September 14, 2009

I Scanned The News Today, Oh Boy...

Speaking of which, today’s trippy tome features Eco-Friendly Porn (is that redundant?), A Trip to Venus, Art So Good You Gotta Lick It and Negotiating with Clients Made Easy!

Click on most (but not all) images to enlarge them and potentially reveal more stuff...

I don’t think it’s paranoia – I mean, I know everyone’s out to get me so I’m used to that – but lately I have been more addicted than usual to the news and keeping up with current events. Maybe it’s because my other means of keeping up with ‘world happenings’ has been via Facebook (one can only take so much CNN before one completely freaks out at hearing ‘you’re watching CNN’ every ten minutes!! Okay, James Earl Jones / Darth Vader, we get it already, aaaahhh!). But really, besides meeting neat people like a really cool imagist interested in illiteration (sic) and a having a great talk with a lovely romance novelist in the past weeks, this outlet hasn’t provided exactly a ton of thrills curiosity-wise.

Sure, in my spare time, I’ve been taking a lot of the surveys FB offers, but they’re rarely plausible it seems. Case in point: I took one the other day that says as a lover I am, quote, ‘A God/Goddess that is certain to always give his/her partner multiple ORGANISMS...’ Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine that argument ever working (‘hey baby, I’ll make sure you get more organisms than you’ve ever had before!’)(PS: ick!!!). It seems like much more of a papally decreed good argument for safe sex along the lines of ‘you make sure and be in New York and I’ll be in Tokyo, then we’ll get started.’

So anyway, I’ve been drudging my way through a lot of news and other reports lately. It’s actually kind of neat, because I really enjoy finding out more about the things that are reported, or more often than not, seem to be misleadingly reported.

And speaking of which, here are just a few examples:

It’s been ‘Fashion Week’ in New York the past days, which leads to some, um, intriguing views and photos in the press. Oh who am I kidding, fashion is just something I simply do not understand. I don’t think it’s an age thing as so much it’s a ‘I prefer clothes that are at least 10 years old and yes, you do have to consider which holes to put your limbs through getting dressed.’ And don’t forget the old sports jersey in case it’s chilly and the underwear that’s no longer even suitable for using as an old paint rag.

Seriously, one of these days I want to interview at length and face-to-face a true-dyed-in-the-wool fashionista or whatever the heck fashion designers like to call themselves. Sure, I get extremely cool golf pants that can be used as well to signal rescue teams or even be seen by space satellites, but this other stuff... I mean, do we expect to see these outfits on the streets soon? Is this what we’re supposed to be wearing in like 2012, as if it’s an auto company revealing the hot new sports car colors they foresee coming into vogue? Well, no thank you. Get those tiny little creatures to sashay out in an old Pink Floyd tee-shirt and some faded jeans, then I’ll stand up and clap.

And speaking of which, why is it that so many of the models for these shows apparently age so very poorly? I did see a recent photograph of one of the most lovely women I’ve ever seen – namely Isabella Rossellini – and she looks better and better the older she gets (note how I remain a gentleman and do not reveal her age [97]). Despite the often boyish haircuts she wears, I find she has such charm, such grace, with those thoughtful eyes and that playful smile. Hm, that’s so nice.

Let’s see what it said about her in the caption that accompanied this very photo: ‘...actress Isabella Rossellini applauds at a screening of ‘Green Porno 2’ in New York and that she...’ HELLO! Whatdidhejustsay?

Now, class settle down! No snickering or other gaspy noises, please! I, too, reacted somewhat with shock at this strange heading but then, as indicated, I did indeed do a little more research into the subject. And guess what, it’s something in fact for the whole family! Has that peaked your curiosity (or outrage or...) yet?

It seems in fact that Green Porno is in fact a critically acclaimed series of short films made by Ms. Rossellini along with the teams at the Sundance Channel that discusses the reproductive habits of insects, marine animals and more. It’s supposed to be extremely accurate from a scientific stand-point (I’m just going to take their word on some of these models) but it’s really fun. I watched a few of them and they’re really outstanding little shorts, no puns intended. (aside: I’ve got to ask The Great Paper Manipulator himself – Julien Vallée – if he was in any way involved with some of those, erm, statues seen here. Again, unless you’re a really cool and open-minded parent or similar type person, probably not for you!).

But getting back to women that age gracefully, can you imagine, I don’t know, someone like Demi Moore or whoever doing the ‘Whale’ sketch? Watch it yourself and tell me what you think (note: perhaps not everyone's tastes or suitable for all audiences ... but hey, it's just nature).

Okay, yes, now that you’ve watched it I know what you’re thinking: Cher would do it in a heartbeat! Fine, I’ll give you that (come on, she’ll do ANY-thing), but can you see, say, Meg Ryan or even Priscilla Presley (what in gods names were they thinking here?) doing this? Please... their lips would probably crack and fall off. Which might explain their Klingonian face jobs...

And speaking of which, I know that not all plastic surgeries go bad and it’s not nice to speak poorly of the recently deceased, BUT ISN’T THE FOLLOWING PICTURE THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN ... EVER EVER EVER TO THE POWER OF INFINITY?

This picture was released by The Field Museum in Chicago a few days ago. It shows an Egyptian limestone statue, depicting an unidentified woman, carved during the New Kingdom Period, 1550 BC to 1050 BC. YAHOO! News (appropriately named somehow I've always thought) and other sites with even more eerie renditions of same go on to say that ‘the bust has been the focus of interest since the death of singer Michael Jackson as visitors double-take at the eerie similarities between the 3,000-year-old statue and the singer.’ Duh, ya’ think?

And speaking of which, namely women and all that kind of ‘stuff’ (oops, that’ll get me at least one night on the couch alone), did I miss the announcement about the fact that when a woman of the female persuasion becomes a mother she automatically qualifies for disability? And no, this is not another right-wing, drooling argument against President Obama’s health plan... not that I have an opinion about that, no, not me ... or an opinion about drooling right-wingers either, nonono...

It’s just that I found it more than a little odd that after Kim Cly.. Kim Cleist... Kim Cliiye... the Belgian woman won the US Open last night that everyone seems to be fixated on the fact that she is now, biologically speaking, a mother and if you want to get really technical, probably no longer a virgin either.

It just struck me that a lot of the comments were phrased along the lines of ‘coming back from the excruciating pain and horrible disfigurement brought about by becoming a mother, she was STILL able to triumph! What an inspiration...’

Okay, yes, I get the bit about child-birth feeling like you’re passing a Volkswagen Beetle through a straw (trust me, after standing beside my wife for two 24+ labor episodes, I’ve heard every description and I understand that, yes, it was indeed all MY fault), but come on, give the young lady a break! She played great and I think it’s terrific that she won. Plus, she kept her composure through a nightmare of an ending to her semi-final match (oh man, that is going to come out so bad, not just with Serena but I just think it’s going to lead to a race tension thing between Asians and African Americans, especially in New York). I mean, except for priests, do professionals in the limelight just not get to have lives outside their chosen jobs?

And speaking of giving a young lady a break, I feel so bad for the runner from South Africa that has had to go through this whole gender-testing nightmare. Folks, there are a lot worse things going on than someone who doesn’t know she has a potential defect or even deformity running in a race. I just think it’s terrible what she and her family now have to go through if as it seems that the tests will show that she SHOULD have been born a male with all the bits and bobs that entails, but through fate came out appearing to be a little girl. Sad and all I hope is that this is eventually handled with some dignity, though I doubt it will be. ‘Nuff said.

And speaking of amazing female athletes, does this sound like a fair fight to you: Dawn Fraser from Australia – who won a gold medal in swimming in 1960 – fought off an intruder who threatened to kill her during an apparent burglary attempt. No wait, there’s more – it appears that Ms. Fraser, age 72 (talk about ageing well!) kicked the young intruder in the groin with – wait there’s even more moreness – her Titanium knee.

Okay all the guys one time in unison: ouchkabibble! Wow, talk about Terminator-like precision in knowing how to hurt someone!! You go girl!!! ... noting that I’ll wave at you from the other side of the road in case you misinterpret what I’m saying or somehow do not comprehend that I only wanted to give you a high five for your bravery! (Extra Credit Question: wouldn't Titanium Knee be a cool name for a heavy metal band?)

And speaking of which, aren’t we glad that all the typography purists out there irritated by IKEA’s decision to change it’s use of the famed font Futura – which had been in use for some 50 years – didn’t have titanium kneecaps at their disposal (hopefully) in the past days. But alas, if you haven’t heard of this event that is apparently more important to some than world hunger, war and even the occasional rampant break-out of peace throughout the lands combined, IKEA has indeed switched now to Verdana, the font made famous by such free use sites as like... well, as like this blog.

Do I like the change myself? No, not really. Do I see a good reason for it? Well, again, if go through all those ‘free’ sites we all nowadays take for granted, all I know is that Verdana is one of the choices and Futura is not. Hey, you get what you pay for, again taking this blog as a prime example. If you want to, you can also research Microsoft’s comments about how the one (Verdana) is pixel oriented vs. the nicer pen and stroke version (Futura), but I tend to pass out when I read too much. I mostly just stick to headlines to satisfy my thirst for knowledge (which should be painfully apparent by this stage).

Still, if the font change makes you unhappy, then maybe you’re not exactly the kind of person that needs to buy furniture that is designed to dissolve in an eco-friendly way and collapse within 24 months of exposure to unwashed laundry, marijuana smoke and cardboard pizza boxes that will eventually begin to support said furniture in one fashion or another. Or so I hear... ahem.

And speaking of things that would be better if they were turned into pulp, here’s an event I would love to attend one time, even though I just don’t quite understand it, namely the La Tomatina festival that’s held every year in Bunol, Spain. Okay, despite the fact that the pictures eventually look like a scene from some really cheaply made horror movie, I’m just curious how they get an estimated 100 tons!!! of rotten and over-ripe tomatoes to throw at each other during this festival!

Call me a bit of a tree-hugger that has been at it long enough to develop a mild but persistent bark fungus on his arms, but are you seriously telling me that with all the hunger and all in the world, that somehow there’s that amount of tomatoes sitting around that has just happened to go bad just in time for this festival? Uh, hello, did someone just cough ‘unfair farm subsidy practices’ there in the back row? Yeah, that makes sense: paying farmers to let their crops rot, after all, gotta keep that tourist trade running smoothly...

And speaking of things that are just accompanied by odd, or let's say, poorly chosen photos, yes, I understand that Annie Liebowitz has recently been having a very public issue with her bankruptcy hearings and all, but couldn’t the news agencies have picked a slightly more, I don’t know, appropriate photo to go with the article? Yes, it’s recognizable but still for a bankruptcy discussion?

I just find too many arguments AGAINST using this image for me, including bad memories, the fact that it was taken on the last day of John’s life, plus the timing with the raised attention about the Beatles’ catalogue, and more. Maybe it’s just me and the time that his death occurred during my formative years. Whatever, huh?

And speaking of someone posing poorly for a photo, don’t you think this guy could have had a different expression on his face for this one? Seems this gentleman was being photographed on the occasion of his arraignment for – yes you’re reading this right – becoming annoyed with a crying 2-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart. Uh, hello, but isn’t a screaming infant part of the whole Wal-Mart experience? D’uh!!!

Still, apparently in order to make his annoyance VERY CLEAR to everyone, the article this comes from goes on to say that this obviously well-adjusted gentleman went on to slap the toddler several times in the face in order to, quote, ‘quiet it down’. Wow, but you know this picture can be used later by his defense attorney to help prove what a kind and loving soul he truly is and that somehow everyone misunderstood his tender intentions. Pillar of the community and all that. Geez-a-meez, dude get a case or two of Xanax and chill for a while...

And speaking of misplaced souls – and in the words of the great Dave Barry: I swear I am not making this up – it seems that the new ‘First Lady’ of Japan, Miyuki Hatoyama is not only known as a so-called lifestyle guru, a macrobiotics enthusiast, a cookbook author and a retired actress but she has claimed IN WRITING that she was abducted by aliens almost 20 years ago. And if that weren’t enough, she details that said aliens took her to Venus, which is apparently extremely beautiful and very green. No, she doesn’t say if the green is owing to vegetation, or to exotic Venutian gems and crystals, or lovely pools of boiling sulfuric and nitric acids frothing with methane gas, although that does sound nice.

The title of her book, which again I am not making up, is ‘Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered’ (though I’m guessing that is a rough English translation, since I couldn’t find this MUST READ on Amazon). In it she details the visit to our neighboring celestial body took place in spirit form, travelling on a triangular-shaped UFO, though I guess in her mind it wasn’t an UN-identified flying object but an IFO. Or a cheese sandwich, you never know with some people.

But wait fans of the surreal, there’s more! In addition, this multi-tasking lady also claims she met Tom Cruise in a previous life. Now what a lot of us don’t immediately realize about Tom is that he was apparently previously Japanese (explains the height challenged part of his 'physique' no?). Miyuki goes on to say that she is looking forward to making a movie with ol’ Cruisey which she ALREADY KNOWS she will win an Oscar for her performance! In fact, when she gets a chance to ‘catch up’ with Tommy Tomtom, she intends to say ‘Hi, it’s been a long time’, which he will understand (ooh, sounds a bit randy to me!).

But the ever-respectful Japanese public are taking all this in stride. Apparently the new Prime Minister is also somewhat of a ‘radical’ type in Japan, even being called 'eccentric' for his tendency to wear green suits instead of standard-issue navy blue ones and for not combing his hair (hm, must be an impostor in this photo featuring a Japanese man in a blue suit with well quaffed hair). Also since he married a divorced (gasp! how shocking) woman, he must carry this social stigma around as well. And yet, off he’ll go, proudly leading Japan to yet more years in the economic toilet. Seriously, can you imagine what would happen if any public figure in the USA had this on her résumé?

And speaking of which (sorry, this transition is WAY too easy, but still), did any of you see the title of a recent TIME Magazine article, namely: Why Michelle Obama’s Hair Matters. I kid you not. Note as well that this article offered more ‘related’ links to articles titled ‘Michelle Obama’s Style: What Her Fashion Statements Mean’ (I can just hear Glenn Beck’s answer to that one), ‘Michelle Obama and the SHORTS Heard ‘Round the World’ (gasp, you mean she wore shorts in Arizona in 100° weather? The nerve...) as well as ‘The Meaning of Michelle Obama’.

Seriously, you must read this article, if for nothing else to take a photo of ‘America the Weird’ (and the Home of the Depraved) as it stands today and store it in the Flickr album of your mind (note that we do NOT think these are the recent Andy Warhol prints that were stolen, but you never know). The article has one quote that will remain etched in my brain for a good while, namely : ‘her hair is the catalyst for a conversation that begins with style but quickly transcends outward appearance and ultimately transcends Michelle herself – a symbol for African-American women’s status in terms of beauty, acceptance and power.’

Wow, is it just me or have we someone lost the thread in all this? Or perhaps even the comfy knitted sweater of our collective sanity has completely unravelled? Maybe it goes back to the earlier diatribes about girl- and boy-stuff (add a night on the couch), but all I can think of is ‘where’s George Carlin when we really need him?’ WARNING: this link may be offensive to those of you that don’t regularly tolerate conversations with me and contains more F-bombs in it than a Serena Williams match.

And speaking of which, this is a link to an article that made me want to use all of those magical seven of the words you can never say on television. Sorry but it really irritated me, though I’m not entirely sure why. It’s just that through my blogging activities (loosely defined of course), I do feel I have developed if nothing else a rapport with and a sympathy for the daily plight of artists, designers and whatever else it is that a lot of you guys and gals do. So when I found this article titled Why Are Artists Poor I thought ‘aha, a valid discussion to read, absorb and to take with me during boys night out this Thursday...’

Yeah, right. You can go ahead and read it, but it gets pretty self-serving rather quickly. The author, Andrew Keen, starts off being pretty honest about what his real target is, namely getting you to go out and buy his book before it hits the discount bin at Barnes & Nobles : ‘Is the Internet good or bad news for high-end creative artists and cultural organizations? It’s bad news, I argued in my 2007 book Cult of the Amateur, a polemic which suggested that the Internet is killing our culture and undermining the livelihood of cultural producers. No, it’s good news, counter the techno-optimists ... who argue that the Internet offers creative artists and organizations an opportunity to escape from the sometimes unjust and inefficient control of industrial age mass-media.’ The article goes on (and on) to argue various viewpoints about protecting an artist’s rights and how public access is both a boon and a bane to everyone out there.

But ... oops, I mean – and speaking of which, I did find one thing that seems to be FRIGHTENINGLY ACCURATE in terms of many of the discussions I’ve had with the interviewee crowd. If you haven’t already, I’m sure a lot of you will get a kick (or a scream, or a good cry, or a good titanium knee to the groin) about this video titled ‘The Vendor Client Relationship – In Real World Situations'. Enjoy (or the other things I just mentioned):

And speaking of art (the stream is drying up folks, bear with me a few paragraphs more), I liked the title of this article and have decided I must get one of the shirts. Yes, friends, not since ‘I’m With Stupid’ came out some 40 years ago has a tee-shirt shared a more concise message, namely ‘Please Don’t Lick the Art’. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is offering a tee-shirt with said message on it following a little girl’s recent visit to the museum.

Apparently, the young visitor was admiring this 17th-century portrait of some fancy pants French aristocrats wife and kid. It seems then that this so-called youngster was so moved and taken by the deep blue velvet dress worn in the portrait that she just had to enjoy it’s blueberry goodness even more than she could with her eyes. This led then to a very alert guard – trained in the art of hand-to-tongue combat – to point out: “Please don’t lick the art.” And as this did take place in America, there is now a tee-shirt on sale at the museum for $22.50 (though the museum is apparently falling asleep at the proverbial wheel of this marketing gold-mine, uh, truck as the image of same could not be found on-line).

We would also add that THANKFULLY the painting was unharmed, though various reports have indicated it will now be sent in for testing for signs of the H1N1 virus.

And speaking of tee-shirts: personally, Ziggy is going to first buy this tee-shirt which we think says it all in a nice motif and even has pink in it (which means we’ll have to get two, including one for the littlest she-devil in our lives)! According to the supply site, this shirt is recommended for anybody who is evil in your life, or better yet, anybody who is adorable, or, I guess, anybody who is adorably evil (no comment, I’m already banned to the couch for a fortnight). This tee-shirt is no doubt recognized by a plethora of our faithful readers as being the same worn by mad scientist Helen Narbon in Shaenon K. Garrity's very cool webcomic Narbonic. Excellent reading for all you scientifically minded folks out there... or fans of evil and rampant destruction (or both in my case).

Oh, yeah, I should also add that the shirt is made out of, quote, 100% Cotton - Hanes Beefy Tee (which we assume doesn’t mean a tee-shirt that is made out of beef... well, it could be true, a lot of stuff gets made in Japan...).

And speaking of which... see you next time!! Same batty channel, same batty place. Keep pushing! And don't forget your breathing...

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