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Friday, September 26, 2014

Lego versions of main characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, Firefly and Star Wars debate "Who shoots first?"

A conversation between the Lego versions of Peter Quill (Guardians), Han Solo (Star Wars), and Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly), discussing the age old question: when is it ok to shoot first? 

For anyone who doesn't know about the "Han shot first" thing from Star Wars, read up on it at Wikipedia.

Plastic prophets: artists create religious Barbie and Ken mods, "plan to skip Muhammad"

Argentinian artists Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini will show their Barbie and Ken dolls modeled after religious figures at an Oct. 11 show titled, "Barbie, The Plastic Religion." I don't have a problem with this in principle - I've had a Dashboard Jesus in my car for years. The crucifixion version (at the bottom of this post), though, is a bit much.

Apparently they're smart enough not to take on the "religion of peace":
Pools also explained they have “nothing against religion” and were even careful about respecting all beliefs. The pair is working on Islam figurines and plans to skip representing Muhammad, as this religion condemns representing the prophet.
BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 23 (UPI): A pair of Argentinean artists are courting controversy with a series of Barbie and Ken dolls modeled after religious icons including Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.

Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini posted photos online featuring Mattel's famous plastic couple as religious figures complete with boxes explaining their intended identities.

The artists said the dolls will be displayed Oct. 11 at an exhibition titled "Barbie, The Plastic Religion" in Buenos Aires.

The 33 dolls feature icons from religions including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.

"If there's a Barbie doctor, a teacher and a police officer, why shouldn't there be a Virgin of Lujan Barbie?" the artists said on their Facebook page.

Unexpected combination of the day: Stormtrooper Klingon Ballerinas

The concept reminds me of the sort of thing you'd hear about as guests on Jerry Springer (which I've never actually seen) - blind pregnant lesbian nuns or cross-dressing men who live in boxes. Except, of course, for the fact that Klingon Stormtrooper ballerinas are extremely cool and the Jerry Springer guest are weird and pathetic.

via Fashionably Geek

Friday links

Munch's "The Scream" without the screaming person, for example: Subtracting Art: Subjects Photo-Edited from Famous Paintings.

Reading recently about Common Core, let's not forget how much schools had already been dumbed down: From the archives, check out this test for eighth graders in Kentucky dated 1912.

1799, Humphry Davy, future President of the Royal Society, really got into laughing gas. “O, Excellent Air Bag”: Humphry Davy and Nitrous Oxide.

Now That Cars Have Black Boxes, Am I Being Tracked? Who gets access to the info in your vehicle’s event data recorder?

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include photos of Nature Winning The Battle Against Civilization, a 1940's booklet to “assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees", and goldfish brain surgery.

George Gershwin was born 116 years ago today - some quotes and history

Today, a great American composer:

The composer does not sit around and wait for an inspiration to walk up and introduce itself ... Making music is actually little else than a matter of invention aided and abetted by emotion. In composing we combine what we know of music with what we feel.
- George Gershwin (quoted in Goldberg, Tin Pan Alley)

Not many composers have ideas. Far more of them know how to use strange instruments which do not require ideas.
- Gershwin (The Composer in the Machine Age (1933))

My people are American, my time is today ... music must repeat the thought and aspirations of the times.
- Gershwin (quoted in Armitage, Accent on America)

Many musicians do not consider George Gershwin a serious composer. But they should understand that, serious or not, he is a composer - that is, a man who lives in music and expresses everything, serious or not, sound or superficial, by means of music, because it is his native language.
- Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) (quoted in Kimball and Simon, The Gershwins)

Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of American composer George Gershwin (1898-1937), born Jacob Gershowitz in Brooklyn to Jewish parents of Russian/Ukrainian descent. Gershwin started piano lessons at an early age, left school at 15, first worked as a "song plugger" on Tin Pan Alley, and published his own first song in 1916. Later, while working as a piano-roll arranger, he began a series of Broadway collaborations, leading to his first show with brother Ira Gershwin (1896-1983), Lady Be Good (1924). This was followed by (among others) Oh, Kay! (1926), Funny Face (1927), Strike Up the Band (1927), Show Girl (1929), and Girl Crazy (1930). In 1924, Gershwin also wrote his quasi-classical Rhapsody in Blue for Paul Whiteman's band, and it has remained his most popular work in that vein. That same year, he traveled to Paris, hoping to study composition with Nadia Boulanger or Maurice Ravel - they demurred - but while there he did compose another of his well-known semi-classical works, An American in Paris. Following a brief Hollywood stint, Gershwin wrote his most ambitious work, the "folk opera" Porgy and Bess (1935), based on a novel by DuBose Heyward, and it has been an American classic ever since.* Gershwin's shows became the source of countless popular hits, including "I Got Rhythm," "Strike Up the Band," "Swanee," "Summertime," and "Someone," and his classical compositions raise intriguing questions about "what might have been" had he not been felled by a brain tumor in 1937. On his death, American novelist John O'Hara (1905-1970) wrote,

"George died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."

* N.B. Of Porgy and Bess, American composer Virgil Thomson 1896-1989) wrote,

"Porgy is ... an interesting example of what can be done by talent in spite of a bad set-up. With a libretto that should never have been accepted on a subject that should never have been chosen, a man who should never have attempted it has written a work that has a considerable power."

Rare footage of Gershwin himself playing I Got Rhythm:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday links

"Women are teachable": 1940's booklet to “assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees".

Goldfish brain surgery.

Shostakovich was born 108 years ago today: some quotes and history.

Stolen identity, price-fixing, a foursome, and some deep space intrigue - Manischewitz: The Great Story of a Not-So-Great Wine.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the world's most expensive cars, amputees with a sense of humor, and the 50th anniversary of Fiddler On The Roof.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday links

Today is the autumnal equinox - science, videos, quotes, poems, Vivaldi and Copernicus

13-year-old turns dead pet into 'Ratcopter'.

Fiddler On The Roof opened 50 years ago today; Zero Mostel singing If I Were A Rich Man will make your whole day. Plus, the Lego version.

Parody of the Song Under the Sea From The Little Mermaid Highlights the Horrors of Deep Sea Life.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, including making and eating the worst of the Jello recipes from the 1950s, the evolution (devolution?) of toilet training. and lots of Talk Like a Pirate Day stuff.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate march photo of the day, presented without comment

Oh, the irony.

More at Weasel Zippers

Parody of the Song ‘Under the Sea’ From ‘The Little Mermaid’ Highlights the Horrors of Deep Sea Life

You probably don't want to play this for the little girls in your life (or, really, Little Mermaid fans of either gender):

Nature is viscous
Look at these fishes
Deep in the sea

Here's the original, in case you want to compare:

"To get ungrounded you must earn 500 points" - this strikes me as a good parenting idea.

Although whoever made this must really hate laundry - you get 50 points for cleaning out a kitchen cabinet and 100 points for a load of laundry?

Thanks, Tracy!