Friday Inspiration!

Today I’m gonna live my life by Pete Carroll’s Win Forever principles:

Meat Mountain insurance

Arby’s faced a key problem as it moved to attract customers: People thought the restaurant served mainly roast beef. To change that, the company made this poster showing a tall stack of every meat on the menu, from bacon to brisket…

“People started coming in and asking, ‘Can I have that?’” said Christopher Fuller, the company’s vice president of brand and corporate communications. So Arby’s began granting their wish.

The “Meat Mountain,” as it’s called, will not be listed on the menu, but store associates will make it for customers who ask. The price is $10. For that, you get a bun and, from the bottom up:

2 chicken tenders

1.5 oz. of roast turkey

1.5 oz. of ham

1 slice of Swiss cheese

1.5 oz. of corned beef

1.5 oz. brisket

1.5 oz. of Angus steak

1 slice of cheddar cheese

1.5 oz. roast beef

3 half-strips of bacon

Arby’s says the Meat Mountain is so tall that it won’t fit into the traditional clamshell packaging.

(Getting this from Cord Jefferson who got it from WaPo.  “Insurance” is a term I believe SDB coined, which I prefer to “ICYMI.”)


The New York Times weighs in

an amazing document:

“Shake It Off” is not really a dance video. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is a dance video in the current pop sense — a video that treats dance less as an art in itself than as a cultural signifier. The concept of the video is to put Ms. Swift in the position of a pop star or R&B diva or rapper, fronting backup dancers. The scenarios cycle through genres: ballerinas in “Swan Lake” costumes; a crew of b-boys; emotive contemporary dancers in spandex; a cheerleading squad; Lady Gaga futurists in shiny tracksuits; and yes, a line of ladies jiggling the contents of their cut-off denim shorts…

The punchlines, as this dance critic was happy to see, are mostly dance jokes. The way that Ms. Swift trips over the crossed legs of the ballerinas and topples while trying to bow deeply in toe shoes is not highly clever or knowing, but it’s funny.(it is??) And the frightened and confused look that she gives the overwrought contemporary dancers earns a dance critic’s immediate empathy. Ms. Swift in “Shake It Off” is like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett, a heroine triumphing through klutziness. It is probably too generous to interpret the video as a satire of how dance gets used in pop videos, but it certainly is a satire of pop video conventions.

Which brings us to the twerking. The moment when Ms. Swift crawls between the lined-up legs of the twerking ladies, advancing through the colonnades of jiggling flesh as if she were the camera of Busby Berkeley, is very silly. A second later, when Ms. Swift breaks out in giggles, she is laughing at the absurdity of herself in that video genre, but also, I think, at the absurdity of the genre.

With respect to racial politics, it would have been better if the shots of ballerinas had included some darker complexions.

I am laughing at the absurdity of myself for reading this but also, I think, at the absurdity of the genre.

Interesting rumor

going around: that this guy:

and this guy:



are brothers.

Jo In Wyoming

photo 3

Man, I thought I knew about and was casually “into” Edward Hopper, but I didn’t get even a tenth of it until I picked up a used copy of this book at Phoenix Books in SLO.

photo 1-1

Hopper went to Paris when he was twenty-four, and a few more times before he was thirty.  After that he never crossed the Atlantic again.

photo 2

When he was 42 he married Jo Hopper, whom he’d known for at least ten years.

The austere way of life the Hoppers had chosen seemed to suit both of them completely.  They were not unscoiable, and they had plenty of friends, old and new; but niehter were they gragarious.  Hopper had no small talk; he was famous for his monumental silences… When he did speak, his words were the product of long meditation.

Jo Hopper on the other hand, was as articulate as he was laconic, with a lively sense of humor.  (She once remarked that “sometimes talking with Eddie is just like dropping a stone in a well, except that it doesn’t thump when it hits bottom.”)

photo 2-1

For the six months of they year they lived in New York, Edward Hopper worked like a machine.  He’d go down his studio like a banker, work nine to five or so, never go out.

photo 4 photo 1

In the summers they’d travel.

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A sad thing that happened to Jo when she was in her thirties, and she’d lost her job with the New York public schools because she caught influenza:

Penniless and homeless, she found temporary shelter thanks to an old sexton at the Church of the Ascension who had helped her after seeing her weeping in the church.

“Summer Interior”

Some sources suggest Edward and Jo fought all the time.  Others say sure, they fought, but they were each other’s best friends and best helpers.  Josephine’s diaries are in a private collection.   Wiki:

Since about 1924–25, i.e. almost immediately after their marriage, Jo became her husband’s only model. It was also Jo who thought up the names for a number of her husband’s paintings, including one of the most famous oils, Nighthawks.

Though very interested in the American Civil War and Mathew Brady’s battlefield photographs, Hopper made only two historical paintings. Both depicted soldiers on their way to Gettysburg.  Also rare among his themes are paintings showing action.



[Jo] reflected on her relative good fortune that [Edward’s] only vices were drinking too much coffee in the Automat and “doing word puzzles in the Evening Sun.”


Hopper’s last picture is called Two Comedians:


Jo Hopper confirmed that her husband intended the figures to suggest their taking their life’s last bows together as husband and wife.

Let’s let the man himself have the last word:


The first trick of the American fascist

Watching some TV reminded me of this one, from the great VK’s book about driving around the “middle South.”

“The first trick of the American fascist is to drive a wedge between the suffering whites and the suffering blacks of this country.  If the American fascist knows one thing, he knows this: there’s hell to pay for him and all his fascist friends whenever the suffering whites and the suffering blacks of this country unite.

That’s why he eggs on the race-baiters.  Why he laughs when they succeed.  To do this he uses his newspapers, his radio stations. He spouts division, spouts it and hopes the poor and suffering and exploited of America grow confused.  He laughs when they are deluded by the old cheap canard, that the great chasm in this country is race and not class.  The American fascist prays the black and white working people of this country never realize that united, they have all the power in the land.

– Vivian Kent, The Fatback of America (1948)

(photo of a Portland sympathy protest by Casey Parks of The Oregonian)

Gertie The Dinosaur (1914)

Listening to the audiobook of Neal Gabler’s bio of Walt Disney (thanks to Ariel Schrag for the suggestion!) reminded me it was time to rewatch this one, by Winsor McCay.

McCay stood barely five feet (150 cm) tall, and felt dominated by his wife, who was nearly as tall as he was. Neither spouse got along well with the other’s mother.