All things weird and wonderful, 51

14 05 2015

I don’t understand this.

But I laughed.

Redditor In4theKill

So, just go with it.

~~~

h/t Cute Overload





All things weird and wonderful, 44

24 08 2014

Oh, those wacky Bulgarians:

Oleg Popov/AP Photo

It seems Bulgarians have been treating Soviet war memorials in their country as a kind of palimpsest, albeit one in which the previous image is incorporated into the new one rather than erased.

The Russians are unamused.

I have some sympathy for the Russian position, not least because I am almost always moved by war memorials. A plaque, some names, dates: I stop, and read, and sigh. Some times I tear up.

And, of course, the Soviet sacrifice, both military and civilian, during World War II was immense, and Allied victory would not have been possible had the Soviets broken.

Still, I have to applaud the Bulgarians, here. They know the memorial matters—why else choose it for periodic makeovers?—and in so re-imagining it, re-mind us (or, at least, me) of the, ahem, absurdity of this human life.





Everybody knows that the Plague is coming, 4

6 08 2014

File under: why would anyone be surprised?

First up: Professor John Ashton, the president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, who writes:

“In both cases [Aids and Ebola], it seems that the involvement of powerless minority groups has contributed to a tardiness of response and a failure to mobilise an adequately resourced international medical response.”

and World Health Organization director general Dr Margaret Chan:

“We must respond to this emergency as if it was in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster. We must also tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research [on] treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don’t justify the investment. This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of a moral and social framework.”

Second, Allan Sloan, who is surprised enough to be outraged that American companies would park their “incorporation” overseas so as to avoid taxes:

Inverters don’t hesitate to take advantage of the great things that make America America: our deep financial markets, our democracy and rule of law, our military might, our intellectual and physical infrastructure, our national research programs, all the terrific places our country offers for employees and their families to live. But inverters do hesitate — totally — when it’s time to ante up their fair share of financial support of our system.

Profit-seeking companies seeking to maximize their profits?! Who ever heard of such a thing?

And those who don’t invert?

Wall Street is delivering a thumbs down to Walgreens’ announcement of a $15.3 billion plan to complete its acquisition of Europe-based Alliance Boots and decision not to pursue potential major tax savings by shifting its headquarters overseas.

Bad capitalists!

Since all is not gloomy, allow for a bit of intellectual-property absurdity:

Wikimedia, the US-based organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to remove one of his images which is used online without his permission, claiming that because a monkey pressed the shutter button it should own the copyright.

Cheeky monkey*!

David Slater/Caters—and monkey!

*Actually, a crested black macaque

~~~

h/t to a coupla’ folks at The Stranger: Charles Mudede, and Ansel Herz  (twice!)





Hold me closer, tiny dancer

2 06 2014

Black cat:

009

and tiny basil:

013

It’s the first Monday in June, is why.





All things weird and wonderful, 39

29 05 2014

I’ve totally got a thing for storms, big big big storms.

Not enough to be a stormchaser, but I totally get the urge to find the kind of weather that looks beautiful as it kills you.

That’s shot by Stephen Locke, and he’s got a coupla’ websites to showcase his skills at capturing these beautiful beasts.

New York has almost everything, good and bad, but it lacks the weather—or, more precisely, lacks the sightlines to the kind of weather that makes me want to run outside and throw my arms wide and head back and let it all rush through me.

Wisconsin and Minnesota had that. Even in Minneapolis, which is a respectable city, there was enough open space to see how the big sky made us all small.

To be made small by pettiness—my own or someone else’s—diminishes me. But to be made small by something overwhelming is to be caught up in the overwhelm and, absurdly, made large.

~~~

h/t Phil Plait, Bad Astronomer





Thinking like the sea

4 08 2013

Good gifs are amusing for about as long as they last, which, all things considered, ain’t bad.

This also means they’re highly disposable: you want a quick hit, and that’s it.

Still, string a bunch of them together under a common theme, and, well, they can take on a kind of extended absurdity—as with Research in Progress.

As with all absurdity, you gotta be able to giggle at how fucked we are.

~~~

h/t Eszter Hargittai, Crooked Timber





All things weird and wonderful, 19

6 03 2012

Bought this in 1999? 2000? at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design student art show. I got a couple of good pieces, but this is my favorite.

Appropriately absurd, don’t you think?

~~~

I saved the artists’ names for the other pieces, but for whatever reason, I don’t have this one. If you happen to know who created this marvelous print, please let me know!





All things weird and wonderful, 16

3 02 2012

Joe's 5th Semi-Annual Beer Tasting Party!

I don’t even remember if I attended this event, but I loved the invite, by host/artist Kathy Radke.

At least, I think it’s Kathy Radke Rathke—I can’t remember if I got her name right. Anyway, she was a fucking amazing graphics artist for The Daily Cardinal, a small, blonde, impish woman on a graphics staff that was, hmm, yes I believe it was all men. She was the graphics editor for awhile, and the menfolk—I’m thinkin’ of John Kovalic and Mark Giaimo (on whom I had a huge crush, and who was so out of my league in every way), in particular—who liked to get chesty with one another and anyone else, all bowed before Kathy’s  fierce talent and sly dry wit.

Sly: yes, Kathy was sly. As political as the rest of us (the Cardinal, back in the day, always had a Marxist editor), she paid attention, and led with absurdity.

She was an inspiration.

One final memory: At my first Cardinal party Kathy’s younger sister and I got drunk and sang Shirley Bassey tunes, enjoying ourselves immensely crooning “GolllllllllllldddddddFINguh!”

So. I don’t know where Kathy is, but I hope she’s absurdly well.





I’d like to sing a song of great social and political import

26 01 2012

I missed her birthday.

Not that she’d know, given that she’s been dead for over forty years, but I used to know and celebrate the day Janis Joplin squalled her way into the world.

I think I’ve written this before, but what the hell: My friend K. and I taught this to a half-busful of Forensic [speech, not mortuary] Society high schoolers on our way back from some tournament or another. It was dark, the bus was old, the trip long. And if our high-volumed rasping pissed off the faculty adviser, all the better.

Janis was like that: the big personality you could hide behind.

I fell for Janis in high school, aping her in drink (Southern Comfort, when I could afford it) if in nothing else: I couldn’t sing like her, had no appetite for heroin, and was never as outrageous as I would have liked to have been.

Janis was too much, in every way. She was too loud, too drunk, too high, and way too sexy for someone who in no way fitted any conventional notions of sexiness.

You could see that, too, in those old photos and reels of her performing. She knows she’s performing when she sticks out her tongue or her chest or when she struts across the stage. She’s covering.

She never thought she was enough, but man, when she snugged that mic up beneath her lip, her voice spilled out and over her and everyone who heard her and then all her too-muchness was just as it should be. No cover, then.

There she is, in all her feathers, a few months before her death.

Of course, that she died was part of the fascination for my teenaged self—she suffered for her art!—but it was the fight in her, even more so, even if back then I could only valorize the suffering-unto-death, not that she suffered in the fight to stay alive.

I was listening to her recently, and came across a line I used to write on notebooks and bathroom stalls: Tomorrow never happens, man, it’s all the same fucking day, man.

Janis Joplin, absurdist. She would have been 69.





D’oh! (and you wonder why this is called ‘absurdbeats’)

24 10 2009

Arizona May Put State Prisons in Private Hands

Have these people not seen Robocop?

——

For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism

(link)

As an old colleague once said of Jews who profess the belief that Jesus was the Messiah: ‘Do you know what we call Jews for Jesus? Christians.’

——

Yankees Claimed a Park; Children Got Bus Rides

Are you telling me a kabillionaire organization got better treatment than Bronx kids?

As Chrissie Hynde once said, ‘I’m stunned and amazed.’

——

Rich Germans demand higher taxes

Tho’ further down in the story one participant in the pro-tax demonstration, a Mr. Vollmer, found it “really strange that so few people came”.