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March 27, 2020

"The Plague" — Albert Camus


His 1947 novel is perfect for these times.

Read it free here.

If you don't agree that it's on point in terms of topicality, let me know and I'll refund twice what you paid for it.

March 27, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Art of Napping

March 27, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

kanopy: Free movies

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From kanopy: "Stream thousands of films for free, thanks to the generous support of your public library or university."

I was amazed to see that they have a ton of movies I paid Apple good money to rent.

To reiterate: it's free, the way we like it.

March 27, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)



[Above, a tiny figure known as stikman — created by a guerilla artist who goes by the moniker stikman — sits in the crosswalk in front of the National Gallery of Art West Building, at Madison Drive NW and the Mall. Thousands of the figures adorn streets nationwide.]

From the Washington Post:

Q. Have you ever noticed these little alien-person stickers on roads in the District and other cities? In D.C. I notice them mostly at crosswalks near the Mall. But I've seen them in Philadelphia, too. Who puts them there? What do they signify?

A. Answer Man has always thought of them as robots. Some people see them as aliens, others as zombies.

In fact, says the artist who creates them, they are men made of sticks: stick men.

Or, to give them the name the artist prefers, they are stikmen. 

That artist goes by the moniker stikman. (He prefers not to use his real name.) He responded to questions from Answer Man via email.

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Stikman estimates that he has installed about 14,000 of the figures on roads, crosswalks and sidewalks around the country, from his native Philadelphia to New York to Hollywood.

In Washington, you can see one at Third and Pennsylvania NW.

Another is at Third and D streets SW. More are on Madison and Jefferson avenues, near the Mall.

Stikman explained that his initial inspiration was an old plaque he saw at a flea market that bore a figure made of sticks.

That figure became his leitmotif, a tool for what he calls his "improvisational art practice of finding interesting 'canvases' in the urban environment."

Recently, that has included embellishing public pay-phone kiosks.

But in the beginning, in the early 1990s, stikman fashioned tiny figures — about five inches tall — from wood and other materials and positioned them in the urban landscape.

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They were affixed to such things as walls, utility boxes and bridge abutments.

"The tarmac figures seemed like a good way to mark the territory where I had been working," he wrote. "Sort of a 'Bat Signal' on the ground since that is where most people's eyes go when they are walking."

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Being on the ground meant they were at the mercy of the elements, which included being rolled over by countless steel-belted radials.

"I soon realized that the figure had become a time-based form of art," stikman wrote. "They morphed and distorted and slowly changed as time and circumstance worked its magic on them."

In a September 2008 article in The Post, stikman (then going by "Bob") said he'd visited Washington that summer, checked out an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery, then installed dozens of stikmen.

"He considers himself an artistic Johnny Appleseed, spreading stikmen instead of seeds," wrote The Post's Stephen Lowman.

The figures are made of the same material used in road markings: tiny glass beads held in a glue substrate.

That makes them durable.

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"I try to avoid people when installing," he wrote. "They make me nervous and uncomfortable and I prefer my work to have an element of illusion to make it more powerful."

In 2015, a print by stikman was among a collection of limited-edition graffiti-inspired artworks sold by Amazon.

The work depicted the artist’s iconic figure screen-printed in green across the first page of the overture to Handel's "Messiah."

RJ Rushmore, a curator and creator of the street-art blog vandalog.com, told Philadelphia magazine: "He is a great cult figure — and a great entree into street art. His work is immediately interesting and immediately recognizable — always different, but always the same. I never tire of it."

As for what the figures are — aliens? robots? — and what they mean, stikman says he is comfortable with any interpretation that someone finds interesting.

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"I like to observe them over years to see the changes they go through," he wrote. "Sometimes all that is left is a small blob. I guess that maybe they signify that life is ever changing as we slowly fade from existence." 

March 27, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?

Try again

Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: inedible.

Another view:

Fooled u


March 27, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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