New hashtag recommendation: #DGB (Did Google Break?)


In case you didn’t know, we live in a connected world with connected devices. If you have a phone that flips out and texting the letter F means tapping the number three three times, pinch yourself. You probably don’t exist.

In conversations, if you can’t remember something, type it in your phone and the question you’re asking will likely auto insert into your browser and you can have an answer within seconds, pending your location and signal strength.

Just last night, a friend was over and she’s beating her brains out over the minutiae of some actors name in a movie. She can’t move on with her goddamn story until she remembers that goddamn name … ugh, it’s on the tip of my tongue!

In the middle of cooking burgers, corn and rushing around the kitchen, I type in the title of the movie and say, “Mark Ruffalo!”

She pointed at me and said, “Yes! Gosh. I was about to die trying to remember.”

Did Google Break?

No.

#DGB

Hashtag. DEE GEE BEE.

Write it. Learn it. Use it.

Last night, I met Bill up at the bar. We were talking to a 20-something female friend of ours and the topic of kinky sex came up. “What have you done?” “Well, what have you done? That’s when I learned, from the 20-something, the term “Pegging.” I can’t unlearn that. And Googling it brought me to a wiki page for it, and now I really can’t unlearn it.

Not only is it a true term, Google wasn’t broke and I can’t find a reason to not talk about it more often from here on out at every party I go to.

Hashtag, IWGB = #Iwishgooglebroke.

This morning, I received a message from a friend. She did some nicey nice and then asked, “So I need your expertise. I want to do a movie night outside on the cheap. What projector should I buy to do this? Is this one good enough?”

#DGFB.

Hashtag DEE GEE EFF BEE.

Did Google fucking break?

I mean for fuck’s sake. I’m not an expert. Nobody’s an expert anymore. All you need for almost every question in the universe right now is a computer or smart phone, a browser, and a finger to tap your questions.

Wondering about what camera to buy. Google’s not broken. Type it in.

Wondering about a topic to write about. Google’s not broken. Type it in.

Wondering about a religious question. Google’s not broken. Type it in.

How about cars? #DGB

No! Google’s not broken.

Wondering about that red dot on your stomach that just appeared …

You better hope your Google’s broken, because in two minutes, you’re going to self diagnose yourself with cancer.

 

George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me


Published on Jul 4, 2014

When he was a child, George Takei and his family were forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, as a “security” measure during World War II. 70 years later, Takei looks back at how the camp shaped his surprising, personal definition of patriotism and democracy.

Explaining away ghosts and gods is easy, unless you’re somehow unable to do so


Me? I don’t believe in ghosts, goblins, gods or anything supernatural.

I just don’t.

I read this article recently in The Raw Story titled: Our ancient caveman instincts may explain our belief in gods or ghosts.

The article’s author, Steve Kelly, writes essentially that we believe in ghosts because we survived human history by giving supernatural rationale for a rustling of leaves or a volcano. Science hasn’t yet infiltrated the evolution of the human mind enough to make a dent in the irrationality of pervading religious thoughts.

Kelly writes:

Notions of gods arise in all human societies, from all powerful and all-knowing deities to simple forest spirits. A recent method of examining religious thought and behaviour links their ubiquity and the similarity of our beliefs to the ways in which human mental processes were adapted for survival in prehistoric times.

It rests on a couple of observations about human psychology. First, when an event happens, we tend to assume that a living thing caused it. In other words, we assume agency behind that event. If you think of the sorts of events that might have happened in prehistoric times, it’s easy to see why a bias towards agency would be useful. A rustling of a bush or the snapping of a twig could be due to wind. But far better to assume it’s a lion and run away.

Oddly enough, the information wasn’t that big of a mystery revealed. It’s a late arrival to a party that’s already been packed up.

Ain’t nobody who’s religious going to read that article and think, “Man, this has convinced me that my religion is based on a weakness generated by evolution …”

Why?

Because evolution itself is a pejorative evoking negative thoughts immediately.

An article like this is only good for the kids who subscribe to the idea that there aren’t ghosts and goblins.

In Louis C.K.’s SNL opening monologue a couple weeks ago, he talked about religion and God saying:

I’m not religious. I don’t know if there’s a God. That’s all I can say, honestly, is “I don’t know.” Some people think that they know that there isn’t. That’s a weird thing to think you can know. “Yeah, there’s no God.” Are you sure? “Yeah, no, there’s no God.” How do you know? “Cause I didn’t see Him.” There’s a vast universe! You can see for about 100 yards — when there’s not a building in the way. How could you possibly… Did you look everywhere? Did you look in the downstairs bathroom? Where did you look so far? “No, I didn’t see Him yet.” I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave yet; it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m just waiting until it comes on cable.

And, no, I have not looked under the stairs, either. Nor have I looked behind every planet or star.

A god, gods, ghosts or goblins do an amazing job at hiding, though. They do it so well that there’s absolutely no, not one shred of evidence to indicate that the bump in the night is anything other than something natural with natural causes.

The evidence points to science, and when something seems unnatural, it’s likely something that is explanative and you didn’t wait for the explanation and made up your own conclusion or the explanation hasn’t been conceived yet.

In sum, I don’t know there’s nothing else as Louis C.K. so boldly pointed out. But I don’t know there is either. And that difference makes me happy to have a natural understanding of natural worldly events.

Thank goodness.

Yesterday, it snowed in Chicago


IMG_1616-Edit

Okay, okay. This photo isn’t from yesterday. But I came across it while archiving old photos.

Yesterday there were also many eye-witness accounts of white stuff falling from the sky in and around the Chicago area.

In case you haven’t noticed your calendar lately, it’s May. Fucking May.

And it snowed.

This winter there was more snow than I’ve ever seen in Chicago. It started long ago … in November. I was able to shoot our Christmas card after a few inches in December.

This photo above was from January 3 or so. And it snowed, at least a little all the way to May.

The 2013-2014  season was the weirdest months of winter we’ve ever seen.

And you may ask yourself, why, oh why is all this weird weather happening? Why is it so cold and the scientists — those liberal, immoral scientists — screaming that there’s global warming?

It blows my mind that this weather is all been predicted … by the bible … and by science.

The bible reads that an increase in earthquakes and weather phenomenon will call forth the end times.

But the bible also reads:

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.

And you can insert images of sunsets and flowers with a soft glow. Or you could insert the soft warm glow of a setting sun cast across the bloated belly of a starving child covered in flies in Africa or Detroit.

These kinds of vague references are so tarot card reader slash fortune cookie like.

So when we are all arguing about climate change and global warming, everybody feels right as rain and self congratulatory. The bible is the astronaut jamming a flag into the moon of so many things … and it’s a little annoying at times.

Just a tad.

I was very appreciative of this video (below) from John Oliver that I saw yesterday. But I don’t think it will help things. It’ll just make people who disagree look for more disagreement. It’ll make them blame liberalism and thank the dusty old book that they think they love, but not the parts that they choose not to. And those who agree, will agree.

And the sun will rise and fall.

Oh, wait. We’ll actually do all the moving — we here on this spec of dust called the Earth — and the sun will sit relatively still. But we’ll all be moving through space with billions and billions and billions of stars and planets. And science will continue to answer questions. And ignorance will still win out in the end!

A brilliant vacation ends with a bump in the road … for the better.


This week was one of the weirdest and most fulfilling.

We returned from an excellent vacation packed with sights, smells, and intrigue. We saw lots of Northern California in a way that Tina and I do best.

While we were gone, we were approached by several different clients asking for estimates or scheduling us for some amazing work that we want. Our goal lately has been to hone what work we accept and only do the kind of stuff that makes our portfolio shine. And that’s what’s been happening.

We had two inquiries about an editorial shoot and also a catalog.

Ahh, what a dream. We love editorial. It’s our absolute favorite thing to photograph.

Another agency client asked us for a table top shoot as soon as we could get to it upon our return. This agency has locations here and in Los Angeles. We’ve been lucky to photograph interiors and portraits with them, and this was going to be our very first time hosting them in our studio!

We were so excited.

But this is where the week got weird. Really weird.  Continue reading

Finally! Research to suggest I’m healthy: “A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal”


As reported in this article at NPR:

Many of the smelly sulfur compounds in vegetables have healthful properties.

Take for instance, the broccoli, mustard and cabbage family. These Brassica vegetables are packed with a sulfur compound, called sulforaphane, that is strongly associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Another possible benefit of a little smelly gas? It may reduce the total volume of air in the gut, Kashyap says.

Why? Because bacteria and archaea make the sulfur gas from other gases in the gut, like hydrogen.

“Bacteria that make sulfide gas are really important,” Kashyap says. “They can cause smelliness, but they can reduce the total amount of gas flow.”

Of course, having too much of anything can be bad. If gas and bloating start interfering with your quality of life, Kashayps recommends seeing a doctor.

But don’t immediately blame your diet, Kashyap says.

In many cases, people who complain about too much gas actually don’t generate more than others, he says. Instead, they perceive the passing more intensely. Or they pass it more often.

“Yes, a more fiber-rich diet will produce more gas,” Kashyap adds. “But completely eliminating fiber from the diet should not be the first option. You don’t want to starve your microbes.”

So go ahead. Enjoy those lentils. Chow down on the cabbage. Then if you stink a little, think of it as a thank you gesture from your microbiome.

I only posted some of the article. The rest can be read here.

If you’re like me, and your farts pretend every day is like Disneyworld’s multiple-time-per-day parades exiting the sphincter, you’ll want to grab this article’s link and forward it to a few of your closer friends and family.

Take that, Tina!

David Foster Wallace: “This is water, this is water.”


I got a little carried away this morning following a rabbit hole of David Foster Wallace writing.

This 2005 Kenyon Graduation speech is a confusing bit of clarity. You may need one reading or sixty eight. But it’s an important thing to look at.

Take this for an example:

Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to food-shop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me, about my hungriness and my fatigue and my desire to just get home, and it’s going to seem, for all the world, like everybody else is just in my way, and who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line, and look at how deeply unfair this is: I’ve worked really hard all day and I’m starved and tired and I can’t even get home to eat and unwind because of all these stupid g-d- people.

Or a snippet I found on this page:

I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

What I’ve come to discover about the people, friends and family who seem to know me is that somehow sometimes, their regard for me and my opinions is so deeply inset, engrained, unwavering, set-in-stone that my position is unchangeable. Unmalleable.

A foundation of concrete and fuck yous.

I don’t understand this, as it’s the mind/person behind that mind who is making that judgement who seems stone-set in their ways. I’m a waffling piece of unclarity, uncertainty, and a hopeful chump for new information that will disqualify all the information I’ve collected to date.

Maybe they are too. Maybe we all think we are so uncertain in our certainty. But as the center of the universe, we all tend to flex non-existent greatness whenever we can.

I examine and reexamine thought processes ad nauseam. If I am heralded for doing a good job, I find all the wrong in those accolades.

If I am congratulated on an awful job, I wallow in a sea of remorse and self depreciation.

But I’m working on that.

It boils down to little more: everyone thinks they are the center of the universe. And in some cases, some are worse than others. Some people are cock sure their thoughts and hopes are heard by the arbiter and creator of the natural universe to the point that those thoughts/hopes will supernaturally influence the outcome of the loss of keys, the diagnosis of cancer, the healthiness of the food they’re about to eat.

That I can tell, there is no proof of the supernatural. It may be there. It may not. My friends with a propensity to pray have no more talent, ability, purpose than us natural kids with an absence for that kind of thinking.

I choose to think about things this way. I construct meaning from this method. I pay attention to the world from this perspective. I make effort to understand it from the different perspectives of those around me. I feel I’ve settled and not settled on this way. For now.

Just for now.

In the meantime, the routine. The boring. The monotony. Those are mine to enjoy. The best I can.

Donald Rumsfeld vs. The IRS


rumsfeld-tax

Apparently Donald Rumsfeld sends an accompanying letter with his IRS returns every year requesting them to simplify the tax code to be more, well, simple.

I found this at Kottke, who writes that it’s great that he agrees with Rumsfeld on something, and:

If only he had been less certain of his accuracy in an even more complex situation, like, say the whole WMD/Iraq War thing.