Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Overscene

4 mobile snapshots taken in the last 1,440 minutes.








Pioneering Medical Concepts: Elective Dialysis

The Sherman Foundation, committed as it is to saving the world, is stepping out of its comfort zone of misguided creative brilliance to dabble in the appliance of science to come up with some forward thinking medical concepts.

I have some friends that consume A LOT of alcohol. I'm taking about silos of Japanese Beer and enough shots of Jameson's whiskey to wipe out an Indian tribe if any still exited. It's not their fault, they're agency account guys and they don't have my creative outlets or good looks. Although I pity their aesthetic and intellectual handicaps I love them deeply.

Most insurance companies aren't forward thinking enough or support the idea of preventitive medicine seriously enough to offer kidney dialysis on an elective basis. What I've decided to do is put aside what I would spend on my next haircut and buy my friends a dialysis machine on ebay. I think I can have it shipped directly to a church basement in Westchester County where they could get together each month and administer each other's treatment.



If anyone from the medical community is reading I could use some input on a concept. Does a keychain blacklight pen flashlight and magnifying glass that comes with iodine swabs make sense as a self-detection method for warts? I hear that HPV is at epidemic levels in the ad industry.

Strategic Thinking: Send in the Clowns.

The Sherman Foundation briefly considered a t-shirt with the following slogan:

Jesus is Coming
Release the Hounds!

but we're gonna stick with

Jesus is Coming
Look Busy!


Not to get strategsticious but sometimes being clever and funny works better that brute force.
I recently came across the meaning of the phrase "send in the clowns".



Send in the Clowns
The phrase refers to a phrase reputedly used in a circus when an unforeseen disaster had occurred, with the clowns being sent in to distract the audience from the problem. Alternatively, the title could refer to the practice in vaudeville theatre of sending the clowns on to the stage to distract the audience after a particularly bad act.
Wikipedia entry:Send in the Clowns

Political Neologisms

I found a piece of paper this morning with 3 political neologisms I made up a few months ago.


Polisqueeze

Legislaughter

Generosicide

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Great Curve

Torrential amounts of material to process this week.
Here are some not to be missed items

Who killed the newspaper?
From The Economist

Music Reborn
The cover story in this months Wired magazine?

Google, eBay sign commerce deal

Marketplace Report: Google-eBay Ad Deal
NPR Report

The digital diet
Spending 30 days without traditional media, I wanted to learn which was more important — the medium or the message.
By Amy L. Webb

Internet, TV are no rivals: Google
(Excerpt) The rise of the internet is as revolutionary as the invention of the printing press, a senior Google Inc. executive said on Saturday - but old media like television should not fear it.

Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that the internet innovator was television's friend, not its rival.

"We're computer scientists," she said. "We're not brilliant storytellers or content creators." (Excerpt end)

I am dumbfounded by the statements quoted above. That sort of gaslighting in the face of obvious empirical evidence to the contrary is usually reserved for politics. The people commenting on digg didn't fail to see how silly this is.
Internet, TV are no rivals: Google

Meat & You

One of my favorite Simpson's episodes "Lisa the Vegatarian" features this classic info graphics, The Food Chain.



in the documentary short, Meat & You.




Rotisseried Cow

Monday, August 28, 2006

New York Times Perfume Critic

The New York Times' magazine, "T" has added a perfume review column by Chandler Burr called "Scent Strip".

Here is the debut column, Dark Victory.

NPR audio intrview with Chandler Burr.



I have a great fascination in the olfactory sense and perume making.
My previous posts on the subject:

Can you smell me now?

Love is 85% Smell

Shermanism: Needle Tickler

Needle Tickler
An idea, campaign, method, or approach that is less than impactful, or produces a measured result that just tickles the needle, as opposed to moving it.

Banner ads are needle ticklers.

Used in a sentence: What is this? A needle tickler? Come back when you've got something with more meat and less feather.

Schrödinger's Video blog

Adfreak had an intereting post that questioned the authenticity of videoblogger Lonelygirl15. "Is Lonelygirl15 a fraud? (By Brian Morrissey)"

Here is a excerpt:
"Perhaps, as New York Times critic Virginia Heffernan recently wrote, she "perfects the emo girl-in-her-room pose, balancing playful and moody as she muses about her life and times." Heffernan thinks she deserves a show on MTV. Alternatively, plenty find her videos a little too polished, what with professional-appearing lighting and story arcs, not to mention supposedly religious parents OK with her and Danielbeast playing with a Web cam in her bedroom. So just who is Lonelygirl15? A young, uber-talented YouTube auteur? Or a slick fake perpetrated by a network, or even, God forbid, another marketer who heard this viral thing is hot?"



It raises some interesting question.
If her videoblog is authentic (not sponsored or designed by a third party) it is an example of social media. Ok, but...
If her videoblog isn't authentic, is it still social media?
If we never figure out the truth is it a little like Schrödinger's Cat?

How indeterinite will these definitions become?

The following is unquestionably Sherman Foundation AAA (or A-Cube) Sealed, or has the ANNOYING AUTHENTICITY OF ADOLESCENCE.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Creative Process. David Lynch

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Master Narratives (in children's games) 2

Artificial Scarcity



SEE ALSO:
Master Narratives

Target Tissues & Temporary Tattoos

Friends of The Foundation have submitted some product ideas inspired by my post From Wang to ejaculation target in no time flat.

I think the "Your DNA Goes Here" meaning in the target context is self explanatory.

Target Tissues


Temporary Tattoos

Friday, August 25, 2006

Belly Buttons and Penises: Aesthetic & Functional Surgical Enhancements.

Six months ago I had an elective surgical procedure performed to have my belly button "removed". It was part of study conducted by the American Association for Aesthetic Surgery. The study was setup to demonstrate suturing techniques that leave little or no scaring and as a marketing campaign for the newly developed sutures. If you look closely at my stomach you can see a faint white hairline, but that's it, I have an otherwise perfectly flat stomach. The results of the study will be published this fall. I've been asked to hold off on posting photos until then, sometime in late October.

I admit that participating in this was a bit weird but I did receive financial compensation and got to spend 2 weeks in San Juan Capistrano, California. The procedure was not very evasive and except for some pain when I bent over or sat the recovery wasn't too bad.

I came across two surgery stories in the press this week that are decidedly more strange than my own. They are both about men with 2 PENISES.

Man with two penises loses wife
A German who persuaded doctors to give him a second penis has lost his wife after he showed her the result.

Biker Michael Gruber, 40, lost his original penis in a motorbike accident and doctors built him a second one using a mixture of skin, bone and other tissues from his own body.

The penis worked so well that he was even able to father a child with his wife Bianca, 25, and their son Etienne was born last year.

But Gruber was still not happy and asked doctors to repeat the operation and build him a better organ, to which they agreed.

However, before removing the first penis doctors said they needed to make sure the new tissue transplant was a success, and had to leave the first penis in place. –Link to full story

• • •

Are you sure you want remove that? An Indian businessman born with two penises wants one of them removed surgically as he wants to marry and lead a normal sexual life, a newspaper report said Saturday.

The 24-year-old man from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh admitted himself to a New Delhi hospital this week with an extremely rare medical condition called penile duplication or diphallus, the Times of India said.

"Two fully functional penes is unheard of even in medical literature. In the more common form of diphallus, one organ is rudimentary," the newspaper quoted a surgeon as saying. –Full story on Yahoo news

Umvelt

UMVELT is term used to describe the perceptual reality a species experiences based on the sensory physiology. It is often used in discussions of visual perception and animals.

I have broadened the use of the term to describe the very different reality tunnel that some unique individuals have.

Here is a roundup and celebration of some of those individuals.

Mark Borchardt, Filmmaker and subject of the documentary American Movie.


Crispin Glover


HR Giger


The Sherman Foundation has considered awarding prizes, much like Nobel, but different.
The prizes agreed upon by the oversight committee thus far are for:
1. Wasted Human Potential
2. Needless Squandering of Resources

I am considering proposing one for Outstanding Umvelt.

...Actors, Prostitutes and Lepers

If you haven't already noticed, my mind works like a Cubist painting, grafting together splintered insights and shards of tangential associations.

I was just trying to confirm online somewhere, the idea that clowns originated during the plague, when people would paint smiles on their faces and go out into the streets to laugh in the face of death. Then I got distracted photoshopping a clown photo I found on Google.



I did eventually stumble over to Wikipdia where I spotted the following passage:
The clown of this era and eras previous to it were also associated with jugglers, who were seen as the pariahs of society alongside actors, prostitutes and lepers...

Maybe it's time that Hollywood's vapid, overpriveledged players be return to their rightful place of status amongst the whores, lepers and jugglers. Recent examples (Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson) show what happens when they are given a little leash. They shit the rug.



It is a serious overstepping of bounds when actors are given a platform for words NOT written by someone else. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when I hear someone like Susan Sarandon spout liberal politics. I'll start listening when these over-resouced dumplings call for a redistribution of wealth and social status. They're concern for others seems so disengenuous given the fact that they work for an industry that produces mostly mind numbing, value eroding crap.



Social scientists often describe Hollywood as functioning alongside the "Military Industrial Complex" (or "Military-Entertainment Complex"), to keep the population entertained, distracted and stupid so that administrations like the current one can go unchallenged and unchecked even when the policies and actions are questionable in their legality or interests served. Thanks for your help Susan, who's side are you on again?

The Democratic Party is hopelessly lost as long as it draws on the support this kind of liberal hypocrisy and the shallow intellects of the "look at me" people.



I no longer take sides in political debates. I see my role as one similar to the trickster, pointing out the madness and burning cigarette holes in the fabric of conventional reality.

From Wikipedia: A trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, human hero or anthropomorphic animal who plays pranks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and norms of behavior. Related topically to clowns. See we're back.

Many people are scared of clowns. I'm scared of Melanie Griffith. You really need to see her site if you haven't yet.

Pluto to Earth, Dwarf this!

Friend of The Foundation, the HMS Q just sent this sketch for a t-shirt design. Well done! He also sugggested we hold a "Don't dis Pluto" Telthon.



The HMS Q would also like to point out that political relationships between the planets have been strained for som time.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Movie star Cruise and Planet Pluto both fired

Pluto dismissed.

Cruise ditched.

Barbarism Begins at Home

The fascinating origin of the barber pole from Wikipedia.

The origin of the barber pole is associated with the service of bloodletting. During medieval times, barbers also performed surgery on customers. The original pole had a brass basin at the top (representing the vessel in which leeches were kept) and bottom (representing the basin which received the blood). The pole itself represents the staff which the patient held onto during the procedure.
The red and white stripes symbolize the bandages used during the procedure: red for the blood-stained and white for the clean bandages. Originally, these bandages were hung out on the pole to dry after washing. As the bandages blew in the wind, they would twist together to form the spiral pattern similar to the stripes in the modern day barber pole. The barber pole became emblematic of the barber/surgeon's profession. Later the cloths were replaced by a painted wooden pole of red and white stripes.

The Smiths Barbarism Begins at Home.

Thanks Miss Snickerdoodle

From Wang to ejaculation target in no time flat.

I just read that Vera Wang will be peddling her shmatas at Khol's.

Why Vera?



This got me thinking about weekend circular's from Kohl's and Mervyn's and the bra spreads. When you are a horny 15 year old adolescent the weekend paper is a gift from the gods.

It will be a sad day indeed for teenage boys when those are replaced for good by web pages. Sneaking off to the bathroom with your laptop doesn't leave you with much "plausible deniability".

All this gives me a great idea for Target. One suitable only for the print medium. (Well I guess we could do a laptop screen sticker.)



Feel free to print this out for practice.



And last, I leave you with the t-shirt design I comp'd yesterday. Synchronicities abound!



OK. 1 more thing. The Buzzcocks performing Orgasm Addict.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Master Narratives

There are several books I would like to write.

One is the use of Master Narratives in Children's Games. My two favorite are:

1. Time is Running Out.




2. Impending Doom.




Hmm. Those are the two that preoccupy me in real life as well.
For those of you that skipped class the day that Lyotard's Postmodern Condition was discussed.

Roll. In. Dust.

I met Roland Andrijauskas this week and had he showed me some of his photography.
There is some really fantastic work here.



Why you kids pickin' on Daniel Craig?

There has been a lot of contention over the choice of Daniel Craig as the next 007.
Can one of my Brit mates explain this?

I thought he was great in Layer Cake. (Munich as well)


There are some mean spirited responses to his selection.


Here is the trailer for Casino Royale. You decide.

Conjoined Haiku or a Zen Koanlonoscopy
(spam poetry)

rehab rascal keep flatt
ever You think can kicks off fall.
See favorite Ice Shows


I usually don't read my horriblescope or pay attetion to spam poetry (those bursts of random, spam-filter-busting language which somehow transcend their mundane purpose and burst into the golden light of literary glory ) but the above caught my eye this morning. Its like a conjoined haiku or a zen koanlonoscopy. I won't try and separate or distill meaning. Lets just see if it lives.

Would anyone care to illustrate it for me?

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship is a project by Artist Chris Burden

Ghost Ship involves the autonomous voyage of a boat from Fair Isle, Scotland due south along the Eastern shores of the British Isles to Newcastle upon Tyne. Ghost Ship takes the form of a traditional 28 ft Shetland sailing boat, a 'Sixareen', and has been especially hand-built on Fair Isle by Ian Best. Fitted with the technology and equipment to enable independent navigation, Ghost Ship will embark on its maiden voyage from Fair Isle, set to arrive in Newcastle as the Tall Ships prepare to leave on the final leg of the race to Friedrichstadt, Norway on the 27th July. Ghost Ship will sail the final leg of its journey up the river Tyne in the wake of their departure. Once Ghost Ship has arrived it will be on public view until the 29th July. (From a release on the University of Southampton web site. )



(The web site is fun. Remote cameras that visitors could control from the site would have been more fun.)

Chris Burden gained notoriety as a body artist in the 70s for his controversial, life-risking performances.



His most well-known act from that time is perhaps the performance piece Shoot that was made in F Space in Santa Ana, California in 1971, in which he was shot in his left arm by an assistant from a distance of about five meters. -Wikipedia link


Nailed to a Volkswagen Bug in Crucifixion, 1973.

I've always been a big fan of the performance art of the 70's, particularly Body Art, primarily for its conceptual nature and emphasis on "process over product". As there is nothing to sell (other than book of the history), the art world seems to forget about this interesting work a bit more each year. (Vito Acconci is another great artist from this period)

Text of an article on Burden by Robert Horvitz. Originally published in Artforum magazine. (May 1976)

The opening from tht really bad movie Ghost Ship is really... just watch it

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Information Design Tuesday

I was penning the posts on Tufte and Presentation Zen when I received an email from Nixta on the BBC ads. I then when on to discover a few more links relating to information design on How it Happened. It wasn't my intention to be so prolific on a single topic this morning, it just happened. My apologies to those I have promised to slow down to.

The two inforgraphic spreads below and more can be found by clicking here.



Interactive Map Game

Geography Quiz:Did you know "the Middle East"' stretches as far west as the Western Sahara in Africa? What is the smallest Middle Eastern country? Test your knowledge on a new drag-and-drop game by clicking the link or the map graphic.

Click here to play the Interactive Map Game



Via How it Happened.

BBC Ad graphics

Touché!
Illustrations by: Karen Minot.






Via NIxta Via Rufus Via Advertising/Design Goodness. Hey! That's how these things work.

Presentation Zen

If you are not willing to fully support Edward Tufte in the abolition of PowerPoint (Tufte calls it "evil") in the very least you should be keeping up with Presentation Zen , a blog devoted to restoring a sense elegance and clarify to the art of presentation.

Given the use of use of Star Wars metaphors on the site maybe I should have said it is in an epic battle against the dark side to free the flow of THE FORCE.

Entertaining is the comparison of Jobs and Gates.




SEE ALSO:
Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte

(NOTE: Edward Tufte is in New York this week teaching his 1 day course. August 23-25)

Edward Tufte was on NPR recently discussing his new book, Beautiful Evidence.



From Wikipedia:
Tufte's work is important in such fields as information design and visual literacy, which deal with the visual communication of information. He coined the term "chartjunk" to refer to useless, non-informative, or information-obscuring elements of information displays; Tufte's work argues strongly against the inclusion of any decoration in visual presentations of information, and claims that ink should only be used to convey significant data and aid its interpretation. Tufte also developed sparklines- simple, condensed way to present trends and variation, associated with a measurement such as average temperature or stock market activity.

I've taken Tufte's 1 day course and highly recommend it. Tufte is a deeply passionate man and an engaging, entertaining presenter.

The 8 principles of analytical design that he covers in the course will instantly change the way you "see" information design. They are the kind of insightful distictions that can be put into practice immediately.

1. Show comparisons.
2. Show causality, process, dynamics, and mechanisms.
3. Show multi-variant examples (more than 1 or 2 variables)
4. Completely integrate word, number, and image; it is all evidence.
5. Document everything and tell people about it.
6. Presentations stand or fall on the quality, relevance and integrity of the content.
7. Show information adjacent in space rather than stacked in time.
8. Use small multiples.

In his new book he discusses the use "sparklines", short, in-text graphics used to present trend information against averagdeviancece. Here is a link to the excerpts on his site.

Link to Edward Tufte's web site.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The answer is 672.



Wikipedia claims the answer is 672.

"Serious" academic studies have been conducted to delved into lick research. Students at Purdue and Michigan went so far as to create licking machines. Who couldn't use a licking machine?

Wikipedia also has all the 411 on Tootsie lore, including one popularly circulated rumor was that a wrapper with the Indian shooting a star could be redeemed for a free Tootsie Pop. Although untrue, it was honored by many merchants.



The Tootsie site also has storyboards for Tootsie Fable, "How Many Licks" and a number of other spots including Whatever It Is I Think I See.

This post was actually prompted by the many Tootsie T-shirts I've spotted in Manhattan lately.

Don't Talk to Bears, a Tootsie parody.

SEE ALSO:
Eating Snickers may make you nuts.
Candyland

"Snakes" box office performance bites

Snakes on a Plane. A real disappointent following months of internet hype. Even more disappointing, I"m sure, to all those that held it up as a shining example of the power of user-generated content.

This much hasn't changed. A crappy film is still, a crappy film.

What was the other film that was hyped as "changing all the rules"? (click on comments for the answer)

It's a Mash-Up, Mash-Up World

Everywhere I look I see mash-ups. The combination of two or more things into a new whole. The term was originally used to describe user-generated songs that mixed different tracks together. I heard one the other day that laid Michael Jackson's vocals from the song Bad over the theme from Ghostbusters. A more recent favorite of mine is DJ moule's 303 is TNT. It combines AC/DC, Daft Punk, Fatboy Slim, James Brown and more into a work of kickin' genius.

The mash-up approach is now being used everywhere. Here's one from Reeses, a Reeses/Rice Krispy snack bar mash-up.


The movie Alien vs Predator was a movie mash-up.


The Vuitton pattern is mashed with one by artist Takashi Murakami on this limited-edition handbag.


One of the reasons why I believe this approach is becoming so widely employed is that mash-ups are so easily digested. Think of the way that movie concepts are pitched (sometimes facetiously, sometimes seriously), "It's Pretty Woman meets Out of Africa" (this and others appear as a recurring gag in the Altman film The Player.)

When two sources that have established context and provide potentially rich associations are combined, both are defamiliarized into a striking, new whole that you instantly "get". The impact can be powerful and the investment necessary to create and disseminate new concepts is shortcutted. With the amount of media and messaging now being absorbed, a method of introducing new products and concepts that cuts through the noise and is instantly understood is crucially necessary. We are increasingly a species of roaming scanners, filter through vast amount of signals and pausing briefly only for those things that have some kind of hook. The familiarity of a mash's source material and the "bang" of the defamiliarization delivered is such a hook. The number of ads and promotions I see for new music is overwhelming. I very rarely take the time to investigate any one of them, but will I click on a link to a mash-up featuring James Brown and AC/DC? F*** yea, I have to. (Word of mouth and personal recommendations are another important hook.)

The danger I see in all of this is the exhaustion of value from the source materials. Just as line-extensions can destroy a brands positioning, mash-ups can dilute the power of it sources by eroding their emotional impact and the clear spots they once held in people's hearts and minds.

SEE ALSO:
Holiday Mash-ups

Sunday, August 20, 2006

3 second Sunday sermon. August 20, 2006

Don't build the sandcastle of your self-worth out of the poo of other people's respect.

A collection of images related to granular physics. Including one sandcastle.

Now get on with your day!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

3 videos about ladyboys







A thank you to Nixta to turning me on to Alan Partridge and The Mighty Boosh.

52 brand pileup on Ford.com

It's hard to have sympathy for Detroit (my hometown) automakers when I see shit like this. If you go to Ford.com there is a link to a feature called "Select a Vehicle". It takes you to a page that allows you to browse vehicles from all brands owned by Ford. Ford, Merury, Mazda, Volvo, Aston Martin, Land Rover, Jaguar... they're all there in one big troft. This is beyond stupid. I'm not going to bother explaining why. If you want to know read Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout (its only been in print for 25 years). Way to go, a few more sales at the expense of destroyed brand equity. The same kind of short-term thinking that destroyed a once great city.

Maybe Avenue A Razorfish, Ford Motor Company's interactive agency, is responsible.



UPDATE: I see today that NPR has a few stories on Ford.
Ford to Halt Production at 10 Plants
Marketplace Report: Ford to Make Huge Cuts

I wonder if and how this will be covered by their online documentary series Ford Bold Moves?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Web Site Concept: Guest Curator

There is lot of discussion about the "consumer as curator" applied to participatory media (iTunes playlists are an example off this) but I've yet to hear it applied directlyto art. My site concept, Guest Curator, does exactly that.

This project would be a joint effort between all the major museums of the world. The works from their collections would be compiled into a shared database. There would be links to text about the individual works as well as information about the artist.

Visitors to the site would be able to browse and keyword search the collections. They would also have the option of playing "guest curator" by creating an exhibit and adding works to it. They could create an exhibit of works by their favorite artists(s) or do an collection based on theme like "The Portrayal of Crocodiles Through the Ages".

"Real" museum curators would occasionally visit the created online exhibits and leave critiques, offer comments.

A contest could be held and the winner could have their exhibit created in a real museum.

Through this, museums would have the opportunity to see what kinds of interests people have in works and subjects. What if, through the site, museums could post works available for touring and people could donate funds to bring particular works to their city? A potentially intereting fundraising approach.

Books of the "exhibits" could be created via a iPhoto type printing on demand service. Posters, postcards etc of individual works would be available as well.

Q: What do each of these pieces have in common?










See "comments" for the answer.

Big brands under fire


Has Coke become the new McDonald's?
An exccellent article on Coke's worldwide image problems. Here's an overview:

Nigeria
Allegations that Coca-Cola killed fish by pumping untreated waste into a lagoon near Lagos

Italy
Protesters disrupt relay of Olympic torch on route to Turin winter games

India
Charges that drinks contain 27 times the permitted levels of pesticides and water reserves have been depleted

Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua
Claims of ignoring anti-union abuses

United States
Universities, postal workers and teachers vote to remove products

Turkey
Allegations of ignoring intimidation and beatings of union activists

Uzbekistan
Linked to authoritarian government




Apple is inreasingly the topic of negative news articles.
DownhillBattle covers the issues many people have with Apple and iTunes. (I personally have stopped buying anything from iTunes.)

Apple admits MacBook, MacBook Pro issues
Anti-iTunes DRM demonstrations across the USA tomorrow
Apple sues itself in the foot (again)
Judging Apple Sweatshop Charge
Apple: No Sweatshop IPod Labor
Problems surfacing with iPod Nano screen


Nobody has straddled the love/hate line like Nike.


ALSO SEE:
The Natives are Shooting Back
Opening a Dialog with Consumers
The Natives are Talking Back