Monday, August 28, 2006

a bridge at sunset

Sometimes, you need to do things that you enjoy.
Go here if you are curious about what I was upset about. The posts in question are “ contemplative”, “A quote from a commenter “ (three guesses who the commenter was), “arrogant”, and “emergent interviews: Frank Turk”. Bless his heart.
One comment. If you want to create good will with me, avoid rhetorical questions about my mother. It does not create good will.
After the rain settled down, I went to run some errands, and found myself on a bridge at sunset taking pictures. This is the result.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


8/26/2006 11:37 AM.
I haven’t fallen off my bike yet, so it must be a good day.
The last saturday of the month is when I pay bills. This is car insurance month, so it is especially painful. I still have checks left, so I can't be overdrawn.
I got a reality check recently. It was returned for insufficient funds.
After the checkbook carnage was done, I got on my bike and went to the neighborhood yard sale.
I hit the jackpot.
I got four books, nine videos, and a camping mattress for $10.
I now own a copy of “Citizen Kane”,” The Graduate”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, and “Forrest Gump”. In a few hundred years, people are going to look at Forrest Gump as literally accurate history, they way contemporary man looks at Homer and the Bible.
Citizen Kane was a find for the archivist. There was a period in the late thirties and early forties which produced many of the most worshipped films of our culture…”Citizen Kane”, “Casablanca”, “Gone with the Wind”, “The wizard of Oz”, and others. This was an era when America was struggling with the aftereffects of a depression, and Germany was trying to conquer the world. Perhaps if Germany had focused on making family movies instead of taking over Europe, the world would be a better place.

Sacrilege. The only one of those four movies that I don’t have a copy of is “Gone with the Wind”. For a native Atlantan, this is not acceptable. However, I refuse to pay retail for this, and will wait until I see it at a yard sale. If I am curious, all I need to do is consult my memory, which is where most of that movie is already.
Of course, the book of cartoons by Gahan Wilson has the most truth in it.
I used to be a Charles Addams fan. I would look at the table of contents in New Yorker, and see the artists with cartoons, and look for his. Then, I noticed he was missing.
A few years later, I saw a book of his comics, and learned that he had died four years earlier. This would explain the lack of production, but is not an acceptable excuse for a man of his talent.
After I got my loot back to the house, and washed off the camping mat, It was back on the road. I had seen something last night, and wanted a picture.

Somebody is going to be surprised when they get home.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Big Chicken

Impressions. The first time I saw the Big Chicken was as a child, in a car, while waiting for a red light to change. Until I-75 was built a few blocks over, Hiway 41 (aka "the four lane") was the main drag between Michigan and Florida. 41 is still a busy road, becoming the Northside Parkway at the Chattahoochee River, then Northside Drive, then Metropolitan Parkway. Metropolitan Parkway was once known as Stewart Avenue, and was the sleaziest street in Georgia. The new name has only marginally improved it.

The Big Chicken is a landmark, an icon, and a symbol of everything regular and extra crispy about America. It is described in several online guides to American idols.

Roadsideamerica is a good place to start. There is the standard history of the sheetmetal bird..."In 1963, Tubby Davis had the Big Chicken built to advertise his Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake. Its moveable beak, eyes and comb attracted enough attention, like Providence, RI's giant termitethat it became a popular landmark in directions to city visitors."
Indeed, for years, "go down the four lane and take a left at the Big Chicken" was standard directions in Mayretta. Some folks would still be lost if it were not for the big bird.
More of the history and culture of sheetmetal poultry can be found here.

Unfortunately, not everyone is impressed with the Big Chicken. Naysayers would have you believe :"The Big Chicken is perhaps the tackiest beloved icon in the country. It is ugly! It has no aesthetic value. It is an example of commercial hucksterism at its finest. But it stands at one of the most important intersections of the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Marietta."

Negativity is so common. To hear some say it:
"Its a dumb chicken type billboard/sign. Not worth even looking at if you drive by it."
As a transplant said:
"We moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago and had heard about the Big Chicken. When we finally saw it we were stunned! How can a classy city like Atlanta think this is something to be proud of?!? Don't waste your time finding this dud." Of course, this person thinks Atlanta is a classy city.
But don't despair. There is one person who knows what it is all about.
"The cultural significance of the Big Chicken can't be overstated. Through war, through the Olympics, through terrorist attacks on American soil, the B. C. has kept Marietta grounded, anchored to the here and now in an ever-changing world. As such, it's nothing less than a symbol of local pride, of man's determination and capacity to sell fried chicken to his fellow man in good times and in bad. The Chicken keeps us abreast of our creator-derived freedoms."


Performance.Lubrication. Freedom.
Time goes by so quickly these days. I put in 47 1/2 hours this week at work, and the time just flies by.
It all came to a head Wednesday night. I went out for a bike ride, and it started to rain. Trying to make the turn into the driveway a bit too soon, I wiped out. All I got was a bruised knee and a few scrapes, and the bike is not damaged. Another one of my nine lives bites the dust.
Thursday, I wanted to get back in the saddle. I went up to the library, got some cd’s and a book. I got Brian Eno, Cirque du Soleil, Judy Garland, The Beatles, and Bret Easton Ellis. Thirty seven percent of the population will not know which one of those five is the book author. I am listening to the Cirque du Soleil "greatest hits" now, and am amazed.
There seems to be a circus theme now. Three thousand miles ago, the oil was changed on my buick. Today was a good day to get that chore done. Now, the oil change place is next to the mall, aka " capital latina de la georgia". There is a little mexican circus in the parking lot now, and while the oil was changing I walked over to look at the animals. The tiger looked at me with a sad, defeated look. He could tear me to bits without breathing hard, but he is in a cage, and I am free to walk away. Sometimes life in not fair.
From the animal prison I went to a gas station. Recently, a lady caught her car on fire there while filling up. The tv newsreader helpfully suggested that you turn off your car before you fill up.
I read an article about Kurt Vonnegut while I was standing around in the gas station. Mr. V is one of my heroes. His existence today is the result of his being in a meat locker under Dresden, the night of the allied firebombing. There is a connection between that and the white tiger in the parking lot, but I am not sure what it is.
The mall is in the triangle of Clairmont Road, Buford Hiway, and Dresden Drive.
Mr. V is a chain smoker. He was born the same year as my mother, who was horrified by tobacco use. He has lived seven years longer, anyway. Sometimes life is not fair.
Fair is a baseball hit between first and third base. And, while a circus is similar to a Fair, a circus is not Fair.
A man who says I don't know is frequently telling the truth.
I am now listening to “another green world” by Brian Eno. The spell check suggestions for Eno are neo, eon, no, en, ennui, end. Eno is also a very versatile combination for anagrams…eno, eon, one, oen, noe, neo. With proper names and foreign words included, That may be 100 percent use of all combinations.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

final assembly

8/12/2006 12:59:52
Warning: The following text is long and self indulgent. If you would prefer to download pornography, read between the lines of the bible, or whine about the government.... morally equivalent choices...then go elsewhere. You should have no trouble finding satisfaction.
Today, I am starting the final assembly of the LT image. I got started after work a few nights this week, mostly by cutting out tiles to go in rows one and two, and in printing my backup sheets.
The backup sheets are an important part of the process. Stickers come with backing paper, that is, wax paper on one side and bond paper on the other. This allows the sticker to be stored until it is time to apply it.
This backing paper can be run through a copier. I print the image, reverse reading, on the bond side. I then put the sticker on the wax side and cut out the desired part. I did this at a Kinko's thursday night. I have done it at work before, but I am not familiar with the current small format machines at work, and don't know if they even take 11x17 sheets.

Plywood, cardboard, and a utility shelf have seldom been put to better use. This is my worktable. Headset telephone, hole punch, stapler, straight edge, pencil. pocket knife, box knife, cutting cardboard, template.... these are all important tools. In the back are the tiles I cut out this week.
This picture was taken after I cleared off the table and put a fresh sheet of cardboard on top. It is not usually this neat.

Luminescence. This lightbox is where the image is assembled.
This box was thrown away at a shop I worked in. I took it home and fixed it.
The base of the image is on it. A 17x22 sheet of drafting film, the pattern for the image is taped to the back. Opaque tape defines the edges of the image.

Promotion and Publicity. This poster was thrown away by a record store in 1971, when those were all current releases.
I saw the movie "Performance" once. Mick needs to stick to singing. I was working downtown when he was filming a movie called "Free Jack". I saw the chair with his name stenciled on it. The movie, or at least what I saw on tv, was horrible. There is a chase scene where a speeding car takes a right turn onto a street under the viaduct on the Georgia State campus. What the viewer does not know is that the street, in real life, is about fifty feet long.
But then, image is everything. When the sixty something grandfather can make a living as a teenage rebel, you know we are living in strange times.

Receptacle for bits of trash paper, this coffee can plays a vital role in the production process.

Selftimer is a dangerous feature.

Correcttime twice a day.
This clock was given to me by a dear friend, who became a statistic in 1992. After a while I got tired of feeding it batteries, and I set it at 01:51. This is the time that timepieces are set at when they are photographed for advertisements. (The other magic time is 10:09). While this does project a welcoming image, the question arises...are all timepiece ads shot at 01:51 or 10:09 (with the second hand at 35), or, are the watch peddlers lying?
If they don’t tell time accurately when they are advertised, how can they be trusted when they are in use?

Postalusefullness. The mailman is bringing me a check.
I look forward to going on a real payroll and not depending on a staffing service to bring me a check. With any luck at all I can get direct deposit.

Leftovers. I have been cutting out orange pieces this morning. I usually work one color at a time, and then move on to the next. These scraps will be used for the model of my next project.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Is it fascism?

1-A political regime based on strong centralized government, suppressing through violence any criticism or opposition of the regime, and exalting nation, state, or religion above the individual
2-A system of strong autocracy.
Thank you wiktionary for the above definition.
There is a much used phrase these days.... islamofascist. It is catchy, and causes ill will to be directed at certain "terrorist organizations". The question does arise, are Al Queda, Hizbollah, and other independent armies fascist?
"A political regime based on strong centralized government". None of the currently recognized Terrorist organizations are in charge of a recognized government, with the arguable exception of Hamas. Of course, the strength of their government is a matter of question. Hamas does not seem to have the overwhelming control over its citizens that Mussolini or Hitler had over their countries.
One of the trademarks of WW2 style fascism is the fashions. The armies of Mussolini and Hitler were known for their dashing uniforms, which were worn by the leaders of the country as well. Does Al Queda have anything to match? Quick now, what does a Hizbollah uniform look like?
"suppressing through violence any criticism or opposition of the regime” The terror cells are not democracies. They do have leaders and followers. On this score, they may be fascist.
"exalting nation, state, or religion above the individual ". Here again, the terror groups are not the leaders of nations. In Lebanon, Hizbollah is working to undermine the regime in power. Al Queda is not a nation or state. In fact, in the case of the late al-Zirquawi, AQ is working to promote chaos and undermine the state.
Many of these groups do promote Islam, at least at face value. The question arises, is this an idealistic belief, or a means to an end?
Another thing to be considered here is the pejorative value of "fascist". The "F word" has a high negative connotation in this country, but few people really know what it means. As to whether Al Queda can be truly called fascist, when they do not control a state.... I leave that to the reader to decide.
Or, is it the war on terrorism, or the war of terrorism?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the bomb and I

Centurion is a man of many words.
He recently posted a commentary on Iran, her president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , Mike Wallace, and the nuclear bomb. Which of those four items has produced the most radiation?
Mr. 'Turion asks a few questions, possibly in the spirit of recreational sarcasm. Since I am blogger non grata with him, I sent him an email with an answer to one of his questions.
Centurion:"Now ask yourself: "Why does he want a nuclear bomb if he believes what he is saying?"
Chamblee 54:
"Why does Iran want a nuclear bomb "?
In 1980 an ally of the United States (Iraq) invaded Iran. A ghastly war raged for the next eight years, leaving over 1,000,000 Iranian soldiers dead.
Iran shares borders with Pakistan and Turkmenistan. These are potentially belligerent nations.
Pakistan and Turkmenistan have the bomb.
Iran has a alliance/enemy relationship with Israel (Remember the Iran contra cocaine affair? Israel was the middleman in those deals) Currently, Iran is talking a lot of hatred for Israel, which is being reciprocated by Israel.
Israel has the bomb.
Iran shares borders with Syria and Afghanistan. Both of these are unstable, potentially hostile regimes.
While Syria and Afghanistan are not believed to have nuclear weapons, the potential for trouble with these two countries is great.
Iran is currently being threatened by the United States. This is despite the fact that the United States has done Iran a favor by deposing its enemy, Saddam Hussein.
The United States has an occupation army next door to Iran.
The United States has the bomb. Lots of them, and is led by a government that just might be crazy enough to use them.
There is a civil war raging on Iran’s border. Iran's Shiite co religionists are in daily mortal combat with Sunnis.
The Kurdish people are clamoring for an independent Kurdistan. If this ever happens, you can expect hostile actions from Turkey.
Iran’s government is hostile. Its proxy war with Israel is despicable.
However, If you consider the above facts you can see why Iran might want the bomb.
One more thing. In the late seventies Iran was crawling with CIA agents. And yet, a massive revolution hit, the Shah was deposed, and the United States was caught completely by surprise. Why?
The C.I.A. agents in Iran were not concerned with Iran. They were there to spy on the Soviet Union, across the border. These were the days of massive neo warfare against the Soviet empire. While we were concerned about the commies across the border, Iran was tumbling into chaos, and we didn't have a clue.
The following is an addendum. This was not in the initial email, but does address an issue raised by the initial commentary.
Centurion:"When someone is either this self-deceived or this willing to openly lie, there is no reasoning with him."
Chamblee 54: Are you referring to George Bush or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?