Saturday, April 20, 2019

From music people accept pure emotion...

Tom Peters, he of many words on Excellence and other topics, has written a concise 1-pager with all his top topics: The Everything Paper.

OK, Tolkien freaks. New York's Morgan Library Museum hosts Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth through 10 May.

Careful: you can get lost in these graphics of how U.S. households spend their money. For example, households in the top quintile spend about as much for food at home as eating out ($6,500) versus $2,500 and $1,500 for households in the lowest quintile.

Speaking of demographics, what large U.S. cities have the highest share of families with children? Fort Worth is #2 with 36.3%

Agnes Martin, Untitled 2. source. Be certain to watch the video.
As the yellow first down line is to football, the ghost plane is to the Red Bull Air Race. Find out how it's done.

A second-hand tale of working on the XB-70, the Cold War, Mach 3 bomber that fascinates me.

Did you know there were different kinds of superconductivity? Neither did scientists until last year. Ytterbium-Bismuth-Platinum superconducts with electrons at a higher spin.

Congrats to Town Talk Foods for making Fort Worth Magazine's Best of Fort Worth 2019 list for grocery shopping.

Robert Fripp is revered as a god in a music genre he can't stand. Read more about the King Crimson leader in this Rolling Stone article.

If I had pursued archaeology instead of engineering back in high school when my career aspirations were still forming I might've been one of these researchers who are digging up pee (using urine salts to measure population density).

Richard Diebenkorn, Cityscape I, 1963. Here's an example of an artist moving between representation and abstraction. Is this representation with abstract elements moving in?
Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park 43, 1971. A beautiful example of Diebenkorn's most famous abstract motif, is there representation in here? 
So as not to leave you with something too classy, here's a compilation of toilet flushing sounds.

...but from art they demand explanation. ~Agnes Martin

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Like love, music's a mystery...

And we begin with the tunes.

Everything Disney Owns
From the Long Now Foundation comes this article on slow music, Transmissions from the Ambient Frontier. Slow art is a thing (do people really only spend on average 27 seconds looking at a work of art?) and slow music is too, although I find ambient or drone challenges some people immensely. This is a long article but worth a slow read. 


If you're going to be in the neighborhood of the Berkeley Art Museum before July 21st, go see the exhibition Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction
Does anyone really care that Mickey Mouse is 90 years old? Cartoon Research shares how he used to be a much bigger deal.

Are you a "small giant," a company that has chosen to be great instead of big.

The Wadsworth Museum is hosting Sean Scully: Landline through 19 May.
Here's a serious and almost academic study of swearing on TV.

The one guy who flew both the F-22 (Lockheed Martin) and YF-23 (Northrop Grumman) says that L-M won because they did a better job of marketing. Regardless, the YF-23 is a beautifully cool aircraft.

Javier Riera, light projection onto trees. source
Pixar's Inside Out only featured five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust) but despite not being able to find a connection I suspect they're based on Robert Plutchik's eight primary emotions (adding Trust, Surprise, and Anticipation) illustrated graphically as a wheel below. Like my fascination with the periodic table, there's something pleasing about this graphical depiction of a "soft" subject.
Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions. source. See more above.
The first web browser was called - no, not Mosaic - WorldWideWeb. Now to celebrate it's 30th anniversary, an in-browser implementation of WorldWideWeb has been developed. Go surf the web like it's 1989.

Somewhere under a rainbow. source. It's been a while since I did some aviation pr0n.
This article says that in future versions of Microsoft Office, you'll be able to convert a photo of a data table into an Excel spreadsheet.

Ellsworth Kelly is coming to a postage stamp near you soon.
The average American - or so this article says - uses 3 rolls of toilet paper per week. This seems high to me.

...when solved, it evaporates. ~Ned Rorem

Saturday, April 6, 2019

It isn't positions which lend distinction,

Tunes for you:


I wish I had learned 88 truths about life. If I had, I might share them like this guy did. #26 Credit card debt devours souls. A bit histrionic, but true otherwise.

Included in these seven tips on writing from William Faulkner is "events in a story should flow naturally according to the character's inner necessity." This jives with something similar another author (whom I've forgotten) said: each character should want something.

Piet Mondrian, The Gray Tree, 1912. There are a few paintings that I've fallen in love with on first sight. One is Monet's Impression Sunrise. Another is this.
On this list of hot leadership topics for 2019 (I'm only two months behind), we find how culture can drive high-performance and innovation.

This article introduces the term SaaB (software as a barrier) in the context of listing 10 things the best software companies do. An interesting statistic about Google is cited: 70% of development time is spent on "building out" their core products, 20% on innovation, and the remaining 10% on what might be coming in 10 years.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Red and Burgundy Over Blue), 1969. This can be yours at an upcoming Sotheby's auction.
Watch this animated, time-lapse bar chart of the world's most populous cities starting in the year 1500 when the big dog was Beijing.

A collection of vintage press kits from Apollo.

The first periodic table. It's 150 years old.
See the infinite CVS receipt.

Watch Idle, Torrent. Just do it.

The flying butt.
C'mon, play the pink trombone. (No, you perv, not that.)

You've probably seen the clip from The Office where they're watching the DVD logo bounce around the screen. Now you can watch Too Many DVDs.

...but men who enhance positions. ~Agesilaus

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Reality always wins.

NEWS FLASH: Quantum mechanics experiment proves objective reality does not exist.

What time is it? Ask the Human Clock.

David Torn keeps appearing in my music listening ouevre, most recently in the form of Sun of Goldfinger, a trio with Tim Berne and Ches Smith. Here's the album teaser. You can buy the album on Bandcamp.

I've already pre-ordered The Bill Laswell Mix Translations of tracks from Sonar's Vortex album.

How about the teaser for Chat Noir's Hyperuranion.

And here's a live solo performance on piano by Jamie Saft.

One last one is Mark Wingfield's Tales from the Dreaming City.

You too can make your own logo in Led Zeppelin style.
Let's go on a video tour of each element on the periodic table.

And while I'm revisiting favorite themes, here's an animated map of U.S. population density over time.

Another map? How about this one of political prejudice by U.S. county. Unfortunately, the DFW metroplex seems to be pretty damned prejudiced.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1960. You can buy this painting at auction for an estimated $35-50 million so that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art can use the proceeds to freshen up their collection.
Speaking of Rothko, Houston's Rothko Chapel will be closed for renovations until mid-December. I look forward to seeing the chapel's paintings in a new light, literally and figuratively.

Poignant is the word I'd use to describe hearing Mark Rothko's son read his father's letter to Lee Krasner on the death of Jackson Pollock.

Advice from painter Willem de Kooning includes "seek out glimpses of inspiration in the world around you."

I don't know what to make of the fact that the 76104 zip code (home of my favorite company) has the lowest life expectancy in the state of Texas.

As proof of Thelonious Monk's statement that all musicians are subconsciously mathematicians, here is John Coltrane's circle of fifths
Science says that 400 miles underground the earth is hoarding enough water to fill the oceans three times.

I'm glad that Bill Gates chose to include on his list of 10 breakthrough technologies for 2019 "new-wave nuclear power."

The tiny archeologist in me (I wanted to be one in high school) loves discoveries like this untouched Mayan cave.

This article from The Aviationist, one of my favorite blogs, was the first I heard that the USAF is thinking about a fighter to replace the F-22 called NGAD, Next Generation Air Dominance. I just hope they build more than 187 of them.

From the Aviation Pr0n category, here we see the first photo of the USAF's XQ-58A combat drone. 
If you want to live longer, check out what works and what doesn't.

In case you didn't hear, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (aka Star Wars Land) at Disney World and Disneyland in August and May, respectively.

The warty comb jelly (great name for a band) creates an anus each time it has to poop and makes it go away after wiping (i.e. transient anus - an even better band name).

I always say I should read more science fiction so the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List will come in handy. Now if only my library's cloud app had any of these titles.

Your only job is to get in touch with it. ~Wilfred Bion

Saturday, March 2, 2019

We are kept from our goal not by obstacles...

If you're a fan (or even familiar with) business author Tom Peters, you might want to check out his latest slide deck based on his book The Excellence Dividend. Here's Putting People (REALLY) First that makes the case for making any organization of any size a great place to work.

Here's the trailer for the movie APOLLO 11. This might actually get me into a theater.

Take 2 hours and 40 minutes to watch the Titanic sink in real time.

If you're not following Neill Blomkamp's work at Oats Studios you're missing some fantastic stuff. And watch all of it, not just the Anthem trailer.

As a boss at work, when you give guidance do you deliver ruinous empathy, manipulative insincerity, obnoxious aggression, or radical candor (video, book)?

Jack Whitten, Dispersal 'A' #2, 1971. Dry pigment on paper. source
Wow. Who could've seen this coming? Google fined 50 million euros by France for GDPR violations. (I say that not because I think Google is in violation but because somebody was bound to fine the big guys shortly after the law went into effect.)

When animator Clair Weeks left Disney in 1952 his "goodbye book" was filled with drawings, autographs, and notes from everyone. Check it out.

I've extolled Stephan Thelen's Fractal Guitar album but why not hear about it from All About Jazz.

Did you see it during the lunar eclipse? The meteorite impact
The Red Bull Air Race is only scheduled to come to the U.S. once in 2019: Indianapolis in October.

Trends affecting business in 2019:
Do you know the difference between a shitshow and a clusterfuck?

Been a while since I posted one of these but here is a the periodic table by country of discovery.
And I could read this visual history of the periodic table all day.

Science proves that not all poop is equal.

And prepare to waste hours and hours with Idle Breakout.


And I leave you with the ability to turn any image into a mosaic of emojis.

...but by a clear path to a lesser goal. ~Bhagavad Gita

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Proverbs are always platitudes...

If you only listen to one mashup all year, make it DJ Earworm's United State of Pop 2018, Turnin' It Up.

If you're in NYC maybe you can take time to visit The Met for the exhibition Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera.

Mark Bradford, Duck Walk. From the Epic Abstraction exhibition linked to above.
Can you tell a real Pollock from a fake Pollock?

If you're looking for a new, original painting to decorate your home and you're in Cleburne, TX be certain to check out Pam Yarborough Originals. (I know the artist.)

Colleyville is the 3rd wealthiest zip code in North Texas. You know who's #1.

33 tips on how to be an artist. #9 Embed thought in material. #5 Work, work, work. (There is no muse. Stop waiting.)

Matthew Plummer Fernandez, Every Mickey, 2017. Every 3-D model of Mickey Mouse found online, combined and 3-D printed.
Forbes offers us seven news year's resolutions. Only one got my attention: save 10x your final salary if you want to retire at age 67. Start by having saved a nest egg worth your annual salary by the time you're 30.

Can you tell whether a food is a sandwich? Apply the cube rule.

Marketing expert David Meerman Scott agrees that mixing business and personal in your social media posts is a good thing, something I've advocated for years. Interesting that this comes at the same time as a grassroots effort to eliminate everything personal from LinkedIn.

I'll admit to being a pen snob. I've been using a Rotring ballpoint for years because I like the feel. So you can imagine I got interested by a list of the 100 best pens. The Pilot G2 Ultra Fine, which I find a bit light in the hand, came in at #92. The Uni-ball Roller, which I think puts out way too much ink, ranked at #72. The BIC 4-Color scored as #12 and I love to have those around for their versatility in note-taking. Their #1 choice surprised me because I don't like pens that have a purely cylindrical case because they simply roll away.

Pantone's color of the year for 2019 is Living Coral
You've probably heard of physics' "dark matter." Well, things get a bit weirder if we're open to "dark fluid" with negative mass.

Other new music:
Know what an eggcorn is?

I really have to get down to Houston to see the remodeled Menil, especially their new Drawing Institute.

What exactly is glitter?
#NoBeef is a campaign to save the earth by eliminating beef from our diets.

An unopened and unlooted Egyptian tomb was discovered south of Cairo.

Flourishing is a concept from positive psychology based on the PERMA model: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishments.

How to design a website like it's 1998.

...until you have personally experienced the truth of them. ~Aldous Huxley

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The most wasted of all days...

Have you ever wondered why the tiny tardigrade (aka water bear) is almost indestructable? Science found a clue and it's a protein.

Science also found a 19 mile wide impact crater below the ice in Greenland.

Here's where science gets freaky. Quantum switching means both the chicken and the egg came first.

How do whales show stress? In their ear wax.

Hilarious, as always. True Facts: Carnivorous Dragonflies.

There are good business opportunities and bad business opportunities and IMO this article has both. The bad one is just a bland statement about people wanting "smart" homes. The good one is that LiftMaster, the garage door people, have found that people want to optimize their garage for storage. That's pretty obvious based on the number of garages I've seen that are packed full of junque while the cars are parked in the driveway. So what kind of products might we expect from LiftMaster?

Mark Rothko, No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), 1951. Absolutely glorious. I see shades of Monet's water lilies.

The percentage of unvaccinated children in the U.S. has quadrupled since 2001. Irresponsible. Dangerous. Unintelligent.

Tom Cruise won't be playing Jack Reacher anymore as the series is moved from the silver screen to streaming. I thought Cruise did an admirable job in the movies but I agree that he's too small to play the 6' 5" Reacher.

Brand New Roman builds a font from company logos.


On my "listen before you buy" list:
Revenue from album sales dropped 25% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first have of 2017.  This article in Rolling Stone says that albums and physical albums (i.e. CDs) in particular on on the decline to death because we're reverting to a track-based, online, music economy.
Hilma af Klint, unknown
Fort Worth's West Magnolia Avenue, one of Pointwise's neighbors in the Near Southside, was named one of 2018's 5 great streets and 15 great places.

For those of you old enough to know who/what Max Headroom was/is, htere's a 4K video loop of Max's background.

In the article Quantifying Mark Rothko there are a lot of graphs like this one showing the number of paintings he made during each year of his career. While this is interesting, the payoff in this article was the image at the top of this page that I don't recall having seen before.
A lot of the Chicago Institute of Art's collection is online.

Ze Frank's latest True Facts video is about Carnivorous Dragonflies and is hilarious like all of them.

From the Student Academy Awards for animation, I suggest you watch Raccoon and The Light which is beautifully and minimally hand-drawn.

What can you do with a non-Newtonian fluid? You fill a speedbump with it that only hardens when people go over it at high speed.

Wassily Kandinsky, Circles in a Circle, 1923. This beautiful Kandinsky (how many Hidden Mickeys are included?) is from an article on generative art. Is art really about the artist's hands or their mind?
What might be the lineage from Impressionism to Modernism in painting?

Forget that. The world's oldest drawing is abstract. 73,000 years old. More here.

What do you say when your program doesn't work? #17 How is that possible?

Python is holding strong at #4 in the competition for programming language of 2018.

Proof that the Hybridizer can be just plain freaky.


Put a planetarium in your web browser with Stellarium.

See a binary asteroid.

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is coming up in 2019 and Buzz Aldrin has created a website Road to Apollo 11 50th Anniversary we can all follow. Yes, there's merchandise. But I'll point out that I purchased two Buzz-signed pieces at the AIAA Foundation's silent auction for much less than the stuff on that website is currently going for.

Just a cool Dutch F-16 paint job. source
Cool video footage of a pair of F-16s and a pair of F-35s doing a flyby.

Smell a scent.

Conserve a sound.

It's a little bit post-peak for this fall foliage map.

Control panel pr0n.

Artist Chuck Jones says one of these drawings is of the word "goloomb."  Can you guess which one? From an article on drawing sounds
The first animal on earth (558 million years ago) was a blob.

The Talmud is online.

Restoring a Jackson Pollock in front of a live audience.

At the heart of Tom Peters' The Excellence Dividend are the 14 number ones. For example, Commandment #1 - Excellence is the next five minutes. (In other words, it's not an aspiration.)

More business advice, this time from Verne Harnish. #7 Make customers want to pay for sales calls. Not that you should do this but the idea is to deliver so much value about your market that customers want to hear you speak. In other words, out-teach your competition.

From how to write the perfect sentence: "a sentence is a living line of words where logic and lyric meet."

Just a photo from the surface of an asteroid. And a great album cover.
Tom Peters has documented his 18 #1s from all his books and lectures and put them in one handy document. My favorite has always been "Excellence is the next five minutes" (i.e. it's not a general aspiration). Followed closely by "Read, Read, Read."

I'll leave you with something to a) watch and b) fiddle with. Generative Artistry hosts a live code tutorial on generating art in the style of Piet Mondrian.

...is one without laughter. e.e. cummings

Monday, January 14, 2019

My Favorite Music of 2018

Another year, another 43 albums. These are the ones I enjoyed the most.

Definitely at the top of this list is Vortex by Sonar with David Torn. From the moment I heard the first previews of this album I was hooked. Torn's guitar slashes through Sonar's precisely elegant playing like lightning through a storm, providing flashes of brilliance that illuminate the ensemble's power. Available from RareNoise records.


As a bonus, later in the year came Live at Moods, a collection of live tracks featuring Sonar and Torn, a beautiful complement to their earlier studio album.

Rumor has it that Sonar and Torn will be releasing another album in 2019 on the RareNoise label.


Then there's the gorgeous soundtrack Like a Fire That Consumes All Before It from Eraldo Bernocchi. I don't know many artists who have a musical vocabulary as extensive as Bernocchi's, and here he's applied it beautifully to the film Cy Dear about artist Cy Twombly. The video below isn't "official" and I apologize for that but at least you can get a taste of this exquisite album.


Even though it's not new, it's new to me. 1999's Dead Bees on a Cake by David Sylvian is intoxicating in its lushness and evocative with its lyrics. I "discovered" Sylvian a year or so back through his work with Robert Fripp et al on the album Damage. The track Thalheim is what motivated me to buy the CD.


Also notable for me in 2018:
  • Solo a Geneva by Jamie Saft - beautifully played piano. It seems I'm slowly acquiring Saft's entire catalog and I probably should've given this album the same treatment as the three above.
  • We Like it Here by Snarky Puppy - A modern, energetic approach to big band jazz. (Big band isn't the right term but I already used the word ensemble above.) 
  • Anguish - For album cover of the year.

For anyone interested, the full list of the albums I purchased in 2018 is here.