Monday, January 26, 2009

Shocking... but real: Madonna with a Flower

There's nothing less than a shitload of paintings created around the 1400s-1600s that depict Mary and Jesus hanging out when Jesus was a wee lad, and there's a lot of them that aren't particularly incredible. But there's a few that really are... quite amazing.

I saw the painting Madonna with a Flower and it was said that it was done by Leonardo. It didn't quite snap with me until a few seconds later that it was Da Vinci. But when I saw this, I thought... well damn. Mary is friggin young in this painting. Then I realized that women during the first century were usually married very young, and if Mary was a virgin anyway when she was impregnated with Jesus, then she would have been around fourteen tops.

More realistic than you'd think

So that being said I realized that this painting is actually more likely than the 20something or 30something year old Mary that we're used to seeing with Jesus as a baby. She's usually young but not quite this young.

This gave me a whole new perspective on the relationship between Mary and Jesus, especially if the Catholics have it right that Mary knew roughly what was going to happen to him. This is a girl rather than a woman really, and she's been entrusted with the Son of God, and she's only a little more than ten years older than him.

Intense, to say the least. I have this image of a 15-16 year old Mary trying to teach someone that she knew would be the messiah how to talk.


Ranting. Art. Movies. Literature. Politics. History. In that order.

I believe there's a good way to rant and there's a bad way to rant. I do both.

There's ranting about something you understand and there's ranting about something you don't understand. Some of my rantings about art are a combination of the two. The rest is bad. To be honest, I don't understand a lot of art, especially the more recent periods (recent being from 1200 AD to present). That is the point where it all runs together for me and I don't understand much. I think there's too much focus on the paintings as art pre-1200 spans across the spectrum from worshiping items to bowls to weapons to prosthetic toes.

Not to be confused with the Etruscan ritual toes, which weren't prosthetic.

That being said, art now is incredibly controversial. Is a chair art? Is it meant to be? A chair or bowl from the neolithic era might be considered art to some, but not to another person. That being said, paintings on the walls of Egyptian palaces are certainly appreciated as art, and if made today would be considered art. But people back then saw it as a history book. And I bet many an Egyptian student was bored sick of them by third grade.

A photo can be art, a fresco can be art, an amazing computer can be art.

I think that now I'm finally beginning to understand the concept behind what whatsherface said in that book somewhere (descriptive, aren't I?) about certain things not being art that we can hold dear in our hearts as being art. And this is probably the reason why we have things we consider High Art (think Mona Lisa).

Then we get into Modern Art, where we have toilets and green canvases being called art.

Probably is. Might not be. Depends on a number of things. Was it made to be displayed, does it have meaning, does the meaning matter, does it matter if the meaning matters assuming it has a meaning?

I do, however, understand a lot of film because I've immersed myself into it. I know how it works, I know what goes into it, and I've made some myself. And for how much I hate modern art, I've made some of that too. Look at my friggin masks. But I digress.

One of my guilty loves (love, not pleasure, love) is Monster Movies (capitalized). I love them. But at the same time I know it's a genre that is almost completely dead. And there's a lot of crap to sift through (Lake Placid 2). But when you find a good one (Cloverfield), or see a classic (Valley of Gwangi), it's amazing. A lot of people wouldn't agree with me that Godzilla vs. Gigan is one of the most fun films ever made to watch (if not THE most fun), but then you haven't experienced it the same way I have.

That being said, I've never been passionate about art that I've seen outside of what I've been exposed to as a History Nut. I don't understand it, and when I don't understand something, I get frustrated and sometimes resort to ranting. But there's a difference to ranting about what I understand and don't understand.

Take my little bitching about the Inaugural Poem. I know my literature. I know my poetry, especially epic poetry. But poetry has been beaten to death by the last two or three generations that it's hardly worth expressing with anymore. Poets like Langston Hughes, while very good, have jaded me to the medium. I've written one poem, it won an award, and then I never went back to it. Never was inspired that way again, and never considered myself a poet.

I took a class on literature in college and realized that the teacher wouldn't talk about a single white male poet or author. While Langston Hughes and other minority poets and novelists were shoved down my throat seemingly to feed my white guilt, important authors such as Robert Frost, John Milton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and a million other authors were skipped.

So, when I saw the inauguration and saw more of the same racist bullshit, I flipped my lid. "When White will embrace what is right?" What the fuck, man. Fuck yourself and your alienating bullshit.

So I bitched the poem, purposefully not understanding it. I can't agree with a Praise Song with the theme of changing our ways and walking forward with appreciation when all we're doing is walking backward with the illusion we're doing the opposite. We're stuck on the race issue like we have been for the past 200 years, and it's honestly quite sad. I'll probably have a more detailed blog post on this later.

And that's my self explanation for now. Some of this may have been bad ranting, much of it was good ranting. As I said earlier, I do both. And I know it. Sorry if I offend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Poem

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.


All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

(I think this is over assuming)

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

(Americans tend not to do this anymore. If we need to repair something, we give it to the repair guy, or call the repair guy to come do it. If our clothes suck, we tend to buy new ones. Some of us like wearing old clothes, but a lot of us just buy new ones. Our culture likes it.)

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

(Boom box? This stanza is so full of bullshit... You can't make much of your own music with a boom box. You CAN however, forgo creativity and make someone else's.)

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
(in England maybe, public transit in America has gone to hell.)
A farmer considers the changing sky.
(American Farming is going to hell.)
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
(American Schools are going to hell.)

(And beyond that, why is the woman's son waiting for the bus skipping school if all of this is happening at the same time? You can get sent to jail for that nowadays.)

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

(Where are you going with this?)

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side.

(Like the chicken? Still don't know where we're going with this)

I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.


Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton (racist) and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

(Did you just end a sentence with a preposition?)

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

(I understand this less and less as it goes on. Who thought this was good?)

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

(how very hippy of you. First stanza about love is good, now you're hammering it home a little too hard. Still don't know where you're going with any of this.)

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

(That was it? I don't get it)

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Present Problem With Art

I love art. I love appreciating it. I love making it. But I have a problem when taking a class on it.

There's a period of history in art around and after the Renaissance that all the artists in the world decided to get religious and start making Christian pieces about random aspects of the Bible.

This is all well and good until you realize how fucking much of it there is. Some of it is cool, and as a period it deserves to be recognized because it happened. It was also around the time that individual artists started painting for themselves rather than in places like the Hagia Sophia. Suddenly, everything has an artist's name attached to it.

It's all respectable art, but it's the point of art that I'm really not that interested at all in except when looking at some of the subject matters. But after a while of looking at the subject matter, it starts to get redundant because literally EVERYONE painted stuff about Christianity.

Now I have an assignment to reflect upon art in class and how it affects me, and it started on the day that we got into this period. A lot of them have aesthetically pretty pictures, some of them advanced in art a little bit. Duccio and Masaccio (Jan Van Eyck is fucking amazing) are particularly cool, but I'm so jaded to the subject that I don't care about them.

Fucking Masterpiece

And this is all well and good, but art doesn't get any better after this. Before Christianity declared a monopoly on art, it was pretty awesome. The pagan arts are amazing to me. And I could sit down and respond to each of those pieces with a lot of insight and emotion. But after Christianity moves in on art and practically takes over completely... things get boring.

The Muslims didn't bother making any religious art because it's against the rules to make a likeness of Muhammad. Makes me think that he was ugly or something. And no one cares what kind of art was being made south of the Sahara, East of the Ural, or West of the Iberian, so Christian art takes the cake.

AFTER this period, we get into the kind of over ostentatious art that is made about the same time that Louis XVI built the Palace of Versailles. Ugh. And some people LOVE that stuff with everyone dressed up in all fancied.

But back to the world at hand. There's good art in this period. But in some periods, EVERYONE did the same damn thing. And we see it still today. No one makes intricately designed sculptures anymore the way the Greeks did. No one makes detailed symbolic alter pieces anymore (a lot of artists are atheist now, and Christian artists don't really monopolize any corner of the artistic world anymore). Contemporary art is also mostly the same depending on style. Everyone's copying one another in the now rather than drawing form the deep past.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Youtube sucks donkey dick

because it covers the side of my blog when i post a video now.

Big Swords Always Make Up For Being an Asian Male.

Check out our good buddy Red Ranger.

Happy New Year and Winter Solstice just to piss people off. I know it's late, but if you don't like it, I don't care. What's the deal with time anyway?

So I've decided that Holidays are God's way of telling us that he made sure our families would be composed of people who don't understand one another. I was talking to my brother around Thanksgiving and we decided to vacation Thanksgiving together to take a Holiday from our relatives.

Screw 'em.

We got tired of holidays in which we get judged, ridiculed, misunderstood, or someone goes crazy, dies, gets in a fight, gets in a heated discussion about another family member's behavior, so on such as.

Its odd to me that my entire family is composed of the same genes, yet the only thing that we seem to have in common is that everyone is always stressed out besides my brother and me.

I just read Watchmen recently and I now have a few articles in mind for LWMUWCFFA. I swear every time I see that I think 'let's waffle'. I'm not sure how they're going to pull off turning that book into a film without loosing a lot. But we'll see how it goes. I know Alan Moore has been consistently unhappy with how his graphic novels have turned out as films, and he apparently doesn't like Watchmen either, but we'll see if he's right or just a pompous ass.

Anywho, I'm blogging instead of writing my autobiography (10 pages, w00t) to turn in to class tomorrow.

Y'know, not much has happened in my life given it's only been about 21 years, but the story should take up more than 10 pages, so I'm not quite sure how I'm going to stuff it all into that little make-up, but we'll see. My life hasn't been incredibly long, but it has been eventful. I definitely won't have room for everything, but I'll catch the highlights.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

General Rules for Dancing and Music

This is something a friend of mine named Brandon wrote that is nothing other than sheer genius. Take a gander. I probably agree with all of these.


1. God hates hardcore dancing. It makes Him very sad indeed to see his beloved children awkwardly do battle with imaginary opponents. Frankly, God is just sick of breakdowns, guitars in drop C tuning, and predictably unimaginative 2-step riffs. Though He appreciates what the whole straight edge/metalcore/sXe/hXc culture is trying to do in His name, He'd really much rather you all just sat down, took some deep breaths, threw on a Phish album, and mellowed out over some tHc.

2. "Dry raves" are about the same as "Shark-free ghettos." In the ghetto, you don't worry about being eaten by sharks, you worry about being robbed, raped and murdered. People don't go to raves to drink, they go to raves to drop acid, and eat handfuls of research chemicals with names that rarely contain more than three characters. If you see people praying, odds are that they just popped a handful of yellow tablets decorated with stars, Mickey Mouse, or Mitsubishi logos, and they're seriously concerned about what their X was cut with. Raves are just dirty, depressing events frequented by dirty, depressing people. Odds are, you have something better to do. Raving with your friends in someone's backyard or basement is a good time. Raving in a cornfield or an abandoned warehouse with lots of people you don't know is a good way to wake up naked on the side of Interstate 71.

3. Girls should avoid dancing in a provocative manner. This rule need not apply if the girl in question is attractive. If this is the case, keep on doing what you're doing.

4. Soulja Boy has all the creativity of a lead pipe, and about as much street cred as Barney the Dinosaur. Even if that weren't the case, the dance that bears his name might as well be called the Mongoloid Air Swim, or just the Help Me I'm Confused.

5. Up to and including their masterwork No Strings Attached, everything in the *NSYNC catalogue is solid gold.

6. Clearly, God is huge fan of breakbeat electronica. Why? Just try not to party when listening to The Prodigy's The Fat of The Land or The Crystal Method's Tweekend. Or, just save yourself the trouble--it can't be done.

7. There is no grammatically correct way to express the idea of "too many glow sticks." Miriam Webster would probably disagree, but frankly? He wrote a dictionary. If I had a dollar for every party that I really doubt he was invited to, I could probably purchase the rights to the English language.

8. Have fun. If you're not having fun, leave. There's a special circle in Hell for buzzkills. No flames, no torment, just other buzzkills. They mope around, start drama, and drag each other down for all of eternity.

9. When moshing, be sure to take note if you step on something that feels more like person than floor. They'll thank you.

10. When selecting music, follow your heart--literally. Your heart beats in 4/4 time signature. If your heart beats in time with any song by Tool or Dream Theater, that's called a heart palpitation, and you should probably seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If your heart beats in time with any song by Sunn 0))) or Brian Eno, you're probably experiencing cardiac arrest.