Friday, February 23, 2007


A must read over at Shakespeare's Sister about the conservative answer to Wikipedia, Conservapedia. Started by Phyllis Schaffly's son, it definitely takes the Colbertian view that facts have a liberal bias, so it seeks to avoid them as much as possible.

Here are a few examples from Conservapedia as described by Jon Swift at Shakespeare's Sister
Kangaroo: "Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood." (I'm sure skippy will be very interested to learn this.)

Theory of Relativity: "Nothing useful has even been built based on the theory of relativity.…'All things are relative' became popular as atheists and others used relativity to attack Christian values. There remains enormous political support for the theory of relativity that has nothing to do with physics, and Congress continues to spend billions of dollars unsuccessfully searching for particles predicted by the theory of relativity."

Gospels: "The greatest writing in the history of the world is the Gospel of John....This single book has done more to shape human thought and behavior than any other work. Our uniquely American First Amendment right of free speech is based on ministers preaching of the 'Word' of God as described in the first few verses of the Gospel of John."

George Washington: "Washington is perhaps the person other than Jesus who declined enormous worldly power, in Washington's case by voluntarily stepping aside as the ruler of a prosperous nation."

Scopes Trial: "Hollywood has little regard for the truth. Its movie version Inherit the Wind changed everyone's name, thereby preventing libel suits, and changed the facts in order to ridicule religious belief. Thanks to Bryan's victory in the Scopes trial, Tennessee voters have been educated without oppressive evolution theory for 75 years. Free from the liberal indoctrination, Tennessee voted against native son Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election - probably the only time a candidate has lost the Presidency due to losing his home state. If Tennessee had a high level of belief in evolution comparable to that of East Germany, then you can bet Gore would have won his state and the Presidency."

The Da Vinci Code: "Dan Brown is responsible for feeding millions of readers a pack of lies cleverly wrapped up as a historically accurate novel."

Holocaust: "The Holocaust was the massacring of the Jewish race during World War II. The Germans are not to blame for this but the Nazi are. Besides 6 million Jews dying, 3 million Christians were killed also along with many priests and nuns. This is a very touchy subject for the Jews and is not often discussed amongst them."

Communism: "Communists believe that if they share everything, no one will ever have to work."

Most of the articles in Conservapedia are scrupulously sourced. For example, the entry on Isaac Newton -- "Sir Isaac Newton was one of the inventors of calculus and the propsed [sic-whoops!] the theory of gravity (It should be noted that gravity, like evolution, is just a theory and has never been proven to be true). He was a Devout Christian whose discoveries were inspired by God." -- refers you to the Bible Code Digest, which proves that Newton was a devout Christian. Virtually all of the science entries cite books by Dr. Jay L. Wile, the respected author of homeschool textbooks.
And from my geeky standpoint, the site is a mess. The link to create a log on takes you to a login page with no way to register that I can find. The search field has two button, one that says Go, the other says Search. Hmmmm. And the site is painfully slow and times out on a regular basis. All this free publicity is probably more than they can handle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Now with more marshmallow bits, the futurballa photography website, has been revamped, updated, redesigned and retooled for your pleasure. Come on in and make yourself at home.

A wee bit of free association:

It starts with an interesting review and history of the Brecht, Weill opera, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny can be found at a fool in the forest.

What follows is what happens when you start free associating on Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and Miss Lotte Lenya. The last one is a leap of faith, but some of you might get the connection.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The stuff that dreams are made of

Joel Cairo: You always have a very smooth explanation...
Sam Spade: What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?

John's Grill, the real life haunt of Dashiell Hammett and the fictional haunt of Sam Spade on Ellis in San Francisco has sported a replica of the Maltese Falcon in a cabinet for many years. The owner, unable to attain the lead one that was used in John Huston's classic film, purchased one of the plaster, publicity models from actor Elisha Cook, Jr., who played Wilmer the gunsel.

Well, some weasel has stolen the black bird.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle's report here.

And to separate fact from fiction, take the Hammett tour.

Friday, February 09, 2007

...but you blew my mind

Best Manzanera solo ever. Ferry looking extra sweaty. Eno in his feather boa days. All that is missing is the Manzanera fly glasses. Takes pretty fly for a white guy to a whole new level.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two More From God's Country

Of course whenever you are in God's country, one must pay the God's country tax, whereby the crappiest key chain in the gift shop is $8.95.

Halfdome and Sentinel Peaks

Reflection of El Capitan

On the subject of walking in the footsteps of the great photographers, Slate has yet another slide show on a photographic subject. The topic being, "can photographers be plagiarists". I come down on the side of no. One can do everything in one's power to duplicate another photograph, same equipment, same location, same day of the year, and still have the shot be unique. One can emulate, but not duplicate.

The accompanying text is very thought provoking and well worth your time.

To view the slide show, click here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Decisive Moment

Slate Magazine's Meghan O'Rourke offers up an excellent slideshow with commentary on the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Before Robert Frank, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Garry Winogrand, he was the original street photographer. I was interested to read about his background as a game hunter, which probably instilled in him the patience to wait for what was termed "the decisive moment".

I wish I could have witnessed this scene that O'Rourke describes.
Truman Capote, who traveled with him to New Orleans in the 1940s, said that while photographing he resembled an "agitated dragonfly," ducking and bobbing, and Lincoln Kirstein described him, in 1947, "dancing about his subject on tip-toe, like a boxer or a fencer."
Click here to view the slideshow.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris, 1932

"The simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression... . In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif." — Henri Cartier-Bresson