Archives: 2012 April

Archive for April, 2012

The Onion Tells A Joke (By Articulating A Truth)

Thanks, Robert.

Friday Dance: Baby Steps

Thanks, Dad.

Good Looks

Thanks, Sabri.

Double Down: Haters Gonna Hate, Pianos Gonna Play

Everyone hates on L.A. Just ask the people who take those polls that ask people which city they most hate. They’ll tell you, like one did two days ago, that L.A. is almost always up top on the list, if not second, as it was this year to Detroit. Sorry, Motor City. Some folks like to kick you when you’re down.

Back to Los Angeles–the much-maligned jewel of Los Angeles County. There are some cats out there trying to showcase some of the magic that transpires in the City of Angels. Exhibit A? Last week’s most viral video on the World Wide Web:

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

All unprecedentedly adorable tykes aside, there’s lots to love and the Goods has made the case before. Add this to the list: Los Angeles just recently became the latest city to have totally tuned, totally playable pianos located in outdoor areas with high visibility and heavy foot traffic. You won’t find these guys in Seattle, Topeka, Boston, or Miami. They’re here. They’re queer. And they’re terrifically dear. Just ask these adolescents enjoying the piano on the Santa Monica Pier!

Visual artist Luke Jerram is responsble for the public pianos. They were donated by a local piano company and subsequently decorated by local Angeleno artists. The 30 pianos are available to play all day every day for three weeks before they’re donated and auctioned off for charities. Here’s a piano man playing Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” on all 30 sets of blacks and whites:

Los Angeles wasn’t Jerram’s first choice. They pianos have already appeared in a number of major cities, including London, Sydney, and Cincinnati. The point is, they’re strategically placed to bring people together–to serve a very human and social purpose. It worked in Cincinnati, it worked in Sydney, it worked in London, and it’s working in Los Angeles for two more weeks before the project moves on. Why? Because Los Angeles may not be populated by a bunch of angelic Cages, but there are a whole lot of darlings here. In that way, it’s a lot like everywhere else.

So, eat your heart out, Mr. Gibbard! Go ahead and explode whenever you want! Cut Los Angeles a break. And Detroit, too.

Good Quotations: Liquid Diet

“They say some of my stars drink whiskey,…I have found that ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.”

Casey Stengel, Major League Baseball outfielder, manager, scholar

Jake The Dog Tells A Joke

So Long, Midnight Rambler

Telephones

Good News For The Delusional!

How about a new take on the placebo effect—Higher Awareness Edition? Elements of a recent CNN article “The power of perceptions: Imagining the reality you want” may initially seem reminiscent of Oprah’s omega-favorite The Secret, but believe me, this is a distinct dance.

One part philosophy with a splash of science fiction, the process is all about defining your sensory information. As humans, we try to make sense of the world around and therefore constantly create and recreate our own perception of reality. “[Context] forms everything from our taste in food, our sensibilities, what we think is good, bad or evil. None of these beliefs occur in isolation,” Boston University sociology professor Ruha Benjamin explains. So, we rely on context, but our context is mostly subjective.

Neuroscientist and artist Beau Lotto makes a similar point using illusions, “…Either there are no illusions or everything is an illusion.” At the 2012 Being Human Conference he made the simple and profound observation that it’s what we do with your context that matters “and given that we are pretty much all delusional, you might as well choose your delusion.”

So, wonder away.

Good Quotations: Pale Blue Dot

“We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

— Carl Sagan, astrophysicist, communicator, singer