Monthly Archives: June 2013

Angler Fish

Michigan sculptor Justin LaDoux, is selling his his angler fish sculpture. A collage of knives, shovels, bicycle parts, and other found pieces of metal, the sculpture is four feet wide, five feet long, and five feet tall, and features motion activated lights.

I don’t know really anything about this artist. I do know that this piece was originally part of a set displayed at the 2010 ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In an interview during the ArtPrize, you can see a similar loose jaw fish and a squid.

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Lead Type

I’m a sucker for movable type. (The lead blocks, not the software, I have no opinion on the software.) The idea of assembling little blocks to make words and sentences makes my heart flutter. I don’t know why. I guess it’s sort of like legos. I love the large trays holding the letters, and I particularly like how the bins are different sizes depending on the character distribution of the language. As I read about how movable type was used and evolved over the years, I gained a greater appreciation of typography. Ligatures, kerning, why periods go inside quotation marks, and why it’s as irrelevant today as the creation MLA’s parenthetical citations 30 years ago.

I don’t think I would have the patience to use movable type. Laser printing is just too easy, and hot metal typesetting seems like cheating. Although in the world where movable type was common, U certainly would have used it instead of carving individual presses for every page.

via Dark Roasted Blend: Intricate Japanese Movable Type Sets

Oblique Strategies

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Brian Eno has released the sixth edition of his and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. Limited to 500, this edition contains some new cards. When I read about this, I immediately ordered mine. I know it’s bit lame, especially since it’s the sixth limited edition (well I guess it’s actually the fifth limited production run, with the actual fifth edition being unlimited) of cards dating from mid-1970s, that you can download from the Internet, but I still wanted my physical artifact.

A Statement from the Hoffa Family

My name is Michael Crancer. C-R-A-N-C-E-R. I have been asked by the Hoffa family to read statement to the media. There will be no questions at this time.

This morning at 10:13 am Eastern time, James Riddle “Jimmy” Hoffa died peacefully in at Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, Belize. He was surrounded by his children James Junior, and Barbara.

Thank you.

Nah. It’s just the same ol’ same ol’.

Great Job Receipt Checker

Today, I saw a mother and her son steal a box of Honey Nut Cheerios Marion, Illinois Sam’s Club. They walked right out with it.

My dad and I were getting ready to check out when I saw the woman and her late junior high, or early high school son walk through one of the many closed but not roped off checkout lines that are endemic at all “discount department stores” these days. They went to the concession stand at the front of the store and bought a bottle of water and stood there until someone went to leave and was being “checked” by the “receipt guard.” When she was occupied, they walked right past to their car.

The cart was empty except for the Cheerios.

I thought about embarrassing the receipt checker by asking her if she checked every receipt, or perhaps asking to talk to the manager, but I didn’t. It would have embarrassed my dad, and probably got the woman fired from a job that doesn’t even pay above poverty. And for what? Participating in security charade that exists nationwide?

Nah. Fuck The Man™.

Longbranch

My favorite coffee shop in southern Illinois is Longbranch in Carbondale. Well it used to be, or maybe it still is by default. I don’t know. It’s different. It’s a very different place that I fell in love with back in high school. I know I’ve changed in the past 20 years, but my tastes on coffee shops hasn’t.

Basically, what was once a coffee shop or “coffeehouse” as Longbranch puts it, is now a vegetarian cafe. It’s not like Longbranch is doing a bait and switch, it says “vegetarian cafe” right on their sign.

Back on 1993 or 1994 when my friends first started going to Longbranch, it was dark with candles in the tables, a bookcase of tattered paperbacks and board games, a big long table down the middle and cigarette smoke hung I. The air. I felt so grownup and sophisticated going there, talking politics and music with my friends while being surrounded by college students.

Back then the back room was a vintage clothing store. It was always dark and seemed weird and boring and a bit disturbing and pointless, so I never went in there. I still hold those thoughts about used clothing store.

Years later, the clothing store moved into the building directly behind Longbranch and the back room became the quiet smoke free section with table service for the kitchen that served quesadillas and vegetarian pizzas, and hosted open mic nights on a tiny stage. The was a big difference between the front and back rooms. The front kept its smokey and funky mystique, while the back was bright and more subdued.

Eventually, Illinois passed a law banning smoking in all restaurants &endash; which from a public health perspective is for the best &endash; and that hurt the ambiance for me, I was in the minority for thinking that back then, but I still think it. I’m sure the smoking ban changed the clientele. I know many people stayed away from the Longbranch because the didn’t want to brave the smoke to place their order. (It was a bit strange to have the smoking section in the front, but that’s how they rolled back then.)

I think it was in the early aughts when Longbranch remodeled and expanded rand reoriented the bar and expanded the kitchen. They got rid of the last recliner and couch and brought in little metal cafe tables and chairs. I think that’s around the time they started billing themselves as a cafe too. It’s probably better for business, but it’s just not the same.

It’s just not interesting to watch people eat faking’ bacon BLTs, and waiters asking if anyone meeds something. Maybe it’s because I only come back when school is out and so no one is here (Probably. Hopefully.), but this place has no appeal to me anymore except nostalgia for place that is both here and not here.

Oh well. At least Cafe Pergolessi still exists.

This Message Has Been Approved By Seatac Astronomy

Me thinks Larry Page and the Zuckster have same ghostwriter at the NSA.

Google Facebook
Dear Google users—

You may be aware of press reports alleging that Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. As Google’s CEO and Chief Legal Officer, we wanted you to have the facts.

First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.

Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.

Posted by Larry Page, CEO and David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer

I want to respond personally to the outrageous press reports about PRISM:

Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.

When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.

We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term.

You don’t need to go in through the back door when you go in through the front.