Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Obedient They All Are

The digital hive mind issues its orders for you.

Mr. Blandings Deconstructs His Dream World

“How was an advertising man ever to suggest to a man of medicine the particular, minute insanities that were his daily tasks? Mr. Blandings thought of the accounts that made up his professional life. Old Supine, A Blend. Mr. Blandings’ task on this account was to find 10,000 different ways of evading the true issue.
“Old Supine, unlike some other products, had a true, definite function, which it would unfailingly perform. This function was to get the consumer into a hyper-normal state: buzzed, crocked, looping, fried, boiled, plastered or stinko, according to the amount ingested and the psycho-physiology of the consumer.
“Could this delightful truth be as much as hinted? Even if there were no Federal Trade Commission, the American mores would revolt at the slightest suggestion.
“In ‘building’ ads for Old Supine, it was Mr. Blandings’ task to take such notions as aroma, flavor, body, color, bouquet, mildness, more mildness, more body, less body and play with them like an 18-month infant in a playpen until some combination satisfying to the client emerged. Good fellowship, gracious living, liberty, equality, fraternity, snobbery, professional success, breadth of experience might also be used in advocacy. But the joys of getting more or less drunk? No.”
In another moment of rueful honesty, Mr. Blandings observed that Old Supine  (“A Blend of the Superfine”) was actually composed of “…75 percent grain alcohol, plus some caramel solution for color, plus a dollop of somebody’s else’s whisky to make it taste like whisky.”
— From “Blanding’s Way” by Eric Hodgins (1950)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Behold, the SoCEOpath

I did not originate the term "ammosexual," sadly. And it was Philip Martin who came up with the ultimate 21st century mass entertainment term "assassitute." But I nearby lay claim to the term "soCEOpath" (tm).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Consider the Tree

Consider the tree outside the door. Although it serves as a resting place for birds, it doesn't make an effort to call those that come. Nor does it care whether those that leave return. When a person's mind is like the tree's, they no longer oppose the Tao [the Way].
— Lung-ya

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Strange Doctors: Droom and Doom

Before Dr. Doom, there was Dr. Droom, a Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation from 1961 who was really kind of a trial run for Marvel Comics’ Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange.
Dr. Strange was a selfish bastard doctor who travels to Tibet seeking a cure. Dr. Droom was a selfless doctor who travels to Tibet to administer a cure. Both gain mystical powers there — Dr. Droom through the weird and no longer politically correct avenue of magically becoming Asian.
Dr. Droom was arguably the first Marvel superhero of the 1960s, preceding the ground-breaking “Fantastic Four” title (Droom debuted in June 1961 in “Amazing Adventures,” four months ahead of the FF).
Droom was revived in the 1970s in “The Incredible Hulk,” but renamed “Dr. Druid” to avoid confusion with the Fantastic Four’s infamous archenemy Dr. Doom.
A weird character that attracted weird coincidences, Dr. Droom's unlikely name nearly made it into the comics 20 years before attached to yet another super-sorcerer. DC Comics writer Gardner Fox had originally intended to call his 1940s magician Dr. Fate by that name. It seems we were fated to find a Droom (a Dutch word meaning "dream," by the way).
Dr. Droom strives to save a man's life, unaware that he's being tested for his worthiness to be a super-hero.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ferguson, Not Tinanamen

Public servants have become rulers precisely to the degree that what used to be called “citizens” have become mere “consumers.”
We have conflicting goals in Ferguson, Mo. One side wants to determine, publicly and with certainty, how and why an unarmed man was shot six times by a police officer. The other side just wants the protests to stop.

Crows in a Strong Wind

Painting by Sophy White

By Cornelius Eady

Off go the crows from the roof.
The crows can’t hold on.
They might as well
Be perched on an oil slick.

Such an awkward dance,
These gentlemen
In their spottled-black coats.
Such a tipsy dance,

As if they didn’t know where they were.
Such a humorous dance,
As they try to set things right,
As the wind reduces them.

Such a sorrowful dance.
How embarrassing is love
When it goes wrong

In front of everyone.