Monday, November 19, 2007


The queen of exotic records in the 50s was Yma Sumac. I'm guessing she was Peruvian. She took exotic elements from all over the world, including Polynesia, and blended them with her own native Peruvian music to make a mix that was full of mystery and the promise of adventure.

Sumac had a unique voice that could sing comfortably in five octaves. People were always asking, "Who's the guy she sings with?" Well, the guy was Yma sumac. She was a whole ensemble, all by herself .

Here she is (above) in the Andes.

Here she is in Mike F's harem (above). How did she get in there? Man, Mike is gonna be mad when he finds out!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


This poem of Longfellow's is one of the funniest I know, rivaling even "Jabberwocky." One of these days I hope I'll get a chance to animate it.

It was taken very seriously in it's day. Towns were named for it as were high schools, an aircraft carrier, a TV space ship, a corporation, a bath mat, and shipping fodder. There's even a book called "Excelsior, You Fathead," which is my very favorite name for a book. If you're not familiar with this poem , then read on. Excelsior!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I'm no fan of the hippies but I have to admit that they came up with some interesting graphic ideas. The best hippie photographer I know of was Jerry Ulesmann. What imagination! I'd love to stand in a real philosopher's study like the one he did above, and see tumultuous clouds overhead. Click to enlarge. Imagine experiencing the wind and smells you encounter just before a thunderstorm while simultaneously feeling the staid, musty smell of a book-filled room. Why can't we have weather- protected rooms with no ceilings?

Actually, I have this in my own house, sort of. I have a sleeping porch with a bed where most months of the year I can wake up to the dew and that early morning fresh smell. It's unbelievably great to sleep out there in a thunderstorm, completely protected yet sort of in the thick of things at the same time. Learn from Jerry Ulesmann! Get a sleeping porch!

What a great house (above) for a witch! I wish we had more trees with thick, exposed roots in the suburbs. We have to redesign the suburbs to make them more exciting and mysterious.

I absolutely love the idea of suburbs, where you can have some of the rural experience within commuting distance of a great city. I even love the idea that prices were made low enough so that ordinary people could afford to live that way. We've had the inevitable first wave of Levittown-type shoebox houses, now it's time to design the first cool suburbs...with the help of people like Ulesmann.

Nice (above), very nice.

This image has become something of a cliche in fantasy films, but there's still something to be learned from it. Nobody knows how to make things float in the air but the best architects know how to make things appear to be so light that they almost seem to float. Think how the cathedral builders made it appear that thin pillars were holding up massive ceilings. The idea of appearing to defy gravity in a serene, natural setting is gold for the architect.

I once took a train ride through mountains in the early morning. We raced along tunnels and high wooden trestles and I watched the first light struggle to get a foothold. You could see mist creeping through through dark ravines and pathways just like the picture above. Actually, it looked even more like the eerie mist in DeMille's "Ten Commandments," the one that killed the son of the Pharoh.

What is morning mist but vapor in the air? I'd like to have morning mist outside my window and live in an environment that would heighten the effect, wouldn't you? That may be an achievable thing for an engineer or for architects who know how to maximize it . This is what I like about Ulesmann. He's a true artist in the sense that he gives us something to shoot for. He stimulates invention by giving us tantalizing glimpses of what could be.

Cataracts (above)! Ulesmann's right, we need more cataracts! And we need light elements nearby, like boats or leafy trees.


Here's me (above) oogling Marlo!

Here's me (above) reacting to Nico's cup crushing! Gee, Katie even captured my tip-of-the-nose hairs. Actually I had only one and I finally cut it. I had a dentist appointment coming up and I was afraid he'd obsess over it and drill the wrong tooth.

Here's (above) Kali looking rather cute.
There's lots more Katie greatness! ! Check it all out at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I know nothing about textiles but the subject still interests me, maybe because it's so philosophical. The texture on textiles seem to activate and energize the colors on the surface and push them into telling a dramatic story. Without texture color sometimes seems oddly flat and lifeless.

The pictures above don't illustrate what I just said, I just like the way they look.

When I was a kid I hated lace and couldn't understand what adults saw in it. Now it strikes me as snow crystals frozen in time. The plain white sheet in the middle of the lace seems oddly out of sync with the snow pattern, and yet when you see lace without the blank part it doesn't look right. Maybe lace represents order struggling against bland nothingness.

Lace is reputed to be an old lady's art form but it's hard to imagine old people having the dexterity to make delicate thread do what they want it to. Maybe the ropey stuff you used to see on the arms of chairs is the old lady's art form. It's hard to imagine that real lace would be wasted on a chair. Real lace needs to be worn but only on special occassions. It has to be kept snow white and somewhat crispy. Like diamonds it sets off the wearer but most women don't have the poise to look good in it. It's tempting to think that a woman who looks good in it is probably herself a work of art.

Wow! here's (above) a few things going on at once. A cool red manages to dominate the brilliant starfish and amoebas that erupt on the color's surface then sink back. Life seems to flourish on top of the red for a brief but glorious moment before it's killed off.
The black string and pom poms activate the space around the textile and remind us that the whole saga of life and death on the fabric is framed by a frightening void.

Here (above) color fights with design for dominance. The color seems to ooze and expand but a design pattern seems to be fighting to contain it. You can feel the tension. One or the other will win, but which one?
The white dots shimmer and glow like snow, distracting us from the battle underneath. It's like life: we battle each other furiously while time passes and gives a context to everything we do. It seems to render our battles insignificant, but we still have to fight. The pattern makes us aware that we're all involved in a beautiful unfolding tragedy.

This (above) is an amazing piece of work. Burning mouths from some mysterious void line themselves up to make what appears to be a musical statement. The checkered pattern makes a musical counterpoint. Surrounding it all is the wild, ghostly fringe. The pattern fights to stay together but the fringe tragically seems to be leaking its essence to the ether.

I hate to say it but I don't really like linear African patterns like the one above. The colors are depressing and seem like they're trapped behind obsessive geometry. Of course Africa's a big place and a lot of Africans are probably as indifferent to this pattern as I am.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Kali: "Oh, Eddie! It's so wonderful to be here with you!"

Uncle Eddie: "Yeah, just the two of us, all alone."

Kali: "Alone? Um, Eddie...the thing about us being alone..."

Uncle Eddie: "Yes, Sweetums? Dove pie? Sugar eyes? "

Kali: "Well, have problems with an ex-boyfriend. He follows me everywhere! It's not my fault! I can't get rid of him!"

Uncle Eddie: "Boyfriend? You mean that goofy guy with the square glasses?"

Uncle Eddie: "Haw, Haw! Boy, Kali, you sure can pick 'em! You leave him to me! I might have to rough him up a little, but I won't hurt him too bad!"

Kali: "I' glad you feel that way, Eddie..."

Uncle Eddie: "Huh!?"

Uncle Eddie: "Glack!"

Boyfriend: "Who's your friend Kali?"
Boyfriend: "Ya like that coke? It's a good coke, isn't it? Nice and cold?"

Uncle Eddie: "The coke? Well,'s my favorite...


Uncle Eddie: "Well, I've gotta go now! But first I have to tell you Sir, that I'm impressed, yes, impressed with what a lovely couple you make! Call me old-fashioned but I believe the very heart and soul of the country depends on the eternal bonds made by lovebirds like yourselves! Blessings upon you, Sir! Blessings!"

Uncle eddie: "Be seeing ya!"

Uncle Eddie: (Whistles)

All pictures stolen from Nico's site, cited below! Thanks, Nico! Be sure to take a look at Nico and Kali's version of this! Those links are also below. Thanks to Jorge I reinstated the cup-crushing sequence that my computer wouldn't let me put up originally. Cup-crushing is a beautiful thing!

Monday, November 12, 2007


IT'S SUPERKALI!!!!!!!!!!!!



Superkali: "Hi, ordinary mortals! I'm about to capture the arch-fiend, Lex Luther! There he is now! You can watch while I punch him out!"

Luther: "Ho Hum! Looks like Superkali again."

Luther: "When will she ever that learn that she's no match for my army of atomic super-zombies!

Superkali: (out of breath) "OK, Lex Luther! Put up your dukes! You're cruisin' for a brusin' and I'm the one to give it to ya!"

Luther: "Oh, really? How amusing! Why don't you give it instead to...(he transforms)....SUPERZOMBIE!!!!!!!

Luther: 'Fellow Zombies! Arise! Arise!!!! WHOOO! WHOOOOO!!!! (the call of the zombies)"

Luther: "Zombie #2! Grab her quick!"

Lutther: "Aw, you look so stressed, Superkali! Why don't you relax with a nice warm bath...of sulfuric acid!!!! BWAHaHaHaHaHA! Poe, you are avenged!

Luther: "Relax, Zombie #2. Let's smoke a pencil and savor this moment.
Zombie #2: "Thanks, but I only smoke pens. Here, try a Bic!"

The players: Ryan (who photographed most of this). Nico, Kali and Eddie.
The two zombie pictures were photographed by Kali.
All of these picture were stolen from Nico's MySpace site, John's blog and Kali's blog.