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august 2021 photos of the month


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The metamorphosis of Jesus Christ from a humble servant of the abject poor to a symbol that stands for gun rights, prosperity theology, anti-science, limited government (that neglects the destitute) and fierce nationalism is truly the strangest transformation in human history.
Rainn Wilson
Response from FB buddy Matt McIrvin: "Honestly the transformation of Christianity to an institution that can be a happy servant of power happened really early on, in the late Roman Empire. Ever since then we've just been living with some form of that contradiction."

Texas "detectable heartbeat" laws is the worst kind of religion mooching off of science. These fools think a fetal Doppler device is actually a soul detector.

The old standard for "unborn personhood" was quickening; if you insist on controlling women's bodies (and come up with the weirdest ass rubik's cube of citizens ratting out citizens legal bullshittery to do so) - and thus assert that the government knows more than women and their doctors, at least go to that traditional standard, you loony hypocrites.

September 2, 2021


august new music playlist


Since I Found You Gone
The Exploding Voids
Kind of lovely break up song from a pretty obscure but great European group.
Final song I didn't already have from their new album... been their biggest American fan since I heard their transcendent As It Comes at the end of their indie horror film "Welk"
Alone Again Or
Old rock, nice mix of latin sounds.
From the movie "Bottle Rock"
Goosebumps (Remix)
Travis Scott & HVME
Club pop.
Played by a DJ at a highschool graduation party afternoon.

Let the Tiger Out
Andy Cooper
Hiphop with a ton of funk.
Via this Dance Flash Mob video.
The Oak Ridge Boys
Cornball countrified 80s song.
I so remember this from, like, summer camp in like 1983 or something. But Dave S mentioned it for some reason at a Vermont reunion weekend.
Tom Zé & José Miguel Wisnik
Art song with interesting sounds that goes on a bit but... I think it has a strong "sound of toothbrushing" influence?
Matthew Greene played this at a Vermont getaway weekend.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Nice NOLA style brass.
During Vermont reunion weekend, Sean mentioned this one.
Solitude of Sirens
The Exploding Voids
Great indie sound. "Are you the siren, or the lighthouse, to my thoughts?"
Penultimate song I didn't already on their latest album
My First Girlfriend (Slowed)
Inane kid hiphop that becomes transcendent slowed down...
Found on tumblr... check out the link, I also love the animated GIF she used to post it.

Be OK (Acoustic Version)
Ingrid Michaelson
Upbeat song, a gal and her guitar and just a little production seasoning.
Playing in an open roofed outlet center in NJ.
This Feeling
Alabama Shakes
Gentle and lovely song about arrival after hard times.
Used on the show "Fleabag"

Lizzo & Cardi B
Excellent empowerment hiphop, dig the bass.
Jim W wrote: 'So…I slept on Lizzo and Cardi’s “Rumors” and gotta be honest, it’s even better than Fleetwood Mac, and I love Fleetwood Mac 🤣'
Joey Nato & Atlus
Obscure hiphop, nice beats.
My friend Jonathan has the single best track record at recommending new music that I actually like. I feel like there's probably a pretty simple formula about percussion sound he's figured out...

Slow, sad, beautiful.
From a poignant scene in "Ted Lasso"

So, Republican Senators breaks the government of confirmation for most of a year to steal a SCOTUS seat, Texas makes a law to unleash a legion of Deputy Dawgs to sue women and doctors, SCOTUS issues late night picayune rulings where the conservative bare majority pretend their hands are tied to stop things because of the bizarro legal cleverness. Huh.

Conservatives are cheaters.
Funny seeing this on McGST. Reminds me of "Banned in Boston" and the city's reputation for puritanical overreach.

Also surprising is the estimate of $35K/year for an arcade machine! I knew the arcade industry of the early 80s - while faddish - was huge, $8 billion in 1982 when this article came out, one quarter at a time - Domestic Gross for Hollywood was only $3 billion that year! Still, $35K in a year? (Nearly $100K today). 35K = 140,000 quarters... 383 plays a day? Assume a 16 hour day, from like 8am to midnight, that's around 24 plays an hour. So not too far from constant play... so maybe that's a little exaggerated? Still.
Rationality when combined with uncertainty is a great tool for empathy. You're not convinced of your own correctness, but when you put things in rational terms, that's the willingness to put things in a universal language and connect with others who might have a clearer idea of the truth.

I don't understand how some people who don't have certain, with their little fiefdoms of faith, that "I know I'm definitely right, so everyone who believes otherwise is wrong" generate much empathy... maybe just sympathy for all those wrong blighted fools.

from "How to Change Your Mind"

The soul should always stand ajar.
Emily Dickinson

One of the things that commends travel, art, nature, work, and certain drugs to us is the way these experiences, at their best, block every mental path forward and back, immersing us in the flow of a present that is literally wonderful--wonder being the by-product of precisely the kind of unencumbered first sight, or virginal noticing, to which the adult brain has closed itself. (It's so inefficient!) Alas, most of the time I inhabit a near-future tense, my psychic thermostat set to a low simmer of anticipation and, too often, worry. The good thing is I'm seldom surprised. The bad thing is I'm seldom surprised.
Michael Pollan, "How to Change Your Mind"

Some years ago I myself made some observations on this aspect of nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print. One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question,--for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.
William James, "The Varieties of Religious Experience"

Mysticism is the antidote to fundamentalism.
Rick Doblin

Language, [Terence McKenna's "Stoned Ape Theory" contends], represents a special case of synesthesia, in which otherwise meaningless sounds become linked to concepts.

Michael Pollan, "How to Change Your Mind"

I'm struck by the fact there was nothing supernatural about my heightened perceptions that afternoon, nothing that I needed an idea of magic or a divinity to explain. No, all it took was another perceptual slant on the same old reality, a lens or mode of consciousness that invented nothing but merely (merely!) italicized the prose of ordinary experience, disclosing the wonder that is always there in a garden or wood, hidden in plain sight--another form of consciousness "parted from [us]," as William James put it, "by the filmiest of screens." Nature does in fact teem with subjectivities--call them spirits if you like--other than our own; it is only the human ego, with its imagined monopoly on subjectivity, that keeps us from recognizing them all, our kith and kin. [...] Before this afternoon, I had always assumed access to a spiritual dimension hinged on one's acceptance of the supernatural--of God, of a Beyond--but now I'm not so sure.
Michael Pollan, "How to Change Your Mind"

Many reports are given of deep mystical experiences, but their chief characteristic is the wonder at one's own profundity.
David McClelland

Psychedelic drugs cause panic and temporary insanity in people who have not taken them.
Timothy Leary

The psychedelic experience can yield a lot of fool's gold.
Robin Carhart-Harris

We have the longest childhood of any species. This extended period of learning and exploration is what's distinctive about us. I think of childhood as the R&D stage of the species, concerned exclusively with learning and exploring. We adults are production and marketing.
Alison Gopnik

And suddenly I realized that the molecules of my body, and the molecules of my spacecraft, the molecules in the body of my partners, were prototyped, manufactured in some ancient generation of stars. [I felt] an overwhelming sense of oneness, of connectedness . . . It wasn't 'Them and Us,' it was 'That's me! That's all of it, it's one thing.' And it was accompanied by an ecstasy, a sense of 'Oh my God, wow, yes'--an insight, an epiphany.
Edgar Mitchell, after returning from the moon on Apollo 14 and seeing the every 2-minutes spectacle of earth, moon, sun, and heavens.

Do you see the world as a prison or a playground?
Matt Johnson

Keltner believes that awe is a fundamental human emotion, one that evolved in us because it promotes altruistic behavior. We are descendants of those who found the experience of awe blissful, because it's advantageous for the species to have an emotion that makes us feel part of something much larger than ourselves.
Peter Hendricks on Dacher Keltner

Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.
Andrew Solomon

The usual antonym for the word "spiritual" is "material." That at least is what I believed when I began this inquiry--that the whole issue with spirituality turned on a question of metaphysics. Now I'm inclined to think a much better and certainly more useful antonym for "spiritual" might be "egotistical." Self and Spirit define the opposite ends of a spectrum, but that spectrum needn't reach clear to the heavens to have meaning for us. It can stay right here on earth. When the ego dissolves, so does a bounded conception not only of our self but of our self-interest. What emerges in its place is invariably a broader, more openhearted and altruistic--that is, more spiritual--idea of what matters in life. One in which a new sense of connection, or love, however defined, seems to figure prominently.
Michael Pollan, "How to Change Your Mind"

This, I think, is the great value of exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness: the light they reflect back on the ordinary ones, which no longer seem quite so transparent or so ordinary. To realize, as William James concluded, that normal waking consciousness is but one of many potential forms of consciousness--ways of perceiving or constructing the world--separated from it by merely "the filmiest of screens," is to recognize that our account of reality, whether inward or outward, is incomplete at best. Normal waking consciousness might seem to offer a faithful map to the territory of reality, and it is good for many things, but it is only a map--and not the only map.
Michael Pollan, "How to Change Your Mind"

September 5, 2021

Reading "More Die of Heartbreak", a 1987 novel by Saul Bellow. A paperback copy was given to me by a stranger on a plane back around my college days, guess she thought I was its type, but I never got around to it.

I got it in ebook form and it had been hanging around the top of my "to get to" pile for a long while. One advantage is having highlights made by other people turned on- all of whom must have read this years and years after it was a modern work... intriguing signs of life and camaraderie on a presumably less-used road.

Also, while I usually enjoy podcasts while taking walks, I'm walking while reading- something I was also more likely to do in 1987 come to think of it.

September 6, 2021

Dear Theo
Will life never treat me decently? I am wracked by despair! My head is pounding. Mrs Sol Schwimmer is suing me because I made her bridge as I felt it and not to fit her ridiculous mouth. That's right! I can't work to order like a common tradesman. I decided her bridge should be enormous and billowing and wild, explosive teeth flaring up in every direction like fire! Now she is upset because it won't fit in her mouth! She is so bourgeois and stupid, I want to smash her.
Woody Allen, "If the Impressionists had been dentists"
We watched "Loving Vincent". Intriguing film, consisting of hand painted frames in Van Gogh's style, and a kind of detective story about his death, with characters who were also subjects in some of his works.

(The tension in the rotoscoping vs painting styles and the detective story gave it a bit of a 1990s puzzle-adventure vibe.)

September 7, 2021

This world is vast and bustling with all sorts of fun things that you don't know about. Enjoy it all you can.
Misato Katsuragi in "Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance"

September 8, 2021

Abandoned ship near Dakhla city in Morocco

Via via
Just using one backpack strap: dumbest hallmark of Generation X.
So the NY Times article says How small are the chances of the average vaccinated American contracting Covid? Probably about one in 5,000 per day, and even lower for people who take precautions or live in a highly vaccinated community.

(Do note, that is "per day"- which seems a bit weasle-y.)

I admit, it's hard to reconcile that sanguine number with the anecdotes of folks I know who got breakthrough cases: Two cousins, upstairs neighbors, an online friend, a bandmate. Like I'm not quite sure how many people I have in my extended orbit, but that seems like a lot of 1 in 5000 per days!

BUT - those people barely felt it. The vaccine finally does make COVID into what anti-maskers were saying about it last year - it is like the flu, IF you get the damn jabs.

And I'll tell you why non-vaxxers aren't more pants-shittingly scared, moved enough to do the simple and sensible thing - it's this "Monoclonal antibody" treatment. Sure, it's pricey, time-consuming, and doesn't provide the lasting protection of a simple COVID jab, but at least those darn liberals aren't singing its praises! It's a high price "Get Out of COVID 'Free'!" card for moochers who are just misinformed about vaccinations. Like it's so weird... like someone might be "hesitant" because the vaccine is "new" and slightly different than regular old Flu shot vaccines... but they'll subject themselves to this equally "undertested" treatment, once they get concrete evidence that their own ass is, in fact, on the line. Crazily frustrating. We could be moving on and getting back to normal socializing if it wasn't for these fools.

September 9, 2021

Nearly an entire generation doesn't know what the back cover of their favourite albums look like
(course I missed the golden age of album art. Small CDs (also the weird long box eta)... and before that the serious dark ages of cassette tape fold outs.)
Also it reminds me when I once pondered being a writer for video game manuals. There's another form that seems to be falling by the wayside, both because distribution is so often digital (and publishers were cheaping out even before that) and the trend is either for in game tutorials, or genre instances that need less explaining. though super early games sometimes needed the manual along with the color art to better supplement the sparse graphics and sound.

September 10, 2021


September 11, 2021

Some shots from last weekend, and this one.

September 12, 2021

New person to follow on tumbler and Twitter... I love microfiction.

That one about the forests is gonna stick with me...
Every snowflake is special, until you need to make a snowball.
T. R. Darling

The forest wanted to beg for mercy but knew precious little about us. Pine trees roared like chainsaws, hoping this was the language of man.
T. R. Darling
(Just wanted to get a few here in searchable text form. But there's actually a book "Quiet Pine Trees"...)

September 13, 2021

I'll tell you the thing Nikki Sixx said in the Mötley Crüe Behind the Music. "You gotta date your wife."
Roy on "Ted Lasso"

For my devblog I did a deep dive of the animation shown here - a lovely bit of code snuggled in a 280-max tweet!

September 14, 2021

Damn, that is one sexy biting lip emoji

Hah, reminds me of this weirdly sexy ad for a russian dental office I saw in 2006:

conway ice redux

14 years ago I made "Conway Ice", seeing what happened if you plotted Conway's Game of Life in 3D... each generation is plotted one level higher than the previous. Turns out it makes cool, plant-like structures!

click to run
But I didn't port this from Java Processing to P5.js until now (not sure if P5 was doing 3D when I started.) I had to rewrite the 2D engine, but that's easy enough these days. (Getting around to making the the port inspired by Andy Wallace's Pac-Tracer that also uses 3D, in this case to chart Pac-Man ghost's sophisticated movement behaviors.)
Christianity neither is nor ever was a part of the Common Law.
Thomas Jefferson

Religion & Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
James Madison

The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
John Adams

RIP Norm MacDonald

I'm pretty sure, I'm not a doctor -- but I'm pretty sure if you die, the cancer dies at the same time. That's not a loss. That's a draw.
Norm Macdonald

September 16, 2021

No matter what instrument you are playing, you can't miss the first beat or you're through.
Reminds me too of Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula
Some time ago, the tenor saxophonist Frank Foster was playing a street concert from the Jazzmobile in Harlem. He called out for blues in B-flat. A young tenor player began to play "out" from the first chorus, playing sounds that had no relationship to the harmonic progression or rhythmic setting.
Forester stopped him.
"What are you doing?"
"Just playing what I feel."
"Well, feel something in B-flat, motherfucker"
(Not sure what book this is from, but a scan is making the HONK rounds)

I'm glad my pistachio shells a forming a relatively happy community, but not quite the amount of diversity I'd like to see.

Chuffed with the "duck" theme for my iPhone, to go along with its new yellow silicone case.

(did a little coding to get the layout right)

pseudomantis: i love file names i love gif i love png i love jpg i love mp4 i love mp3 i love txt i love pdf i love jar i love wav i love zip

business cards a recruitment for tootment

New personal cards! I decided to lean into how like 90% of why I hand them out is tuba related, and even did a QR code link to kirk.is/bands which might simplify my shpiel to people who might want to start playing in one of the groups I'm in.

Based on the bottom photo here which remains one of my favorites though it's not a look I go for very often now. In retrospect i should have touched up Alien Bill's pupil to make it bigger.
While most of my tuba playing is for community and activist bands, I play with a few others that pay. Not a ton, mostly I'm in it for the community more than the cash - but when I am helping them scrounge for tuba players for a gig I can't help them with, I think about this quote from a 2012 TIME article on a rash of tuba thefts from SoCal schools:
The New York Times reports that teachers are pointing to the popularity of banda, a traditional Mexican music form, in which tubas serve as the anchor. Tuba players in these bands are paid sometimes double what the other banda musicians play, and Chaves-Rasas says she's had students come to her asking to learn tuba so they can be in a banda, adding, "people will pay top dollar for a banda with a sousaphone player."
I don't want to deprecate the other horn players (most of whom, frankly, are likely to be more skillful players than me) nor the percussionists, some of whom are carrying around as heavy an instrument as I am. But I could get behind tubas deserving a double cut :-D

Oh, even cooler NPR piece (with transcription) talking about Mexican Bandas and the Tubas in them...

September 18, 2021

FWIW, the only pill cutter worth a damn is this one:

The Equadose. It's pricey and I can't speak to its lower cost sequel, but the original really works well.

September 19, 2021

CONTENT WARNING: Violence (esp. for folks who love Star Trek)
Highlite to see:
Weird Star Trek: The Next Generation snippet in a dream: a distraught Picard was wandering the corridors of an otherwise abandoned Enterprise. There was text in big white letters on the walls and sometimes the ground that had been placed by Q, fourth-wall breaking stuff like "Star Trek The Next Generation was an episodic show from 20th century earth" On a video screen Picard could see the replay of the execution of a crewmember, strapping him to some kind of chair two roughly Borg-ish aliens decapitate him with a kind of pitchfork and it takes two blows. On other corridors the aliens had ripped of the wall paneling leaving weird, colorful oversized circuitry.


September 20, 2021

I just saw an FB ad for this desktop toy but it would have been 4x cooler if they just made it like these: (Also seen as a kind of high tech prison in a Superman movie)
QR codes on gravesites!

I definitely understand the urge. Though I guess I feel a QR or Internet system... well it's not going to last that many more centuries than we ourselves will! Like it's still a far cry from immortality we think... and it undoubtedly overestimates our own relevancy to future generations.

(One of these decades I need to figure out how I am going to hand off the few techie/webserver based projects I run that are worth preserving after I'm gone!)
Never argue with someone who's TV is bigger than their bookshelf.
Dr. George C. Fraser

quotes from "More Die of Heartbreak"

Years ago, when I was in college or just out, a woman on a plane gave me a copy of Saul Bellow's "More Die of Heartbreak". I never got around to reading it until now (and even that in ebook form).

Some synchronicity there in reading it now, decades, later- like one of the themes is listening to some of the big messages from our subconscious-self, our second-self, a concept which has been much on my mind as of late.
Why did I want to live in the Midwest anyway? Such a cultural throwback, unconscious of its own philistinism. "Out there they can't even spell the name of Mammon, which is just the way Mammon likes it."
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
Texts are tricky that way. Because you've read about philistines you may conclude that you can't be a philistine yourself.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
Anyway, Uncle took to Fyodorov, whose position was that death lies behind all human problems. The earth is a graveyard and the one and only project of humanity is to reclaim it for life.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
[The symbolist poet Andrei Bely] also said towards the end of his life, speaking of the women he had known, "Not a single one of them deserved me." I can't imagine Benn saying that. Those words, in his voice, would be impossible. And yet he might have been justified in saying it. So many modern thinkers agree that "overvaluation" is the secret of love.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
God is a verb.
Buckminster Fuller
If you're afraid of loneliness don't marry.
Lev Navrozov, who is nobody's fool, says that for irrational and purely emotional behavior, America is in the twentieth century what Russia was in the nineteenth.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
We human creatures should be at play before the Lord--the higher the play, the more pleasing to God.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
"Let her sleep herself out. Nobody, in the ultimate sense, short of death, really gets the rest he needs."
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
The secret motive of the absentminded is to be innocent while guilty. Absentmindedness is spurious innocence.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
The funny part was how rich she was in physical blessings. They counted for more than the disharmony of sexuality and stature. A bug from Mecca might have made a pilgrimage and crossed all of Asia and the whole Pacific just to take a bite of her.
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"
"There are some who can't wait to get rid of themselves. Whereas others can't bear to let anybody go."
Saul Bellow, "More Die of Heartbreak"

September 22, 2021

The fact that corn, poatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and chocolate weren't encountered by Europeans until less than 400 years ago is astonishing.

Like white folks became so dependant on the hundreds of years of labor that Native Americans put into domesticating these crops and now they're so removed culturally from their origins that they've become inherant parts of white culture.

When you think of tomatoes do you think of Mexican, or Italian food? When you think of potatoes can you picture the Quechua or Ireland and the UK, Russia, France maybe? Does chocolate make you think of Belgian and Swiss truffles, or Olmec cacao?

Pumpkin may be the oldest domesticated plant but it doesn't evoke images of the ancient Native peoples of the southern US. It's white girls with pumpkin spice lattes and white mom's pumpkin pie.

I don't really know where I'm going with this but it makes me feel things

September 23, 2021

Besides, a sense at last of having some things in common with the other humans, the other wobbling bipeds--this, too, is one of the gifts of middle age. Good experience, bad experience, doesn't matter. Experience is what you share, the raw weight of it. The lines around the eyes. The bruising of the soul. The banging up against your own boundaries, your own limits.

September 24, 2021

Finally got around to watching "Hamilton"! I admit, for the first 15 minutes or so Melissa and I were a little worried, it just felt very musical-y and the hip hop aspect a little cheesy, but once it settles in it really gets good, great writing and real human drama, the tragedy of it was moving. And I really liked the "cabinet debates as rap battles".

September 25, 2021

I admit, stumbling on this panel was a weird way of finding out there's a "Kirk" in the Batverse.

america is literally just such a deeply stupid cruel place like this is what smoking individualism for four hundred years gets you

September 26, 2021

If animals - any animal - could vote for itself? It would absolutely do that. Existence is voting for yourself, every day.

September 27, 2021


September 28, 2021

Music makes you feel feelings;
Lyrics make you think thoughts;
Songs make you FEEL thoughts.
Yip Harburg

September 29, 2021


September 30, 2021


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