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IMG_4968Here’s a dog I saw in France.


Adam Smith

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

Got that from Peter Thiel.  Wikipedia reports about Adam Smith:

He never married, and seems to have maintained a close relationship with his mother, with whom he lived after his return from France and who died six years before his own death.

Smith was described by several of his contemporaries and biographers as comically absent-minded, with peculiar habits of speech and gait, and a smile of “inexpressible benignity”. He was known to talk to himself, a habit that began during his childhood when he would smile in rapt conversation with invisible companions… According to one story, Smith took Charles Townshend on a tour of a tanning factory, and while discussing free trade, Smith walked into a huge tanning pit from which he needed help to escape. He is also said to have put bread and butter into a teapot, drunk the concoction, and declared it to be the worst cup of tea he ever had.

Adam Smith got a job tutoring the young Duke of Buccleuch, and with him they traveled all over Europe and met Ben Franklin.

This Duke of Buccleuch spawned a whole line of British aristocrats: one of his descendants was this handsome devil, Prince William of Gloucester:

Apparently it’s after this Prince William that the current Prince William, husband to Kate Middleton, is named.

On page 3 of The Great Gatsby, Nick tells us:

The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day.

Statue on the wall of a hotel in Lisbon, Portugal


Three Pictures of Skaters

The Skating Minister, painted by Sir Henry Raeburn.  (Danloux attributionists NOT WELCOME)

The Skater, painted by Gilbert Stuart

Wayne Gretzky, Polaroid by Andy Warhol

Pretty baller

To have your picture in the dictionary.


I was looking up cloaca:



Wouldn’t any truly effective person 1) listen rather than read, 2) insist on the abridged version 3) listen while driving?

Six Crises


Nixon is talking about his campaign against John F. Kennedy in 1960, and why it is that he did so much better in the second TV debate than in the first:

What, then, were the major reasons for the difference in impact between the two debates?

First, there was a simple but important physical factor – the milkshake prescription had done its work.

I have a pretty good bit of standup comedy worked up that depends…

…on the audience having seen the “pitiless and uncompromising”* Australian western The Proposition (2005).

This movie was written by Nick Cave, who along with Warren Ellis did the soundtrack.

I would like to see Nick Cave perform live again sometime.  He was truly demonic.  The girls I was with did not care for him as much as the guys I was with.  Eventually they walked away.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis also did the soundtrack to The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007).

That is a good trailer.  From IMDb:

Warners’ wasn’t entirely in sync with the pacing of the movie, or the length. Dominik was thinking more like ‘Terence Malick’ in examining the relationship between the famous outlaw and his eventual assassin, Robert Ford, played by Casey Affleck. Warners was in favor of having at least a bit more action. Ultimately, Warners went with Dominik’s version, even though Dominik didn’t have final cut as part of his contract. Part of the reason was that Pitt, who produced the movie through his Plan B shingle, backed Dominik. At one point along the way, Pitt and exec producer Ridley Scott had put together their own cut. When it tested to only so-so results, they went back to Dominik’s. The original cut of “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” was nearly four hours long. It was edited down to two hours and forty minutes, its current runtime, at the studio’s request.

The first few pages of Ron Hansen’s novel are pretty mind-blowing, I recommend reading them.

* Roger Ebert.

Imagine you’re exploring around the Pacific Northwest in 1800

and you see this:



Pretty scary.  That’s from this book:


The Golden Gate Bridge Under Construction

The very first shot of The Lone Ranger is set in San Francisco in 1933.  There’s a wide shot of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction.

I can’t remember ever seeing that before.  I went looking for photos of it and found some good ones here, at the UC system’s Calisphere.


Doesn’t this look like Garry Shandling?

The Metropolitan Museum has five portraits that they’re pretty sure are by Hans Holbein The Younger.  Let’s have a look:

Here is Derick Berck of Cologne:

Here is Erasmus of Rotterdam:

Here is a member of the Wedigh family, probably Hermann von Wedigh:

“Truth breeds hatred,” is what that note in the book says, according to the Met, which “perhaps served as the sitter’s personal motto.”  Weird motto, bro.

And here is Man In A Red Cap:

Now.  Take a look at this one, of “Lady Lee”:

The Met says “The painting is close to the manner of Holbein, but the attention paid to decorative effects and linear details at the expense of life-like portrayal of the sitter is indicative of workshop production. The portrait was likely based on a Holbein drawing.”

(Are these guys for real?)

The Vine For America


Needham, Massachusetts, where I spent my kidhood, had a fantastic Fourth of July parade.  Here’s some video of the local car dealer, who paints himself red and rides around pretending to be an Indian:

Part of the parade was a kids’ parade.  The prizes for the best float in the kids’ parade were fantastic.  One year my sister and I made a birthday cake for America and won a pool table.

Some weeks ago I had a vision: a Vine that was a synchronized dance move, set to a track that looped properly, so the annoyingly looping sound of Vine wouldn’t be a problem.  I realized this Vine should be America-themed.

Vine burned itself out and Instagram Video appeared, but by then it was in motion.

Dan Medina wrote and recorded a six second dance track.

I recruited some awesome people I know:

Originally there were going to be tableaux representing our neighbors, Canada and Mexico.  Due to timing Mexico got cut, but God bless ’em.

Little Esther choreographed:

The people assembled here are all up to various cool and interesting projects.

Here’s the result:



James Eagan is working on a documentary about The Vine For America.  I’ve seen a rough cut – it’s quite something.

[Update: here is the doc:]


Compare Medina there to C. W. Peale: