Saturday, March 10, 2018

Benefit comes from what is there...


The Northern Lights as seen from the cockpit of a U-2. source. Take a look and then share this.
Things to listen to.

Piet Mondrian, Composition 9, 1914. source. stunning, absolutely stunning.
Things to look at.

  • Key paintings of the 20th century: Part 1, Part 2. The latter really got my juices flowing.
  • Mark Bradford talks about Clyfford Still.

Claude Monet, Water Lilies. source. In Part of the "key paintings" article linked to above, this is the painting that made me stop my scroll.
News from DFW and Texas:

Ships and Planes:
  • The USS Lexington was discovered at the bottom of the Coral Sea. This is a good use of a billionaire's money.

A Boeing design from the design competition that led to North American winning with the XB-70. 

Things I didn't know science could still discover:


...usefulness comes from what is not. ~Lao Tzu

Saturday, February 17, 2018

To understand the limitation of things...

Listen to the new album from Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet: Landfall.

Read how streaming services fail both artists and listeners and what we can do to reverse that.

The last McDonald's burger sold in Iceland 8 years ago can be watched on webcam.

Jack Whitten, April's Shark, 1974. Whitten passed away recently and, sadly, I'm only now discovering his work.
Discover Fort Worth's Near Southside.

How to win a prize for science photography. Step 1: photograph a single atom. Step 2: win prize.
Upon turning 45 this lady listed 12 rules of life. #6 Save 25% of your income.

Here's a list of 25 principles of adult behavior from a Silicon Valley guy. #10 Never forget that you might be wrong.

The SEDAC population estimator lets you draw a circle or polygon on a map and get an estimate of how many people live in that region.
Programmers, let's bash. Take the command line challenge.

A peak inside Ellsworth Kelly's Austin, on the UT campus.
The periodic table, with which I am fascinated, came to Mendeleev in a dream.

Eyvind Earle, Yosemite, 1994. Earle is one of my favorite Disney artists. This image comes from a brief bio that includes more of his work.
A thought-provoking look at why health insurance (note: not healthcare) costs so much.

Jose Parla, Amistad America, 2018. My Longhorn friends have easy access to this 4,000 square foot mural in the atrium of the new business school building.
How often should you wash bath towels? The answer may surprise you, but not as much as the fact that the article indicates that some bath towels are shared between family members. Eeewww.

I leave you with Moodica, videos for de-stressing.

...desire them. ~Lao Tzu

Saturday, January 27, 2018

If you do not change direction...

How about Stick Men and Terry Bozzio performing King Crimson's Larks Tongues in Aspic?

Adam Holzman's (keyboardist for Steven Wilson) new solo album, Truth Decay, is due out at the end of March.

It is said that Paul Klee's writing on modern painting are akin to Newton's writing on physics in terms of their significance. So having 3,900 pages of Klee's personal notebooks online is a big deal.

Paul Klee, Castle and Sun, 1928. I can't help but compare this to Mary Blair's concept paintings for one particular Disney attraction.
Tony Banks (keyboardist of Genesis fame) has a new album called Five coming out in late February. It's classical music with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and you can watch a preview video of one track on YouTube.

How about a 3-D printed, cylindrical periodic table?

I haven't had time (yet) to read Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America so I leave that to you.

How do figure skaters keep their costumes in place? This question and others equally insightful are answered in advance of the winter olympics.

B-2 flyover of the 2018 Rose Bowl via The Aviationist.
How about a video of the F-35 flyover of the Fiesta Bowl? Shot from a helicopter above the flight path.

Artist Jack Whitten has passed away. Hear him on the Modern Art Notes podcast.

Jack Whitten, April's Shark, 1974
Penske Truck Rental says DFW is the 3rd most popular moving destination in the country.

Star Wars geekery:

Take a look at this video compilation of the best animated films of 2017.

Today's time-waster: a Javascript Nintendo NES simulator. Mario anyone?

The 7 benefits of farting. #4 promotes colon health. may end up where you are heading. ~Lao Tzu

Monday, January 1, 2018

Autumn arrives in early morning...

I resolve to clean out my bookmarks list.

Unabashed plug for RareNoise Record's "Leap of Faith,"  a deal by which you prepay for all their releases in the coming year and don't pay shipping. But besides the deal, you get great music. Here's their Leap of Faith 2018 sampler on Soundcloud.

Moodles is a 3-D computer animation of human forms drawn using noodle-like lines. But that's not the best part, which is watching them disolve, decay, and disassemble.

Outside the Transcend is an instrumental EP from Markus Reuter and Dutch Rall.

Killing two birds with one stone. Princess Rashid, Periodic Table-2. source
Filament is "extraordinary music to fall asleep to" by Gareth Davis.

Video explanation of the math behind the McKnelly Megalith.

Lowlands, inspired by calving glaciers and meltince ice, by Taylor Deupree and Marcus Fischer.

Watch Markus Reuter perform The Crimson ProjeKCt's show opening in Krakow.

Wayne Shorter on the future of fusion.

Fruit, 2-D, (mostly) black and white animation - "rise into being, mature, perish."

J. Peter Schwalm performs live Endknall, from the album The Beauty of Disaster.

Live, unedited performance 217 I by centrozoon.

Five disruptions to marketing 2018.

  1. Digital Transformation
    1. Marketing is a key component of the lifetime customer experience.
  2. Microservices and APIs
    1. Cloud-based APIs allow anyone to build anything.
  3. Vertical Competition
    1. The digital path between marketer and consumer is getting narrower.
  4. Digital Everything
  5. Artificial Intelligence
Blog metrics in review.
Fast Company's social media predictions for 2018 includes "a sleeping social giant awakens." I'll let you guess who that refers to before you click through.

Over 60 recently declassified nuclear weapons test films have been released.

An insightful interview with musician Jamie Saft

There's a name for it: thalassophobia.

How to create the perfect software business. (Or does he truly mean SaaS?)
  1. Product is core to operation of the business.
  2. Cost/value proposition is straightforward.
  3. Finances its own growth.
  4. Efficient sales model
  5. Market leadership
Here's how we translate words into probabilities. source
A topical gel for male birth control is about to begin testing.

The Aviationist's top stories of 2017.

A webcam for DFW airport courtesy of CAE.

...but spring at the close of a winter day. ~Elizabeth Bowen

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Favorite Music of 2017

I gotta admit that I went a bit overboard on music this year with 58 albums purchased. That's a lot for me. But in my own defense, a bunch came from RareNoise's "leap of faith" (buy up-front all their releases for the year and pay no shipping) and another bunch came from buying David Kollar's entire Bandcamp catalog with a sweet "black Friday" deal. And you'll notice in the write-ups below, these albums each led to purchases of related albums.

I wrote few album commentaries throughout the year simply due to time constraints. And even this list will lack explicit justification for my choices. I recommend you click through to each album's page to stream a sample because I am not good at describing the music versus sharing my reactions to it.

Choosing favorites from such a big (for me) list was difficult but here it is.

The Stone House by Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis


The Stone House by the quartet of Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Yaron Stavi, and Asaf Sirkis was completely improvised and recorded live without overdubs in a single day. And the result is a complex, progressive, instrumental performance that's astonishing for how composed yet relaxed it feels. It was followed later in the year by Lighthouse from the same sessions and a third album is promised. "Wow" came out of my mouth before the first track on Lighthouse had finished. The Stone House and Lighthouse are both available from MoonJune's Bandcamp page.

Loneliness Road by Saft, Swallow, Previte ft. Iggy Pop


I will admit right up front that I came into this album a bit biased because I'm not really a fan of Iggy Pop's prior work. Bias aside, this is a damn beautiful performance by a jazz trio (piano, bass, drums) with three of the tracks featuring Iggy Pop's vocals that, upon repeated listens, provide a gravely, emotive contrast. Loneliness Road is available from RareNoise.

After Loneliness Road I developed an insatiable appetite for Saft's work and bought The New Standard (again with Swallow and Previte) and two albums by Saft's New Zion Trio: Fight Against Babylon and Sunshine Seas, the latter featuring Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista.

Magnetic by Gaudi 

Serious joy.

I really enjoy a lot of the music coming from the RareNoise label. So when it was announced that Gaudi's new album would use sounds from the entire RareNoise catalog as his "orchestra of musicians" combined, augemented, and enhanced with new performances by a broad cast of musicians, I was sold.

Magnetic did not dissapoint. It's like a party with all your friends with their best work on display but with intersting bits highlighted that you may not have noticed before and then want to go rediscover.

Notes from the Underground by David Kollar


I was first introduced to guitarist David Kollar through the album KOMARA from the trio of Kollar, Pat Mastelotto (drums), and Paolo Raineri (trumpet) that I praised back in 2015. This year, Kollar released Notes from the Underground.

Kollar performs on guitar, synth, and treatments and is accompanied by Raineri on trumpet. The result is a bittersweet hopefulness.

I was so impressed by Notes from the Underground that I purchase his entire catalog of music that I'm still trying to sort through.

Rosebud by Bernocchi, Einheit, Quail


The first thing that popped into my head upon learning that Eraldo Bernocchi's next album (with drummer FM Einheit and cellist Jo Quail) would be called Rosebud, was to try to draw some analogy with the movie Citizen Kane. Then there's the cover art with (what I see as a) roughly painted black star with the word Rosebud neatly nested inside.  But I digress.

While I'm reluctant to label this music, the best I can come up with is industrial ambience. The performances balance the infinite with the immediate, tragedy and beauty, rigor and fragility.

My list of all 2017's listening is available for the curious. And regarding my musical tastes, just remember what I say: "I don't know much about music, but I sure like the sound it makes."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

My Favorite Books of 2017

It's time for the post that no one asked for but gets anyway - the list of books I enjoyed the most from all my reading during 2017.

Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out

Christopher Rothko's book about his father, Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out, is neither a biography nor an art book. Instead, it's a series of insightful essays on various aspects of his father's work from someone with an up-close vantage point combined with perhaps the person most familiar with the artist's entire body of work. It may be my favorite book about Rothko and that includes Rothko's own The Artist's Reality.

Here's a sneak peek at the book from Yale Art Books.


Watching The Shining in the theater ended, for a couple of decades at least, my interaction with Stephen King. I am definitely not a fan of the horror genre. However, my interest in JFK's assassination (see here) was enough for me to give King's 11/22/63 a try. If you had a time machine, would you go back and prevent JFK's assassination? So you've got sci-fi and historical fiction. But you know what? This novel is a great love story. The fact that a lot of it is set in the DFW area doesn't hurt.

You can

The Berlin Project

Gregory Benford's The Berlin Project was one of the few books I took the time to write about immediately after reading which you should infer is a measure of how much I enjoyed it. Combining alternate history and nuclear weapons, The Berlin Project supposes the U.S. had an atomic bomb in 1944 instead of 1945 and asks how that might've changed the fate of WWII. That plot is compelling enough on its surface, but Benford draws from actually family insider experiences during the war to craft something enjoyable and realistic.

Here's the publisher's web page for the book.

The Challenger Launch Decision

Lest you think I found no favorites among non-fiction titles, Dianne Vaughn's The Challenger Launch Decision introduced me to the term "normalization of deviance" in its thoroughly engaging look into the organizational psychology of NASA and its contractors that led to the Challenger disaster.

Honorable Mentions

Complexity: The Emerging Science on the Edge of Order and Chaos by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Smart Marketing for Engineers by Rebecca Geier

Get a Grip by Geno Wickman

If you're curious, here's my full 2017 reading list.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past...

Finalists for the Academy Award for Animated Short have been announced. Garden Party looks like my favorite; beautifully animated and funny.

Watch Glen Keane animate Ariel in 3-D live.

I'm a huge fan of RareNoise Records and hope you'll become one after listening to their RecentNoiz playlist on Soundcloud which is kinda like a "best of" recent releases.

As I say every year, if you listen to only one mashup make it DJ Earworm's United State of Pop 2017.

Without impressionism there might have been modern art.

This untitled work by Norman Lewis is part of a gift of works by black artists to the St. Louis Art Museum.
Squatty Potty does it again.

When did life first appear on earth? Probably at least 3.5 billion years ago.

Thelonious Monk wrote 25 tips for musicians including "What you don't play can be more important than what you do play."

Pantone announced ultraviolet as 2018's color of the year.
The Washington Post ranked the top 10 chain restaurants. Last with a grade of F is a place I've frequented (too) often. Olive Garden comes in at #4 with a C (but I'm addicted to their salad and breadsticks). #1 may surprise you but when I thought about it I had to agree.

Have any of my Boston friends visited the International Museum of World War II?

It's the time of year for predictions. Here's Fortune's predictions for 2018 for business. India gonna grow.

Vistage, of which I am a member, shares their trends for 2018 and beyond in four areas: politics (gerrymandering may - will likely, IMO - be found unconstitutional), economics (overall  positive except Brexit's impacts), tech (machine learning - I need to learn what that is - and then later 5G), and sociology (healthcare at a tipping point?).

...but by the responsibility for our future. ~George Bernard Shaw