Archive for the ‘Take-Two Tuesday’ Category

Auden October: Inaugural edition, “The More Loving One”

October 6, 2010

This month will focus on W.H. Auden. Starting … now.

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

(Auden, W.H. “The More Loving One.” Homage to Clio. New York: Random House. 1960.)

via rimbaud-was-a-rolling-stone on the tumblr.

It seems to me, I suppose unfairly, that in a pair there is always a lover and a lovee. My nearly lifelong preference for the safely sheltered harbor of being a lovee has made me deliberately pass over and miss crucial opportunities, not to mention made a secret hypocrite and liar of me many times over, while allowing me never to really share all of myself.

Masculin Féminin (Godard, 1966).

It’s a journey that lacks the thrill of a rocky climb or winding bridge over water where your hands are clasped and you jump together over giant roots; it’s a dry, smooth, straight path that lacks all scenery and leaves you feeling more alone with someone else than by yourself. To consciously choose to change this behavior (which of course is a shield I long ago threw up to defend against pain down the road and have never fallen out of the habit) is one of my many resolves, but one that I don’t know when I will possibly be ready to put in to practice.

via bleedtoblack on the tumblr.

Oh — I’m coming at this poem from the perspective that it’s about more than stars. But even just the stars layer of meaning is cool, too, I guess.

Take-two Tuesday — Daily Batman: Advice, The Dark Knight edition

October 5, 2010

This post originally appeared on November 28, 2009 at 3:07PM.

This picture from The Dark Knight brings up two pieces of advice.

First, it is very important that you look at the Joker when he talks to you. Do not forget.

Second, you must accept that sometimes a thing is a foregone conclusion. Friend, he is wearing an apron fashioned of a garbage bag. There is no scenario in which this ends well for you.

Questions for discussion:

  • This scene is one of two in which the Joker gives a very detailed origin story about his scars. He is not asked about his scars by the people to whom he tells the stories, and the stories do not match. Why do you think this is?

  • Why do you think is it so important to the Joker that people look at him when he speaks to them?
  • Would you feel nervous if you had to talk to the Joker? (Suppose in this case he were not wearing a garbage bag and rather was just in his de rigeur violet and puce duds.) Why or why not?
  • Take-two Tuesday — Daily Batman: A wild beast loosed

    September 28, 2010

    This post originally appeared on May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm.

    “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”

    — Albert Camus

    Take-two Tuesday and Music Moment — Liberated Negative Space o’ the day: “Ska! Ska! Ska! Reggae. Ska!” edition

    August 24, 2010

    I’m hustling to get things together to substitute tomorrow for an ill colleague (some might call her the illest of my fellow staff) and the Madness song “Baggy Trousers” came on. Reminded me of this Liberated Negative Space which originally appeared on Nov 27, 2009 at 8:48 am.

    By ryrpizza on flickr.

    “So, what kind of music do you listen to?”
    “Mm. Sometimes reggae, but mainly ska. … Mainly ska.”

    end original post

    And, for the heck of it, here for your Music Moment playing pleasure is Madness, “Baggy Trousers” (Absolutely, Stiff Records, 1980).

    Madness — Baggy Trousers

    Madness were a 2 Tone second-wave ska band associated with the ska-and-reggae-infused-pop sound of the 1970’s and 80’s, a movement which lay lower and extended its roots more deeply than its little cousin, the more moshin’ third-wave ska-punk sound of the 1980’s and 90’s. I’m suggesting that the second-wave may not have charted as long or as widely and noisily as the later third-wave movement, but it was arguably of greater influence and import musically. Ya hear that, Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Kidding, dudes (they have been around since the early 80’s). To true ska fans, it has never and will never go out of fashion as a genre, so the question of waves becomes one entirely of preference, whether you are in to Mad Caddies or Mighty Bosstones; Pauline Black’s original work with The Selecter or inspired acts like early No Doubt. ‘Scuse me while I go throw on my checkered chucks and filch me some smokes down at the skate park. Catch you on the flip!

    Take-Two Tuesday — Movie Moment and Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day: Rik Mayall, Drop Dead Fred

    August 10, 2010

    This post originally appeared January 16, 2010.

    Drop Dead Fred (Ate De Jong, 1991), featuring madcap redhead Rik Mayall, who makes it all better and doesn’t condescend to mollycoddle while he does it. I would be okay with him cutting my hair in my sleep, or wiping snot affectionately down my cheek.

    I could use him, I think, right now … could definitely use him. Walking down memory lane watching this movie was like being repeatedly hit in the stomach with a club carved of ice. (Is that possible? Someone get back to me if it is.) Awesome. Check it out.

    Elizabeth’s world has been turned upside down. Her marriage appears to be over following her discovery that he has cheated on her; but she simply can’t stop loving him. In her misery, her imaginary childhood friend Fred reappears, having been previously locked away from her.

    Elizabeth stays with her mother; quite cold to Elizabeth, she intends to put Elizabeth back with Charles, but, in the meantime, makes her into a younger double of herself. Elizabeth works to get Charles back into her life, even turning up at a party (with Fred) that Charles is at. Despite part of Elizabeth being overjoyed at seeing Fred again and remembering their fun care-free times together, all he ever seems to do for Elizabeth is cause trouble.

    Elizabeth returns to Charles and starts taking medication* to rid herself of Fred. It is only when taking the last pill that she realizes Charles hasn’t changed at all and that Fred is really the only person she can trust. Unfortunately, the only way she can truly [confront her mother and husband] and rid herself of her fears is to lose Fred for good by realizing she doesn’t need him any longer. (the imdb)

    I’m a loner! I’m a crazy, wide-eyed loner on a doomed space mission to Venus to battle the three-headed mega-beast! But on the way back, I caught Cornflakes Disease.

    Fred: Why don’t we harpoon Charles straight through the head, drag him back to the apartment, and hit him with a hammer until he agrees to come back?
    Elizabeth: “Harpoon him through the head?” That won’t work, Fred.
    Fred: Why not? How many times have you tried it?

    Fred: I can’t believe we left the party so soon. And there was so much wine left to spit around the place!
    Elizabeth: I got upset.
    Fred: “I got upset.” God, you’re so stupid. You never leave a party until the very, very end.
    Elizabeth: Oh, really?
    Fred: Yeah, really!
    Elizabeth: What about Cinderella? Remember what happened with her?
    Fred: No, I don’t remember what happened “with her.” I deliberately forgot all about her. Uck. She made me puke. I remember the ugly stepsisters, though — they were great!

    Young Elizabeth: Did they live happily ever after?
    Polly: Of course, Elizabeth.
    Young Elizabeth: How do you know?
    Polly: Because, she was a good little girl. If she would have been naughty, then the Prince would’ve run away.
    Young Elizabeth: What a pile of shit.

    Wow [points up]. Cobwebs.

    Snotface, look — ink! Let’s write something on the carpet. I know, how about “Mother sucks“?!

    I don’t love you because love is for girls and girls are disgusting.

    *On the subject of the medication, the best single-panel webcomic I have ever seen. Natalie Dee‘s take on Drop Dead Fred: (click to make it larger)

    F’reals, Natalie Dee. You nailed it. To say nothing of the high risk of tardive dyskinesia with Haloperidol, making it a very unwise choice of antipsychotics to prescribe to someone under, say, 30. Total bullshit. (Why am I having déjà vu; I feel like I was just rambling about this to someone recently — Jonohs? Panda? Miss D …? ) Anyway, to wrap up, an in-costume off-set picture by the crafts table:

    Like all ladies, I am a sucker for stubble. Unlike most ladies, I brake for suspenders and striped pants, as well.

    Awesome! Final picture of perfection via the rocketman. Thanks, buddy — this picture, the hair, and Mayall’s hapless expression kind of made my day.

    (All screencaps via Samantha, aka timed, on the lj. Huge thanks for the fun and beautiful pictures. The ice stomach club is nothing to do with your great screencaps. Thank you!)

    Batter uuup!: Joan Jett edition

    July 16, 2010

    via sapphoscloset, very cool queer style blog, check ’em out!

    Vintage Joan Jett lookin’ all kinds of pimp and ready to hit that shit right out of the park.

    Please remember that Joan still looks THIS GOOD:

    That right there? Is what a motherfucking rock star looks like. Hell yes! I said goddamn, Joan Jett. Haters to the left.

    So few words in this entry, so many king-size cusses.

    Take-two Tuesday — Movie Moment and Advice: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    July 13, 2010

    This post originally appeared on November 11, 2009. I’m getting to be in kind of a dark place but a few good things have happened (I’ll share the spoils of the cool email I got from Milo tomorrow) and I’m trying to stay in a positive frame of mind. When this post came up in a random search to find a worthy take-two entry, I decided it would be good for me to get uplifted.

    I am not ready to go all the way in to this movie. I feel a tremendous amount about it and have a lot of memories tied too closely to it to possibly ever discuss it. But I had a few quotes and a small piece of advice associated with these pictures to share.

    Clementine: Am I ugly?

    Joel: Uh-uh.

    Clementine: When I was a kid, I thought I was. I can’t believe I’m crying already. Sometimes I think people don’t understand how lonely it is to be a kid, like you don’t matter. So, I’m eight, and I have these toys, these dolls. My favorite is this ugly girl doll who I call Clementine, and I keep yelling at her, “You can’t be ugly! Be pretty!” It’s weird, like if I can transform her, I would magically change, too.

    Joel: [kisses Clementine] You’re pretty.

    Clementine: Don’t ever leave me.

    Joel: You’re pretty… you’re pretty… pretty…

    (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Gondry, 2004.)

    This off-set picture below was taken the day that they shot the scene where Clemmy stops the children from making fun of Joel in his memory and hustles him out of there: that is such a great moment. I have always fantasized about being able to do that for people I love, my dearest and best friends, to be able to go back in time to their saddest moments and ease their suffering, do something to take their pain away and help them see that things will get better. But it is not just my friends’ times of despair that I apply this mental exercise to. I do it for me, too.

    Sometimes when I find myself haunted by a particularly painful memory, I honestly try to walk backward in my mind and picture a moment of great agony as clearly as I can, and I give my younger self a hug. I promise me it’s going to be okay. Try it. Maybe that’s how you got through it the first time, to begin with.

    Am I just a big ol’ girl?

    Take-two Tuesday — When art influences life: Sam Haskins Month, Day 2

    June 29, 2010

    This post orginally appeared in a less illustrated and much rant-freer form on December 2, 2009 at 9:46 am.

    Today I am thinking about Sam, but still pretty upset to find out he was dead. So I thought I’d use this below shot of him and Leni Riefenstahl as a springboard to discussing a little bit about propaganda (obviously entire books and brilliant essays are devoted to this topic, I just want to think out loud a bit). So. Sam and Leni. They were not any type of friends, but they of course knew one another, because of the international stature both held as artists.

    This picture with Leni was taken in Munich in the early 70’s. We were serving on the jury for a photographic competition organised by Der Spiegel. A friendly argument developed during a break in the judging activities. Postal sacks filled with the competition entries swamped the corridors leaving little room for chairs. (“Leni Riefenstahl,” Sam’s blog, entry dated 3/15/07)

    Still from Leni’s Olympia, 1938. She was a brilliant, bold pioneering female photographer who had a keen instinct for shapes and the human body — and she was a National Socialist in Hitler’s Germany.

    Leni Riefenstahl is a divisive and problematic figure for me to wrap my brain around: while her career has been largely brilliant, and I suppose each piece of art ought be considered an entity unto itself? — ought it? a debate for a different day maybe? — she is a photographer and cinematographer from whom for me it is difficult to separate the facts of her life and her art. See, her body of work is great, but besides such feats of human architecture as Olympia, that body of work also contains within it The Triumph of the Will, a handy piece of pure propaganda which launched her to forever-infamy and helped sway many to the National Socialist way of thinking.

    Leni Riefenstahl with Heinrich Himmler at Nuremberg, 1934.

    Yeah, that’s Heinrich Himmler and her at Nuremberg, 1934, setting up a cozy little scene for the camera. It’s significant and somewhat ironic to me and, you likely too, because, of course, she and Himmler and Joseph Goebbels, spinmeister, were busy here trying to launch some Nazi ships of popularity, and ultimately the career of many a Nazi ended there, eleven years later at the trials. Riefenstahl was arrested after World War II, but was not tried at Nuremberg, nor ever convicted of any crimes. Fair or unfair?

    It has recently become popular to exonerate Leni Riefenstahl for her part in Goebbels’ games on either a) the strength of her large body of striking and unique work or b) the reasoning that she did what she must during a time when a lot of people swallowed their true opinion to avoid persecution by the National Socialist party.

    Leni with some asshole.

    I do not believe there is any way of ever knowing for certain about (b). I simply think people are shoehorning their own opinions in to those years of her life so that they can excuse loving her later work. In fact, I have got to say that fearfully holding one’s tongue to avoid losing a job as a bank teller when one’s boss rants against Jews, versus being an artist of international stature who can reasonably leave a country and travel to another with little fear of detention — and then maybe even announce her repatriation to a place where they do not abduct and murkily displace citizens based on religion, a course chosen by many artists and scientists during this time — but not doing that and instead turning around and shooting The Triumph of the frigging Will, thank you very much, are two totally different situations, pressure-and-force-wise.

    l to r: Joseph Goebbels, Leni Riefenstahl, and Adolf Hitler.

    So the lukewarmly advanced “oh, but she had to do it” part of the argument is fishsticks in my book, I’m sorry. Bull-fucking-shit. Until I see hardcore documents that Leni was told something like, I don’t know, that her mother was being held and she would be whipped and her teeth would be pulled from her head and force-fed back to her every day unless Leni continued churning out propaganda, oh, and that P.S., all the anti-Semitic things she said and did in the 1920s and early 30s before the Third Reich had seized power and employed her at her own request were just for funsies, because she is totally not a hater!, then I will not ever, ever support that specious (b) argument.

    Leni and crew filming those all-important ’36 Olympics.

    There’s keeping your frightened mouth shut and half-heartedly going along with a thing with a constant eye to getting away, and then there is willful participation in that same thing in order to benefit socially, artistically, and financially. Painting Leni with that brush of reluctance is shameful and disgraces the good people who were placed by circumstance and fear for their loved ones in that hellish and untenable position, which they no doubt regretted to the end of their days. I say again: it is shameful and disgraceful to humanity to claim Leni belongs in that camp. Period.

    “Sielspringen.” Jumpropers. Leni Riefenstahl. Not sure of the date.

    I tried to be neutral but I got worked up even attempting to sound nice about it. Whoops. Blarg, it’s all slipping away from me, I get so nuts about WWII. I’m sorry.

    So … this was supposed to be about propaganda, both the first time and on this retread. I wanted to figure out what I think about art and propaganda, and it would seem that I think some pretty angry shit, but is that necessarily right or well-reasoned? Like, okay, Leni was arrested but not tried for her participation in the National Socialist campaign to conquer — you know … the globe. Leni won 50 cases of libel against her from people who said she had knowledge of war crimes like the concentration camps — which is weird, because if she was so innocent of this knowledge then I wonder why, when she was asked why she went along with the propaganda plans, she claimed it was out of her fear of being sent to a camp … a camp that she did not know existed. fascinating, yes? — and also claimed she would lament forever that people would associate her with Nazism. Can’t think why. But enough ranting, god, the main thing is: she was let go. So she never got a trial or did time. Ought she have?

    via peternicholson, Leni was shooting establishing-shot footage for a rally documentary and was caught by a friendly cameraman on the ground beneath one of her striking set designs in front of which a horribly real not-a-play-at-all went on.

    Question for discussion: is propaganda a crime? A con of the highest order, making it a physical and emotionally abusive crime of course, as any manipulative act must be, but also, and perhaps more strangely, a crime against art itself? A violation of its core function? If the purpose of art is to express yourself, and we see that for some being provocative is how they do it (I do not believe the work of shock artists violates or upheaves what I’ve just advanced as the core purpose of art; I believe their work still falls beneath the aegis of self-expression, whether they understand that or not), then is propaganda a gross perversion of the core purpose, forcing a perspective on the viewer rather than expressing one’s own, muscling and manipulating and violating the relationship between seer and seen?

    Olympia series by Leni Riefenstahl, 1938, via bodypixel. Do check the piece out.

    We talked about what happens when art imitates life, and when art imitates art, but what about when life imitates art because art influences life? What would Leni’s dear friend Goebbels, great-grandfather of the spin and the catchy slogan, answer, if he had not been killed himself rather than face trial (or death at the hands of Dönitz) in the liberated Germany? What are the implications of how art as propaganda was used politically, with our historical understanding, when we look now at modern instances of using art to increase the popularity of a product or idea, from advertising of food and beverages and clothing to much more volatile and animate subjects such as people and philosophies and lifestyles?

    Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Charlize Theron for Christian Dior, “J’Adore” parfum.

    Or am I all backward. Is the opposite so? Is all art propaganda of some kind? One of my favorite movies, The Cradle Will Rock, written and directed by Tim Robbins, which is set during the 1930’s, draws consistent symbolic parallels between artists and whores, and even has a line where William Randolph Hearst says, not sneeringly, but simply with a practical confidence, “And artists are whores — like the rest of us.” Has the relationship between art and advertising and commercialism and pop cultural consciousness come so far that there is no way to ever go back? And, fuck, what do I know, like is that so wrong?

    “Tommy Hilfiger Celebrates Sam Haskins.”

    “We have burnt our bridges. We cannot go back, but neither do we want to go back. We are forced to extremes and therefore resolved to proceed to extremes.” (Joseph Goebbels, 1943)

    I do not have answers. I’m frustrated and bummed and totally confusing myself. I quit! I’ll regroup and come back to this a different day.

    Take-Two Tuesday — Music Moment: Grant Hart, “You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water” from new LP Hot Wax

    June 8, 2010

    Originally posted on November 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm. This song still WAILS. So good, seriously.

    Grant Hart – You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water

    Grant Hart is best known for his drumming and writing with Hüsker Dü and for co-founding Nova Mob. This track comes from his fourth solo album, Hot Wax, which came out October 6th. It’s awesome.

    “Blonde” by abless on flickr.

    Witchy and melodic and also super-strong, with this really wicked organ-and-rides vibe that makes it driving and Doors-y, the song is basically the same four verses repeated and I didn’t even notice until I typed out the lyrics. The music is so insistent that it just seemed natural. Hart has said that the lyrics are inspired by the Dalai Lama and the composition by Patti Smith; both influences are totally there. You’re going to love it! Listen!

    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    but you’re not the moon

    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind

    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
    but you’re not the sea

    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    but you’re not the light

    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    but you’re not the rain

    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    You’re the reflection of the moon on the water
    but you’re not the moon

    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
    You are the scent of the sea on the night wind
    but you’re not the sea

    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    You are the shadows from the light of a fire
    but you’re not the light

    PSA: August is going to be Sharon Tate Month around here.* Did You Know? Pass it on.

    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    You are the sound of the rain on the dry earth
    but you’re not the rain

    Verses repeat a final time.

    Also by abless on flickr.

    *In a beautiful and upbeat, positive “respectful-celebration-of-her-life” way — not in a scummy, explotive, tragic “let’s-dwell-on-stupid-asshole-murderers-and-not-the-people-whose-lives-they-took” way, because I am fully fucking sick of that shenanigans overshadowing her beauty, talent, and sense of humor. (Sorry to drop massive f-bomb out of nowhere but there is just no call for how much horrifying b.s. people still bloodthirstily associate with her instead of letting her good deeds and fun performances stand on their own.) Call it Sharon Tate’s ACTUAL LIFE Awareness Month or something. Join me for that!

    Talk nerdy to me: LeVar Burton “The science of peace” edition

    April 25, 2010

    I have mentioned before that I follow me the shit out of some LeVar Burton on the twitter (for the record, the Red Cross “Haiti” texting thing is still on like Khan so think about donating, because the need is still very strong, especially as summer comes on and people have gradually stopped donating money needed very badly to keep plenty of clean, purified water around and sanitized conditions for the food getting to refugees, for example: to displaced children — a diptheria epidemic happening now among all those orphaned kids would basically be about the most disastrous and heartbreaking thing I can even think of, you know?).

    From LeVar Burton’s twitpic account. With the Shat-man. Look at those OG’s! Super-cute!

    I have these pictures up mainly to get your attention. It is obvious, accepted, manifest fact that LeVar Burton is one of the coolest and best human beings to walk the earth. Duh. Would you like to be as basically all-around amazing and centered and loving and a vessel of karmic groove in this universe Just Like Him? Then let’s talk about LeVar’s involvement with the extremely cool documentary The Science of Peace, dudes!

    What if …
  • …science discovered a unified field of consciousness which affected the way people think and behave?
  • …we could find a way to consciously impact this field with our thoughts and feelings?
  • …a global media event would succesfully enroll millions of people to participate in an unprecedented world peace experiment?

    (official site)

  • with the amazing STEVIE WONDER!!

    Great minds from Tesla to Kant to Rosseau to Jung have believed in this tantalizing possibility of reaching a positive meta-energy which just might happen to be God’s will for mankind, so don’t dismiss it straight out of hand as tree-hugging hippie crap! There is some real Science to this, guys.

    Hosted by LeVar Burton, The Science of Peace features pioneering physicists, biologists, and philosophers who are established in the emerging new field of Peace Science.

    The film effectively illustrates how each person, when bringing peace in to his or her own life, becomes an instrument for global peace.

    He is also the executive producer. Putting this post together lead meto some really neato-terrific and amazing sources.


    I hope to share more about Peace Studies soon but here is the essential lowdown on relative newcomer Peace Science, which is the subject of the documentary: it is a hard-science effort to unify the threads of ideas that run through the incredibly important social sciences movement of Peace Studies. The Peace Science Society has an explanation of the various philosophies and social sciences that comprise the touchstones of the “argument” for peace studies at Penn State, and it is always well-spent time to give the latest articles in The Acorn a spin. (The Acorn is the official journal of the Gandhi-King society. If you don’t feel like subscribing, it’s on ProjectMUSE and the JSTOR.)

    Great picture with Nichelle Nichols. Remember on Dr. King’s Day when she came up? In case you forgot, the factoid that was related then was how she was thinking of leaving the TOS cast and Dr. King told her to stay because Lt. Uhura was a wonderful role model for people of color, especially women. Soooo great.

    Anyway, check the documentary’s official site out and show some love by visiting the “How You Can Help” section — it’s too late to participate in the documented experiment, but you can still donate and help subside costs for production, travel, distribution, etc. Cool beans!


    March 16, 2010

    Well, heck. I thought I had more gushy crap about the universe on here than that. I guess I am not as out about my liking it “astro-tastic” as I thought.

    Astronomy Domine by pequeñísimo ser on the flickr.

    Man. Sorry that Take-Two Tuesday, the “Oh my stars” edition, was so brief. I am going to throw up a Daily Batman, some Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day, maybe a vintage nude chick, maybe not, depending on how much time I got, and stick a fork in the internet and call it done for the day, dudes. Slipping over to Quizno’s with Gorgeous George and then we are going to try to make heads or tails of tonight’s “Lost.” Lovin’s!

    Take-Two Tuesday: Be the light in the darkness

    March 16, 2010

    Originally posted September 4, 2009 @ 9:09 am

    “We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.” –Kenneth Clark

    When I read that Kenneth Clark quote, I thought right away of this picture and quote from Carl Sagan.

    I think we often catch sight of our cosmic tininess and we grow despairing. I often have. Like, why does it matter, what’s the point, I’m dust, I’m nothing, on and on. But I think I’ve been on the wrong track, and there is positivity to be mined here. There is no reason at all to let this beautiful picture and quote by Carl Sagan discourage you or make you feel like giving up. Like Clark said, we mustn’t let cynicism destroy us. You are not insignificant — you are incredible. What a phenomeon you are, and what a short time you have to blaze like the miracle you were intended to be. Light up a dark place today!

    Take-Two Tuesday — Believe the Impossible

    March 16, 2010

    Originally posted September 10, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    The Gentleman just linked me to this. The Butterfly Nebula as imaged by the repaired Hubble, brief article.

    “We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” –Ray Bradbury

    Believe it. We are extraordinary. How can I focus on my tiny, insignificant problems and feel beat down when I am moving through this beautiful, miraculous universe? I will try to stop staring at the ground and scuffing my feet when I could be gazing at the stars. Thanks for the perspective, Christo!

    Take-Two Tuesday — Advice: Of stars and not giving up hope edition

    March 16, 2010

    Originally published Jan 10, 2010 @ 23:06

    I’ve had a kind of crap time of it lately, even though I strive to stay upbeat, and I know several of my friends are feeling the same. As I find my words are not adequate to really comfort myself, I certainly wouldn’t inflict them on you, so I thought I’d turn to better sources.

    I guess the one thing I would try to impart is that it’s a blue time, and I empathize so deeply, but we are so small in the breathtaking scope of the universe that, for me, it helps to look up and remember that just my being alive is, itself, a stroke of fortune greater than I could possibly begin to grasp, and I ought savor that miracle instead of bemoaning where it fails to meet the mark — even when it doesn’t seem terribly miraculous or deserving of thanks, life is still a gift. Dearest friendohs who are hurting tonight, I hope these better words of wisdom below put the grace and hope that you deserve in to your heart.

    “Adventures in Space” by aaliyeh on the flickr.

    Take-Two Tuesday — An explanation

    March 16, 2010

    A special and rare day for you today,* all day: the stars-and-stuff-about-the-universe blogs so nice, I’m posting them twice on this extra special Take-Two Tuesday!

    *(read: I am feeling Ways About Things and haven’t got the heart for posting originals)
    This is star IC-1805’s nebula cluster in the Casseiopeia constellation.

    Like a radio station with two-fer-tuesdays of butt rock, but with reblogs of old posts instead. (And maybe some new if I can get my spacebar to stop sticking so badly.)

    Gliese 710 — it’s cominnnnng, are you ready?

    I was thinking about and possibly talking about Cygnus X-1 recently and I am suddenly feeling very intergalactic planetary today as well as disinclined to go writing original thoughts in my current state of mind. Going to try to find all my astro-posts so far and post those babies up instead. And, like I said, I will attempt later to explain why I am all up onz with Cygnus X-1, if keyboard permits.

    Antares is one of the brightest and biggest stars out there and will continue to splendidly shine on for hecka generations, reminding us that the time scale of the universe makes insignificant fools of us all.

    To continue with the caption — This star is so hot and huge that it makes Lady Gaga look like Ace of Base. Sick BURN. Aw, that was mean, I’m just sayin’: fame is pretty fleeting unless you are a literal, physical, no-shit-for-real star. In which case your chances of being seen and wished upon by all of human history are damned good indeedy. Which is a pretty neat, terrific kind of fame, really.