Merry Couple of Days - Jason Mraz

As of now I am off for the next two days. The chain for which I work closes Christmas day - entirely! - and New Years evening/night which marks the only hours out of 365 days where I most likely won't be called or texted about some work related issue. Time off is over rated. There will be a line up of people waiting to get in when I open the store on the 26th (and January 1).

I have the 24th off and I have to tell you it disappoints me a little because I enjoy telling people "We're closed" and I couldn't be happier sending you off empty handed because you couldn't be bothered reading the sign notifying you we would be closing. You assumed we don't have lives and we aren't human because we're never closed. 24/7 is a long, long day. So I'll miss that this year but not enough to volunteer to work it.

Anyway, I may post prodigiously or I may not. I hope whatever you're doing, it's something you want to do and it's with someone with whom you want to be doing it.

Probably older than dirt and seen by billions but it makes me smile and it's my blog.

Quell Dramatique

So one half of the face with make up, the other without. doesn't make that much of a difference on me,
I'm just that beautiful out of the gate! Horse reference intentional.

Red Light District

I drive home from work about the time school buses are lined up and waiting to take children home for the day. If I'm running late, as I most often am, I run into these same buses dropping off children. I have never once encountered flashing red lights when children are being dropped off. (or picked up for that matter) W.T.F.? I thought this was a given. I have lived in a lot of communities in my life and every one has had school buses with flashing red lights indicating when it is not only unsafe, but illegal to pass a school bus. I assumed this was universal. Not here. What I have encountered were motorists just as confused as I am about whether I'm supposed to stop or not for a bus with flashing amber lights. What would you do? Cars both ways stop then creep ahead wondering what their responsibility and culpability is in this ambiguous scenario. In a situation where children's safety is involved, is there room for ambiguity?

So today I decided to get to the bottom of it and I was not successful. Just thought I'd throw that in now in case you were looking for a happy ending. I called First Student Canada and asked the receptionist what the deal was. She said that they are not allowed to use flashing reds as this is against the law in our town. Inconceivable. So I called City Hall and asked for the bylaw office and nobody is available to help me right now. This is not over. A friend of a friend of mine knows someone who knows someone and I will get answers.

Notice anything unusual about these pictures?

They're oil paintings by photorealist Steve Mills.

Yes they are.

He nails reflective surfaces like this

And glass

Seriously, you are looking at a painting. An oil painting.

This is the one that gave it away to the lad. He was still blown away though. He said the rust looked too clean. But remember the peeling paint? I'm thinking this rusty chain and bolts must have looked exactly like this. Because that's what he does. He paints exactly what his eye sees. I'm so jealuz.

Nice work.

Steve Mills

Steve Mills' web site. Go and be filled with wonder at the things other people can do with their hands. Me, I can pour coffee. That's about it.

We knew this was coming...

Christopher Hitchens
April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, an author and journalist, was the reason I faithfully threw away a large chunk of ten dollars on a magazine every month. He had been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair since 1992. He has been 'not fighting' esophogial cancer since 2010, the same cancer from which his father died.

Hitch (everyone called him that, so I'm jumping on that wagon because it's shorter to type) was both praised and vilified because of his confrontational manner in debating sensitive issues. In his book The Missionary Position he wrote that Mother Theresa was and is undeserving of honour because she was an oppressive political opportunist spreading a fanatical religious belief. He called Henry Kissinger a war criminal. Ripped Mel Gibson a new one in an article found here. I personally loathe Mel Gibson for the same reason I loathe Tom Cruise. There is no room in the world for fanatics. I believe 911 drove that home on American soil. Hitch called Jerry Falwell treasonous for saying the 911 attacks were "probably deserved". He also wrote a scathing article about the globally indulged Dalai Lama. Michael Moore also got an article. Hitch was an equal opportunity critic.

He considered himself an antitheist as opposed to an atheist. Hitchens said that a person "could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct," but that "an antitheist, a term I'm trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there's no evidence for such an assertion".

His death will be followed by lauding eulogies and poisonous denunciations. I'm sure he would enjoy whatever was said, either way.

Team Laud

Literal Move Trailers

Toby Turner is a stand up comedian who also does literal interpretations of movie and gaming trailers. He has over 800,000 subscribers on YouTube. As usual, the lad turned my attention to his work. Like most of the things the lad finds amusing, I also found it amusing. (although My Amazing Horse and Nyan Cat were not, in any way, amusing) Below is an example of Toby's work applied to the trailer for the game Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. A game that now inhabits a dark corner of the lad's bat cave. Anyway, you don't even need to know the game's back story or how it's played. Toby is a guy who voices over the trailer, describing what we're seeing.

Literal Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Trailer

This is his web site. He also did a Literal Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides trailer.

This is Toby. He looks normal enough for a guy with 73 first cousins.

This is the Literal Twilight Eclipse Trailer. Ahahah!!! Better than the movie. Probably. Because I didn't see the movie.

And, this is Nyan Cat. It's a cat. Wearing a pop tart. Farting out a rainbow...yeah...I don't get it.

Glass Harp - Sugar Plum Fairy - Tchaikovsky


Quick, guess who this is!

OK, it's obvious but isn't this photo totally surreal??!! She's dressed like a wedding cake and he's a majorette.

Quick, guess who this is!

Helen Mirren

Pinhead, Accident of Birth

If you drop by here you might notice I sometimes post pictures of wacky art. I found a whole collection today that lead me on a voyage of nostalgic reflection and adventure. It was a collection of pics of sculptures by Thomas Kuebler. The gallery was called "Beggars and Freaks" and you can find it here. What was interesting was that a lot of the "Freaks" were literally sideshow performers who also were in the movie Freaks in 1932. I recognized Schlitzie aka Pinhead.

Not this Pinhead

Rendered here by Mr. Kuebler along with...

John Eckhardt Jr. aka Johnny Eck aka Halfman.
One half of a set of fraternal twins.

Minnie Woolsey aka Koo Koo, the Bird Girl 
and Harry Earles. Three of his six siblings were also dwarfs
and all four played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz

But let's talk about Schlitzie. His real name was possibly Simon Metz (later his name was legally Schlitzie Surtees, I think) and his date and place of birth are unknown. He was born with microcephaly which caused his brain and skull to be very small. He was very tiny physically and had the mental abilities of a three year old but by all descriptions seemed to be a happy and pleasant person. He was also well cared for by the various people who took him in during his career in the circus. While I refer to him as a he, Schlitzie was dressed as, referred to and 'marketed' as a female in many shows and in Freaks. It apparently added to his mystique. Sideshow performers with microcephaly (there were many) were known as pinheads.

Posing as The Thinker. I make the point that he's posed here because he isn't smiling. Most pictures I've found he is always smiling. In this one he's doing what he thinks is a representation of 'thinking'. I don't think Schlitzie was required to think much and that's probably why he is always smiling. Do you think if he lived now he would even know who Brooke Mueller or Lindsay Lohan was? No.

Schlitzie, with Wallace Ford, in a scene from Freaks.

It is a mistaken conception that Schlitzie wore dresses due to incontinence. However he is often shown in dresses with pants underneath so obviously this was not a problem but it continues to be the prevailing theory. Why? He doesn't deserve dignity?

Here's a montage of scenes which include almost all of the people above.

Interesting to note that the dwarf characters of Hans and Freida, 
affianced in the movie, are played by a real life brother and sister.

Prince Randian, The Human Torso. Married with children. Lived to be 63. Shown in this video lighting a cigarette he rolled himself (the rolling of which is sadly not shown).


Not this kind of fiddle head....

These kinds of fiddleheads. Here, amongst some wild mushrooms

I've eaten fiddleheads. There's an interesting quality about them in that they are a vegetable but it doesn't take much imagination to turn them into caterpillars. Which of course, I must do.

A curled up caterpillar

Millipede, assuming the guise of a fiddlehead

Fiddleheads are baby ferns. They're harvested when the frond has not yet unfurled and is cut close to the ground. They contain antioxidants and are a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 and are high in iron and fibre (note: even though I got this info from Wikipedia, as soon as you see the "re" instead of the "er" you just know that writer is Canadian cuz they're all about centres and fibres and sabres and stuff)

I may be wrong but fiddleheads are an eastern US/Canada kind of dish. Maine, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. You know, Maine may as well be a Canadian province. Do you know how often it is included in Atlantic Canadian qualities? Tides, flora, fauna, fishery issues etc. Maine is now the fifth Maritime province as far as I'm concerned. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Maine. And let's face it, including Maine in Canada totally keeps the 49th parallel pattern thing going with the border. Seriously, follow the 49th all the way east and it naturally puts Maine above the border. Just embrace it. Congratulations and welcome Maine! (Next to be assimilated: Alaska)

I like ferns any old way, but only eat the baby ones from the Ostrich Fern.

Fiddleheads flavour is difficult to describe in that I need you to have tasted other things that taste like them. So brussel sprouts and asparagus are two similar tastes. But neither are terribly fearsome looking. Fiddleheads may be tasty but be sure and eat them steamed or cooked in some way. Raw, they are bitter and slightly toxic which totally adds to their badassity.

Rape aXe, "A medieval device for a medieval deed"

Rape aXe, anti-rape device

This is a gadget designed to be worn inside the vagina and intended to be an anti-rape device. It's a female condom with 'teeth' which ensures that when the penis is inserted, it will be immediately removed with Rape aXe anchored firmly causing vengeful retribution. It is believed the criminal will then have to seek medical attention if he ever wants his dick back. Here is a website with a computer video simulating how it works.

Let's just stop a minute and define the word prevent.
  1. Keep (something) from happening or arising
  2. Make (someone or something) unable to do something
Since there has to be penetration for the device's teeth to grab the penis, it means if the device is successful, it has also failed to prevent a rape. Sure a lot can be said for watching a man grappling with a rubber sheath anchored to his dick with teeth but I would just rather not have had any contact in the first place.

There are critics who have spoken out against Rape aXe. Yes, really. Women would have to wear this constantly on the off chance that they will be raped. Also, the potential for increased violence against the victim is possible. Just me, but if you're living in a place where you feel the need to install a Rape aXe to protect yourself in case of rape at any moment, your life is probably not worth much generally speaking. And yes, it doesn't really deal with the fact that rape is not sexual. However, if a potential rape is taking place, does anyone really want a debate about the reasons why this crime is taking place? No, rape is not a sexual crime but if it's going to happen why not stick it to the dick anyway?

So obviously I'm torn about it. I hate that some women live in a society where they are forced to take this action, but I don't like that it's promoted as a rape prevention when it certainly does not prevent rape.

My idea of an anti-rape device would be something that works far away from the vagina and takes the rapists head off before he even comes near me. Sure it's messy, the man's future is canceled permanently but no rape will have taken place and there's one less dick in the gene pool. Win/win

Hsin-Yao Tseng

Trompe l'oeil is a form of art intended to fool the eye and is used to help the brain perceive that something is better than what it is. In French, it literally means "deceive the eye".

A niche. I love that word. And look, the pear, it is escaping!

I've seen examples of Trompe l'oeil in model homes decorated by builders to sell his homes. I have been known to tour a few of these for decorating ideas when I know I'm in no danger of falling into a depression after coming face to face with what I can't afford to own.

I like the whimsy of this. Yes it rendered with excruciating realism but on the other hand can liquid hang sideways on the planet Earth and not spill?
Art with a sense of humour is so appealing to me.

These trompe l'oeil examples are by Hsin-Yao Tseng. Hsin-Yao Tseng was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1986 in Taiwan and is currently studying at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco majoring in fine art painting. He is very good.

Self portrait

Hsin-Yao Tseng, for realz

Check out his web site here.

Saw this yesterday...

Seems legit

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