March 2016

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Amazing, isn't it? The ghost cat loves him.

Amazing, isn’t it? The ghost cat loves him. She’s on him all the time. He’s gravely and calmly like WTF. You know. The deerhound thing.

She luuuuuuvs him. She's pure white and he's pure silver, and there is such a thing as beauty.

She luuuuvs him. She’s pure white and he’s pure silver. There is a thing called beauty.

You’re being a frail. Women want to compete, do they? Oh, but they also want all the rules changed to protect them. In the locker rooms, in the back smoke filled rooms, in the crowded herd of political campaigns. You’re being a jerk. Sometimes being a feminist means being a man.

Think Hope Solo would press battery charges because of a brush up at the exit of a campaign event? She has a harder time getting out of the stadium than Michelle Strain ever will. You and your kind are childish in the extreme.

And then sometimes you get knocked down. Not lightly but utterly.

And then what do you do, you go girl crowd? You get the fuck up or you whine. Ronda whined. Too bad for you, Lindy. And Michelle Strain. Because whining seems your metier.

Muhammed Ali went 61-5 over a quarter century. A single TKO in that career. One time he did not finish a fight. Last fight. Never knocked out. It’s a man thing. You want to be a hero in your profession, step the hell up and don’t play the weak sister who needs protection from the big guys.

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Terminator red eye on.

Terminator red eye on.

And then I put them on.

I can barely see. Needing the dark.

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I have severe eyestrain. Can’t do the Easter dinner. Too much book building. I need the dark just now.

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So Garry Shandling’s gone. Into the great residual afterlife. His mock late night talk show was hilarious, probably the last real satire of television tropes we’ve had. How to be funny without four letter sex, fart and shit jokes in the memory of those who still have memory.

But not exactly the first. Before the Garry Shandling Show there was an even more outrageous talk show parody called Fernwood 2Night, starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard, both with outstanding poesy from Ohio. Hard not to see the origins of The Garry Shandling Show in Fernwood, Ohio.

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But wait. Fernwood 2Night was itself a sequel and spinoff of one of the funniest and most original satires of television fare ever produced. Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, the truly inspired blue collarization of daily soap opera TV.

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You’ll find it hard to duck encounters with the Garry Shandling Show for the next few days. This may be the only place where you’ll meet Fernwood Ohio.

You can find more clips like these. I hope you do. Garry would be honored, I think, by this more than phony platitudes. Though phony platitudes are always welcome in his fan club.

If I kill you, it'll hurt.

If I kill you, it’ll hurt.

“Maybe You’d have to kill me.”

“It’ll hurt if I do.”

Come on, you Establishment Republicans. These leading lights of the conservative cause are for Trump. They're just dumb bitches, right? Send them to the kitchen to fetch you a beer.

Come on, you Establishment Republicans. These leading lights of the conservative cause are for Trump. They’re just dumb bitches, right? Send them to the kitchen to fetch you a beer.

Okay Trump haters. Spin this one. Think oh so carefully before you start your usual name calling.

Palin. Paglia. Pirro. Coulter. Ingraham. Schlafly. Tammy Bruce. Women. Trump supporters. My wife supports Trump more than I do. Trump says bad things about women. Awwwww. The haters love this line of attack, which is complete hypocrisy.

Ya know, everybody says bad things about women. Including women. If you want to get into pejoratives… Well, we won’t go there. The most capable and intelligent women don’t always line up on the distaff side. They’d rather be on the winning side that actually accomplishes something.

Awaiting your attacks. [Bluster, Bluster… well he attacks men too, and we don’t like it. Excuse me. Who called your dick small in the last 30 days? Try try again.]

Waiting for the long lists of adjectives which usually constitute the whole of Trump critiques. This time they’ll be sexist. And personal. Zincavage threatened to punch my teeth out because of my anti-male-chauvinistic act of gender equality in demanding that a blogger who made jokes about Trump’s penis show me her tits. Guess what. If he describes any of these women, particularly my wife, as stupid, I will drive to whatever godforsaken Pennsylvania town he lives in and punch his teeth out.

Live by the arrogant glib generalization. Die by the arrogant glib generalization. Start promoting your guy, start laying off Trump, start acting like grownups, or you’ll have nowhere left to go.

David Lee Roth.

David Lee Roth.

An insanity defense.

…And a purely exuberantly defense.

The Zincavages will be sulking in their cheap brandy for months.

Trump Tower Mumbai

Trump Tower Mumbai

Trump’s buildings are gaudy.

An Architectural tour of Donald Trump’s gaudy ass skyscrapers.

Before Donald Trump signed up for the presidential race, he signed his name to buildings. Lots of buildings. Sure, presidential candidates have owned real estate before. But no other candidate has been such an ostentatious developer of a real estate empire, with so many gilded phallic structures built in his likeness…”

What is gaudy? Overdone according to the esthetic diktats of the age. The name came from a Spanish super genius named Gaudi, who didn’t care what people thought. Only what he envisioned. Nothing phallic about his work. His was a finger, a hand, a soul, reaching toward God.

So Gaudi was obviously wrong to be bigger, more ornate, monumental. Who would use buildings to enshrine their own egos in the history of time?

If Gaudi were alive, he'd agree to tea with Donald Trump. Who else in our time has imagination and aspiration?

If Gaudi were alive, he’d agree to tea with Donald Trump. Who else in our time has imagination and aspiration?

Trump’s buildings are vulgar.

ARCHITECTURE VIEW; Proof That All That Glitters Is Not Vulgar

“It is hard not to see in this design the influence of the great glass-and-iron structure of the Cleveland Arcade, but here Graham Gund, who is a native of Cleveland, and Adrian Smith have reinterpreted this model in a kind of post-Modern Viennese Secessionist mode. The key thing here is not structure but surface articulation; the room is lushly finished, yet never to excess. The walls are done mostly in a series of beige and reddish-brown marbles, wonderfully patterned in a way that suggests that the architects have looked carefully at sources as disparate as Classicism and 20th-century abstract painting. If the rich, warm palette of marbles calls to mind the peach marble inside Trump Tower, the splendid patterns and textures, and the setting off of the marble with mahogany instead of the brass used at the Trump building, set the arcade of 75 State Street apart and remind us that this is a building that uses decoration not as glitz but as part of a larger goal toward a civilized urbanity.”

So common and oblivious of city context, unless you count mirrors as echoes of the long tradition.

So common and oblivious of city context, unless you count mirrors as echoes of the long tradition.

So. I can read what the NYT dilettantes say, or I can remember what I learned in Art History at college and my sister’s experience in architecture school at a time of incipient upheaval. Her courses were designed to imbue her with the gospel of Le Corbusier, “form follows function.” These days it’s called the Brutalist school. Two examples.

Keystone of Boston's "Government Center."

Keystone of Boston’s “Government Center.” I was required to write an admiring paper about it. I got a B-. Maybe a lack of enthusiasm.

The IRS HQ in DC. The columns are a vestigial ruse.

The IRS HQ in DC. The columns are a vestigial ruse.

I graduated and spent some time hanging out at the same university where my sis was studying architecture. They were getting the Corb gospel in spades, but they were also beginning to rebel a bit. True, they didn’t foresee this.

Venturi strip center times a hundred. The boardwalk.

Venturi strip center times a hundred. The boardwalk.

But they did feel that deep seated impulse to rebel against totalitarian architecture, and I spent some all-nighters with them in their model building sessions (often 16 hours at a sprint, kind of like Face-Off), express a yen toward the cheap strip architecture, inspired by Vegas, of the pioneer post-modern architect Robert Venturi. I scoffed. But they were right. Architecture is supposed to show people who they are and challenge them to respond unblindly but seeingly. A step toward actual consciousness.

We are all living in a Venturi strip center now. Except those of us who can still remember the pre-postmodern era. I can. Can you? Until you can, Venturi, just like Gaudi, is a lesson. Sometimes vulgarity is the necessary slap in the face of a soldier who let down the side.

A quick Venturi gallery.

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Brutalism never worked. It was ugly and dehumanizing. Venturism probably doesn’t work either, too coarse and loud. But Trump has sponsored a wide range. He is a wide range of man. I grew up in the country with all kinds of people. Most people I met later lived on a block with the same kind of people their parents were, same incomes, same cars, same limited aspirations. Why the conformists of all stripes and classes hate Trump so much. He defies classifications. He’s a patron of architecture, whether you admit it or not. That puts your mind in a different space. Not everything can or should look like Eliot House at Harvard. Not everything can or should like the Guggenheim. Or the Empire State Building. Or the Vatican. Your eyes and mind get bigger when you imagine the possibilities.

All I’m suggesting is that if you want a progressive art critic, go with Prince Charles, who wants everything to look like the Houses of Parliament unless it can be buried by the rising seas of Global Warming. As a Patrone of architecture, Trump has let the whole gamut of styles loose. Don’t forget, he commissions, he critiques designs, and he has to get them built to make money in their particular business environments. True he could have put his inheritance in the bank and watched his trust fund grow until, like a sad sibling, he expired of unexplored potential. What the Bernie people would expect and a surprising number of Yalies would prefer. Because it is better to be born with money and die young than do something creative with the money and aspire to greatness. Got it. Something Jonah Goldberg and Charles Krauthammer and Kevin Williamson and David Zincavage have forgotten. When they come in to take this apart, they should be very very careful they don’t sound like Prince Charles taking a first in the Twit of the Year Contest.

Truth is, it’s always the smallest people who can’t abide anyone larger than life.

Stay tuned for the literary side of the argument. Even worse for the Scrooges of the eight.

 

 

Galadriel gave everybody a pretty stern talking to, and then she handed out some rations from her personal supply of Brave Biscuits, which everyone enjoyed immensely if a bit sheepishly.

Yum yum. Pippin had two. Because Sam didn't want his.

Yum yum. Pippin had two. Because Sam didn’t want his. Frodo upchucked his.

It was a good thing about the biscuits, though, because almost as soon as they had sallied out, once again, toward Mordor, they ran into a place called Moria.

We're talking very bad place here. Underground, secret passages, and a magical doorway only Gimli could unlock, because... Dwarves.

We’re talking very bad place here. Underground, secret passages, and a magical doorway only Gimli could unlock, because… Dwarves.

Thanks to Gimli the Ring Pack managed to enter the right password — ARF — then they entered a place where thousands of dwarves had been massacred seven or fourteen dog years before.

The early part was very not so good.

The early part was very not so good.

Gandalf was leading the way, munching on Brave Biscuits as if they were Oreos, and he encouraged everyone else not to run screaming back to the entrance.

Gee whiz. Moria's a bitch.

Gee whiz. Moria’s a bitch.

But then things went from bad to worse. There were orcs in there.

Not good. Way not good.

Not good. Way not good.

There was only one way through. It involved a bridge.

 

A not very safe bridge.

A not very safe bridge.

And the orcs were closing in.

Orcs are not nice.

Orcs are not nice.

Even worse, the end of the bridge was blocked by a balrog. Nobody knows what they are exactly, but balrogs make Orcs look like chihuahuas.

Gandalf was not afraid. Much.

Gandalf was not afraid. Much.

So Gandalf attacked.

A wizard unleashed.

A wizard unleashed.

He and the balrog fell into the pit below the bridge. And then nobody knew what to do.

Stay tuned for Part 6.

Let’s face it. The Ring Pack did not get off to the best possible start. After all the,parting gifts and everything, they began the trek toward Mordor only to be interrupted by one of the nine Nazgul, who took a hefty chunk out of Frodo.

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“Let’s get the hell out of here,” they agreed.

Um. They all ran away.

Um. They all ran away, except for Sam, who fell into a hole.

But in her mystical way, Galadriel was keeping an eye on things in the elvish birdbath.

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And she flew to the rescue of the injured Frodo.

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So they went back to the Elf Place and got ready to start all over again.

Stay tuned for Part 5.

So when everybody woke up and scratched and went out and ate some of that heavenly Elven kibble, they had a big council with the King of the Elves.

Elrond

Elrond

The idea is that someone (Frodo Frodo Frodo) has to take the Ring to the Cracks of Doom and destroy it.

Where? What? Why Frodo?!

Where? What? Why Frodo?!

And everybody but Frodo agreed that this was the smartest plan.

Well, here’s why Frodo. After the initial planning meeting, Queen Galadriel visited Frodo while he was taking a quiet drink of green water from the Loth Lorien birdbath.

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She was, like, I want the Ring!

Give me the damn Ring. I'm a queen dammit. Give'it'a'me. You little cur.

Give me the damn Ring. I’m a queen dammit. Give’it’a’me. You little cur.

And the little guy was like WTF?!

Frodo

Frodo

And then she was all sorry and explained to Frodo why he had to take the Ring to the Cracks of Doom because everyone worthwhile wanted the Ring for theirself. See?

I didn't mean to be that nasty evil bitch you just saw. Only Elrond knows about her.

I didn’t mean to be that nasty evil bitch you just saw. Only Elrond knows about her.

And thereupon and whereupon and thence and so forth, the Ring Pack was chartered and sent forth and so on.

There was The Ring Bearer Frodo.

Could I go back home now, please?

Could I go back home now, please?

And the ever faithful Samwise.

Let me at'em. I'll kill'em

Let me at’em. I’ll kill’em

And the other two hobbits too, just to keep the odds against success incredibly long.

Merry in camouflage body paint and flamethrower gear.

Merry in camouflage body paint and flamethrower gear.

Pippin. Always ready to go.

Pippin. Always ready to go.

And then, for the sake of diversity, we have to have a dwarf…

Gimli

Gimli

An elf…

Legolas

Legolas

And three big guys. Gandalf, Strider, and a shifty, mysterious stranger from Gondor.

Boromir

Boromir

What could go wrong? Stay tuned for Part 4.

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So you come out of your garage thinking you’re all hot stuff and everything. But you’re really not. Just another mutt with a car no longer fashionable. It’s okay. You don’t have to be fashionable. Only I and all the really good, smart, superior people have to be fashionable. The rest of you should vote for Bernie. Or Hillary.

The Matador

The Matador


With maybe one of these on guard, just to prove your class.

Which you don’t actually have any of.

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What with being a creep and all.

And, uh, yeah, you are. You really are. A creep. Go Bernie. Go Hillary.

Mary Martin. Hot chick. Especially when you're ten.

Mary Martin. Hot chick. Especially when you’re ten.

I had this album of .45 RPM records, all green. Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. Played them till they wore out. Thing is, I was never confused. She was a woman playing a boy and I loved her more than anything because she made it okay for me to think of a woman who knew what it was to be a boy. My first huge crush. Yes. I knew she had breasts under that costume. How cool is that?

It’s not that hard to know you’re a boy. You just have to the hear the woman in this voice. (This seems to be the whole album. Stay in there and wait for Neverland.)

I love you, I hate you. I'm only a cat.

I love you, I hate you. I’m only a cat.

So we regard one another across the doorway. She doesn’t know whether to run for the door or for the cat food in the bathroom. And then she sings.

Not a conservative. Doesn't matter that he bankrolled Reagan in 1980.

Not a conservative. Doesn’t matter that he bankrolled Reagan in 1980.

A story of my morning. I had an errand to run in neighboring Delaware. Me going to Delaware in my gunmetal Jeep. Stopped listening to rock radio stations many years ago. Heard it all, you know. Chances of hearing something you actually like go down and down and down with the years. So I’m listening to this Philly Talk Radio Guy named Dom Giordano who thinks he is smart, and I’m usually content to count his malapropisms and overlook his metronome-like repetitiveness on his talking points. Usually.

I put up with it for three quarters of the trip. I commend myself for my patience. He was constant in his mischaracterization of Trump’s Israel policy. He kept repeating (and repeating and repeating) that Trump said he would be neutral in Israel Palestinian negotiations. He was jazzed up by the story that 40 rabbis were planning to walk out on Trump’s AIPAC speech. At no time did Giordano mention that Trump prefaced his comments about Israel and Palestinians with doubt that an agreement was even possible. A preface repeated several times because Trump also repeats and repeats. Then Giordano blew by a caller, a Jewish caller, who said everyone knows Trump is pro-Israel, what with his lifetime behavior with the Jewish community and his Jewish family members, and everyone knows that protests announced ahead of time are organized liberal political theatrics. So Giordano thanked him and went back to repeating that Trump declared himself neutral and that’s not the position of the United States.

At which point, alone in the Jeep, I said “F**k you, Dom,” and stabbed the radio’s FM button, which my wife had preset to a classic rock station.

Where the serendipity comes in. No sooner had I changed the station than I heard the beat that reawakens even an old cold heart like mine. AC/DC.

And while I was hammering the steering wheel in time to the song, I was also thinking this should be THE Trump campaign song. Dirt cheap? How about the most successful, most watched political ad of the campaign, posted on YouTube for zero advertising dollars.

Dirty deeds? Everyone in Mediamerica accuses Trump without cease. Brooks doesn’t like the crease in his pants. Krauthammer doesn’t like the cut of his jib. Williamson thinks he should have been aborted, the sole exception to his pro-life stance. So I say “Embrace the Dirty.” And to all the haters, say “F**k you and the horse you rode in on.” An old time curse. Back when people knew the difference between roughshod male vulgarity and criminal, treasonous corruption (Hillary!!! We luuuuuuuv you!)

So that was a lightning strike. A switch from Dom to a Campaign Dream. And then lightning struck a second time. Only a female DJ would do this. Dirty Dreams was immediately followed by a song so dated and dumb, and treacly and transparently troglodytic, that it’s an automatic pick for Bernie Sanders’s campaign song.

And that's my home where dreams are born, And time is never planned. Just think of lovely things. And your heart will fly on wings, Forever in Never Never Land.

And that’s my home where dreams are born,
And time is never planned.
Just think of lovely things.
And your heart will fly on wings, Forever in Never Never Land.

And here’s the song. By Styx. Perfect. The river of the dead, beyond which you are forever lost. A permanent kind of Neverland.

Just an average morning in my oh so surprising life.

The Ring of Power

The Ring of Power

Enter the hobbits.

Bilbo

Bilbo

This little guy stole a ring from this little guy.

Gollum

Gollum

Which is when all the Wizards had to get involved.

Gandalf the Grey

Gandalf the Grey

Radagast the Brown

Radagast the Brown

Saruman

Saruman the White

So, for a long time, being Wizards, they don’t do much. Bilbo’s ring falls into the possession of his nephew.

Frodo

Frodo

Which is when Gandalf finally gets off the couch and informs Frodo that he has to travel thousands of miles and throw the Ring into the Cracks of Doom.

What?!

What?!

“Why can’t you do it?” Frodo asks.

“You will have help,” Gandalf replies. “Three trusty friends who have also never been out their hobbit crates.”

Samwise

Samwise

Merry

Merry

Pippin

Pippin

“Cool,” they all said at once. “Let’s go. But can we eat first?”

So they set out for God knows where and immediately get lost in a forest because Gandalf had to get back to his couch. That’s when they meet up with the heroic and mysterious stranger who has been there and done that more times than you or I could count on the fingers of one paw.

Strider

Strider

After some funny adventures, Strider gets his four unruly charges to where the elves live.

The Elf Place.

The Elf Place.

They’ve got like the best beds there and all the chew toys a hobbit could want. And not only that, they have the Queen of the Elves. Cool.

Galadriel

Galadriel

Which is when everybody had to lie down for a nap after all the excitement.

Stay tuned for Part 3.

A thought experiment to follow.

A thought experiment to follow.

Now think. You’ve seen all the catastrophe movies. They’ve destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge a dozen times over, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Times Square, L.A.’s Capitol Records Building, most of Chicago, and, well, almost every significant architectural and engineering landmark.

But never the Chrysler Building. We all know that’s off limits somehow. Why?

Art Deco. It was always the coolest of the cool. We never got close again. Art Deco was both huge and miniature. We all can have a piece of it. We do here in our little household.

What was it? Design. And attitude.

The best of times and the best of times.

The best of times and the best of times.

There was sculpture. Scandalous sculpture.

There was sculpture. Scandalous sculpture.

And scandalous paintings. Because women weren’t empowered back then. Much.

Never any Lesbians in the old days. Oh. yes there were. They just had class.

Never any Lesbians in the old days. Oh. yes there were. They just had class.

Her name was Lempicka. Just imagine a Madonna with talent.

Her name was Lempicka. Just imagine a Madonna with talent.

There was no Art Deco Music. Unless you count this ode to the Chrysler Building.

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Come to think of it, there was Art Deco music. I think they called it jazz. Back when nobody ever thought black people had any talent.

There was Art Deco writing.

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And Art Deco cars.

Income inequality. Esthetic inequality.

Income inequality. Esthetic inequality.

And more Art Deco cars.

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And Art Deco women.

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And Art Deco bric a brac.

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Which we can still have today, just to help us remember a time when America wasn’t wearing its jeans at or below crotch level.

Life is always urgently straight up and about stacking.

Life is always urgently straight up and more about stacking than shagging.

Oh well. See ya.

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The creative process. Mostly an accident. Some stray idea is sparked in your head and then it’s off to the races. It’s all the tail wagging the dog, so to speak. The picture above was the spark. So now I’m just having fun.

Three rings for the elven kings under the sky…

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Seven for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone…

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Nine for Dobermans doomed to die…

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One for the dark lord, on his dark throne…

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In the land of Mordor, where the shadows lie…

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One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them.
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

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