Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jeepers!!! Daphne Does It Again!!!

Once again, a life size cutout of Daphne Blake lifts her skirt at Bergamot Station.

Last year, while visiting the art galleries at Bergamot Station, I saw a cutout of Daphne Blake, from the Scooby Doo cartoon series, provocatively posed with her skirt lifted. I blogged about it back then, writing a post that has interestingly high page views.

Well, I recently returned to see some shows. When I got to the northeast corner, I got a view of the new Daphne cutout. Yeah, the classic attire has been modified, but it should entertain all you folks that come by looking for risque images of Daphne. ;-)

Now, when are we gonna get some cutouts of Velma?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What, Me Worry?

Busy in Redondo Beach. Yeah, that's Alfred E. Neuman overlooking the street.

So, I was driving down Artesia Blvd. in Redondo Beach. Sitting at a stop light by the South Bay Galleria, I notice high over the street an image of the Mad Magazine mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, on a sign that read "Simpin!"

I have no clue as to what it means. Nevertheless, I was charmed by the absurdity of the image and its unusual placement. It might be some type of local publicity campaign, maybe for a band or performer. I wonder why anyone would want to associate themselves with ol' Alfred.

In any case, I'll keep my eyes open for other images like this to share with you all.

A close-up view of the "Simpin!" sign with Alfred E. Neuman.

And while were on the topic of Mad Magazine. . .

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Old Glory blowing in the wind on Memorial Day

I'm not one for ostentatious display of patriotic sentiments, but the beauty of the Stars & Stripes billowing on a bright May day touches even my curmudgeon heart.

Best wishes to you all on this Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Short Side of Nothing

Creepy mirror-faced mannequin

Holiday weekend, tired, I got nothing.

But I can post up a quirky photo and link to some fine music. Since today marks twenty years that Los Lobos released their awesome album, Kiko, in 1992, let's have some dreams in blue or, if you'd rather, some lavender. ;-)

(As always, we love our fellow Angelenos here at Paideia).

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strange as Angels

Detail of album art for Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987) by The Cure

Well, it's another holiday weekend. I'd say that posting will be sporadic, but that wouldn't indicate much of a change. ;-)

A few weeks back, I wrote about my admiration for The Cure and their album, Pornography. However, the album about which I have the fondest memories is Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Today, May 25th, marks twenty-five years since it was released.

So, let's kick the weekend off with a brief trip back to 1987 and ask, "For how much longer can I howl into this wind?"

The Cure's album, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, was released on May 25, 1987

"So when the hurting starts and when the nightmares begin. . ."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

But There on the Shining Metal

Detail from Shield of Achilles (1821) by John Flaxman

Yeah, I'm still sick and tired. Feeling really awful today. . .

But it takes little effort to post a "Photo of the Day" and share a few words. ;-)

Anyways, I recently visited the Huntington Museum. I'm not a big fan of Neoclassicism, but I'm starting to develop a fondness. It still feels slightly inauthentic and pretentious, but the beauty wins me over. For instance, nothing can be more inflated in self-importance than Homeric pastiche, yet I can't help but appreciate this sculpture for its craftsmanship and lovely detail.

Hopefully, I'll get back to the Huntington sometime soon to snap a few more detailed images for you all. It's a real beauty, hidden away in the corner of one of the upper parlours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Needs a Hit of Something Strong

Powerpuff Girls: Bubbles punches Fuzzy Lumpkins

Wow!!! I've been busy, but the past few days have brought with them a total energy crash. At first, I thought it was just the consequence of getting some exercise back into my daily routine. But I think there's something going unwell with my health.

I've had low-grade headaches for the past week. I'm constantly tired. My joints hurt, especially my elbows. Consequently, I've been in a sour mood, very irritable. Certainly, I try to keep a friendly demeanor, but recently it's been slipping a whole lot.

As regards blogging, I'm embarrassed by the lack of new material here at Paideia. I keep on hoping to visit some art galleries or celebrate some notable birth date. It's not like there hasn't been a whole lot of interesting things about which to write. I just haven't had the energy.

A detail of Bill Willingham's cover illustration for The Secret of Bone Hill (1981)

Oh well, maybe next week, after the Memorial Day Weekend, when I'm rested and recovered, or so I hope. ;-)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Flowers: Jacaranda

Purple Jacaranda

Things are still going erratic here at the Casa de Paideia. ;-)

So, rather than skipping this week's Friday Flowers post, I figured we'd skip out on the poetry. Yeah, it's a bummer, but better than missing another week of botanical beauties. And their my favorite colors too!!!

If you're a native of SoCal, then you're probably already tired of these purple pretties. But not me!!! The darlin' jackies lift my heart whenever I see them.

Blue Jacaranda

"Te quiero por tus ojos de jacaranda en flor."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Under the Power Lines

The bike path cuts through the north Redondo neighborhood, under the power lines.

After a long hiatus, I decided to put a bit of exercise into my daily schedule. Whew!!! Maybe I should hit the gym, where the nice air conditioning will keep my spirits up.

Well, I'm now exhausted. So, this will be another "Image of the Day" lazy Tuesday.

In choosing how I go about spending my blogging time, I focus on content generation, sharing my personal feelings about various cultural topics, putting up photos, and linking to relevant videos. I don't have sufficient time to community-building activities, like visiting other blogs and leaving frequent comments. Certainly, I enjoy many other blogs, but I don't like leaving "nice post"-style remarks. It feels slightly disingenuous and inauthentic, like chattering spam-lite.

Nevertheless, it is this type of blog browsing networking that leads to the development of a community. And, if I had a large community following, I could have a fun lazy post by writing, "A bike lane and power lines converge upon a power station. Thoughts?"

Oh well, I'm happy rambling to myself and my dozen readers. ;-)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Days of High Adventure!

Promotional image for Conan the Barbarian (1982) featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger

Lately, I've been doing the "Thirty years ago" celebrations in regards to music. But tonight we'll consider one of my favorite movies of the era, Conan the Barbarian. It's not high art; it has no profound message. It isn't even a good adaptation of the original source material, short stories written by Robert E. Howard.

Nevertheless, for a teenage boy enthralled by "Sword & Sorcery" fiction, it was adventure and excitement. With awesome fight scenes, sexy ladies, dark magics, and an epic soundtrack, it set my imagination on fire. An age undreamed of. . .

I never got around to seeing the 2011 remake. The '82 Conan might be dated in terms of production and effects, but the spirit still holds strong. And, always, there remained the discipline of steel. ;-)

Conan the Barbarian (1982) promotional poster by Renato Casaro

So, what is best in life?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #11

Detail of She Wore a Black Bustier (1983) by Patrick Nagel

Well, this cycle was heavy on the music and 1980s flashbacks, but it was a fun set of posts. I definitely need to get more Art posts back into the mix. Hopefully, we'll check out a couple galleries and museums this upcoming week.

I feel a bit guilty that I didn't hit my requisite eleven posts earlier. I took off a few days out of general laziness. Oh well, we're still hitting a good pace for May. ;-)

Morticia Addams and the kids, Pugsley and Wednesday

Here's a run down of our posts:

Only two Art posts were part of this cycle. First, we looked at Goya's Third of May 1808 and considered the evils of warfare. Second, we visited the Bowers Museum and enjoyed the "Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands" exhibit. Good stuff!!!

As regards Music posts, we wrote up five! Two were thirty year celebrations for albums released in 1982, the Cure's Pornography and Duran Duran's Rio. Then we celebrated the birthday of Surf Rock legend, Dick Dale. Turning to classical music, we enjoyed some works by Johannes Brahms in commemoration of his birth date. Finally, we did an early posting of our Monthly Dance Party.

Friday Flowers brought us some French Lace roses and poetry by William Shakespeare. Our "Cinema and Television" post featured Yosemite Sam, the meanest, roughest, toughest hombre. . . Umm, on a personal note, I was beguiled by a beautiful vision of my local urban environment, transformed into light and shadow by a mid-Spring twilight. Finally, we expressed our appreciation for Moms with some quirky photos and vids. ;-)

It was a good time, but let's try for even better times in the upcoming weeks.

Hare Trigger (1945): "Now, you lop-eared polecat, try and get out of this one!"


Don't Come Whining to Me

Motherly advice from Morticia Addams to Wednesday: "Tell him you'll poison him right back."

I'm not one to celebrate the "Hallmark Holidays" but here's a quick post in regards to maternal appreciation and interests. And iffin' ya don't like it, read the post title again. ;-)

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Marge Simpson and her kids: Maggie, Lisa, and Bart

Fun stuff!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dance Party: May

Detail of the cover image from Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun"

It's time for another set of music flashbacks. Yeah, we've been doing a bunch of music posts over the past few weeks, but the next couple of weekends are likely to be busy for me. Therefore, since I don't want to miss out on celebrating May's music over the decades, I'm putting this post up tonight.

But it'll be just as good going early as keeping it late. And either way is better than nothing at all. ;-)

So, from '67 to '07, let's have some fun!!!

"Point of No Return" was Exposé's second hit in 1987.

What the world needs now is. . .

Thursday, May 10, 2012

With Your Beating Heart

Detail of Patrick Nagel's cover art for Duran Duran's album, Rio (1982)

Thirty years ago, on May 10, 1982, Duran Duran released Rio.

I've previously mentioned that I wasn't an enthusiast of their music back in the day, but it is impossible for me to remember the early to mid '80s with hearing Duran Duran's music playing somewhere in the background. Now, with a mix of nostalgia and a fresh appreciation for New Wave-style music, I really enjoy this music.

Although I certainly would complain about the constant airplay that they received on the local radio stations and the various video channels, it was good music with captivating videos. Being very enthusiastic of sexy "Euro-babes" and the exotic beauties of the era, I didn't mind watching the videos over and over and over. ;-)

Patrick Nagel's alternative artwork for the Rio cover

And I've always loved the cover art. Nobody did stylish and sexy like Patrick Nagel.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Roaming in the Gloaming

Rally's Burgers or McDonalds?

I don't have much to say tonight. I'm a bit tapped out from a busy day. ;-)

However, I wanted to share this photo with you all. I was driving through the urban wasteland near the southern 110 Freeway, around dusk. For a brief moment, the soft hues of the western sky, the shadows of the street, and the lights of the various roadside venues combined to create a dreamy vision of color and light.

The ugly urban intersection became a place of subtle beauty. It was enchanting.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Paradise In Your Dream

Photograph of Johannes Brahms (1889)

I've never been a big fan of the compositions of Johannes Brahms.

Certainly, they're beautiful works, but, to my tastes, they are too formal, too polished, too cerebral or academic. Moreover, I love narrative designs, but Brahms was emphatically anti-narrative, seeking to compose "pure" music. In his quest for perfect structure, it feels to me like he designed away authenticity.

Nevertheless, his creative genius can't be denied. Although his works are not my favorites, they definitely are masterpieces of compositional craftsmanship. So, to celebrate his birth date (born in 1833), let's listen to some music.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sharp Teeth, Bite!!!

Crocodile head from an Iatmul spirit canoe (Papua New Guinea, 20th c.)

It's been a while since I've visited the Bowers Museum, down in Santa Ana. I decided to remedy the situation with a few hours of strolling through the "Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands" exhibition. I had seen this show previously, but it's an excellent exhibit, well worth revisiting.

I didn't have enough time to check out the various gold-related shows. So, I imagine that I'll be heading back there sometime soon.

Human tooth necklace (Vuasagale) from Fiji, 18-19th c.

But, really, with Fire Dance masks, spirit objects, diverse weaponry, and numerous gruesome works, I could spend the whole day looking at the Pacific Island exhibition.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Meanest, Roughest, Toughest Hombre

Bugs Bunny tricks Yosemite Sam in Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1947)

In 1945, on May 5th, the cartoon, Hare Trigger, was released, introducing my favorite Bugs Bunny antagonist, Yosemite Sam.

Sam's blustery anger and gun-happy personality were always good for a laugh. Unlike Elmer Fudd, he was a villain, not a bumbling huntsman. Whether holding up a train or terrorizing a town, Yosemite Sam was always looking to cause trouble. And I found it satisfying to see the tables turned.

Sam might say "Why I'll blast the varmint wide open!" but he'd usually end up on the receiving end of the blast. ;-)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Flowers: Temple of Love and Roses

Roses: French Lace (Floribunda)

Sonnet 55
(By William Shakespeare)

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover's eyes.
We've skipped a few significant Shakespeare related dates over the past few weeks. So, here's a brief post to compensate. ;-)
Temple of Love in the Rose Garden at the Huntington Gardens

As for the roses, it's about time that we celebrated their return. Lovely, lovely flowers!!!

Surf's Up!!!

Detail of the cover image from Dick Dale and His Del-Tones' album, Surfers' Choice (1962)

As a native beach city resident, I have grown up with exposure to the classic sound of Surf Rock. That's not to say that I'm a fan, but, rather, that this style of music makes me think of home. And, if you're a fan of guitar music, it is a rich and engaging style.

So, in honor of Dick Dale's birthday, born on this day in 1937, let's listen to some fun surfin' music. ;-)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Disasters of War

Detail of the Third of May 1808 (1814) by Francisco Goya

Every so often, it's important to reflect upon the cruelty and brutality that we humans inflict upon each other through warfare. Whatever the cause, be it religion or nationalism or political philosophy, the consequences are terrible. The horrible suffering brought by war is rarely justified. Even more uncommon is when justice prevails after the conflict is resolved.

Currently, the USA is involved in a long war in Afghanistan. At this point in the conflict, there seems to be little point to American presence in this far off country. Moreover, it seems that nothing good is coming out from American actions. There is only pain and terror for the Afghan people who are caught between the US-led occupation and the Taliban-led insurgency.

What should be done to promote peace and liberty? I don't know. However, my guideline on dealing with crisis management is: if you're not helping, get out of the way. I think that's probably a good idea for US foreign policy as well.

Detail of Plate 71 "Against the Common Good" from The Disasters of War by Francisco Goya

I don't like getting political here at Paideia, but the Third of May seems a proper day to reflect on warfare and its costs.

Malaise of Adolescent Existentialism

Detail from the cover image of the Cure's album, Pornography (1982)

Put on your black clothes, smudge on the thick make-up, and get your inner Goth goin'!

Today, we're celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the Cure's Pornography, a classic work of goth rock. Seriously, how can you beat lines like "It doesn't matter if we all die" or "Everything as cold as life" or "The atmosphere rots with time"? There's some hardcore existential angst in those lyrics, intensified by the rough and moody instruments.

I was still a youngster when this album came out, but my aesthetic sense was starting to take form. Although I was never a Goth, the dark romanticism of this music certainly made a mark. Later, when I began studying the English Romantic poets and the French Existentialist writers, around 1987, the seeds of this record bloomed in my own creative vision.

Yeah, I never took on the style, but the Goths and I were kindred souls. ;-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Weekly Wrap #10

Carl's Jr. commercial for the Southwest Patty Melt featuring Kate Upton. Why not?

A new month, a new sense of fun and excitement. Yeah, I'm finally feeling like I might be back on my game, blogging with ease and enthusiasm. I don't know what the malaise has been that has ground me down over the past five months, but I'm very happy to feel it going away.

But, while the spirit is willing, is the body weak? I don't know, but we'll see if post count and variety returns to the level of quality that I desire. There are plenty of topics that I love to discuss. From the fine arts to astronomy, advertising to ethics, whether the subject, there's something interesting to consider. I'm looking forward to sharing my passions and whimsy with you all.

That's enough about me. Let's look at the eleven posts since our last "Weekly" Wrap.

Play the carnival game. Win a banana doll.

We had three Music posts. First, a new month had come. .  so we celebrated our April Dance Party. Then the birth date of Duke Ellington allowed us to enjoy some of the classic performances of the early Jazz era. Finally, we had a whimsical post about dishes, stacking and washing and breakin' and, hmm, innuendo. ;-)

Garden lovers got to enjoy two posts. Our Friday Flowers featured Marguerite daisies and the poetry of Alice Notley. Then, we took a trip to the Huntington to check out the newly reopened Japanese Garden. Lovely!!!

Then we touched bases on a wide variety of our favorite subjects: advertising, art, automobiles, and cinema. First, we were amused by the conjunction of a billboard promoting condom usage next to a Carl's Jr. restaurant, which brought to mind all of those "spicy" ads for which the Happy Star is infamous. Then we went gallery hopping in the Culver City art district, viewing "Pink Cherries", female personifications of cities and a "Murder" of crows. Later, we celebrated the birth date of Nicola Romeo by visiting the Alfa Romeos in the Petersen's newest exhibit "Sculpture in Motion". And, finally, we took a moment to enjoy some vids from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in celebration of its fifteen year anniversary.

As regards my personal activities, there were two posts. First, I griped about my inability to write at the pace and eloquence that I desire; a type of post that I call "Misery Loves Company". Then I took a trip to the local Springfest carnival and took a few photos of the rides and games.

Over at Madrona Musings, we took another look at Adam Bateman's As the Rose, but this time is was at night!!! For Arbor Day, we took a look at the young California Sycamore tree that is growing right outside the museum, part of Joel Tauber's Sick-Amour project. Interesting stuff!!!

And that's it for the "week". I hope you all had fun.

Detail of Resurrection of the Flesh by Buff Monster


Sharks with Friggin' Laser Beams

Mike Myers as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

It's been a while since I've done a "cinema" post, but, with Blockbuster season starting off this weekend, I figured we could celebrate the fifteen year anniversary since the release of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery on this date in 1997.

It's weird to think about how various phrases from this movie have become pop culture fixtures. From "Yeah, baby!" to "One million dollars!!!", the presence of this movie was hard to ignore in the late '90s. Two sequels later and another in the works, it's certainly become a cult classic.

"100 Billion Dollars!!!" Mike Myers as Dr. Evil

So, lets take the way back machine a couple decades back to the groovy days of the 1990s. ;-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Something Else to Throw

No Title: Blue Plastic Plates (1999) by Robert Therrien

Recently, I've fallen significantly behind my "one post per day" schedule.

I really think that I can do better. Last year, I would occasionally get close to a two per day rate of posting. I think my "blogging batteries" have been recharging; I'm ready to pick up the pace again.

But, for tonight, I'm reaching. ;-)