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Category: Arts and Aesthetics

All things creative. All things beautiful, profound, and moving.

Tasteless in the 50s

I’ve yielded to all the commenters who said I should go ahead and paint my old 1950s kitchen cabinets rather than labor to strip them to bare veneer and varnish them. (See, now if I don’t like the result, it’s your fault.) As I contemplate what colors might go interestingly with pink sparkly formica countertops and faux copper, it occurs to me that the 1950s simply weren’t about good taste. In fact, the whole era was all the more tasteless because it envisioned itself as being so very, very tasteful. Young householders who’d trudged their way through the drear of…

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Stock photo site; ugguly pugguly

Found this picture on a rather cool stock photo site. The photos at Stock.XCHNG are free for most uses (with a very few money-making exceptions) and despite the suspiciously flaky URL (.hu?), the site is owned by reliable old Getty Images. The catch is that they’re amateur photos uploaded by people simply giving their work to the world. That’s cool. But it also means that if you search on “dog” or “cat” you’ll get 50 pages of mostly undistinguished snapshots (albeit in glorious high-resolution) of people’s pets sleeping, grinning, or gazing soulfully up at the camera. Still, sometimes the old…

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Monday miscellany

I know this is last week’s news and it’s already gotten a fair bit of circulation. But I think it’s worth a second read. Or a third: “Warning: Crash dead ahead. Sell. Get liquid. Now.” Paul B. Ferrell. I know that much doom-gloom needs to be taken with a healthy sprinkling of salt. But you do gotta wonder when we’re finally going to teeter over this brink we’ve been wobbling on. “The part of me the Watchers couldn’t see.” Encouraging. And apropos of nothing except a coincidence of wording (and some evils of government), I’m currently re-reading one of my…

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Monday miscellany

A 10-year-old artist’s work is booted from an exhibition. Seems to me the reasons given for removing it are the very reasons it should have stayed. A history of the Raggedy Ann doll. Why care? Well, turns out the story involves some very contemporary-sounding issues about vaccines. Caveat: Three different sources give different accounts (others here and here). The latter is the most dramatic and so much at cross-purposes to the other two that it makes one’s head spin. Or maybe it’s just government spin. Hm. I’ve heard sociopaths sound sound just like this after being caught: trivializing the pain…

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Shah Rukh Khan’s autographed body scans

Ohhhh, I’m waiting for these to show up in a Google image search. Shah Rukh Khan is pretty darned sexy, even in images that don’t show all his … er, endowments. But (unless this claim turns out to be a publicity stunt by the Bollywood star), thanks to airport body scanners — you know, those machines that never, ever, ever preserve images of our nekkid bodies — autographed views of him in his (so he claims) full glory are already floating around in the world, or at least Heathrow Airport. Oh, lucky us, huh? Just think what future stars our…

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My all-time favorite SuperBowl “spot” [vbg]

Okay, here’s one for the lighter side. The only thing I miss about not having TV is great commercials. But with YouTube, no problem. This is my absolute, all-time favorite SuperBowl spot (other than the incomparable “1984”, of course). From 2007, I believe. On the other hand, I never saw this one until this afternoon. But it could really be my second favorite. From SuperBowl 1999 …

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Three great sites

1. The Ultimate Answer to Kings. A few years back, on a forum that was in those days known as The Claire Files, I kept running into this guy. I’d be reading along in some thread. I’d think of a scintillatingly witty reposte … and before I could click to post it … this guy, Joel, would say exactly what I was thinking, only say it better and shorter. The nerve of that man, huh? He’s blogging these days, and his blog is The Ultimate Answer to Kings. When you go there, you can never be quite sure what you’ll…

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Indy-Pindy: The Liberty Mouse

“In a warm little burrow, deep in the ground, a family of mice had a baby. His name was Indy-Pindy.” By the end of the first page of Kent McManigal’s new children’s book, young Indy-Pindy, The Liberty Mouse, has left his comfy burrow and set off, in the grand style of old-fashioned adventures, to make his way in the world. The first creature he meets is a snake who soothingly assures Indy that he doesn’t need that thorn he picked up as a weapon. “I’m here to help you,” smiles sneaky-snaky Gub. And that gives you a pretty good introduction…

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Even kaleidoscope artists are freeing themselves

I’m on a couple of listservs for kaleidoscope builders and collectors. Yes, every tiny interest group has a list these days. In fact, the kaleidoscope world even has its own membership society, which holds regular conventions. As you might guess, it’s been hard times for kaleidoscopes the last few years, as it has for arts and luxuries in general, so the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society has cut its conventions from annual to bi-annual. One of those rare conventions is coming up and people on the lists are talking about whether they’ll be there or not. “Or not” seems to be a…

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A question for you: Movies about inspirational people

Somebody asked me yesterday whether I still write movie reviews for the print version of Backwoods Home. Officially, I do (Dave willing). But as a practical matter, I ran out of family-friendly, English-language films of interest to a rural audience a long time ago. P.T., the person who asked the question, hoped I would review biopix of inspiring people — particularly women. Thought that was a great idea. With two reservations. First, most recent biopix (aside from often being about dissolute folk who wouldn’t be welcome on many backwoods homesteads) are just giant mess-blobs. Take movies like “Ray” and “La…

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