Sunday, September 30, 2001
Yow. I'm having one of those weeks where you look around and suddenly realize you have a ton of things to work on. So Scrubbles will be taking a little break, for the first time since February. I'll be back on October 7th - just in time for my birthday (whee).
Friday, September 28, 2001
Sorry for the cartoon overload lately, but I just have to plug Jerry Beck's wonderful Cartoon Research site. I read the news and commentary pages from top to bottom. The titles section is full of terrific info and vintage cartoon screen grabs. He obviously has a real passion for this stuff.
Among the things I found was distressing news from the Warner Bros. titles page that these treasures are deteriorating, and very few of them are still being shown as they originally were, content-wise (blame The Cartoon Network, who currently owns 'em). Personally, I'm getting tired of these entertainment companies exercising what amounts to self-censorship to please a small segment of their audience. And, with heightened sensitivities being the way they are, it'll only get worse for the whole industry.
Also, it's kinda spoiling my dream of a DVD box set containing every Warner Bros. cartoon, complete and unaltered - even the "politically incorrect" ones like Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs. Shamefully, the people who own vintage cartoon rights just don't care much for them, either consigning them to the kidvid cash-in scrap heap or ignoring them altogether.
Lynda Barry's take on the tragedies. Simple and lovely.
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Simian fonts - those geniuses at House Industries present a family of fonts based on the kickass Planet of the Apes logo. The important thing is, where can I get 40 bucks for that wallet?
Let's talk about the building pictured here. For the last five years, I've worked on four of its ten floors. I've eaten lunch on eight of them. Just yesterday I found the best lunch spot in the building - the beautifully small and intimate break room on the 7th floor. The only one where the fluorescent lighting isn't jacked up to migraine brightness. No blaring TV or loudmouth people. Even the vending machines are quiet. And it has a couch!
Because nobody asked, I'll give you a floor by floor analysis: 1 is less a break room than an outdoor smoking area. It's a nice place to read a book, but I always feel caged in by the high metal walls and uncomfortable seating. 2 is OK, but its occupants tend to like their TV watching on the loud side. 3 (where I work) is a high traffic area, with a better than average occurance of chatty women in pairs. 4 is nice and quiet, but it has too many windows where anyone walking by can see you eating. I've never been on 5 before. The 6th floor is the worst, filled with mysterious stains and a loud TV constantly attended to by Jerry Springer lovin' telemarketing folks. 8 is home to the office cafeteria - great views, lots of vending machines (good) and multiple TVs always blasting soaps and talk shows (bad). It's also popular, and I ALWAYS avoid the popular eating spots. 9 is high traffic but okay. 10 is the executives' floor, and as such I have not had the privilege of sampling their break room. I can imagine it has overstuffed leather furniture and classical music piped in. That is all.
Wednesday, September 26, 2001
The creator of JustinSpace Goes To School recounts the first grade with memories and samples of his surprisingly accomplished art. Here's hoping he does the other grades as well.
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Bill from Blather is right - Liz Smith has lost it! It reads like something your mom would cut out and post on the refrigerator, between the macaroni casserole recipe and the inspirational "Love Is" magnets.
I don't get hopped up on network TV very often, but Undeclared looks interesting. The son of one of Christopher's co-workers is in the cast.
Molly Ringwald reviews a book. Nice anecdotes spoiled somewhat by college girl wishy washyness. I would give it a "B".
Monday, September 24, 2001
$150 Mil Raised in Attacks Telethon, most of which came from irate viewers pleading "I'll pay you anything to make Celine Dion shut up!"
For a giggle, peruse the Antiques Roadshow drinking game ('Drink if the item is from the Civil War'). Via my fave Boing Boing.
Sunday, September 23, 2001
A discography of whistling records. I found this one at the antique store yesterday, but passed because it was in bad shape. Cool cover, though. Via the Exotica list.
Princess Mononoke had been on our Netflix rental queue since last November. The disc finally arrived just last week. It was worth the wait. What a gorgeous film! Try watching it with the original Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles. Miramax really messed up things by rerecording the damn thing with badly cast Hollywood actors' voices, then publicizing said celebrities and not the jaw-dropping animation itself.
We also caught the Memento DVD - good movie, but I couldn't help but think all that reverse chronological gimmickry was covering up what was basically an uncompelling story. Guy Pierce, Joe Pantoliano and Carrie Ann Moss were excellent.
More power to her, but if every recording artist sued their ex- employers for shoddy compilations of their work and won, the labels would all be out of business.
Saturday, September 22, 2001
We had a wonderful dinner with Bill, Chris, H.C.L. and his s.o. Tom last night. Great company, and now I can increase the number of fellow webloggers I've met by two. Best of all was the hedonistic orgy we shared afterward. Thanks guys! Potentially embarrassing pics from Chris are to come, I'm sure.
Friday, September 21, 2001
Movie reviewers rate Mariah Carey's 'Glitter': hated it, hated it, liked it, hated it, hated it, hated it, hated it, HATED IT.
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Mock Treatment - why shows like 'Big Brother 2' are meaningless now.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: The Early Years - While watching vintage Warner Bros. cartoons on The Cartoon Network (mostly on "The Acme Hour" and "Black and White Night"), I've been genuinely impressed with how the network is really digging into the vaults and not constantly showing the same, overrated '50s cartoons that everyone knows like they used to. A few days ago I caught Smile, Darn Ya Smile, an atypically good, jazzy B&W outing from the early '30s. It starred a character named Foxy, who was basically Mickey Mouse with pointy ears and a bushy tail (hell, it worked for Disney). Warners had more success back then with Bosko (left), of course - even if the guy also suffered from a lack of personality (you know you're in trouble when bobbing one's head up and down is a major character trait).
The absolute best cartoons from this period, however, were Max Fleisher's. He of Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, and hallucinatory images of singing mailboxes and office buildings fame. I believe all of his animators were on weed. There's no other explaination.
Eloquent words from the New Yorker architecture critic: "When the biggest thing in a city that prizes bigness becomes the most fragile thing, and the void has more weight than the solid, the rules of city-building change."
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
The photos of people leaping from the WTC have got to be some of the most horrifying images ever put to film. And yet they reminded me of something from the recent past - artist Robert Longo's "Men In the Cities" series. For anyone who never took a "Contemporary Art 101" class, these are life sized drawings of business suited people in contorted positions - quintessential visuals of the '80s.
Is that insensitive of me to think this way? The events of the past week have been so incomprehensible and terrifying, I'm constantly grasping at something - anything - to relate it to. Anyway, I wanted to link to examples from "Men In the Cities" on the web -- here, here, here and here.
I'm something of a breakfast cereal chemist, since I like the sweet stuff but not in great quantities. This morning I concocted a mixture of 4 parts Kix to 1 part Peanut Butter Crunch. Try it sometime; it's delicious.
I enjoyed this beautifully written recollection of the tragedy from Martin Amis. Via Bitstream.
Astralwerks just sent me the latest Chemical Brothers single, "It Began in Afrika". Woo hoo! I love you, Astralwerks.
Monday, September 17, 2001
Ain't he cute? Christopher as a tot. Glendale, Arizona circa 1960. A tiny, square photo with scalloped edges. Glossy finish. The woman on the right is their neighbor and sometime babysitter. I'll bet the car was white on top and turquoise blue on the bottom. BTW, old family photos are not the same without having a tree coming out of the subject's back. You gotta have that.
Via Metafilter comes news that The Onion will be on hiatus. Which is sad, but inevitable. I hope they come back soon. We all need silly diversions in times like these.
Sunday, September 16, 2001
Posters from the 1976 remake of King Kong. You'll recall they had Kong scale the World Trade Center for this one, and indeed there he is - one foot on each tower.
Saturday, September 15, 2001
Saw Ghost World today
Stellar comic; decent film
Hip outcasts - oh yeah
Friday, September 14, 2001
Thursday, September 13, 2001
The first page of this editorial expresses my mood at the moment better than anything else I've read recently. The age of frivolity is truly over. The other pages go into a more typical (yet still insightful) analysis of the events' media coverage.
And this page, compiled by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, does a great job of rounding up news stories of the tragedy from that particular angle.
Much to my relief, NYC-area webloggers Jonny (Delicado) and Lisa (Quadra) are OK. Thanks to both of you for the reassuring emails.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
I need some intentional surrealism right about now.
My heart is weeping. While TV assaults us with numbing repeats and the same talking heads yammering away, the personal reflections and first-hand accounts of various weblog keepers has been nothing less than mind blowing. World New York's continuing assemblage of these voices has been an incredible effort.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
As usual, Christopher woke me up this morning to tell me he's leaving for work. This time, however, he also relayed the news.
Since I could no longer sleep, I tuned in to CNN. Towers burning, then a cloud of smoke forming behind the foreground one as the first tower fell. Holy crap. It was as if Mount Rushmore crumbled, or the Disneyland castle blew up. I couldn't handle all the chaos and terror while it was still happening; I had to go somewhere else to clear my mind, then return once news gatherers were more lucid and collected
I switched channels to find A Letter to Three Wives playing. It's about a town tramp who writes a letter to three women (Jeanne Crain, Ann Southern and Linda Darnell), saying she ran off with one of their husbands. Only she won't reveal which one until the trio has returned from a daylong country outing. Watching B&W movies on TV is always comforting, but this particular one didn't soothe one bit. The helplessness of the characters mirrored my own mental state. I felt like I was moving in a thick gel, and not knowing what to do.
Downown Phoenix is oddly still and quiet. Employees at the tallest skyscraper in the city were told to go home. Vehicle and foot traffic is light. I suppose the world will soldier on as before. Until then, my thoughts are with those who died, their families and all the brave rescue workers.
Monday, September 10, 2001
An odyssey - via Alt-Log I scanned this article on Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™. Kinkade's painfully clichéd landscapes always remind me of this, which came from a study asking Americans what they liked and disliked in a painting. The project, conducted by avant garde-ists Komar and Melamid, was repeated all over the world. This page of the resulting paintings shows all the interestingly subtle differences between the various countries studied. In a nutshell, people prefer a good lanscape depicting deer sipping from a placid lake to hard edged abstractions in baby puke colors. (Whew.)
Rudi Gernreich, Nostradamus of the Needle - all about the trend setting '60s designer, courtesy the chic online fashion mag Hint. Don't forget that Gernreich also did those groovy beige jumpsuits from Space:1999 - a notable accomplishment in itself. Gernreich's muse, the model Peggy Moffitt, is still rockin' in her trademark helmet hair and false eyelashes and recently became the cover subject of my autumn mix disc.
Sunday, September 09, 2001
A new mix CD for a new season - Equinox: An Autumn Collection. Ambiguous, dreamy, contemplative, or just plain glum, these are songs that will put me in a relective mood when the leaves start fallling. A first - all of the songs came from CDs, no downloads here! Email me if you would like a trade.
A neat gallery of vintage transistor radios. I was struck by how much this Sears model resembles the appliances they were churning out at the same time. It's like a miniaturized version of the circa 1962 Coldspot refrigerator which I once had, right down to the pseudo chrome accents. Via Living Proof.
Friday, September 07, 2001
Recently I was lucky enough to get a cheap copy of Nick Tosches' new book Where Dead Voices Gather (you can read part of it here). Supposedly a biography of the obscure minstrel singer Emmett Miller, I suspect it's really an excuse for Tosches to spout off on everything. It looks fascinating. Trouser Press God Ira Robbins reviews it here.
Illustrator Jonathon Rosen has a website. I idolized his hip, grungy drawings during my college years and beyond. Another illustrator I admired then was Mark Matcho, who did the early graphics on Feed magazine, among many other things. Once, I wrote him an email telling him how much I enjoyed his snappy, retro cartoon style. He was a bit flustered that he had a fan but nevertheless thanked me for the note.
My new name from the U.S. Census Name Generator is - Jorge Fields! I'm a Capricorn, work in a restaurant in Florida. I learn English. I enjoy Rum and Cokes, gold jewelry and Julio Iglesias. Link comes via the wonderful Pop Culture Junk Mail.
Thursday, September 06, 2001
Enjoyed this depressingly funny column about the perils of celebrity entourages in the aftermath of Aaliyah's fatal crash: "One of the sadder aspects of becoming a 'celebrity' -- in the Aaliyah sense -- is the certain knowledge that you'll be spending your life surrounded by awful, third-rate people." Via Arts & Letters Daily.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Studette - who knew?
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
Received in the mail: the newest catalog from designer furniture retailer Design Within Reach. Holy God in heaven. For retro furniture lovers, this is like porn - only instead of airbrushed women named Kristi, there's $1,400 Alvar Aalto hanging lamps. If you can tear yourself away from all that modern beauty, check out the biography page - well written profiles of famous designers like my heroes Charles and Ray Eames. Fabboo.
Lovely! A comprehensive guide to the Tromp l'Oeil Murals of Greg Brown in Palo Alto, CA. Thanks to Jimwich for putting it all together.
Terrible news - the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal empire is closing. I'll remember it as one of the few entertainment companies that celebrated creativity and personal, quirky tastes. Via Boing Boing.
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Updating the archives: the dental floss of site management. At any rate, June, July, August (split in two - a busy month!), and all of the "Past Trips" sites are now updated and online.
Lileks just updated his hilarious Gallery of Regrettable Food with new recipe pamphlets, including Party Cake Party Cake Baker's SHAME. Future archeologists might find this one and conclude the '50s were characterized by a race of obsessed house-shaped cake builders. But why? To appease the malevolent giant child's head on the horizon.
Mark Jenkins coughs up another good What Goes ON column, this time about the music-themed issue of The New Yorker.
Monday, September 03, 2001
Just as this page was being updated, I was saddened to learn that Pauline Kael died. Remember her by reading these lively quotes from her film reviews.
Newest thrift find - this great Arabic hygeine poster made by a company called ARAMCO, probably from the early '60s. I found it at the American Leigon thrift in Payson, Arizona. It wasn't priced and shoved into a battered old frame which was removed. When I took the poster to the counter and asked how much, the lady was confused. It was as if I was buying a single grape at the corner Safeway. Finally she muttered "twenty five cents". I tossed her a quarter and it is now nicely reframed and hanging on my bedroom wall.
Sunday, September 02, 2001
Consumer Alert: Scrubbles.net has no affiliation with "Scrubbles" Apron Cleaner or the Scrubbles bowtie. Thank you.
In a previous weblog entry I commented on the bizarre children's school choir rendition of "Space Oddity". By happy coincidence, I now not only know the artist name (Langley Schools Music Project), but received news that an entire CD of their work will soon be available on Basta records. Among other things, they also covered "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" - far out!
Saturday, September 01, 2001
Penguin cam! Everytime I looked, however, it was dark. Penguins are not nocturnal types.
I believe Andrew linked to this eons ago, but I'm just now rediscovering the genius of these interesting pages on Braniff Airlines' visual history. The company's extravagance and attention to visual detail made them probably the hippest airline that ever was. Look at these: