Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brooklyn Friggin' Bridge, you knowwhatImean?

NYC in March of 2010.

World's easiest video to make. Set down the camera, turn it on, sit back on the bench with Pastor John the (Robotic) Baptist, and watch all dem people walking by doing their thang. If you think it was anything but a nearly perfect day, then Grady, you crazy!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I hated that stinkin' green photo. Seriously. Even at the time I was wondering why I was posting it. And that made me wonder once again who it is that's doing all the interrogating in my head and who's doing all the answering. And who it is who's thinking about the interrogator, and whether that's the metaself. And whether the metaself isn't like God--in charge but sorta out of sight and seemingly out to lunch, too. And I decided there's a fun house of mirrors in my brain, and all the parts don't have to fit. So I've got that goin' for me, which is nice. That and total consciousness.

But that photo. Why did I post it? It reminds me of hearing the great Rod Steiger interviewed about his acting and how in The January Man he couldn't get his mind wrapped around his role's character. He kept hoping he'd find the key to unlock the character, but it never emerged. So when he was on the set, he was feeling desperate and tried to force the character out by will alone, and as a result he ended up shouting throughout every scene. That shot was like Steiger's role in January man. Rotten. And loud.

BTW, I was pleased with Nora. I asked her at the Hunter Museum of Art what she thought of a certain piece. She said. "Dunno. It's too busy for me." Atta girl, my minimalist munchkin.

That being said, this photo isn't minimalist. Just because Lydia has no head in the photo doesn't mean it's minimalism. That's important to remember. I did this one "in doubly." Literally.

And the untouched original:

Minimalism in art has a specific meaning. An example of genuine minimalist art is this piece by Brice Marden called The Dylan Painting.

I have my own name for it: "Cleveland." So gray. So very very gray. The's just under- AND overwhelming.

But here's an example of minimalism in the more casual sense, and it's simply exquisite. It's by the 17th-18th century Chinese artist, Gao Qipei. It's titled "A Pine Branch," and it's taken from the series, "Finger Paintings of Assorted Subjects." This painting, which is displayed at my beloved Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, captures every thing I want to do with my photography. It reveals and conceals simultaneously. It points beyond itself while inviting closer viewing. The problem, a severe one, is that my stupid camera (which is literally falling apart, and rapidly) doesn't have a "Chinese finger painting with ink" mode.

I'm very very angry with Gao Qipei. And at my camera.

Have you ever listened to Brahms' Violin Concerto in D? You should. And have. (Admit it.)

A Jonathan Edwards-inspired self-portrait

Stolen from Jonathan Edwards:

The God that holds me over the pit of hell, much as one holds...some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors me, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards me burns like fire; he looks upon me as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have me in his sight; I am ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. I have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds me from falling into the fire every moment...

Monday, May 24, 2010

We don't want that now, do we?

The actual dialogue:

"Derek: No it's not an exit. Not an exit.

David: We don't want an exit.

Derek: No, that's true."

I took this photo today at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN. So what's funny about this is that this morning on the ride up to the museum one of my daughters mentioned Spinal Tap for some reason. Just possibly because 2/3rds of my portion of my discussions with my children amounts to quotes from the movie.

But that's nitipicking, now ain't it?

So that prompted me to call a certain frequent respondent to this blog to ask him whether he remembered trying to explain the idea of Spinal Tap to me back in the mid-80's when we were in high school. Though I've surely come to see it more often than he has (I've seen it at least, ummm, 11 times), he did in fact see it first. Glory is his forever on this count. And despite some disputes we've had about reconstructing dialogues from the past--specifically concerning bets about destroying stadiums with sledgehammers--we actually generally agree on how this conversation unfolded--or failed to unfold. This captures in ever so slightly truncated form, how it proceeded.

Me: So I don't get this movie you keep talking about. Describe it for me.

Him: Which movie? This is Spinal Tap?

Me: What is?

Him: No. That's the name of the movie.

Me: What is?

Him: This is Spinal Tap.

Me: What is?

Him: This is Spinal Tap.

Me: What about a Spinal Tap?

Him: That's the name of the movie.

Me: What is? Spinal Tap?

Him: Yeah. But what's great about it is the umlaut is over the "n" in Spinal.

Me: What's an umlaut?

Him: The two dots.

Me: the Dutch do?

Him: The Germans, mostly. The Germans invented the umlaut. The Dutch were completely derivative. Frankly, they’re derivative of the Germans on most things. Spoiled rotten thieves, if you ask me. Most of the greatness of Europe is derivative of German innovation. And as Europe goes, so goes the world.

Me: I didn't know spinal has an umlaut.

Him: No. No, it doesn’t. That's the humor—at least for most people. And what's great is that they placed it over the n.

Me: And…so?

Him: Umlauts are placed over vowels. Jesus.

Me: Why are you being so pissy? I didn't take Dutch like you did.

Him: German.

Me: So what's the band called?

Him: Spinal Tap.

Me: But isn't that the movie?

Him: No. The movie is This is Spinal Tap.

Me: You just said that.

Him: No, I said the the band’s name is Spinal Tap. The movie is called, “This is Spinal Tap.” Millions of people--some of them much younger than you--saw and thoroughly understood and enjoyed this movie.

Me: Fine. But what’s the movie about?

Him: It’s a mock documentary of a fictional band.

Me: Wait. I thought you told me before they put out an album.

Him: They did. I have it.

Me: But you just said the band is fictional.

Him: They are. But the actors wrote their own music and played their own instruments.

Me: So they’re a band…

Him: No. They’re fictional.

Me: Is this like Dungeons and Dragons? You and the Dungeons and Dragons! I do NOT get this whole alternative reality thing that you get off on.

Him: Point A, you wouldn’t know Dungeons and Dragons from crap if it came up and kicked you in the head. Point B, neither Spinal Tap nor This is Spinal Tap is anything like Dungeons and Dragons. D&D is a fantasy game; the movie and the band are fiction. Totally different.

Me: And the album is fiction?

Him: The album, Mike, is a collection of the parody music put out by this one hundred percent fictional band, Mike.

Me: Didn’t you say this band played on Saturday Night Live?

Him: Yes, Mike. As a skit. The actors are on Saturday Night Live.

Me: WHAT actors?!

Him: The actors who play Spinal Tap, Mike.

Me: The members of the band appeared on Saturday Night Live as actors? What??

Him: The band is fictitious--I thought we had established that point. The actors are skit actors for Saturday Night Live and they played them in a skit.

Me: So they impersonated the members of the band? That’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?

Him: No! Wait. What is?

Me: That actors of SNL would impersonate the members of a fictitious band.

Him: Sweet Mother of God, no. The actors are role-playing the members of the band. They ARE the members of the fictitious band. They aren’t impersonating anyone. They’re playing a role.

Me: Like in Dungeons and Dragons.

Him: F*** you.

Me: Excuse me. I didn’t take Dutch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Oh, I definitely got me beer goggles goin' on here:

And here's another photo of what I believe must be Dogfish Head 60 IPA. Niiiiiice. The beer, not the photo. I took this shot in January, but what else would I have been drinking back then, assuming I was in my right mind? I mean, really, come on.

And a shot from down below with the beer mug hanging over the edge of the table. I remember getting a stern look from Timekeeper while I was taking this shot. As though I had any intention of wasting a Dogfish Head. Please, I don't think so.


I dedicate this post to the fabulous Justcurious and her groovy husband "Jeff," who introduced me to DFH60. So grateful.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Being bored at the airport prompted me to take a photo of this lamp...

I'm discovering more and more signs of the imminent robotic revolution in which they become our interior decorating overlords. This robot has groovy taste, I think. I approve.

Friday, May 21, 2010


When the Levee Breaks

This version brought to you here by Led Zeppelin, those famous dabblers in the black arts. (Now ain't they?)

When the Levee Breaks

If it keeps on raining levee's going to break
If it keeps on raining levee's going to break
When the levee breaks have no place to stay

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Got what it takes to make a Mountain Man leave his home

Oh, well; oh, well; oh, well.

Don't it make you feel bad?
When you're trying to find your way home you don't know which way to go?
When you're going down south and there's no work to do
And you're going on to Chicago

Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good
Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to go

All last night sat on the levee and moaned
All last night sat on the levee and moaned
Thinking about my baby and my happy home

Going - going to Chicago
Going to Chicago
Sorry, but I can't take you

Going down - going down, now
Going down - going down, now
Going down
Going down
Going down
Going down

Going down - going down, now
Going down - going down, now
Going down - going down, now
Going down
Going dow-, dow-, dow-, dow-, down, now

post-coffee self-portrait

Kansas City Plaza on a December Night

Guess for the white boy. Kansas Citians have the advantage here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Physical Graffiti

This friendly little neighborhood sign greets visitors and passersby. The first time our family saw it, Juli, Lydia and I were all bothered by the absence of an apostrophe in the word "dogs." This house is on a route that I frequently use when I'm walking or jogging (i.e. shuffling along), and finally I decided something needed to happen.

So please note the blue apostrophe. Now as anyone who has read this blog well knows, I'm no grammatical wizard--or mental wizard of any variety. But action was necessary here. I felt the neighbor's indignation would carry greater persuasive power with the apostrophe. It was an act of neighborly love.

Now I've never defaced property before (and I'm not saying that I did it in this case either, please note), but I think the entire neighborhood is resting easier this evening. Certainly they enjoy greater clarity of mind.

I'm confident that one major question that troubled the graffiti artist was whether to make the sign say "dogs'" or "dog's." It was a tough call, and I hope your comments here don't force that person to go back and alter it to "dogs'." That would be a most unwelcome task. If so, the graffiti artist might have to carry a sign that says, "This body is not a rifle range target."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

hellish mannequin

Icy Stare

Ice cubes in the complimentary drink I received on a flight I took last December to Kansas City. Lydia was my flying partner, so I had no worries of my fellow passengers worrying about the state of my mind.

I punched up the colors a touch. I enjoy (as is obvious to all by now) to defamiliarize the familiar and anthropomorphize inanimate sh** and whatnot.

It's what I do. It's how I do.

Sidenote from Wikipedia: "Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality." Yo, I'm just preempting Steven Taylor.

Monday, May 17, 2010

salt and sky (and insomnia)

Photos of the sky while traveling on the highway as seen through a filthy salt-covered van windshield. I focused the camera on the salt residue. See?

And see?

But this is all punched up and whatnot:

And this is my fave by far. I like the composition quite a lot. It generates a sense of movement, which is not the strength of my photography. (My forte would be eyeballs, natch.)

Here are ten deep questions I’ve been pondering lately--ever since I woke up right before 2:00 this morning.

1. Do you ever wake up at 1:57 knowing, “shoot, that’s it for sleep for the night!”?

2. Are mildew and mold one in the same thing? My theory? Yes. Mostly because I don't want either to grow on my bread.

3. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of surgery and be unable to tell the surgeons that I’m awake. Do you?

4. I shouldn’t have had that piece of pizza right before I went to bed.

5. Do you ever fear your memory is failing you?

6. I shouldn’t have had that piece of pizza right before I went to bed.

7. Recently I watched “The Lives of Others,” a German film set in East Germany a few years before the fall of the wall. You should see it.

8. The “Fall” is a bad thing for humanity in the Jewish and Christian creation accounts but a good thing for the Germans in 1989. But I think it’s premature to conclude that Germans aren’t created.

9. The only day of the week I use the word “begotten” is on Sundays.

10. I’m in the mood for a hot fudge Sunday.

11. I used to mildly (and secretly) resent it when people would name their dog Bailey. Now I think it's cute. Don't you?

pretty little candles

I'm going soft in the brain. What's wrong with me? First a cat. Now candles.

No hands. No eyeballs. No bees.

This definitely ain't hood.

Wood and light AND another dystopic scene from our future robotic overlords


Sunday, May 16, 2010

shock the monkey

This is the lamp....

...of our future robot overlords.

That's cool. I'm down with their taste.

Monday, May 10, 2010

.6 degrees of separation

I like this one fine.

But I love this one. It's all about that strong vertical line of eyeballs. And that's just not something you get every day.

But should.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Zac Greene's freaky prayer hand(s) praying a freaky prayer

Oh, you know it's freaky if it's Zac. Freaky is how Zac do.

Absorption into the Bean

It's the way to go, if you ask me.

So this is how I do. The conversation with Zac went quite well as far as these kinds of conversations go. It went more or less like this:

“Zac, how does a walk to the Bean sound?” (We were at the Palmer House, which is all of ten minutes away.)

“That sounds just fine. I have ninety minutes before my poster session.”

“Cool. Well…umm…..the thing is I like to take photos at the Bean.”

“That’s fine.”

“Well, see, here’s the thing. I basically am going to tell you what to do and then you have to do it.”


“No, I mean it.”



And that’s what we did. Zac’s good that way.

Monday, May 03, 2010