Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clara Bow Was Born Too Soon

Friday, March 26, 2010

OMG We're All Gonna Die!

Trying to get in the spirit of the times.



It's gotten so bad, Keith Moon is in the Stones now.

I've taken your best shot now. Still here. No, not here; there, actually. You can sleep in the ratty little midden you've fashioned out of tatterdemalion text. But you get the idea. You're going to have to up your game. Even if you do, for me and Churchill it's always been: In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity.

Churchill and Lieber and Stoller, I mean.




Self, I says...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Son Invented President Math

Well, I guess he did. I never heard of it.

OK, quick: Who's U.S. Grant minus John Quincy Adams? My six-year-old can tell you. We were somewhat flummoxed the first time he asked us. He waited, patiently, and finally offered: That's hard, it's OK, I'll tell you.



BTW, it's Zachary Taylor. I had to look it up.

(Update: Oh dear savior. For a lark, I just asked him who James Madison times James Madison is. He didn't even hesitate or stop playing X-Box: Abe Lincoln. He rattled off a half dozen more answers multiplying one President by another to yield a third. I'm going back to the hospital right now to demand they give me the correct baby)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hey, Wanna Come Over My House And Listen To Parliament Records?

Learnification without representation in the Funkadelic Parliament is tyrannyasaurus rex. So represent. And bring your drums.



Dennis Chambers and Gary Grainger on bass.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

(Revisiting) A Littel History

I have a long and illustrious pedigree. Interestingly, furniture and mixed metaphors are woven throughout the warp and woof of my family tree like a tunnel left by a powder post beetle.

The earliest recollection of family goes back to 1736, when the local lord, a certain A. A. A. D'Artagnan Umslopagaas Dynamite Macaulay, took a decided interest in my Irish ancestor Brutus Sippican's bodger business. He was egged on, no doubt, by Brutus' wife, Fanny, who was described by the local constabulary as "comely of visage, and a real goer." It is said that she would tout Brutus' abilities in the making of his innovative "Two Legged Stoole," and was unstinting in her efforts to attract potential buyers from far and wide, especially when Brutus was out gathering wood.

Not much is known of Brutus himself; but according to court documents he was called on urgent business to a British town called Newgate, and liked it so much he decided to take up permanent residence there. Mr. Macaulay kindly offered to look after Fanny, and it is said that Brutus' youngest bairn, raised in the lap of luxury at the Macaulay estate, was so happy with his new accommodations that he began to favor his step-father even in his physical appearance.

After a time, old A.A.A. seemed captivated by the young lad's proclivity for daubing interesting things on the walls, and legally had the boy's name changed to Mene Mene Tekel Upharson Sippican, and turned him out of doors and bade him to make his fortune in the manual arts, though the boy was only three. We Sippicans are a doughty lot, and often make our way in the world early in life.

Mene Mene made his way to London, where he was a great hit. He was trained in the classical manner in an alley, and found many deep-pocketed patrons for his talents, especially on race day when people were crowded very closely together at the rail. Mene is said to have grown forlorn after a time, and was so stricken with longing for his long lost father that he followed him to Newgate and decided to "hang" there as well, to use the amusing vernacular of the time.

But before Mene left, he too had a son to carry on the line. Little Belvoir Sippican was born into straitened circumstances, but like all our line, soon learned to look after himself. He is the first of our line to make his way to the Americas, although his name did not appear on the register of any ship for some reason. Like many of our clan, he liked to keep an unostentatious profile. He was a gifted storyteller, and is said to have regaled many of his former British Isle compatriots with uproarious and detailed yarns about a certain G. Washington.

Various locals took umbrage at the silver-tongued devil's ability to entertain his audiences, and Belvoir was chased from the burgs of New York due to such jealousies. He decided to make his way to Canada to make his fortune, which he no doubt would have done had he not succumbed to injuries suffered in an unfortunate mumblety-peg incident in Boston.

But the Sippicans are nothing if not lucky, and Belvoir was able to find a woman willing to carry on the line, who in an astonishing coincidence was married to the fellow old Belvoir was playing that exuberant game of mumblety-peg with. Cassandra seemed put off by her husband's behavior and left him to raise little Cyrus Sippican on her own. Cassandra was a proud woman, and considered a style setter in each of the numerous towns she inhabited. She seems to have started the craze of wearing letters on your outerclothes as a fashion statement, a practice still in vogue among American footballers to this day.

Cyrus grew up and was said to be a giant among men. He made his way out in the landscape as a wrassler, sometimes against other humans. His signature move, the eye-gouge, is still popular in modern wrestling circles as well as daycare centers.

Here the trail goes cold a bit, although you can espy Cyrus painted into the bottom left corner of a Thomas Cole landscape painting, bothering a bear for the amusement of a gathering of Mohican Indians who were Cyrus' trading partners. The painting, though one of the finest of the Hudson River School, is too indistinct to determine what business Cyrus had with the Indians. He is reported to have purchased large quantities of corks in New York, so he may have been teaching the tribe how to fish using a bobber. We can only conjecture.

Cyrus lived to a ripe old age, and after his death, his son Archie Sippican made his way east once more. He is rumored to have been employed mowing the lawn at Thoreau's Walden Pond cabin allowing Hank, as Archie called him, more time to write. Various items that formerly belonged to Mr. Thoreau have been handed down in our family for generations; we are planning to read the book some time in the future as well.

The trail goes cold for a bit again, but Archie's peripatations led him to Chicago, where he was reported to be talking excitedly to the fellow that shot William McKinley just moments before the dreadful deed; but apparently the Sippican silver tongue was not enough to dissuade the gentlemen.

Archie's bairn Cuthbert was said to have what sounds like some sort of door to door cutlery sales business, and traveled widely and quickly around the midwest. The exact nature of the business is unknown; but there are many references to families throughout the great midsection of our land counting their spoons after a successful visit by old Cuthbert.

Cuthbert had a brother, who was apparently both some sort of doctor and a convert to evanglicalism. He is said to have been very handsome and popular, and traveled widely throughout the south, and went by the unusual moniker of Positive Wasserman Sippican.

The Sippican line's Irish-Catholic roots asserted themselves again later in the twentieth century, when my own father, Cuthbert's grandson Zoltan Sippican, was testifying in court about some matter or another. When asked: "Occupation of Father?" young Zoltan answered: "I think he's taken the Holy Orders, your honor." "Why is that, son?" asked the judge. Zoltan replied that he was told that every time Archie was brought before a magistrate and asked his occupation, he was famous for answering: "Nun."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hitler! There Was A Painter For You !

Peter Sellers being interviewed by a man wearing a motorcycle helmet made from his own hair.



I got the impression after a while of a Chihuahua asking questions of a leopard with a rumbling tummy.



I'm searching my mind for someone contemporary that you could point a camera at for this length of time without getting boring. A bit of the old shampoo...



I can't imagine Sellers kept a pistol around the house. I can see temptation scrolling past the back of his eyes at all times.



How my father loved Peter Sellers. I miss them both.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Five Second Films

A man's gotta know his limitations. Five seconds to be funny or get out.



(Mildly vulgar here and there with some salty language)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Hopeless cartoonish drippy hippie drivel:



Marvelous beefy possessed channeling of life's most profound longing:



Either way, John Sebastian gets paid, so I imagine he's ambivalent about the whole thing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Apparently Some Poor Benighted Souls Watch American Idol And Think They're Listening To Real Music



We shall not mock them; it's too cruel to add insult to injury. Perhaps it would be unwise to expose them to Little Donnie Pitts. They might do anything when they are disoriented, panicked, cornered, and unable to vote to make the non-cruise-ship-wedding-band-vocalist stop.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rag Man Update

Sippican the Rag Man, and its progenitor, Building a House With Found Materials continue to attract attention. It's apt, I suppose, that everyone's picking through my pixel trash looking for treasure, and likely finding little of value. Oh well, I get to recycle words, and make a table leg instead of type, too. If you're not a raccoon with your fingers in your ears chanting LaLaLaLa I can't hear you, the information's not all that hard to come by. Let's recycle news stories!
  • Only 30 percent of paper, plastic, and cardboard that arrives at the Friedman recycling plant in east El Paso is actually recyclable, according to Ismael Barrera, manager of the Friedman Recycling Plant. This means that only about a third of all trash slated for recycling is actually being reused. “The rest is sent to landfills...”

  • Around 240,000 tons of paper, glass and plastic is either dumped or burned after being collected in green bins and bags by local council staff, according to the Local Government Association, which represents town halls across the country. However, the true amount could be much higher as only around half of local authorities submitted their data.

  • But at the transfer station off North Lincoln Avenue, things aren’t so clear. There, an Allied employee states that co-mingled recyclables are dumped in a special area and taken away “to a place not around here” where the items are sorted and then sold. When asked exactly where this sorting takes place, the employee, who claims to have been with Allied Waste (or earlier manifestations) for over twenty five years, tells me he is "not sure where it goes."

  • Lt. Patrick Jones of the Tiverton Police said Tuesday that the missing sculpture has an estimated value of $30,000. The police have contacted area scrap-metal companies in case someone tries to sell it for scrap.




  • Fall River police say their city is the latest to be hit with a growing problem across the country - manhole covers and sewer grates stolen from streets for money.


  • From January 1 to March 31, 2008, there were 678 metal thefts reported in Indianapolis. This averages out to about 226 per month or about 7 metal thefts each day. Residences accounted for just over half of the crimes. Another 17 percent were automobiles (catalytic converters mostly). Interestingly, churches have been victimized enough to merit their own category.

  • The old “city dump” is illegal in the United States. Landfills must meet stringent Federal requirements for the safe entombment of waste. The landfill must be placed away from environmentally sensitive areas. The landfill must be properly engineered and prepared to receive and hold waste. The waste is compacted and covered daily to reduce odor, control vermin, and protect public health. The landfill must be monitored for liquid leakage and gaseous emissions and provisions made to capture and treat any effluents or gases.

  • Yet another sad and unexpected effect of the current economic conditions: recyclables losing their value. Cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals are piling up across the country as recycling contractors fail to find buyers who will purchase the materials at a fair price. This slump in the scrap market means that many of those recyclables will end up in the landfill instead of getting new life as car parts, book covers and boxes.

This grows monotonous. Let me Google that for you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sippican The Rag Man


An older post of mine, Building A House With Found Materials, is still getting some attention. Commenter Amy Alkon asked the question:
Very interesting post. I was wondering, though, about the shocking remark about all trash, recycle-binned or not, going into the same landfill. I'm not informed about this -- just Googled it, and came up with some sites saying that is a myth; this one, for example: RecycleRaccoon. I'd just like to know the truth. Maybe it's true in some places, not in others?
Amy's name sounded familiar, but I could not place it. If you click on her name, she has quite a little opinion empire going that does not appear to have suffered any from my unfamiliarity with it. Amy is pleasant and her question merits an answer. (Walter Olson of Overlawyered has also linked to it today.)

Here's what I said:
I've done more recycling than forty-five Ed Begleys, so I'll clue you in on a little secret: after you sort through your trash like a raccoon and put it on the curb to try to resurrect Bambi's mom through clean living, it all gets thrown in a landfill when you're not looking. It's a kabuki theater, not a real process.
I see now that I was very inexact in that sentence. "All" recycled stuff is not landfilled, but an enormous portion of it is, and it is "all" thrown in together after they make you sort it out. And of course, it might get incinerated instead of buried, but the point stands. According to the video I'll post at the end of today's drivel, the New York Department of Sanitation says 40 percent of what you sort for recycling ends up all dumped together in the landfill. I suspect it's way more than that now, because in the current economic climate coupled with high gas prices, the price of collecting and hauling all that trash around has skyrocketed, and the price for the raw materials they would yield has plummeted. As I said, metal and a few other things are worth recycling. The rest is nonsense, and not just unproductive, but counterproductive.

It was amusing that Amy's link identifies themself as Recycle Raccoon, making my comment about picking through your trash like a raccoon all that much more trenchant, if I do say so myself. And then they go right along and re-describe the Kabuki theater of recycling I'd described, and blithely says that since the man in the trash clowncar picking up his recycling doesn't mix it all together right there on the curb, and doesn't put it in a big truck marked: Bound For A Big Hole In A Pristine Piping Plover Sanctuary, it must be taken somewhere and turned into something useful, thus saving all sorts of money and harp seals and so forth. Mr. or Ms. Raccoon seemed decidedly disinterested in what happens after their trash gets to the recycling center. Out of sight, and out of your mind.
Once the little trucks are full, they meet in a central location and sort the materials into the larger ‘mother trucks’. One big truck is filled with ONLY garbage and goes to the landfill. The other truck is filled with ONLY recyclables and comes to the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility). This large truck is divided down the middle: one side is filled with paper and the other side is filled with commingled recyclables (plastic #1 & plastic #2 bottles and jugs, aluminum cans, glass jars, and steel or tin cans).
Well, only is written ONLY, so I guess that settles it. What you're going to get from the recycling cult is right there in the first sentence:
Recycling makes sense both economically and environmentally.
Back when college graduates could still operate an apostrophe, that sentence would have been obvious to anyone as petitio principii : begging the question. That which is to be proved is explicitly assumed to be true already. Little elves don't come to the MRF at night and knit all that stuff into a daisy chain for Gaia after you leave. It has to go somewhere. And more often than not, unless you pay an enormous premium with your tax dollars for someone to take it off your hands, it will eventually be thrown all in together in a hole in the ground. Either that or the MRF, or any of the other giddy acronyms these facilities are prone to, will be abandoned as uneconomic and will become Superfund cleanup sites. Sorry if telling you that bums you out, but don't kill me, I'm just the piano player.

You see, when I said I'd recycled more than all those Ed Begleys, I meant it. I do not mean it as an appeal to superior credentials, but I've been a Division Manager for a large Environmental and Construction company before. We built landfills occasionally, so I knew for a fact that the recycling maven in the upcoming video was full of unrecycled merde when he says a landfill is just a hole in the ground with a 1/16" diaper in the bottom, well before Penn and Teller visited one and disproved it. And me and all the dozens of employees that worked for me, including a few environmental scientists, had all sorts of training and the resultant credentials to handle all sorts of waste. I've had hardcore RCRA training. I doubt anyone else I've mentioned has. And I've had profit and loss responsibility for the safe disposal of beaucoup tonnage of wood, glass, metals, plastics, paper, cardboard, soil, contaminated soil, concrete, bituminous concrete, tile, asbestos, lead, waste oil...

I'm sorry, the Internet is going to run out of pixels if I keep up like this. As I said:
Lots of stuff is worth recycling. It's very simple: if someone will pay you to take it, or at the very least defray the cost of disposal with the value of the material, it's worth recycling. Almost all metals fall into this category, for instance. No fair cheating with government funds.
I'll give you an experiment you can try at home, whether you're a raccoon or not. Strip the aluminum siding off your house, or the copper wiring, or steal a few manhole covers, or rip out all your copper plumbing, or cut all the steel fenders off your Prius. Go to the Yellow Pages and find a scrapyard and go there. They will weigh those items on a big scale for you. You don't even have to get out of your now fenderless vehicle. They'll weigh your vehicle coming in and out and calculate the difference. They will count money in your hand, because that stuff is worth money.

Now bundle up your newspapers from the last thirty years, or all your milk jugs, or all your coffee grinds, or whatever floats your boat. Now I want you to start driving from recycling center to recycling center, paper mill to paper mill -- all those places you currently imagine are just dying to get your assorted sorted stuff -- and try to find someone that won't charge you to accept it.

No matter how many years it takes, call me from whatever landfill you're at when you finally give up and pay to dump it. And then take my advice and simply stop wasting stuff, including time and money -- especially other people's time and money.

Anyway, Penn and Teller actually have a much more amusing (if more strident than I like) take on the question. They're prone to some salty language, so be warned:



[Ragman Update here]

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Musical Ruminations Engendered By The Sighting Of A Shirtless Juggalo Hitchhiking In Western Maine



(I'm a) Shirtless Juggalo, and everywhere I go,
People see my man-boobs swayin'
Moshing every dance, wearing cargo pants
Oooh - Faygo sprayin'

There will come a day, ICP will pass away,
What will they say about me?
When the end comes I know, I'm a shirtless juggalo
Whoop whoop on, without me

Chorus:

('cause) I ain't got no Goth chick, no Goth chick,
No Goth chick, cares for me,
No Clown chick, no Punk chick
I'm emo and lonely, emo and lonely, emo and lonely
Won't some sweet Juggalette come and take a chance with me?
I need a ride bad.

(much, much more along these lines, which I will mercifully spare you)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Now, Wait Just A Chicken Pluckin' Minute



Still trying to recover from seeing Chet Atkins with a Telecaster hanging around his neck. Well, that; and Jerry Reed's entry in the late-century Elvis seventy-five-percent-chinstrap sideburn contest.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Happy Birthday David Niven!

March 1st, 1910 - July 29th 1983. No one in Hollywood will ever have as many engaging stories told about their lives. When you share a house with Errol Flynn and call it Cirrhosis-by-the-Sea, I imagine they'd pile up pretty quick.

Niven quit the movies to re-enlist in the British army and fight in WWII. He thought it was in bad taste to recount stories about the war, but like all raconteurs, people endlessly told stories about him.

  • About to lead his men into action, Niven eased their nervousness by telling them, "Look, you chaps only have to do this once. But I'll have to do it all over again in Hollywood with Errol Flynn!" Asked by suspicious American sentries during the Battle of the Bulge who had won the World Series in 1943, he answered "Haven't the foggiest idea . . . But I did co-star with Ginger Rogers in Bachelor Mother!" (link)

More babes than a maternity ward. Let's party with David Niven! Bonus Max Raabe soundtrack.