today at target

target cart 2-blogcropAll the diet soda in the world!  Also sweatpant shorts, protein bars ($5 Target card if you buy 3), and one of those little RFID blocking things you put in your wallet to keep identity thieves from stealing your credit card numbers. Question of the day: What would what was left of the US middle class function economically without Target?

  • Notes:
  • Hey, it was massively on sale, and no limits.  A case of diet soda for $5 is not something to be sneered at in this modern world.
  • For our readers in other countries, Target is a chain of moderately vast “hypermart” style stores selling a wide variety of merchandise at (usually) modest to (occasionally) excellent discounts.  Target has pretensions to good design in its advertising/corporate identity, facilities and house brand products and is in general considered a “classier” place to shop than Wal-Mart or the dollar store.
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does a dog have buddha nature?

In my phone’s picture roll today, a cat may not look at a king, but accidental positioning made it seem like a dog was looking at Budai, or Ho Tei, the folkloric figure people call the Laughing Buddha.  (Kekionga fans know that Bud is named not after the historical Gautama Buddha, but after Budai.  His character design (if you want to be exact), is one half Budai, one half old soldier or retired boxer or reformed hero.  References for the Budai half are easy to find– today’s sighting was a particularly striking polychrome statue of the Laughing Buddha of the In Store Nail Salon:

hoteifull-blogNo internet discussion of pop culture Buddhism could be called complete without an authentic Zen koan.  This one is attributed to Budai, and sourced from from that great helper on the road to enlightenment, the Wikipedia:

 In (this koan), Budai is said to travel giving candy to poor children, only asking a penny from Zen monks or lay practitioners he meets. One day a monk walks up to him and asks, “What is the meaning of Zen?” Budai drops his bag. “How does one realize Zen?” Budai then takes up his bag and continues on his way.

Pick up your bags and get back to work, everybody.

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on the events of the day

On the events of June 26th, 2015

This blog was designed from the beginning to be non political. Indeed, one of its primary goals was to be a safe haven from politics, a quotidian quiet spot to consider words and pictures and odd little funny or reflective things, a small place, a soap bubble. But even so, there are times when public events are so powerful that they shake even a small place.

Today I am thinking of all my friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances, past and present, in the LGBTQ communities, people who have done so much to enrich my life (not least by making me question my own comfortable assumptions). I think particularly of several of the dearest friends of my distant youth, who are not here to see this day since they died long ago in the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 90s.

I think of the internet, that great creator and servant of communities, which I consider to be responsible in some small part for the incredible speed of this great change, and of the courage of all the people whose coming out, and living out, has definitely been responsible for the rest of it.

And I am grateful for all of it, people and memories and community and courage. If you had asked me thirty years ago if this would ever happen, I would have laughed. More recently, I told someone I trust that I thought it would take fifteen more years at least, if not twenty. I predicted a slow, harrowing state by state fight, not a broadside action by SCOTUS. That was five years ago. Things are moving fast, and let’s hope some momentum can carry into other efforts for all kinds of civil rights.

But for now, let’s be small again, and take a moment to think of all who have particular reason to celebrate tonight, and all who have gone before.

(Read an excerpt from Justice Kennedy’s beautifully written majority opinion, and find a link to a PDF of the entire ruling, here.)

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the magenta ghost

Once again, a certain house I know and love (not my own residence, thank whatever) has made yet another of my cameras change its white balance without warning.  Today the camera was my faithful phone camera, and it happened in the garden.  Here is the weathered wood staircase as it normally appears.stairs correct-blog And here are two crops showing the influence of what I am starting to think is a magenta ghost. stairs ghost1-blog stairs ghost 2-blogThere’s a story idea in there somewhere– the ghost of a color, haunting all passing photographers? Or perhaps a ghost who doesn’t bang doors or make cold spots in rooms, but instead influences the properties of light itself.  And only photographers can record his or her presence …

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87afbb3ed9b9e52cca767a5628dfd0b1Sorunku. Sorunku. Sorunku.  This is my new favorite word in the whole wide world, even though I have no idea what it means.  This is a Swedish matchbook label (according to reverse Google image search), so you may be excused for thinking that “sorunku” is the Swedish word for “elephant”.  But it isn’t. (That would be “elefant”.)

In fact, I don’t think “sorunku” is a word in any language. The closest I could come is “sorun”, which is a noun form of the Turkish verb “soru” (to ask), meaning question,  problem or issue. I don’t think anyone has a problem with this lovely elephant matchbook label: it is both elegant and serene.

And the wider question of the word “sorunku” I leave to you.


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best of the drawing of the day, week 161– the new bat

drawingoftheday-week161-the new batI’ve been (mis)using my drawing of the day project for the last week or so,  to create the visuals for a highly experimental minicomic, so it was a real pleasure today to go back to the usual routine. (That, of course, is the routine of doing silly automatic drawings that don’t have any set purpose other than practicing using drawing tools and amusing myself and random blog readers once a week or so.)

This drawing is a representative of the purest kind of drawing of the day, the brushwork “lucky drawing”– no planning, no pencils, no underdrawing, no corrections, just an image built onto a single brushstroke as artistic impulse wills.  The hardest part is knowing where to stop.  In this drawing, the first stroke was the U shape that forms the figure’s lower jaw. The figure, of course, is another of the random winged more-or-less-humans who, along with weird birds and doglike creatures, are the most common inhabitants of the world of the brushwork lucky drawings.  I guess his costume makes him a superhero as well.

(And yes, I’ll show you some of the experimental drawings, too.  Soon.)

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the concluding lines

Of my current minicomic.

“Of course you didn’t, sweetheart,” replied Iowa, taking a serious look at the crazy getup.  “Having a second persona probably isn’t a bad idea, and silliness can be a good distraction. It’s not a terrible costume, really, with the local folklore reference to the flying rats.  And if you don’t like Moonbat, you can think up another name.”

“No way,”  said Jack. “You don’t know what it was like coming up with “Foursquare”.  I’m done naming superheroes.  Now I’m going to change and head over to the diner.  Want to come with?  I’m gonna eat a whole loaf of bread’s worth of French toast.”

“Throw in an egg and some orange juice and a bunch of coffee and you have a deal.”

“Deal.  And bacon.  And keep an eye out for my tail.”

“Sure, Moonbat Jack. Hey—that sounds a lot better.”

“Moonbat Jack it is.”


Long time readers with excellent memories may recall reading the original version here on the blog.  The new draft answers (rather neatly, I think) my own question.  All of the art is done, except for the illustration(s) for these lines, which will probably be the back cover, and the front cover.  Which is waiting to discover what exactly the back cover will look like, and also for me to figure out the exact title.

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internet sunday: pickup truck dreaming

1946-HudsonThe oddest things can be found in the “download” section of the old tablet- like these reference shots of my favorite pickup truck, the postwar (1946) Hudson Big Boy. It was love at first sight when I saw a battleship grey one at a car museum.  

I would totally betray all my car related ideals for my personal Hudson: since I want to be able to drive it, mine would have to be what they call a restomod–restored on the outside, modern on the inside.  A late model engine and automatic transmission,  power steering and good AC would make this a hypothetical truck I could have a lot of hypothetical fun with.  But on the outside it would be the same plain battleship grey as the one in the museum, and the interior would be close to original, except for all  that dark red leather.

And yes, these are really reference photos–you know that Bud drove a Hudson just like these back in the 1950s, and it’s certainly still in the junkyard somewhere. And maybe that one has a two tone paint job.ff0c1a6d00381c6fb1fc9fe00c9da077

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what is a wolpertinger?

Apparently it is a Bavarian cousin of the the familar American jackalope, adding to the body of a hare (or jackrabbit) and the antlers of a deer, the wings of a pheasant.  Also, they sometimes have fangs.  Like the jackalope, the wolpertinger is often depicted in taxidermy mashup sculptures which are sold to tourists and used to decorate bars and taverns.

All the jackalopes I know are jealous as heck of this elegant portrait, dating the wolpertinger back to the studio of Durer himself.  17669_1_800European cousins always seem so classy.

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underwater wordplay, and a note from the blogger

Blogger’s note: News broadcasts and the serious and thinky parts of the internet are particularly grave today, concerned with tragic and confusing events.  In the personal sphere, people in my life are facing losses of their own.  I have strong feelings, and in the case of news events, strong opinions, on all these subjects.  The fact that this blog continues on its frivolous way, concerned with art and writing and the trivia of everyday life, doesn’t mean I do not know or care what’s going on.  It is a matter of focus and competence.  I don’t consider myself qualified to write about the great matters of the world, nor do I want to expose real peoples’ real problems to the public eye.  So I will keep on keeping on, doing what I can do, and hope you will find in your visit here an enjoyable moment of something different, or even a temporary hiding place.

So let’s talk about the joy of jargon, and immerse ourselves (ha, ha) in Wacky Submarine Terms You Never Knew You Wanted To Know, from the Foxtrot Alpha sub(ha, ha)-blog of the mighty Jalopnik.  Today’s installment is actually the second part.  If you want to read the first part first, it’s here.  Or just follow the links.  Professional jargon, particularly the jargon of people who live and work together (as the crews of submarine’s certainly have to do) is an amazingly rich source of creative word use, alternate definitions of familiar terms and glimpses of how new languages evolve.  Plus the amusing and thoughtful commentary the authors add to each entry offer fascinating insights into life aboard a Navy submarine.  These articles are deeper (ha, ha) than they appear on the surface.

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