Finding Vivian Maier


Over time it became clear the photos belonged to a Chicago nanny named Vivian Maier who had photographed prolifically for nearly 40 years, but who never shared her work during her lifetime.

(be sure to view the movie trailer)

(via Colossal)

Headline of the day

New cunning linguist computer has got ancient tongues licked

Inspiration for My Papal Archival Hat


As we await artist Tom Sale‘s election to the papacy as Pope Pinky I, the design for my Papal Archivist’s hat proceeds apace. This image, courtesy of friend Ian, offers the inspiration and foundation for my papal archival hat.

A kind of cylindrical Advent calendar is what I envision.

As archivist to Pope Pinky I, I vow to stress style over substance.

Post-Game Analysis

Baltimore is cool, like, because of John Waters and all. And Randy Newman’s song.

Also, ravens are way cool. I never met a corvid I didn’t like.

They’re clever. And they play in the snow.

Plus, The Ravens was the name The Kinks had before they were The Kinks.

“Titanic” scene from “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”

Debbie Reynolds. Spunky. Feisty.

Leonard Smith


My grandfather, who passed away before I was born in the late Fifties, is the subject of these passages from my father’s recollection of our family history:

I’m sure you already know that Grandpa Smith traveled the RKO Keith vaudeville circuit during the 1920’s as part of a Hawaiian music troupe featuring his then wife Princess and her supposed brother, Willie. Dad was a sideman, providing ukulele rhythm accompaniment for the act.  Back in the day, he was a petty decent uke player. He developed a stroke that was unique in that it infallibly controlled the tempo during a song. He helped cement the musical sound of the entire group. The several times I heard him play were long after he’d lost most of his chops. It was obvious, however, that at one time he was certainly quite good. Read more

She’s not there (She’s still here)

From a letter penned in 1993 by my friend Lee, who can now scarcely find words at all.

Steve & I saw Indochine last night. Horrors! I’ve lost the ability to sit still that long even for La Deneuve. When I left the movie I was saying to Steve that it was remarkable how they handled the time in the movie and this blah blah metaphor for the blah blah relationship between France and Indochina and how leaving the Japs out compressed the blah blah and effectively blah blah. This morning I woke up still thinking about it — or seeing it, really — and there on the screen of my mind was the word SONY. No wonder they left out the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Well, I loved it anyway. A French Gone with the Wind. [April 1993]

The Indian Head Test Pattern

The “Indian head” test pattern has mystified you for decades, right? Here’s the story: “a concise history of the RCA Indian Head Test Pattern as an icon of engineering in the early American television industry, and the providential story behind its rediscovery and restoration.”

Trouble is, it doesn’t solve the mystery: Why the head of an “Indian chief”?

Ivor Cutler: I’m Going in a Field

A scene deleted from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. Mr. Cutler in his role as Buster Bloodvessel, performing the song “I’m Going in a Field,” which appears on the 1967 LP Ludo, produced by George Martin.

Thanks to Patrick Widdess for including this clip in his recent appreciation of Ivor Cutler.

The Silent Flute by Bruce Lee

Miracle Jones, the pearl of Texas, tosses a Bruce Lee poem to the youtube gods…

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