Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Is Even A Bit Much for Me ...

Leica has a new designer camera out: The M-P "Correspondent," designed for them by rock star Lenny Kravitz.

Now here's the thing: I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I'd love to have a Leica M-P, especially one carefully blacked out in the tradition of how photojournalists through the decades have personalized their rangefinders. (Now, they usually did this because the Leica M was a favorite of war photographers, and taking everything down to matte black reduced the chances of being targeted by snipers, but that's a separate thought and story, especially as photographers who never saw the wrong end of a machine gun started covering their cameras with black gaffers tape to be just as cool.)

On the other hand, I find it hilariously absurd that they have o so carefully worn down the black paint at the traditional rub points to reveal the underlying brass, so the camera will look like it has been in continuous use since around 1945.  That's taking the idea of Leica Jewelry to a whole new level.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Left Shark

Now that we've survived the deflated football "scandal"(And are you as tired as I am of the addition of -gate to words to name a scandal?  Can't we just come up with a new name for one?  Aren't journalists supposed to be clever?), moved through the fascination with the details of Katy Perry's psychedelic Super Bowl halftime show, and are now deep into whether Brian Williams is capable of telling an anecdote that is accurate, I saw something that inspired me to take a step back.

But first, let me take a short second step back -- or rather, out to the side.  Really, talk about First World Problems, is this all we have to be fascinated with?  Syria and Iraq are in real war, overrun with dangerously crazy killers, Ukraine is being invaded by Russia in a situation that, in future centuries, may be regarded with the same head-shaking amazement as we look now at August 1914, at least two kinds of dangerous viruses (viri?) are running about on several continents, simply hinting at what nature is capable of suddenly producing to clean out populations, not to mention a dozen other truly important things out there, and we care mostly about what kind of ball a multimillionaire chucks at another one?  Really?!

Moving on: there is general coverage of the irresistibly appealing story of a small businessman in Orlando, Florida, who hopped on the Left Shark bandwagon by producing small figures of it (him?) for sale online.  Katy Perry's lawyers promptly served him with a cease-and-desist letter.  Typical little feature story that follows these bigger ones like pilot fish, and one that usually ends with the big, mean, expensive lawyers coming to some resolution with the little guy that lets him do his thing and proves the star isn't evil.

However, I think this little story should be looked at from the other side.  The new model for music is no longer what we all think.  Sure, a few stars like Katy Perry have big hits with big distributors that make a lot of money, but those are small in number and even that top one percent doesn't work like it used to.  As for the second tier -- well, let's just say the system will no longer support the Ozzy Osbornes of the 21st Century in the mode to which Ozzy's family became accustomed. 

The actual sale of the music no longer pays the bills for most, if not all, professional musicians.  It's the concerts and the secondary sales -- T-shirts, tchotchkes, and little figurines, for example -- that bring in the actual income.  So maybe Katy Perry herself, currently in the Olympian upper levels of the music business, doesn't need the twenty bucks a Left Shark figure will bring in, but all those other folks do.  I'm thinking we need to look at this maybe from their point of view.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Things I Would Write About If I Had the Time ...

Just because I go a month without posting doesn't mean I'm not thinking about stuff to put here.  It's generally just that I don't have the time, either to properly research and compose a piece, or to merely sit quietly at the computer for a sufficient period of time to get down my thoughts ...

But, among the ideas I've had are:

The Horrors of Overwriting, specifically the song "Mr. Bojangles" and the book Bridges of Madison County.  Sometimes writers put just a little too much effort into composing artful work, producing phrases and sentences that are grindingly overdone.

How does ISIS get these kids to fight for them?  Perhaps we should look at Clockwork Orange and ask if the current Middle East, specifically the area around Syria, doesn't resemble the world in Anthony Burgess' novel.  Just replace the garbled Russian he used for slang with garbled Arabic ...

And while we're at comparisons, I was wondering this morning if there was a decent comparison between today's complaints of a wealthy 1 percent and greater income disparity and the scene in Victorian England.  Probably not a useful parallel, as I suspect there was a large middle class, mostly forgotten because of their absence in the period literature from then that we read today.

Anyway, I keep trying.  We may see that first one yet ...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Et Sic ad Infinitum

over a very interesting piece on black.

What a great line, and so over-the-top classy in Latin: "Et sic ad infinitum" -- and thus infinitely.

Things have been busy lately, and so this blog has lay fallow for a month, and as I lean into the wind of hyperactivity, and frustration, and panic, and so on, et sic ad infinitum seems to be the way of things.

The picture, by the way -- and it is just a big black square without any detail, the Latin phrase written on each of the four sides -- is from a 1617 book by Robert Fludd, Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Physica, atque Technica Historia (The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of the Two Worlds, Namely the Greater and the Lesser), and was an attempt to illustrate the universe before the Creation.

Sort of Zen, in its way ...