Goddess of the Golden Thighs

Reuben Nakian, Goddess of the Golden Thighs, 1964-65/Cast 1969-74, Bronze
Irving Arts Center, Irving, Texas

Goddess of the Golden Thighs, Reuben Nakian (click to enlarge)

Goddess of the Golden Thighs, Reuben Nakian
(click to enlarge)

I don’t care anymore what anyone thinks. It doesn’t matter, you know, what I do or what I say. I just try to keep busy. Even my art’s, you know. . . . I do things just to keep busy. I don’t give a goddamn if. . . . I don’t even care to go to the Metropolitan Museum, and that was like a sacred place for me, and that meant, you know, I don’t even care to go there. So, Jesus, I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m bored and blasé, you know. But I think my eyes. . . . I can’t see too good. Then I’ve been tired, I have a cold in my system. And it stays all summer and I’ve been tired as hell. Well, I’m feeling a little better now; maybe the cold’s worn off. I’ve got a little more pep. But when you’re saggy and tired and your eyes are not too sharp, you know, I get depressed.
—-Oral history interview with Reuben Nakian, 1981 June 9-17, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

What I learned this week, November 29, 2013

This internet thing is amazing. I woke up this morning and decided I wanted to watch a video where Björk opens up an old CRT-based television and explains how it work. And here it is:

It is obvious that Björk lives in her own world – and I wish I was in there with her.

This is what it looks like. Look at this. This looks like a city. Like a little model of a city. The houses, which are here, and streets. This is maybe an elevator to go up there. And here are all the wires. These wires, they really take care of all the electrons when they come through there. They take care that they are powerful enough to get all the way through to here. I read that in a Danish book. This morning.

This beautiful television has put me, like I said before, in all sorts of situations. I remember being very scared because an Icelandic poet told me that not like in cinemas, where the thing that throws the picture from it just sends light on the screen, but this is different. This is millions and millions of little screens that send light, some sort of electric light, I’m not really sure. But because there are so many of them, and in fact you are watching very many things when you are watching TV. Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture. And then because you’re so busy doing that, you don’t watch very carefully what the program you are watching is really about. So you become hypnotized. So all that’s on TV, it just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging it’s right or not.

You just swallow and swallow. This is what an Icelandic poet told me. And I became so scared to television that I always got headaches when I watched it. Then, later on, when I got my Danish book on television, I stopped being afraid because I read the truth, the scientifical truth and it was much better.

You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.


You shouldn’t let poets lie to you — words to live by.

Unfortunately, because of what I do for a living, I happen to know that when she reached in and touched the back of that tube – she came amazingly close to killing herself.

What determines your success is “What pain do you want to sustain?”

Money Quote:

“Yeah, if you’re a normal person why would you want to engage in the mud battles that are going on with, basically psychopathic people who are… people who are involved in politics are, by definition – going back to Reich, Wilhelm Reich, are emotional cripples of some sort that are working out their psychosis on the public at large.”

Another one:

“In its death throes, the mega-state is going to make a lot of mess  and it’s going to be hard to navigate… it’s gonna just… the externalities of that are going to be difficult to navigate through.”

Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions
And why their “bad” decisions might be more rational than you’d think.

From “Why I Make Terrible Decisions,” a comment on Gawker by a person in poverty.

I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don’t pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It’s not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn’t that I blow five bucks at Wendy’s. It’s that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.

Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.

How To Make Your Own Hot Pockets

Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality

Money Quote:

Back in the mid-1990s, I did a lot of web work for traditional media. That often meant figuring out what the client was already doing on the web, and how it was going, so I’d find the techies in the company, and ask them what they were doing, and how it was going. Then I’d tell management what I’d learned. This always struck me as a waste of my time and their money; I was like an overpaid bike messenger, moving information from one part of the firm to another. I didn’t understand the job I was doing until one meeting at a magazine company.

The thing that made this meeting unusual was that one of their programmers had been invited to attend, so management could outline their web strategy to him. After the executives thanked me for explaining what I’d learned from log files given me by their own employees just days before, the programmer leaned forward and said “You know, we have all that information downstairs, but nobody’s ever asked us for it.”

I remember thinking “Oh, finally!” I figured the executives would be relieved this information was in-house, delighted that their own people were on it, maybe even mad at me for charging an exorbitant markup on local knowledge. Then I saw the look on their faces as they considered the programmer’s offer. The look wasn’t delight, or even relief, but contempt. The situation suddenly came clear: I was getting paid to save management from the distasteful act of listening to their own employees.

Step-By-Step Ceviche Recipe Shows Anyone Can Do It

I didn’t try ceviche for a very long time because it was before I learned to love sushi and I didn’t like the idea of eating raw fish. Until one day on a whim, I decided to try making some. You guys — it’s not raw fish.

Through the magical powers of the acid in lime juice, the fish is “cooked” through. Ok, it’s not cook-cooked, but the texture is firm and not at all raw. So don’t be afraid of ceviche! Gather up some simple ingredients and make some with me.

Bonus: It’s incredibly healthy and in my humble opinion, a perfect diet food.

The Lost Excitement, Pathos, and Beauty of the Railroad Timetable
An elegy for the paper symbol of the mechanical age, an Object Lesson

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

The Forest

David Smith, The Forest, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

The Forest, David Smith (click to enlarge)

The Forest, David Smith
(click to enlarge)

From The Estate of David Smith – David Smith’s Statements

The Question—What is Your Hope

Original version, Smith notebook 28 (c. 1940s) final version c. 1950

I would like to make sculpture that would rise from
water and tower in the air–
that carried conviction and vision that had not
existed before
that rose from a natural pool of clear water
to sandy shores with rocks and plants
that men could view as natural without reverence or awe
but to whom such things were natural because they were
statements of peaceful pursuit–and joined in the
phenomenon of life
Emerging from unpolluted water at which men could bathe
and animals drink–that
harboured fish and clams and all things natural to it
I don’t want to repeat the accepted fact,
moralize or praise the past or sell a product
I want sculpture to show the wonder of man, that flowing water,
rocks, clouds, vegetation, have for the man in peace who
glories in existence
this sculpture will not be the mystical abode
of power of wealth of religion
Its existence will be its statement
It will not be a scorned ornament on a money changer’s temple
or a house of fear
It will not be a tower of elevators and plumbing with every
room rented, deductions, taxes, allowing for depreciation
amortization yielding a percentage in dividends
It will say that in peace we have time
that a man has vision, has been fed, has worked
it will not incite greed or war
That hands and minds and tools and material made a symbol
to the elevation of vision
It will not be a pyramid to hide a royal corpse from pillage
It has no roof to be supported by burdened maidens
It has no bells to beat the heads of sinners
or clap the traps of hypocrites, no benediction
falls from its lights, no fears from its shadow
this vision cannot be of a single mind– a single concept,
it is a small tooth in the gear of man,
it was the wish incision in a cave,
the devotion of a stone hewer at Memphis
the hope of a Congo hunter
It may be a sculpture to hold in the hand
that will not seek to outdo by bulky grandeur
which to each man, one at a time, offers a marvel of
close communion, a symbol which answers to the holder’s vision,
correlates the forms of woman and nature, stimulates the
recall sense of pleasurable emotion, that momentarily
rewards for the battle of being


Closeup of the crazing in the ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

Closeup of the crazing in the ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

The ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

The ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

The last moments of the ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

The last moments of the ice sculpture at the Dallas Contemporary

I have always been fascinated by ice as a sculptural medium. It is cheap, versatile, and, most importantly, temporary. It is fixed in time. What you see now is totally unique, it will never be repeated.

The coolest ice sculptures were Dane Pennington’s Transcendence – from the Arts District a couple years ago. Larger than life figures and monoliths slowly melted – releasing stones that were imprisoned within. I kept going downtown day after day to watch them melt.

Transcendence, on the first night.

Transcendence, on the first night.

Transcendence, on the first night.

Transcendence, on the first night.

After a day of melting in the rain

After a day of melting in the rain

A few weeks ago, I went on (and wrote about) a fun bike ride organized by Dallas Cycle Style. It started at, and was part of, The Dallas Contemporary 35th anniversary celebration. Out in front of the Contemporary was an ice sculpture called SCABhenge, built by the Socialized Contemporary Artists Bureau.

It had been out all night and the ice had crazed and was falling apart. I was there for its final demise, melting in the Texas afternoon.

If you watch this time lapse video closely, you can see a few bicycles from our group go by.

What I learned this week, November 22, 2013

5 city bikes that roll you through town in style
The latest in steel-framed, fender-clad, and leather-saddled bikes at a variety of price points.

Some of the ones that caught my eye:

Shinola Runwell

Purefix Bourbon

Public V7

If I could afford a new bike – this is what I would buy right now:
Xootr Swift

I love reading (and writing) short stories. Apparently, I’m not alone.

2013: The Year of the Short Story

In Dallas, a deafening slurping noise as the town goes crazy for Asian noodles

I’m going to have to go visit Sulphur Springs and use the public restrooms.

The Ten Sexiest Riffs in Music

You’ve probably already seen this – but it is the coolest music video I’ve ever seen. Be sure and check out all the channels.

Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone – Official Video

For some reason, I really like “The Price is Right” channel… maybe it’s just Drew Carey lip-syncing Dylan.

A cow-orker is retiring at the end of the year (an awful lot are) and he stopped by my office for my help on getting his replacement up and going. I asked the innocent question, “Do you have any plans for retirement.”

He got all excited and launched into a long lecture on kayak fishing and, especially, about the particular kayak he is getting ready to buy – the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14. I have to admit – the thing is pretty cool.

The most amazing (to me) feature are the foot powered propulsion fins. Two flexible extensions underwater are moved by pedals to propel the kayak forward. Pretty cool… but not cheap.