October 16, 2009
Hack A Day — 'Fresh hacks each day'
What's not to like about
NBA Video Rulebook Goes Live Today
Long story — by Howard Beck in today's New York Times Sports section— short: "For each rule , there are several videos, along with a written explanation. The audio has been stripped from the clips, to avoid confusion. The catalog includes some of the most misunderstood and most difficult calls: block versus charge, illegal screens and a variety of traveling violations."
"There are several examples to show what separates a first-degree flagrant foul (defined as unnecessary) from a second-degree flagrant foul (unnecessary and excessive) from a simple hard foul."
"Throw it down, big man!"
Jumping the Shreck — Or, why that Jeff Koons vacuum cleaner might not be the best long-term investment
Denis Dutton, in his superb New York Times Op-Ed page essay today, peered back into the distant past and then forward into the dim future to posit that conceptual art doesn't have the inherent capacity to remain art over deep time.
Excerpts from Dutton's piece follow.
Art's link with money is not new, though it does continue to generate surprises. On Friday night, Christie’s in London plans to auction another of Damien Hirst’s medicine cabinets: literally a small, sliding-glass medicine cabinet containing a few dozen bottles or tubes of standard pharmaceuticals: nasal spray, penicillin tablets, vitamins and so forth. This work is not as grand as a Hirst shark, floating eerily in a giant vat of formaldehyde, one of which sold for more than $12 million a few years ago. Still, the estimate of up to $239,000 for the medicine cabinet is impressive — rather more impressive than the work itself.
No disputing tastes, of course, if yours lean toward the aesthetic contemplation of an orderly medicine cabinet. Buy it, and you acquire a work of art by the world’s richest and — by that criterion — most successful living artist. Still, neither this piece nor Mr. Hirst’s dissected calves and embalmed horses are quite “by” the artist in a conventional sense. Mr. Hirst’s name rightfully goes on them because they were his conceptions. However, he did not reproduce any of the medicine bottles or boxes in his cabinet (in the way that Warhol actually recreated Brillo boxes), nor did he catch a shark or do the taxidermy.
In this respect, the pricey medicine cabinet belongs to a tradition of conceptual art: works we admire not for skillful hands-on execution by the artist, but for the artist’s creative concept. Mr. Hirst has a talent for coming up with concepts that capture the attention of the art market, putting him in the company of other big names who have now and again moved away from making art with their own hands: Jeff Koons, for example, who has put vacuum cleaners into Plexiglas cases and commissioned an Italian porcelain manufacturer to make a cheesy gold and white sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp. Mr. Koons need not touch the art his contractors produce; the ideas are his, and that’s enough.
Does this mean that conceptual art is here to stay? That is not at all certain, and it is not just auction results that are relevant to the issue. To see why works of conceptual art have an inherent investment risk, we must look back at the whole history of art, including art’s most ancient prehistory.
The appreciation of contemporary conceptual art... depends not on immediately recognizable skill, but on how the work is situated in today’s intellectual zeitgeist. That’s why looking through the history of conceptual art after Duchamp reminds me of paging through old New Yorker cartoons. Jokes about Cadillac tailfins and early fax machines were once amusing, and the same can be said of conceptual works like Piero Manzoni’s 1962 declaration that Earth was his art work, Joseph Kosuth’s 1965 “One and Three Chairs” (a chair, a photo of the chair and a definition of “chair”) or Mr. Hirst’s medicine cabinets. Future generations, no longer engaged by our art “concepts” and unable to divine any special skill or emotional expression in the work, may lose interest in it as a medium for financial speculation and relegate it to the realm of historical curiosity.
In this respect, I can’t help regarding medicine cabinets, vacuum cleaners and dead sharks as reckless investments. Somewhere out there in collectorland is the unlucky guy who will be the last one holding the vacuum cleaner, and wondering why.
Christmas Images Mini Projector: World's cheapest insomnia treatment
From the website:
Christmas Images Mini Projector
Our projector resembles a flashlight, but has three disks inside to project colorful 2-foot holiday pictures on walls, ceilings, doors, or floors.
Features an on and off switch and focusing lens; uses two AA batteries (not included).
Kids will love shining the 24 merry images all around the house.
Ages 4 and up.
Suitable for bookofjoe readers of all ages.
Will not harm paint.
BehindTheMedspeak: Grand Rounds Bingo — 20 Essentials for a Truly Forgettable Presentation
He wrote, "By analyzing these many bad talks, I have formulated 20 essential rules for delivering a mediocre and sometimes horrible presentation. If you follow these essential elements of a bad talk, I can assure you that your talk will be bad — possibly even very bad — a talk that will enter the pantheon of truly horrible presentations."
Those in fields other than medicine (law, academia at large, business, etc.) can adapt these excellent precepts to their own particular ends.
1. Allow a lengthy introduction
2. Begin or end with "It is an honor, pleasure and privilege to be here today"
3. Use phrases like "It goes without saying," "At the end of the day," "Having said that," and their ilk
4. Include a reference to last night's lavish dinner
5. Include any of the following in the title of your address: "Concept," Approach," "Modality," "Current" and their ilk
6. Refer to little known academicians by their first names.
7. Use a golf or tennis reference
8. Do not meet with the audiovisual crew before your presentation
9. Speak longer than 30 minutes
10. Use a weather reference
11. Read your slides to the audience
12. Look at your slides as your are reading them
13. Go mind-numbingly deep into your own research
14. Use references more than five years old
15. Use a personal reminiscence involving the physician who invited you to speak
16. Use a cartoon
17. Use goofy animation
18. Refer to your family, a luxurious vacation or your hobby
19. Use DMV eye test type size
20. Compliment the residents with whom you just made rounds
"Sometimes, graffiti is just the universe's way of getting you to think in a new direction. Print laminate on wood composite; four pre-drilled holes. 8"H x 12"W."
Complicity — by Julian Barnes
Who knows how long it will stay up online?
My advice: print it out yesterday if you don't have the time to read it now.
When I was a hiccupping boy, my mother would fetch the back-door key, pull my collar away from my neck, and slip the cold metal down my back. At the time, I took this to be a normal medical—or maternal—procedure. Only later did I wonder if the cure worked merely by creating a diversion, or whether, perhaps, there was some more clinical explanation, whether one sense could directly affect another.
The first time I met her was at a party of Ben’s; she had brought her mother. Have you watched mothers and daughters at parties together, and tried to work out who is taking care of whom? The daughter giving Mum a bit of an outing, Mum watching for the sort of men her daughter attracts? Or both at the same time? Even if they’re playing at best friends, there’s often an extra flicker of formality in the relationship. Disapproval either goes unexpressed or is exaggerated, with a roll of the eye and a theatrical moue and a “She never takes any notice of me, anyway.”
Your parents never warn you about the right things, do they? Or perhaps they can warn you only about the immediate, local stuff. They bandage the knuckle of your right middle finger and warn against getting it infected. They explain about the dentist, and how the pain will wear off afterward. They teach you the highway code—at least, as it applies to junior pedestrians. My brother and I were once about to cross a road when our father put on a firm voice and instructed us to “pause on the curb.” We were at the age when a primitive understanding of language is intersected by a kind of giddiness about its possibilities. We looked at each other, shouted, “Paws on the curb!,” then squatted down with our hands flat on the edge of the roadway. Our father thought this was very silly; no doubt he was already calculating how long the joke would run.
I used the word “complicity” a bit ago. I like the word. To me, it indicates an unspoken understanding between two people, a kind of pre-sense, if you like. The first hint that you may be suited, before the nervous trudgery of finding out whether you “share the same interests,” or have the same metabolism, or are sexually compatible, or both want children, or however it is that we argue consciously about our unconscious decisions. Later, looking back, we will fetishize and celebrate the first date, the first kiss, the first holiday together, but what really counts is what happened before this public story: that moment, more of pulse than of thought, which goes, Yes, perhaps her, and Yes, perhaps him.
I tried to explain this to Ben, a few days after his party. Ben is a crossword-doer, a dictionary lover, a pedant. He told me that “complicity” means a shared involvement in a crime or a sin or a nefarious act. It means planning to do something bad.
I prefer to keep the term as I understand it. For me, it means planning to do something good. She and I were both free adults, capable of making our own decisions. And nobody plans to do anything bad at that moment, do they?
We went to a film together. I had as yet no clear sense of her temperament and habits. Whether she was punctual or unpunctual, easygoing or quick-tempered, tolerant or severe, cheerful or depressive, sane or mad. That may sound like a crude way of putting it; besides, understanding another human being is hardly a matter of box-ticking, in which the answers stay the answers. It’s perfectly possible to be cheerful and depressive, easygoing and quick-tempered. What I mean is, I was still working out the default setting of her character.
Our fingers must work together; our senses, too. They act for themselves, but also as pre-senses for the others. We feel a fruit for ripeness; we press our fingers into a joint of meat to test for doneness. Our senses work together for the greater good: they are complicit, as I like to say.
Curling Iron Ear Cuffs
From the website:
Curling Iron Ear Cuffs
Curl or straighten hair safely — curling iron ear cuffs protect ears from burns.
The soft, flexible cuffs are comfortable and serve as ideal safeguards.
Also helpful when using hot combs or hot rollers.
Elastic strap keeps cuff in place.
Set of two.
$4.98 (curling iron not included).
Oh, yeah, one last thing: make sure to remove them before you head out.