Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Adams’

Advice: Eff the ineffable and See you on the flip!

July 4, 2011

Still phoning it in. This post is originally from last year, but I took out the stuff about the Wonder Woman project (later aborted because when it comes to her I’ve got the attention span of a baby gnat). This year I’m needing to let go of my anxiety about a job with an amazing non-profit for which I interviewed last Friday and I Really, Really, Really want. So the advice still stands!


“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

(Douglas Adams.)

Let go and get in that “jump!” frame of mind. Eff the ineffable, indeed, and don’t let all the shit that doesn’t matter get in the way of the shit that does.

Happy Fourth of July — ‘scuse me while I slap on my Wonder Woman wunderoos and conquer the world! Scheduling a Daily Batman, maybe a Girl of Summer and then I will catch you on the flip.

Daily Batman: Wild cats

July 3, 2011

“Milk” by devoteeofart on the d.a.

All cats are wild. They only act tame if there’s a saucer of milk in it for them.

(Douglas Adams)

Playmate Revisited: Shannon Tweed by George Hurrell, with bonus Classic Hollywood photography blatherings

June 28, 2011

Lovely Ms. Tweed gets the Veronica Lake treatment from a celebrity photographer.

Backstory: In the still-building comments on my sadly meager original Shannon Tweed entry, from the heady days of NSFW November when I was still relatively new to this game, reader Jed Leyland* suggested this morning that I chase down and post up what I could find from a shoot Shannon did with the legendary George Hurrell.

Here it is!

The new actresses don’t have the sense of posing that the old stars did. There’s no one around to train them. That’s why Hollywood seems less glamorous. But Shannon is different. She knows how to pose and what to do with herself. What surprised me more than anything was her nice personality — the kind of personality that has an intellect to go with it. I was quite impressed with that.

(George Hurrell on Shannon Tweed.)

The lovely and talented Ms. Tweed posed for Playboy Italia in February of 1984. Her spread was photographed by George Hurrell, on whom the article mainly focused.

«George Hurrell, famoso fotografo statunitense, non ha perso il pelo (dei suoi cappelli, della sua barba), ma nemmeno il vizio — che nel sui caso e senz’altro una notevole vurti — di roncorrerre con l’obiettivo il fascino femmininile, per catutrarly e renderlo fermo nel tempo, assoluto.»

«Nelle fotographie di questa paging potete vedere , attualissima playmate degli anni ottanta. Hurrell l’ha ritratta, nella sua inquieta e moderna bellezza, come trenta, quarant’anni fa andava a caccia del fascino segreto, quasi raccolto in una cornice antica del sex-appear, appena accennato ma no nper questio meno pruriginoso, di attrici che sarebbero restate nella storia del cinema. Anche per merito sui, occhio discreto e innamorato che chon le sue “ispiratrici del momento” sapeva creare un sodalizio, quasi un legame sentimentale, queste foto riescono a uscire dalle pieghe del tempo per restituirci un fascio che credebvamo di allora e che invece e anchi de adesso, incredibilmente attuale.»

What’s that? Unlucky enough to have grown up without smatterings of Italian and a certain gameness for descrying cognates? No sweat. Let’s hit the babelfish, shall we? I love living in DA‘s future.

«George Hurrell, famous American photographer, has not lost the hair (of its nails head, of its beard), but not even the defect — that in on the case and senz’ other a remarkable one vurti — of roncorrerre with l’ objective the femmininile fascination, for catutrarly and rendering it firm in the time, absolute.»

«In the fotographie of this paging you can see, most current playmate of years eighty. Hurrell it has ritratta, in its restless and modern beauty, like thirty, forty years ago it go huntinged of the secret fascination, nearly collected in an ancient frame of the sex-appear, as soon as pointed out but not nper questio less pruritic, than actresses who would have remained in the history of the cinema. Also for merit on i, discreet and fallen in love eye that chon its ” ispiratrici of the momento” it knew to create a society, nearly a sentimentale tie, these photos succeed to exit from the folds of the time in order to give back a bundle to us that credebamo then and that instead and anchi de now, incredibly they puts into effect.»

Clear as mud now, jes? Honestly, you get the gist, I wager. Thanks, babelfish! I had originally intended to show the above pictures as proof that Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed were still going strong and sometimes folks get it right, isn’t that affirming?, but in the interest of accuracy I gave “gene simmons and shannon tweed” a quick googly-moogly, and apparently they’re having problems. So that sucks. Different direction required.

George Hurrell was one of the premiere Hollywood photographers for the glamour portraits and studio stills of the 1930’s-40’s. He is particularly famous in classic Hollywood portraiture for his “north light,” seen here applied to Anna May Wong.

Anna May Wong, photographed by George Hurrell.

He achieved this dramatic effect chiefly with the use of fresnels (which we’ve defined and discussed before in the 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies post on my fave-ohs, Twelve Monkeys) placed on a boom well above and only slightly in front of the subject.

Joan Crawford photographed by George Hurrell for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1932.

This bright, diffuse key light, along with some artsy post-treatment of his negatives, created the glowing planes with deep contrasting shadows and illuminated, heroic facial lines in his shots that basically define Art Deco photography and made his name. Joan Crawford adored him (above and below) because his luminous portraits revealed — or maybe created — a softness in her that few other still photographers were capable of capturing, which ran as a nice counterpoint to the brassy, hard women she played, to say nothing of her reputation as a handful on set.

Joan by George, 1933. By applying the north light and having Joan cock her forehead with her hand, probably to break up the imposingly symmetrical lines of her face, Hurrell creates a sort of softer, aw-shucks face that catches the light and interests the eye. I think, at least.

Hurrell preferred his subjects wear as light of makeup as possible, to avoid cakey, pale faces from the fresnel key lighting, which tends to magnify pores and unevenness. As his technique progressed, he especially liked the subjects to be rubbed with a thin, consistent layer of baby oil. The baby oil gave a uniform, glossy surface for the fresnel lights to suffuse, creating a burnished glow when combined with the contrasting natural shadows from the planes of the face.

See how shiny Jean is? Otherworldly, thanks to the north light, the oil, and Hurrell’s radical retouching techniques. This became the defining “look” for MGM’s glamour publicity shots of their stars. Hurrell’s contract with MGM didn’t last long despite the support of Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg; a fallout with a publicity department head resulted in Hurrell dramatically leaving the studio after serving there for three years. Though he continued to photograph almost exclusively for MGM throughout the next decade until contracting with Warner Bros in 1938, Hurrell mainly worked as a freelance, independent contractor.

The look wasn’t flattering on everyone — check out Greta Garbo above. While Anna May Wong’s baby oil-rubbed features work beautifully with the north light, Garbo looks harsh and washed-out. Not surprising that she fomented a close working relationship instead with Hurrell’s gentle contemporary, Clarence Sinclair Bull, who was “head” of the publicity still department at MGM for over four decades.

Maybe another day I’ll do a post comparing Bull, Hurrell, and … I don’t know, Leo Fuchs? I just dig this kind of thing. I mean, I did all this shit completely from memory and it seems crazy not to start using this knowledge for, like, a book or something.

Goofy girls — we are a Thing! (outtake from Shannon’s PMOY shoot, 1982).

Anyway, I’m over all this. I want to go eat a sandwich and watch the Giants game. Probably why I will never write that book: too much of a goof who keeps better track of eating sandwiches and watching ball than using her education for her profit. While I was writing this entry, I was drinking Diet 7-up from a licorice straw the entire time, but different straws every 5 minutes or so because when they start to get hard I like to eat them. This is all true. Super-mature and put together. Call me!

*Joe — “Of course we’re speaking, Jedediah. You’re fired.” Kane? Yes? Do I get a gold star?

Screw you, Thursday — redux.

January 13, 2011

Nice to know I’m not the only one who finds Thursday so flabbergasting.

Photographed by Pieke Bergmans.

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

(Douglas Adams.)

I think I just may go back to bed and give it a go again in an hour or so. Catch you Thursday-understandin’ jive turkeys on the flip.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside — Connie Cooper, Miss January 1961

January 13, 2011

For new readers from reddit, stumbleupon, etc.: always remember that you can click any picture, any time, to embiggen it.

Photographed by Paul Morton Smith.

Connie Cooper, real estate broker and Italian-American model (the best kind of model there can be), was Playboy’s lovely and talented Miss January 1961.

So the source I usually use for the old articles, when I am weary of trying to make out the well-loved vintage magazine scans I find here and there on forums, is this French site that has only a couple of pictures from each spread but the entire write-up.

Today when I went to check out the write-up for the fresh-faced Ms. Cooper, here, and hopefully pull quotes for this post, I instead got a full-stop-style page with a warning which read, “Ce site est suspendu à la demande expresse de Playboy.”

No need to slip a Babelfish in your ear. It obviously means, “This site has been suspended at the express demand of Playboy.

Um, shit?

I’d just been bragging not long ago about how it had been, like, nearly a decade since I was sued (By who? Barbara Orbison. Say what? Here is that long story), and I am loath to end such a long and comfortable, litigacy-free streak.

But, hey. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I organized all the Playmate entries in to a category (cleverly named “Playboy” — you’ll never catch me now, lawyers for the magazine named exactly that!) and, should I be contacted by PB Enterprises, etc., I’ll just pull the plug on the category. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Still, slightly nervous. So if you see all these disappear one day, now you know the reason why: I am a cowardly coward who cowers in my cowering corner. No, Miss Christie Hefner, ma’am, there are certainly no soldiers for freedom of the press here. Try Larry Flynt’s trailer. Anyway, on with the show!

This being the month when resolutions are made, we thought we’d find a playmate who’s well on the way to fulfilling her own.

(“Well-Developed Property.” Playboy, January 1961.)

We landed a beauty in the person of Connie Cooper, a twenty-year-old from Southern California who has resolved to become a real estate broker.


Interjection: Sorry — I, too, hate when what should be perfectly wonderful, lightly NSFW pictures have a lame descriptive bug that I can’t get off them without disrupting the integrity of the shot, but I have this Thing that I’m doing where I’m collecting the vintage Playmates in ridiculous cropped pants and this so abundantly qualified that I couldn’t leave it out. If I can get enough shots, I’m absolutely making myself a deck of cards. Chances are looking decent-ish so far.

Standing five-feet-five, and weighing 110, Connie’s own landscaping is, from north to south, an impressive 37-21-36. As delicate as a cloisonne figurine, her charms are at their best indoors, where her proclivities run to such things as collecting Oriental knick-knacks with which to decorate her mantel, and those big, fuzzy honeybears with which girls like to strew their beds.


Aww, a dolly who likes dollies, a pretty little toy who goes smack-smack-smack, kissy noises in the air. Whatever. And please note the studded wedding band and solitaire she is already sporting in the above shot? Ms. Cooper did indeedy get that real estate license and went on to independent success before leaving the game to raise her children. Wasn’t just nothin’ but stuffin’ up there.

I empathize with the bent of the article, though; she has a genuinely sweet and naturally beautiful face, very unlike some of the Kewpie dolls that can hail just as easily from her period as today (so try not to get too high on that horse).

I think it’s all in the model’s attitude: is she a model or just a girl? Chipmunk face and out-thrust chest? Girl. Introspective expression, limbs falling in a natural, lanky arrangement? Model. I usually find the models much more interesting, but the girls have their time, too.

Ms. Cooper’s very modelesque photoshoot sets her apart from some of her sister centerfolds who ranked mainly in the false-lash and bazooka-boob mould popular during this time, making her look strikingly modern. It’s hard to believe this photoshoot took place nearly fifty years ago.

Please don’t point out Ms. Cooper’s very slight resemblance in some shots to Leelee Sobieski, though, or you will seriously deflate my lady-boner. You know how some people just, I don’t know … the opposite of “do it” for you? It’s not her fault, and I’m unable to articulate why, but Leelee Sobieski is now and ever shall be my psychic cold shower. Thanks in advance for never mentioning her again.

Original article accompanying the layout. Click to enlarge.

TURNOFFS: Male drivers, female drunks.*

OMG, opposite-sies! Like mirror twins! I know I am one, but I am forever ripping on female drivers. Ask Miss D! As for drunk men, they worry me at night because they can’t reliably take me some place after dark (I hate driving at night) — and, if it is day and they’re already drunk, they better have a damned good reason, like that it’s 5 A.M. and we’ve been up bonding and simply haven’t hit the hay yet.

*Playmate data sheet.

In conclusion, I’m nervous about getting sued, but I feel like some kind of Something is bound to come up eventually. None of the pictures have been mine, none of the magazine articles have been mine, but all of the hard-won research and writing has. Should push come to shove and an order come down that I remove the Playboy material from my site, that’s what I’ll miss the most.

That and the naked ladies.

69 Days of Wonder Woman: Day 42, DA, the Ballet, and Hip 2 B Squarr

December 10, 2010

Oh, hey, synchronicity: just had a DA post and here comes 42. Hell and goddamn! It’s going to be a good weekend. Numerical coincidences are powerful omens and portents in the Book of E. It’s good timing because I’m going to the ballet tonight. Time to get my Nutcracker on. Shit, yeah. Droppin’ king-size cusses and psyched for the ballet: that is me. I am the squarrest. L-7. Right here.

Knitted by insanely talented kaby on the craftster.

“Look, I’m up to here with cool, I’m so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month, I’m so hip I have trouble seeing over my pelvis. Now will you move before I blow it.”

(Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Chapter 19.)

Daily Batman: Hate and a re-tread, by way of introducing 69 Days of Wonder Woman

October 6, 2010


Despite proudly embodying the female geek who doesn’t do it for the attention nor as an excuse to wear body paint to Comic-Con, and resists getting pigeonholed into gender-based stereotypes of any kind, I have always disliked Wonder Woman with a strength bordering on disgust, when by rights you’d think I’d be a loyal fan. Thing is, when it comes to neuroses and the inside scars that cover us all, I’m quite the nutritious and delicious bowl of grape nuts: my shit is complicated (a complete part of your imbalanced breakfast!). Let me re-run a former post as an explanation.

This post originally appeared on July 4, 2010 at 9:54am.

Never liked Wonder Woman, tried to explore it and gave up, but that article from yesterday’s Daily Batman got me questioning why once more I have this antipathy toward her. I think it’s because she is flat-out frankly powerful and balls-out aggressive, and for some reason that leaves me cold. Because I’m not like that? Or because I want to be? Going to work it out. Got to get back in to that “Jump” frame of mind!

via lookatthisfrakkinggeekster on the tumblr.

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

(Douglas Adams.)

Happy Fourth of July! Scheduling a Daily Batman, maybe a Girl of Summer and then I will catch you on the flip.

/end former post

Again: HATE.

So — I’m done with my thinking, have assembled research materials, and am ready to start a project wherein I explore the character and my response to her and try to extrapolate some meaning from those explorations.

Final note: it turned out funny but please let’s not go mentally gutter-trolling in re: the “sixty-nine” days. That’s not representative of the sex act but rather a day for every year the character has been around. I know it is titillating, but, hey, I didn’t tell her to first appear in December of 1941, in which month we will conveniently end the project. Synchronicity: it’s What’s For Dinner! It is also an album by The Police!

Daily Batman: Hiding from writing

October 1, 2010

“Catwoman 3” by 89g on the da.

Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.

Douglas Adams

If one more person uses my recent illness as the basis of a “you should” type sentence whose predicate is, “finish some of your writing,” I am going to jump off the roof. This threat is less dramatic than it seems: I live in a one-story house. I just figure that if I’ve got a lot of stitches and splints, maybe it will give these well-meaning loved ones something else to talk to me about.

Advice: Eff the ineffable and See you on the flip!

July 4, 2010

I never liked Wonder Woman, tried to explore it and gave up, but that article from yesterday’s Daily Batman got me questioning why once more I have this antipathy toward her. I think it’s because she is flat-out frankly powerful and balls-out aggressive, and for some reason that leaves me cold. Because I’m not like that? Or because I want to be? Going to work it out. Got to get back in to that “Jump” frame of mind!

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

(Douglas Adams.)

Happy Fourth of July! Scheduling a Daily Batman, maybe a Girl of Summer and then I will catch you on the flip.

Daily Batman: Wild cats

June 10, 2010

Daily Batman: Wild cats

March 2, 2010

illustration by Jock via the LCS.

Music Moment: The Beatles, “Rain”

January 19, 2010

The Beatles — Rain

Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life, some rain must fall. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Longfellow also said, “The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.” I’m trying very hard to internalize that message.

I took this. About a year ago. With my Diana F+. It was the first roll I shot with it, and almost all the rest turned out wretched.

This track by the Beatles was the B-side to “Paperback Writer.” It is noteworthy for being one of the first songs to use backward vocals. The final lines feature the first verse sung backward, with “Raiiiin” as a chorus over the top.

“I fell in love with an alien” by vampire_zombie on deviantart.

If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes,
if the rain comes.

When the sun shines they slip into the shade
(When the sun shines down.)
And sip their lemonade.
(When the sun shines down.)
When the sun shines,
when the sun shines.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.

I can show you that when it starts to rain,
(When the Rain comes down.)
Everything's the same.
(When the Rain comes down.)
I can show you, I can show you.

Rain, I don't mind.
Shine, the world looks fine.

Can you hear me, that when it rain and shines,
(When it rains and shines.)
It's just a state of mind?
(When it rains and shines.)

Can you hear me, can you hear me?
If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.

One of the other, like, three pictures that turned out.

sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.


And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. (Gilbert K. Chesterton)

Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.
(Saint Basil the Great)

I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge? (Douglas Adams)

It ain’t no use to grumble and complain;
It’s jest as cheap and easy to rejoice;
When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
Why, rain’s my choice.
(James Whitcomb Riley)

Photographed by Nirrimi Hakanson on facebook, via ffffound.
I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies. (Eden Ahbez)

He covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth with rain,
and maketh the grass grow on the hills. (Psalms 147:8)

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain. (Langston Hughes)

Looking for upsides. How about this? Shit week, yes, but hey, free car wash.

Anticipation: White Queen edition

November 23, 2009

“I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said. “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.”
Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, “I don’t want you to hire ME – and I don’t care for jam.”
“It’s very good jam,” said the Queen.

“Well, I don’t want any TO-DAY, at any rate.”
“You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

The White Queen: Can you do addition? What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?
Alice: I don’t know. I lost count. (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass)

The following chunks of factoids on Alice, chess, and conspiracy theories all come courtesy of that there ol’ wiki: let it take you for a spin today!

Most main characters met in the story are represented by a chess piece, with Alice herself being a pawn. However, the moves described in the ‘chess problem’ cannot be carried out legally due to a move where white does not move out of check (a list of moves is included – note that a young child might make this error due to inexperience).

Although the chess problem is generally regarded as a nonsense composition because of the story’s ‘faulty link with chess’, the French researchers Christophe LeRoy and Sylvain Ravot have argued that it actually contains a ‘hidden code’ by Carroll to the reader.

The code is supposed to be related to Carroll’s relationship with Alice Liddell, and apparently contains several references to Carroll’s favorite number, 42.

The theory and its implications have been criticized for lack of solid evidence, misrepresenting historical facts about Carroll and Alice, and flirting with numerology and esotericism.

Oh, no, not esotericism. I simply cannot brook such a thing.

Previous Alice anticipation posts can be found here.