Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, February 19, 2005

ZeroConf -> Rendezvous -> Bonjour?

Très idiot

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Google announced a new version of it's IE Toolbar. The new version contains a feature called AutoLink, which seems rather similar to Microsoft's abhorrent "SmartTags" idea.

I don't want Google changing the sites I visit any more than I wanted Microsoft to do it.

Google Schmoogletures.html">announced a new version of it's IE Toolbar. The new version contains a feature called AutoLink, which seems rather similar to Microsoft's abhorrent "SmartTags" idea.

I don't want Google changing the sites I visit any more than I wanted Microsoft to do it.

Canon has updated the Digital Rebel -- 8 MP, black body. They also removed some of the jackass software restrictions. This $899 body competes much better with Nikon's D70.

So why will people buy the 20D? They love metal bodies?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Wow -- the Met Life building might be for sale.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I knew I got an Asian vibe from them.

[Last post about The Gates, I promise]

By the way, I will no longer be saying "W00t" (!). Rather, I will be saying "Hooooon" (!).


I've received some feedback regarding my posts about The Gates. I'm using the bully pulpit of my 'blog to respond out of sheer sloth; I can't deal with typing individual responses. No one should interpret this as a personal or public attack. Honestly, this is so long I doubt most people will make it all the way to the end, anyway.

It seems that the bulk of the discussion falls into one of the following categories: 1) Christo sucks; 2) The Gates are not art; 3) The Gates are bad for Central Park's environment.

I really can't address the first category; that is opinion. Common knowledge equates opinions with assholes.

Because none of us are ornithologists or biologists, I don't want to belabor the third point. However, I did some research and found out that, other than for some kinds of Owl, February is not mating season for any birds in the park. The idea that the gates will frighten or otherwise cause little bird penises to malfunction doesn't seem to hold water. [If there are ornithologists in the audience, I'd be happy for some clarification here.]

I find the second point most interesting.

I've heard from a lot of people say that The Gates aren't art. Most often, I've heard something like "they aren't art" because "Christo is all about self-promotion and self-aggrandizement."

While those may be valid criticisms, they are criticisms of Christo, not The Gates, and they don't address the art / not art question, either. Rather, they are kind of like a non sequitur wrapped in an ad hominem.

Quite impressive, really.

Criticize the art, or criticize the man, but don't criticize the art by attacking the man. Or vice versa. That just doesn't work. If you don't like the aesthetics of The Gates, address the aesthetics. If you assert that the gates harm Central Park's environment, present some evidence. If you have issues with the money involved, explain those issues.

Try this on for size: I think Eugene Smith was a fucking asshole, but the truth and beauty in his photographs make my head spin. Don't like the guy, like the art. I assure you, this is possible. Here is another: I really don't care for that "wrap the Reichstag" or "surrounded islands" stuff, but The Gates really work for me. Good God, stop it! My world only exists in black and white!

An illogical argument is an illogical argument.

[edit] In fact, the lack of logic doesn't annoy me as much as something deeper. To attack a person's work by attacking the persona seems to be a symptom of our crushing cult of personality. I'm not sure if this is an American thing, or a modern thing, but we seem unable to separate art from the artist. People become known not for what they have done, but for their public image. This "artist before art" mentality really bothers me and is responsible for a lot of nutty behavior.

I've also noticed that the ad hominem arguments seem to come more from "artsy" people than regular Earth people. At the risk of pissing people off, these arguments smack of jealousy more than anything else. Certainly Christo's wealth and notoriety engenders some of that.

I honestly thought that in these post-postmodern times we had evolved past the tiresome "what is art?" debate. Really, I did.

I think The Gates are a beautiful installation, remarkable in scale and execution. Walking through them in the sunshine results in an ever-changing, saffron-tinted scene with beautiful Central Park in the background. Because The Gates cover the paved walkways, they encourage, they beg you to walk around and explore, and to interact with the rest of the people in the park.

I don't remember the last time I walked past so many people in the park discussing art, nor do I remember seeing so many people walking around the park smiling. I'm a little tired of seeing photos of the gates, but that is another issue.

If the little room covered in gold leaf at The Whitney is art, surely The Gates qualify, too.

Most of Central Park is a construct. Nearly every hill and dale, most trees and streams were consciously placed there during the park's construction. It is kept groomed and clean by a small army of people. Central Park is a place of nature, but by no means is it "natural." I don't run around during the Christmas holidays screaming at people for desecrating the natural beauty of their rhododendron bushes, much as I'm able to appreciate how the orange plastic gates look nice in the wintry park. I think the gates are beautiful in the park, and I'll be glad when they are gone. I don't find these two ideas incongruous.

I must admit: I really like Crunk Juice. A very well-done album. Even if he is from Atlanta.

Barbara Boxer receives 4,500 roses for Valentine's Day. Nice.

CBGB my be priced out of The Bowery. That is fucking sick.

The East Village and the Lower East Side need a strong neighborhood association with better control over development. It is turning into a shit socialite scene down there.

My boss just sent out a memo. He clearly ran it through a spell checker, accepting all suggested changes without noticing they were completely wrong. Several team members' names were corrected, one of which resulted in "Jalap Baccarat."

That is so wrong.

Beware of spell checkers.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Epson has released a new printer: the Stylus Photo R1800. 8-Color pigment ink set, 13" wide prints, estimated $550 price.

Looks really nice.

February occurred later on the ancient Roman calendar than it does today, so Lupercalia was held in the spring and regarded as a festival of purification and fertility.  Each year on February 15, the Luperci priests gathered on Palantine Hill at the cave of Lupercal. Vestal virgins brought sacred cakes made from the first ears of last year's grain harvest to the fig tree. Two naked young men, assisted by the Vestals, sacrificed a dog and a goat at the site. The blood was smeared on the foreheads of the young men and then wiped away with wool dipped in milk.

The youths then donned loincloths made from the skin of the goat and led groups of priests around the pomarium, the sacred boundary of the ancient city, and around the base of the hills of Rome. The occasion was happy and festive. As they ran about the city, the young men lightly struck women along the way with strips of the goat hide. This act supposedly provided purification from curses, bad luck, and infertility. It is from these implements of purification, or februa, that the month of February gets its name.

The Lupercalia festival lived on long after Palentine Hill became the seat of the powerful city, state and empire of Rome. Roman armies took the Lupercalia customs with them as they invaded France and Britain. One of these was a lottery where the names of available maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for the duration of the festival, or sometimes  longer.

As Christianity began to slowly and systematically dismantle the pagan pantheons, it frequently replaced the festivals of the pagan gods with more ecumenical celebrations. It was easier to convert the local population if they could continue to celebrate on the same days... they would just be instructed to celebrate different people and ideologies.

Lupercalia, with its lover lottery, had no place in the new Christian order. In the year 496 AD, Pope Gelasius did away with the festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He chose Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February. The church decided to come up with its own lottery and so the feast of St. Valentine featured a lottery of Saints. One would pull the name of a saint out of a box, and for the following year, study and attempt to emulate that saint.

Some people think The Gates are ugly.

click for high-res

Surely there are worse offenses to the eye?