Fume-Induced Divine Ramblings

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The (Old) Printing Process

As much as I’ve read about the printing process you’d think I’d have a clear sense as to how it was done. I mean, if some guy could do it almost 500 hundred years ago… Anyway, I came across this video through UnosTiposDuros and I was just floored by the complicated process. Check it out:

Filed under: curios, random

Making the Phoenix Work

Above: The iconic panel when the Dark Phoenix snacked on a star and toasted several billions living beings. This post was prompted by Marvel’s inability to handle strong women characters.

As muddled as Jean Grey’s story became I can’t help but think it didn’t have to be so messy. As I understand Chris Claremont’s conception of the Phoenix’s powers they are not unlimited. The young Phoenix was even defeated by Magneto one time. The Phoenix was basically a battery of potentially unlimited capacity… but she still had to be charged up with something external.

When attempting to repair the M’Kraan Crystal she wasn’t strong enough, she needed the life forces of two teammates. Of course, in the panel above she really charged herself up and became pretty unstoppable. But a good writer could have limited the Phoenix’s access to that much power and kept her as a team member. Many have said that having such a powerful team member renders the other X-Men obsolete and I completely disagree. Having a cosmically-powered Phoenix is one thing but the Phoenix before the whole eating star incident had limits.

Next time, I’ll try to formulate Grant Morrison’s ingenious way of getting rid of both Phoenix and Jean Grey (that bastard!).

Filed under: curios, hmmm, random

Caganers: All Too Human

The little peasant is squatting. He’s already evacuated. There’s a brown pile there and it’s surprisingly realistic. Oh, the Catalans and their scatological fixation. I’m continually fascinated when I think about caganer figurines. What does this mean for a people? What does this mean for a culture?

Not only do the figurines exist, they are placed in Nativity scenes! Imagine preparing the solemn Nativity scene with shepherds, animals, Mary, Joseph, Magi, etc. . . and then placing a little figurine hidden away and squatting.

Something happened when the Conquistadores were crossing the Atlantic. As far as I know, Latin America is lacking this scatological component. We do not casually mention shitting on the communion wafer. In Mexico shitting on anything is not used as an insult, shitting is shameful. What does this mean about Catalans and Spaniards? On the one hand, I admire the idea that even at this great cosmic moment – the birth of the Savior – we mere humans still had to poop. I admire the figurines of famous people squatting and pooping. Yes, Zapatero, Bush, and the Pope all poop (and caganers of all of these people have been made). But on the other hand, isn’t this larger scatological fixation kind of weird?

Filed under: curios, images, wtf

Soviet Russia’s Vinni Pukh

I hate Winnie the Pooh. I hate his voice, he’s bland, he lacks charm, etc. Imagine my surprise when I found the Soviet version of Winnie the Pooh and completely fell in love with it! Not only is the animation charming, Vinni Pukh looks more like a bear, he has a cute raspy voice and he’s a little not-so-bright troublemaker. The episode I’m embedding teaches kids to be considerate when visiting. It’s just hypnotic and comforting for some reason:

If you find this mildly entertaining, then I suggest heading over to this think in pictures essay called Winnie the Pooh in Russia, it’s very well done.

Filed under: curios

Insure versus Ensure

This is from the New Yorker:

Via Andrea.

Filed under: curios, hmmm, random

Platypuses are Weird

Yesterday’s issue of Nature has a piece on the platypus genome. It’s interesting to compare the reporting in Nature, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. I found the Post article thoroughly enjoyable and not at all lacking in substance.

Yet in its wackiness, Wilson said, the platypus genome offers an unprecedented glimpse of how evolution made its first stabs at producing mammals. It tells the tale of how early mammals learned to nurse their young; how they matched poisonous snakes at their venomous game; and how they struggled to build a system of fertilization and gestation that would eventually, through relatives that took a different tack, give rise to the first humans.

The Times article was too short and the sense of wonder/weirdness was missing.

An international scientific team, which announced the first decoding of the platypus genome on Wednesday, said the findings provided “many clues to the function and evolution of all mammalian genomes,” including that of humans, and should “inspire rapid advances in other investigations of mammalian biology and evolution.”

The Nature article is of course good but I still prefer the wonder and style of the Post article.

Filed under: curios, hmmm, images, random, wtf

Presenting Data and Information, Edward Tufte

I’ll follow up with my thoughts on Professor Tufte’s one-day course tonight or tomorrow.

Filed under: curios, hmmm

Destination: Japan

This is starting to seem like a Japanophile blog… A couple of days ago the NY Times had a small piece about the MOMA Store’s new Destination: Japan section. Ah, clean and quirky design. While we were eating at Whole Foods today, I saw a woman chowing down using a pair of traveling chopsticks. What a great and green idea! We’ll, sure enough, you can buy them at the MOMA Store!

Filed under: curios, random, wants

Richard Ramirez: The Mentor

This is Ramirez’s response to a supposed 10 year old asking if he should stay in school (note the stationery):

More on the hilarious and creepy Billy Letters at Radar Magazine.

Filed under: curios, wtf

The Reconquista Will be Televised?

Strange Maps links to an LA Times piece about Absolut Vodka’s ad campaign in Mexico. Is it anti-American? It was a dumb move on Absolut’s part, all sorts of jingo gringos are already calling for a boycott. The thing about this sort of thing is that it always seems to bring out these ad hominem attacks with racial undertones. It’s hard not to get defensive and divisive. It’s hard to watch Lou Dobbs and not feel animosity even if he is not talking about you specifically, after all, I’m a citizen. But the tone of the immigration debate and the comments of some people when reacting to this ad campaign is just sickening. It’s hard for me not to get defensive and angry back.

But it does play with a Mexican sensibility, we still can get over the Spanish Conquest and the ceding of the territories to the US. I guess it was ceding them or total annexation, right?

It’s all good, right Lou Dobbs?

There is a pretty lively flickr discussion, I laid down my wise words.

Filed under: curios, images

Apollyon

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
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