Monday, March 31, 2008

here. now.

Norton Simon Museum
Pasadena, CA

(baby got a holga.)

speaking of peanuts

One sunny day last fall I was in the playground with my 3-year-old son. Ezra, as usual, was wearing his hot pink sandals. A boy, slightly older, came over with a curious look.

“Why is he wearing pink sandals?” the boy asked.

“Well,” I said, “pink is his favorite color.”

“But pink is for girls,” the boy replied.

“If he’s a boy and he likes pink, pink must be for boys and girls,” I said.

The boy hesitated and leaned in closer. Quietly, he said “Pink is my favorite color, too.” And off he went.

—Corinne Schiff in today's New York Times Metropolitan Diary

how this feels

how this feels
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Posting by cameraphone
Hinsdale, IL

Sunday, March 30, 2008

sing to me of the man

Some days were Iliadic, he said — you felt you were in a war — and some were more like the Odyssey, when all you wanted to do was go home.

But “The Aeneid,” he said, had proved to be unexpectedly timely and relevant, describing it as “a tale of exhortation.”

“It says that if you depart from the civilized, then you become a murderer,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2006. “The price of empire is very steep, but Virgil shows how it is to be earned, if it’s to be earned at all. The poem can be read as an exhortation for us to behave ourselves, which is a horse of relevance that ought to be ridden.”

Robert Fagles, translator of the Illiad, the Odyssey, and the Aenid, who died last Wednesday, as reported by the New York Times.

The last time we talked about Fagles was when we talked about Penelope »

Saturday, March 29, 2008

do you see what I see

Originally uploaded by
K_iwi (broadband limited currently).
K_iwi is my latest Flickr crush.




Slideshow »

one more reason to quit that office job

one more reason to quit that office job
one more reason to quit
that office job
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.

What the phlebotomist said when she saw my vein. (WhyThankYouVeryMuch.)

Queued up in the gymnasium/lunchroom of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic School this AM to give a pint.

I asked the gal who stuck me whether bags of blood are like glasses of wine: Does the color vary from donor to donor?

Matter of fact it does, she said.

Folks who exercise quite a bit have brighter blood, because it's more oxygenated, as do folks who keep themselves hydrated. Slugs' blood is really dark.

And folks who work under intense fluorescent lighting, she told me, have blood that's "all glowy."

"It's kinda cool," she said.

Friday, March 28, 2008

as long as we're making lists

Box no. 05/02 won the bottle of Scotch in the 6 March issue of the London Review of Books.

(Having trouble reading it? You might want to try it writ large »)

anybody want a peanut?

I started crushing on George Washington Carver right around the time I developed a thing for Abe Lincoln and Madame Curie -- somewhere in that shapeless divide between elementary school and high school called middle school. I’m pretty sure it stemmed from the “great people in history” biographies that were spooned to us as social studies reading.

All three of them had a solitary bookish quality that felt like family to a little girl who’s favorite illicit act was to sneak out onto the dormer roof outside her bedroom window to read in the sunlight that baked down on the shingles that smelled like tar. Images of Abe reading his books long into the night in front of the fire and glances of Marie and George locked away in their labs, captivated by questions, felt like home to me.

They all three had an awkwardness about them, something I knew a lot about (uh, still do); something strange and singular that mostly comes off as peculiar.

The other night at the Field all those shy familiar feelings sprouted up when we took a pass through the George Washington Carver exhibit. His is an extraordinary story -- enslaved child, abducted with his mother by slave raiders and left for dead before he was found again (mother gone forever), emancipated at 9 months and then a lifetime of learning in spite of being told that a black man couldn’t have what he wanted: An education.

He got his education. And from all that learning he gave. The achievement he’s known for, of course, is giving the South something to grow besides soil starving cotton -- and the Field’s exhibit does a great job of underscoring all his other gifts as well. Including the Jessup Wagon -- a “movable school” that he designed at Tuskagee to take education -- most of it agricultural and vocational -- into the community.

The exhibit also speaks frankly to the heat that he took from the African American community and folks like W.E.B. Dubois who thought he dodged the issues surrounding racism too much and that his dreams for the black community were too small.

The most curious aspect of the exhibit is how it handled Carver’s sexual orientation. George Washington Carver never married, and from 1934 until his death in 1943 he co-habitated with a fellow named Austin W. Curtis, Jr. I didn’t know this going in to the exhibit, and I certainly didn’t learn it from middle school social studies -- I googled it just today.

But I wondered enough to google it because my gaydar was on high alert from the moment I walked in the door: Carver was an impeccable dandy, beautifully decked out in all the photographs on display, and he had a life long passion for needle craft which made me crush on him even more -- his knitting, crochet and rug making are on exhibit -- not that fiber arts makes a man gay. I’m just sayin'.

The sirens went off when I approached one of the interactive displays and fired up an audio recording of an interview with Carter. His voice was high-pitched, with unique intonations. But that’s not what made me decide I would google the gay question when I got home. The deal that sealed it was the curious apologetic placard that accompanied the recording -- the Field Museum’s editorial on Carver’s voice, including a warning that the listener might be surprised by it, and the consolation that it may have been the result of a childhood illness.

Which is when I thought: Someone at the Field is extremely uncomfortable with the possibility that this great man of history, this extraordinary American, a man who stepped out of slavery and created a tremendous legacy for himself, for African Americans, and for our country -- that this great man may have been gay. [1]

Which made me wonder if Dr. Carver may have taken his conciliatory approach toward combating prejudice because he was saddled with the dual discrimination of being both a black man and gay in America -- the latter for which there still has been no Civil Rights Act.

[1] And I say "may have been" because I need to go deeper, of course, to know for sure -- one Google hit doesn't a truth make. If he were straight, and married, that would be called out in his biography and mentioned in the exhibit. As a gay man with a partner we have no convention for designating that partnership in polite society.

We should do something about that.

& on a lighter note: 10 pts if you get the movie allusion in the title. ;)

Update: Received an email from a straight friend shortly after I posted this that warned my use of gaydar might be offensive to some. Which was of course exactly what I was worried about when I posted: how to write, as a straight person, with sensitivity about being aware of others' sexual orientation.

There are few safe places in America if you're gay or lesbian, and it's been my experience that new acquaintances will take a good long while to come out to me -- months, sometimes -- even if I know almost immediately that they're gay. (There's that gaydar again.)

It's not my business what a person's sexual orientation is. But I am interested, from a human rights perspective, in creating an environment where everyone I encounter feels safe and welcome and accepted for who they are. If you're gay in America you learn very quickly that that's not always true, and you're frequently walking on eggshells.

'Cause baby, we're still lynching gay folk, after a fashion. See: Matthew Shepard. And I recently heard a group of gay high school students speak about the intolerance they encounter at our local high school because they're Out. It shocked me anew about the depths of discrimination that gays and lesbians encounter, just for being gay and lesbian.

I still remember with shame being present, years back, when someone in the room expressed intolerance for gays. I was there with a gay friend. He said nothing, and neither did I. I won’t be forgiving myself for that anytime soon.

It's not easy being gay. We straight folk need to do what we can to make it easier.

dream jam

a twitter thread

@suttonhoo Q. if you could invite any 5 musicians (in all of history) to your dream jam session, who would they be?

@jimthompson Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Rich, John Entwistle, Janis Joplin, and Johann Sebastian Bach

@jrnoded miles davis, roy orbison, jeff beck, tal wilkenfeld, j s bach.

@buddhaplex SRV, Jeff Buckley, Keith Moon, Flea and Wyclef Jean

@h0h0h0 dream jam - david bowie, trent reznor, al jourgenson, richard d james and emerson

@beebo_wallace oh, I want in on that ...

@Lummox hmm. Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson duet would be cool..
...but who do you put with those guys. oh - tim reynolds. 3. that is 60% in places where they use the metric system.
...and i would want them to do something with the middle section of "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" by Gustav Holst. That sweeping epic part

@dianeburnett [my dream jam, motley crew that it is]- Janis Joplin, Charlie Parker, Freddy Mercury, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix

And in case you missed it above, beebo blew his out at bee.sides. good stuff.

It’s tougher than it looks, especially when you go across genres. I’d love to have Roy and Stevie Ray in the mix, and I’d die to have Morrison on vocals, but they’re gonna be busy hanging with buddhaplex & beebo & jrnoded. And it looks like Miles is spoken for too. So I’m gonna mix it up with:

Ry Cooder and his buddy Ali Farka Toure, along with Maceo Parker and ask him to bring Prince along if he’s free (these two tore it up in Vegas. Amazing.) If Prince can’t make it I think (don’t laugh) I’d want Willie Nelson to provide vocals. (Or David Byrne. It's all about availability.)

And here’s where it gets weird: I’d ask Hildegard von Bingen to come along. As a nun she might be a little shy at first, but I think she’d really warm to the boys once everyone started playing -- especially Willie. And Prince would totally bring out her inner super freak. And maybe she’d be willing to provide percussion, ‘cause I checked in with Bill Berry and Mick Fleetwood and they're both tied up.

Your turn.

(& and an update: I'd want my daddy there, and TD4 too. which means the room's a little bit more crowded. and that much better.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

yer inner Indy

Members Night at the Field Museum.

Unfortunately, after you've been to a few of these, and spend way too much of your time attending the Field's Anthropology Alliance events (which are smaller, with great free buffets and open bars), they start to suffer by comparison.

For one thing, you have to buy your own food.

So last night was fun. But honestly, they've done better.

Not as many slide shows as the years before, where scientists share their current research in cramped hot dark rooms and field questions. Which I missed. But still lots of folks showing off specimens and talking about how they do what they do.

Also paid a visit to the home offices of the Encyclopedia of Life, the massive scientific undertaking that's working like crazy to document all the species of life on earth. There's been buzz on the project for awhile, but they opened their offices for real only three days ago, on the ground floor of the Field Museum. So that was cool.

And I took some pictures »

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

view of an enormous head of an unknown animal

Found in New Orleans, 160 miles from the sea, and 75 feet from the earth's surface.

Weighing 1700 pounds.

Reduced from the original head, 18 feet by 7

Quoting directly from the text on this scientific plate from 1835, on display in the Rare Books Room of Chicago's Field Museum.

Tonight was Members' Night, where The Field throws open the doors and lets the common folk run through the scientific offices and storerooms.


And I brought my wide angle.

Will post pics soon.

(And for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure this one's a whale.)

Posting by cameraphone on the road home.



four modern masters

and Ernst

all of whom

she had known


Speaking of Rosamond Bernier, "the world's most glamorous lecturer on art and high culture," in the New Yorker's 17 March 2008 issue.

like candy

Originally uploaded by Leviathor.
I’m going to ask you to trust me on this one.

Even though the following recipe contains an odd mashup of ingredients -- some of them unlikely (raisins), others seemingly vile (anchovies), in the end it’s all good.

I promise you.

Like candy.

The first time I made Vianna La Place’s Perciatelli with Strong Tastes (subbing in Orecchiette, I admit) my ex- (who wasn’t, yet) and I wolfed it down. Paused briefly. And then agreed that I should make another batch. Which we summarily wolfed down.

Well, maybe a little more slowly the second time.

It’s that easy to make, and it’s that amazing to eat.

Trust me.

Perciatellli ai Sapori Forti
serves 4 to 6

  • 1 lb perciatelli, broken into short lengths last night I used a curious, curled maccheroni for the first time. loved it.

  • 6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 anchovies, chopped to a paste, optional no. not optional. you want these anchovies. you *need* these anchovies.

  • 4 tbsp raisins, plumped in warm water

  • 6 tbs lightly toasted pine nuts

  • 16 pitted oil-cured black olives, cut into large pieces (last night I used kalamatas, but use your faves)

  • 6 tbs coarsely chopped Italian parsley (didn’t have any on hand last night. didn’t matter.)

  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Toasted coarse bread crumbs

Cook pasta in abundant salted boiling water. Drain when al dente and reserve a little of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile select a saute pan large enough to contain all the cooked pasta. Warm the olive oil and the optional anchovies.

Add the drained pasta and toss. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients, except the bread crumbs, over the pasta, and toss over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until everything is hot and fragrant.

Season with salt and pepper but remember that the olives are salty, as are the anchovies if you use them. (You’re using them. Let’s be sure we agree on this one point. There’s a curious alchemy that occurs when you saute these little creatures. I don’t understand it, but I’m pretty sure it’s what makes this dish what it is.)

Sprinkle the pasta with bread crumbs and toss again.

Serve immediately with a small bowl of bread crumbs at the table.

Faithfully adopted from Vianna La Place’s Verdura, a gift from my sister, aka she of the seasonal greeting cards, for which I will love her forever (among other reasons).

Updated: Forgot the raisins. & the bread crumbs. Added them in. Many thanks to anniemcq for her keen editorial eye.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Video: John Coulton performs Flickr @Bumbershoot

I will not apologize for loving this song too much.

It was Coulton's cover of Billy Bragg's The Saturday Boy (posted by Hodgman. such sweetness.) that sucked me in. Then I saw "Flickr" and "Bumbershoot" in the related links and I was gone gone gone.

Beats I love my Flickr friends, even.

my brazilian: let me show you it

The package was a puzzle: Brazilian Post. Museu Oscar Niemeyer. A Flickr friend? But who’s in Br...

And then I remembered. Took a few pictures of the packaging. Tore it wide open.

Already bragged on this a bit back when it happened at detritus, but I figure I’m due a Flickr strut too. (And yeah, of course I’ll double post. I’m only human.)

Best part about receiving the unexpected package was remembering: Right. I used to take a lot of pictures and stuff. I need to get back to doing that.

the spread

So may I present: A Casa Farnsworth (1950), projetada por Mies van der Rohe. (Foto de Dayna Bateman)

Page 47 in O Espetaculo Arquitetural, a series on architecture for children produced by the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba, Brazil. In Portuguese.

Green values are a little too high on the Farnsworth image, but the book itself -- the way it’s laid out and bound and presented -- is really lovely.

Now if I only read Portuguese.

my brazilian: let me show you it

be the joystick

Video: First time for live inter-cinema gaming in the UK

Not sure how I managed to miss this when it happened back in November? October?

Carlton Screen Advertising sourced and developed motion-sensor technology that tracks an audience's combined movements via a wireless video camera set up at the front of the theatre.


Each audience acted as "human joysticks", their hand motions controlling a virtual Volvo projected onto the screen. The game was played simultaneously in 12 UK cinemas, each aiming to collect the most points and win the game.

The folks behind the game, Brand Experience Lab, have announced "an exclusive partnership with National CineMedia and once we complete our initial test installation, we'll begin rolling AudienceGames out to the top 20 markets on about 750 screens."

Of course, they managed to make this announcement on a page with no date stamp, so I'm unable to give you a date. Let's assume all this goodness hasn't already come and gone and failed miserably in the marketplace.

Monday, March 24, 2008

creepy research re subliminal branding

A joint study from Duke University and the University of Waterloo suggests subliminal messages work for established brands like Apple and Disney.

One study gave 341 students a "visual acuity test," where they were asked to track a multicolored box on a screen while keeping a tally of numbers that appeared in the center, reports CNET.

Unbeknownst to them, the students were sometimes exposed to either an Apple logo or an IBM logo for 30 milliseconds before the box appeared.

After the test students were asked to list all the uses for a brick they could think of. Those who saw the Apple logo were more prone to give creative responses than those who saw the IBM logo.

Researchers also tried a test with logos from The Disney Channel and E!, a celebrity channel. Those that saw the Disney logo behaved more honestly than those who saw the E! Channel logos.

From Subliminal Branding Can Alter Behavior, Study Finds in MarketingVox


Green-up: When the snow melts and new grass sprouts.

From Saturday's NYTimes piece Anger Over Culling of Yellowstone’s Bison.

The Maya too, both ancient and new, speak of this thing called "greening". It describes something like sap flow -- a vitality that moves through all things. The Chinese would probably call it Chi.

It's something very much like Spring.

thou Maker, thou Modeler,
look at us, listen to us,
don’t let us fall, don’t leave us aside,
thou god in the sky, heart of Earth,
give us our sign, our word,
as long as there is day, as long as there is light.
When it come to the sowing, the dawning,
Will it be a greening road, a greening path?

Give us a steady light, a level place,
A good light, a good place,
A good life and beginning.
Give us all of this, thou Hurricane,
Bearer, Begetter,
Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light,
When it comes to the sowing, the dawning.

—From the Popul Vuh

for the girls

Nomads in Tibet
Originally uploaded by BoazImages.
Saw my acupuncturist over the weekend and asked her immediately how her husband’s family was doing. Her husband’s from Tibet, and his family is still there.

"Alive and safe," she said, with some relief. "And hopeful."

The conversation segued into the work they’re doing together, to raise the funds to start a girls' school in the Nanchen region. To help young women who, statistically, can expect to have six to ten children in their lifetime, and are at great risk (over 300 times the norm) to die in childbirth.


The hope is that, with education, shelter, and warm meals in their bellies, the girls can beat the statistics.

The cost to make it happen? $6,000 per year.

So little to change lives in such large ways.

If you feel like reaching out to calm the storms that are coursing through that part of our world, they would gratefully and graciously welcome your contribution, large or small. 100% of all contributions will support the project.

To make a difference please contact:

Nancy Floy, Executive Director
Heartwood Center
1599 Maple Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60201
847-491-1122 x11

Or just drop a check in the mail (even $5 would be welcomed and honored), and designate it “for the girls of the Heartwood Tibet Girls School".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

bank holiday joy and stranger-loving lunacy

Pillows should be places for laughter.

Bobcatrock in his wonderful write-up of London's Great Pillow Fight »

1501 evanston

Well, Maple, actually.
*In* Evanston, IL.

Surrounded by snow & slush & something
that feels awfully reminiscent of Spring,
trying to unfold in all this cold.

Posting by cameraphone.

just about everything in heaven is covered with glitter

A seasonal greeting card from my sister

(It's a little bit easier to read large)

An Easter card from my sister, which alludes to the premature demise of our childhood pet parakeets, Bobo & Polly, received as Easter presents, who then suffered sorely from our elementary school age neglect. (We kept them alive for a little while, but they definitely failed to reach their full potential.)

Deb's real good about reminding me of my failings, in that tongue-in-cheek barbed kind of sisterly way.

Which means I'll be feeling all guilt-ridden and remorseful this holiday weekend.

Hope yours is happier than mine.


Happy Easter, All! Happy Spring.


holsum. good for you.

The very existence of Internet controls is almost never discussed in public here, apart from vague statements about the importance of keeping online information “wholesome.”

James Fallows in his piece “The Connection Has Been Reset” in the March 2008 issue of the Atlantic Monthly about Internet censorship in China.

Aric Mayer has posted an interesting chronicle of the Chinese censorship of his blog, Aric Mayer Studios, something we chatted a little bit about when he passed through town back in November.

I saw my traffic from China slowly decline to nearly nothing awhile back, and assumed it was related to my pissing and moaning about the Beijing Olympics. However, Fallows' piece suggests that all of us blogspotters may be blocked now.

Fallows' piece makes an important point: China's online surveillance system is pretty tightly nailed down, but easily subverted -- if one is willing to spend the money and accept the risk.

Its power lies in its subtle big brother omnipresence. Says Fallows: "By making the search for external information a nuisance, they drive Chinese people back to an environment in which familiar tools of social control come into play."

Or, as a collaborative study between UC Davis and the University of New Mexico concluded (also cited in the Fallows piece): “The presence of censorship, even if easy to evade, promotes self-censorship.”

Friday, March 21, 2008

if star wars were titled by saul bass

Title Sequence: Star Wars vs. Saul Bass

(If this makes you giddy happy then baby, we were made for each other.)

Actual title sequences by Saul Bass:
The Man with the Golden Arm
Anatomy of a Murder


It was just the amazement of taking something that's invisible and making it visible. When it worked, I thought: 'This is amazing.'

Artist Richard Box commenting on his Shake Pole installation on Neatorama.

As reported in the Guardian -- how the whole thing works:
Box slipped a local farmer £200 to "borrow" a 3,600 m2 field to plant fluorescent light tubes near overhead power lines.

The show began at night: A fluorescent tube glows when an electrical voltage is set up across it. The electric field set up inside the tube excites atoms of mercury gas, making them emit ultraviolet light. This invisible light strikes the phosphor coating on the glass tube, making it glow.

Because power lines are typically 400,000 volts, and Earth is at an electrical potential voltage of zero volts, pylons create electric fields between the cables they carry and the ground.

Pretty pictures of the installation »

Thursday, March 20, 2008

bearing witness

Democracy is Not to Force Peoples to Follow USA

REUTERS Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War »

why i don't so much mind getting older every day

relationship = (memory + moments) * time

some shit about the future

Speaking of the New York Public Library: Stopped by Joshua Heineman’s web zone (aka flickrite & polaroid master i could sleep through a world war) to check out
some coolness that he’s messing around with involving images from the NYPL’s image repository (careful: exceedingly interesting but may be seizure inducing) -- and stumbled across his buddy Javan Makhmali's (untitled except in the page name) Contents May Have Shifted: Some Shit About the Future online installation, a collaborative project that he executed with Mark Nowak.

If I had to describe it? Then I'd call it a meditative journey through ambient sound and imagery. But that doesn't quite capture it.

Take the time when you have some time. It’s entirely pointless. And wholly worth it. (Click "begin presentation" to get things rolling.)

Some Shit About the Future »

p.s. You can see more of Joshua's NYPL stuff in Heineman’s antique 3D. Flickr Set »

(Update: Earlier today I had the attribution for some shit about the future all wrong -- Joshua straightened me out and all is well now.)

like rain


Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

The last few stanzas of Robert Creeley's The Rain, as cited in the 21 February Issue of The London Review of Books in What Life Says to Us, by Stephen Burt.

I lifted the above image from the Wikipedia entry on Creeley. It's posted there without attribution, but it looks all the world to me like the collection of photographs that I saw recently [1] at the New York Public Library by Allen Ginsberg -- photographs of all his Beat buddies, presented in concert with the Kerouac exhibit where you can also see Kerouac's On the Road endless typed scroll and other exceedingly cool artifacts.

I dig the Beats, and really enjoyed the exhibit, with its spoken word recordings and sumi-like illustrations in Kerouac's hand, but as a woman I felt a little bit like I'd entered the boys' clubhouse with the crudely lettered "grils not allowed" sign outside.

They didn't like us much. At least Kerouac didn't.

But boy they liked to f*ck us.

Which, as any girl knows, is not the same thing.

[1] Looks like the show *just* closed. It was still open when I ducked in last Friday to use the third-floor washroom, but as of today the NYPL has relegated it to its Past Exhibitions category on their website. (See Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac on the Road and the gorgeous book published to support the exhibit.)

Update: Ron dropped by to point out that the photograph of Creeley is actually by the photographer Elsa Dorfman. Stay tuned: I expect to crush. Hard.

marmaduke explained

This, however, makes perfect sense somehow »

Both this, and the last one, via Web Zen

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

being & nothingness

I find myself transfixed by Garfield Minus Garfield »

And I'm not entirely sure why.

(If you figure it out, please to explicate. kthxbai.)

barack & the blues

Q. As a self-declared Blues Man -- someone who is distrustful of superficial optimism -- what do you think of Obama's message about "hope"?

A. I do worry at times that our culture confuses mature hope with naive audacity. It is important to remember that the blues conception of hope is in no way identical with the optimism of the American Dream.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was not the American Dream. It was rooted in the American Dream -- it incorporated the need to work hard, defer gratification and aspire to be the best. But it was also a rejection of crass materialism, hedonism and narcissism.

At times, Obama's talk about "the audacity of hope" oscillates between the deep blues conception of hope and the thin hope of American optimism. It concerns me, but it doesn't trouble me.

Professor Cornel West, as interviewed in the 20 March issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Rolling Stone has endorsed Obama's candidacy for President -- which "marks the first time we've chosen a candidate during the primary season."

straight talk

Video: Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union adddress

As far as I know, he's the first politician since the Civil War to recognize how deeply embedded slavery and race have been in our Constitution. That's a profoundly important thing to say.

Professor Paul Finkelman of Albany Law School, commenting in this morning's New York Times on Senator Barack Obama's We The People speech, delivered yesterday in Philadelphia.

& p.s.: baby quoted Faulkner in his speech. WILLIAM FRICKIN' FAULKNER.

You wanna win my heart forever? Quote friggin' Faulkner. (Or Borges.)

The Past isn't Dead and Buried. In fact it isn't even past.

oh, &p.p.s. The author of the speech that Barack Obama delivered yesterday in Philadelphia? Barack Obama.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

foam or feather?

Choose your weapon.

Worldwide Pillow Fight. This Saturday.

many thanks to bobcatrock for the link

true religion

true religion
true religion
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
It all comes down to this.

From yesterday's session with Host Universal.

Posting by cameraphone the day after.

Monday, March 17, 2008


“Entrainment” is not an everyday word, but it’s a term used in various fields of science. It can describe the phenomenon of one organism rhythmically and internally adjusting itself to another. It’s when life-pulses coordinate.

Fireflies lighting up in synchronization has been described as entrainment. Jazz musicians locking in together is, in its way, entrainment.

Ben Ratliff defining "entrainment" and how it features prominently in Van Morrison's new release "Keep It Simple" (due out 1 April), in today's New York Times' piece: Van Morrison on Science, the Spiritual and Rituals.

talk talk

Video: Talk Talk, Life's What You Make It

Talked too much today.

Woke up still tired from the circuit of the last couple of weeks, wanting to just be q u i e t.

But that’s not my job.

So instead we kicked it off with a client conference call. In which I talked. And then headed down to the Loop for a conversation with a trade magazine to swap thoughts about social networking in the online retail space. During which I talked some more.

Then chased that all down with more talking (lordy girl: do you *ever* shut up?) during a three hour volunteer session with the good folks of Host Universal -- an outfit out of the UK that works with non-profits, helping them distill their message and improve their performance. Anita Roddick's Body Shop was an early client of theirs, way back before the buyout and when it was looking for its “one word” -- which, in case you’re wondering, turned out to be the hyphenated “self-esteem”.

The client today was SERRV, the oldest fair trade organization on the planet. Never heard of them? Yeah: that’s why Host was called in.

Our job was to brainstorm through a whole slew of abstractions in an effort to get to the gold for SERRV, and although I’m not entirely sure that we arrived at anything useful I expect the Host guys got what they needed and will almost certainly turn it into something bankable for their client.

And a bonus: Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun was there in her capacity as a representative for Ambassador Organics -- another free trade outfit -- and I completely managed to goof the handshake by going all star struck when introductions were made all matter of fact like as if she were just like anybody else in the room -- she whom, may I remind you, was the first African American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate and even put in a run for President. Which means of course that she *wasn’t* just like anybody else in the room. She was Carol Moseley Braun, goddammit, and a girl should have fair warning about these things so she can practice her “honored to meet you” curtsy beforehand. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what I said instead. Too embarrassed. Trying to forget.)

Plus a byproduct: The session spurred all kinds of thoughts about what I do for a living, what it’s made me sure of, and whether or not I should be so sure.

But I’ll save that for another post, because just now I’m beat, and considerably tired of talking too much.

spawn or die

Illus: Ray Troll, Spawn Till You Die

To survive, there are two things a salmon needs. To eat. And to not be eaten.

Dave Bitts, a fisherman based in Eureka, California, as quoted in this morning's New York Times story: West Coast Enigma as Salmon Vanish Without a Trace, which recounts how the Chinook simply aren't running in California waters this year. And nobody's entirely sure why.

If you were a West Coast Salish, or Haida, or a member of another Pacific tribe, who welcomed the salmon each Spring as a sign of the world's renewal, something like this would pretty indicate that the whole thing was winding down. As in the end of the world as we know it.

Pretty much.

And an aside: I worked for a Norwegian immigrant and octogenarian a long time ago as his amanuensis, helping him compile his stories as a Bering Sea fisherman and Pacific Northwest logger and Seattle longshoreman in anticipation of a book. One of his stories was about the running of the salmon in the Pacific Northwest, and how the rivers teamed so fiercely when the salmon ran in the Spring that it was if they were boiling and the horses started in fear.

Those are the rivers that are quiet now.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

home of the whopper

home of the whopper
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Great retro Burger King that's still largely intact. I suspect the funky box-like bars across the top of the building are in quasi-emulation of the classic McDonald's arches that were probably contemporary with its construction.

Just guessing.

Naperville, IL

these pink streets

these pink streets
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
This is an absolute garbage shot, taken months ago on Michigan Avenue -- shooting blind and from the hip -- but for some reason these girls in pink keep haunting me.

I'm posting it in the hope that they will leave me alone.

I wish it were better than this. It had the potential to be.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

of american politics and the defenestration of panties

A greeting card from my sister, aka she who aspired to be a mermaid. Annotated.

The Text:
(canned hallmark copy) When I'm President, I'm gonna settle all disputes with a dance-off. // You're gonna be Vice President, so work on your moves.

(deb copy) But you know, I'll probably be impeached after only a month in office for throwing your underpants off the White House balcony [1] into the Rose Garden 500 times [2]. You'll tap Johnny Whitaker [3] for your Veep & usher in a new era where everyone is nice to everyone, they all have enough money, and cars run on grape juice [4] -- which is very, very cheap. And pollution free. [5] Plus they'll put your face on all the stamps even while you're still in office. So let's just forget the whole thing & hope Barack wins. [6]

The Annotations:
[1] The author alludes to the defenestration of panties of our childhood, in which she, the older sister, tormented me, the younger sister, by dropping my underwear through our open second-story bedroom window into the flower bed below. Repeatedly.

She did this publicly and in broad daylight, and frequently when her friends were over, to demonstrate her mastery over me. I, in my horror, would run down the stairs and out to the flowerbed to retrieve the panties, mortified that the cute boys playing hockey in the street would have witnessed the incident and known they were mine. They only knew they were mine, of course, because I was the only one rushing down to the flowerbed in horror. Had I stayed inside no one would have noticed the brief whisper of white that floated down and settled into the soil.

Almost without fail Deb would be waiting for me, on my return, with another pair of panties poised and ready to drop through the open window. She would release them as soon as she saw that I saw what was about to occur.

And so it would begin again.

[2] And again. And again. And again.

[3] Johnny Whitaker, you may remember, stared alongside Sigmund in the Saturday morning live action show Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Deb had a thing for Johnny, and daydreamed about writing love letters to the budding young star, which she would sign "Love, Debby" with a generously flourished cursive "L".

[4] We were sometimes broke growing up, sometimes not, depending upon my parents' immediate fortunes. Broke times were powered by much grape juice because yes: it is very very cheap.

[5] Nothing if not environmentally virtuous, my sister.

[6] This would be the political part.

(The only thing more surreal than coming off two weeks on the road covering both coasts late late late on a Friday night, is coming home to something like this.

Which, of course, made my day.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

mad travel skills

mad travel skills
mad travel skills
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Two skills are essential (I think) to enjoying solo travel: First, you've gotta not mind eating out alone. Even better if you actually enjoy it. The more comfortable you are as a solo nosher the more comfortable your waiter or waitress will be serving you -- because for whatever reason waitstaffs skew in one of two directions: Kinda freaked out to be serving a table of one, and so much so that they actually *avoid* your table, or overly garrulous to compensate for the fact that they're kinda freaked out to be serving a table of one. Or maybe they just freak out serving a solo girl table. Solo girl is the only data I have access to, so it's all I'm qualified to comment on. (Solo traveling boys: this is your opportunity to chime in.)

Second, but certainly not secondary: You've gotta know where to go.

Finding prime public toilets are key to your long term comfort and survival as *any* kind of traveler -- but when you're traveling solo your instincts must be especially keen because there's nobody around to hear you whine about your impending crisis.

We've featured a few public toilets here at detritus before (see Mies' Seagram's Building in NYC and Bloomingdales' in Chicago) and I wanted to throw one more on the pile: The third floor washroom of the New York Public Library in Midtown, somewhere approximate to 5th Avenue & 42nd Street, just this side of Nikola Tesla's commemorative corner.

Any of the library washrooms will do, of course -- they're all clean and well looked after -- but the washroom that shares the same level as the utterly lovely Rose Reading Room tops the list for its natural light and the abundant use of old school marble across any and all obliging surfaces -- most notably the long stunning row of washbasins that are maintained in prime splash-free condition by a vigilant washroom attendant. Making it not unlike a fine hotel, while at the same time making it nearly impossible to snap a shot of said marble usage, since they're sticklers about prohibiting that kind of shot at the NY Public Library.

Which is why you're getting a shot of the crumpled coat hook from my toilet stall.

Please note the abundance of marble.

With apologies, once again, for the gender bias.

Queuing up this post somewhere over Ohio. Trying to keep the blood flowing so I can safely drive myself home once this plane touches down.

gate 4

gate 4
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
There's a circular bench just below this array of fluorescent bulbs that almost looks like JetBlue repurposed an old baggage claim carousel for seating. The bench is deep and spare and unpadded, but peppered with outlets and the promise of wireless -- so it's packed elbow to elbow with folks who settled in only to find that their feet can't possibly reach the floor if they care to rest their backs against anything.

I'm spared the indignity because my laptop crashed inbound to L.A. and I've got nothing to plug in.

Posting by cameraphone from The JetBlue terminal at JFK. Homeward bound.

265 madison ave

265 madison ave
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Last little bit of Manhattan.
For today.

Posting by cameraphone
from JFK.

while I was away

Originally uploaded by smalldogs.
Dropped some coin on a shoot with Susan Sabo, aka smalldogs, while I was in L.A. Wanted to finally get a headshot that I could be glad to use.

Worth every dime.

The lady, she is a genius with a lens and a strobe.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

dinner in midtown

dinner in midtown
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Happiness is this: Finding yourself suddenly in the early Spring chill of a New York evening, via Long Beach via downtown L.A. via a warm bed in Pasadena that you didn't want to leave (and certainly not at that ungodly early hour, the sun only just scratching the sleep from its eyes); missing the sunset entirely because you were snoozing stiff (and certainly snoring) in the middle seat on a five hour flight -- the kid to your right completely clueless as to the etiquette of the elbow (dude: you had the aisle. that armrest should have been mine.) and knowing that all you had to do on arriving on this only semi-familiar block in midtown is walk to the end of the street with your eyes wide open and you'd find it: the perfect place for dinner. And even though it's nearly 10PM it's not even close to closing time.

Just polished off a majestic and nourishing avocado salad. Moving on to the best piece of hamachi I've had since Santa Cruz some time back.

New York: I wasn't sure I wanted to see you today, but this I'll take, and be glad for it.

Meeting tomorrow. Then home late to a wide open weekend.

Posting by cameraphone from Midtown Manhattan.

Toyama Sushi
11 West 36 Street
New York, NY 10018

the rialto

the rialto
the rialto
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Broadway, between 8th & 9th.
Downtown L.A.

Smalldogs' domain.

Posting by cameraphone after the shoot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

sunrise, pasadena.

sunrise, pasadena.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Posting by cameraphone
from my hotel room.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

one more for db

one more for db
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
'Cause you asked for it: This one's for
you, debaird.

Shot earlier today at the Getty.
Posting by cameraphone from Pasadena.


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
The Getty wasn't around when I lived here last (sure the Villa was, but not the new hilltop masterpiece by the architect Richard Meier), so it was of course the thing I was most bratty about, bugging my stepmom to pay it a short visit even though the doors closed at 6 and it was after 2 when we got there, my laptop having crashed on me en route and more or less insisting that I take a little PTO time since I had accomplished almost everything (*almost* everything) that I'm capable of accomplishing on my handheld from the time that my plane touched down until she was able to pull herself away from work.

And the next part of this story is: WOW. Holy frickin' WOW. What a place. And it's all about place.

The exhibits that we caught -- a brief and tidy handful -- were more than worth the price of admission (which was free, outside the $8 fee to park): A commissioned work by Bill Viola (I'm a fan, so I'll take what I can get of Viola, even though this piece -- Emergence -- is low on my list of stuff of his that I like); some lovely illuminated manuscript leaves (yes, of course, pilfered -- sometime many hundreds of
years back before they finally arrived here. this is the Getty after all.); and the smattering of Impressionists were nice (highly recommended by the matronly museum guard, so we felt obliged).

The knock your socks off portion resided in the photography wing and included a show featuring the whole spectrum of the work of André Kertész -- including the still life from Mondrian's home and a whole series that he executed on postcard stock -- in itself enough to make me giddy happy, but then I was pushed beyond the tolerance of all that is seemly by a showing of Graciela Iturbide's work.

Holy Sh*t.

She undid me.

But it was the Getty itself, of course, that outshined all that -- the alternating rough and finished travertine surfaces, the extraordinary gardens orchestrated by Robert Irwin; the quiet spaces and grand pavilions and jawdropping vistas that make you want to linger and learn and luxuriate.

What a stunner of a place.

And then there was dinner and too much salmon (so good. so right on the coast.) and too much chocolate and catching up with my stepmom, who raised me and whom I haven't seen in *forever*, about heartbreaks and expectations and finding your feet again.

All good.

And now to bed.

Tomorrow we work.

I photographed real life -- not the way it was but the way I felt it. This is the most important thing: not analyzing, but feeling.

—André Kertész

some palms.

some palms.
some palms.
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
I expect there will be more.

In LA for the next couple of days. And some trivia: people don't wear *coats* here.

Shot at the Long Beach Airport.
Posting by cameraphone.

so would a rose

I can't tell you how often I've heard guys who wanted their kid to be able to say truthfully 'Danger is my middle name.' But their wives absolutely refused.

Michael Sherrod, author of the book "Bad Baby Names" as quoted in "A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names" in this morning's New York Times.

Sherrod and co-author Matthew Rayback combed census records for bad baby names and found these among others: Emma Royd, Post Office, King Arthur, Helen Troy, and Ima Hooker.

(Apologies: No links 'til later. Posting by cameraphone. Outbound to L.A.)

Update: Linked.

Monday, March 10, 2008

is that a hotdog on your stick, or are you just happy to see me?

Video: Food Court Musical

For our latest mission, 16 agents staged a spontaneous musical in the food court of a Los Angeles shopping mall. We used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the mall’s PA system. We filmed the mission with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening.

From Food Court Musical, the latest from Improv Everywhere, the guys behind Frozen Grand Central and the London Freeze.

Many thanks to b1-66er for the Freeze links.

Of interest: looks like the freeze thing is really taking off »

& p.s. some costuming provided by the good folks at Hotdog on a Stick

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Saw Spring. About 2,000 miles from here.

It's everything I remember.

But it's not here yet. So until then: more pictures of dry dead things »

vestiges iiivestiges vvestiges iv

Shot this afternoon at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL.
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