Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wisconsin GOP doesn't want you to see this.

Now, it's kind of mediocre as a gotcha — some former Real World/Road Rules dufus is now a congressman, and he wants you to do more with less while simultaneously complaining about how bad he has it at $174,000 a year.

But it's more interesting that the Wisconsin GOP has been sending a passel of cease-and-desist letters around because they don't want the public seeing Sean Duffy cluelessly defending his money.

(Though, to be fair, the audience member who thinks that 435 times $174,000 is equal to the $14.21 trillion we owe in public debt is probably just as silly, if not more.)

Also, that three-fifths thing was a pretty good compromise

Tea Party leader says that property restrictions "makes a lot of sense."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Only the good parts of Who's Next.

Riddarholmen, by Shogun Kunitoki

The thinnest line

The US is right to intervene in Libya, and even better, it's been intervening in the right way: Responding to a request from a regional council to support a democratic uprising, then handing off authority to a coalition under international authority.

However, there are a million things that could go wrong. In large part, we can be certain that Gaddafi is a tyrant, but we can't be certain that he won't be replaced by another. One big way to increase the risk of this being less a revolution than a coup is to arm a faction.

President Sarkozy has pushed hard for it, but if the US is going to provide the bulk of the arms (and, inevitably, troops to supply those arms), the US needs to lead the coalition, but the US leading the coalition will only undermine the international support and the credibility of the rebels as a legitimate authority.

The US walks an incredibly thin line here between letting a people breathe free and clumsily stumbling into another middle-eastern quagmire.

I want to go to there

Vintage pinball in Echo Park.

We must go there! SOON!

Amber Rissman, somebody looking for you!

Unless it's you. But I've had fifteen referrals to this blog in the last week for people looking for Amber Rissman. (Maybe it's you, Amber? Googling yourself?)

Social Security policy homework

The next time you feel tempted to describe Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," feel free to read through the resources linked here. It's a fantastic round-up and I'm only, what, 50 pages deep?

Moments of major league play!

Top five worst baseball slogans, 2011. Unsurprisingly, the Royals oversell their talent.

Fantastic article about murder in Guatemala

More twists than Law and Order.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last night, in LA

The best part about driving through town is how it removes the context from every instance of weirdness you see — you never have any time to ask follow-up questions.

Two weird moments from the drive from Culver City to Los Feliz last night:

At the big, floodlit Shell station on Venice at Overland, some trying to sell gas from a red jerry can to people who had stopped. He was a black guy in a brown sport jacket, and kept making the pouring gesture and rubbing the fingers of his other hand together.

On Pico west of Crenshaw, a boy was holding open the door to a storefront church that hadn't started services. He was wearing a suit, had a bunch of balloons in his hand, and was dancing side to side while people inside were finishing setting up chairs.

Not all sprawl is equal.

Behind the African-American exodus of Detroit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twosquare league results

Last weekend, Amanda and Josh played the inaugural league matches of the new season, with Josh taking both sets 2 to 1.

The first set, played with the green ball, scored: A 21, J 16; J 21, A 19; J 21, A 18. The second set, played with the larger red ball, scored: J 21, A 18; A 26, J 24; J 22, A 20.

In the second set, Amanda's 26 point victory tied the previous record, set by Carson. In both cases, Josh was the loser.

Josh and Amanda also played one game on Monday, with Amanda triumphing with the green ball: A 21, J 19.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New developments in the world of Twosquare

As most of you don't realize, the inaugural season of two-square just wrapped up, ending just before the blue ball to which we have all become so accustomed broke.

Unfortunately, the end of the season corresponded with the arrival of Steichmann's parents, and in the subsequent cleaning, it is believed that the final scores of the last six games of the season were lost. It is known that Carson and Josh split the day, with three wins apiece, and for record keeping purposes, they have been assigned scores of 21 to 19 in three game chunks. We can only hope that scholars of the future somehow uncover the records of these early two-square games.

It is also remembered that Carson made some pretty impressive plays off the wall in the set, despite being totally sore from racquetball.

The season lasted 49 games, plus four exhibition matches, and involved three competitors: Amy, Carson and Josh. With Amy ultimately deciding that her playing days were over in the world of competitive twosquare, she has moved on from the sport, but tells us she'll be back often to play in exhibition matches, as well as acting as a line judge and coach. All the best, Amy!

We at the league would like to congratulate Carson on receiving the "Rookie of the Year" award, as well as acknowledge his current high score of 26, which we're sure will stand for many years to come. His off-the-wall antics mask an impressive dedication to backspin discipline.

So, what's new?

New balls!

Now twosquare involves a choice of balls! The smaller, green official "foursquare" size, and the larger, red "playground" size.

"After last season's constant jokes about 'blue balls,' we knew we had to do something to keep that going. Both will be acceptable for league play, but the choice will be noted in the records," said commissioner Steichmann.

Visitors will be given preference in deciding which balls to use, with a minimum of smirking.

New players!

Amanda "Soft Hands" Colligan played her first six games last week, and she's already making a name for herself with her polite and gentle play. Can she be goaded into more aggression? She's a twosquare competitor worth observing at some point in the indefinite future, as Howard Cosell would say! Match details to follow!

New chalk!

From the RiteAid. It's OK for chalk, I guess.

An ongoing quixotic quest to make a twosquare home game!

Perhaps a tabletop RPG based on GURPS? Or just a boardgame with maybe some dice and stuff? Would anyone actually play it? What if they were really drunk?

Amazing first-hand footage of the tsunami

Six minutes, crazy stuff.

Those are houses floating away.

Still living the High Life

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The kids, united!

It's kind of a shame that punk rock appropriations of labor anthems seem really dated, but frankly, current political rock pretty much blows. Feel free to prove me wrong.

These Americans, our Americans

God, Walker Evans just kills me. I should read more about him, instead of just smashing my face up against his pictures, but goddamn.

Also, These Americans is pretty killer. Just archival shots of your fellow citizens.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What Wisconsin is really about

Kevin Drum runs through a brief modern history of labor and the left, why the working class is alienated, and what that means.

Katrina X-Codes

© Cynthia Scott, Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005.

Katrina+5 is a Southern Spaces exhibit on the search and rescue X-codes used in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane.

These cryptic, sprayed marks were ubiquitous when I was there, but no one around knew what they meant at the time, aside from the fact that they'd been sprayed by National Guard units.

The exhibition has an excellent explanation as well as great examples of X-codes in use.

These instances of artificial meaning imposed after destruction are just fascinating for me. They're both poignant and abstract, secret and public.

Stand up for Wisconsin!

Stand up for Wisconsin!, a map and list of solidarity events around the country.

Do your part. Stand up for union rights, stand up for labor, stand up for working men and women, working Americans, against the robber barons that are working to enslave you.

It's almost pretty, that death metal

Negative Plane's Stained-Glass Revelations

Boycott Koch

Handy list of union-busting Koch products for boycott.

Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, etc. UNION MEMBERS

That's right, AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, an AFL-CIO affiliate union.

So, they're calling for a gutting of benefits and negotiating strength that they — and everyone who works on their shows — benefit from.

This is my surprised face.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Welcome to Hell

Inspired by this question on AskMe about Hell in art, I started perusing google and google scholar, looking to see if there was an art theory term for the iconography of Hell. Infernography?

I haven't found anything conclusive yet, no secret codeword to unlock the libraries of the internet, but I have found a bunch of neat art (too much for an easy reply).

The Harrowing of Hell refers to Christ's descent into Hell, an apocryphal bit of the Apostles' Creed that's inferred from Christ's resurrection, also known as the Anastasis. I stumbled onto the phrase by finding this PDF about the Harrowing of Hell relief at Bristol Cathedral.

The Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography (PDF) gives a decent bit of info on the genre, though with fewer images than I'd prefer.

I knew the term for the mythic descent into the underworld, Katabasis, and so searching for that and for famous katabasi (a cod-Greek word I just made up), yielded both Lazurus and Castor and Pollux. (As a side note, I'd like to explore Nekyia a bit in my work).

More as I find 'em.

Happy Mardi Gras, everybody!

Bigger tits means stronger sperm!

In the AM

…and the PM, there is the TM. Charles Lloyd with half the Beach Boys.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Monday Morning Link Dump!

MoJo does inequality.

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, home of Earl Sweatshirt.

Porn machete murders.

Top Six LULZ from Koch punking.

Full text of A History of Jury Trials by Forsythe.

When did kids get stupid, exactly? 1985. Which seems about right to me. I was educated stupid.

Despite somebody lecturing me about how "Beyond the pale" was racist (or at least anti-semetic), it's not.

Ted Serios, charlatan psychic but pretty good photographer.

Another zombie playlist, mostly worth it for reminding me of "Knuck if you Buck."

Bikeroots article in the LA Weekly did Alex no favors but I'm probably voting for Box anyway. I voted for Nader in 2000 too, so I might be too dumb to vote.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

At home he feels like a tourist

From Mar 4, 2011

Over the last two weeks, two parental visits have led Amy and I through more local culture than we usually see in six months. We even managed to watch the Oscars on TV, out of some reflexive LA suckle.

From Mar 4, 2011

Amy's parents got in two Sundays ago, late in the afternoon, so our first day out was on Monday. We headed out to Altadena for the Eaton Canyon Nature Area hike, taking us up into the Eaton Falls along the Mount Wilson Toll Road.

The park was packed for President's day, and the recent rains had swelled the arroyo from mostly-dry ditch to a respectable stream, and in getting to the falls there were roughly 15 crossings that had to be made, leaping from rock to rock, which meant usually a wait from five to fifteen minutes as the unprepared tourists squealed and shimmied across wet rocks. Luckily, the hiking boots Amy bought me prior to Yosemite still had plenty of grip, though she ended up taking a splash or two toward the end.

Thanks to Target, LACMA was free too — that and their latest tete a tete with Gaga has me reconsidering my generalized boycott, though their shitty service still sticks in my craw — so got to see the newly-opened Art of the Ancient Americas. I'm not usually that big a fan of ancient artwork; the accumulation of artifacts doesn't interest me much and the vast distance between modern cultures and ancient ones makes pulling meaning out of the work highly suspect, but I will say that the craft was amazing and that I had really under-rated the painting skill of the Maya, even if I still find the whole human sacrifice thing deeply fucked.

We also took another tour through the Lucknow exhibit, and I have to write up something on it for the time-travel blog. Sooner or later, but that's the trouble with time travel, right?

After that, we buffaloed Amy's parents into eating at Loteria, where I had some fantastic mole negro chilaquiles, and Amy had decent potato enchiladas with mole verde — the tortillas and fluffy potatoes felt soggy drenched in the green sauce, but the sauce itself was really tasty. Being stupid tourists, we didn't have a reservation and Amy's folks were moderately surprised at the wait, but it ended up being a blessing — we got seated at the bar, and the 'tender was noticeably quicker than the waitstaff, though it did mean suffering through a douche of brahs maximizing their social media leverage or some shit, one of whom tried to draw me into a conversation about whatever the lime-tequila-beer drink is and how it was the best thing ever, and after I was shruggo (dude, I'm eating here), made some crack about how I looked like I'd drank a lot of beers. Gave him a fuck-you-cheers with my bottle of Chupacabras, which was better than it had any right to be.

From Mar 4, 2011

On Tuesday, we ate breakfast at Home, who shouldn't be judged on their slow, cluttered flash website. I went with the chilaquiles again, this time with red sauce and soyrizo, because I'm a firm believer in the idea of chilaquiles for every meal. We watched Keith Morris eat oatmeal, and luckily, I avoided having to explain who the Circle Jerks were.

After breakfast, we went to Descanso Gardens, a country estate that was planted full of camellias (over 34,000) in order to sell cut flowers; it's now a park and preserve and absolutely gorgeous. We managed to hit the camellias in full bloom, which seems to be the way to go, though neither roses nor lilacs (which they also have) are in yet.

Then we swung down to see Santee Alley, which bills itself as LA's "premier outdoor shopping experience," which is one way of saying, "Full of designer knock-offs, bongs and bootlegs." We managed to pick up a pretty lovely rug for $150 that's already fraying around the edges. You pays your money, you takes your chances, I guess.

For dinner, we hit up Cheech's Pizza, which was decent, and the two-for-one they've got is nice. Solid, average pizza, which Amy's folks appreciated after being threatened with Indian or vegan food, and huge salads. The first time we had Cheech's, about six months ago, it was fantastic, but it's been hit and miss for us ever since. Just glad it came out well while the folks were here.

From Mar 4, 2011

Amy left on Wednesday to go to a conference, leaving me all on my lonesome with Pete and Candy. We went on a leisurely stroll up to Griffith Park Observatory, took in a show at the planetarium (which was a delightful mix of campy, cheesy, science-y goodness), and saw the awesome power of Tesla:

From Mar 4, 2011

I talked Amy's folks into trying Thai food for the first time, and took them to Tub Tim, meeting up with our pal Amanda. I picked Tub Tim mostly because the Yelp reviews emphasized that their mild dishes were still tasty — Amy's parents don't like spices in general, so I didn't want them to have a full-on Thai pepper freak out. I went with Panang, Amanda got prik king; neither were anything to write home about, but were solid and tasty. I got the mango sticky rice dessert, and it was OK. In general, their sticky rice (which I also got with Panang) was a bit dry. Outside of that, pretty unremarkable.

I then spent Thursday in an insomniac haze…

The next weekend, my folks came in. Which I'll write about next.