drag,
soundin' whether this nation or any up there nation,
so hip and so solid
sent can stay with it all the way.

We have stomped out here to the
hassle site
of some of the worst jazz blown in the entire issue.


We are here to turn on a small soil stash
of the before-mentioned hassle site
as a final sweet sod pad for those
who laid it down and left it there
so that this jumpin' happy beat might
blow forever-more.

And we all dig that this is the straightest lick.

But diggin' it harder from afar we cannot mellow,
we cannot put down
the stamp of the lord on this sweet sod
because the strong non-stop studs,
both diggin' it and dug under it, who hassled here
have mellowed it with
such a wild mad beat
that we can hear it, but we can't touch it.

the world cats will short dig nor long stash in their wigs
what we are
beatin' our chops around here,
but it never can successively shade what they
vonced here.

It is for us the swingin' to pick up the dues
of these
fine studs who cut out from here
and fly it through to Endsville.
It is
hipper for us to be signifyin' to the glorious gig
that we can't miss with
all these bulgin' eyes,
that from all these A-stamp studs we double our love
kick, too,
that righteous ride for which these hard cats sounded
last nth bone of the beat of the bell.

That we here want it struck up
straight for all to dig
that these departed studs shall not have split in
and that this nation under the great swingin' Lord
shall swing up
a whopper of endless Mardi Gras,
and that the big law by you straights,
from you cats,
and for you kiddies,
shall not be scratched from the
big race.

And there's why I'm a Lincoln Cat.

13 February 2009


Join the ranks of half-assed Pollock imitaors but without the messy clean-up:

Jackson Pollock by Miltos Manetas

Here's a freshly stoned, monochromatic, eyes-closed interpretation of Naim Karakand's "Kamanagah" (which can be found on the excellent Black Mirror):

12 February 2009

also again

Shannyn Moore breaks down Palin's Birthday Press Conference. There's video there if you can bear to watch/listen.

11 February 2009

another lesson in clepto-nomics

These people should hang:

"Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, which will combine their brokerage firms into the
world's largest, have received a combined $60 billion in government bailout
funds. Officials with the firms said that the retention packages, which are rumored to value as much as $2 to $3 billion, would not come
from that pool of money."

(via the HuffPost)

Soooo . . . .these guys have more than one "pool of money?"

10 February 2009

na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good riddance you spineless crony

Attorney General Talis Colberg quits because current Alaskan politics "harshed his mellow."

*** Interesting update over at Progressive Alaska.

09 February 2009

it's got a basket a bell that rings and things to make it look good

No, Seriously: Republicans Don't Get It
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR)

With this latest attempt to strip bike funding from the recovery bill, Republicans have once again demonstrated how out of touch they are with their pathologically short-sighted attacks on bicycles. To their detriment, they are continuing their trend from last Congress of using the most economical, energy-efficient, and healthy forms of transportation as their whipping post. Investment in bike paths will not only improve our economy, and take our country in the right direction for the future; it is exactly the kind of investment the American people want.

Moreover, bicycle and pedestrian paths are precisely the kind of infrastructure projects our country needs. These projects tend to the most "shovel-ready" and are more labor-intensive than other projects-- therefore putting more people to work per dollar spent.

We might have understood these attacks a decade ago, but today they ignore the explosion of bicycling in this country in recent years that has been nothing short of phenomenal. There are tens of millions of American cyclists and even more who want their children to be able to bike and walk to school safely and therefore support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.

American families have indicated time and again in the passage of bond measures across the country that they favor spending on alternative transportation, such as bicycles and mass transit, over spending on mere highway capacity. Americans want real solutions to the economic crisis, not just a band-aid fix. These investments will stimulate our economy now - when it counts and point our nation toward the economic and environmental realities of the future.

Recent transportation surveys indicate that 52% of Americans want to bike more than they do now - but don't, because of the lack of safe and connected bicycle facilities.

Think about it: More than 50% of working Americans live less than 5 miles from work, an easy bicycle commute. Already more than 490,000 Americans bike to work; in Portland, 8% of downtown workers are bicycle commuters. Individually, they are saving $1,825 in auto-related costs, reducing their carbon emissions by 128 pounds per year, saving 145 gallons of gasoline, avoiding 50 hours of being stuck in traffic, burning 9,000 calories, reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%, and enjoying 14% fewer claims on their health insurance.

Nationally, if we doubled the current 1% of all trips by bike to 2%, we would collectively save more 693 million gallons of gasoline - that's more than $5 billion dollars - each year. From 2007 - 2008, bicyclists reduced the amount Americans drive by 100 million miles.

Bicycling also has immediate and direct benefits for communities that invest in bicycle paths, bike lanes, trails, and secure bicycle parking. For each $1 million invested in an FHWA-approved paved bicycle or multi-use trail, the local economy gains 65 jobs and between $50 and $100 million in local economic benefits. Some communities are already showing the results of these investments. After investing less than 1% of their total transportation budget in bicycle facilities in the past eight years, the City of Portland has seen a 144% increase in bicycle use - and the growth of a $90 million bicycle industry that has added nearly 50 new businesses in just the past two years.

I can think of no other transportation investment that provides more benefits to American communities who so desperately need: more jobs, reduced transportation costs, increased personal health, a cleaner environment, reduced carbon footprint, and greater community livability. It's time the Republicans got the point about what Americans want. Investments in bike and pedestrian infrastructure will help us create jobs and build healthier more livable communities for the future - these projects are the gifts that keep on giving.


my new favorite drummer

06 February 2009

stimulate the koi polloi and let the sharks eat cake

Color Rhythm, Frank Hyder 84" x 84", mixed media on woodcut print

04 February 2009

there are the dreams Huckleberry never thought about telling I know

Zoe Strauss was given a camera for her birthday about 8 or 9 years ago.

She takes photos of scenes and landscapes that we tend to ignore or overlook but, once syphoned through her eye, are hard to dispel.

She's the bastard child of the Williams: Eggleston and T. Vollman.

Zoe is currently in AK and has an installation in downtown Anchorage this Friday.
From her blog:

Hello Alaskan Friends.

I will be making 200 free portraits in Anchorage this week. This Friday, February 6th, from 5:30PM to 7:30PM, anyone can come to the International Gallery and get their portrait taken in front of a beautiful Alaskan mountain backdrop. I will print a 4"x6" photo for the sitter, which will be available beginning Sunday Feb 8th. Just come back to the gallery at your convenience and take your photo off the wall. The International Gallery of Contemporary Art is open Tuesday-Sunday, noon to 4PM.

Portraits are also available by appointment. Contact me at info (at) zoestrauss (dot) com if you're into getting your portrait made but can't make it over on Friday.

Zoe Strauss Pioneer Portrait Studio

at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art
427 D Street
Anchorage, Alaska

February 6, 2009

5:30PM - 7:30PM

She has book out on AMMO.

If you live in Philly, keep an eye out for her final 2 installations of
"Under I-95."

Many thanks to an anonymous commenter for bringing this installation to my attention. See you there?

let's set ryder's hips to this

Belafonte can't touch this:

Joseph Spence -- Jump in the Line

Bahamian sponge fisherman/"Thelonius Monk of folk guitar", Joseph Spence, kills it in this rendition of a traditional Trinidadian song. Recorded on Spence's front porch by Samuel Charters in 1958 and later released on the Folkways recording Joseph Spence: Bahamian Folk Guitar.

“Sounding like a delirious sea captain, a Delta bluesman on a tear, or a malfunctioning record player, Joseph Spence's mix of words and sounds is quite unique. The Bahamian guitarist's vocals bob like a fisherman's floater, sometimes leading the guitar and sometimes supporting it. He alternately picks, strums, and beats the acoustic instrument, and the sum total is the most unusual style I've ever heard from such a common setup. Hymns, sea chanties, popular folk songs, and other tunes make up his repertoire. Joseph Spence is where fans of Tom Waits meet followers of Mississippi John Hurt.”
(Robert Gordon — The Memphis Flyer)

When all's said and done, it's the growling, grumbling, muttering and humming that really does it for me.

03 February 2009

crumb's on the money

when they turn on the chair, something's added to the air forever

The last song the Silver Jews will ever play?

Smith and Jones Forever (31 January 09, Cumberland Caverns TN)

Sad to see 'em go but what a great song to end on.

02 February 2009


"Coming off a shellacking at the polls in November, the plurality of GOP voters (43%) say their party has been too moderate over the past eight years, and 55% think it should become more like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey."

--from Rasmussen Reports

So, let me get this straight, the majority of GOP-ers want their party to be more: narcissistic, secretive, uneducated, anti-intellectual and bible-blinded?


It's as though they didn't learn a fucking thing this past fall.

what's shakin, holmes?

Recent activity from the seismic recording station at the base of Mt Redoubt: