December 30th, 2005

The Times-Tribune – Opinion – 12/30/2005 – Dabbling in fakery Defining ‘art,’ even when authentic

Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.


December 28th, 2005

DevilDucky – PacMan Puppet Show

PacMan stars in his own Mexican puppet theatre adaptation. Viral for game services. Yeah, but still really cool. As much as I love PacMan, this is SO much better….


December 28th, 2005

Best Digital Cameras


December 28th, 2005

Dwarfs commanded respect in ancient Egypt

An article published in the January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics examines the remains and depiction of dwarfs in ancient Egypt, concluding that they were assimilated into daily life and their disorder was not seen as a physical handicap. The journal is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ajmg.

The ancient Egyptians left an immense legacy about their culture and daily life through inscriptions and representations on tomb and temple walls, documents on papyrus, and funerary objects. In addition, the hot dry climate and elaborate burial systems have left intact many human remains, including complete and partial skeletons. As a result, Egypt is a major source of information about how achondroplasia (the bone disorder that causes the most common type of dwarfism) was perceived in ancient times.

Written by Chahira Kozma, M.D., of the department of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital, the paper examines biological remains and artistic evidence of dwarfism in ancient Egypt, including both elite dwarfs who achieved important status, and ordinary dwarfs. The earliest biological evidence of dwarfs in ancient Egypt dates to a Predynastic Period called the “Badarian Period” (4500 BCE) in addition to several skeletons from the Old Kingdom (2700 – 2190 BCE). Pictorial sources of dwarfism in tomb and vase paintings, statues and other art forms are numerous and indicate that dwarfs were employed as personal attendants, overseers of linen, animal tenders, jewelers, dancers and entertainers.

Several dwarfs were members of households of high officials and were esteemed enough to receive lavish burial sites in the royal cemetery close to the pyramids. There were also several dwarf gods in ancient Egypt; the best known ones were involved in magical practices to protect the living and the dead. In addition, ordinary dwarfs are depicted in at least 50 tombs and the repetition of certain pictures shows that they were well integrated into various aspects of society, specializing in certain occupations.

The depiction of dwarfs as shown in records available from ancient Egypt, the numerous figurines and amulets that were formed in their shape, as well as text from papyri invoking their magical powers leads the author to conclude that “the image of short people in ancient Egypt is essentially positive.” “Dwarfs were likely accepted in ancient Egypt and were given a visible role in the society,” the author concludes. “Furthermore their daily activities suggest integration in daily life and that their disorder was not shown as a physical handicap.”

Article: “Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt,” Chahira Kozma, American Journal of Medical Genetics; Published Online: December 27, 2005.

Thanks to Robot Wisdom.


December 22nd, 2005

The Times-Tribune – News – 12/21/2005 – Shoppes hearing addresses water runoff Job continues pending DEP review

I really should have been posting more info about this. Fortunately, others are keeping up with things.

Stupid sprawl.


December 20th, 2005

The Times-Tribune – Opinion – 12/20/2005 – A panopaply of responses to the War on Xmas


December 19th, 2005

Women Make Lists

Shows how out of touch with Snyder’s work I am — at first, I thought these were Twombly’s.

This is embarassing because I know I like Snyder. I obviously haven’t been paying attention lately.


December 19th, 2005

noise and talk

Nonstop broadcasting leaves no time for snow, which is known as thermal noise in technical parlance. Test patterns are also passé (much to the annoyance of many TV repairmen, I’ve heard). Even in cases where a gaze into the snow seems almost unavoidable – when using a video recorder, for instance – the phenomenon is foiled again. Modern television sets recognize thermal noise and replace it with a static blue screen. A heavy Williamsian blanket, not of snow, but of warm and cozy continuity, descends over the TV landscape. The terrible stillness of the blast of wintry cold after signoff? Ha! That’s how it used to be. But let’s leave it at that. We don’t want this turning into a sentimental “Save the Test Pattern” campaign.


December 15th, 2005

village voice > art > A manic-depressive panic attack in the face of profound information overload

Whether you call it the New Cacophony or the Old Cacophony, Agglomerationism, Disorientationism, the Anti Dia, or just a raging bile duct, the practice of mounting sprawling, often infinitely organized, jam-packed carnivalesque installations is making more and more galleries and museums feel like department stores, junkyards, and disaster films. It is an architecture of no architecture, a gesamtkunstwerk or “total artwork,” whose roots are in opera, Dada, the Merzbau, and the madhouse. Whatever the subject — be it bodily fluids, pop culture, or politics — terms that describe this sculptural strategy include grandiose and testosterone-driven.


December 15th, 2005

A chance contextual ad in Gmail alerted me to the idea of buying Books by the Foot mdash; but not before said link had passed by. Tsk tsk tsk. Subsequent google searches have not unveiled the original, but I have found some interesting coverage. So to speak.

The Strand Bookstore sells various types by the foot. A post at Obvious Diversion covering same has a respondent who points out that binding type and quantity is the traditional method of building a library. Book Decor has the most expensive and historical looking books available (ancient-looking leather, gilt, and Danish print. Danish!!!), while Wonder Book and Video has the cheapest I’ve found (in my admittedly brief perigrenation), and graciously (and completely obliviously) provided the image below.

you can't judge a book by its cover, but by its coverage

Columbia News Service has an article that talks some about the “habit” of using leather-bound foreign-language as a decorative “accent.”


December 14th, 2005

The Times-Tribune – News – 12/14/2005 – Contentious council doesn’t go quietly

Ah, Janet Evans — how we love thee so:

Council wiped its slate clean of business at the meeting. [….] [I]t gave the final nod to several pieces of legislation, including:

  • A three-year contract extension for Northeast Credit and Collections to collect delinquent garbage fees and property taxes. Mrs. Evans voted against.
  • Authorization for two tax anticipation notes with Community Bank and Trust Company for a total of $14.5 million. The short-term loans that must be repaid within the year give communities cash until taxes come in. Mrs. Evans voted against the $9.5 million note.
  • Approval of a loan buyout by Community Reinvestment Fund that will make a $5 million economic development loan fund immediately available to the city. Mrs. Evans voted against.
  • Emphasis added.


    December 14th, 2005

    Have I told you, yet, that Dan Goodsell (of Tick Tock Toys fame) has a blog?

    Well, Dan Goodsell (of Tick Tock Toys fame) has a blog entitled a sampler of things.


    December 14th, 2005

    I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of.... Santa?!???

    I have utterly NO idea what this means.


    December 8th, 2005

    Art MoCo: Shapeshifter

    Brian Jungen uses the ubiquitous white plastic lawn chair to create sculptures of skeletal whales. Shapeshifter is the perfect name for an installation of a mammal whose vertebrae are made up of cheap chairs and while also tying in the notion of First Nations mythology. Shapeshifter is the popular term for any sort of being that transforms or mutates from one state to another and Jungen found this to be a good way to represent his desire to commemorate the ‘save the whales’ movement of the 60s. Disappointed that there were no artifacts from this time, and far less passion about the topic than there once had been, Jungen set out to play with the ideas of scientific exhibits, a revived eco-consciousness and the use of accessible consumer goods in the visual arts. Cetalogy is a more recent example of Jungen’s work in his Secession series, as is Vienna.

    Which reminds “us*” of Functional Fate, a blog devoted to tracking down the plastic monobloc chair as its expands it viral DNA across the Universe.

    *Yeah, we’re giving to more affectations lately. So sue us.


    December 8th, 2005

    OrcinusRush Limbaugh speaks on hostages:

    (Quoting from an AP report) “Aljazeera has broadcasted an insurgent video today, shows four peace activists taken hostage in Iraq, with a previously unknown group claiming responsibility for the kidnappings. The unknown group is the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, and they said the four were spies working undercover as Christian peace activists, according to Aljazeera. Aljazeera said that it could not verify any of the information on the tape. The aid group Christian Peacemaker Teams has confirmed that four of its members were taken hostage on Saturday….”

    [P]art of me that likes this. And some of you might say, “Rush, that’s horrible. Peace activists taken hostage.” Well, here’s why I like it. I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality. So here we have these peace activists over there. I don’t care if they’re Christian or not.


    Yeah, as warped as these people are, you know they’re going to blame Bush for this… They wouldn’t have been kidnapped because they wouldn’t have been there in the first place if Bush hadn’t gone and caused the war and created all these terrorists. I mean, these people are liberals, they’re warped. Well, I mean, that’s why there’s — I’m telling you, folks, there’s a part of me that likes this. Probably, even with this, though, you know, they’re not going to see the light of day. They’re not going to — I know, let them take me out of context. I don’t care anymore.

    No comment.


    December 8th, 2005

    TheG33K.com – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prog-Rock

         Let’s go out then, you and me,
    When the sky gives up all its colours to see
    Like a laser show at the planetarium;
    Let’s go out through empty subdivided streets

    Past antiquated fleets
    Of luxury sedans in two-car driveways
    And neighbourhoods accessible only from highways;
    Streets like Neal Peart lyrics in an epic song
    Far too obtuse and long
    That lead you to a perplexing quandary …

    Oh, do not ask, ‘Why are we here?’
    Let’s go out and drink cheap beer.

         The women mumble, ‘Yes,’ and ‘No,’
    And talk about the Hawkwind show.

    Thank you, Mr. Heaney.


    December 8th, 2005

    CNN.com – The real scandal of Tom DeLay – May 9, 2005

    Later, DeLay would tell The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin that the low-wage, anti-union conditions of the Marianas constituted “a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It’s like my Galapagos Island.”

    What’s Mr. DeLay referring to as “a perfect petri dish of capitalism” ???

    Moved by the sworn testimony of U.S. officials and human-rights advocates that the 91 percent of the workforce who were immigrants — from China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — were being paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage and were forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks minus plumbing, work 12 hours a day, often seven days a week, without any of the legal protections U.S. workers are guaranteed, Murkowski wrote a bill to extend the protection of U.S. labor and minimum-wage laws to the workers in the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas.


    December 6th, 2005

    WFMU reports and links to 4 excellent German TV ads for a Home Improvement Store.

    Starring Blixa Bargeld.


    December 6th, 2005

    The Times-Tribune – News – 12/06/2005 – THROOP: Budget passes, might not balance

    Well, things might be looking up for Throop. Borough meetings seem to be more boring, and things are getting accomplished. Little by little.

    Compare Throop’s fiscal woes to Scranton’s.

    Oh, and why do I keep posting all of this? Well, I live in Throop and am trying to keep myself better informed. And, in some odd way, it might be interesting to some of you out there in the highways and byways of this digital planet. As Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty said to me Friday evening (we happened to be sharing a trolley between galleries), the smaller the area — the more interesting the politics.


    December 2nd, 2005

    Daily Kos:Traitor, thy name is Coulter

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