Blog Directory - Blogged

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Commandment V

Here is Commandment V, "Honor thy father and thy mother." When I remind my kids of this commandment, it is usually accompanied with "or you will lose your computer privileges for the day." (Just kidding. My kids are perfect.)

I am now half way done. Here are the first five together.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?

We rented this from Netflix last night. This is a documentary about a Teri Horton, a 73 year old truck driver from Texas who bought a painting from a thrift store for $5. She originally bought the painting as a gift for her friend, but the painting was too big to fit in her friends trailer, so Horton tried to sell it at a yard sale. At the sale, a local art teacher saw the painting and told Horton that the painting could be a Jackson Pollock.

Horton then spent the next 10+ years trying to authenticate the painting. The documentary follows her efforts, and includes interviews with various art world experts such as Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Met, and John Myatt, a convicted art forger. The experts' opinions are varied and inconclusive. Horton finally hires Peter Paul Brio, a forensic specialist, who manages to match a fingerprint from the back of the painting to a fingerprint he finds on a paint can in Pollock's studio. However, recent findings cast some doubt on Brio's authentication methods.

The interviews are fun and compelling. Teri Horton is quite likable, and Thomas Hoving is equally unlikable. John Myatt was my favorite person in the movie. The interviewer visits Myatt in his studio, and Myatt shows off some of his original fakes. Myatt then explains that Pollock would be extremely difficult to forge. He adds that if he had to replicate a Pollock, he would get drunk first, because Pollock was always drunk when he painted. The camera is focused on Myatt during the interview, but in the background we can see a fake version of Robert Indiana's LOVE (see above).

In short, I recommend the movie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Palindrome I

I found the world's largest palindrome sentence! Here it is, at 17,826 words. Peter Norvig has also written a computer program to create a palindrome, although the computer generated palindrome doesn't exactly count as a true palindrome because it doesn't make sense. Still, I thought the program was interesting.

When I am done with my Commandments, I think I will try to illustrate an alphabet of palindromes. This will be a nice addition to my Art and Grammar series.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Michael Albert

My daughter Megan came home from an Earth Day celebration yesterday with a signed copy of this print by Michael Albert. The print is a collage of the text of the Declaration of Independence interspersed with various recognizable figures such as Ronald McDonald, Elmo, and Count Chocula. I looked up the print on the artist's website, and found the following description:

The original collage is 32" X 40" in size & took Albert close to 6 months to create. The work includes 56 characters Albert picked to represent the 56 signers, all of their initials, 13 brands to represent the original colonies, key portions of the text of the Declaration of Independence and even a group of characters who didn't count (or rather had no vote) at the time of this historical event, the signing of the USA's single most famous document.

The artist has other prints too, including the text of To Be or Not To Be, The Pledge of Allegiance, and my favorite, The Number Pi (see below). All are interesting, clever, and well executed.

What I find especially interesting is that the artist went to NYU and studied business, not art. I also went to NYU, and studied public administration and finance. For me, good art is as much about concept as it is about technical skill. I would rather see a clever, loosely executed piece than a perfectly drawn still life. Of course it is to my advantage to think this way, since my own concepts are generally stronger than my execution.

Anyway, here is Michael Albert's website. Check it out!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lyttle Lytton Contest

The 2008 Lyttle Lytton Contest winners are posted! Once again, this is a shorter version of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants to write the worst possible introductory sentence to a novel. Adam Cadre's Lyttle Lytton contest offers the same challenge, but the sentence must be 30 words or less. Here is the winning entry this year:

Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword.

- Graham Swanson

Cadre also cites some examples that were too good to win:

It seemed the stifling summer heat would never end, and it would not, for Bob was in Hell.

It hadn't been a very good week for me: I'd developed a mysterious rash that wouldn't go away, and also existential angst.

It was only fitting that was allowed in the fitting room, the Macy's security guard told Brad.

Cadre explains, "I can imagine all of these lines appearing in different sorts of genuinely good comedic novels. The problem is that I'm laughing with the imaginary authors rather than at them, meaning that they're not right for this contest." Fair enough. The Museum of Bad Art curators use similar criteria. So does New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest host Daniel Radosh.

Click here for the rest of the winners. The 2009 contest is already underway!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Stick Figures in Peril

My friend Frank took some pictures of these helpful public safety signs. This Caution: Hell sign is my favorite. At least that's what I think it means. Here is the link to the Flickr photostream.

My friend Diann also sent me pictures of these signs from Okinawa. These signs are certainly less cryptic than the American signs. I am definitely staying away from those bushes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

S is for Surly

I made this book about ten years ago. I got stuck on the N train one night on the way to a party in Brooklyn. I was bored and impatient sitting on the train, so I wrote down this alphabet. The funny thing is that in the end, I wasn't that late for the party.

I now regret my choice for the letter X (and not just because I spelled it wrong). Ten years ago I was still a purist, and was determined to have my x word actually start with the letter x. If I were making this today, I would use exasperated for X.

Needless to say, I will not be including this piece in my portfolio.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Please Stand By

For the next few days I will be putting my portfolio together for the April 28th SCBWI Illustrators Conference. The first thing I need to do is buy a new cartridge for our printer. I realized this today after Devon showed me the pale, streaked page that she printed out from the Noggin website.

Anyway, I will start working on Commandment V when I am done with my portfolio.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Karl Rove

One of Tim's students interviewed Karl Rove when Rove visited Harvard. Here is the original post.

Alphabet of Taxes

I was an economics minor in college. This side of me still surfaces occasionally, as it did today when I decided to compile this alphabet of taxes. I couldn't think of a Y or Z tax, so I am open to suggestions. (Note: April 15th is 4 days away.)

A - Ad Valorem Tax
B - Building Permit Tax
C - Capital Gains Tax
D - Deferred Income Tax
E - Estate Tax
F - Flat Tax
G - Gift Tax
H - Hunting License Tax
I - Income Tax
J - Joint Filers Status
K - Kiddie Tax
L - Local Tax
M - Marriage License Tax
N - Negative Income Tax
O- Occupancy Tax
P - Property Tax
Q - Qualified Holding Company Tax
R - Regressive Tax
S - Sales Tax
T - Taxable Gain, Tea Tax
U - UBIT (Unrelated Business Income Tax)
V - Value Added Tax
W - Witholding Tax, Water & Sewer Tax
X - Excise Tax

Monday, April 07, 2008

Happy Birthday,Bach: 300 Years of Johann Sebastian Bach

Okay, this book is completely bizarre. I ordered it last week, and picked it up from the post office today. The book consists of 300 portraits of Bach, all done by Seymour Chwast. I took photos of some of my favorites. The captions are the original captions from the book, written by Peter Schickele. (Happy Birthday, Bach is a Dolphin Book, published by Doubleday & Company in 1985.)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pop-Tarts?

When my daughter Megan was first born, she slept a lot, and I had far too much time on my hands. I suppose I could have done something productive with this time, like read a book, clean the apartment, or complete the work I was supposed to be doing from home, but instead I thought about important things, like why I had never seen a peanut butter and jelly Pop-Tart. I actually wrote Kellogg through their website, and suggested that they make two new flavors of Pop-Tarts:

1) Peanut butter and jelly - A Pop-Tart filled with strawberry or grape jelly and frosted with peanut butter flavored frosting;

2) Peanut butter and Fluff - Same as the first, except filled with Fluff instead of jelly.

I received a terse response from Kellogg, which said something like "While your ideas are not new to us, please remember that we have a highly specialized marketing team which determines which flavors would best suit the needs of our customers."

Whatever. Now, five and a half years later, I have decided to revisit this subject. Here are the flavors of Pop-Tarts that I would like to see:

1) Peanut butter and jelly;
2) Peanut butter and Fluff;
3) Peanut butter and Nutella;
4) A Black & White Pop-Tart, frosted like a Black & White cookie;
5) A Peeps Pop-Tart - filled with marshmallow, and covered with the brightly colored Peeps sugar;
6) Orange marmalade with white chocolate frosting;
7) a Croque-monsieur Pop-Tart. I guess this would have to be frozen, which might be impractical, but I think it's a cool idea.
8) A Pushing Daisies Pop-Tart, filled with apple pie filling and topped with gruyere cheese.

Please feel free to post your suggestions as well. I may illustrate some of the flavors if I ever get around to it, but I can't promise that I will do this.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New Amsterdam

I’ve been watching this show on Fox. Quickly summarized, NYC homicide detective John Amsterdam saved the life of a Native American girl in 1642. In exchange, the girl saved Amsterdam from a stab wound, but also issued a curse of immortality that will only be lifted when John finds his true love. The year is now 2008, and John is 400 years old, still searching for “The One.”

I decided at a very young age that immortality would be a curse. I was raised without religion, so my perspective was shaped (warped?) by two stories. First there was a picture book, whose title I unfortunately cannot remember, but I do remember that the text was written in script. The story was about a beaver who had a very happy childhood. One day, a fairy came to the beaver and granted him a wish. The beaver wished that he could live forever. The fairy cautioned him against this wish, but the beaver was persistent, so the wish was granted. As the beaver grew older, his parents died, and his friends died, and the beaver grew bigger and bigger. He eventually grew to be so big that he had to move out of town to live in cave, because that was the only structure big enough to hold him. Because he was so old, the other animals thought him wise, and often went to the beaver for advice. But the beaver was lonely, and missed his family and friends. One day, the beaver was so lonely that he began to cry. His tears brought back the fairy, who granted him one more wish. This time the beaver wished to die. The fairy granted this wish, and the book ends with the beaver in heaven, small again, and reunited with his family and friends.

The second story was an old Twilight Zone episode in which a man was afraid to die, and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for immortality. I don’t remember much about this episode except that the man’s friend discovered his secret because he (the friend) found a 100 year-old Civil War photograph, and saw the man in the photo, visibly unchanged, and wearing the same ring that he wore at present. More importantly, I remember that the immortal man was unhappy, and had to watch his friends grow old and die over and over again. I forget what happened at the end – I think one of his ex-wives, shown as an old woman, shot the man because she had learned his secret and couldn’t let him go on to hurt another unsuspecting young woman. Or maybe I am making up that ending because that’s how I would write it if I had written the episode. (I do that sometimes.)

Anyway, I like the show New Amsterdam, largely because it deals well with the idea of being passed on and left behind. One of John Amsterdam’s best friends is a 65-year old bartender who we later learn is one of John’s sons who has aged. Through flashback, we learn of other children and grandchildren who have grown old and died. Is this my longest post ever?

Second, I like the show because we learn through flashback that the character has worked at a number of different careers, including soldier, doctor, carriage driver, artist, and finally homicide detective. This pleases me, because it indicates to me that the character is curious and has used his time well. I’m 36, and have already had several different careers. I would like to think that by 400 I would master a few more skills as well.

The show is on Fox, Monday nights at 9. I recommend watching it.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?