This incarnation of Uncertain Times has passed on.
It will continue over here.
I will no longer be tracking subscribers, visitors or links, so the only way I'll know you're there is if you stop by and comment every once in a while. I'm happily dropping out of the blogos-flow while continuing to post things that I find interesting. No hurry, no pressure, no worry.
Before I go, I must give a big hug and a kiss on the cheek to all of you, visitors and blog-kin alike. You are the ones that have made this a memorable experience. I hope you all stay in touch.
See you on the other side.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I hope you all have been enjoying some lovely springtime weather. (Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, of course.) I certainly have.
Due to a mild case of spring fever, a more pronounced case of internet burnout and a few pressing exigencies, Uncertain Times will be on Spring Break until May the 4th, 2009.
I might drop a few items over by the Tumblr in the meantime, so keep an eye out. (If you haven't been by to check out UTv.ii, now might be a good time to scan the archives - there's some good stuff buried in there.) Otherwise, I'll see you in a few weeks!
By the way, for those of you interested, Mr. Donald Roller Wilson dropped a comment on the Donald Roller Wilson knock-offs post from a few months back.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This is a long play at 90+ minutes, but it's just as good to listen to. I've been enjoying it while goofing off around the house this morning.
previously in Uncertain Times
Uncertain Times v.ii tribute to Ken Nordine
Ken Nordine - The Eye Is Never Filled (2005) (DVD)
kennordine on YouTube
Ken Nordine's Word Jazz
Monday, March 30, 2009
In a remote area of New Mexico, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft operates an all-sky camera for nightly monitoring of meteors and fireballs. "The other night I caught a big one," he says. "An owl descended from the sky and landed on the clear dome of my fireball camera," explains Ashcraft. "It stayed for a few minutes and then flew away." This visitor was probably a Western Screech-Owl or a Great Horned Owl, two varieties common to New Mexico. Ornithologists may be able to pinpoint the species; the owl glances down during the video for a revealing self-portrait.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
BBC - Man survived both atomic bombings:
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on 6 August 1945 when a US plane dropped the first atomic bomb.
He suffered serious burns and spent a night there before returning to his home city of Nagasaki just before it was bombed on 9 August.
Is this good luck or bad luck?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Russian translates thus:
Prokofiev is being asked: "Sergei Sergeevich, maybe you will tell our viewers about your work?"
He replies: "Well, right now I am working on a symphonic suite of waltzes, which will include three waltzes from Cinderella, two waltzes from the War and Peace, and one waltz from the movie score "Lermontov." [The War and Peace] has just been brilliantly produced in Leningrad, where the composer Cheshko (?) made an especially noteworthy appearance as a tenor, giving a superb performance in the role of Pierre Bezukhoff. Besides this suite, I am working on a sonata for violin and piano [no.1 in f minor], upon completion of which I will resume work on the sixth symphony, which I had started last year. I have just completed three suites from the Cinderella ballet and I am now turning the score over to copyists for writing the parts, so that most likely the suites will already be performed at the beginning of the fall season."
I liked the little spaz-montage at the end.
via Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Monday, March 23, 2009
Many of you have probably already seen these videos, but thanks to RöyksoppTV, you can view them in much higher quality than the YouTube versions I've seen over the last few years. Enjoy.
directed by Ludovic Houplan & Hervé de Crécy
directed by Sam Arthur
directed by ?
directed by Thomas Hilland
Brewster Kahle wants to create a free, online collection of human knowledge. It sounds impossibly idealistic—but he is making progress…
“For a man who has set himself a seemingly impossible mission, Brewster Kahle seems remarkably laid back. Relaxing in the black leather recliner that serves as his office chair, his stockinged feet wriggling with evident enthusiasm, the founder of the Internet Archive explains what has driven him for more than a decade. “We are trying to build Alexandria 2.0,” says Mr Kahle with a wide-eyed, boyish grin. Sure, and plenty of people are trying to abolish hunger, too.
It would be easy to dismiss Mr Kahle as an idealistic fruitcake, but for one thing: he has an impressive record when it comes to setting lofty goals and then lining up the people and technology needed to get the job done. “Brewster is a visionary who looks at things differently,” says Carole Moore, chief librarian at the University of Toronto. “He is able to imagine doing things that everyone else thinks are impossible. But then he does them.”
Mr Kahle is an unostentatious millionaire who does not “wear his money on clothes”, as one acquaintance graciously puts it. But behind his dishevelled demeanour is a skilled technologist, an ardent activist and a successful serial entrepreneur. Having founded and sold technology companies to AOL and Amazon, he has now devoted himself to building a non-profit digital archive of free materials—books, films, concerts and so on—to rival the legendary Alexandrian library of antiquity. This has brought him into conflict with Google, the giant internet company which is pursuing a similar goal, but in a rather different (and more commercially oriented) way…”
Economist.com - The Internet's librarian
Saturday, March 21, 2009
NFB.ca Curator's comments:
As a teenager, McLaren became interested in Colour-Music, an art form in which moving patterns of coloured lights were projected. When he was at art school, McLaren and fellow student Stuart McAllister tried to create colour-music by painting abstractions directly onto 35 mm movie film. McAllister would later become a great editor of documentary films. McLaren was delighted with the experience but knew the results were primitive. Then, in London in 1936, he saw Len Lye’s revolutionary hand-painted-on-film Colour Box. It did not influence McLaren but it gave him the confidence to continue drawing directly on film. He had to wait ten years, however, before he would have access to a three-colour film printing stock, which would allow him to copy a multi-hued hand-painted original. And what an original it is! For me, it is hard to imagine a more satisfying jazz film – in this case, a marriage of hand-painted improvisations to the piano improvisations of a young Oscar Peterson.
hat tip to Brand Upon the Brain!
They never did fully explain the nature of The Prisoner's mysterious balloon sentry, but it was certainly feared, respected, effective and quite capable of serving some serious pain.
Do you think you know Rover? Or would you like to know more? Then go take the quiz over at AMC's The Prisoner Blog. (I scored 3 out of 5, but I was just guessing.)
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
John Coltrane and Stan Getz performing Thelonious Monk's "Hackensack" on German television in 1960. Accompanied by Oscar Peterson on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums.
via Bifurcated Rivets
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In 1680, physicist Giovanni Borelli attempts to recycle his own breathing air.
I assume that the date cited is the date of the print, as Borelli died in 1679 at the age of 71.
according to Wikipedia:
Borelli is also considered to be the first man to consider a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus along with his early submarine design. The exhaled gas was cooled by sea water after passing through copper tubing. The helmet was brass with a glass window and 0.6 m (2 ft) in diameter. The apparatus was never likely to be used or tested.
from the vast and fascinating NOAA Photo Library
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Real Life™ has left me way behind with my online pursuits and will continue to leave me there until after Savannah's mad St. Patrick's Day is over. (We have the second largest SPD celebration in the United States. It goes on for days and it's like a mini Mardi Gras.)
I'm going to try to sneak a few sessions in between, so hang in there with me. I hope to not completely disappear during the next week.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The hobo nickel, an early form of creative currency modification, had its heyday during the circulation run of the Buffalo nickel, from 1913 to 1938. Since they were small, cheap and easier to carve, they were popular with hobos, who often used them to trade for food and goods. (Jefferson nickels and other denominations were used, but the old "Indian Head" design was considered best because the large profile gave the artists a greater area to work with and allowed for finer detail.)
The period from 1940 to the late '70s saw the Buffalo nickel almost completely fade from circulation and with this, the styles took a decided turn to the modern. In the early 1980s, there was a resurgence of hobo nickel carving and collecting and this time period marks the separation between the "old" and "modern" eras.
You can find many examples, old and new, at The Original Hobo Nickel Society.
Wikipedia provides a serviceable survey of the topic.
thanks to Ledgergermane for tip!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Google Image Ripper
Instant inspiration. No more thumbnails, straight to the good stuff.
This has been around for a while, but in case you haven't found it yet... it's an excellent tool for a blogger, or anyone looking for an image - be it specific, a particular type, or anything in general.
thanks to Great Map for the reminder
Slice me a piece of watermelon, about four or five liang
Only the truly thin-skin watermelon comes with this crisp and grainy texture
When the scent of jasmine wafts in the tea room of the siheyuan
One forgets all the heat of the summer
Pour a glass of fine wine as your thoughts wander afar
The senses are drunk with the fragrance of the wine steeped within the hutong alleys
As the sun sets at the corner of the old city wall that echoes with the beat of the toy rattle-drum
This native Beijinger feels a little sad
Squatting alone at the corner of the wall, receiving not even a passing glance
With eyes unseeing and confusion in my heart
Why do I feel so weary today?
Feels like I lost my soul while writing my lyrics
A wonton stall by the roadside in the early morning
A farmer rides a three-wheeled handcart as he pulls his load of bricks to work
A bowl of jellied beancurd costs a dollar
The music of a Pekingese big drum storyteller rings in the air
Drink a bowl of sour soy juice with a fried ring of dough
Dregs of oil scented with malt heave in porcelain jars with floral design
A hawker at the entrance of a hutong alley is stringing candied haws,
There's a photo of Ma Sanli displayed at the teahouse nearby
The vats are deeper than the basins, the basins are deeper than the bowls, the bowls are deeper than the plates
Waiting for your consideration
After being left there for so many years, they're still so funny…
Native Beijingers, pay attention
Squat when you're tired of standing, sit when you're tired from squatting
Lie down when you're tired of sitting, lie prone when you're tired from lying down
Sleep when you're tired of lying prone, nap when you're unable to sleep
Keeping a myna brings special prestige
Be kind and generous and courteous too
Greet others kindly and never, ever be late
Keeping score only means making trouble for yourself
Better to smile and the world turns, infinitely beautiful
There's an old man in the park, hand in hand with his old wife
About eighty years old and he still looks so suave
Sucking on a popsicle and wearing a vest
Bloodlines run pure at the home of Peking Man
At the side of the Right-Right-Right-Right Gate of Peace
There's a shop selling Dog-Dog-Dog-Dog Wouldn’t-Notice buns
Buy half a jin of sliced-sliced-sliced-sliced glutinous cake
Spend a day free from worries at the Heavenly Bridge, just like an immortal
Seems like a decent enough message... but now I'm kinda hungry. (Though, I think I'll skip the Dog-Dog-Dog-Dog.)
Monday, March 2, 2009
John Cage: "Rozart Mix" (1965) According to Paul Griffiths, "A Guide to Electronic Music", the score for Rozart Mix "consists of an exchange of letters with Alan Lucier, proposing that at least 88 tape loops of unspecified sounds be played on at least a dozen tape recorders."
Books Are People, Too:
This is the rarest of Brautigan’s books. Four are currently listed on ABE, ranging from $395 (for an incomplete set) to $1,250.
Richard Brautigan published Please Plant This Book in the Spring of 1968. It consisted of eight packets of garden seeds, each printed with a poem, all gathered in a small folder.
Here is a digital version of Please Plant This Book, typographical errors and all. Seeds not included.
more info at the Brautigan Bibliography and Archive
Friday, February 27, 2009
Painstakingly created over a four year period while a student at the California Institute of the Arts, animator John Ross shot Gork live action on 16mm film and then spent the majority of that time painting cels and rotoscoping it the old-fashioned way with a "downshooter" camera system.
Interesting note: Ross was taught how to rotoscope by Michael Patterson. An instructor at CalArts at the time, Patterson was also a freelance artist who, with his wife Candace Reckinger, was in the midst of making a music video for the song "Take On Me" by an obscure Norwegian pop group known as a-ha.
via A Very Wide Array
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Stealing beauty: the greatest art heists in history:
Perhaps the greatest art theft of them all remains the Gardner art heist, in which thieves made off with 13 works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, in 1990. Altogether they were valued at $500m (£350m) and included Vermeer's The Concert, which is believed to be the world's most valuable missing art work. The haul also included a Manet, several Degas sketches and three Rembrandts. Nineteen years and a $5m (£3.5m) reward later, it remains an unsolved mystery Photograph: Barney Burstein
Exploring a ‘Deep Web’ That Google Can’t Grasp Beyond those trillion pages lies an even vaster Web of hidden data: financial information, shopping catalogs, flight schedules, medical research and all kinds of other material stored in databases that remain largely invisible to search engines.... Now a new breed of technologies is taking shape that will extend the reach of search engines into the Web’s hidden corners. When that happens, it will do more than just improve the quality of search results — it may ultimately reshape the way many companies do business online. (via) (prev)
Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci discovered in Basilicata What may be a hitherto unknown portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in middle age shows that the Renaissance genius had piercing blue eyes, a long nose and long greying hair with a droopy moustache.
A design for life (The history of the smiley face symbol) Feelgood corporate logo, acid house icon and txt msg emoticon: one chirpy yellow emblem has kept grinning since the first summer of love. Jon Savage celebrates the life of Smiley.
Q&A: Dennis Hopper I don't spend a lot. Most of my art collection I got by trading it or through knowing the artist. I got Andy Warhol's first soup can painting for $75. I lost it to my first wife.
This gallery presents the best images from the Materials Research Society’s recent Science as Art competition. Each one depicts familiar objects made from materials with otherworldly properties—and they’re insanely small. This quiz will test how well you understand this tiny, alien world.
more at nanobliss
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Ilustración de Henning Wagenbreth
A boy was very poor, and they told him that if he eats one ton of old iron, he gets ten thousand millions of dollars, the boy accepted and in two days the boy and his family became millionaires.
150 SUEÑOS ILUSTRADOS - a collection of children’s dreams illustrated by various artists.
via the Glasgow School of Art Library
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Uncertain Times is a full one year old today.
Thanks to all of you loyal friends and visitors who have made this an extraordinarily fun ride. I have learned a great deal over the last year and you have helped this weblog to grow in ways that I had never anticipated.
Initially, I really had no idea what I was going to do with Uncertain Times, but over the months I have grown comfortable with what it has evidently become. I'll choose not to define that too precisely and just leave avenues open for wherever we may go.
As you might have noticed, posting has been down in volume over the last few months and I anticipate that this will remain the trend. There will be stops and spurts, but I'll always do my best to pass along the finest gems I can find, as has been my hope and intention all along.
p.s. Uncertain Times v.ii has become a storehouse for random items that I find along the way. There has been a fair bit of action there lately.
painting by G.K. Bellows
The Most Brilliant Sci-Fi Mind on Any Planet: Philip K. Dick (pdf) (excellent 1975 Rolling Stone article by Paul Williams)
Articles, Essays and Fiction - a collection of PKD related writings
via Ministry of Truth
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
I will be working and in The Lab for the next few days and back on Monday morning. A Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day and the President's Day holiday in the same weekend... should be interesting.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
...is an interesting search term.
There's the odd Photoshop job, or two.... (via)
Refacing Government Tender
I liked emancipation of the zombie presidents featuring, from left: James K. Polk, Richard Nixon, Martin Van Buren and Abraham Lincoln....
...and, of course, Zombie Lincoln on the Moon.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Director: Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro
A detective enters a train car where he finds different manifestations of a force that haunts the place. Using his telepathic powers he tries to enter the mind of a recently deceased man before all his memories vanish.
Think Tank is a series of visual essays presented by the Brazilian production house, V2 Cinema. Monthly online videos feature various well-known artists whose works and viewpoints are interpreted by V2's stable of filmmakers. This story is built around an interview with David Lynch.
Interview: Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro on The Soul Detective
via Cabinet of Wonders
Monday, February 9, 2009
Considering that some scientists estimate that the human brain can calculate at the rate of 100 trillion bits per second* (some say more), intuition and even ‘psychic’ ability might very well be a product of this immense power of processing.
*Although computers can calculate at nearly the speed of light, they perform calculations one at a time. The brain, in comparison, calculates at a snail’s pace, but makes up for this by performing trillions of operations simultaneously.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
quagmire (Polaroid 20x30)
Joachim Knill designed and built the world's largest portable instant film camera. His 20x30 Polaroids of "surreal installations" have a colorful, painterly quality to them that runs somewhat counter to what you would expect from this particular medium. His panoramas are decidedly more photographic, but no less interesting.
Although I enjoyed his work, it was the camera that hooked me.
Joachim and his camera
via everlasting blört
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Born in the midst of the Great Depression on February 5, 1934 and raised in poverty in a still-segregated South, Henry Aaron would rise to become a legendary superstar, a symbol of all that is good about the game of baseball, and a class act.
Received this from my buddy Crow via email:
Verducci (in Joe Torre's new book) writes that Clemens’s usual pregame preparation included taking a whirlpool bath at the hottest temperature possible. “He’d come out looking like a lobster,” Yankee trainer Steve Donahue told Verducci. Donahue would then rub hot liniment all over Clemens’s body.
“Then Donahue would rub the hottest possible liniment on his testicles,” Verducci writes. “He’d start snorting like a bull,” the trainer said. “That’s when he was ready to pitch.”