October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014

I was wandering around Iidabashi in Tokyo when I came upon a small movie theater.  They were showing “La Roue, ” which is a French silent film made in 1923.  It appears that they only show silent films in this theater, and the auditorium fits only six or seven people. I was the sole customer there.  You can hear the projector behind you, and as for sound, the projectionist actually hums various melodies through an ancient sound system in the theater.   The film is very long.  I lost count, but I think it lasted over nine hours, and I went there in the afternoon, and came out in the very late evening.  Yet, I couldn’t remove myself from my seat. I was struck by how odd it was to see this film here in Iidabashi, off a popular street, Kagurazaka-dori, that seems to lead to a Shinto shrine.

As I sat there, and losing track of time (and space) I was amazed with myself in that I could make a narrative out of this picture. The titles were all in French, a language that I don’t speak or read, and even that was odd since I was in Tokyo.   I was drawn here, due that it started to rain, and I wasn’t wearing proper clothing.  So for about ¥1000, I thought it was worth it, just to avoid the weather.  What appeared in front of my eyes changed my life forever.

It wasn’t the film itself, but more of my mental state, which to be honest, is not so good.  I’m on a track that is losing ground quickly. In fact, I even considered suicide.   But I haven’t the foggiest idea how one does that.  That point when you want to do it, yet I lack the proper skills in completing such a drastic act.  I even wrote a suicide note, and after finished writing it, I re-read it, and it made me laugh hysterically.  So, even that, I don’t really have the talent for the ‘death’ angle.   Iidabashi is a great neighborhood to wander, due to the shops and restaurants.   So many happy people here, maybe due that it’s Halloween and some are dressed in their favorite manga character.  My costume and role is someone in misery, but no one could tell my outfit whatsoever.  So yes, going into a movie theater with only that in my thoughts, send me to a world not of my making, but almost like Buster Keaton in “Sherlock Junior” I’m finding myself in the oddest landscapes, here in Tokyo.

After exiting the movie theater, I needed some food.  But no place was open. It was around 3 in the morning.  The subways and the JR train was closed down, so I walked towards the camel that runs through the area.  It is as at that point I thought I could throw myself into the water. I don’t swim, so I thought the combination of my lack of skills and nature itself will be perfectly compatible with each other.  Of course, I walked among the camel by practically falling down the hill to get there.   My initial thought, do I need stones to fill my pockets so I would be dragged down to the bottom of the canal?  I took my shoes off, and dipped my big toe in the water. It was cold!   Then I had the thought in my head of having my clothes wet, and how uncomfortable that would be as I’m drowning in the canal.  So I took my clothes off, and since I was in Tokyo, I decided to fold the clothing up very neatly.   There were no rocks around, just pavement.  Nevertheless I walked up to the canal and dived in. When I did that, I hit my head on the bottom, and immediately got up on my feet.  The water was just three feet.  It was cold as … I was about say hell, but that doesn’t seem appropriate for this sentence.   I got out, and put my clothes back on, and began to walk back to the movie theater.

The funny thing is I couldn’t find the theater.  It was gone! Then I started wondering if I somehow made this up in my sick mind.  More likely I couldn’t find it due to the combination of my despair and the winding streets of Iidabashi.  The amusing thing, at that very moment, I felt my life as being complete, and it didn’t matter if I killed myself or not.  What mattered to me is to find the film “La Roue” and somehow enter that world again.  But one can never go back home or their dream state.  We live only once, and the art of living is capturing that moment for one to come back to.   I did that, and now I can go on.

myjetpack: My book of cartoons ‘You’re All Just Jealous of my…


My book of cartoons ‘You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack’ is available now:
US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770461043
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1770461043
Other stockists and info at www.tomgauld.com
(you can also buy prints there).


oldshowbiz: WABC tries to make you feel old and irrelevant


WABC tries to make you feel old and irrelevant


1. Produce defective cars 2. ? 3. Double profit!

“Profit Doubles at G.M., as It Strives to Move Past Its Litany of Recalls”:

General Motors’ quarterly earnings report on Thursday was noteworthy mostly for what it lacked: another big financial charge for safety recalls.

After running up special charges of nearly $3 billion in the first half of the year for safety problems, G.M., the nation’s biggest automaker, avoided additional charges for recalls in the third quarter.

While G.M. did incur $700 million in costs for fixing recalled vehicles during the quarter, the company had already booked those charges in previous periods….

By accounting for the bulk of its recall costs in the first half of the year, G.M. has turned a corner — at least financially — in its struggle to move beyond the worst safety crisis in its history.

So let me make sure I understand this:  GM is still blowing trainloads of cash fixing its mistakes, but they decided to declare that the money they’re spending now was actually spent earlier in the year, so that their official profit in the first half is below the real figure, and their official profit for the third quarter is above the real figure, and then they get a sunny headline in the New York Times saying they “doubled their profit?”

My grandfather the CPA would not approve.




The Fugitives (22)

fugitives thumbChapter XXII: Cape Town

October 24, 2014

October 24, 2014

I often dream of having an identical twin brother.  As a child I used to play in front of a full-length mirror and pretended that the image was my twin.  It wasn’t out of loneliness, but more fascinated with my image being reproduced, and therefore a double image of me.   And now as an adult, I still have the same fascination with my image - especially when I walk by a mirror or a reflection off a store window.  I never told anyone this, because this type of behavior is usually not looked upon as something healthy.  Nevertheless it is something important to me at the very core of my being.   The only twins I have ever met were two beautiful women, who often appear in numerous stage shows in Los Angeles and beyond.  I once showed up at a meet-and-greet, at a comic book store, where they were promoting a video they made.  I approached one believing it was the one that I knew quite well, but I was wrong, it was her sister.  She caught my mistake and told me that "you got the wrong girl here."  She was sweet about it, but I was embarrassed about my mistake. For some reason, I wanted to be above of such a common error, but I failed miserably.

I was bullied a lot of times in school, both in elementary and high school, and I try to imagine my twin brother there, fighting off the goons and saving me from disgrace, and knowing that he looked like me, I could feel stronger.   This of course was a fantasy, but as the punches and hair-pulling happened, I imagine this throughout my beating.  It made me feel better, and the thought of that image, I never cried.  No matter how hard they hit me, or yelled insults.   With my imagination, I felt stronger than them.  It is probably why I’m a writer.  It is probably why I’m obsessed with the Kray twins.

Reginald and Ronald were from East London, and they started off as amateur boxers, and I have read that they often boxed against each other.  One can wonder if when they threw a punch onto the other, were they thinking they are brothers, or was it a punch toward their self-image.  I can imagine throwing a punch at the mirror image of me, but I would just end up with a cut-up bloody hand.   But here, you are infecting pain on one another.  It must have been an intense boxing moment or two.  Later on, they became the twin kings of London’s crime world.   It has been reported that they could communicate without speaking to each other.   Whatever this is quite true or not, it seemed to cause fear among their henchmen as well as their enemies.

Around the same time, Paul and Barry Ryan were making an appearance in the music world.  Paul wrote the songs and him and Barry performed them.  To my ears they sound like a weaker version of The Walker Brothers, but nevertheless seeing Barry and Paul on the same stage or even in photographs, unnerved me.  I think due to the fantasy I had to become a singer.  I couldn’t carry a tune if my (or your) life depended on it.  But if I was a singer, I of course would want to have an identical twin brother on the stage with me.   To look at each other while singing appears to be heaven.  Nevertheless, I’m torn between the two twin brothers.  I imagine that the Krays met the Barry twins, but I just wonder what their reaction would be like?   They could go out socially, with Ronnie ganging up with Barry, and Paul can be with Reg.  That, I think, would cause a spontaneous disturbance whenever they enter a nightclub or restaurant.  But the truth in the matter, is that if I had a choice, I would prefer the Krays.

When I’m alone, I feel powerless.   Yet, with an identical image with me, floating around yours truly, can be enticing and I imagine one would feel more powerful.  The Krays are all about power.  It’s not money or even a life of riches, but more of a show, or a theater performance.   The Krays, even though they’re criminals, they are more of a performer than say the Ryan boys.  They had a good understanding of “theater, ” and what it means to the people outside and inside their social circle.  The fact that both of them were reportedly brutal, adds a certain amount of shine to their image.   So being alone, bullied, and often feeling stupid. The Krays are immensely important to me.   Reg, Tosh, and Ron having a night out.

TOSH BERMAN reads and discusses his book of poetry THE PLUM IN MR BLUM’S PUDDING, with special guest RUTH BERNSTEIN

TOSH BERMAN reads and discusses his book of poetry THE PLUM IN MR BLUM'S PUDDING, with special guest RUTH BERNSTEIN

The Plum in Mr Blum's Pudding (Penny Ante Editions)
“My hours of leisure I spent in reading the best authors, ancient and modern, being always provided with a good number of books; and when I was ashore, in observing the manners and dispositions of the people, as well as learning their language; wherein I had a great facility, by the strength of my memory.”

- Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding is Los Angeles native Tosh Berman’s first printed collection of poetry. In 1989, Berman left the United States behind, moving to Japan after learning his wife's (artist Lun*na Menoh) mother was ill in Kitakyushu. The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding was penned while both rapt and lost by this transition. Gracefully toiling between the quirky and earnest, these poems describe the liminal space of the foreigner caught between the strange and the familiar. The result is surreal and unclassifiable, a book of love poems overshadowed by isolation and underscored with curiosity and lust.

Originally published in 1990 by “Cole Swift & Sons” (Japan) as a small hardcover edition of two hundred copies, this new edition acts to preserve this work and features an introduction by art critic and curator Kristine McKenna and an afterword by Ruth Bernstein.

Tosh Berman is a publisher and writer. His press, TamTam Books, has published works by Boris Vian, Guy Debord, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Mesrine, artist Lun*na Menoh, and Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks). He is the author of Sparks-tastic: 21 Nights with Sparks in London. As the son of artist Wallace Berman, Tosh has delivered talks and various essays toward furthering his late father’s artistic legacy including his influential folio series, Semina (1955–1964). He resides in Los Angeles.
Ruth Bernstein lives in Highland Park where she writes postcards and collects books.
Event date: 
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los AngelesCA 90027

Silas Johnson on weighted discriminants with mass formulas

My Ph.D. student Silas Johnson just posted his thesis paper to the arXiv, and it’s cool, and I’m going to blog about it!

How should you count number fields?  The most natural way is by discriminant; you count all degree-n number fields K with a given Galois group G in S_n and discriminant bounded in absolute value by B.  This gives you a value N_G(B) whose asymptotic behavior in B you might want to study.  The classical results and exciting new ones you’ve heard about — Davenport-Heilbron, Bhargava, and all that — generally concern counts of this kind.

But there are reasons to consider other kinds of counts.  I once had a bunch of undergrads investigate the behavior of N_3(X,Y), the number of cubic fields whose discriminant had squarefree part at most X and maximal square divisor at most Y.  This gives a more refined picture of the ramification behavior of the fields.  Asymptotics for this are still unknown!  (I would expect the main term to be on order X Y^{1/2}, but I don’t know what the secondary terms should be.)

One nice thing about the discriminant, though, is that it has a mass formula.  In brief:  a map f from Gal(Q_p) to S_n corresponds to a degree-n extension of Q_p, which has a discriminant (a power of p) which we call Disc(f).  Averaging Disc(f)^{-1} over all homomorphisms f gives you a polynomial in p^{-1}, which we call the local mass.  Now here’s the remarkable fact (shown by Bhargava, deriving from a formula of Serre) — there is a universal polynomial P(x) such that the local mass at p is equal to P(p^{-1}) for every P.  This is not hard to show for the tame primes p (you can see this point discussed in Silas’s paper or in the paper by Kedlaya I linked above) but that it holds for the wild primes is rather mysterious and strange.  And it certainly seems to ratify the idea that there’s something especially nice about the discriminant.  What’s more, this polynomial P is not just some random thing; it’s the product over p of P(p^{-1}) that gives the constant in Bhargava’s conjectural asymptotic for the number of number fields for degree n.

But here’s the thing.  If we replace G by a subgroup of S_n, there need not be a universal mass formula anymore.  Kedlaya (and Daniel Gulotta, in the appendix) show lots of examples.  The simplest example is the dihedral group of order 8.

All is not lost, though!  Wood showed in 2008 that you could fix this problem by replacing the discriminant of a D_4-extension with a different invariant.  Namely:  a D_4 quartic field M has a quadratic subextension L.  If you replace Disc(L/Q) with Disc(L/Q) times the norm to Q of Disc(L/M), you get a different invariant of M — an example of what Silas calls a “weighted discriminant” — and when you compute the local mass according to {\em this} invariant, you get a polynomial in p^{-1} again!

So maybe Wood’s modified discriminant, not the usual discriminant, is the “right” way to count dihedral quartics?  Does the product of her local masses give the right asymptotic for the number of D_4 extensions with Woodscriminant at most B?

It’s not at all clear to me how, if at all, you can cook up a modified discriminant for an arbitrary group G that has a universal mass formula.  What Silas shows is that having a mass formula is indeed special; when G is a p-group, there are only finitely many weighted discriminants that have one.  Silas thinks, and so do I, that this is actually true for every finite group G, and that some version of his approach will eventually prove this.  And he classifies all such weighted discriminants for groups of size up to 12; for any individual G, it’s a computation which can be made nicely algorithmic.  Very cool!






secretcinema1: Edith and Moth Flight, 2002, Emmet Gowin


Edith and Moth Flight, 2002, Emmet Gowin


installator: “Before opening, electrician Jaime Govea rides a…


"Before opening, electrician Jaime Govea rides a scissor-lift Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 through the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, looking for light bulbs to replace. At right is ‘Mao, 1973’ by Andy Warhol." (Chicago Tribune)





onecloudoftheroof: | Grouper |


| Grouper |


installator: “Hans Haacke, who dislikes having his face…


"Hans Haacke, who dislikes having his face photographed, at his show at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea." (NYTimes)


fairy-wren: The sword-billed hummingbird, whose beak is longer…


The sword-billed hummingbird, whose beak is longer than its body (excluding its tail), makes a statement with its bill. Jan van der Greef, of the Netherlands, came across this standoff during a trip to Ecuador. The bird’s beak can reach nectar from long, tube-like flowers. This particular hummingbird (right) defended its favored red angel trumpet flowers and bird feeders, near the photographer’s lodge, from a territorial collared inca. (Photo credit: Jan van der Greef / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014.)


Josh’s Weekend

metalab-fixMaking appearances in Boston and Brooklyn

erdalinci: …detail from the piece Berliners .


…detail from the piece Berliners .


Hasbrow (1)

gijoe1JFK doppelganger

Is the two-Burke ballot the new butterfly ballot?

Scott Walker’s opponent takes on the WEDC:

BURKE:  One other area outside of that that people really should take a look at is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which was a nonprofit, public-private corporation created in 2011 which Governor Walker used to make himself the chair of. What’s most interesting is that Governor Walker’s experience in private business is in selling warranties for IBM and doing blood drives and fund-raising for the American Red Cross. While these are both worthy positions and individuals who do them obviously are working to build a life, that doesn’t give someone the experience necessary to make themselves a chair of a venture capital firm. Because that’s what it is. They’re giving away private taxpayer dollars to public businesses. We would end that practice.

Except that’s not Mary Burke; it’s Robert Burke, a lifelong Republican from Hudson who switched to the Libertarian party to run for governor.  Burke talks in the interview about how he hopes the “name recognition” — misrecognition? — he draws from the Mary Burke campaign will help him get votes.  The question is:  will he get votes from people who like libertarianism, or miscast votes that are actually meant for her?

Are you wondering whether Burke the Libertarian is running precisely in order to siphon votes from Burke the Democrat in this way?  I was, too, but I have to admit that the linked interview really does make him sound like a sincere libertarian dude who just found out Republicans dig market distortions as much as Democrats do.


October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014

When I was living in London in the late 1970s, I was invited to go to an “adult” party at Diana Dors house.  I haven’t the foggiest idea what “adult” party meant in Diana’s house, but of course, I was a very curious young man at the time.  I knew of her slightly, mostly that she was the British version of Jayne Mansfield, and that she made an album called “Swinging Dors, ” which at the time, I never heard.  Oddly enough, her arranger Wally Stott, also arranged the classic Scott Walker recordings of the 1960s.

While in London at that time, I went to a pub called “The Blind Begger” on Whitechappel Road. I didn’t know at the time, but the pub is a well known hangout for gangsters in the East London area. Ironically enough, it was also the original site which the Salvation Army started.   I went in by myself to have a quiet pint of Brown Ale, when I was approached by a gentleman by the name of Terry Denton, who started a conversation with me.  He was a bit tight (drunk) but mentioned that he was going to a party at Diana Dors house and he got a special invitation specifically from her.  He was told by her that he could bring another gentleman to the house that night.  Normally I would say no, but for some odd reason I was intrigued, and decided to take up his kind invitation.  I mentioned that I don’t know anyone in that world, and would it be still ok if I came with him to the party.  He said “no problem.” So off we went, and we found a taxi in the late night to take us to Berkshire, just outside of London.  

Once we arrived, I was surprised regarding the house, not knowing what to expect once I got there. From the outside, it looked like a quaint, but decent sized home.  Terry let himself in and I stood behind him.  He said to follow him in, and off I went into what I think was the living room.  There were approximately 30 people there, with maybe more than half, young girls.  They all look like starlets of some sort, but I wasn’t clear if they were in the entertainment world, or even woman who are professionals in the party world.  Terry immediately introduces me to a pair of sharp suited gentlemen, who strongly resembled each other.  One was called Ron, and the other I think, his name was Reg, or something like that.  I was later told by Terry that they are twin brothers.  Eventually I was introduced to Diana Dors herself. She was full-figured, had a beautiful face, although at the time, she looked well-lived, if you get my drift.

She threw her arms around me, and mentioned if I needed anything that I should help myself to whatever is out there.  The way she said that to me, I wasn’t sure if she was talking about drinks, or what look like drugs being passed around.  Or perhaps it was the woman there!   Terry took me by the arm to introduce me to a pretty brunette, whose name I can’t remember now.   When I shook her hand, Terry told her that “Tosh here is an American and he’s producing a film in London.” I gave a glance towards him, but he didn’t return the “look” back to me.  What I remember was her accent was really strong.  I could only make out every third for the fourth word from her lipsticked mouth.

Nevertheless I was really communicating with her, and Diana came from behind, and took both of our hands, and directed us to another room in the house.  Once there, I realized we were in a bedroom and there was a couple going at it like stranded dogs in a dog park.  I didn’t know what was happening… well I did.  But at the same time I didn’t. The couple got out of the bed, and went towards a full length mirror and he started fucking her against the mirror.   Meanwhile, my heavily accented lass took me by the side of the bed, where she sat down and started to unzip my pants.  She began to serve me a service, that I didn’t expect would happen three hours ago.  Afterwards after we finished, I lost her in the crowd at the party, and noticed another room where I can hear a film projector going. I went in, and it was Diana, Terry, and the twin brothers watching hard core porn film.  I realized that the setting of this film was the bedroom that I just left.  Obviously she had a camera hooked up, and more likely filmed me at the peak of my or “our” adventure.

I found myself back in my flat, in sort of a dazed state.  Terry was kind enough to organize a ride back to London with the twins.  They were polite, but I felt I shouldn’t say too much in their presence.  I also felt that I witnessed something that shouldn’t be repeated or reported in a public forum.   So let’s leave it at that.

itscolossal: Modern art.


Modern art.


“Whisper practices “active moderation,” an especially labor-intensive process in which every single…”

Whisper practices “active moderation,” an especially labor-intensive process in which every single post is screened in real time; many other companies moderate content only if it’s been flagged as objectionable by users, which is known as reactive moderating. “The type of space we’re trying to create with anonymity is one where we’re asking users to put themselves out there and feel vulnerable,” he tells me. “Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s tough to put it back in.”

Watching Baybayan’s work makes terrifyingly clear the amount of labor that goes into keeping Whisper’s toothpaste in the tube. (After my visit, Baybayan left his job and the Bacoor office of TaskUs was raided by the Philippine version of the FBI for allegedly using pirated software on its computers. The company has since moved its content moderation operations to a new facility in Manila.) He begins with a grid of posts, each of which is a rectangular photo, many with bold text overlays—the same rough format as old-school Internet memes.

- The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed | WIRED


jace clayton - cooper union talk
On Tuesday October 28th I’m giving a free, open-to-the-public talk at Cooper Union. It’s part of their Interdisciplinary Seminar speaker series. Expect discussion of Sufi Plug Ins, Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ, and, if the clock allows, my thoughts on nonlinear time vis-à-vis databases, Aztec loop music, and Christopher Columbus’s faulty biodiesel clipper.

I was asked to assign brief readings for students in the course, and gave them this:

Jace Clayton, “The Voice of HuitzilopochtliFrieze

Jace Clayton, “Something New: Cairo finds a voice in festival musicFader

Lev Manovich, “Database as Symbolic Form


yellowboxgrayarea: Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It…


Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) American folklorist, anthropologist, and author.


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/z/zoranealeh132700.html#MGwzxZSMeZeVGEG3.99




Code-X (38)

ninja turtleF2F

secretcinema1: Sam Shepard, 2014, Victoria Will


Sam Shepard, 2014, Victoria Will


ufansius: Homeland – Dietrich Wegner


Homeland - Dietrich Wegner


October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

The love of my life is Boise.   I always felt nervous coming out in such a fashion, and then allowing myself to care about a man who in some circles, is not quite the perfect mate for an older man like me.  How much I must take stock in this when he makes comments like “Tosh is the greatest force for evil that has appeared in the World during the last 350 years.” Really?

What did I do to this poor boy?  I gave him some luxury necessaries, and most important, culture.   I can’t believe I spent seven years with him, and now I’m in ruin, and he has moved on to a marriage, like I was an experiment of some sort.  He’s the love that dare not speak its name.    I made copies of the letters I sent to him.  Those were better days, or were they?   I have consistently been at the entrance of happiness, but never actually went through the swinging doors. I have been foolish with my money, in fact “I fear I must leave; no money, no credit, and a heart of lead.”

I recently wrote to him, begging him to take me back.  Why I do this, I haven’t the foggiest idea.  Sometimes I wonder if I really loved or in love with him.  I think I like the idea of me falling in love with him.  That’s the big difference.  There were tell-tale signs that this wasn’t meant to be, from the very beginning.  Yet, I ignored all the warning signs, and jumped into the fire with both feet, and wearing gasoline as an overcoat to protect me from the coldness that’s life.

Not long ago, I saw him from a distance, and he has changed.  What was youthful, and looking at the world in such a bright light, now, his features are turning downward, like he doesn’t want to be recognized as the beautiful man that he once was.  Even that, I would take him back.  I wish I could understand the nature of love, and what nature has done to me.


Francis Galton could be kind of a jerk

As here (from Hereditary Genius, p. 21)

Every tutor knows how difficult it is to drive abstract conceptions, even of the simplest kind, into the brains of most people—how feeble and hesitating is their mental grasp—how easily their brains are mazed—how incapable they are of precision and soundness of knowledge. It often occurs to persons familiar with some scientific subject to hear men and women of mediocre gifts relate to one another what they have picked up about it from some lecture—say at the Royal Institution, where they have sat for an hour listening with delighted attention to an admirably lucid account, illustrated by experiments of the most perfect and beautiful character, in all of which they expressed themselves intensely gratified and highly instructed. It is positively painful to hear what they say. Their recollections seem to be a mere chaos of mist and misapprehension, to which some sort of shape and organization has been given by the action of their own pure fancy, altogether alien to what the lecturer intended to convey. The average mental grasp even of what is called a well-educated audience, will be found to be ludicrously small when rigorously tested.



Bringing home the bacon

Fou lard.

In other news, I have a slight cold - perhaps 3 out of 10 on Davidsonian ailment scale. It is making me feel as though I would benefit from a full head transplant!

Bringing home the bacon

Fou lard.

In other news, I have a slight cold - perhaps 3 out of 10 on Davidsonian ailment scale. It is making me feel as though I would benefit from a full head transplant!

If We Must Die


"If we must die—let it not be like hogs,

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot.

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Marking their mark at our accursed lot…

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we will face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back!”

~Claude McKay


p-dpa: — Archive — C.O.P.Y, Martin Wecke (2013) The pages of…


— Archive —

C.O.P.Y, Martin Wecke (2013)

The pages of C.O.P.Y remain empty for the human eye. After xeroxing or scanning, thanks to the ‘void pantograph’ method, the book reveals the essay “Copyright, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons” by Anna Nimus. As in open source development, the text’s quality (legibility) gets better with every copy.


Radium Age: Context (11)

zeppelinA zeppelin soars above sailboats.

October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, and he blew up my world.  I had dreams every night for a whole year of obtaining the Nobel Prize for literature, and then… I didn’t get it.   I brought this up before, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has disturbed me.  I planned around my life on obtaining the prize, and the way I see it I should have won.   Day-after-day, I put words on a blank page, for the purpose of not entertaining you dear readers, but to convey to the judges of the Nobel Academy my importance to my field of interest - which of course is (or was) literature.  But now, and since I missed out on the award, I’m thinking of quitting literature and becoming a criminal.  And no, not a literary outlaw type of criminal, but a true one.  I will now devote myself to one purpose and that one purpose will be destruction. If I can’t build up my world, then I’ll tear everyone else’s pathetic dreams down.  If for not anything else, at least we will be placed on the same eye-to-eye level.

As Alfred once said “Home is where I work, and I work everywhere.” I’m needing to get to follow that advice to the “T” and we’re not talking about Texas. Whenever something goes boom in the night, I’m the face behind the t-made disaster, even if you can’t see my beautiful face among the smoke.  “Justice is to be found only in imagination.” Well, baby, I got a big head full of imagination!

The only one is stopping me from doing what I have to do is Kogoro Akechi, who is considered to be the greatest detective in Japan, and perhaps the world.  He is a master of disguises, so I’m not sure who is around me.  He can even do gender switches. One moment you’re in bed with a beautiful woman, and you wake up in the morning with a male cop.  I get the impression that I’m being followed.  Especially when I’m walking around Shinjuku.  I often look at a window display and through the reflection, I see a presence looking at me, and when I turn around, he’s gone. This happens a lot.  I once received a letter from Akechi, mentioning that he was a fan of my writing. Even that, I suspect he is just buttering me up so he can nail me in the end.  I need to ensure the end doesn’t happen.

When I  step in a room, I make sure the keyhole is covered up.  He’s not into technology.  He likes to get his information from the old-fashioned way by looking through windows, keyholes, and occasionally reading one’s lips from a distance.  He’s a very trained individual.  Sort of like the shoe repair man, or plumber, he knows his trade well.  Without a doubt, he’s an enemy.  But an enemy I can totally respect.  He also has manners.  Unlike Alfred Nobel, who never delivers his promise.

Akechi and I share similar musical tastes.  I have been told through my record store connection that he has been purchasing albums by Don Byas, and I’m not sure if he is doing that to pick up more clues about yours truly, or he has a genuine love for Byas’ music.  I did see him once at a Cramps show.  Both of us were located in the front of the pit, right in front of Lux Interior, and we both got red wine spilled on us.  Lux had the bottle in his mouth, and he spitted out the bottle as well as the wine. Both of us were wearing white suits, and since we were dressed a like, we also had the same splatter of wine stains as well.

To be terrorized, yet committing terrorism, is basically my lifestyle now. I will wander the landscape, and yet, I must keep my eyes open for Kogoro Akechi, because like Bob Ford shooting Jesse James, I must be vigilant and on guard at all times.


nitratediva: From “Boo!” (1932), a short film, one of the…


From “Boo!” (1932), a short film, one of the “Universal Brevities.”


ageofdestruction: when no one is around / love will always love…


when no one is around / love will always love you: Saturn, rings, and Mimas, photographed by Cassini, 26th October 2007.

10 frames of animation, colourized with a 3-image composite.

Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI. Animation: AgeOfDestruction. Title: Cat Power.


firstdraftsofhistory: Article: The Muppets Revision: 18 October…


Article: The Muppets

Revision: 18 October 2001


firstdraftsofhistory: Article: Blue Revision: 31 October 2001


Article: Blue

Revision: 31 October 2001


amindwithnoceiling: Aaron Douglas, The Negro Speaks of Rivers…


Aaron Douglas, The Negro Speaks of Rivers (For Langston), 1941.


Code-X (37)

eyes wide shut thumbEyes Wide Shut

skunkbear: banimals: icetigris: onlylolgifs: Computer…





Computer simulations that teach themselves to walk.

Mood: generation 80 emu.

Challenge: Pick one of these walks and use it all day.


October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

The films I make are easily misunderstood.  “I move from realism to fantasy without the spectator ever noticing.” I drive a 1967 Rambler through the streets of Shimokitazawa, looking for landscapes to use for my films.  So far, I have made three movies, and all of them have been pretty much accepted by the film goer.  On the other hand, I don’t really care if they like them or not.  I know shit. I just want to have fun, you know. “I like to take risks. My films never follow the current trend.” Perhaps that is the reason why I lost my audience.

My current film project is to do a film based on Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell,” starring the musician Ivo Pogorelić.  It was a matter of entering Hell itself to get funding for the film, but due to the success of “Le Samourai,” I found backers from a small theater group in Shimokitazawa, who want to expand their theater into the cinema world.  Besides having a great looking star, Ivo is also going to supply the soundtrack, which will be mostly music by Chopin.  The producers (the theater people) want to change the title to “Unhappiness Was My God.” To me, it sounds a touch pretentious, mostly due that I like crime films, with their short to the point titles.  Some say poetry is cinema, but I find it to be more suitable for the pulp crime narrative.  So in my script I have changed Rimbaud’s poetic prose into hard-boiled dialogue. It should work, especially coming from Ivo’s mouth.

The beauty of this project is the fact that it will be my last film.  One reason why I’m attached to “A Season in Hell” is because it was Rimbaud’s last book.  Doing art is a bit like a slow death.  I can stall the mortal moment when the end comes, by doing more work, but I think having a small amount of films under my name, will serve my purpose, artistically and financially in the long (short) run.  “By being too sensitive I have wasted my life.” On the other hand, my “artistic” life is doing fine.  The more I personally suffer, the greater my work becomes.  It’s a double-edged sword, but I rather have good work than happiness anyway.

“In the morning I had a look so lost, a face so dead, that perhaps those whom I met did not see me.” It is hard to drive my Rambler on the streets of Shimokitazawa, due to the smallness of the roads here, which are more like alleys that lead to nowhere and one comes back to a full circle.   “A Season in Hell” (my version) is based on driving around here, and trying to look for a parking spot.  I can never find one, so I just continue to drive around and around. Ivo is going to play the driver as he recites key phrases from the Rimbaud book.  He will dress like a French gangster, and I’m also thinking of adding some prose from a David Goodis novel as well.  The juxtaposition of Rimbaud and Goodis’ text together can cause a certain amount of tension that will be good for the film.

I will mostly be shooting in the night, because I feel the material doesn’t work in the daylight.  I’m also putting this in my contract, that the film must be shown only at nighttime.  Even if the theater is dark, I want people to leave the theater and find darkness outside instead of daylight.  It’s important that everything works in unison.  My last film must be perfect.   There is no second act in a European’s life.  Once the film is finished, viewers can actually see my blood on the screen.  Due that it takes everything I have to make a film like “Unhappiness Was My God.” The only high I have in life is to watch the finished work, due to the fact “I never drink … wine. ”

word clouds generated by google books [link]

word clouds generated by google books [link]


word clouds generated by google books [link]

word clouds generated by google books [link]


Code-X (36)

vision thumbDesign Vision

wonderful-strange: 2headedsnake: darkclassics.blogspot.com Edmun…




Edmund Dulac, The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allen Poe - 1912


Hot zone update

Sitting at my desk in New York and trying to gear up to write a letter of recommendation that's due today - fortunately I don't need to be on campus until three, as I still have quite a bit of reading to finish before class as well.

Dublin was excellent but phenomenally tiring - any time I was not actually seeing people and doing conference things, I was essentially huddled in bed in my hotel room (fortunately it was quite a nice room - I put up the Do Not Disturb sign and just left it up!).

Interesting interview with Richard Preston at the New York Times about current plans to update his thriller-like account of Ebola as of the early 1990s, The Hot Zone. I vividly remember reading this during my first year of grad school - my roommate LeeAnn had the hardcover and I devoured it! I have been following Ebola developments closely and with interest: my two main fantasy alternate careers are neurologist and epidemiologist, and I am a little sorry that I am not involved in planning and organizing ways to contain the epidemic.

I am relieved to see that Preston admits that one bit of the book is especially in need of correction (I always wondered!):
In the original “Hot Zone,” I have a description of a nurse weeping tears of blood. That almost certainly didn’t happen. When a person has Ebola, the eyes can turn brilliant red from blood vessels leaking and blood oozing out of the eyelid. That’s horrifying, but it’s not someone with tears of blood running down their face. I want to fix that.
Here's his piece in this week's New Yorker.

Google’s New Street View Image Recognition Algorithm Can Beat…

Google’s New Street View Image Recognition Algorithm Can Beat Most CAPTCHAs | TechCrunch

Here is an interesting conundrum for Google: it has created an algorithm that’s significantly better at reading street numbers in Street View images, which helps it give you more accurate directions. At the same time, though, it turns out that this algorithm is so good, it can decipher 99 percent of CAPTCHAs (those squiggly text puzzles you often have to solve to prove you are human).

October 19, 2014

October 19, 2014

I’m alone. There is not anyone here. To feel really alone is a high.  Human beings, by their nature, are social animals.  My needs are basically food, and something to read.  Other than that, I have very little interest in anything else.  By habit, I like to wander around Tokyo, but usually I don’t give a thought to where I’’m going or what direction. I walk out the door of my family home here, and I go either left or right.   I never have regrets if I make the wrong decision.  Or give it special meaning if something fantastic happened on that trip.  My life is simply an act of reflecting and then moving on as fast as I can.

As I mentioned, I have been out of work for the past two years.  When I worked, I was a good worker, in fact, my fellow co-workers were satisfied with me. But then I decided to change.  There was no reason why I did so.  I just woke up and chose not to go to work.  I needed the money (still do by the way), but I said to myself “Nah, I’m not going to work.” It was just an odd moment, because there was nothing in my past, or present that would make me follow such a crazy impulse.  I only did something like that once before, when after a sound night’s sleep I woke up and then sold my car and never drove since then.  Why?   Because I needed to leap into the unknown, but I never studied my impulses. I’m a creature of habit, but at times and unexpectedly, I can make the change into a habit as well.

So here I’m in Tokyo, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m going to do in the future -meaning next year, next month, next week, and tomorrow, … if I can throw that in as well.  I won’t let myself be swallowed by self-doubt, because I go with the wind.

Around 25 years ago, I went to a movie theater in Tokyo that had a tatami mat, which means all customers had to take their shoes off before entering the theater.  There were giant steps in front of the film screen, so everyone just sat on the tatami mat, or if they wanted to, they could easily lay down and look up at the screen.  The film they were showing was such a remarkable work, and to this day, I don’t know the title of this film. All I can tell you that it starred Hitoshi Ueki and his band Crazy Cats.  What is interesting about him and them is that they were musicians first, and then became successful comic actors as well.  Watching the film, it reminded me of Frank Tashlin's work with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  The beauty of the film is the fact that it looked like a comic strip taking place in front of my eyes.  The location where the film is set is in Shinbashi, traditionally the playground for the salaryman.

I think back at that film presentation, because now I’m totally obsessed in capturing the moment when Ueki walks down the street in Shinbashi, not having a care in the world. He just left his job, or what one thinks may have been his job.  For all I know he may just come into the office to have a free cup of coffee or green tea. By the expressions of the fellow co-workers, they may have never seen him before.  Therefore he takes up the character of a salaryman, as one takes an identity out of one’s closet.

He was that type of character in all of the Crazy Cat films.  The illusion of music being played in a small traditional Japanese bar, that may fit five or six people, all of sudden turns into a big budgeted Broadway musical.  Time and place are expanded just by whatever hits Ueki's mood.  Therefore when I walk on the streets of Shinbashi, I too will live in Hitoshi Ueki’s shadow.


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