Posts filed under ‘language’

It’s bigger than hip-hop

– posted by russellmania3000

Damn, son. Fuck coffee, I’m awake now, ready to go 12 rounds. My employer is a professional sports franchise that will go unnamed, whose mascot is an outsized mutant rabbit named Hip-Hop and he has a supremely gay theme song. I’ve been trying to get it changed to Dead Prez for a while, but to no avail. Something about being family-friendly or whatever, I hear them talk about kids and I tune out. By the way, in our office we can use “gay” as an epithet as much as we like without being sent to sensitivity training or whatever. So if that’s your beef, I really don’t want to hear it.

I work in interactive marketing so I check out the Google competition for anything I’m involved in, just for kicks. I checked for Redikulus a while back and there used to be a lot more that has since dropped off the face of the nets. There was a pretty cool clothing company that I can find neither hide nor hair of anymore. But there are two interesting things of note.

this image's file name is Blexican.jpg. Really.

The first result, regrettably, is for a misspelling of Ridikulus, a Harry Potter spell. Christ, we are in poor company. But more importantly, as luck would have it, there’s a rapper who goes by same, and why shouldn’t there be? We really asked for it when we chose this spelling. Listen Mr. I Started Rapping At 6, I don’t care if your pops is in jail or what part of Las Vegas you’re from. I watched CSI and it seems like a goofy as all hell kind of place. If you so much as even think about purchasing redikulus.com, you will be in for a world of hurt, mon ami. No wait. What I meant was: perhaps we can come up with a business arrangement that will benefit both of us…

Dag, yo! Hodag!

The other and infinitely more compelling item of interest with which we share a name is Redikulus Dae, an annual street fair/shopping festival in Rhinelander, WI. Sweet crackers, there’s even a second annual Hodag Roaring Contest. I am so there. Back up a minute. Hodag, you say? Yes. Think of it as a Midwestern chupacabra. There’s not enough drugs in this city for me to make up shit like this. American folklore is truly fascinating and batshit crazy.

Anyway…as you were.

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February 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM Leave a comment

coming soon: space in your face!

nebulaaaahhhhhhzzzzz

nebulaaaahhhhhhzzzzz

No, not this space. Although, space pictures are really cool. I’m a big fan of nebulae, because it’s like making shapes out of clouds, only they are sweeter. Because they come in super radical colors, and plus that’s where stars are born. That’s all pretty badass to me, but then again, I still love going to the planetarium. Don’t hate.

theselby.com

theselby.com

Also,this interior space is also not in your face. It could be. I wasted several hours looking at these interiors. Owned by people who presumably have cooler lives than I do. (Or at least nicer houses and apartments). The photography is truly interesting. I can thank one of my favorite online writers for this find, Rosecrans Baldwin. He writes for the Digital Ramble column in the New York Time Magazine’s The Moment. He’s coming out with a book later this year, so I’ll keep you posted on that. For now you, can also catch him on The Morning News, an online publication that he helped to start in 1999.

The space I’m talking about is the one being carved out by N.A.S.A. It’s okay, I also thought that our space program might be releasing an album of ambient space noises, asteroids colliding, or secrets hidden alien tracks recorded for the past 30 years. It’s actually a collaboration between two L.A. based DJs and their friends. If that saying is true about the company you keep, this album is going to be awesome. Their new single, Money (see video below) is going to be making them just that. It features David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, and Z-trip. If that’s not enough for you, their album is going to be released featuring covers by five artists: Shepard Fairey, Marcel Dzama, Sage Vaughn, The Date Farmers, and Mark Gonzales.

Sidenote: Russ really likes how I manage to reference Shepard Fairey all the time. It’s not my fault he’s popular and people love to blog about him, take pictures of his installations, and crowd his openings. So in an attempt to write about other things I’m interested in, it was only fitting that Shepard Fairey ironically show up anyway! I heard he designed this poster people may have heard about, it had to do with our new president. I also heard that the poster is now in the National Portrait Gallery.

inauguration installation

inauguration installation

Last spring I chased two of my favorite men, (who are also extraordinarily fast walkers, it’s a light jog of a pace for anyone of the short legged nature) around the galleries in New York . One of the best shows I’ve ever seen was by one of N.A.S.A.’s cover artists at the David Zwirner Gallery. Marcel Dzama’s Even the Ghost of the Past was on display, with the first room dedicated to paintings and sketchbooks. The second room was dark with two displays of his sculptural work. The third room was a theatre for a black and white video installation. One of the things he is most noted for is his muted color palette, which is attributed to his using a root-beer paint for the variations in browns he achieves. He also kept amazing company in a collective known as The Royal Art Lodge, with Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber, Drue Langlois, Jonathan Pylypchuk, and Adrian Williams. Marcel features work in several galleries. I’ve seen some minature sculptures at a gallery in Philadelphia, as well as a print of his featured in a show at F.U.E.L. gallery. His sculptural work and video is as equally and as darkly enchanting as the rest of his work.

Owl Troubles, 2003

Owl Troubles, 2003

May I suggest keeping good company? It seems to be working out for everyone else.

-posted by samsquared

January 26, 2009 at 8:59 PM Leave a comment

Your ankles are mighty sexy..

There are some people out there who believe they were born in the wrong century. I must admit, I sometimes feel this way too. However, upon a recent discussion, my friends were talking about how the 1800s were really where its at. I had to disagree. If too much of your ankles were showing at this time, you were a harlot! And I love wearing jeans a whole heck of a lot. Seriously, you had to pretend like you had no sex drive, and you couldn’t even discuss sex. I sometimes wonder how people even knew how to do it back in the olden days.

recently-deflowered-girl-01-thumb

I do like old ‘racey’ illustrations. Today I found these Edward Gorey illustrations. This is a great article, because this guy is as much into Children’s writers getting all pervy and weird with their adult material as I am. Many people are unaware of the favorite Childhood authors, who also have amazing adult works. One of my favorites is Roald Dahl’s short stories. He used to write for Playboy starting in the 60s, and one story has the subtle title of  Bitch. Bet you didn’t borrow that from your local library when you were a kid.

The problem with a few of these stories and illustrations is that some of the content was only relevant at the time. Some stories but mostly the comics leave me feeling out of the loop. Do not let this deter you, there are far more that are surprisingly timeless. An example of this is cartoons and stories by James Thurber, who used to write for the New Yorker. This guy fathered all cartoons that have the mentality of, ‘Wench, go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich’. He is also capable of making fun of men, he’s just not as good at it.

wildwomen01x2

So we can suggest it may have been better to live in simpler times, but lets not forget the horrible places you could have ended up back in the day. For example, the Puritans were back in the day, and they were pretty much one big no-fun zone! Also, being that I have red hair, there were several civilizations that were convinced we were Satan’s spawn. I’ll stick with  the non-witch burning openly sexual time I was born into. The 1980s. Bitches and blow.

-posted by samsquared

January 15, 2009 at 4:42 PM Leave a comment

Start as you mean to go on

Sweet crackers it is cold out. My thermometer was reading 10 degrees in the shade when I left this morning, and by the time I got to the office, my face felt like it was a rubber mask stretched over some other face underneath. If you have ever wondered how horrifying it might feel to be so cold you can’t feel your penis, don’t. My nipples are permanently erect from the bars of surgical titanium penetrating the first few dermal layers. But if they weren’t made so by that, they would have been by my ride this morning. By that and this guy right here:

Q: What do you smell? A: Manflesh. So sayeth Lurtz.

So the big news in the world of sport, for me at least, is that this creamy specimen up top, that being not a model or some crazy naked weirdo but David Beckham, is headed back to Europe, at least temporarily, and is taking his kinda hot but fake-boobied Spice Wife with him. Which is great news, because his talent is totally wasted on American soccer and AC Milan seems like a splendid move. Not that the Rossoneri midfield is soft, but they are a bit defense-oriented and Beckham gives them a nice forward push. And after seeing him face Ronaldinho in several La Liga clasicos during their time with Real Madrid and Barcelona, I for one am excited to see what they might do on the same squad. There’s a lot of nationalistic pride in Serie A football, but is it really any surprise that the team that casts the widest talent net is sitting atop the table? Here’s hoping the LA Galaxy have the grace to let Beckham go for good.

What is going on? Sports on an art fag blog? Hear me out. I have a point, I think. I’m a man, I’m not above caring about sports, and I try to be a man of the people; Rome, after all, has always been a republic.

So, start as you mean to go on.

This is a phrase that doesn’t see much daylight in American English, which is unfortunate since its simplicity and elegance belie the scope of its implications. It sees a fair share of usage across the pond, as it were, but is relegated mostly to the lexicon of sport. A team that wins their season opener is said to have started as they mean to go on. Often this is said as a sarcastic inversion to imply that a poor beginning sets the stage for continued disappointment. English sportscasters routinely employ this phrase in their manifold exhibitions of linguistic superiority.

I’m quite serious. Tune into any English Premiership match and your ears will thank you. Soccer isn’t called “the beautiful game” simply for the action on the pitch. Never mind that the crowd sings rather than cheers. But the language used to give play-by-play to UK laymen is more eloquent than that of most American intellectuals and academics, the word choice and syntax whimsically inventive yet instantly understood. Consider: Martin Tyler, John Motson, Ray Hudson. These aren’t the most darling of examples, but just imagine them whispering sweet nothings in your ear and see if your legs don’t go soft.

Joe Buck can barely describe a passing route without speaking about the receiver in some sort of collective consciousness first/second/third person perspective and issuing forth a bevy of run-on sentences dripping in grammatical errors from the unfortunate, toothy hole in his face. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this amateur hour habit of assuming the first-person perspective of players is so universally embraced by American sportscasters, other than that they are mongoloid amateurs. Though he is perhaps the progenitor of practice, there will always be a place in my heart for John Madden, but his appeal is similar to that of Droopy or Rodney Dangerfield or that chubby girl you’d still fuck – there’s definitely a huge cute/pity factor. Perhaps once a fortnight, Madden will drop a gem of analysis so finely crystalized one might think he was huffing fumes from Big John Runyan‘s jock like some modern day Oracle of Delphi. But most of the time, he’s only marginally huggable because his blue collar celebration of the unsung heroes of run blocking and pass protection only partially masks his bumbling buffoonery. I mean, here’s a guy whose favorite phrase is “I mean, here’s a guy.” That and “boom.”

Speaking of boom, here’s a present for everyone but Pats fans.

Side note: ever wondered why sporting events are usually broadcast with two-man commentary teams instead of solo? Listening to one guy call the play is an awkward, lonely experience. Just as a color commentator can feed companionship through osmosis, a lone announcer exudes isolation that echoes your own as you spend another Sunday afternoon alone, growing older and fatter, watching sweaty men exchange ass pats. FOX Soccer Channel has this Italian guy who calls Serie A matches alone. He sounds like he learned to speak English from a Scotsman, so he has two accents, which is more annoying than you can imagine.

American sportscasters function splendidly as examples of successful mediocrity. These announcers are on TV to remind the young children watching that all is not lost if they fail to develop into professional athletes. They are salesmen pitching the virtues of living vicariously through sport. Perhaps this explains the continued use of altered perspective, but Ockham’s Razor would have me believe that they are simply mongoloid amateurs. To further sell this fantasy, networks hire washed up athletes to do the color commentary. When kids see Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the FOX booth, they are invited to inquire who this shitgoose working with Troy is and ask “why not me because certainly I could be less of a sniveling shit,” and imagine that one day they might sit in a similar booth and don a headset with perhaps Michael Vick or Plaxico Burress and make pithy banter about prison.

The most glaring contrast between European and American sportscasters, even more so than their ability to use their mother tongue, is their temperament towards failure. Americans will, under most circumstances, fawn over players and teams as they try in earnest to find something good to say about their performance no matter how abysmal it may be. Europeans by comparison are notoriously hard to please and are stunningly critical of even winning teams and good players. What can account for this? Simply that there is no system for instituting collective responsibility in American leagues whereas in Europe there is.

In America, losing teams are rewarded with higher draft picks and thus the chance to radically improve their squad. In Europe, losing teams are kicked out of the league. Imagine, if you will, what blasphemy it would have been if after last year’s football season, the Philadelphia Soul entered the NFL and the Miami Dolphins were forced to play in the Arena league. A European system of promotion and relegation would do exactly that. On top of that, the better teams play in two or three leagues/cups at the same time, and many of their players also have to split time with national teams that are playing on several circuits at the same time. With this environment of heightened personal and collective responsibility for a team’s performance and reputation, it’s understandable why European fans and pundits have less tolerance for failure and mediocrity.

Hence the phrase “start as you mean to go on,” or in Americanese, “do it right the first time, bitch, don’t fuck it up.” It speaks to a certain work ethic that favors precision and deliberation over trial and error, a sentiment that, like preservative-free hippie food, doesn’t travel well over long distances, distances like Atlantic Oceans.

Americans, as both children and adults, are not taught to start as they mean to go on, but rather to start and then go on. Growing up American encourages us to make mistakes, reinvent ourselves and remain flexible in charting our path through life, and this is certainly admirable at a certain level. This cultural legacy has given us our resilience and agility, our aptitude for exploring life and finding what fits. But what we might gain in spirit we lose in ethic. We are conditioned to see success as an end rather than a means. We are encouraged to see mistakes as unlucky but forgettable events that build character, as no fault of our own, as opportunities for growth rather than the breeders of complacency they actually are.

So in examining the condition of our economy and our planet, we’re now seeing the accumulated fallout for our collective unwillingness to view current performance as a forecaster for future results. Our national will to take real action in addressing the challenges of today – climate change, energy, poverty and the declining middle class, healthcare, education – is pretty much the same as it’s always been: virtually non-existent. The American attitude toward problem solving is to hope things self-correct and put off taking immediate, decisive action until it’s far too late and such action takes more the form of haphazard damage control than prevention.

We can learn a thing or two from European sports. Like how to fix our broken country. Or how to cook a proper white center.

– posted by RussellMania3000

December 22, 2008 at 4:35 PM 1 comment


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