January 19, 2011

Paul Cézanne : The Definitive and Complete Biography

Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 4:58 am

Today is Paul Cézanne’s birthday. He’s really old and dead. Don’t bake him a cake – he can’t eat it, he’s dead. Plus, diabetic. Here’s more about him than you deserve to know:

Paul Cézanne was born on January 19, 1839 in Heille-y-eux in southern France. His father, Albért, was a barker in the local circus sideshow. There he ran a midway game where contestants paid 2 francs for three chances to knock over stacked bottles with a small veal medallion. Though the game was very profitable, his custom of eating the misfired cutlets soon led to quite a problem in finding pants in his size.

Paul’s mother was an educated woman, said to be literate in seven language, but had a habit of making every circumflex heart-shaped and so was not taken seriously when writing in French. She won her son’s affection by defending him from his father, who would fly into a tirade when his chronic indigestion was aggravating him. The tirade, of Italian marble, caused multiple contusions about Msr. Cézanne’s head and neck despite his safety helmet, and would eventually spell his dèmise.

Paul begun his classical education at the Collège Bourbon-Whiskey, and in 1858 he entered the art school of Universite de Haix. After two years, he convinced his father to allow him to leave Haix U. pursue a career in meteorology. He entered the Atelier Ouatte in Paris, but his thesis on sexual tension in cirrus clouds was rejected by the school and he returned to Haix.

He took a position at the carnival, at a novelty stand where, for just a few centimes, the struggling artist drew portraits in charcoal and markers-magique. This earliest period was known as “Ears Longa, Vitals Brevis”, characterized by subjects with disproportionately huge heads in profile, thatched to tiny bodies performing the patron’s favorite sport or hobby. Those pieces which are unmarred by polish sausage grease stains show the first glimmers of the inner turmoil which were to surface in Cézanne’s later years, and are extremely rare, though not especially in demand with serious collectors and in fact, can be found gracing the walls of the No Smoking suites of the La Quinta Inn in Cody, Wyoming.

Paul gave up, as all great artists must, and returned to Paris. Here he entered his Formatif period from 1867 to spring 1868, then again from autumn 1868 to 1871, after a summer stint as an Homme de Bon Humour. He fell under the influence of Napoleon the IIIrd’s Salon de Refusee [Trashy Hair Styling Shop]. This group of dandies and artistes rejected and were rejected by the followers of the academic formats (Romantic, Neoclassical, Adult Contemporary, Easy Listening, and Album-Oriented)

Cézanne took up with the “Depressionists”, a small, dirty band of rowdies with a particular predilection for a certain “M. Gottard’s Original Curative Laudanum Elixir”. Cézanne was rude, socially withdrawn, and moody, but was tolerated because his mustache was so immaculately trimmed and free of baguette crumbs. Artistically, he inspired the artists’ reassessment of representation of objects, holding that commonplace objects should no longer be painted in the usual sentimental style, though most outsiders would misinterpret these flashes of brilliance as inarticulate gurgling by a opiated lunatic who meticulously collected his own drool in a neat puddle on the table and snarled and barked like a dog if anyone attempted to wipe it up.

Courbet, already the toast of the art world, known to cavort with Cézanne and the Depressionists, was a favorite of the most important critics of the time though he was never formally charged by the authorities as the local civil law statutes could not clearly define illegal cavorting. Another Depressionist, Eugène Delacroix, whose compositions depended solely on color instead of line, was gaining recognition from the press, though not so much for his paintings as his ability to suck an empty wine bottle onto his unusually distended tongue and swing it back and forth until the bottle shattered against his forehead.

During this period Cézanne’s paintings exhibited a looseness and blatant disregard for anyone’s feelings. One critic wrote upon viewing Cézanne’s Les Twins-doublements:

In Cézanne’s work there is a certain aggressiveness, audacity, qu’est que on parle en anglais une «gall», which is so central to the character of a Frenchman, mais aussi une otre chose, a feverish whirlpool of dark emotions such as morbidity, eroticism, terror, violence, anarchy, and alcoholism. Cézanne was indeed remarkable for his time, that is to say, he is remarkable for his time, which is our time, as he is alive and we are alive at the same time and he is not dead yet; the state of his being being in a state of being, his bodily functions still functioning and his relentless breathing and signs of voluntary movement; all of this points to the conclusion Cézanne is not dead; therefore, he cannot yet be a great painter. Nevertheless, I liked it, and would recommend his paintings to all my friends who like good art. Three and a half etoilles.

In 1870, with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, he moved to Provence with his mistress to avoid being conscripted. Cézanne was not a coward, as many art biographers have postulated, but in fact was ashamed about his inability to march in formation without bobbing up and down and humming.

Putting the city life behind him, he began painting landscapes; he explored ways to depict nature faithfully while simultaneously expressing the feelings it inspired in him, primarily nasal congestion and dizziness. Through 1874 he painted with Camille Pissarro in Pontoise; the great Impressionist attempted to teach him the revolutionary techniques pioneered by Degas and Manet, such as the utilization of broken bits of color and short brush strokes, dissolving light into forms to express movement. Cézanne instead chose to experiment with cubic masses and structures, and simple but complementary chromatic structure. Many historians agree that it was at this point that the now household phrase was first coined: “My three-year old niece could draw this crap”.

Cézanne’s most famous painting from this period is “The Suicide’s Necessary House” (1872), a striking piece which depicts the agony of the toilet seat of the frigid soul on a chilly morning awakening. His works were shown at the First and Third Official Depressionist Exposition and Chili Cook-off in Paris, and the critics made short shrift, quick work, and a fast buck off of Paul Cézanne. In a letter to himself, dated December of 1877, he wrote of their reviews:

These scavengers call my work tuluent, contimbulistic, decressent, and poliforicious. Shame, cruel critics, where is your sense ? Their visages are collectively compatible with the deepest rift which bisects the middle course of the seat of my pants as a match is to a matchbox.

Cézanne, stung by this experience, withdrew from society altogether, and never returned to Paris, Marseilles, or Dodge City (where he had reached quite a level of celebrity despite the fact that he’d never been there and he’d probably have been shot if he had). He also broke his ties with other artists, and though he expressed a wistful admiration for the work of his friends and contemporaries, Monet and Renoir, Cézanne refused to speak to them after it was revealed that they had been behind the conspiracy to have his thermal underwear bronzed.

His father kicked the bouquet in 1886, and Paul finally married Marie-Hortense Fucquette and settled in Heuxouilles. It was during this time that Cézanne came into his “Mature” period, which lasted only two years, and that’s a fact that you can look up. L’estaque des Jaques flappes (c. 1888), considered his first masterpiece, was painted entirely with different flavors of table syrup. That was quickly followed by ten variations of Mont Sainte-Victoire/Victoria, three of Boy in a Red Waist-Coast and one of Devil in a Blue Dress, and The Master Bathers.

Becoming more and more reclusive, he attempted to achieve self-sufficiency by growing his own parsley in a window box. But the more he withdrew, the harder the public looked for him, and the press beat a path to his door. Critics would sneak into his studio to catch a glimpse of his latest oeuvre, but more often found him huddled inside what he called his “magic fort”, which he built out of couch cushions. Ironically, the fame and wealth he had always desired came for him at an age where he was too old to take advantage of it, but could still be accused of “selling out” by the young artists who imitated him.

Paul Cézanne had survived several debilitating diseases over the years, but it was while working in the fields that he caught the infamous chill which would end his life. On October 22, 1906, just after breakfast, he sneezed violently, and unfortunately several large wads of phlegm landed on the suede vest of a short-tempered Bohemian itinerant farmer. Paul sought to frame the piece and title it Ça n’est pas un pipe, c’est ma femme, but the farmer refused to surrender the vest. An altercation ensued, and in the confusion of the fracas Cézanne’s precious mustache was irreparably torn from his face. It is said that he died of a broken heart, and his last words reflecting his despair :

“Future generations will weep, as no one living now can understand the depth of my tragedy. The symmetry and the shape took me years to perfect… Il’n-y-a pas de justice… Ma travaille, tout le monde de ça est merde…

A one man show about Paul Cézanne closed on London’s West End in 1995 after two blocking sessions and a catered brunch.


June 23, 2010

Mind as a Function of Brain

Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 2:09 am

>The mind is nothing but an emergent quality of a sufficiently complex neural network. Consciousness exists as a physical brain-state, its spacial dimensions consisting of electrical activity, chemical interactions, and the tissues that support them.
This is true, but it’s reduction to the point of absurdity. It’s as though you’re saying the entire phenomenon of the global internet and its attendant culture emerged ex nihilo from a system of silicon transistors.     It’s emergent but not SELF-emergent – the mind may be shaped and defined by its container but is not its container as a container does not spontaneously generate its contents.    You’re ignoring any input of other biological systems, sensory stimuli, instinct, chemical and physical alteration, and of course human interaction, language and culture.

>The mind is not some metaphysical force or spiritually transcendent entity…

Well, see, yeah, but, you know, man, that’s like, pfft, now you’re hitting the wall of imprecise terminology – that which we call the mind has more definitions than you’re allowing for, depending on context – philosophy, literature, psychology and cognition… The mind wanders, the mind is eased, one minds himself, one loses one’s mind – these are just idioms but there’s a truth there.

> – it does not exist apart from the material structure of the brain.
Not yet. And we in 2010 can’t say that it never will – we should know better than that.  Sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic, and all…


February 19, 2010

Joe Stack’s Flying Circus – Too Soon ?

Filed under: Our World — Tags: , , — boomaga @ 1:43 am

You’ve heard of the plane crash in TX

The moral of a story like Joe Stack’s is:

Burned your house, then kamikaze

In your Piper Cherokee

If they won’t let you cheat on your taxes

February 18, 2010

Evolution: Does symmetry indicate design ?

Filed under: Our World — Tags: , , — boomaga @ 11:00 pm


I heard this argued the other night:   “Symmetry indicates design.”

(My inner proofreader wants to substitute “implies” for “indicates,” or revoice the verb:   “Symmetry is indicative of design.”    Anyhoo… )

Whoever originated that thought really doesn’t see the connection between systems of human industry and systems of biological development:   the assembly line, interchangeable parts, quality control, test marketing, they’re more than just symbolic, they are proven methods.   But in both cases, these methods weren’t arrived at with a sudden great epiphany – no one human sat down and sketched out on a bar napkin the techniques of industrial production – these methods were tested, refined, survived attrition, gradually came about as the best and most efficient ways of doing things.   And so while a manufactured object may have symmetry as a matter of function or aesthetic, so can a biological form.   Yes, I would say symmetry as a quality is easier to find in living matter than, say, in your average rock.  But then you have river rocks – often rounded to near-perfect symmetrical oblongs.    Did the river design these rocks ?   Or is it just the result of forces ?

Symmetry isn’t a function or a process, it’s a quality, and it has to be judged on a relative scale because nothing in the universe is ever going to be perfectly symmetrical down to the very subatomic level, not ever, not while particles spin and wobble, forever indeterminable.  Bodies in space are subject to their own gravity and will conform as closely as possible to a sphere as an extension of a single point in three dimensional space, but there will always be other forces acting on it causing that sphere to be distended in one way or another – even on a cluster of neutrons.   Symmetry in biological designs are NO accident, it’s because in many contexts there is an advantage in it.   When a cell splits up into two like cells, when the double helix splits in two to be templates for copies, and cells further divide into four and eight etc., or when capillaries in leaves split evenly on either side of an axis, or a family tree describing a creature’s genetic forebears is a perfectly symmetrical fractal, it’s not because God likes even numbers better than odd numbers.   (If you concluded that God favors symmetry and even numbers simply because it seems to be a feature of so many systems in the natural world, I would have to conclude about you that you believe the leading brand of a product must be best, that might makes right, and that π shouldn’t exist.)   A tree’s symmetry allows it to balance and reach heights which would otherwise not be possible – you notice that if a tree becomes unbalanced, it falls over.     Survival made it advantageous to be able to triangulate the distance of an object, and one way to do this is by using light – optics show us that there just isn’t any better way of doing visual triangulation than having two alike photosensitive organs equidistant from a middle point. These eyes can be rudimentary or sophisticated, motion-sensitive, it can see in any number of light spectra or qualities, but the fact that the eyes are more or less symmetrical is incidental – it is because it works best that way.  And if symmetry is considered more attractive in the process of sexual selection, then the trait is self-perpetuating – there doesn’t need to be any interference from a designer to encourage the trait.

Of course, just saying that no expression of an ideal shape or form will ever be perfect is a bit of a moot point – π only needs to be π for a given decimal point for acceptable accuracy for (the all important)  “all intents and purposes.”     But the point is, symmetry has practical use in design, there is no doubt.    Symmetry pleases physics – symmetry allows an object of a particular size to inherit physical characteristics of an object bigger than it actually is.   It is impossible to imagine a flying creature or airplane, no matter what shape or size, with non-symmetrical wings.   Is that because God, then Orville and Wilbur, decided that this symmetry would be their own little design “signature” ?    No, it’s because birds that have one wing bigger than the other tend to fly in circles, fall to the ground and get eaten before they’ve had a chance to mate.

You know, it occurs to me that there may be an expression for symmetry, but I’m no mathematician – surely there’s some Greek letter or something that represents how alike two sets are, how much they balance out, how much they’re equal…   oh, man, maybe I need to invent one…   hmmmmmm = thinkin’….

June 18, 2009

Sarah Palin vs. David Letterman – Mission Accomplished !

Filed under: Entertainment, Our World — Tags: , , , , , , , — boomaga @ 1:42 am

mountain out of a molehillDavid Letterman is under fire for handing free publicity to a political footnote on whom the G.O.P. has pinned their 2012 hopes.

Since the night David Letterman mentioned Sarah Palin in his monologue, calls for the CEO of CBS to let some morons tell him how to run his business have been flooding in.   Lawmakers, who have solved all of the other pressing problems of the day and who speak only in the spirit of civic duty and not any sort of partisan shilling, have joined concerned citizens, unpaid interns, and even inanimate objects in forming a spontaneous, heartfelt, grass-roots campaign to bring back Puritan-style stockades punishment.

Picnic table, Republican

Picnic table, Republican

In the message to CBS chief Les Moonves, a Poughkeepsie, NY, public park picnic table, which identifies itself as a Republican, said that it held Letterman’s “shockingly erotic” joke responsible for the sorry state of the world today.

“As a property of the great state of New York and its Department of Parks and Recreation, I have been honored to host families on vacation or just out on a lunch picnic.  Upon my benches have sat the buttocks of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, husbands and mistresses, and couples of inappropriate age differences.   Upon my table have the elbows rested of many ‘regular folks’ of various shameful circumstances who nevertheless show proud and resilient bearing as they dig deeper in the fried chicken bucket.   I wanted Mr. Moonves to know how I felt about Mr. Letterman’s disparaging remarks,” the picnic table said in an open letter.

“Booting Mr. Letterman out on his ass, and possibly seeking damages in a slander suit filed overseas, say, in the UK, would send a clear message that CBS is not a company beholden only to its parent corporation and its shareholders – it is every bit a popularly-elected body of officials who serve the public at the public’s whim and favor — the public, who has the right and ability to blackmail with boycots and less-than-a-dozen man demonstration photo ops.

“Even a famous, rich, rich, famous man like Mr. Letterman must realize that he is not a private citizen nor simply a comedian – he is a media figure who must balance his comedy in the political spectrum to please everyone, paying special attention to accomodate those with bullhorn and/or press-conference access.

“His joke offended me, as an inanimate object, on behalf of all people, be they celibate or promiscuous, be they planned or acutely embarrassing, born in or out of wedlock.”

Letterman, in his Electric Company days

Letterman, in his Electric Company days

The request came after the late-night host stopped short of apologizing for “jokes” he had made about Palin, an Alaskan-born mother of at least 4 and beauty pageant third-place runner up, and her family.   One joke referred to Palin’s daughter being “knocked up” by New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez.   (To explain the context of the joke, Palin’s high-school age daughter was actually sweetly penetrated and impregnated by Levi Johnston, the son of a confessed amateur pharmacist; Alex Rodriguez, it is believed, is a baseball player).

Bristol and Evan at the moment of conception of their child

Bristol and Levi at the moment of conception of their child

“We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news, and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is — her name is Bristol, that’s right, and so, then, now they’re upset with me,” Letterman said, blinking away the red dots of laser gunsights trained directly on his retinas.

“Those were not jokes made about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter,” said a spokesman for no-one in particular.   “It was meant about Bristol, not Willow.  To pick on a 14-year-old would be unconscionable.   David simply misspoke – anyone who’d been awake during the 2008 Presidential campaign and who has half the common sense of a clam would know that he meant the OTHER one, the one who got knocked up by the captain of their high school’s elk-hunting squad, and then didn’t follow through with the obvious imperative demanded by Sarah Palin’s loudly proclaimed platform, which would be, of course, marriage.  I mean, far be it for anyone to condemn the choices young people make while wrestling with very personal, very complex, and very emotional  circumstances of family and relationships from some high-horse place of judgement.   But David’s apology came from the bottom of his heart – he gave his deepest and sincerest apologies to the grandmother of the bafflingly-named Tripp, who is technically a little bastard, a fatherless little bastard who won’t amount to anything because he will never know his father. ”



Palin later offered to appear on “The Late Show,” only when the stakes were raised to the boiling point and David’s job seemed on the line.

Neither CBS nor Worldwide Pants seem to have any intention of breaking David’s contract, which has the unusual characteristic of actually being physically inscribed and bound in sheets of cast-iron and kept in a lead-lined vault.

The Alaska governor’s office actually wrote, in an official written statement Thursday, “[I]t would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman,” implying that Letterman is a dangerous sexual predator.

On Friday, the Alaska governor said her only wish was that she had a husband who would knock Letterman’s block off.   Bristol concurred, and fired a shot from a .45 automatic into an ice cream cake.

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February 4, 2009

Would You Believe … ?

Filed under: Our World — Tags: — boomaga @ 7:16 am

  • Human spermatozoa can live up to three months in a medium of sourdough bread starter.

  • Americans killed the conquistadors in 1492 and invented pirates.

  • “Grandma’s Feather Bed,” a novelty/folk song made popular by John Denver, was co-written by Charles Manson and Bobby Beausoleil in 1970, the lyrics written on the wall of the Polanski house in the blood of the heiress to the Folger’s Coffee fortune.

  • The giant killer breast which chases Woody Allen over a field in his film “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)” was not a special effect, but the actual left breast of Mrs. Raynee Friendly, 32, of Woodstock, NY, and required a flatbed truck to transport to location.

  • If you’re attending a banquet hosted by a village elder in Papua New Guinea and you wish to show your appreciation of the meal, it is not only acceptable but considered polite to tip at least 25% (or 30% for parties over 10).

  • Islamic halal laws forbids wearing the material “muslin.” 

  • What’s the secret that hot dog fans know ?  Animal lips and assholes are actually the most nutritious parts of the carcass.

October 19, 2008

Name the Twins

Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 5:01 am

  1. Sacco and Vanzetti

  2. Lerner and Lowe

  3. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

  4. Fred and Ethel Mertz

  5. Salt ‘n Pepa

  6. Yoiks and Away

  7. Shakerattle and Roll

  8. Guildencrantz and Morgenstern

  9. Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham

  10. Mac and Cheese

  11. Scout and Boo Radley

  12. Rosanna and Africa Totorules

  13. Thrill of Victory and Agony of Defeat

  14. Poppycock and Balderdash

  15. T. and A.

  16. Young’un and Littletoot

  17. Destined and Doomed

  18. Tom and Turkey

  19. Dick and Trickle

  20. Harry and Sally

  21. Hagar and Horrible

  22. Mensch and Ubermensch

  23. Foreman and “ALI, BUMAYAY ! ALI, BUMAYAY !”

  24. Belle and Sebastian

  25. Pork and Beans

  26. Epidural and Episiotomy

August 25, 2008

Vancouver Psyching Itself Up to Host Olympics

Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 4:27 am
Vancouver students protest

Vancouver students protest the sport hunting of albino mimes by taking part in a ceremonial Inuit syrup-licking contest











July 13, 2008

From Japan: Balanced Food Block

Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 4:20 am


This puzzling product was originally a marketing gimmick – sold to movie theater patrons at the concession stand at the release of THX-1138.

But when NASA chose it to accompany our astronauts to the sun, it caught the imagination of the public.

Would you like an adequate Liquid Thirst Inhibitor to wash that down ? I have all three kinds, Unflavored and Plain and Regular.

And for dessert, we’ll take our synthodrene and hypnochrome and watch the holoshow.

After we consume our balanced food blocks, let’s head down to the prole zone and down some Victory gin and consort with prostitutes.

Hey, does the Calorie-Mate brand Soylent Green flavored Balanced Food Block actually taste like people, or is it just kind of “hammy” ?

The makers of Calorie-Mate Balanced Food Block want to thank Dr. Bronner “ ALL ONE, ALL ONE ” for his design packaging.

Yes, it is required to memorize the text and be able to recite from memory before one can eat a Balanced Food Block.

May 10, 2007


Filed under: Our World — boomaga @ 9:06 am

(Attributed falsely to Ogden Nash)

Through peatboggy paddocks
Lumbers the Lumbering Lummox
He hates halibut and haddocks
Cause they flummox his stomachs

He prefers prickly pears
and pineapple parfaits
He downs half a dozen
And dozes for days

He’s fearsome and then some !
Not handsome or fulsome
Lives here some and there some
Which is certainly not wholesome

Indecent, indulgent,
Insane to the core
Invite him indoors,
And he’ll strip to his drawers

And he’ll dribble and wobble
And he’ll make ladies shout
By waving his willy
Saying “Hey, check this out !”

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