Wednesday, October 5, 2016

This Way, America

No, Over Here.  What The Hell Is Wrong with You?

 Joseph Beuys / 1974 Performance Art, I Like America; America Likes Me (aka, "Coyote")

The Why Of Dog
It was a typisch day here in Downtown America.  Over at the Soul Of America, I was directed to a story about David Bowie, which contained a photo of what appeared to be a Dog dragging a leper / vagrant / symbolically-wrapped human around. We worked it through Skynet the Googlegerät. One thing led to another. And here we are in the Future, as always happens in America.
Beuys flew to New York, picked up by an ambulance, and swathed in felt, was transported to a room in the Rene Block Gallery. The room was also occupied by a wild coyote, and for a period of 8 hours a day for the next three days, Beuys spent his time with the coyote in the small room, with little more than a felt blanket and a pile of straw. While in the room, the artist engaged in symbolist gestures, such as striking a triangle and tossing his gloves to the coyote. At the end of the three days, the coyote, who had become quite tolerant of Beuys, allowed a hug from the artist, who was transported back to the airport via ambulance. He never set foot on outside American soil nor saw anything of America other than the coyote and the inside of the gallery.
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Coherence
Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either of you...
-- Elaine Quijano, CBS News, to Kaine and Pence

2016 Election Forecast:  Clinton 75.3%,  Trump 24.7%
-- fivethirtyeightdotcom

My friend; clear your mind of Cant.
-- Samuel Johnson

 I AM PART OF YOUUU !!!! (rabbitandmouse, 2006)
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The First Whorehouse In Space Will Be Built By The Bold
During his hour-long announcement of the SpaceX Mars colonization plan, CEO Elon Musk didn’t say where exactly Martian colonists will live once they arrive on the planet — and how exactly they’ll survive given the harsh environment. Musk seemed particularly unconcerned about solar radiation. “The radiation thing is often brought up, but it’s not too big of a deal,” he says...

SpaceX’s goal is to build [its] transport system [to Mars], like building the Union Pacific Railroad. “Once that transport system is built,” Musk says, “there’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something new or build the foundations of a new planet.” People will be able to go to the planet and build “anything from iron refineries to the first pizza joint.”
--  Alessandra Potenza and Loren Grush, The Verge, September 27, 2016

Ironically, this is also International Space Week.
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Not With A Bang But A Food Fight
As most everyone knows, the ending to Stanley Kubrick's 1964 anti-war black comedy, Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has Strangelove (Peter Sellers) emerging from his wheelchair and taking a few steps, then a montage of atomic bombs going off.

However, that wasn't the original ending. Kubrick initially envisioned 'Strangelove' as a drama, based on a British novel, "Two Hours To Doom", about an accidental nuclear war.  He was introduced (oddly enough, by by Peter Sellers) to Terry Southern, an American expat writer living in London; Southern saw Kubrick's project as a vehicle for dark comedy about the end of the world, and the two co-authored the script ("I intended to make a dark comedy", Kubrick later said of his film). Sellers, a friend of both Southern and Kubrick, was cast to play three separate, believable characters (originally, four -- spraining an ankle kept Sellers from playing Major "King" Kong, and Slim Pickens was offered the role). 

In the original ending of the film, Dr. Strangelove stood up from his wheelchair, only to fall flat on his face. Meanwhile, General 'Buck' Turgidson (George C. Scott) noticed Russian Ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull) taking pictures of "the big board", and tackled him -- only to have the Ambassador throw a cream pie at him from a nearby buffet table.

Turgidson ducked; the pie hits President Muffley (also played by Peter Sellers) instead -- and the entire War Room erupted in a gigantic food fight. Finally, as nuclear war engulfs the world, Muffley and the Russian Ambassador, having lost their reason, end up sitting on the floor and playing with the litter of thrown food like children.

Ironically, Strangelove was being edited around November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. In the scene as filmed, President Muffley is struck with a pie and Turgidson announced, "Our President has been struck down in his prime!" Because Kubrick considered the action too close to actual events (and the actors appeared to be enjoying themselves a bit too obviously), that ending had to change, and Kubrick was in a bit of a fix. As the legend goes, Spike Milligan (He of the UK's famous Goon Show) was talking at the same time with former fellow Goonie Peter Sellers and learned about Stanley's dilemma. 

Milligan is supposed to have suggested the ending we're all familiar with: Strangelove standing up from his wheelchair ("Mein Führer -- I can walk !!"), followed by footage of one nuclear weapons test after another, accompanied by a soundtrack of British singer Vera Lynn singing a WW2 ballad well-known ballad in the UK, "We'll Meet Again." Kubrick's film editor, Anthony Harvey, put the footage of the original food-fight ending with other cut scenes, which were afterwards misplaced and lost to history.

George C. Scott In The Lost Ending To Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964)

( One of my favorite things about Strangelove is Peter Sellers' ability (as Strangelove) to crack up Peter Bull, who played the Russian ambassador. The next time you see this classic, during scenes with a medium or long shot of Strangelove declaiming from his wheelchair, keep your eye on Bull.

The Two Peters: Peter Bull (Left) As Ambassador de Sadesky,
and Peter Sellers As Herr Dr. Unwirklichlieber, In The War Room

Do Hold It Together, Old Man.

(Sellers was a genius at creating characters, and Bull can't help but be affected. He tries, but at some point just can't hold it in any longer -- again, the film's editor, Anthony Harvey, managed to save the take and splice in the next shot just as Bull is about to lose it.  According to film lore, Sellers was even able to get the redoubtable Sterling Hayden to crack up.)
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Ain't We Got Fun
Global debt has hit a record high of $152 trillion, weighing down economic growth and adding to risks that recovery could turn into stagnation or even recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

In a worst-case scenario the IMF also fears that a wave of populist politics across the US and Europe could send globalisation into reverse with protectionist policies hitting international trade, investment and migration, sending the world plunging into a prolonged period of stagnation...

“At 225% of world GDP, the global debt …is currently at an all-time high. Two-thirds, amounting to about $100 trillion, consists of liabilities of the private sector which can carry great risks when they reach excessive levels,” the IMF said in its fiscal monitor.
--  Tim Wallace, Business Writer; UK Telegraph Online October 5, 2016

"Among 'developed' nations, the United States has one of the highest rates of child poverty on the planet...  Only Romania has a higher rate than the U.S. ...  More children live in poverty -- grinding, soul-destroying poverty -- in America than in Latvia or Bulgaria, two nations few Americans can even find on a map."
--  Motivational Screensaver

Wealthiest ZIP Codes In America (Clicky For Ubernormous Graphic! Spass! Nett!)
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