Tuesday, January 27, 2009

President Obama's First TV Interview

In a gesture signaling that perhaps the American Crusade is finally coming to an end, President Obama gave his first TV interview to Al-Arabiya, a network that is watched by the Arab & Muslim world.

Obama's first week in office has already been a whirlwind, & he's showing how a President with brains & speaking ability approaches the job.

Of course, he's not perfect- so there are stumbling blocks, including the Neanderthals that make up the remaining ranks of the Republican party in DC to deal with.

I thought this interview was more important for it's tone than any specific policy ideas. The idea that we have to be constantly at war with all Muslims (because they "hate Western civilization") is a ideology that is only true for religious zealots & ignorant super-patriots.

Hopefully President Obama will continue leading the country in a insightful & rational way. There's always the possibility we may have one or more national tragedies & the whole thing might go to crap, but I still think Obama's handling things superbly so far...

Trading Cards: American Crusade 2001+

I've remembered this link for several years because I've always found it totally intriguing & raw. It is a set of trading cards in the style of 1983 Topps baseball cards.

This series of horribly provocative imagery, combined with 1984 double-speak, is even more striking when presented in the graphic format of a trading card.

It's a disturbing visual reminder of darkest aspects of The Dubya Presidency... which is thankfully history.

The Infinite Jest
Trading Cards:

American Crusade 2001+

Some of the images are pretty f*d up, so I'm posting one of the less shocking cards, featuring The Greatest American™ himself, God!:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barackenaten

Barack Obama has truly become one of the most inspiring figures in American history.

In any other time, he would be considered an extraordinary individual. After the disturbed mood of the Bush years, though, it's understandable why a desperate world would rejoice at the promise of such an intelligent Chief Executive.

The inauguration was streaming on my computer while I was working at the studio. At 11:30, I had a cup of hot green tea, a cookie bar, & sat back to watch the swearing-in ceremonies.

As I viewed this amazing event on my futuristic light-manipulation devices (known as computer & monitor), I had the comforting sense that a progressive President Obama has the real potential to inspire modern, effective solutions to our worst problems.

I went back to look at the first post in which I mentioned Obama. The cynic in me had alot of trouble accepting that Americans would vote for a guy with the name "Barack Hussein Obama". This was less than a couple years go... when the idea of President Osama-bama was borderline ridiculous! It just goes to show that rapid and tremendous change are unavoidable facts of life.

One has to be sobered by the knowledge, though, that there are myriad malevolent forces in the world that will resist the paradigm shifts that an Obama Administration might bring to the table. We also have to accept that as long as we inhabit this physical realm, there will always be suffering in life- no matter how great our leaders are.

I've half-jokingly compared Obama to the Egyptian Pharoah Akhenaten, its first known monotheistic king. Akhenaten declared a new capital & state religion, consisting of one god- the sun disc Aten.

The symbol of the Sun represents 'life', 'a new day', 'power', 'stability', and a literally endless number of other associations.

Our relatively immense Sun has always been used as a symbol of majesty & royalty.

When I saw the photo of Obama standing next to the Superman statue, the first thing that came to mind (besides it being a funny picture) was the sun symbolism surrounding both figures.

Superman is one of humanity's numerous stories of solar god-men. Obama's campaign logo was the perfect circle - echoing the 'O' in his last name & the sun of a new dawn.

Barack Obama & his team used the most powerful symbolism known to man in order to create the most tremendous possible effect on public consciousness.

So far, I think his leadership ability has been utterly amazing.

Of course...

Not everyone is excited about the new direction of an Obama Presidency:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Guru... George W. Bush!

If you can cultivate the right attitude,

your enemies
are your best spiritual teachers

...because their presence provides you
with the opportunity to enhance and develop
tolerance, patience and understanding.

- 14th Dalai Lama

Last night, I sat through the long-awaited farewell address by The Worst President Ever.

Before 2008, it seemed like this nightmare's end was nowhere in sight.

Dubya is generally agreed upon to have been a tremendous disaster for America. (Of course, 'History' may prove otherwise... HAHAHA! yeah, right!)

In his last press conference earlier in the week, he went out like the lying/delusional a-hole he's always been.

I've personally felt mostly contempt for Bush/Cheney over their 2 terms. The need to vent some of my disgust at their governance is one reason I started writing on this blog in 2005, during the height of The Madness.

Yet... I still consider George W. Bush to be my Guru!


Although I have thankfully never had to directly interact with Dubya, he indirectly has made me realize countless truths about myself and the world. People who know me would think I'm being sarcastic, but it's true.

Christianity suggests loving your enemy. There's also the saying "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" & the Rage Against the Machine song "Know Your Enemy."

Buddhism also suggests seeing even our worst perceived enemies as providers of lessons to be learned, instead.

"If the love within your mind is lost
and you see other beings as enemies,

then no matter how much knowledge
or education or material comfort you have,

only suffering and confusion will ensue."

I realized at some point that The Bush Presidency (through its atrocious mis-management) had actually succeeded - in awakening a social consciousness and political insight in myself and the rest of the country.

"Be Grateful to Everyone"

"If we learn to open our hearts, anyone,
including the people who drive us crazy,

can be our teacher

When Bush came to office, I was a senior in college & politics just wasn't on my radar. Although I've always been a sponge for all other information, I actively avoided learning anything about politics. Republican? Democrat? I didn't know or care what the difference was.

On 9/11, I was driving to work listening to Howard Stern when he was still on FM radio . They were talking about attacks going on in NY. I got to my studio & we turned on the TV to watch the day unfold as it did. Being in Jersey, we were right in the middle of NYC & D.C. No one knew what was going to happen...

My super-human insight told me on that day (and in the following years, as we mobilized our resource-wasting War Machine) that there was more to the situation than we were being told. That is when I sat up & started to really pay attention to the political and social events happening in the world.

Although my natural instinct is to despise the Smirking Chimp, I have also come to realize that George Bush may have actually been necessary for the changes we need to make!

By running the Treasury, our civic institutions, and the overall state of the nation into the sewer - Bush gave us no choice but to stare our many horrible problems right in the face.

We can no longer avoid them, and the strength that progressive minds have gained from uniting against the immorality of his reign now stand a better chance of creating solutions with a new President, whose brain is fully-functioning & coherent.

Observing Bush & his cabal throughout my adult life, I have seen exactly how NOT to approach mankind's biggest dilemma.

The continual outrage I've felt at the sheer criminality of his Administration has helped me better understand myself & what I stand for - morally & philosophically.

Some of the lessons I've learned from my guru, George W. Bush:

• You can "create your own reality".

• Even if it is an insane, depraved reality... people can still be fooled into going along with it!

(However- Reality w/ a capital 'R' will still come around & bite you in the ass if you deserve it.)

• Ignorance & arrogance are not qualities we should look for in a leader.

• Don't EVER believe anything the government, TV, 'experts', or anybody says to be absolute truth.

• 'Security' & 'Victory' are not worth the price of soulless human degradation on a global scale.

• The American economy is now a made-up numbers game.

• Despite the enormity of problems we humans face, it could always get worse.

• When things seem hopeless, even big problems can be solved with intelligence, courage, & compassion.

There is nothing constant - except for Change.

I could easily write a book on my feelings about the Bush Presidency & its effects.

Ironically- Dubya's idiotic approach to governing has ultimately had a truly profound impact on me & the entire world.

Good Riddance, My Guru!!!

Since I just posted about comedy... & since Bush's attempts at "Goodbye" completely suck just like he does, I'll end this send-off with THE greatest comedy routine ever:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The History of Funny

Tonight I was watching a really cool retrospective of 100 years of American comedy.

Laughter is an essential part of a healthy state of mind. Finding humor & absurdity in the world definitely makes it easier to deal with. Even though I usually give off a first impression of being really serious, I love to joke around. Dinner with my family has always been like a comedy round table.

Inevitably, many once-popular performers & shows have been forgotten over time.

Watching the segments of comedy through the years, the material doesn't seem to change much. Just the settings and characters change.

I've also noticed that alot of humor involves the mishaps or misfortune of others. It's either that or some kind of 'cuteness' factor.

Seeing this history of American funniness made me think of a story I read about. Amazingly, archaeologists have discovered the world's oldest recorded joke.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Destroying Aesthetics

My previous post about the 'Totally Looks Like' blog made me think of other specialized blogs that I find entertaining.

Two, in particular, deal with the Dark Side of creativity.

The blog Photoshop Disasters is especially interesting to me, since Adobe software is my primary canvas. Most of the foul-ups here are really subtle & are often mistakes in trying to create reflections, shadows, transformations, etc.

It's a vampire check!

Photoshop is a powerful tool, but it takes years of constant use to really master. The people who create the 'Photoshop Disasters' obviously haven't. Most of the featured 'disasters' though are minor mistakes.

On the other hand-
Cake Wrecks is a great archive of culinary creativity gone horribly, wonderfully, wrong. I'm not saying it's easy to make a masterpiece like something on Food Network, but geez...

Cakes are much more personal than print ads. That's why so many of these seem all the more outrageous.

My birthday is in February, & my sister's is on Valentine's. When we were young, we always shared birthdays. They were always a big deal at our house & my parents weren't interested in hosting 2 parties in a single month.

However, my Mom never made us share a cake as pathetic as this one:

The 'Cake Wrecks' archives has plenty more:


In the spirit of the 'Change' & 'Hope' ("Chope") of the New Year, I was considering solving the ongoing dilemma of conflict in the Middle East - in just one sentence!

Fortunately, other people have wrote more extensively on the subject already.

That means it's time to move on to the subject of comparing similar-looking faces in an amusing manner.

I've gotten emails forwarded to me showing funny look-alikes, but I saw on Neatorama a link to a blog devoted to the simple, yet endless concept:

Totally Looks Like

This is one of those sites that gives plenty of laugh-out loud material.

Some are obvious ones even I've commented on, like Joe Leiberman/Young Palpatine & Pope Benedict/Old Palpatine.

Among my other favorites:

Flava Flav & Stripe

Nikola Tesla & Grand Moff Tarkin

Iron Chef Mario Batali & Comic Book Guy

Richard Branson & Sabretooth

Bruce Vilanch & Sweetums

Last but not least,
Carrot Top & Lion-o

(^I don't think it's possible not to laugh at that.)

In this mad world, laughter is a precious commodity.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Monkey Buddha Graphic

This is apparently my 500th post since I started this leisurely pursuit of 'blogging' waaaaay back in June 2005!

To celebrate this and the New Year, I'm bringing out the new Monkey Buddha graphic I made, with an animated GIF version.

I think it captures the essence of "The Monkey Buddha" & all the mysteries contained within...
(Also, it's kinda funny.)

Although my career is in graphic design, writing on this blog is a huge creative outlet for my own personal interests.

For my profile, I've been using a picture of Hanuman putting Dubya in a headlock. Since that one-man disaster is finally leaving (we assume), I figured it was time to create an original logo of some sort...

Clicking below brings up a desktop-size image:

If you study this picture long enough,
you will understand

; P

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thinking Games (Literally!)

Well, I know we're entering "The Future" now that we have touchscreen gadgets &, yes, electronic games that run on 'mind power'.

A few days ago on Engadget I saw a post about a game by Hasbro. It supposedly is played using some device that measures your mental concentration.

The title of the article cracked me up...

This thing looks like a Homedics spa device for aliens.

On Geekologie, I saw another mind toy that has been appropriately licensed for Star Wars.

"The Force Trainer" makes kids focus their Jedi mind powers to....... float a ping pong ball?!? Stupid!!

I guess it teaches kids to use their imagination- to pretend it's a thermal detonator or something.

"Toy Trains 'Star Wars' Fans
to Use The Force"

^ This kid has been awake for 3 days straight -
keeping the "Jedi Power Orb" afloat.

In reality, these devices are obviously mankind's baby steps toward the iThink.

I'll get back to that in a couple posts, though...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mayan Calendar Countdown

I change my background image every week at work & I was looking for something for the New Year.

There's a mini Aztec Sun Stone in a glass case over my desk, so I found a big picture of the stone from the museum in Mexico. After added some lighting effects, extending the background, & cropping, I had a desktop image -

click to enlarge

I am always amazed by the stark differences cultures can have in things like keeping time or cosmology. There's endless ways to describe the Universe, & humanity has experimented with all kinds...

In the video below, Daniel Pinchbeck describes the Mayan intellectual elite as "shamanic scientists."

I think is a great description because the scientific knowledge of Mayan culture was extremely accurate - it just had crazy creative mythic themes intertwined with it.

The mystical aspect of reality is something all of history's most brilliant scientists have pondered, even in the West. You can't look closely into the reality we inhabit without being overwhelmed by the sheer craziness of our situation.

All the talk of 2012 being either a Doomsday or an Ascension of some sort will hopefully amount to nothing. I think there are an infinite number of cosmic disasters that could happen at any second & wipe this entire planet out- regardless of what 'B'ak'tun' the Mayan calendar is running on.

Still, it is amazing that these ancient people encoded their perception of the universe in such an elaborate way. Looking at something like the Aztec Sun Stone is amazing just from the perspective of a powerful image. When you study the glyphs & the layout and start to understand the symbolism, it's an even more impressive work of art.


This article caught my eye on Reality Sandwich, which contemplates the state of mind called 'boredom'.

I'm never really bored. In fact, 'doing nothing' is one of my favorite things. Even stuff like waiting in offices or lines don't bother me at all. I love to sit and think or observe my surroundings & other people.

Although there's always a desire to be productive, I also have no problem lounging and thinking or relaxing while staring at a wall.

Personally, I don't really practice any kind of formal meditation. (Monkey Buddhism is way too advanced for such things. haha) However, even leisurely studies of Buddhist and TM techniques make one more aware of the mind and the human experience.

Even a little bit of knowledge on such subjects go a long way to a consistent peace of mind.

When you are sitting in the same spot for hours, or there's no immediate sources of stimulation, such situations can be focused on inward calmness instead of agitation...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year's Resolution: Learn 'CymaGlyphs'

My life is pretty moderate & fairly satisfying to me overall, so there's not many things to make New Years resolutions about.

I know a little Spanish, but it would be very cool to learn alot of other languages. Italian would be first on my list. It would be very interesting to learn Chinese, but I'm too lazy too try to tackle that task. (This is where downloading knowledge via the iThink comes in.)

Even more intriguing would be learning how to communicate with other species.

Researchers are saying that intelligent cetacean language takes the form of 3-dimensional ultrasonic waveforms. The structures of these waveforms, called CymaGlyphs, are like visual icons representing something to be communicated.

I'm sure we'll soon have a lexicon of 'words' compiled & one day even have an ultrasound beam generator to create messages in dolphin-speak.

I originally saw this story on ScienceDaily.com, but they took the story down. Maybe the inevitable idea of interspecies communication is too outrageous to investigate.

"CymaGlyphs - Dolphin Picture Words"

Prepare for the 'Dolphin Mind-Meld'...

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Retrospective of Failed Leadership

The entire world is anxiously waiting for the worst President in modern history to take his criminally-negligent ass back to Texas.

Valiant souls have tried in vain to list the endless crimes & scandals that Dubya has allowed to denigrate our country during his term.

There are more web links documenting the myriad failures of the Bush Administration than any one person can sift through.

For these reasons, one well-created image can substitute the thousands of words one would have to read to truly grasp the malfeasance of The War Monkey and his cabal.

David Horsey of the Seattle Post Intelligencer has created such a picture that sums up the disastrous past eight years in one cartoon.

(click image for larger size)