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. 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.