Tuesday, October 31, 2006

names for bands viii

A baker's dozen or a coven? Or who cares?

* Idiot Juice
* Fakebook From Hell
* Darla Hoodlum
* All for Naught
* Inhuman Interest
* The Orphans' Picnic
* Raining Maggots
* Singing Hologram
* Jacob's Bladder
* Disensemble
* Tone Deaf MF
* Lurid Crime
* All My Dreams Are Stolen

Saturday, October 28, 2006

keep digging, watson

When I was eight or nine years old, I read a bizarre short story in our third-grade reading book. I think that it was an old Mexican folk tale, but the memory is hazy, the details sketchy. Here's how the story goes:

There was a bad little boy whom no one could control. One day he threw a rock at another little boy and accidentally killed him. He then propped up the dead boy in the middle of a road where a horse and buggy soon came by and struck the dead boy. The townspeople blamed the driver for the boy's death and either jailed or executed him.

Somehow the bad boy ends up dying (don't remember how). St. Peter takes pity on him due to his age and lets him into Heaven. Big mistake, as the boy commences to torment all the angels. St. Peter then sends the boy down to Hell. The boy torments the demons there even more, nailing crucifixes inside their houses (even at my young age, I chuckled at the idea of little bungalows in Hell, as if the damned had merely been relocated next to a steel mill).

So the boy ends up before St. Peter again--Lucifer must have lodged a complaint with the eternal housing board. St. Peter says that the only solution is to turn the boy into a stone. Rude to the end, the boy insists that he be a stone with eyes. Thus, there is now a stone with eyes as part of the Pearly Gates.

I know what you're thinking: what sick, twisted individual would think that such a story is appropriate for third-graders? Remember, this was the seventies. There was no such thing as political correctness--in choir one year we sang the actual lyrics to the theme from M*A*S*H, Suicide Is Painless, and we also used to sing John Lennon's Imagine. Damn, I miss the seventies.

Anywho, I've been trying to track down this wicked folk tale for years with no luck. That's where you come in, dear readers. Has anyone else ever read or heard of this story? Any idea who wrote it or where I could find it?

Let's make this a contest. I have an extra copy of Blood Sugar by Nicole Blackman. Tell me what this story is, and I will send you the book along with my heartfelt thanks and maybe a surprise gift or two. Please help me solve this decades-old literary mystery!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

embrace the random xii


Quite possibly the most beautiful computer art ever, like a sketchbook of alien flora come to life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

humor me

Feeling tired on an autumn Sunday, I may have an excess of black bile. But I refuse to be listless, so here's a list of melancholic tunes that bronze my backbone:

Melancholia -- Pete Townshend
Way to Blue -- Nick Drake
Medicine Bottle -- Red House Painters
Smog Moon -- Matthew Sweet
Feel So Low -- Porcupine Tree
Wise Up -- Aimee Mann
Out of My Hands -- Michael Penn
Lost in My Hometown -- Harry
Spider and I -- Brian Eno
Ghosts -- Japan
Ride On -- AC/DC
Pantomime Horse -- Suede

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

embrace the random xi

Potatoland is a world of interactive sights and sounds from the digital imagination of Mark Napier. My favorite area is p-soup, where you can create your own abstract art and ambient soundscape.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Cleveland Metroparks

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

a tale of two harrys, part one

About thirteen years ago, I would drive my younger brother to Guzzetta Hall at the University of Akron for his weekly classical guitar lesson. While sitting in the lobby during his lesson, I would occasionally glance at this odd sculpture that looked like groups of brass mallets and abstract pussywillows. I figured that they made some sort of sound but never had the opportunity to find out due to the blue velvet ropes and silver stanchions barricading the sculpture from nosy admirers with sticky fingers.

Many years later I came across an article on Harry Bertoia in a magazine called The Wire. Bertoia was an American artist who created sonic sculptures: metal gongs, rods, bars, and various other arrays, all designed to produce melodic tones when struck. And this article struck something in me--I had seen one of his sculptures in person before! But where? Finally, it hit me: the lobby at U of A where I could only look but not touch all those years ago. My mission became clear--I was going to revisit that sculpture and clang the cobwebs off of it.

So I drove through a light rain from Cleveland to Akron to capture the sights and sounds of Bertoia, barricades be damned. Leaving my car under the watchful eye of an unemployed parking meter, I strode past a pack of soggy band geeks and entered Guzzetta Hall [digression: who designs their psuedo-military uniforms? Sgt. Pepper should find that guy and kick his lame ass up and down Penny Lane].

Approaching my target, I saw that the velvet ropes were now positioned behind the sculpture. Had the university changed its position on interactive art, or had the cleaning crew merely been lazy after mopping? Who cares! I began snapping photos, merrily banging the mallets and reeds together as the occasional piccolo player walked by with a puzzled expression. Chimes are great because there is never a wrong note--the same was true for Bertoia's creation, all of the tones and overtones merging together into one shimmering cloud.

Bertoia's sculpture should really be installed outdoors. That way, everyone on campus could hear the wind stir up tones such as these: