Friday, December 21, 2012

Musical Instruments Made From Weapons by Pedro Reyes

Artist Pedro Reyes turned revolvers, shotguns and automatic weapons into instruments and then the weapon orchestra played a concert. Suck on this, NRA.

image © designboom
A gallery of weapon instruments and more videos are on the designboom site, via Music for Maniacs!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eat shit, NRA

"We think it is poor form for a politician or a special interest group to try to push a legislative agenda on the back of any tragedy."
-- NRA, after 2008 Northern Illinois shootings

"Now is not the time to debate politics or discuss policy."
-- NRA, after 2009 Binghampton massacre

"At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate."
-- NRA, after 2011 shooting spree that wounded Gabrielle Giffords

"There will be an appropriate time down the road to engage in political and policy discussions."
-- NRA, after 2012 Aurora massacre

"NRA will not have any comment."
-- NRA, after 2012 Newtown massacre

- From the "Say What" column, December 19, 2012 - GB Trudeau's Doonesbury

Update from the December 21 press conference:

“Nobody has addressed the most important pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works? The only way to answer that question is to face the truth: Politicians passed laws for gun free school zones, they issued press releases bragging about them, they posted signs advertising them. And in doing so they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. How have our nation’s priorities gotten so out of order?” - Wayne LaPierre, NRA CEO

LaPierre must own a few guns. How chilling an image is that?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The's haiku and tunes

Rockin' out since '86
Tokyo go-go

Kill Bill Volume 1
features The's
it was happenstance

Sachiko plays drums
while wearing a vintage dress
pretty impressive

Life now is painful
I feel a little better
when I play music

Woo Hoo

I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield/I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)

I'm Blue


Bomb the Twist

Official site

Friday, December 14, 2012

Get this Gollum off our back

A Very Hipster Christmas

You can wear all the skinny jeans you want, grow facial hair down the front of your neck and pose away, chain smoking your lung cells into tar-encrusted oblivion, but you CAN'T STOP CHRISTMAS. It arrives every year and there's no avoiding its sentimental, consumer frenzy of a religious traditional parade-route Santa Claus and birth of Jesus celebration. It's bigger than all of us put together and all the irony, detachment and smug self-destructive behavior won't save you from its red-mittened grasp.

But don't worry. I'm here to help. I was once young and detached too. How can you make Christmas more bearable, more relatable, more cool? You can't. But you can fortify yourself with supplies. Hip supplies that cost money that make you seem cool at Christmas. And isn't impressing your peer group with the right material goods what it's all about? Of course it is!

After you've watched Bad Santa for the umpteenth time, it's time to go Christmas shopping! Yes, if you grew up in a Christian household, you can't avoid it. Sorry! Purchasing gifts is the unavoidable Christmas spirit, but have it YOUR WAY.

Your niece likes dolls but dolls are so 19th century! Well, just go with it and buy her a Monster High Robecca Steam (Punk) Doll. Start her on the road to expensive in-group hobbyism early.

Robecca Steam doll is a robot with gear-shaped eyes and knees that bend both ways—if only we could be so cool!

Someone you know just had a baby. The birth of a baby is the beginning of the end of cool detachment. Nothing says "involved" like diapers and spit-up. Just get the baby this garbage truck plushy (on clearance!) and be glad someone else is willing to carry on the human experiment.

What could be more cuddly than a New York City garbage truck?

What about Mom and Dad? They made you a lot of meals over the years and maybe even pay your rent now. You owe them. How about a Jesus toaster, in keeping with the season.

Now that shopping's out of the way, it's time to decorate! Better grab that overpriced Hammacher Schlemmer aluminum tree before they're all sold out. The vintage dealers' trees are long gone by now. You gotta be in it to win it when it comes to mid-century holiday design.

Ornaments and obligatory color wheel not included

It's time to hang your gambling, alcohol, and smoking ornaments. That's the spirit(s)!

Speaking of spirits, why not imbibe in a traditional Christmas beverage? The problem is they're so frothy, sweet and soul-warming. Blech! You can try to update eggnog by making it a smoothie, but it smacks of too much effort.

Whatever, Jamba Juice immune-power eggnog smoothie!

Just give in and drink your Christmas beverage out of an obnoxious mug. Here's a few to get you started. Nothing balances out the sweetness of a creamy cup of hot peppermint cocoa like a butt mug.

Or sip your nutmeg-topped nog out of this toilet mug. Makes an excellent potpourri dish as well for year-round enjoyment!

Hot buttered rum is that much better in this recycling-bin mug. Show you care about the environment while you get your socially acceptable buzz on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Having a Wig-tastic Christmas

Thanks to Continental Wig Boutique's window display in downtown San Rafael, I don't have to put together an elaborate Christmas card this year. I've got my cards done, right here, right now. Why stage a family photo at a picturesque location with the wind and the sun in your eyes? The squabbling siblings! Having to ask a stranger to take your photo, hoping it comes out, then the printing costs. Only so that Aunt Edna in Des Moines can toss your visage aside in order to work on her fifth buttered rum for the night!

Nope, I'm going in a different direction this year and that direction is wig displays. Happy holidays! Buy some wigs!

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Mr. Christmas" trailer, Concord, California

There's a new 15-minute documentary on Bruce Mertz—Concord, California's Mr. Christmas. Every year for decades, Mertz has designed an electrical Christmas wonderland at his home on Olive Drive. Concord happens to be my home town and I admit, I've never seen Mr. Mertz' creative output before. Now that he's in a movie, I better high-tail it over there before he's swamped with paparazzi.

You can buy the film on director Nick Palmer's Mr. Christmas site, or go directly to the Mertz household at 5208 Olive Drive to purchase the movie. At ten bucks a DVD, I say: excellent stocking stuffer! This is the inspiration I need to hang our four strands of lights across the garage and entryway. It won't compare to the 50,000+ lights at the Mertz household, but I'm just doing my part. Every bit helps in the War on Christmas.

Update: Mr. Christmas is now on Vimeo as a staff pick. Sweet movie. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Tiny adorable monochromatic creature collection

Over the years I've inadvertently collected (a total of three) tiny adorable monochromatic creatures. Each has a story to tell. Let's tell those stories through portraiture. I'm unemployed. You can tell.

The tiny creatures on a pencil to get a sense of scale.

Their colors remind me of the Crayola crayon that used to be called "flesh." The flesh-colored crayon was retired when enough people informed Crayola that the world is not made of one flesh tone. Crayola, to their credit, did agree with this assessment and now that crayon is no more. Or it's called caucasian or light beige or something. Crayola now makes a box of skin-tones called Multicultural Crayons (which also come in the awkwardly titled "Washable Multicultural") and so hooray for that. But these little creatures are of general tone and that tone is light beige.

Having a collection of light beige creatures is odd enough, but to have one consisting entirely of tiny beige creatures, one that was collected by accident—well, I don't know how that happened at all. All I know is they're super-cute and deserve some portraiture because the one unifying factor on the Internet is that cute things rule.

It could be argued that Cobi, the 1992 Olympic mascot from the Barcelona Games, is not all that cute. But compared to most Olympic mascots, he's positively squeezable in adorableness. He's supposed to be a Picasso-inspired Catalan sheepdog—definitely the first animal you think of when you comes to exceptional athletic ability. Or close. With his pudgy tummy, "love me" stance and asymmetrical features, he is a vision all right.

I got this Cobi (on purpose) in Spain in a package with a whistle pop (a lollipop that could also be used as a whistle) that was supposed to launch a plastic disc when blown The package ad type commanded you to "Lanza el disco con Cobi!" Doesn't that sound fun? Unfortunately, I kept everything in the package, hung on my kitchen wall, to the delight of my roommates I'm sure, and eventually a troupe of ants came and attacked the whistle pop with gusto. Everything had to be tossed except for Cobi himself. He's a survivor.

I chose to pose him with an dancing pack of cigarettes because I think he comes from a smoker's household. Also, he's definitely a presenter at heart.

Let's move in for his close-up.


Next is a teeny-tiny circus lion that I've had since I was teeny tiny. Part of the Liddle Kiddles Zoolery Doll line, I think I got this when I was six or seven. It comes with a purple train car cage and tiny pink bow tie. I'm too lazy to go upstairs and get the cage, but be assured it has pink wheels that really roll. The little kitty is just too, too adorable with his or her oversized head and removable bow tie. That's right—removable. Plastic toys used to have details until they were all deemed a choking hazard and now resemble ostrich eggs.

Tiny kitty would definitely be fond of pineapple juice.

squee—tiny Liddle Kiddle circus lion
Are you ready for this? Close-up!

Good God that's cute
Most mysterious of the tiny creatures is this little manga mascot that came with a school-girl doll, given to me by my friend Joy several years ago. The doll is really cute too but she's in a box somewhere. This little creature has wings and something lumpy stuck to his or her foot. This creature appears to be some kind of marmot or baby-bear guardian, or who knows? All I know is—IT'S CUTE.

A sophisticated look for tiny winged creature
Close-up (it's cute round head barely fit under the microscope camera):

Aw—don't be shy
But what is that thing on its foot? Help me out, Internet.

And now: Tiny lion hits the highway in a tiny Penelope Pitstop wacky racer.

Gaah! Too, too cute!

What the hell?

Oh, it's just Cobi's nose.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Secret Hearts Comics - Reach for Happiness! No. 121, July, 1967

It's vintage romance comics time once more. Today's entry is unusual (at least to me) because it's part of a serial soap opera entitled "Reach for Happiness!" I don't own other copies of DC's Secret Hearts, so unfortunately I don't know how this cliffhanger is resolved. But like most soaps, the pace is so slow you won't miss much anyway. I love how everything takes place in a nondescript town called Danville Corners, complete with nightclub, discotheque, a wealthy part of town, the ever-present "wrong side of the tracks" (apparently near the hardware store), and a seemingly constant swirl of emotional turmoil. Danville Corners has it all!

And now: Reach for Happiness! Episode 12.

Our cover art. Check out the mod geometric style of Rita Phillips, girl from the "wrong side of the tracks." What's she doing with a straight-edge like Dr. Greg Marsh? Let's find out!

Whoa. This is an entirely different mise en scene! Rita is not such a modern Miss after all. The cover was just a ploy! And I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. Hmf! Will Greg believe Rita's slightly cross-eyed exclamation of love? Pay special attention to Rita's above-the-elbow-length gloves here. There will be a quiz.

One thing is certain: Greg is pissed
Let's take a look at our cast of characters, shall we? My favorite part of "Reach for Happiness!" is that one guy is named Richy Smathers, son of Roger and Lila Smathers, the richest family in town. That's swanky! Also, Richy has a go-go girlfriend named Joanie, who looks a little high. It is 1967 after all.

So Bob Martin is on a date with old flame Peggy Wilder, when in stomps his soon-to-be ex-wife, Brenda. And boy is she PISSED. Look at that body language in the red dress. She dominates the romantic meal-for-two entirely.

If we were to sum up this scene in one panel, it would definitely be this one:

We've all been there, Peggy. Is Bob a complete cad? Is Brenda a dangerous lunatic? Just what the heck is going on here?

Brenda just wants to make Bob's life miserable, that's all. Is she going to bust up every dinner-date he has from now on? That could be a full-time job in this town. Peggy reacts as if physically assaulted. She needs to learn some assertiveness training, stat! Let's sum up this page thusly:

Don't worry. Peggy learns to trust and believe in Bob, all in the space of one car ride home. They smooch in front of Peggy's house, her lonely sister Karen, watching them furtively. Weird. This results in Karen's only storyline but it's pretty tragic: INSOMNIA.

Meanwhile, at the discotheque on the other side of town... Richy and Joanie are cutting a rug. Wow!, says one of the youngsters on the dance floor, What's the name of that dance, kids? Hee. No comment. Oh, all right, it's called the ASS GRINDER, doofus.

Richy and Joanie are super happy together. They're young, speak in baby talk, and always refer to themselves in the third person. What could possibly be the matter with this relationship? Well, Richy's wealthy family does not approve of go-go Joanie and keeps cock-blocking his efforts to marry her. The 1%—always causing trouble for regular folks!

No matter! Richy's got a plan. This time, they'll elope immediately with no snoops as wedding witnesses. Instead they'll invite the whole gang down to the...wherever they go to get married, I guess. It's nighttime in Danville Corners. Are they located by Las Vegas or something? Nobody says. Anyway, the whole gang agrees to witness the nuptial arrangement and it's on!

Wouldn't you totally want this guy to witness your marriage? I would.

BUT there's trouble afoot because on the OTHER side of the room sits Dr. Greg Marsh, on a date with Rita Phillips. And he's a friend of Richy's family and he's, well, he's a SNITCH, that's what he is. Yeah. A snitch. The gears are in motion for a wedding take-down.

Look at that lantern jaw—trouble
The flash of lights. The sound of sirens. There'll be no honeymoon tonight! Plus we're shown Rita's ex, dicey nightclub-owner Ray, who is only too happy to suck up to his financial backer and Richy's millionaire grandfather—Wallace Hendrickson. Oooh, the 1%! They control EVERYTHING.

Nice wheels, trust-fund brat
The law steps in (being in cahoots with Danville Corners' wealthy elite) and the wedding is off. Again. Look at ol' man Hendrickson, smoking a cigar in court. Show some respect, you manipulative codger! MEANWHILE, Rita invites Greg home for "coffee," which he eagerly accepts because, although it's late, he's "Not one bit sleepy!" Idiot.

Ray now calls in the middle of romance, setting the tone for suspicion, jealousy and furrowed eyebrows! Look at Rita's gloves—what happened to the fingers on the gloves from page 1?! I tell you mystery is afoot in Danville Corners.

The gloves—what happened?
And check out Rita's full-length shot on the lower left. What's up with her posture? Usually the anatomy of romance comics is pretty technically great (one of the reasons I love looking at them), but this is really "off."

Remind you of anyone?

That's right, the Geico Gecko
 Let's wrap up with a whimper. I do like Dr. Greg's "anger face" in the last panel. Would you date this guy, or even see him as a patient? He looks like a murder suspect. And so ends our thrilling episode of "Reach for Happiness!"

I may have to buy this issue of Maniaks on eBay. Looks good.