HDR photo technique compared to poetry

HDR is an emerging technique where multiple photos taken a different f-stops are merged by a computer, resulting in a greater range of visible detail.
[scroll down for examples]

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was a US poet.

What do they have to do with each other? Well...not much. They are in separate media. But to me the way each represents depth matches.

Here is a WCW poem with its lines pushed together:

"The little sparrows hop ingenuously about the pavement quarreling with sharp voices over those things that interest them. But we who are wiser shut ourselves in on either hand and no one knows whether we think good or evil.

Meanwhile, the old man who goes about gathering dog-lime walks in the gutter without looking up and his tread is more majestic than that of the Episcopal minister approaching the pulpit of a Sunday.

These things astonish me beyond words."

'Pastoral'  [~1915]

Maybe it's a stretch but I see Williams' style in these photos:

'Mt. Fuji
from Hayama'

'Working way
too hard'
these are linked to large photos on Flickr

A couple more from the set '??? (Mt. Fuji)' and one with a nicely realized depth-of-field.

edited 11/28/2006


a 2005 movie that had the guts to behead its chicken

Last November I wrote about the shared themes in the top ten US box office. Among the themes I saw embedded was chicken with its head cut off.

One month earlier the French movie Caché had premiered in the USA at a film festival. But I had not even heard of it.

Today, I finally saw Caché. It has a scene where a chicken gets its head cut off and then it flaps headless around a farmyard. This event is central to the story.

I have not seen Chicken Little, Jarhead, The Legend of Zorro or Saw II, but I say confidently that Caché gets to the metaphorical jugular better than they do.

It is personally satisfying to spot an underlying theme in a brief bit of cultural history, and then later to have that confirmed when it turns out there was another similarly-preoccupied movie.

Especially when that movie resonates.

tacked on
  • If you have enjoyed high-brow movies in the past you might really like Caché. That is, unless you rationalize a lot (if you tell yourself 'white lies' on a daily basis that would make you the movie's target)

  • At the beginning the movie seems to be about how terror unites a family. This is highly misleading. It is really about how adult personality forms.
    [in an interview on the DVD the writer/director, Michael Haneke, chuckles about how much fun he had misleading the viewer]

  • The SF Chronicle referred to the chicken head-chopping scene as 'cruelty to an animal'. Strangely, the paper didn't say if they took ads from restaurants that serve chicken. .. In the same vein, the reviewer is somehow blind to the movie's considerable virtues.

changed on 11/28/2006


3 OK comics deconstruction oldies

  • the suggestion that
    'if you remove all the text of Garfield's speech, or thoughts, or whatever that is, that it become an oddly surrealist comic'.
    Absolutely. But this may be true of many narratives where the protagonist's POV is somehow erased.

  • the original comic source images for Roy Lichtenstein paintings.
    Dull and with no commentary, but there's a conclusion available.

  • New Yorker 'caption contest' mocked.
    Fairly or not, you decide.

another comedian put in his place

This post is words about words about words about jokes. If you would rather skip to the real deal - at the end of his post Perrin has the great Dalai Lama golfing clip from Caddyshack.


Wednesday I commented on a narcissistic profile in New York magazine. The subject it was putting in his place was Stephen Colbert.

It turns out the New York Times has some of the same issues. These show up in their review of a new book about Doug Kenney, called 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture'.

Kenney is not a famous name but he was an important influence in much of US comedy in the last quarter century, including Colbert.

  • Dennis Perrin points out errors in matters of fact in the NYTimes review and sees emotional problems. He says the review is 'so unbelievably bad that it's almost beautiful'

  • Mike Gerber sees 'bizarre and strangely angry conclusions' in the review
I should point out that both Gerber are Perrin are friends with the author, and would be likely to defend him passionately. Nevetheless I know they are right about Kenney.

to sum up
That's two cases in a week where elitists -when forced to write and think about comedy- start making stuff up, at the very least.

  • I read envy in the parallel, hidden putdowns. magazine person: 'It's been a very good year for Stephen Colbert'; NYTimes person: '[Kenney's] definitely had one blowout decade'
    Also both pull out of their ass the factoid that most comedians don't analyze their trade.

  • strangely -or perhaps not- Garry Trudeau's 1981 critique of (Kenney-influenced) SNL humor [quoted here] was that it was too elitist and smug

  • Why do they act this way when asked to analyze the importance of comedians? - possibly related is the Eric Idle quote about 'groups who claim immunity from laughter'

  • In a weak earlier post about a famous rock song I made the claim that comedy is one the three main forces effectively holding back totalitarianism in the USA

edited 11/28/2006


the BlackAdder Shakespeare sketch

The series of 1980s British Blackadder sitcoms have many fans. If you are one, you might not have seen some of their extra performances.

For instance YouTube has their 'Shakespeare Sketch'*, from 9/18/89

I wanted to post one video that wouldn't be interfering with sales of anything. It fits with this website, even though it's more 'post-modern' than new age.

*but as an Oxfordian I cannot wholly endorse it!


link to elitist profile of Colbert

A culture-watching magazine this week has a profile of Stephen Colbert.
-the word 'truthiness' was coined just hours before the taping of the first show
-He’s a big Lord of the Rings fan
-He studied philosophy in college
-one of his inspirations was Don Novello (better known as the SNL character 'father Guido Sarducci')

Btw, my link is not an endorsement. The author of the profile has deep-seated elitism issues. His attitudes are dropped here and there in the text as if they were pearls. Looked at seperately they're not so bad, but over the course of the article they're like a very slow spiritual poisoning. Four examples:

  • the author implies Colbert is less important than the great New York magazine
    “This has been a very good year for Stephen Colbert”

  • He writes
    “Colbert in person is one of those rare comedians who like to dissect comedy”
    I am pretty sure this is just false, that most comedians do like to 'dissect comedy' (even though few would use that baleful verb). But by writing this he gets to subtly flatter himself (since the article is itself an analysis of comedy the implications are that he is himself rare, and that he understands the topic better than most comedians).

  • At one point the author pretends to himself he has a cool comparison to Ann Coulter that Colbert didn't even think of
    “When I mention the comparison to Colbert, though, he seems surprised, even unnerved”
    Dude, maybe he wasn't 'unnerved', maybe he was realizing what a total dip you are.
    [notably this is the only direct account of the interview itself]

  • In the final paragraphs -discussing the 'mob'- there is this:
    “[Colbert]'s become something very close to what he’s parodying, a kind of Bill O’Reilly for the angry left”
    The angry left? Dude, did your paranoia spells mean you had to skip Emotions 101? (to explain: when people are laughing it's not the same as when they are angry.)


3 big photos featuring sky, and their effect

They are all newly on Flickr.

'flying over
the rainbow'

'Strawbales Under
a Stormy Sky'

'Train at
Egbert Crossing'

Since each photo includes sky, each has at least an implied horizon.
In the first photo the horizon is below the image.
In the third photo, note the train's DRL is almost exactly at the camera lens' subjective horizon.1

Which brings me to the energetic, usually-friendly photo technique called OOB ( meaning 'out of bounds'). Of the whole OOB gallery, the best one happens to feature two good-looking women:

Notice how this image has two implied horizons:
  1. in the virtual space the 3D embedded photo is floating in

  2. in the embedded photo, which alludes to its own horizon just beyond the edge of the water.

It's soothing, right? And not just the women?

In my opinion2 horizons help human beings emotionally, and since this image has two, it is extra-soothing.

1 -- about the train photo, I checked and Ohio has no special rule mandating headlights on trains in the daytime (Cf).

2-- I have given my opinion of DRLs already. I used a lot of words and didn't get to my good points until halfway through. It's a horizon-related issue, I claim, a collective paranoia.

modified 2006-12-07, then 2007-01-01 a bit more


new and old Garry Trudeau quotes

These days I only regularly look at Trudeau's Sunday's strip.

Did you know that the Sunday online version of Doonesbury has eight panels but many newspapers only carry the last six?
The first two panels are never essential for that reason.

This is why I look at it online. But this morning's is not on the Slate page (at this moment anyway).

This is how I happened to notice that a SoCal independent paper has just printed a rare interview with Trudeau. It looks to have been done by email.

Below are the parts that I found interesting:

comics he likes:
“The big three for me in recent years were Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, and Dilbert. I’m down to Dilbert. On the editorial side, I love Tom Toles.”
about the medium:
“I don’t know anyone who is younger than 30 and reads my strip in a newspaper.”
about his lack of sources:
“My “research” is generally whatever I can pull off Google that will lend verisimilitude to whatever it is I’m writing about. Hope this doesn’t disillusion, but there’s a lot of hack in me.”
A quote from Trudeau's commencement address to the Colby College class of '81 gives a glimpse of what his opinions on comedy in general were then:
"('Saturday Night's) 'screw-you' (humor) .. adroitly mocks society's victims ... For all its innovations this kind of satire tells society's nebbishes that they are right about themselves, that they are nobodies, that to be so un-hip as to be disadvantaged, to be ignorant, to be physically infirm, or black, or even female is to invite contempt ... What worries me about Slash and Burn humor, and the larger society which has spawned it, is that it reflects a sort of callousness so prevalent in the survivalist ethic. If this is to become a society intolerant of failure and uncompassionate in the face of suffering, then we are lost."

[source: Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live]

I am not sure I agree with this.