Monday, August 17, 2015

Melvin Kaminsky

From the movie Mel Brooks : Make a Noise (2013)

A Star is Born....? Melvin Kaminsky aka Mel Brooks

A Star is Born....? Determination.... Man of the World.... Happiness.... Confusion.... [four dot ellipsis in original]
Here are just four reasons why First Sergeants get that way – This character is known in the Army as Pvt Melvin Kaminsky, and to be expected, he hails from Brooklyn. Head of the entertainment crew for Special Services, Kaminsky is very much in demand as an M.C. His stage name is Melvyn Brooks. His last appearance before entering the Army was in the play, "Bright Boy", so he says and he adds "I had three lines in that show, was on the stage about two minutes, what a part!" A member of the Combat Engineers before coming to Dix, Kaminsky expects to be discharged in June

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lucky guy

clip from the TV show Criminal Minds (Season 8 episode 10 The Lesson)


The episode is about a killer who puts his victims on the rack to stretch them and crucifies them.

Transcript :
Dr. Spencer Reid : So far we believe he has spared the one woman that he still has in captivity. She's either witnessing these horrors or being forced to participate in them.
Dr. Alex Blake : Crucifixion is sadistic and watching it is the ultimate torture.

Whew, the guy who got crucified and murdered sure was lucky he didn't get tortured as badly as having to watch it happen to someone else.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

'If' by Rudyard Kipling

"If–" by Rudyard Kipling (1895)
"IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
'Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Art as a creative endeavor : EJ Sullivan vs Stanley Mouse & the Grateful Dead

Edmund J. Sullivan illustration to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1913) vs Stanley Mouse's Grateful Dead poster (1966)
Edmund J. Sullivan illustration to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1913)
Stanley Mouse's Grateful Dead poster (1966)

Grateful Dead 1971 double album with cover opened

In 1966 Kelley and I were in the San Francisco public library looking for inspiration for a poster we were doing for the Grateful Dead. We stumbled upon an illustration in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a twelfth-century Arabian work of poetry. Kelley said, “ Is that the Grateful Dead or is that the Grateful Dead!?” I responded, “that’s got Grateful Dead written all over it!”
Maybe everyone else knew about this but I had assumed they did more than just make a photocopy of someone else's illustration, add a frame, lettering and color (the poster) or take the photocopy add a art nouveau frame, lettering and color (the album)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Erasing the Past : Who murdered the monks of Monasterio Montserrat

from the documentary Sagrada : Mystery of Creation (2012)

It isn't a terrible movie but it has some intrusive artistic pretensions and it uses the church as a background to tell the history of the church when I would have preferred the church and its idiosyncrasies be the subject with the history as a background.

But one thing struck me as eliding reality.


partial transcript (clip starts at about 32:30 into the film) :
Daughter of Antonio Gaudi's assistant : He [Antonio Gaudi's assistant] went there every day until July 18, 1936. Then the chaos of the civil war arrived. All the churches in Barcelona were burnt. [including the incomplete Sagrada Familia]

Narrator : The construction work on Sagrada Familia was abandoned. The Civil War raged on until, in the beginning of 1939, Barcelona fell, followed by Madrid shortly after.  General Franco subsequently ruled Spain with an iron hand. Speaking Catalan was prohibited. In the Monastery of Montserrat, where sermons were still held in Catalan, 21 monks were murdered. 

This suggests that Spain fell to Generalissimo Franco (true), he ruled with an iron hand (true), speaking Catalan was prohibited (sort of true) and then the monks were murdered; perhaps because they held sermons in Catalan. The problem I have is that the monks were murdered not by Franco's Nationalists but by the Republican side (more specifically, I'd guess POUM or the CNT) and they were murdered before the end of the War.

Additionally, "All the churches in Barcelona were burnt." is, I think, incorrect. I could be wrong but I believe in was an anti-catholic pogrom and other churches were not targeted (as Barcelona was overwhelmingly Catholic then Protestant churches were less significant). Again, this was done not by Franco's Nationalists but by the Republican side in territory not controlled by Franco.

Anti-clerical violence started before the Spanish Civil War.  On May 10, 1931 (5 years before the start of the Spanish Civil War and less than a month after King Alfonso XIII fled) Spain saw convents set alight in Madrid, Málaga, Seville, Cádiz and Alicante and 2 dozen churches attacked.

As an aside,  I've been told that the ban on Catalan was done with typical Spanish efficiency. Schools were ordered to teach in Castilian Spanish and so they "officially" complied. The school inspector would call ahead and let them know when an inspection was coming and on that day the students would put away their Catalan books and get out their Castilian books and class would be in Castilian as required. After the inspector left the Castilian books would go back in the closet and they continued in Catalan while the inspector could file a report that he is doing a great job and everything is how it is supposed to be.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Propaganda : Smash Capital Now

Smash capital now! poster by Christopher Logue
click to embiggen

The text (which is difficult to read from the scan) :
Know thy enemy:
he does not care what colour you are
provided you work for him;
he does not care how much you earn
provided you earn more for him;
he does not care who lives in the room at the top
provided he owns the building;
he will let you say whatever you like against him
provided you do not act against him;
he sings the praises of humanity
but knows machines cost more than men;
bargain with him, he laughs, and beats you at it;
challenge him,
and he kills.
sooner than lose the things he owns
he will destroy the world.
read The Black Dwarf
The referenced Black Dwarf was a British alternative newspaper published between 1968-1972,
I bet the first draft ended with "BUY the Black Dwarf" (price in 1968 : 2 shillings)

To be honest, that Che ring looks awfully aspirational.


An example of propaganda to divide.

The jeremiad applies to perfectly to communist governments, like Che's Cuba, with the exception of "he will let you say whatever you like against him"

I wonder if Capital in place of Capitalists because they actually oppose the use of capital or if it was a way of dehumanizing their target?

From an economic point of view it seems that smashing capital equipment and relying on human labor would make everyone poorer. For example, people working on a sugar farm in Cuba would get more done with the use of trucks than if they had to lug everything on their backs. Since capital allows them to produce more it drives the price down making it more accessible and higher production can allow them to make more money even with a lower price. Capital also frees labor to do other things.

It seems a piece of capital like a printing press would be useful rather than workers laboriously drawing each copy with a pen.