“Four Centuries Of Pueblo Pottery”

Man, if you go see an exhibit called “Four Centuries of Pueblo Pottery” at the Southwest Museum  legally all your property is forfeit to KCRW but I do like this picture.

Like most things involving the site, the show is fraught with uncertainty and controversy, none of it having to do with the artistry and cultural history on display.


Putzi Hanfstaengl

Found this in The Wise Men: Six Friends and The World They Made by Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas:

McCloy was also responsible for the construction of The Pentagon, which became known as “McCloy’s Folly.”  One of his greatest difficulties was getting the plans approved by Roosevelt, who fancied himself an amateur architect.  He finally resorted to extortion.  The President had gotten himself in a bind involving an old Harvard classmate, Putzi Hanfstaengl, a German refugee who had returned to his native country and acted for a while as a court jester for Hitler.  Thinking he could pump useful information out of Hanfstaengl, Roosevelt had hims ent to the U. S. from England, where he was being held prisoner.  Hansfstaengl, however, turned out to be a fool, and Roosevelt wanted to get rid of him.  McCloy told a White House staffer he would find a safe sinecure for Hansfstaengl at an army base in Texas if FDR would approve the Pentagon blueprints.  It worked.  At a Cabinet meeting the following week, Roosevelt turned to McCloy and growled, “You blackmailer!”

This raises more questions than it answers and sent me to Putzi’s wikipedia page.

Hanfstaengl was so fascinated by Hitler that he soon became one of his most intimate followers, although he did not formally join the Nazi Party until 1931. “What Hitler was able to do to a crowd in 2½ hours will never be repeated in 10,000 years,” Hanfstaengl said. “Because of his miraculous throat construction, he was able to create a rhapsody of hysteria. In time, he became the living unknown soldier of Germany.”

Throat construction.  You can also read there the somewhat confusing story of a “prank” played on Hansfstaengl that led him to think he was about to get killed.

In 1944, Hanfstaengl was handed back to the British, who repatriated him to Germany at the end of the war. William Shirer, a CBS journalist who resided in Nazi Germany until 1940 and was in frequent contact with Hanfstaengl, described him as an “eccentric, gangling man, whose sardonic wit somewhat compensated for his shallow mind.”

Looks like a charmer.

In 1974, Hanfstaengl attended his 65th Harvard Reunion, where he regaled theHarvard University Band about the authors of various Harvard fight songs. His relationship to Hitler went unmentioned.

Anyway, this is a bit of a bummer post so here is a photo of sunny Florida:

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Janet Yellen: Philatelist

This will be insurance to most Helytimes readers, but: Janet Yellen apparently has a stamp collection, inherited from her mother, worth $15,000-$50,000.

Previous Helytimes coverage of the philatelic arts can be found here.

(photo from John Cassidy’s New Yorker blog, credited to Charles Dharapak/AP.)


I found the world’s most boring website.

I mean it.

I am proud of this discovery.

In every way: content, style, it is perfectly, wonderfully flavorless.

I think if you pitched on boring websites for a long time you would not do better than this.

I’m building it up like this because I’m confident in it, in its boring beauty.

It keeps giving, all the way to the end, like a well-crafted work of art.

Here it is.


Insight

Reading this interview with Mark Normand, comedian I had not heard of, on Splitsider.

This got my attention:

It’s often said when starting in comedy, you’re doing someone else’s act. What was your style when you first started?

I hate to say it, I was Seinfeld all the way.

“What’s the deal?”

Not really “what’s the deal,” but like, rhythm, and that weird voice thing. I’d have jokes like, “Adult books? Get the movie!” It was so bad that I remember one time I walked on stage in New York and one guy went [Seinfeldbaseline], and it crushed me. It was like a stab in the heart, and after that I was like, “I have to change my ways!” It killed me.

How long did it take, then, to find the voice that you use now?

Phew, a while. It took a meltdown. I had a meltdown in New York at some open mic because I was bombing and bombing for like a year, and eventually I was like, “Fuck you, I can’t take this anymore!” It broke me. But it took that meltdown. And I was fighting against it in my head, like, “Just keep it together buddy, keep it together,” when something had to get out. Then I was finally myself, and that’s what did it.

What was the crowd’s reaction like when you had your meltdown? Were you just like, “Fuck you all?”

Yeah, yeah. I was like, “I’m fucking funny, I hate all of you.” And then they started laughing, like, “All right, this is the real you.” Because crowds don’t want the polish. They want a comic who’s the same guy on and off. That’s the best comics – like, Louis C.K., walking on the stage, doesn’t go, “All right, pick it up, here it comes.” He’s just the same. Even if you see a comic bombing, and he goes, “Well, this is awful,” that gets a laugh. Because that’s the first real thing he’s said.

That last line.  In my experience watching amateur/bad standup this is super true.  In all the best comedy interviews they eventually get to the weird paradox of how hard it is to be honest, how uncomfortable and painful and terrifying it is to find your actual honest self and present it.  The drunkest, dumbest audience in the world can distinguish fakery/honesty in about two seconds.

Cruel twists:

  • the you that you want to be or think you are probably isn’t the you that you are.  Learning that must be crushing/terrifying/impossibly frustrating.
  • if you’re doing standup comedy in the first place, you at the very least have some unresolved tension between the “you” you’re living with and the “you” the world perceives
  • being on stage is so weird and unnatural that achieving the comfort to project your best “you” while standing there will require agonizing failures that will hurt and rattle you and could possibly turn you back on yourself in a way that’ll make you worse at being the best you, in a wrenching spiral!

A long process of reconciling various yous, amazing when achieved.

That painting of commedia dell’Arte is by Karel Dujardin.  Here’s his self-portrait:

 He gets it.

 the young Dujardin went to Italy, and joined the Bentvueghels group of painters in Rome, among whom he was known as “Barba di Becco”, “goat-beard”, or Bokkebaart. Here he encountered his first artistic successes.

(Mark Normand photo from his twitter)


Don’t forget that the ocean is full of monsters

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That guy is an ocean sunfish, photographed by the blogger off Great Point, Nantucket.  I was hunting for these guys:

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That is a little tunny.  Cap’n didn’t think we’d enjoy eating it because “it has too much blood in its body.”  (? pseudosciene?  I dunno, look at my pants).  Wikipedia counters:

There are many ways to eat the Little Tunny, such as Tuna Salad. To do this, the fillets are first baked, then chilled and flaked, then mixed in with the salad. Removing the dark strips of meats that extend the length of each fillet helps to reduce the naturally fishy flavor.  Another way to prepare the Little Tunny is first to bleed it, barbecue it in foil, remove the meat from the bone, and then let it chill overnight. Various seasonings can be used to enhance the flavor. Fresh steaks can be quite good if seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, and thinly sliced tunny makes good sashimi. It is commonly eaten as such in Japan.

Anyway, this guy lived to fight another day.

Here is another picture of an ocean sunfish, caught off Catalina Island right here in California by the famed big game hunter of East Africa, W. N. McMillan.  Photo is courtesy the Library of Congress.  Want to go see that photo in person?  You can’t because of the shutdown!

Curious about the character on the bottom right of the photograph.  A child or a little adult?