I’m not an actual “terrorist,” but years ago the the government convicted me of a property crime it deemed “terrorism,” and since then, life has been interesting.
Especially flying. Since 2009, I’ve been on the TSA’s “terrorist watch list.” Not quite the “no fly list”, but close.
This means that when I fly, the TSA goes crazy. At various times, I’ve been refused entry to planes, tailed through airports, and told my Starbucks coffee might be a bomb. What the TSA does when someone like me flies
Here’s the abridged protocol:
- I obtain a boarding pass. It is emblazened with four large S’s. Like this: “SSSS.”
- At security, the TSA sees the S’s. Their eyes get big. They turn between 90 and 180 degrees, lean into their radio, and whisper for backup.
- A senior officer approach, announces I have been “selected” for special screening. I am told to follow them.
- I am escorted to the front of the line (this is the good part). My carry-on items are placed in a bright red bin.
- I am shadowed through the body scanner.
- I receive what I will euphemistically call a “thorough pat-down.”
- My luggage is ripped apart, swabbed for explosive residue, my computer turned on, and everything generally put under a microscope.
- TSA takes my ID into a back room and calls the FBI to report my travels.
- Meanwhile, TSA mobilizes a “random security audit” at the gate, re-checking IDs and searching luggage of everyone on my flight.
- I am not allowed to sit in an exit row.
- I am not allowed to check in from home.
If this doesn’t exactly sound like high drama, just wait. The TSA is so disorganized and arbitrary, the results are a pure comedy of errors. Each time I fly the TSA manages to get something wrong, display some level of colossal incompetence, and generally make themselves worthy of being made fun of on the internet.
Firebox sells four varieties of rubber mushrooms designed to reduce symptoms of stress. They are described as being "slightly phallic" in appearance.
Bob Fitch snapped this picture of a sheriff’s deputy pursuing photographer Matt Herron during a protest in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1966. Courtesy the Bob Fitch Photography Archive.
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "My colleague Hunter Oatman-Stanford has just published an article about the photographers who documented the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s. These photographers, Hunter learned, were deeply committed to the cause of Civil Rights, but their job was not be be heroes—they were expected to get their photos back to the offices of CORE, SNCC, and the NAACP, so they could be distributed to publications around the country in order to get the message out about what was going on down South."
Although organizations like SNCC supplied photos to both black and white publications, almost all their photographers were white men, which seems surprising for a group promoting integration at all levels of society. “With very few exceptions, we were white,” says Matt Herron, another prominent civil-rights photographer. “It was obviously very dangerous for a black photographer to shoot a demonstration or some public event. Also, to be a freelance photographer in those days, particularly a photojournalist, it required equipment, money, and spare time to teach yourself the craft. Those resources were not generally available to black kids.”
Herron had previously worked for Kodak in Rochester, New York, where he’d become one of Minor White’s students, learning the ins and outs of developing, printing, and photographic aesthetics. Through White, Herron would eventually meet his mentor, Dorothea Lange, who encouraged his interest in social documentary photography. By the early 1960s, Herron was freelancing as a photographer, pitching stories to magazines like “LIFE” and “Look.” “Dorothea convinced me that photography could be not just a profession but a way of life, and that I could marry my social concerns to my desire to be a photographer,” Herron says.
Following in the footsteps of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers of the 1930s, Herron formed the Southern Documentary Project, a group of five photographers dedicated to recording everyday life under segregation. “In the summer of ’64, the five of us traveled throughout the South but mostly in Mississippi, shooting the major events of the Freedom Summer, but also, more broadly, trying to document what black life was like in the South,” says Herron. His most recent book, Mississippi Eyes, tells the story of that tumultuous summer.
In 1996 journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of investigative stories about the connections between the South LA crack epidemic, and the CIA's Nicaraguan Contra fighters. The articles ran in the San Jose Mercury News.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times waged a curiously intense campaign to discredit Webb, who was effectively blackballed from journalism. Webb died in 2004 from an apparent suicide.
It turns out that Webb was on to something. From Huffington Post:
Above, the trailer for a new documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System
"If he was stupid and had a lobotomy," he might not have known it was drug money, Baca said. "He knew exactly what it was. He didn't care. He was there to fund the Contras, period."
In this video it looks like a NYC cop is stealing money from a man and then pepper spraying him. At least the cop didn't kill the man on the spot. That's progress! NY Times: Video of Officer Accused of Theft Prompts Inquiry
The alpha-anteater pose was overkill as the baby roo was already running away and didn't see it.
If you like posts about delightful creatures like this, take a look at Boing Boing's Delightful Creatures tag!
From Weird Universe: "Who’s responsible? Megan Campbell's parked car was hit by a van driven by a city worker, so now she wants the city to pay for the damages. Sounds reasonable. But Campbell was the city worker driving the van that hit her own car. The city is reviewing the incident."
Bill Murray doesn't do a lot of interviews, but since he has a new movie to promote (St. Vincent), he came on the Howard Stern Show for an entertaining one-hour interview.
I took photos of the cute-looking Raspberry Pi powered Kano computer, which was made for kids to learn how to code their own music, games, and software. Jane and I will hook it up to the TV (it uses any HDMI device as a monitor) and let you know what we think.
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On the latest episode of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, artist Josh Dorman talks about his fascinating with artist Paul Klee.
Josh Dorman is a fine artist from New York. He specializes in invented landscapes, created in a mixture of collage, drawing and painting. His images play around with the ideas of time and space to create an unusual reality.
Dorman was a sophomore in college when he discovered Paul Klee and his painting Landscape With Yellow Birds. And it really affected him -- maybe too much? He'll explain.
Dorman has a solo show up in New York right now.
L’Amour (1935). Photograph: William Mortensen
Our friends at Feral House have a new book coming out on the work of photographer William Mortensen, called American Grotesque. Chris Campion of the Guardian has a nice profile of Mortensen and his lurid, heavily retouched photographs of "death, nudity and torture." Ansel Adams and his pals in Group f/64 loathed Mortensen (even though they happily used processing techniques invented by Mortensen).
Even after Mortensen’s death in 1965 from leukemia, Group f/64 and their flunkies the Newhalls could not stop talking of their loathing for him. Beaumont described his work as “perverse”; Willard Van Dyke, a founder of Group f/64, said “his work was disgusting”; and Adams summed him up with the words, “For us, he was the antichrist.”
Ultimately though, for all the griping of Adams and f/64, it turns out that Mortensen was the true modernist all along, not them. For today, we are surrounded by images of the fantastic and unreal. In comic-book movies such as Spider-Man and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, special effects merge seamlessly into the action and the monsters appear as real as humans. A photograph is rarely just a photograph these days, seen without filters or retouching. And, thanks to sites like Instagram, many of Mortensen’s painstaking techniques can now be applied with the touch of a button.
McKamey Manor is a home haunted house in San Diego. It looks intense.
Here are a few requirements you must pass to even be able to enter: you now must be 21 years of age (previously was 18), you’re required to sign a wavier, and you must be in excellent physical condition. Only two people go in at a time, and get this… it can last anywhere from 4 – 7 hours. They actually now only take four people through the haunted house each week.
Jewish Standard: In the The New York Times on this day in 1924: "Hitler...No longer to be feared.
I didn't know Judith Miller was writing for the Times 90 years ago!
Of course, comic book artists must know how to draw well, but there’s a lot more to drawing a comic book than just knowing how to draw. Cartoonists must work according to specific guidelines on a deadline to produce lots of drawings that tell a story. Foundations in Comic Book Art, by industry veteran John Paul Lowe (DC, Marvel, Dark Horse), outlines the techniques, shortcuts, and tools that a beginning cartoonist needs to know to get started. He’s an instructor at The Savannah College of Art and Design, and the lessons in this book, which include using traditional and electronic media, were created to help cartoonists efficiently and effectively produce quality comic book art.
Foundations in Comic Book Art by John Paul Lowe