crime to call 999 in England when a prostitute is not as attractive as she was advertised to be, not only is it considered inappropriate to sell 'midget' themed products, not only are two parking spaces in Boston reportedly worth $560,000, but evidently cargo shorts are no longer "in" and haven't been for quite a while. The fashion-makers, willing to humor the trend for a while, have admitted their disdain for the shorts (just as they have done for other articles of clothing that were practical). Why? They have too many pockets. Simple as that.
Pockets inhibit the sleek and tailored look that we seek as fashion-savvy consumers. Pockets commit the crime of interrupting the flow of the image sensitive eye with unsightly bulges. Because, while not evil in themselves, people tend to put things in them. How gauche.
Now that my entire summer wardrobe (from the waist down anyway) has been trashed, it seems to me (and then I'll leave it alone) that if your body is not sleek and tailored to begin with, one should be exempt from the sleek and tailored rule of dressing. Because, and I only say this because I have proven it to be true, if you attempt to place a sleek and tailored item of clothing on a unsleek and untailored body, one is apt to have stuff popping out. Displaced. In fact, there is some spandex out there that, if in close proximity, could theoretically put one's eye out. And I'm not talking about so-called "fat" people per se, although this whole thing about how the fashion industry and certain retail outlets (who will remain nameless) cater to the credo that in order to be cool and beautiful one has to be skinny is pretty ridiculous. I'm talking about people whose only "fault" is that their shape may not conform to other people's idea of ideal. That's where this all stems from, isn't it? I could go on about how large people are taught to dress so that they appear less bulgy but I won't, except to say it will be a champion moment when the stigma of not being the "perfect" body shape was erased from our consciousness and folks were accepted for and allowed to celebrate whatever shape they are. Why, we might see an end to businesses that prey on people's feelings of inadequacy. And that would be a shame, wouldn't it?
But that's not what I wanted to talk about.
Pockets. An illustrious invention that appears in Middle English and is taken from a Norman diminutive of Old French poke, or pouque. Historically, the term "pocket" referred to a pouch worn around the
waist by women in the 17th C. They were so convenient they eventually migrated, as do all good things, to men's fashion (Scottish men are well known for their sporrans). They were more convenient than carrying around a sack (which one had to put down in the mud in order, for instance, to scratch two itchy places at once). Eventually though, as with all things that dangle, the strap on model became a nuisance and a temptation for young thieves running by with sharp knives. Luckily, absent-minded husbands who were forever forgetting to strap on their dangling pockets finally asked for them to be sewn directly into pieces of clothing. Practical. If it's sewn into your pants, chances are you won't forget it, unless of course you forget your pants. In which case you probably shouldn't be leaving the house anyway.
We need pockets. We line our pockets, attempt to have someone in our pocket, have out-of-pocket expenses, look for someone with deep ones and have money burn holes in them. We put hands into them to keep warm and to jingle pocket change while thinking. Pockets are an integral part of our cultural identity. They should be made bigger. We should be wearing pockets that happen to have shorts and pants attached. People would say, "Hey, sharp pockets you have there! Where can I buy pockets like that?"
But no. The fashion police are attempting to banish them because they cause unsightly bulges when people erroneously put stuff into them. And what do they offer in return?
Thought we learned that lesson about 400 years ago.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
|(No nuts were harmed during the making of the above photo.)|
What kind of friend would allow their good name to be used just so anyone in a tight spot would have a easy way to describe how they feel? Take the phrase, "Got my nuts in a vise." People use this expression and everyone instantly makes a face and goes "Ouch!" But it's not like they really mean "nuts", of course. Nuts just allow their moniker to be used. Because they're tough, unlike the body part that they're subbing for. Because, that's just the type of giving personalities they are.
Not in the entire history of mankind has there been a more magnanimous edible than the nut. They physically give of themselves at their moment of ripetitude (new word) for the benefit of humanity – giving up any chance at a higher education, long life and easy retirement to a long term care facility next to a 9-hole mini-putt (with prunes for breakfast and weekly trips to the casino). But that's not all. Nothing is more ounce-for-ounce as accommodating as our nuts.
This feisty seed-fruit does not hesitate to sacrifice its dignity to allow us to label our unfortunately foolish, eccentric, crazy or otherwise sanity-challenged people "nuts", "nutty", "nut bars" or "nut jobs". To be "off your nut" is seen as a temporary thing because evidently you can get back on when you're done being a bit crazy.
What do we affectionately call those silly geeks, info junkies and rabid enthusiasts who spend an inordinate amount of time and energy focused on a particular activity? We call them nuts (with a qualifier) of course; as in sports nut or car nut or those-things-that-people-collect-and-we-don't-know-why nut.
And what is a difficult person to get through to but a tough nut to crack. Why, some folks even yell, "Aw, NUTS!" in times of extreme frustration. Do we yell, "Aw, BEEFSTEAKS" or "Aw POMEGRANATES"? No-o-o-o.
Nuts come prepackaged in natural crash-proof containers. Even some animals who own nutcrackers like them; particularly jays and squirrels – who without acorns would all do the crash diet thing every winter.
And when we yell the celebratory "Nuts to you!" the nuts all cheer. Not only do they have a sense of humor, they're just happy to be included in the conversation, especially liking it when someone informs another, "If they made hats the size of your brain you'd be wearing a peanut shell." And they're proud to be included in the Shakespearean declarations including, "A fusty nut with no kernel" (Troilus and Cressida). Fusty nut. That's just so classy.
These are great little guys, well deserving of our respect.
Let us show our nuts they are loved.
Let's have a declaration and an outpouring of nut love. And a letter from the queen. We'll have a nut party. With nut fudge sundaes. Yeah, that's it... with sprinkles.
"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing." ~ Redd Foxx
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 7:24 AM
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Now, this mystery of the ancient societies can be yours after centuries of hiddendom. In short order you too can maximize its miraculous powers with a little practice. And when you get it right, when you find yourself talking with someone who has "issues", you will be able to just give them the look and they will turn into a quivering mass of jello right before your eyes. All without you having to say a word.
The look is so effective and effortless, it may seem like magic. In some ways it's like having an unfair advantage. But hey, life isn't supposed to be fair. And if the look can help save some critical time for yourself and send a message to the person you're giving it to, why, you might just be doing both of you a service.
Yes, the secrets of ancient societies like the Illuminati, The Group of Seven and The Mickey Mouse Club are now yours to use. Think of the time you'll save and the money you will earn.
For those of you who have difficulty mastering having one eyebrow raise while the other descends, it can take a bit to perfect. When in training, use a mirror but don't look directly into your own eyes or you might accidentally cause your bowels to weaken. I'm planning a two-day workshop next month. It will cover the various uses and accessory mouth and eye positions for extra ommph.
Let me know if you would like to attend and I'll put you on the list.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 6:08 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Back in the day, being invited to "sit a spell" around the General Store potbellied stove was a sign of respect, belonging and acceptance; an invitation made not to prompt the shoveling of hype down people's throats nor to subject listeners to boast after boast. Folks who insisted on doing so were politely thanked and subsequently ignored... or quietly asked to move along. Long silences were common and to be expected; where everyone just stared into the distance watching pipe smoke drift into the rafters and listened to flies buzzing at the windowpanes. Trade was conducted almost as an afterthought and people would come and go as news was shared about families or poly-tishuns. Problems were solved and help was pledged through the dusty light without the need for contracts or handshakes. And as the afternoon pushed on stories were told of days gone by... sometimes time and time again. Either there was a point to the story or there wasn't. Everyone listened just the same. Results were never measured by the number of reposts, shares or likes but with the nod of the head, a simple "Ayuh" or a chuckle and a "reminded-me-of" story of their own.
guardian angel – watching over him. Reassured, Lee lost little sleep after that. It freaked out his little brother for a while though.
Gather 'round. Storytelling is an ancient craft, used for passing along tales, history, culture and information from generation to generation long before the written word existed. It is said that the craft is the most powerful communication tool still today. A story engages us, increases our ability to remember facts and makes it easier to think things through. Plus, it's great fun watching people sit on the edge of their chairs waiting for the story to unfold.
Find yourself politely thanked and subsequently ignored? Perhaps if we're looking for ways of being more effective when we take our chairs around the potbellied stove of the modern world, it might be an idea to take some pointers from days gone by.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 2:53 PM
Friday, May 24, 2013
Doing these made me wonder: what if technology allowed all these messages to be incorporated onto just one shirt that read your energy level and changed as you gained or lost energy during the day? (Sorta like how mood rings worked.) You'd be going along a bit drowsy, showing the "runnin' low" message and then you'd launch into a double espresso or start getting excited about something and your shirt would change to the "soakin' up the juice" message, and so on. It would provide people fair warning of things like when to let you have a nap.
As far as I know the science doesn't exist. A good thing, I suppose, for people who don't consider themselves ruled by either fashion or technology. Although I hear on the news that the Japanese have invented robot dogs that can smell your feet and tell you if you have foot odor. So maybe the know-how to express personal energy levels dynamically on t-shirts is not that far away.
And I got to thinking about how we have grown up in a pop culture where moveable billboards on our chest reveal a bit about who we are, how we think, how we want to think, how with it we are, what team we're rooting for, what beer we drink, what band we'd die for and in some instances how weird we want to be.
It's somewhat remarkable that we human beings would allow our tastes and desires to be defined by what's on our chests. A personal statement born of the "me" generation, I suppose. Perhaps it's an apt form of expression in a world where we sometimes feel we have to hide what's underneath; in our hearts.
Have to go change my socks. Cheers.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Like how the pattern of your Spider Man pajama top shows through your artistically wrinkled dress shirt; the one with the strategically placed armpit stains. There's your possible feelings of embarrassment over having really bad fish breath to consider. One never knows. Maybe it's not rotten fish at all but you may have a very serious disease. That would explain the green bits in your teeth, wouldn't it? It's not yesterday's spinach after all! And maybe you intended for those cowlicks to stand up like that just on the right side your head. After all, maybe it's none of my business if you're trailing toilet paper out the back of your pants.
Personally I think it's extremely clever how you arranged for half your breakfast to be left in your beard. You're obviously saving it in case you get peckish mid-morning. How very frugal of you! Something to be enlivened with the condiments splattered on your tie (a great collection of ketchup, mustard and hot sauce BTW). I have to remind myself that maybe your wife was up all night with a sick child and was grabbing a much needed few minutes of sleep when you got up this morning and you had to get dressed in the dark so that would explain your mismatched socks; one of which is inside out.
You might assume that because I've already mentioned a few things to you in the past, (like maybe how the wet spot in your pants might be solved with the insertion of a simple adult diaper) that I should speak out again. But then again, maybe you won't take it as well this time. Maybe you'll be shattered. Maybe you'll fall to pieces, your family will disown you and you'll end up in the gutter with a friendly chap named Slime sitting beside you, gazing lovingly at the leftover cheese-flavored doodle snacks in your pant cuffs with his one good eye.
But if I do mention something that leads to me saving you, should you need to be saved, maybe I will have finally found a purpose in life. And I'd have you to thank for that. And you can have a new purpose too, if you want. A rejuvenation. People will go, "Wow, you look great! Here's a bunch of money." And then you'll save the world and win the Pulitzer Peace Prize. And I'll be stuck here wondering about the rightfulness of my actions because you've now become an INSUFFERABLE, POMPOUS GIT.
No, I can't do that to you. I like you too much as you are now.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 9:51 AM
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Named Cocaine Katy
Who embroiders all my jeans..."
~ Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
I don't know why I do things sometimes. Nearly forty years ago I threw out an old pair of jeans but before I did I cut off the right butt cheek pocket and I have carted that damned thing around with me ever since. I don't tell you this to infer that when your jeans are dead it's only proper that you should remove its pocket and hold a memorial service where you bow your head and say somber stuff like "It was a good pair of jeans" and sing a hymn or two. I do so as a testament to the fact that I was once as close to being a hippie as you can get without actually being one.
You see, hand embroidery of a butterfly done by a woman on the butt of your jeans is a very hippie-like thing to have happen to you and means you might be very close to actual hippiedom. And back then everyone wanted to be a hippie. 'Cause it was cool. And you got to put two fingers in the air and say "Peace, man" and grow your hair long and get discriminated against because you had long hair and you could sing "Alice's Restaurant" in four part harmony on a city bus without getting busted and scribble peace signs on your jean jacket and stuff like that. And if you were in the right place at the right time there was a period where you got free love. Before that evidently you had to pay for it and after that it became kinda dangerous.
You had your city hippies and you had your country hippies. The city kind went to coffee houses had pictures of Che Guevara on their walls, wore bell bottoms, sandals and tie dye shirts with love beads and patchouli oil, maybe worked at record stores where they were cooler than their customers and said "far out" a lot. And the country hippies maybe were originally from the city but left and went to the country in their VW vans where they joined communes, played Dylan songs around wood stoves, did farming, talked to animals, wrote poetry about deep and meaningful things like the evils of society, made tea out of strange plants and maps for the county where they left off their location so others couldn't find them. But that's another story.
I don't mean to make fun of the hippie culture. Well, okay, I do. But in fact; it introduced a lot of good things to a lot of good people. People who still get a pang when they hear Scott McKenzie's "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..." or the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band..." If you look past the heavily hyped psychedelic, drug-taking, foul-languaged surface that the media would have you see, you'll find the basic precepts of love, peace and brotherhood. The questioning of traditional middle-class values and the embracing of aspects of eastern philosophies prompted a different way of looking at life. One that said it was okay to be the you that you were meant to be and it was okay to be poor and not have a two car garage and it was also okay to love who you love and one that, I'm sure, would be tickled day-glo pink to have a little fun poked at it.
Fate had it that I was too young for Woodstock and too far away from the whole Haight-Ashbury thing so I missed being a real hippie. But this pocket and the fact that a nice woman did it for me says that maybe there was a little hippie thing in that moment. The good kind.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 11:17 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This pic, taken at a summer concert (year unknown but most likely sometime in the mid-70's and probably at Camp Fortune) that I hand tinted in the old fashioned way, is of Jesse Winchester, a song writer and singer and conscientious objector back in the days when people found it necessary to come up to Canada from the States to avoid conscription into the U.S. military. Memphis born and raised, Jimmy Carter gave him a pass in the late seventies and sometime later he moved back home. He's an amazingly modest, plain-spoken man. And during an interview when asked about whether he had any success collaborating on songwriting, he said he spends most of his time writing mistakes before anything good happens and it's hard to share that process with others. His workday begins and sometimes the Muse shows up and sometimes it doesn't.
Which, of course, got me started thinking about Muses. Wikipedia gives this information regarding the phenomenon: The Muses are nine goddesses in Greek mythology who control and symbolize nine types of art known to Ancient Greece, and are associated with artistic inspiration. This is not to be confused with other meanings for MUSE (one of which is an English rock band and another is a brand name for Prostaglandin E1, an erectile dysfunction treatment... which I suppose is yet another incarnation of inspiration).
Ray Bradbury once wrote, “To feed your Muse, then, you should always have been hungry about life since you were a child. If not, it is a little late to start.” Which sort of puts the kibosh on the assortment of "How to Summon Your Inner Muse" coaching sites out there. The writers and artists who have an inkling of what creative inspiration is all about, all seem to agree that you can't summon a Muse. You just have to be there when it decides to show up. And she is a fickle character who will grace one person and then leave without warning to favor another. Author John Updike once wrote, “I would especially like to recourt the Muse of poetry, who ran off with the mailman four years ago, and drops me only a scribbled postcard from time to time.”
If you recognize the role or the influence of the Muse in creative work, or if you've ever been lucky enough to have the magic happen to you... after hours, even years... for no special rhyme or reason – you're apt to give the creative Muse her due. There is no formula, no spell to recite to elicit the adornment of her powers. But once she arrives the effect is remarkable. And the memory of her grace is electric. It's a moment that makes time stand still. Where those who witness the inspiration will forget to breathe for a split second. Or a minute. Or more.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 12:20 PM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
And some people do that. They repeat stuff they hear from other sources, reinforce their importance through recognizing the words of others as their own. These are people who figure they should be greater than they really are. But like everything in life, these would be the minority.
Then there are people who write blogs to keep the wheels turning, to push themselves to learn, to explore, to share something they feel of worth (and not necessarily of monetary value). These are the blogs that don't have advertising, whose content doesn't try to promote their services or those of others, who don't set out to prove how great they are. It isn't their intent to impress. These are the ones you find that try to make a little sense, to share a small thought. These people tell stories, make you laugh, attempt to find some reason in what can be a very unreasonable world at times. Or to poke some fun at the stupid stuff around us.
|Google Analytics - Rand's Place visits to date for the year 2013|
So thanks for visiting. And rest assured, the posts here are not meant to prove I'm anything other than what I am, warts and all. I try to throw around no more weight than can be stuffed into my size tens. Know of other sites that do the same? Feel free to share!
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 9:36 AM
Sunday, May 5, 2013
It was the most important date in Pam's entire life. John was supposed to pick up Pam for their date at seven, but it was going on seven-fifteen and he wasn't there yet. He was never late, she thought. This proved he was secretly seeing Jessica, Pam thought, otherwise why else would he be so late? She paced the floor of her bedroom in her nicest flowered dress, the one with the lace. The one he liked. They had been going to the malt shop and then to the Lakeview Drive-In to see the new Elvis movie, Girls Girls Girls.
Every time she heard a car she raced to her window to see if his red car, the one he loved so much, was coming down Apple Blossom Avenue. The way he always came....
Unbeknownst to Pam, John had been was on his way to Pam's house but nineteen minutes ago, at six-fifty-three, he swerved to avoid hitting a kitten owned by the widow Mrs. Abernathy, who ran the local Welcome Wagon and sang in the church choir beside the hunchbacked Julie Forsythe, whom she'd been secretly in love with since grade school. John's '57 Chevy had left the road, smashed through a wooden barrier and dove over a cliff.
Pam, thinking of John in Jessica's arms, threw herself on her bed and sobbed into her pillow. She was sure her life was over.
Meanwhile, the cold river water at the bottom of the cliff swirled into the car's interior through the broken windshield, rousing John from his unconsciousness. Still in a stupor, he fumbled with the door latch, but the door was jammed. The water rose quickly to his chin and as he took what might be his last breath, he thought of Pam's smile, her warm embrace and of the engagement ring from Liecherstein Jewelers in the pocket of his jacket.
The fins of his beloved Chevy disappeared below the dark, inky waves.
About the visuals: Glass slide mounts provide frames for small, hand-drawn retro romance comic art. Pins glued to the back make them wearable... an old project.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 10:21 AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
If you've been wondering where I've been, I was working on a post about political attack ads. It took me three days of fighting with it to realize I hated it. No matter what I did, how I revised the visual or reworked the copy, it didn't seem to help.
It reminded me of a time a few years ago when a partner in crime and I spent two weeks working on a concept for a full-blown integrated campaign, a direction that was prompted by initial talks we both thought had potential. During the initial stages we both still thought the idea was neat, but the further we got into development the more it became a struggle. Finally we sat across the table, with the pile of mockups spread out on the table in front of us. In almost the same breath we looked at each other and said, "You know what? I don't like this anymore." Turns out we were both sticking with the concept because we both thought the other still loved it. But it became evident to both of us that it didn't work, for much the same reasons. We both sighed in relief and threw everything in the trash. In a few days we had something we both loved. The client loved it too.
So about what I was originally going to post. Sorry. Suffice to say I had nothing good to say about attack ads, and there appears to be no way for me to say that in a way that satisfies me right now. They say that the difference between a good piece and a bad one is that the good one looks like it belongs on the page. And my attack ad piece just didn't. So I chucked the whole thing. Sometimes you have to do that. So in a few hours I put together these playtime billboards for you. They just sort of flowed out.
Now I feel better.
Hope you like 'em.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 3:32 PM
Friday, April 26, 2013
Thoughts and ideas, like blessings, come at us in all sorts of ways and with different kinds of attitudes. Some days you get a crowd and you have to feed and entertain them all; even when they don't agree with each other and you have to jump in to referee. Others come slinking in hoping they won't be noticed. Those we just smile at and let them sulk in the corner. Others are great right off the bat and we celebrate. With balloons. And cake. They like cake. Chocolate. With icing.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 11:48 AM
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Let me just say this: if you have been spending thousands of dollars on therapy in order to find out more about your inner self, you may want to consider spending a few bucks on a book of blank pages and a pen that fits easily in your hand instead. Giving yourself some time to play and letting thoughts be transported from one's brain directly through one's hand onto paper can lead to surprising and highly entertaining things.
But beware. There is a dark side. In fact, doing this can be a dangerous road to travel. Often things will reveal themselves. Things you didn't know existed within you – scary things...
But, of course, I jest. Pick up a pen. Any old paper will do. Loosen those creative spirits within you and let them flow onto the paper. Do it often. You'll feel amazingly refreshed when you're done... and the evidence has been destroyed.
Why are there nice men in white coats at my door?
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 9:44 AM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."My mother used to say, "Enough is enough." She used to say a lot of things actually; some of which I can't include here. But I clearly remember her using the idiom for the same reason I'm thinking of it today. The weather. To be specific – the crappy weather. Of course, it's all part of the natural process of things. Like day becomes night becomes day. I know how things work. Summer begats fall and that begats winter which begats spring and spring begats summer. But I'm thinking we're missing a pretty big begat just about now. Anyone seen the spring into summer thing yet? Because I'm really into begatting that. I'm looking out my window and all I'm seeing is stuff like cold, sideways rain. Squirrels, robins, outdoor patios and crocuses alike are all looking around going, "What's with this pissy weather?"
~ Mark Twain
So. Excuses and crossed legs be damned. Whoever is in charge of nice weather has kept everyone waiting long enough. We need some warm weather begatting done here and if Depends are the answer then I say, take the money from petty cash, get a quicky courier going and tell this whoever they are to get on with their job.
I've got some serious vitamin D soaking up to do.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 7:34 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
we have a here (now)
where we pulse
spreading magic for
flesh and bones
where we cry
where we laugh
where we sigh
fed by the heat
--- in you (too)
a place here now
where the thing is
the beat beat beat
where we pulse
spreading magic for
flesh and bones
where we cry
where we laugh
where we sigh
fed by the heat
--- in you (too)
a place here now
where the thing is
the beat beat beat
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 9:31 AM
Monday, April 15, 2013
This is an official chart, devised from decades of experience and unbiased clinical observation, that portrays both the quality of shittiness and its severity. Position 1 is where you're at if you're lucky. This is a best case scenario where you are experiencing a mere hint of shitty. Position 2 is where you don't want to be. This is a worse case scenario, possibly the result of a series of events. Anywhere else on the spectrum of things you are able to say, "Well, things could be worse."
It's easy to get confused because there are different varieties of shit:
Nasty Shit is the type that seems to be out for you. Either because you've been a dick (karma's revenge) or someone has decided to put a kibosh on your life. Examples: getting thrown in jail for something you didn't do, throwing up that Chablis on your shoes, anything to do with the Kardashians, getting the bird flu when you're allergic to feathers.
Normal Shit is stuff that is basically environmental. It comes with life and is the reason you don't drink the water in Mexico. It's an equal opportunity shit; waiting for you, or the next guy or the one after that; it doesn't care. And you don't have to actually do anything in particular to qualify. Examples: sitting in a highway parking lots, holes in condoms, a booger hanging out of someone's nose, some expert trying to tell you how to run your life uninvited.
Stupid Shit is just the stuff that you know you shouldn't have done, or stuff that someone else should have known better but is done anyway and you have to deal with it. Examples: speeding tickets for anything less than 5 mph over the limit, saying yes when you know you should have said no the moment it comes out of your mouth, someone being lousy to someone, yet another article about that Zuckerberg guy, having to eat brussels sprouts.
Oops Shit has its basis in plain old human fallibility. Mostly harmless, there's still no escaping this type of shit. If you think you're immune, look up "in denial" in the dictionary (or look for your name in the obituaries). Examples: moving a chair and then 5 minutes later stubbing your toe on it, dissing the boss when he or she is within earshot, wearing white after Labor Day, bed head, mismatched socks, food stuck in your teeth, peeing yourself when laughing.
And, of course, there are different levels of severity for each classification. Where an incident falls on the scale is sometimes dependent on how much you're paying attention. For instance, one can be in deep do-do and not know it.
You'll notice there is no place for the lack of shit on this chart. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking this is a possibility. This is science we're talking about. And science doesn't deal in fantasy.
All to say it's not a complete downer thing. After all, even the hardiest of garden flourishes with a bit of fertilizer.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 10:13 AM
Friday, April 12, 2013
Very few times in your life you might meet someone whose genius takes your face prisoner and to your delight, you find you just can't turn away. Jonathan Winters was such a person: grandmaster of the improv, inspiration to young comedians like Robin Williams and recipient of the 1999 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and sadly gone this week at age 87.
How did it all begin? A few months into his marriage he lost his wristwatch and the couple couldn't afford to get him a new one. His wife, hearing of a local talent show where the first prize was a watch, told him to go down and win it.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 8:15 PM
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
We need this. We have the technology. Someone should get on it.
Note: The 3D Replacement System would not work with living things or body parts. Inanimate objects only. (Cousin Billy-Bob would not qualify as an inanimate object.)
Okay, so someone get on this okay? I need to retire soon. Call me. We'll work out my end.
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 10:34 AM
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Take the situation in North Korea. Unreal. Here we have a young, twenty-something leader who just took over the store from his dad.
Kim Jong-un was appointed Great Successor following his father's death in 2011. He can't be called President because his late grandfather will hold that title forever more. And Supreme Leader is reportedly out because his late father has that one sewn up for eternity. Still, you'd think Great Successor would be enough. But according to the Christian Science Monitor, he also got Marshal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, First Chairman of the National Defense Commission, First secretary of the Worker's Party, Chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, Member of the Presidium of the Party's Political Bureau and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army added to his job description. Appears to be over the top with the titles thing, but what do I know? It may be a quaint cultural tradition. If that's all it was, no problem. But he also exhibits several peaks of concern on the weirdness meter.
First, there's the issue of why everything about him is a big secret. Kim Jong-un's whole life is a mystery – he refuses to tell anyone his age, his date of birth, or the fact he's been married for a while to a bombshell, ex-cheerleader, Ri Sol-ju – like what dude wouldn't let the whole world know about a catch like that? And the couple may have given birth to a little girl, a speculation that followed a sudden loss of weight by Ri Sol-ju. Wouldn't you be proud to let folks know you became a father? Like, okay, maybe it's none of our business. But still, where's the harm in showing a little love? And about the rumors that he underwent plastic surgery look more like his grandfather? Really. Maybe he has a negative body image. He remains plump in a country where a third of its population is suffering chronic malnutrition. But hey, maybe it's a gland thing. Something that can only be helped by the installment of a delux spa (which, when you're into late nights with all-girl '80's disco bands, also helps with hangovers from drinking and partying all night).
So what if he has a propensity for American basketball? What's so wrong with that? What's wrong with growing up like many kids, loving Michael Jordon and Nike sneakers? So what if he hangs out with Dennis Rodman? Lots of people have strange friends. Especially rich kids. He's a young guy educated in Sweden, who was reportedly socially awkward, living off the riches possibly siphoned from aid to his country. And to have Dennis tell Obama to give him a call? For what? Obama's folks must have told him by now he shouldn't play with the kid.
Then, there's the thing about his control issues. Jongie hates not to be in control. Of everything. He appears to get off on intimidating others; traveling around with a gang of generals and officials whenever he leaves the house. Plus, he's bossy: having citizens in the thousands either stand and simultaneously pump their fists in the air at the ugly American Imperialists or face the possibility of being banished to political concentration camps. And if he can't control you he calls you names; recently referring to America as a "boiled pumpkin" unable to withstand the military might of North Korea. Boiled pumpkin? Now that's mature. Our children can take a good lesson from that.
But I guess what is most alarming is his obstinate behavior. From what I can see he has quite the temper. His petulance is like a child venting over not being able to fill up the cart with candy in a grocery store. Except his tantrums come with threats of nuclear bombs. Even after being warned by his friends, his armed forces successfully conducted a "high-level" nuclear test. Then he gave orders to restart a reactor apparently to develop nuclear arms. So people will be afraid of him and either he'll get what he wants or he'll hurt someone. Even his best friend, China, has been telling him to chill. Still, this guy seems to think that if he is mean enough and acts tough enough that will guarantee his survival and get his country aid. Handouts that he can call a 'victory' over his enemies and proof of his party's superiority. Seems like a nasty way of going about getting help for his folks. One would be forgiven for constantly wondering how or why he is going to strike out next. Like a schoolyard bully.
This is a guy from which theoretically we are supposed to be able to teach our children about things like decency and maturity. But it seems more like the type of behavior we tell our children "This is a good example of how not to act." My mother would have something to say to this person, as he lies on his back on the floor of the world's supermarket having a tantrum.
"Clean up in the East Asia food aisle."
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 9:28 AM
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Several very smart people have tried to devise a method of measuring levels of creativity in people, called the Creative Quotient, with no real success. It may be they were just trying to be too intelligent about it. Certainly not a problem here...
Maybe we can only measure our creativity in relation to other things. The Creative Value Quotient (CVQ), takes into account how we've made our way to wherever we are and to what extent what you are good at overlaps with what the world thinks is good. This overlap, for lack of a better phrase, is called what you are good for. It speaks to the product of your creativity and how that relates to the real world. Everything is variable. What is of value to you and the world today may not be tomorrow. Add in the fact that everyone is different and pitfalls for some are nirvana to others and you'll see why an intelligent system of measurement is bound to fall short. The genius of CVQ measurement is that the value of your measurement is simply what it means to you. Not to others. And if the results are surprising or you don't like where your pin is stuck on the chart, then that gives you the reference metric to change that. Or not. It's very much a zen-like thing.
The results from this tool are interesting and equanimous. Because there is no bad or good. Some are very happy doing what we are good at with absolutely no consideration given to how much it fits in with societal values. Others feel the need to contribute to the extent we end up not doing what we are really good at but something else that is of value to others. Like a music composer who writes website code for a living. Or an artist who teaches children with difficulties to paint. There's no losers here. Just an awareness of stuff no one else would bother thinking about. Because that's what creative people do.
So there you go. Devise your own CVQ. Then, if someone asks you what you're good for you can whip out the printout and show them. Then you can serve tea. And eat cookies. And be friends. And write naughty limericks together... or watch cartoons...
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The gates are closed tight and triple shackled with (anti-snap, anti-bump, anti-drill, anti-extraction and anti-pick) locks and fortified with around the clock state-of-the-art electronics that are set to alert the long arm of the law at the first sign of trespass. But traditional wisdom holds that warning signs are required; as if they were a critical element in a comprehensive process of keeping the unauthorized at bay.
Warnings are perplexing things. So of course I felt it my duty to do an extensive, detailed, highly scientific investigation in my mind.
Types of Warnings
There are 7 different types of warnings: 1) Needed. There are honest, valid warnings of potential danger and impending doom. These include shouts like "Watch out for that falling piano that you're standing under because you're about to get squashed" (often shortened to "Watch out!") 2) Vain. Some tell only of a sense of self importance meant only to impress – like one posted on a gate or wall that doesn't really hold anything of value but the owner would like people to believe there is. 3) The Bluff. Example: home security protection signs on the front lawn of a premises not actually equipped with home security protection equipment. 4) Granny State. Some warnings are legislated postings, placed in order to inform a seemingly brainless public of common sense advice. 5) Derriere Protection. Warnings meant not for the well being of others but merely to satisfy fears of law suits. 6) Do That and You're Toast! Others are messages delivered in a blowhard fashion – a tough guy message of things to come if certain conditions are not met. A common response to which is often, "Oh yeah? Try it!" or "You and whose army?" And finally, 7) Satirical. There are those postings that are clearly meant as humorous, lighthearted parodies. "Warning! Attack Cat!" and "Danger! This dog has a gun and refuses to take his medication!" signs come to mind.
Types of Warnees
There are three ways people will react to warnings: 1) Adventurers. There are those lurking who would not just ignore warnings but take them as a challenge. They do things just because they're not supposed to. If there hadn't been a warning these lurkers would be happily doing something else. You try to warn them but there they go doing exactly what you warned them not to do. So you stop warning them and then something happens and what do they say? "Why didn't you warn me?"
hieroglyphs of 3500 BCE Egypt. These inscriptions are often symbolic of petulant attitudes, tantamount in nature to a Monty Python taunt and are not, as commonly thought, an expression of their rebellion but perhaps more of a testament to their impotence. 2) Scaredy Cats. Then there are those who are excessively fearful and heed every warning, cringe at every expression of authority. These are the people who need and live for the superfluous posted flotsam of dire comings. Gullible, saucer shaped eyes take in every exclamation mark. Babes; all. Hiding under the covers in fear of life because nothing is without inherent danger. 3) The Indifferent. This describes myself. It's a rare time that I come across a scene and look for warnings that others have left. And when they are there I'll notice but would gladly live without most. I prefer the living in ignorance thing.
Indifference is bliss. It really is. Or not. Then again, who cares?
“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR
G.G., CHIEF OF ORDNANCE”
― Mark Twain
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 11:43 AM
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
"I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am."
― Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”
― Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon
“In front of them was the Square, containing a considerable quantity of inexpensive vegetation, enclosed by a wooden paling, which increased its rural and accessible appearance; and round the corner was the more august precinct of the Fifth Avenue, taking its origin at this point with a spacious and confident air which already marked it for high destinies.”
― Henry James, Washington Square
I had a dream. All the designers in the world and all the people in the world that look at what designers do woke up one morning and agreed that textures are cheesy, drop shadows are to be dropped, ghosting is dead, fancy borders are too confining, and adding a glow to something is like putting lipstick on a pig – in fact, photoshopping anything is crime against nature. This would be a true nightmare for some, but we may be inching closer to it becoming a reality, or at least recognized as the difference between good and amateur design. With all the talk about minimalism and flat design these days it almost seems like you're an axe murderer who hides their mother's walker if you do anything to tart up a design. (The hate-on folks have for skeuomorphism these days is a taste issue, comparable perhaps to catching someone entering a folk festival with a disco ball.)
In the dream I secretly rejoiced that I would never again get a client requesting a day glow, fun fur background for their ad, or a pink faux leather texture for their logo.
I say secretly because one always wants to please but it's hard doing artwork when you're gnashing your teeth...
Posted by Rand MacIvor at 6:32 AM