Thursday, September 30, 2010

Anybody Home?

At a time when, like me, you're probably wondering if this blog is capable of sustaining life, we get this:
Gliese 581g (whose first name is pronounced GLEE-za) circles a dim red star known as Gliese 581, once every 37 days, at a distance of about 14 million miles. That is smack in the middle of the so-called Goldilocks zone, where the heat from the star is neither too cold nor too hot for water to exist in liquid form on its surface.
More soon. Really.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ideal

As the baseball playoffs approach, the Design Observer reminds us of a slide show of photos by Don Hamerman, a Connecticut photographer, who, "For the past few years, as he's walked his dog at a local park, [has] picked up lost and forgotten baseballs." The post is also accompanied by a 1976 excerpt by Roger Angell, who waxes eloquent and sentimental the way that baseball fans do:
No other small package comes as close to the ideal in design and utility. It is a perfect object for a man's hand. Pick it up and it instantly suggests its purpose; it is meant to be thrown a considerable distance — thrown hard and with precision. Its feel and heft are the beginning of the sport's critical dimension; if it were a fraction of an inch larger or smaller, a few centigrams heavier or lighter, the game of baseball would be utterly different. Hold a baseball in your hand. As it happens, this one is not brand-new. Here, just to one side of the curved surgical welt of stitches, there is a pale-green grass smudge, darkening on one edge almost to black — the mark of an old infield play, a tough grounder now lost in memory. Feel the ball, turn it over in your hand; hold it across the seam or the other way, with the seam just to the side of your middle finger. Speculation stirs. You want to get outdoors and throw this spare and sensual object to somebody or, at the very least, watch somebody else throw it. The game has begun.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Headline of the Day

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Imaginary DVDs

There’s an ongoing trend of people creating fake Criterion DVD covers for their favorite movies. This is my kind of thing. (I often feel like I’m a frustrated graphic designer, even though I’ve never tried my hand at it even a little. Well, since I made fake baseball-card and pro-wrestling magazines when I was 11.) Anyway, a really long list of them is here, though many have been taken down for various reasons probably having to do with guys wearing fierce ties. Cinematical shared a few of its favorites. Paste Magazine (now defunct on the print side of things) did the same. So why not me? Here are three I enjoyed:

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sheep Pong

How do you know when you have too much time on your hands? It's a tricky question, but I feel pretty confident in saying this: If you're outfitting large numbers of sheep with LCD vests in order to film them looking like a giant game of Pong on a hillside, then, yeah, maybe your basic needs are being too well fulfilled.

(Via Very Short List)

Words Fail

From my friend Bill, this incredible sequence from an Indian action movie. Sit back and enjoy:


Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Bad & the Ugly

It wasn't just TK who prodded me this week (see below). My old buddy "Dez" also sent along a link that he knew would get me going: a list from Fox Sports of the 14 "dumbest mascots." There are four Olympic mascots on the list, because those things tend to be demented, purposeless creations with names like "Wenlock and Mandeville" that were designed in the visual equivalent of Esperanto and would send any sane person screaming.

I think they're a little hard on Otto the Orange (at left) from Syracuse, writing: "It doesn't get much dumber than a giant orange ball. And to think, Syracuse was also considering a wolf and a lion as its mascot when it picked Otto in 1995." First of all, they are the "Syracuse Orange," and as vague as that is, an orange something would seem to fit the bill. Also, Wikipedia calls Otto a gender-neutral "anthropomorphic orange, wearing a large blue hat and blue pants." And I ask, what is wrong with that?

The site is not too hard, however, on Hip Hop, the Philadelphia 76ers' mascot ("It's a rapping bunny. 'Nuff said.") or on "Q," the truly terrifying mascot of soccer's San Jose Earthquakes:


Party Like It's 2002

My friend TK, who helms the excellent running (and general life) blog Pigtails Flying, has "tagged" me with a "meme." This seems very 2002. But I clearly need any excuse to kick-start this puppy, so thank you, TK. Here are the rules:
1. Answer this question: if you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
2. The second thing you have to do is, pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award. [I'm going to pick 3 people, because I'm lazy. Also, I'm not sure why this is called an award.]
3. The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

1. I don't think I would go back and change anything. That speaks, I suppose, to having led a pretty lucky life, overall, but it's also a philosophical stance of mine -- you never know what changing one thing would change further down the path. Are there decisions about which I wonder, What if? Of course. What if I had gone to college in the northeast instead of in Texas? What if I had stayed in Texas in 2000 instead of moving to New York? What if I had left Texas, but moved to Boston instead of New York? What if I had or hadn't ended certain relationships at certain points in time? What if I had gone to law school? What if I decided to put away childish things? Etc.

2. "Dez," ANCIANT, and Miles, consider yourselves on the hot seat.

3. A heartfelt thanks to TK for giving me this "award." TK is a generous soul, a gifted communicator (as evidenced by her blog and other efforts), and she introduced me (or re-introduced me) to my girlfriend. So I have a lot to thank her for. Even if she won't drink with me anymore.