Art Insults My Intelligence

Architects sometimes get a little overzealous on the creativity and innovation.  You can probably imagine my surprise as I was traversing Barcelona, a city famed for Gaudi and for other pinnacles of aesthetic accomplishment, when I discovered this:

It's shiny up close...

It’s shiny up close…

This giant… ahem… feminine pleasure device, um… phallic symbol, no, er… rounded building of very painful glass loses its shimmer in the moist

Okay, I give up.  A work of art is supposed to make people pause and discuss; this building certainly accomplished its purpose.  However, I hope the discussion rises above crass humor someday.

But not today.  Immaturity is too much fun.

 

Reading Insults My Intelligence

When you’re traveling, you’ll inevitably encounter writing that you can’t understand.  You will piss people off if you continually ask “What does that mean?”  Especially here, at the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) in Lucerne.  A couple dozen of these images remain after some unruly flames decided to have some fun:

Imagine trying to read this as crowds of people rush past you.  Repeat 30 times.

Imagine trying to read this as crowds of people rush past you. Repeat 30 times.

It doesn’t matter what the words say, so don’t bother reading them.  The orange does its artistic duty and lends a halloweenish aura to the Latin and the skeleton… and even to the skeletons in the bridge’s second picture.

And that’s exactly what a “Chapel” is supposed to involve.  Skeletons and Halloween.

 

Hidden Masterpieces Insult My Intelligence

When all those architects and artists were designing churches so many centuries ago, couldn’t they have had the foresight to make the intricate artworks more accessible to photographers?

I took this photo at a church in Antwerp.  After twisting and contorting my body to get a good angle, I was finally able to get a somewhat decent shot of the art that looks down from on top of everything.  Even so, the shot could be improved.

By comparison, this makes the Sistine Chapel ceiling look easy to paint. Why not make things easier on the artists?

In other words, tourist attractions should be tourist friendly.  Our world had progressed greatly since the time this church was built.

Coherence Insults My Intelligence

Blah.

Time travel you say?   Who wants to revisit the bubonic plague, trench warfare, or the Gulags?  No one, of course.  If you’re going to make time travel sexy, you have to offer sexy destinations like Shakespeare’s England or postclassical Mayan civilization.  Unfortunately, relatively few people can fit in the Globe theater or Chichen Itza.  You’ll find too many time tourists and that can ruin your experience there.  Besides, neither of those high periods had particularly good medicine, so you’re likely to catch something small yet fatal among all those visitors.

So let’s do an off-the-beaten path destination: mid-1910’s Europe.  If you didn’t sleep through your history lessons, you may remember trench warfare being all the rage at that time.  However, this blog doesn’t concern itself much with holding to the latest fashions from today or yesteryear, so we won’t focus on the glamor of war.

Instead, we’re visiting that period to learn about Dada so we can bring back some rhetorical insights for today’s world.  Just imagine the possible applications…

Let’s start with political debates:

Hillary Clinton: jar recede squash vermillion ratatouille flan go waft swan carcinogen hoopla.

Joe Biden: No!  hark pert persimmon quid pro quo kung fu, suture pantaloon.

Hillary Clinton: Fanta zamboni, ham circadian!

Wouldn’t that be more informative than what we typically get?

And then just try to imagine the improvements Microsoft could make to the instructions for its operating systems:

Windows 8.0 halalas blagh cortoros, monog gonog fogog.  Halooka sa yau twagala ra, massootookulu vam.  Horsala maklava zo yeash ta eaglet wampus system error.

I bet you understood more of that than the typical technical instructions.

By now, you’re probably objecting to this post; after all, Dada was an art form and I’ve been suggesting its use for more practical applications.  So let’s get artistic, and I don’t mean this gem from over thirty years ago:

The Talking Heads are dead for all intents and purposes, so we need a contemporary artist who captures today’s soul to join our time travels so that he may recapture the lost magic of Dada.  I suggest Justin Bieber… loaded up on Xanax, of course.  Imagine his next song once we return from the past:

Shi huanga blanga boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs

Yeah, he’s gonna party like it’s 1918 but with lyrics that will stimulate the public’s intellects more than his existing offerings.    And after that success, he’ll be crying “let’s do the time warp again” before you know it… at which point we should just lock him up in a Transylvanian castle without a video camera.

Artlessness Insults My Intelligence

Why do people always feel the need to destroy things?  This was a perfectly good mountain before someone transformed it into a functional piece of art by putting a road inside.

Traffic cave

Near Prague’s city center, this tunnel looks just as historical as its surroundings.  I hope they only bored a hole through a mountain and not through a real castle…

On second thought, could the engineers and architects who designed this please come to the U.S. and replace our green steel monstrosities that in no way blend in with the nearby forests?

Bad Background Images Insult My Intelligence

I’ve spent enough time online to see some horrific blog designs.  Some are a matter of personal taste, which I have no intention of criticizing openly.  However, a few folks obviously have no clue what they are doing.

They’re morons.

In the spirit of enlightening you in the ways of me, I would like to point out some common errors and show you some easy methods for developing better backgrounds.  All images in this post were modified using free and simple photo editing software and I just played with all the nifty little buttons without knowing what they are.  You’ll find no evidence of Photoshop or other costly applications here.  (I’m unemployed, remember?)  Caveat: I do still have a scanner from my grad school days.

Also, you don’t have to like these images; I only focused on technique and some of the creations here are quite loud.  I wouldn’t use all of them myself but then again lots of good images aren’t an appropriate match for some individuals.

If you want “Matchmaking for Blog Dummies,” you’ll need to go somewhere else.  I don’t do romance here.

That said, let’s cut the preliminaries and dive in with four basic rules.

1- Your original photo should have a high resolution. Subjecting images to technological torture often causes them to bleed their detail away, leaving them as limp as a corpse.

2- When detail bleeds away, colors often go with it.  Your photographs or scanned images should normally contain at least as many colors as you’ll want in the final product.  It’s usually harder to add colors to an image than eliminate them.

3- Similarly, it’s easier to reduce the file size of a high-definition picture than it is to make the image more robust.  If only dieting worked that way…

4- Don’t forget to crop your images; if it doesn’t end up appearing on the screen, you don’t need it.  A smaller image takes less time for people to download.  Your visitors will thank you for it by sticking around until your page finishes loading… unless your writing scares them away sooner.

And now the joy of pointing out people’s stupidity.  Item one: people often confuse their original image with what ends up appearing on their blog.  I like my candelabra image over on the top right, but it’s pretty easy to make an awful background out of it.  For instance, tiling the image can give us this:

Slide1Easy to read, right?  That’s why I have these big box-like things on my blog to shield the text.  However, that doesn’t eliminate all of the problems in the example above.  Let’s look at something a little wiser:

Continue reading

Unfortunate CD Covers Insult My Intelligence

I’m feeling inspired today by a couple of recent posts about terrible CD covers over at the muscleheaded blog.

I’d like to add a pet peeve of my own to this: the gratuitous use of pentagrams for music that isn’t satanic.  (That’s satanic, not santaic.  Christmas is over.)  It makes the music harder to find because American sellers fear it and, once it is found, buyers like me experience profound difficulty when explaining the purchase to unenthusiastic friends and family.   Since people are inherently superficial, many would prefer to judge a book or CD by its cover… especially when it comes to anything that might influence their soul’s eternal resting place.  Picky, picky, picky.

I’m done pontificating, so here’s the first CD cover:

Die Prophezeiung

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This CD is about as Satanic as Dante’s Inferno.  However, you can’t really get anything by this musical group in the U.S.  I bought my copies overseas.  And when I wanted to obtain a copy of something that wasn’t even available used, I couldn’t get one despite the fact that Amazon sells MP3 copies on its foreign websites.  I contacted Amazon about it and they apologized for the “inconvenience” and cited vague copyright issues.  I suppose Universal Records can’t afford to be associated with a pentagram in the U.S. market.  (Gratuitous advertisement: I’ve written about this issue before.)

And then there’s “Sex Sex Sex” by JBO, which I also enjoy.

3s

(Tip: the German words for six and sex are pronounced even more similarly than the English words.)

JBO is the closest thing Germany has to Weird Al Yankovic, and who doesn’t love Weird Al, or sex and Satanism rolled into one CD cover?    That surely must make you curious about the accompanying concert tour…

Lives

I don’t own this CD.  I prefer my sexual content to be perfected with all sorts of technological advances.  Anything that’s relatively “unplugged” sounds too much like celibacy.

But seriously… there’s barely any sex in the music.  And so I offer you a song from one of JBO’s later CD’s because it’s in English.  My more theologically oriented readers may want to skip the video but, then again, anyone who made it through the CD covers isn’t too likely to be offended.  I think…