Friday, August 29, 2008

The Answer, As Promised

Tragically, each of the people shown in the photograph 2 posts below have accidentally killed someone.

Most of the deaths resulted from auto accidents. Laura Bush ran a stop sign and hit a car driven by (reportedly) her ex-boyfriend. August Busch IV's female passenger was ejected from the open sunroof of his Corvette during a crash. Rebecca Gayheart swerved around two slow-moving vehicles in a residential neighborhood, killing an elementary school-aged boy. She was talking on her cell phone at the time.

Statesman and two-time Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson accidentally shot and killed a 16 year old girl while demonstrating his military drill squad moves.

The weirdest incident happened to Stefan Edberg. As a junior tennis player at the U.S. Open in New York, Edberg accidentally struck a linesman in the groin. The linesman fell to the ground, hitting his head, and died later in the hospital. Game, set, match.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Speech

With expectations at least a mile high, Barak Obama delivered an unspectacular speech in Denver Thursday night.

Obama has a reputation as a top-notch speaker capable of soaring rhetoric, but this speech rambled and failed to establish a clear, succinct theme.

Perhaps he overreached. The stadium setting was too large. The important thing was that his acceptance speech play well on television, not in a football stadium. His critique of corporate American greed was blunted by the large "Invesco Field" signs above the podium. His pacing was disturbed by the applause lines. He spoke too specifically when we wanted a speech with lofty concepts, worthy of etching in stone.

We expected nothing less than MLK's "I Have A Dream." In reality, he didn't even approach Jesse Jackson's 1988 speech to the Democratic convention.

Still, he confirmed his position as a thoughtful, tough leader, and we couldn't help but be amazed that this gifted man has achieved so much, starting with so little. He stands in stark contrast to George Bush, who, as Anne Richards famously noted, was born on third base thinking he hit a triple, or even John McCain, the son of an admiral who was the son of an admiral, and married his way into wealth and privilege.

One can only hope that African-Americans, seeing this man stand before his country not because of his athletic prowess or musical abilities, but rather, for his intellect and political skills, will take part in this important election in November. They alone can sway the vote. If they vote.

What Do These People All Have In Common?

The answer is SHOCKING.

Tune in tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Serious Sense of Style

Music legend Lou Adler is the cool looking dude you see seated next to Jack Nicholson at Lakers games.

He's cultivated a personal style that's tailored, yet casual, and youthful while still age-appropriate. He wears very little color (usually a no-no for septuagenarians) except for his tinted shades, or the occasional chartreuse shirt.

Let's get him to judge a Project Runaway challenge!

Incidentally, he was once married to Shelley Fabares. He's now married to Daryl Hannah's sister, Page. He's the composer of the Sam Cooke/Dr. Hook classic, "Only Sixteen." He produced Jan & Dean, The Mamas & The Papas and Carole King, among others.

Will Ferrell as Gerard Butler as The Phantom (and the Question of Artistic Sacrilege)

This short clip from "The Late Show with David Letterman" finds Will Ferrell performing/butchering Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Music of the Night."

[Background: Ferrell and Letterman were discussing "stunt casting" on Broadway and the West End; Ferrell then noted that he had been recently cast as The Phantom.]

It's fairly evident that Ferrell has some real natural singing ability.

Interestingly, several comments express a sense of sacrilege:

• Being the huge Phantom Phan that I am, I enjoyed this. It seemed as though he was mocking Phantom a little but like I said it was still funny (as long as he wasn't putting down Phantom)
• i dont find this funny he totally ruined an amazing song!
• he's funny but he just mess-ed up one of my fav. movie and one of the best song ever...
• I hate it! It completely mocks Michael Crawford and All others who could sing the song, Music of The Night.
• This is INSULTING.... but vaguely funny....
• Ouch. Clearly trying to imitate Michael Crawford and failing mize-- MISERABLY. It... kind of hurts...
• he is surprisingly a good singer but i cant beleive he murder music of the night it is like my second fave song
• Normally...I would be highly offended and wouldn't even have watched this. But uh...I guess I'll give in because it's Will Ferrel. That was funny. But I LOVE the Phantom. He's mine.
• HE RUINED THE SONG!!!! i mean yah its SORTA funny, but still! he ruined the dang song!!
• ...this brings a bad name to Erik... but still kinda funny

Essay question: is there such a thing as artistic sacrilege? That is to say, when an artist creates something of sublime emotional resonance, is it "wrong" to poke fun at their work?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Frat Boy-In-Chief

Is it any wonder the United States:

• Is currently embroiled in two unwinnable wars?
• Has lost prestige across the world?
• Is in the midst of a housing meltdown?
• Is $10 trillion in debt?

A Brave Woman

Christina Applegate has revealed she underwent a double mastectomy after her breast cancer diagnosis.

Though the cancer was isolated to one breast, she opted to go "radical."

For any woman, this must be a harrowing decision. Since the dawn of time, breasts have been a symbol of fertility, sexuality, and femininity itself. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she has to grapple with these complications as she fights for her life.

Applegate, who rose to fame as a nubile sex symbol on "Married With Children," made a tough, brave decision that may ultimately inspire many other women extend their own lives.

Do breasts make a woman a "woman?" Absolutely not.

Get well, Christina, and may you have a long and healthy life!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cool Album Covers of the Sixties - "This Time By Basie"

This 1963 collage-style cover doesn't look the least bit dated. It's spontaneous and ramshackle, just like Count Basie.

The designer of this cover didn't have Photoshop either. This was all put together by hand, and it shows.

Cool Album Covers of the Fifties - "Blue Tango"

Leroy Anderson wasn't particularly photogenic. The designer of this cover used an unexpected crop, lots of white space, elegantly small type and a fun illustration to sell this album.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Ya gotta love the all-American small town scene juxtaposed with "The Last Tango In Paris" marquee, a semi-notorious X-rated art film starring a middle-aged Marlon Brando.

Photo taken at Vineland Shopping Center, Vineland, NJ 1973.

My family used to shop at a Pantry Pride grocery store in Baltimore. The store is long-defunct.

The signage is pretty over-the-top Googie, too.

What's In Steve Jobs Closet?

Uber-cool Apple honcho Steve Jobs has developed a simple take on business attire:

Monday: Black mock turtleneck; Levi's jeans; New Balance trainers
Tuesday: Black mock turtleneck; Levi's jeans; New Balance trainers
Wednesday: Black mock turtleneck; Levi's jeans; New Balance trainers
Thursday: Black mock turtleneck; Levi's jeans; New Balance trainers
Friday: Black mock turtleneck; Levi's jeans; New Balance trainers

Top American designer Michael Kors has a similar aesthetic.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ode to a Broken Air Conditioner

86 degrees is the temperature at midnight in Oklahoma City.

The A/C at my office has been broken for over a week now.

There's absolutely NOTHING cooling us down except for fans. My studio is in a room without windows. Everyday when I arrive at work, I feel like a beaten man.

This is all coinciding with an intense heat wave in Oklahoma City (luckily, things will start "cooling down" later this week; highs will only be in the mid-90s).

I thought I'd write a poem about it.

Ode to a Broken Air Conditioner

Sweat trickles
down my forehead
smearing the illustration
I struggle to realize

My crotch is not a crotch
But a microclimate
Dank and dire
It is a world that knows not relief.

'Ere, but I shan't complain
Early peoples did not have A/C
Heat was hot
Crotches were damp
Things stank.

Still, I rage
I rage, rage
against the dying of the A/C
And that has made all the difference.

Goetze's Meats

Beautiful advertising sculpture. Or hideous, depending on your take.

To me, beautiful!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Folks, We Have A New #1

Rafa Nadal will indeed usurp Roger Federer and become the #1 tennis player in the world.

Roger has completely lost his way. Nadal has gotten into his brain, and rearranged all the gray matter and ooze, leaving The Fed floating aimlessly, like a ship lost at sea.

Advice for Roger: adopt a belligerent tone. Complain loudly to the chair ump everytime Rafa takes more than 30 seconds between serves. It's kind of a dirty trick, but it just might work!

More advice for Roger: hit the gym, skip the Olympics, and stop wearing the Wimbledon sweater. You look soft and comfortable. You're the best in the world. Don't let a Spaniard wearing white capri pants dominate you!

Advice nugget #3: hang in there and wait for Rafa to self-destruct. The way he plays, he's bound to hurt hisself.