Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's not as bad as it looks...

“Of course, people were shocked and thought that I was mad when they saw the works. But once they knew the idea behind it, they understood and became interested in the work itself, instead of thinking that I am crazy.”
Thai artist Kittiwat Unarromhas has a Masters degree in Fine Arts and has experimented with painting and sculpture. When he returned home to run his family's bakery, he combined that training, along with a knowledge of anatomy and trips to forensic museums, and began to bake bread shaped like body parts.

He bakes loaves shaped like heads, hands, feet, and even internal organs. He also claims to take as much care with his bread recipe as with his art, continuously refining it to make the bread as delicious as possible. If you're in Ratchaburi Thailand you can visit his gallery/bakery (many more pictures at the link).

Quite grotesque to say the least. Still, while I think it would be rather creepy eating a bread head, I think I would prefer it to edible bread shoes that somebody may have worn.

What's with this younger generation of bakers?

more and more

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A turning point

As if any of us can avoid posting about, as John Hinderaker at Powerline called it,  the Breitbart-NAACP-Vilsack-Sherrod affair...

It strikes me that nobody involved in the mess has exactly covered themselves with glory: Breitbart seems to have tarred her a bit unfairly to make his point about the NAACP, the NAACP fumbled about and looked like idiots as usual, Vislack acted precipitously in firing her, and Sherrod seems still enamored with the notion of dividing people into Us and Them as she babbles on and on.

Still, that out of the way, there is one part of the story that has caught my attention. This is the first story I can think of that broke with such speed and was driven by the new media.

As such, this story is a turning point. In the past, and for that matter with the current Journolist story, the MSM would have, in their role as gatekeepers, sat on the story until it died or was stale. Now, they can no longer rely on the fact that the control which stories get spiked or which get column inches.

Credit has to be given to Breitbart for how he has manipulated the legacy media's weakness against itself. The speed at which this story grew is a direct result of how he rolled out the ACORN story. The legacy media has lost its monopoly on what is news and what is not. I think that will prove to be the real significance of this kerfuffle.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An ancient riddle has been solved

"British scientists believe they have cracked the answer to the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Researchers have found that a protein called ovocleidin (OC-17) is crucial in the formulation of eggshells, and it is produced in the pregnant hen's ovaries, the Daily Express reports."

 As the article 'Chicken or egg' question finally answered  points out, scientists have established that a chicken's body chemestry is necessary for the formation of eggs. Therefore it is clear that chickens had to have come first. Whew, finally I can scratch that off my list of mysteries to ponder.

Still, I expect there will many Egg-Firster zealots who refuse to admit the truth. Lord knows, they've always been a deluded lot. We can only hope they don't turn violent when they hear the news.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Well, now that you mention it...

Somebody called Squid314 posted a hilariously creative rant about the History Channel's TV show "WWII" being unbelievable and full of plot holes. Read the whole thing.

Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy - the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin' play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?


So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable.

Monday, July 12, 2010

When coffee in a bag just isn't good enough

Here's an interesting video showing how astronauts, inspired by rocket fuel tanks, have figured out how to create coffee cups usable in zero gravity. Naturally, I wondered how ice cubes and little paper umbrellas would work in them, but sadly they kept the demonstration booze free.

By the way, if you're a Moslem in need of some NASA self-esteem boosting, he mentions you could drink tea out of it too.

HT: Neatorama

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

For this, the Founders risked powder and ball?

There is a Washington Post Review, Norman Rockwell exhibit opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, by Blake Gopnik that's making the blog rounds and receiving much well deserved mockery in the process. 

I'm not a huge fan of Rockwell, I think he is rather schmaltzy, but it is clear he is an excellent and influential illustrator.

Glopnik on the other hand goes well around the bend in his disdain for Rockwell. He uses the 4th of July as an excuse to opine on the courage of American artists: Emily Dickinson for experimenting with her poetry, Louis Armstrong for playing jazz, and finally Jackson Pollack for splattering paint on canvas.

You can probably imagine what somebody who is a big enough twit to spin panegyrics about the heroism of Pollack's painting style thinks of Norman Rockwell. To put it mildly, he comes across as an insufferable snob.

What captured my eye in his piece, particularily in light of my last post Lopsided Democracy, was the following:

Rockwell's vision of "Freedom of Speech," included in the Smithsonian's show, doesn't invoke a communist printing his pamphlets or an atheist on a soapbox. It gives us a town hall meeting of almost interchangeable New Englanders, no doubt agreeing to disagree about something as divisive as the rates for those new parking meters. For this, the Founders risked powder and ball? 

First off, to answer Glopnik's question, yes, that is why the Founders risked powder and ball. The picture shows a common working man standing to speak at a meeting. On either side he is flanked by men, who are dressed in suits and looking up and seriously listening to what he has to say. That is about as simple an image as one could paint of Jefferson's subversive and revolutionary notion that "all men are created equal".

That dignity, afforded to all men to both speak and to order their own affairs --the affairs of the nation as well as the town hall town meetings that Glopnik so cavalierly dismisses -- is precisely why they fought the Revolution. The idea that no man is above another in either station, caste or dignity is the axiom from which all else American flows.

By the way Mr. Glopnik, all the archetypes on your list that you get misty-eyed over: communists printing pamphlets, atheists on soapboxes, Latino socialists, disgruntled lesbian spinsters, foul-mouthed Jewish comics and metrosexual half-Canadian art critics are free to speak their mind in this country which you seem to think is full of vapid bumpkins.

Perhaps you should scrub the cliches from your writing, and your list was certainly a string of cliches if I ever saw one, before you presume to tell other people what a shallow, maudlin fools they are for liking an illustration.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Lopsided Democracy

Below is an old post of mine. In light of the election it seems relevant. Indeed, "People will come together and cry: enough! ". Only it wasn't in fond nostalgia of the wise old elite, instead it was a lot of people who resented being called simpletons for their opinions. Anyway, the election brought this song and post to mind...

Above is the song Dimonkransa sung by Myra Andrade of the Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde received their independence from Portugal on July 5th, 1975. The liberation movement was led by the socialist African Party of Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Andrade's father was a member of it, and in fact she was born in Cuba.

Upon independence Cape Verde was a single party government, but in 1990 at a party congress the PAICV approved the introduction of multiparty democracy. In the election that followed the opposition fared well, and Cape Verde has evolved into a stable multi-party democracy.

However, this is not a post about her politics, nor the sort of third world socialism that bubbles through the undeveloped world. It seems to me there is a deeper strata, a bedrock so to speak, which lies under the languid melancholy of her lyrics.

It was said that democracy,
Lopsided democracy,
It was said that democracy
Was like a hidden treasure,
But now that it has been found.
We have all opened our eyes
And each one, relying on his judgment,
Confidently declared that what was round was in fact square,
And went to work, with a great many theories,
To prove that he was right.

(lyrics from the version she sung on her first album Navega)

Andrade is ill at ease with democracy, but for social rather than political reasons. Early in the song she calls it 'lopsided democracy' and as its lyrics unfold her complaint is that each person, not matter how foolish they are (and she clearly thinks many if not most of them are fools), now express a cacophony of opinions and arguments that bury the truth. 

She ends the song singing of English businessman and listing names from Cape Verde's past, some who have been elevated and some who she fears are being forgotten, and expresses distress at this reordering of authority. 

Stripped to its bone, the song is about a lost elite. Andrade is expressing nostalgia for a short-lived one party rule and for an escape from European domination. Of course it is her party that should rule and she now makes her home in Paris. Perhaps it is she that is lopsided, rather than all of the happy fools she mocks?

The time will come when old Náxu’s opinions
Will not be held in higher esteem than those of a babe in arms.
People will come together and cry: enough!

Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive. It is a hell of a thing not to have to step into the gutter to clear the side walk for a swaggering aristocrat. Andrade is intimidated by and dismissive of people who have opened their eyes, and each one, relied on their own judgment, but a free man knows better.

As for coming together and crying "enough"? That is exactly what our 4th of July celebrates and we'll have our Gadsden flags mingled with the Stars and Stripes. Happy 4th of July to you all.