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Wednesday, 10 November 2010


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What's the big deal? Doesn't everyone have a horse hole in their backyard?

In Soviet Russia, Photoshop clone you!

I don´t understand Exhibit 4.
The steel arch, so common on almost every shoe but for trainers, is used mainly to stop your feet from sliding forwards and greatly helps improving your balance and stability when walking.

Actually, I did the bad thing of buying some expensive shoes once [not that shoes are particulary cheap, but they are amazingly complicated products, much much more than expected] which I somehow managed to break that steel arch, and it was a fairly uncomfortable and weird feeling.

That very steel arch has been the reason why most shoes do not use the laces to stabilize the feet but to just tighten the shoes to the feet, as opposed to those 17th century shoes.

I alwyas thought Lenny Kravitz stole his riffs from Robin Trower, not so much Jimi Hendrix.

Sounds like Annie Leibovitz needs to give the CIA a call for some funding...

Regarding Exhibit One -- So apparently now that the Soviet Menace is gone, we no longer care what the rest of the world thinks of us culturally, intellectually, or otherwise?

Regarding Exhbit Two -- Wow. "WTF doesn't begin to describe this pic." pretty much says it all.

Regarding Exhibit Three -- Way back when, in graduate school, I did many of the things that PhotoShop does so well today using just such a scanner, 9-track magnetic tapes, etc. I'm betting Ctein did too. And I know NASA and Los Alamos were involved in similar image-processing endeavors. I don't recall when PS came onto the market, but I'm pretty sure our colective efforts preceded PS by WAY more than 3 years!

Regarding Exhibit Four -- Airport-friendly, maybe, but are they Digital Ready?

That pic of the chick - I mean the Amputee With An Attitude - I've seen that one before, a few years ago, without the horse. I thought it was pretty amazing of her.

Oh, I see someone has commented on that already. I'll send this comment nonetheless, because I like the rhyme and quasi-alliteration in the opening sentence.

If it weren't for the internet, we wouldn't know any of this stuff.

Some time in the nineties, I was listening to a group of music critics on NPR when one brought up a bit of industry jargon in vogue at the time: "Kravitzing", for the act of assembling "new" music out of riffs lifted from other peoples' music of decades past.

A nice little bolster for exhibit five is Rob Paravonian's Pachelbel Rant. The same chords spanning the centuries.


From the essay 'Orientalism and Sinology', in 'The Burning Forest' (1985), by the eminent sinologist Simon Leys:
"One day it will perhaps be discovered that the best studies on Tang poetry and on Song painting have all been financed by the CIA — a fact that should somehow improve the public image of this much-maligned organisation."

The CIA as a patron of Abstract Expressionism: an impish footnote to the Congress for Cultural Freedom brouhaha. Not that anyone who cared wouldn't know. I remember John Kenneth Galbraith attending one event sponsored by the CCF, and expressing shock afterwards — not at the fact of its sponsorship by the CIA. After all, an ideological war was going on, and the attendees were respectable, bona fide intellectuals who actually did have substantial things to say. No, Galbraith, with his considerable bureaucratic experience, was shocked at how easily the money trail could be traced. As he repeated time and again: there are no secrets in the American Republic, there are only varying lengths of time until they are found out.

All things considered, bang-per-buck-wise, perhaps more of the secret funds should be spent on modern art, and less on secret wars.

Exhibit One is one of those secrets that's been around for a long time. I learned of it probably in the early nineties. But I guess this now makes it official.

I believe it is also lightly referred to in the book - How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art.


It's amazing what a few decades will do to an organization like the CIA.

My favorite example of good art (music actually) as anti-soviet propaganda was the Radio Free America jazz hour with the nicotine-voiced Willis Conover as DJ. I still remember listening to those shows on a tube Heathkit shortwave.

Wonderful music by musicians who were not getting invited to the WHite House in those days.

Strangely, there was a radio programme in the UK a couple of weeks back about a vicious fan-war that broke out in 18th century Europe between fans of two baroque composers, each group accusing the other that one composer was stealing the other's tunes. Damned if I can remember either composer's name, but they got in a couple of modern day musicologists and a modern composer to comment. The upshot was that there's only so much originality around, particularly with the same set of instruments, and some fairly rigid compositional rules, so a certain amount of resampling has to be expected.

Acid Merseybeat has now passed its heyday, at least over here (so my son confidently asserts). I hadn't heard of it, so I doubt I will mourn its passing.

"Acid Merseybeat has now passed its heyday, at least over here (so my son confidently asserts)."

And I thought I had just invented that term. Which only goes to underscore your point.


Sons, eh. The teenage tyke is with his mother until the weekend, which gives me more than enough time to invent a whole series of detailed questions about said Acid Merseybeat. I'll enjoy the floundering answers! And after that, he's sweeping up leaves for an hour or so.

That said, I do remember Merseybeat...

I've known about the CIA's involvement with modern art ever since I read _Who Paid The Piper?_ a few years ago. Wait, hey, the author of the article is also the author of that book. So which part of this is news, exactly?

#4 strikes me more as it's about time rather than strange. Now if I could get a decent belt with a plastic buckle I'd be set.

Exhibit 1 - if the CIA's saying they did it, can they be trusted to tell the truth?

Exibit 2 - she's cute, despite the prosthestic.

Exhibit 3 - hmm... don't believe everything you read on the internet (see Ex 1) ;)

Exhibit 4 - I have a pair of safety boots with a non-steel toe cap. Most comfortable work boots I've ever owned. To echo B Small - what took so long?

Exhibit 5 - there's only so many notes and so many ways to arrange them. I recall an SF short story from the 60s (?) about just that same thing, how the passing of a perpetual copyright bill had stifled art and music. AcidMerseybeat sounds... interesting. I'll have to dig some up.

Re Exhibit 3... in 1987, computer enthusiasts' Byte Magazine published an article on digital imaging (see the cover:
The article described researchers who loaned a digital camera (!) from NASA, took a picture of the Mona Lisa, studied visible spectrometry of similar-age varnishes, and tried to simulate on-screen how the painting original looked like. Fascinated, it looked to me as pure science fiction.
I REALLY wanted a digital camera after reading that article. My Amiga computer was already capable of changing color ranges of digital pictures, waiting just for the digital camera to complete the system.

It took about 16 years but eventually I also had one! not sure though how long it would take my beloved Amiga 1000 to process those NEFs...

Who comes up with this stuff??!!

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