Saturday, February 28, 2009

mac claire mc

claire mccaskill: the lizzle jizzle sizzle of the senate

Ok ok. Mom's upset that I was rude at Pres speech re:tweets.For the record I tweeted bfor,at very begining,& after speech.I wanted to listen
7:12 AM Feb 26th from TinyTwitter

Classified briefing on Afghanstn and Pakstn. Serious challenges.
8:39 AM Feb 25th from TinyTwitter

Great speech. Right tone.Right message of bold action and budget restraint. My favorite line: "We are not quitters."
7:28 PM Feb 24th from TinyTwitter

Pres just hailed the Recov Act. Sen Spector was a lonely Republican when he stood to applaud.
6:25 PM Feb 24th from TinyTwitter

Quite an ovation.The warm greeting between Pres Obama & Sec Clinton makes me proud of our democracy. What a difference a year makes.
6:20 PM Feb 24th from TinyTwitter

Now Supreme Ct. I did big wooohoo for Justice Ginsberg. She looks good.
6:04 PM Feb 24th from TinyTwitter

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the rise of controversy

Controversy is good for art, but it may be better for the price of art. There's a web site with the funny name of Expresso Beans that tracks the cost of art. Run by volunteers, the site is focused primarily on graphic art and allows one to quickly and easily see how costs fluctuate over time. Or, if you're buying or selling, what a fair price might be for the work.

Take the famous (or infamous) Shepard Fairey/AP HOPE poster. A signed offset print originally sold for $30. Over the last six months, the same poster has been selling for an average price of almost $3,000; a thousand percent return!. That figure is based on 323 transactions from a print run of 600 so many of the 600 have been sold at least once. Looking at the chart, one can see several bumps: a small one when Obama received the Democratic nomination, a larger one when he won the general election, and another bump near the inaguration now sustained by the AP copyright infringement case.

My guess is that the ultimate price of the print is directly related to the size of the settlement.
expresso beans

my new facebook friend, president barack obama

People can complain all they want about things not being that different under President Obama, and I share part of their fear. But it's early yet, really early, and there's a whole lot of stuff that needs doing. But after all, let's face facts, he's the President, not all 535 members of Congress and if we really want change, most of those folks need to go because they spend too much time raising money and listening to lobbyists.

But I do know this. Obama is the first President to send me emails. Funny thing. It's not surprising to be getting an email from the Prez. The hundreds of emails I got during the campaign may have something to do with my lack of surprise and sure, the new ones are going out by the million so I'm not that special. And some could argue that he's just trying to control the story and that's part of the motive behind the e-blast, but I say, hey, it's 2009, shouldn't the President communicate with the American public using the same tools they use to communicate with each other?

Seems a no-brainer. Nice to have a President with a brain.

excerts below:

Last night, I addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

To confront the serious economic challenges our nation faces, I called for a new era of responsibility and cooperation. We need to look beyond short term political calculations and make vital investments in health care, energy, and education that will make America stronger and more prosperous well into the future.

...a few highlights from my address...

Central to this plan will be a renewed commitment to honesty and transparency in government. Restoring our country's economic health will only happen when ordinary citizens are given the opportunity to hold their representatives fully accountable for the decisions they make.

I look forward to continuing to work with you as we bring about the change you made possible.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

space moment: major tom, captain bowie, flight of the concorde

Given the recent failure of the NASA satellite to achieve orbit, here's a moving tribute to space travel by Flight of the Concorde.

worth more than armstrong's bike

Velonews is reporting that the following items were stolen from cyclist David Zabriskie's home while he was busy finishing second in the recent Tour of California. For those of you aren't cycle-crazed, Zabriskie is a four-time US Time Trial Champion, captured stage wins in each of the Grand Tours, and holds the record for the fastest time trial in Tour de France history (avg. speed 54.68 km/hr [33.97 miles/ hr]. Think about the last time you rode your bike at 34 miles an hour and weren't going down a steep incline. Try doing if for 19 km.
zabriskie tweet
this is partial list of items reported stolen:
• Black 2008 Subaru Outback, Utah plate A189NC
• Black 2006 Toyota Scion, Utah plate 094VWM
• Giro D Italia Race Medal
• Olympic Seiko watch
• Beijing Olympic ring (silver) with initials "DZ" engraved ($4,000)
• Olympic Time Trial Bike, plus 12 other bikes (combined value of $100,000)
• Cervelo (black/red) bike frame - team issued ($5000)
• Tag Heuer watch ($6,000)
• 7 Marvel sideshow statues ($11,000)

Photo by Frank Steele via Flickr

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

charles darwin and president obama, linked by a g-string

At first glance this might appear to be pandering to your base senses. However, unpon closer inspection, you'll come to realize it's actually a rare form of politcal protest practiced at Carnivale by Viviane Castro. This approach might renew your interest in history or thwarting US attempts to commercialize Amazonian resources.

gwenth paltrow's sweet muffin

"The whole grain muffins are great even though they contain no sugar."--Gwenth Paltrow. from GOOP (her lifestyle website).

Gweneth Paltrow is a fine Oscar-winning actress but I'm not sure how much she understands food. Her recipe for banana muffins (and if by now, you can't find a recipe for banana muffins, then maybe you should just go buy some at the grocery store) doesn't contain sugar but it does contain bananas, maple and rice syrups, raisins, and nuts. Your body converts all these to sugars, which of course one needs, but from your body's viewpoint, sugar is largely sugar. Given the ingredients, it's true, Ms. Paltrow's muffin is sweet.

goopy lifestyle goop

Monday, February 23, 2009

how to win your office pool

The office Oscar pool is almost as big a tradition as the office March Madness pool. But who to vote for? Even Academy members don't seem to have a clue. I had seen most of the nominated movies this year and my score - 14 out of 24 - a piddling effort, barely better than guess work. Where did m.o.i. go wrong?

Turns out, the thing to do is what others have found who have looked into winning March Madness pools. The group largely gets it right. Bet on the ones that other folks bet on. Since your office mates aren't likely to reveal their hand until yours are on the table, you should just look at the Vegas odds. Money talks, people lie.

Last night, voting with the favorite won 80 percent of the time. Not bad, but still unlikely to win the office pool. Exceptions to this rule last night were in the 3 short film categories, sound mixing, and original screenplay.

So ultimately, it's a life lesson. Mostly play by the rules, but take a few chances along the way. The best ones to take? It's a gamble.

lance armstrong found his bike

The Oscars weren't' the only event taking place in Southern California yesterday as the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California finished in San Diego. Levi Leipheimer won the event for the 3rd straight year.
The Astana train had a relatively easy time protecting the yellow jersey.

“I don’t know if I want to answer questions about questions about the past,” Floyd Landis speaking to the press after stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. After the eighth and final stage on Sunday, Flance may not want to answer questions about the future. Drug-free Floyd finished 23rd overall but was never a factor in any stage. Granted his team, OUCH, is nothing compared to most of the other teams in the race, so he may still make his way back. The problem for Floyd is that without contrition, public sentiment just isn't on his side. It's the Pete Rose phenomenon.

Fan fav, George Hincapie (right front), and Chris Baldwin (Rock Racing).

Lance Armstrong, on the other hand, although not true to form and not answering that many questions from the press, showed that come July, he might be throwing wrenches in the Astana hierarchy. I still think it's going to be very difficult for Lance to win another Tour, but can see him possibly winning a stage. His next test comes in the Giro D'Italia, a race that Lance avoided when tackling his 7 Le Tour wins.

Team Astana pretty much outclassed the field with it's group of riders. Levi Leipheimer, who proved he's the best American stage rider, won his 3rd consecutive Tour of California. Leipheimer won the race pretty much how you win a stage race - in the time trials. He finished second in the prologue and he won the individual time trial in stage 6. And he did so against formidable competition. Michael Rodgers, Christian Vande Velde, Oscar Sevilla, Jens Voight, and the Schleck brothers. This was the strongest field ever assembled for a bike race in the US. And the crowds for the last day were reported to be the largest ever for a sporting event in US history.

Photos by Deb Murphy of lose the mittens, who lives just minutes off the route in Pasadena and took these during the closing minutes of stage 7. Images were taken with a Flip videocam and then pulled out as stills.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

nutty oscar mashup: jerry lewis. m.i.a., dancing with the stars, and the jonas brothers

In an effort to jazz the Oscar telecast this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts is attempting a mash-up to include:
*Jerry Lewis (receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award)
*M.I.A. singing from a bed(nominated for Best Song O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire)
*Big dance number from network host ABC's Dancing With Stars cast members including Jewel, Lil' Kim, Steve Wozniak, Nancy Odell, and Lawrence Taylor.
*And to keep the pre-teen crowd up past their bedtime The Jonas Brothers will sing backup for no apparent reason.

white house miracle worker

Jackie Chalms reports in the NY Times that Barack Obama will unveil a plan on Thursday to cut the deficit in half by the year 2013. The plan will call for reductions even while the government spends trillions to bail out banks, lenders, and car companies. The reductions will come from a combination of higher taxes on the wealthy, eliminating the war in Iraq, and selling commemorative $5 bills with his image on them.

obama's plan to cut the deficit in half

rufus wainwright: visual reviews of aural entertainment

rufus wainwright @ the uptown theater, kansas city, mo. with lucy wainwright roche; attendance ~1500.

other reviews in the series:
m.o.i.: the wilders @ davey's uptown
m.o.i.: wee snuff
m.o.i.: jametone (j. ashley miller)
m.o.i.: eldar at jardines
m.o.i.: matisyahu @ grinders sculpture park
m.o.i.: eldar @ cccc
m.o.i.: elvis costello and the attractions
m.o.i.: the police
m.o.i.: the swell season
m.o.i.: anne-sophie mutter
m.o.i.: pat metheny trio
m.o.i.: mars volta and isabel bayrakdarian

Saturday, February 21, 2009

comeback kids

Without cliches, sports would just be another endeavor for me to watch on television--the Almighty.

Americans love comebacks. And they seem to be everywhere. The Tour of California is marking the comeback of Lance, Flance (Floyd Landis), Tyler Hamiliton, and Ivan Basso. The Oscars are marking the comeback of Mickey Rourke, Meryl Streep (she hasn't won an Oscar in 16 years, and Robert Downey Jr. Richard Jenkins (he's never even been nominated before this year) marks a comeback variant just by being in a place he's never been before after 40 years in the craft. Next week golf marks the comeback of Tiger Woods. Bruce Springsteen is trying once again to be the Boss. Congress is marking its own brand of comeback, that of passing bills by Democrats and trying to get the country to work together once again, although the jury still seems to be out on this one.

Hope? Change? It was no accident those shibboleths drove the election juggernaut in a different direction. They worked because we identify with the comeback. Comeback marks familiarity, but one slightly redefined so as to suggest renewal. A comeback is not an overthrow of the status quo, it's an affirmation. We demanded our own comeback last November. And change came. Or at least we hope it will.

We are all in a state of comeback. We are coming back from defeat. Or victory. We are coming back from injury - mental and physical. We are coming back from growing old, or older, or losing the magic touch, the mojo, the magic. We are coming back from lovers - those lost, those gained, and those imagined.

Lent begins on Wednesday. A period sacrifice so that we can mark a comeback. I'd say it's time, isn't it? Time for a comeback.

Monday, February 16, 2009

doth quote the mayor evermore

Extracting quotes to illustrate your point in public speaking can be fun, meaningful, and illustrative of the larger goal of swaying the public to come around to your point of view. Last week on Channel 2, one of KC's more interesting soap operas, the Mayor, purportedly a man with an auditor's background, chose to use much of his time quoting historical figures rather than proposing his own version of the budget. The Mayor, who new slogan appears to be Smart with the Quote, missed another opportunity to show leadership, instead continuing a long-standing feud between the Mayor, the City Manager, and the Council. One notes that the City Manager, and not the Mayor, graced the cover of one mag this month as KC's Man of the Year. Whether or not that award was truly deserved we'll leave for another day. We also note the Council is composed of 13 members of which the Mayor is but one. Hard to win that battle, so that leaves the Court of Public Opinion. Which, one can only surmise, is the rationale behind the quotes.

Today, as Americans celebrate sound bites about Presidents we thought it good time to offer other quotes that our esteemed Mayor might have used in last week's letter to the council.


"As we approached this budget season I thought of Sir Winston Churchill who said, 'We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.'"
More appropriately, Funkhouser might have offered this Churchillian tidbit, "But whenever I feel this way I always remember that if, instead of making a political speech, I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big."

...or even this, "Eating words has never given me indigestion."
"Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of my heroes, Abraham Lincoln. He said I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

Funkhouser might also have quoted this bit of honesty from Lincoln, "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."

...or taken this jewel of Lincoln wisdom, "Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed."
"Albert Einstein said, In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
What Funkhouser might have quoted from Einstein, "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

...or better yet? "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

Perhaps you have your own quote that you think might be more appropriate, but we're imagining that if Councilwomen Circo or Marcuson were to start quoting the likes of Dorothy Parker during Legislative sessions the ratings for Channel 2 would really start to climb.
churchill quotes
einstein quotes
lincoln quotes

Sunday, February 15, 2009

livestrong strongarm

The livestrong blog is reporting that Lance Armstrong's time trial bike was stolen, along with 3 other Team Astana bikes, from the Astana bus last evening. It's going to be hard to ride down the street on the bike and not have anyone notice. California law enforcment aren't going to look very highly on this prank.
livestrong strongarm

it's a comeback, it's not a comeback, i am not a cancer

Lance the StrongArm moves his training rides to S. California this week where Team Astana hopes to put two-time defending champ Levi Leipheimer in yellow come Sunday. See the transcript below of Paul Klimmage predicting that Lance would StrongArm him the first chance he got in public. Amstrong's reactions in the press conference makes any potential controversy about Lance dropping his state-of-the-art drug testing program before even one sample was collected disappear.

Flance, aka Floyd Landis, whose return marks a comeback of a whole different ilk, that of a doper who never recounted, took his suspension, and now rides again, has yet to be met with the open arms of the dude w/ one nut, a yellow bracelet, and blue socks. Seven Tour victories makes one a cycling god; getting stripped of one makes you a dope. Landis is riding for the OUCH (not a joke) team. His 48th place finish in yesterday's prologue at the Tour of California indicate that Floyd isn't quite back to peak form.

Tyler Hamiliton, bounced twice from the sport for doping, is also riding in the Tour of California with the Rock Racing Team. Hamilton was a surprise winner of last year's US road championship. Ivan Basso, formerly known as Ivan the Terrible, for blowing up peletons with furious attacks in mountain stages, also marks his return to stage racing. Basso served a two-year suspension for doping.

But there's a lot more to consider during this race this who did what, when, and who got caught, and when, and who didn't get caught. The field for the Amgen Tour of California is far and away the strongest field of professional riders ever assembled for a US stage race. One problem the Tour of California typically runs headlong into, are the nasty late winter California rains that can hammer the coast for days on end. In order to attract world-class riders to the states, US events have to operate at the edges of the European pro-circuit. That's why the California tour is held in February and Tour of Missouri in September.

There's always more to a story than the news soundbites. Call Lance Armstrong many things but don't call him a cancer. Unless you're a journalist, former professional rider, who's been trying to expose the frauds in professional cycling for 10 years, and if you do, don't expect the US press, or sponsors of professional cycling, to come to your aid.

Paul Kimmage on Lance Armstrong comeback:

My reaction … I’m reminded of that memorable scene in The Shawshank Redemption, where Andy crawled through a giant pipe of steaming excrement in order to escape to freedom. That’s how I feel right now about Armstrong’s come back. I feel like we’ve been dragged through this pile of steaming excrement. And the enthusiasm that I had built up about the sport in the last couple of years has been all but completely wiped out in the last couple of hours.

Let’s turn the clock back to Armstrong’s last apparition in the sport. The Tour de France 2005. He’s standing on the podium. And he makes this big impassioned speech. Which is basically saying ‘The last thing I’ll say to the people who don’t believe in cycling, the cynics, the sceptics: I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry you can’t dream big. I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles.’ That was 2005, his last ride in the the Tour de France. And the people flanking him on that podium were Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. And a month after that race ended the French newspaper L’Equipe reported that in his first winning Tour de France, in 1999, Armstrong had tested positive for EPO. Six separate samples taken during that race revealed positive tests for EPO.

This return, he wants us to believe that it’s all about saving the world from cancer. That’s complete bullshit. It’s about revenge It’s about ego. It’s about Lance Armstrong. I think he’s trying to rewrite his exit from the sport. He’s sat back and he’s watched the last two years and he cannot stand the idea that there are clean cyclists now that will overtake his legacy and buy the memory of all the crap that he put the sport through.

When I heard it being mooted first that he was coming back, I thought well that’s fine, because the first thing ASO are going to say is ‘sorry Lance, we’ve seen your results from the 1999 tests , you’re not coming back.’ I expected a similar statement from Pat McQuaid. What’s happened instead is that Christian Prudhomme has said ‘yes, you can come back, no problem.’ And Pat McQiad has said ‘I really admire this man, he’s a tremendous ambassador for cycling.’ What we’re getting here is the corporate dollars and the money that’s going to accompany this guy back into the game. The money that’s going to bring for Nike, one of the big sponsors of the Tour. And for the UCI, who have been experiencing some serious problems in the last couple of years.

Much as you want to say the sport has changed, as quickly as they can change their own opinions – McQuaid, who says one thing in private and quite the opposite in public, and Prudhomme – if they can change so quickly then I’m sorry, it’s really very, very difficult to have any optimism with regard to Armstrong and the way the sport was moving forward. For me, if he comes back next year, the sport takes two steps back.

I spent the whole Tour this year with Slipstream, the Garmin team. That wasn’t by accident. I chose that team deliberately, because of what they were saying about the sport and the message they were putting out. But also the fact that so many of that team had raced with Armstrong during his best years and knew exactly what he got up to. And the stuff that I learnt on that Tour about him and what he was really like was absolutely shocking, really shocking.

What’s going to happen now is he comes back and everybody’s going to wave their hands in the air and give him a big clap. And all the guys who really know what he’s about are going to feel so utterly and totally depressed. And I’m talking about Jonathan Vuaghthers, who raced with Armstrong that first winning Tour and who doped. And if you look at that Tour, Armstrong’s first win, there were seven Americans on that team. Frankie Andreu has said he used EPO. Tyler Hamilton has been done for [blood doping]. George Hincapie was exposed as a doper by Emma O’Reilly, the team soigneur. Christian Vand Velde and Jonathan Vaughters … both are members of Slipstream and would promote the notion that this was not a clean team by any means. When you look at that and what Armstrong’s done and how he’s seemingly got away with it, it just makes his come back very hard to stomach.

Astana’s the absolute perfect team for him. He’d be renewing his old acquaintance with Bruyneel, who wanted to hire Basso last year. Will he be renewing his old acquaintance with Ferrari, the famous doctor? Will Bruyneel be taking pictures of the questioning journalists and pinning them on the side of his bus?

When Armstrong talks about transparency, this is the greatest laugh. When he talks about embracing this new transparency … I’m really looking forward to that. I’m really looking forward to my first interview request with him and seeing how that comes back. Because that would really make it interesting.
This guy, any other way but his bullying and intimidation wrapped up in this great cloak, the great cancer martyr … this is what he hides behind all the time. The great man who conquered cancer. Well he is the cancer in this sport. And for two years this sport has been in remission. And now the cancer’s back.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

meet your peacemaker

John Lyon and Rob Moritz or the Arkansas News Bureau report that guns may soon allowed in church in Arkansas. church of the gun

Dudes and dudettes. If you thought God was angry before over you being a chump, just wait till folks open fire on one another over the collection plate, or the last hymnal, or the last communion wafer. Say Amen.


the other side of spiritual

Boy! After yesterday's fckn' post we need a little Change.

The Onion, which like most print media, seems intent on expanding into the digital realm with the hope that someday the web will actually generate profits, has launched it own network with story lines based on those ubiquitous tv shows that can talk round-and-round a topic for hours, if not days on end, without providing additional insight beyond the headline. And with slogans like, "beyond the facts" and "sports just got more important", you know the Onion Network is timely.

Here's one from 23/6, the humorous side of HuffPo, and the channel that brought you 'Git Ur War On' vids, which, when you think about it, will likely always be topical since we've always got some war going on, somewhere, if only in our heads

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Do it once, nobody seems to notice. Do it a thousand times, you can call it art.

Every swear word on the Sopranos published in chronological order. After about 5 minutes, a pattern begins to emerge. And folks think Mickey Rourke's speech at the BAFTA awards was racy.

Be forewarned. This goes on for awhile as it turns out, by my calculations, that almost 1 percent of the entire Sopranos catalogue is composed of swear words. If you can make it through to the end you'll be a real gangster. And since Valentine's Day is this week, there's a "I love you" thrown in for good measure. See if you can find it.

From Victor Solomon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

warrior ant press sues shepard fairey AND the ap

Warrior Ant Press has filed suit in U.S. District Court against both Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press. The class action lawsuit, with m.o.i. serving as the principal litigant for the plantiffs, seeks, on behalf of all those who may have received any, or all, of the m.o.i pieces, new money, Change Cola®,or Join the Party a cease-fire in the finger-pointing between the Mr. Fairey and the AP. The defendants, Shepard Fairey and the AP, have repeatedly shown blatant disregard for the traditional 100-day honeymoon granted to new presidents and by continuing to foster a spirit of partisanship, threaten to destroy the good vibes that we waited nigh on 8 years to return to our dear country. In short, Warrior Ant Press asks Mr. Fairey and the AP to "OBEY!"

Neither Mr. Fairey or the AP could be reached for comment probably because Mr. Fairey was busy filing his own suit against the AP and getting arrested in Boston for vandalism; the AP was busy covering the story.
more at:
obey the court!

Monday, February 9, 2009

misplaced priorities

It's interesting to hear Sen. Kit Bond, who never met a pork barrel he couldn't fill with whiskey and drink down, talk against the current economic stimulus package. Sen. Bond, who does not plan on seeking another term, has become the latest Republican bully boy,spouting rhetorical half-truths as though they were policy. But, as everyone, including the Dems suggest, the stimulus package ain't perfect. And we cannot spend money willy-nilly forever- no matter how dire the economy. We do need to spend money on true reinvestment and not on the same-ole same-ole. Friends at Prairie Rivers Network let us onto some of the same-ole same-ole.

PRN Action Alert

The Corps of Engineers section of Title IV of S. 336, the Senate Economic Stimulus legislation, includes a terrible precedent by waiving all existing cost-sharing requirements for construction of Army Corps of Engineers Inland Waterways projects. Such a waiver would reverse 23 years of national policy set in the landmark 1986 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that the nation’s barge companies are required contribute 50 percent of costs of new construction or major rehabilitation of inland waterway locks, dams or channels. Taxpayers currently pay the entire cost of operations and maintenance of inland waterways. Thus, in 2008 the barge companies already received an enormous 91 percent taxpayer subsidy for all the costs of inland waterways - contributing only $92 million out of total expenditures of $930 million. The Stimulus waiver means all of the costs of operating, maintaining and constructing inland waterways would be borne by U.S. taxpayers as long as the Stimulus funds are applied to waterway construction.

Bill gives inland waterways a 100 percent taxpayer subsidy. No other form of transportation (other than space travel) receives anywhere near such level of taxpayer subsidy. A 1992 CBO study found that “On a percentage basis, the inland waterway system is the most heavily subsidized of the three modes of transportation, although aviation is more heavily subsidized in absolute terms.” The waiver constitutes a narrow earmark for a handful of companies which include a number owned by some of the wealthiest, most profitable corporations in the nation.

read the rest @ PRN
prarie rivers network action alerts

like buttah, but with big hair

Some things don't really make much sense. Allison Kraus and Robert Plant? Live-blogging a music show? Here's an funny exchange that includes both.

Itzkoff/Caramanica blog the Grammy's

11:23 p.m. | Album of the Year — Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”

Dave: Come on, you knew it.
Jon: I mean, what can you say? I did indeed know it. It just would have hurt to say it.
Dave: Is it really that bad a compromise?
Jon: Let’s think of some collaborations we’d assemble next year to win a Grammy.
Dave: Mick Jagger and Cat Power?
Jon: Julian Casablancas and Iggy Pop.
Dave: M.I.A.’s baby and Aretha Franklin.
Jon: Pretty sneaky, sis!
Dave: But back to the question at hand — is it that disappointing a victory? It could have been Coldplay…
Jon: I’m not disappointed in the music, only in the inevitability. I mean, next year, let’s dispense with pretense and nominate five albums for the NPR/AARP set.
Dave: This can’t be seen as a crossover album, one that reaches out to older listeners and, um, medium-age listeners?
Jon: Your great-grandparents, and your grandparents!
Dave: My parents and me? I like Zep, they like Zep. It’s a start.
Jon: Not my parents and me. I appreciate your Yes We Can attitude!
Dave: Next time you want to talk about your parents, I’m charging you $125 an hour.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

wow! i didn't even realize that was my photograph

Tom Gralish on the trail of art, propaganda, and copyright infringement.

where did HOPE come from?

Probably more than you need to know about the Shepard Fairey/Obama Hope/AP Manny Garcia controversy but some nice detective work revealed. Has it moved officially to the status of controversy, or has the story about "oh no!, you mean some famous baseball players took steroids?" now supplanted it our collective, celebrity-deficit-disorder minds. Speaking of relevance, or lack thereof, the A-Roid revelations would seem to put the whole one-bong hit wonder Gold Medal performance of Michael Phelps into perspective.

Gralish does reveal interesting tidbits about the story, including how long it took everyone to figure out who took the photograph. Even the photographer, who traveled with Obama during the campaign, and who saw the HOPE image hundreds, if not thousands of times, didn't realize it was based upon his photograph.

snow stops ski event

Ten inches of fresh powder proved to be too much for the World Downhill Championships being held in Val D'Isere, France.
2009 World Championships Downhill Postponed

Friday, February 6, 2009

warrior ant press claims fair use of shepard fairey use of ap image

Which came first, the image or the appropriated image?

Although the Associated Press may be suing Shepard Fairey over the use of a photographic image in what became the iconic image of 2008 (if not the decade), Warrior Ant Press exerts that work produced by m.o.i. that used Shepard Fairey images based upon the AP photograph clearly falls under fair use. And does so for the following reasons.

One persons trash is another ones treasure. Images used by m.o.i. were either discovered on handbills found in the post-election trash outside of the local Obama headquarters, or in the case of one particular work, in the mail from Move On dot Org. Artists are free to re-purpose physical objects as they see fit. If one owned a Picasso and decided to paint over it and create a new work of art it would no longer be a Picasso. If I called this re-purposing art, it would be so, otherwise it would be defacement.

m.o.i has a long history of appropriation whereby the physicality of the original object is embedded within another, newer, work. This practice doesn't toy with the idea that art is informed by other art, it takes the idea to its literal conclusion. This retains the original intellectual property rights and yet lays a cloak of an entirely new one upon it. To compound the rights issue, the work is then sent to others gratis with an inherently embedded challenge, "who now owns the object? and what will you do with it? keep it as such? re-purpose it? who owns the ideas behind the object?"

Once these objects have left the realm of Warrior Ant Press these decisions become those of the new owners. And should they increase in value, then m.o.i. would receive none of the benefits thus the appropriations are used for financial gain.

Secondly, any work that appropriates an iconic political image based upon a political photograph to create a new work is inherently political. It has to be. Propaganda begets propaganda art begets art about propaganda art. And political expression and art are uniquely guaranteed as a First Amendment right in this country.

Thirdly. The AP photograph in question has largely little meaning unless the propaganda posters follow. Without the propaganda campaign, it's just another of any thousands of photographs taken during the course of the campaign. But once the propaganda posters went viral, the original photograph becomes an incredibly valuable piece. Its value is not diminished by appropriation but rather increased.

Likewise, the use of appropriated images in m.o.i's work has no meaning - unless the public has an understanding of political propagandist images of Obama. Warhol can't make art from a Marilyn Monroe or Jackie Kennedy image unless the public already has bestowed iconic status to these celebrities. m.o.i.'swork seeks to re purpose an iconic image into another form of idolatry. Who's that face on the dollar bill? It's not even close to an engraving; there's no way you can mistake it for a $5 bill. And because the image has been put on the bill, one immediately grasps that it's 'art'. The connections are obvious; thus the work immediately becomes what it seeks to comment on - art and money in politics.

Lastly. And we could go on but let's not and this may the most relevant of all the arguments. The images in m.o.i.'s work aren't even the same ones as originally appeared in the Manny Garcia image. They are images, produced at the request of the Obama campaign, to replace the Manny Garcia image. Given the thousands of time the public had seen the image, the actual gesture no longer mattered. All it took was a red and blue Russian Constructivist image to spring to mind the shibboleths of HOPE, CHANGE, and PROGRESS.

It is art for arts sake, and the sake of politics; all without apology. That the masses are so quick to understand it speaks more to the power of the masses than to the power of the art. You are either with me, or against me. We don't care because we are moving forward whether you wish to or not.

Biggie O. Larger than life and the ultimate player. We get it. Does the AP?

Images, top to bottom. All images and art work by m.o.i., collection of Warrior Ant Press.

1."Presidential portrait for a government office", 2009.
2."Change Cola°", 2008.
3. "new money", 2008.
3."Join the party", 2009.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

barry us bonds and the chinese gold medal herbal mix

Spring training will soon be getting underway to alleviate the sufferings of our sports-addicted nation and with it, so will Barry US Bonds' perjury trial, set to begin March 1st. The timing couldn't be better for star-crazed fans as the Oscar shenanigans will have just ended and the celebrity culture will be looking for a new face to shine its bright light upon. Expect shots of Barry, a natty dresser with attitude, looking grim in Armani as he enters the court room. Bonds, who made almost as many enemies as he did fans during his playing years runs the risk of becoming the next Pete Rose - that of the greatest player of his generation who isn't in the Hall of Fame. The much blacker Bonds however, is much more likely to find himself behind bars, because in this country black men all too frequently have 3 options: 1) President (currently occupied); 2) play sports (Bonds is retired); or 3) prison.

Speaking of prison, some sheriff in South Carolina wants to send Michael Phelps to jail for taking a bong hit. Surely the county prosecutor has told Sheriff B. Fife that a picture of someone smoking a bong doesn't necessarily mean it was filled with marijuana, thus making conviction difficult. In Phelps' case, for example, it could have been filled with a special mix of Chinese herbs known affectionately as the Gold Medal Mix.

More importantly it would seem that perhaps Phelps illustrates that it's possible to win 8 Gold Medals (if you count all his Olymic and World Championships he has won 40 Gold medals) and still smoke a little reefer. Instead of using Phelps as an argument for more imprisonment in the land-of-the-free AND the criminal, perhaps we can use this to come to terms with the fact that there is no reason, other than our puritanical views, to not legalize this substance.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

something for everyone

This morning I awoke with a start saying the words, "something for everyone." Huh? Something for everyone? What could that mean? The previous evening I'd watched an episode of 24 (2:00 to 3:00 pm) just before retiring, apparently forgetting that the week before the 1:00 to 2:00 pm episode of 24 had given me a nightmare that included at least one child abduction, torture, gunplay, and a broken leg. Somehow I don't think 24 is something for everyone.

And then I remembered. I'd forgotten to participate in the free Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast from 6-10 am. Life if full of choices and sometimes we just can't get to them all, even if they are for everyone.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

top this: presidential pup redemption

A friend brought me a pack of topps® Obama trading cards which, considering that everything, and I do mean everything seems to be branded with Obama's image, is only unique in that these cards are the inaugural edition. I'm guessing that if things work out for Topps®, then there might even be a second, Presidential edition.

We love trading cards. But they seem to have to expanded into all realms of popular culture. I remember as we were preparing to invaded Iraq, a well-place mole from the Bush administration must have talked someone at Topps° into introducing Freedom Cards. These were a series of cards about top Bush Administration officials and high-ranking members of the military. Government propaganda designed to appeal to 13-year teenage boys and repressed Republicans (how do you tell them apart?). There was no card of Bush with a puppy in this deck but there was one of 43 in a flight suit looking stern.

The Topps® Obama cards have some super secret cards inserted, including a high school basketball card (I wonder if they photo-shopped a 44 on his jersey) and a presidential pup redemption card. The pup card is the hardest card of all to get (odds are 1 in 384) and its existence begs the question? What the hell is presidential pup redemption? Find the card, get a free puppy? Find the card and you can take it to the White House for free entry for you and your puppy? A certificate to have your dog spayed or neutered? A free rabies and distemper vaccine?

The most bizzare set of trading ever given to me was a deck of Kennedy Assassination cards. These included Never before released autospy images! and for obvious reasons, were difficult to trade if not to even examine.

Monday, February 2, 2009

stupendous stupor

My only comment about the game is that Bruce should take his own advice, "you gotta get out while you're young"

logo by felix sockwell via the nytimes

Sunday, February 1, 2009

poem for stupor bowl sunday

After working sixty hours again for what reason

by Bob Hicok

The best job I had was moving a stone
from one side of the road to the other.
This required a permit which required
a bribe. The bribe took all my salary.
Yet because I hadn’t finished the job
I had no salary, and to pay the bribe
I took a job moving the stone
the other way. Because the official
wanted his bribe, he gave me a permit
for the second job. When I pointed out
that the work would be best completed
if I did nothing, he complimented
my brain and wrote a letter
to my employer suggesting promotion
on stationery bearing the wings
of a raptor spread in flight
over a mountain smaller than the bird.

Read the rest @:
the poetry foundation

say no to daschle

m.o.i. really thinks that if we're serious about change then we have to stop allowing powerful people, who engage in criminal activity, off the hook and letting them succeed to even more powerful positions in the government. I'm talking about Timothy Geithner, recently confirmed as Treasury Secretary, and Tom Daschle, who is nominated for a cabinet position, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Come on, F these people Obama. How can your administration send a message to the American people that things are different if initial members of your adminstration are corrupt? Let's play tough Chicago politics and cut our losses now. Say no to Tom Daschle.

barack obama's e-dress

I have Biggie O's e-dress; I just can't share it with you. Now I just need a Blackberry.
Note: image blurred for obvious reasons.