Monday, November 30, 2009

"Some Like It Hot"

I re-watched "Some Like It Hot" on Friday and the experience almost single-handedly reaffirmed my hope for the world. If art like this is possible, it can't be all bad.

Here's an indication of the level of wordplay in it: there is at least one moment where if you ask yourself, "what does the 'it' in that sentence refer to?", you're pleasantly surprised by the humorous possibilities.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Biggie dedicates "Juicy" to three groups of people:

1. his teachers, who told him he would never amount to anything
2. his neighbors, who called the police on him when he was trying to make money to feed his baby
3. his peeps in the struggle

It's obvious that he intends the first two of these "dedications" to be ironic. But I never noticed before how he moves effortlessly from ironically "dedicating" it to them to non-ironically dedicating it to the third group. What's great is that he doesn't have to signal the switch, from irony to non-irony. It's just obvious.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How's this for sensible?

"Idealism, which looks fallaciously plausible when applied to the fully evolved intelligence, becomes meaningless and self-contradictory when applied to the problem of evolution.” Grant Allen, The Colour-Sense: Its Origin and Development, An Essay in Comparative Psychology (Trübner & Co., 1879, p. 7)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Riddim Explosion (Compilation)

This is a compilation of classic riddims that I put together last spring. These are the basis of many, many reggae songs and are constantly being versioned and referenced. If I ever teach a class on the history of reggae and hip hop I will make my students memorize these riddims.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Staten Island Extravaganza

Organized another tour today, this time of Staten Island. Our soundtrack was classic Wu Tang songs and sample sources. We left from Greenpoint at 10am and made it back to Park Slope by 8pm. Here's what we did:

10:00am: Wheat donuts in Greenpoint.
10:30am: Snug Harbor and Botanical Garden (we mostly focused on the Chinese Scholar's Garden).
Noon: We tried to sneak into the old TB hospital at Seaview but they've installed a guard and he turned us away.
12:30pm: Classic car show at the Great Kills Park (saw a 280Z in awesome condition).
1pm: Lunch at the best pizza place I've been to since moving to NYC, Salvatore's of SoHo.
2:30pm: Finally got to go inside of Fort Tompkins, right beside the bridge, but you only get to go inside Fort Tompkins itself, not the lower fortifications I've always wanted to go inside as well.
5:00pm: Boat Graveyard (getting to this involved walking across a muddy marsh, which was fun).
5:30pm: Mr. Hunter's Grave in Sandy Ground.
6:30pm: Beers and live polka music at Killmeyer's Old Bavarian Inn.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ABC Brazil (Compilation)

Yet another of my impeccable compilations. This was the outcome of months of searching for choice Brazilian music to play at the lounge in the spring of 2008.

Do you think I could use these homemade comps to get a job as a music supervisor for movies or TV?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Mind Dissatisfied

Turns out that I've subtly misremembered this anecdote from Frans Rosenzweig in the countless times that I've retold it. From "Frans Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bonaventure Hotel

Photo from Flickr.

I've been systematically watching movies that feature either the Bonaventure Hotel or the Bradbury Building and now have a pet theory for each. For the Bonaventure, I've noticed that it tends to be used as the location for the movie's finale (e.g., 'Midnight Madness' and 'In the Line of Fire') and my recent viewing of the otherwise horrible 'Nick of Time' confirms this observation. The movie is basically one long climax (which is the main reason it is nearly unwatchable), all of which takes place at the Bonaventure.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Republic, dropping science like always...

"Of all those who start out on philosophy -- not those who take it up for the sake of getting educated when they are young and then drop it, but those who linger in it for a long time -- become most queer, not to say completely vicious; while the ones who seem perfectly decent...become useless." (487c-d)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dig Those Crazy Freeways (Postcard)

I actually have several postcards with the caption "Man - Dig Those Crazy Los Angeles Freeways". Most, but not all, are of the 110/101 exchange (as is the one above). Check out the FLW stamp on the back.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Decimal Time

I've been reading a fair amount about the history of time-keeping devices over the past year and one of the things I've most enjoyed coming across is the history of attempts to introduce a decimal system for measuring time. During the French Revolution, for instance, there was a short-lived attempt to introduce a base-10 system for measuring time, but "faced with massive public resistance, Napolean killed time decimalization in a deal cut with the Roman Catholic Church" (Peter Galison, "Einstein's Clocks", p. 153). I took the picture above at the Clockmaker's Museum in London last spring. London in general is a real mecca for clock fans.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Michael Mann Paintings

Someone on Etsy is making a series of paintings based on shots from Michael Mann movies ('Heat' above, 'Manhunter' below).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stax Soul

I made this Stax Soul compilation a while back, but I never felt as strongly about it as I do about my Chess Blues compilation. In both cases, my goal was to capture the distinctive sound of the label. I think it does a good job of that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Windward Ave. Mural

This mural is still there, visible from the parking lot on Windward, but it's now so faded that you have to know it's there in order to see it at all. This photo of it in its heyday is from the back cover of "Fantasy by the Sea", by Tom Moran & Tom Sewell.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blue Thunder (1983)

If you disregard its plot, characters, dialogue, and focus just on its use of LA locations, then this may be the best movie ever made. There are endless nighttime scenes of helicopters flying over the city, but that's just the beginning. The finale involves a helicopter chase down the LA river and through the streets of downtown--up and down Main St!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Filming Location: Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)

This is the filming location for the first heist in Michael Mann's "Heat", the robbery of the armored car. During the minute in which I stopped on the side of the road to take this picture, two different armored cars drove by.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Divided Spectrum

"[T]here is no such thing as a 'natural' division of the spectrum. The color systems of man are not based upon psychological, physiological, or anatomical factors. Each culture has taken the spectral continuum and has divided it upon a basis which is quite arbitrary except for pragmatic considerations."

Chart and text from Verne F. Ray, "Human Color Perception and Behavioral Response" (1953)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bonaventure Hotel Postcard

I finally made it to the rotating bar at the top of the Bonaventure, during my visit to LA a month ago. It was everything I hoped it would be. We did about two full rotations. My drink came in a porcelain model of the hotel's towers. It's probably the first souvenir glass I've ever wanted to actually take home (not counting the plastic margherita maker from La Cabana).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Aerosmith Greatest Hits

Just made this Aerosmith GH for my phone. The only thing I'd insist upon is that any Aerosmith GH must include the album version of "Sweet Emotion", not the shortened one without the drum + bass intro (said intro was used to great effect in "Dazed and Confused").

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Names of Rainbow Colors

Table from Earl R. Anderson's "Folk-Taxonomies in Early English"

Chinatown Neon Postcard

As I've noted before, the rooftops in LA's "new" Chinatown were once outlined in neon, as you can see in this postcard. Some of these neon lights have since been restored and the hope is to eventually have the entire roofline relit.

Here's another view of what it used to look like (photo provided by Kim from the Museum of Neon Art):

Monday, November 2, 2009

Clifton's "Pacific Seas" Cafeteria Postcards (Supplement)

These should give you a better idea of what the lighting and coloration was like on the exterior facade, as well as what the interior looked like.