Saturday, December 20, 2008

Having your own government credit line

A friend of mine sent me this picture of her stockbroker, kicking back, scoring large in Cabo. Talk about taking your investors for a walk in the park! The poor woman, now broke worse than the pipes in her Sears Kit House, is freezing her backside off in Wisconsin, plowing the south forty for tonight's dinner of spuds and nightcrawlers. Who says having Henry Paulson on speed dial gets you nothing?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shoes fly, don't bother me

By now most of us have seen Muntadar al-Zaidi throw two Hail Marys at President Bush during a hastily convened press conference in the otherwise placid Green Zone of Baghdad. Bush's reflexes are extraordinary, no doubt honed from years of dodging reality.

As Americans we need to get past this blatant and obnoxious insult to our Presidency and see whether any lasting coin can be made from it all. So marketers take note: This clown even hit our flag on the second throw, so our national honor is at stake.

The shoes pitched were not the clunky, ugly Richard Reid wingtips that came in one color, were tight-fitting, difficult to remove, and failed to ignite the public's interest. al-Zaidi's shoes appear to be both sturdy and cholera proof for the garbage-strewn streets and back alleys of Sadr City, yet easily removable and comfortable for mall walking and hiking to and from Baghdad International. Light, airy, and remarkably aerodynamic, they tend not to slice when launched which is every parent's dream when making adult points to children. Best of all, these shoes come in such a hypnotically soothing color that, when thrown, Secret Service agents stand around glassy-eyed literally waiting for the other one to drop. Let's buy the company that makes this brand and then outsource the jobs overseas.

By the time Muntadar walks out of his undisclosed black hole site, he'll be older and more doughy than Mister Six. Gone will be his opportunities for shoe endorsements. Gone will be his chance to throw out the first shoe at the start of the baseball season. Gone will be his shot at calling "outsoles or vamps" at the Super Bowl. Gone will be his book signing tour across the heartland and his chance at meeting Oprah. That's what hating America gets you, bucko!

A word to the wise is fairly sufficient. If you intend to throw shoes at President Bush, be smart about it when you're finally dragged down by security: Yell out that heaving footwear is an ancient Iraqi custom for locating weapons of mass destruction.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Greenbush Boy does Dow

Notice how clean cut everyone is. Is this 1967 or 1957? Where are the beards, the moustaches, the tie-dyed outfits, the peace beads? Don't the standing onlookers in this famous anti-war poster appear dressed for a Brothers Four concert rather than what would shortly turn out to be one of the most famous pitched battles ever to take place on a University campus?

For a full understanding of why this photograph was anything but a University of Wisconsin recruiting tool, read the superbly written account of the Dow Chemical Riots in Pulitzer Prize-winner David Maraniss's book,They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967.

I'm one of the rubber-neckers several feet away from those already fallen who within seconds will nearly have his head split open during Madison's version of the running of the bulls. I found the answer to Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

I was on the ground eating them.

Cops look for copper crooks

Until a week ago, I hadn't set foot in a public library in 25 years. Back in the 1980s, my favorite Saturday afternoon stop before going down to the beach was the Santa Monica Library, several blocks from the Pacific on Wilshire Blvd. The building was a clunky box but the library was far easier to get to than the glorious art and architecture featured in the Central Library downtown (pictured above).

As you would expect from a Southern Californian location so close to the ocean, the librarians at the Santa Monica branch were hot, tanned, and full of the love for the Dewey Decimal System. I stared at them for hours, as they patiently diagrammed the intricacies of the DDS classification system for me as if it were a complex compound sentence. Their mastery of library science fervor almost made me want to check out a book. And who could not love the snot-nosed urchins, devoid of both visible parents and any form of social graces, running around the stacks like Huns sacking Rome?

I can't remember why I stopped going to the Santa Monica Library. Too many children sneezing in my face? Perhaps. Not enough face time with one particular librarian? Maybe. Or perhaps I simply became tired of the improvisational theatre-in-the-round carried on by customers, librarians, the homeless, and the psychotics.

Walter Kerr would have had a difficult time critiquing this production.The play was free; the price for the seats was free; the actors worked for nothing; refreshments were by way of bag lunch or vending machines. The play's ending depended both on audience participation as well as actor reaction.
Act One: The homeless camping out in the self help section enraged customers in search of the latest in Werner Erhard transformational stimuli by sitting still in what best can be described as nouveau sculpture still-life. Screaming ensued.

Act Two:Psychotics, confusing the main floor with that of the north-east corner of Hyde Park, kabuki pranced from table to table, spitting forth venomous Dadaist expressions, that scared the wayward children back into the arms of their parents. Librarians attempt to calm the rants, but receive punches to the nose or bites to the face.

Act Three:Police arrive, usually three, the size of NBA power forwards, packing heat and ready to add their own muscular method acting technique to this guerrilla theater by the sea. Much rough house shoving and pushing ensues. Clubs drawn; fists raised; patrons whistling for encores. Some in the audience don't want the play to end. They turn out to be anarchists.
I leave the library still without any phone numbers, but with a better appreciation for the meaning behind the words "he's off his meds."

Perhaps you've heard. The economy is imploding. Money is tight. Knocking off ATM's is currently out of the question for me because of a trick knee and a back that locks every time I even think of exerting myself. So I say to myself, "Self, it's time to finally return to the public library," especially since I have no overdue fees. I never checked out a book.

Free volumes is cost effective in this day and age. And I have already enough books to brace a lean-to under an overpass if necessary.

Filling out a form for a laminated library card, probably with a Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, is an activity I haven't done since the invention of the spinning jenny. My excitement builds.

I shower and shave and put on clean jeans and my favorite Bucky Badger sweatshirt and drive down to the closest public library in my neighborhood, the Palms Rancho Park. I'm as excited as a gopher in mud.

I am greeted by this:

Again I leave the library without any phone numbers. Some things never change.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looking Down from My Treehouse

Photo by Arthur Vinge; Credit Wisconsin Historical Image 55342

I said earlier that this would not be a blog about me growing up in Madison, Wisconsin. But this aerial view of some of my old neighborhood (courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society) is simply too good to pass up. In fact I’m certain I’m the kid in the upper corner running from a bunch of Mound Street bullies as a fast speeding Nash Rambler bears down on me. Or am I the little tyke peeing in the bushes as a Studebaker roars by. Perhaps I am neither as this picture appears to have been taken several years before I was conceived.

Convixens: A trailer for a movie that doesn't exist

Besides women in prison who doesn't love a women's prison film? Made in Madison, Wisconsin this one stars Emily Mills and much of the crowd behind Chad Vader.

Why didn't I think of this? - "Director Stitches 45,000 Photographs Into a Music Video"

A video made from still photographs. A fascinating idea I read about on
Good video doesn't always need a great video camera. A still camera, imagination and a lot of hours can also get you there.

Cesar Kuriyama, a New York animator and lighting technical director, has directed a visually arresting music video using an interesting technique.

Eschewing a video camera, he took 45,000 photographs with a Nikon D200 DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera and stitched them together to create the illusion of video.

Read the entire story by Priya Ganapati
Watch the video right here -- and leave a comment telling me what you think about it. You may also view a larger version of the video on Kuriyama's website.

Fat City Reprise - Long Gone

from Cesar Kuriyama on Vimeo