Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yayoi Kusama's fantastic Obliteration Room 2011 at the Queensland Art Gallery

By Jack Brummet, Contemporary Arts Editor

I always enjoy these public, interactive art pieces.  Earlier this year, I was knocked out by the gigantic paint-by-number mural at Bumbershoot in Seattle.  But this. . .wow.

Installation view of The obliteration room 2011 as part of ‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’, Gallery of Modern Art, 2011 / © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. / Photographs by Mark Sherwood

Queensland Art Gallery has a long relationship with the artist Yayoi Kusama, and as part of her current exhibition there, she created an interactive children's project.  First, she created an all-white room, of "an Australian domestic environment."  Next, she created thousands of brightly colored adhesive dots.  And then, she turned the kids loose on the room.  This is just wonderful. 

Installation view of The obliteration room 2011 as part of 'Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever', Gallery of Modern Art, 2011 / © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. / Photograph: Mark Sherwood

"While this may suggest an everyday topography drained of all colour and specificity, it also functions as a blank canvas to be invigorated — or, in Kusama’s vocabulary, ‘obliterated’ — through the application, to every available surface, of brightly coloured stickers in the shape of dots."


Happy New Year!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Iowa Republican Caucus Contestants: Huntsman, Bachmann, Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Santorum, and Paul

Illustrations by Jack Brummet, except Newt Gingrich No. 2 (Artist unknown)             

The Govnah

Ron Paul

Newt One

Newt Two

Newt Three

The Hunt


Hotlips Bachmann


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poem: The Curtain

By Jack Brummet


There are pockets of sanity
Scattered among us

And light years between those
Shimmering Seas of Tranquility.

The puzzle we face
Is keeping the tiller

Aimed away from
The Sea of Madness.

The silver rain
Is drawn

Like a curtain
Between us and God.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rumored Closeted Republican Politician of The Week: Richard Nixon!

By Jack Brummet, Presidents Editor

This article was just sent by reader Dean Ericksen: Rumored Closeted Republican Politician of The Week: Richard Nixon!
This is a mind-effer of all mind-effers.  As a long-time Nixon student (see our articles on him, below), I'd never caught even a whiff of this one before.  Yeah, we knew Bebe and The Trickster had a close friendship, but Hoover-Tolson close?   Sure, the evidence is pretty flimsy, but it torques the mind to even consider that bright, but thoroughly mean-spirited misanthrope holding hands under the table with Bebe Rebozo!  Unfortunately, neither Bebe or Tricky Dick are around anymore to ask. . .

Other ATIT articles on Richard M. Nixon:

The image Wonkette used in their story, hearkening back
to this year's Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann memes


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Poem: [The Streetlight’s Blue Shadows]

by Jack Brummet

The streetlight's blue shadow
Pools on the macadam of 24th Avenue NW

As stars coruscate through a nebulous fog.
I tilt my head to see The Big Dipper,

Polaris, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, and Andromeda.
The streetlight's falling shadow

Marks a twilight world I take for granted.
The bats' sonar

And the muffled bark of sea lions
Are the songs I hear

When I go outside to see the stars
Twinkling in the briny air.

Ernest Hemingway's shortest story?

By Jack Brummet, Literary Editor

Ernest Hemingway famously wrote this, to prove an entire story could be written in six words:
"For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Some people say Hemingway called his his best work.  Others claim that it's nothing more than a literary folk tale.  No one really seems to know for sure. 

In 2008, inspired  by this story, Smith Magazine published a book of six word memoirs inspired by this story.  It's pretty good--with examples from both famous and obscure writers.  The book is called "Not Quite What I Was Planning" (Harper Perennial Books, 2008).  I found a copy in my local Value Village, and am enjoying.  If you have a short enough attention span, I guess this book could provide you a year's worth of stories. . .

Monday, December 26, 2011

Donald Trump, the man without a party (Run, Donald, Run!) re-reconsiders, and a suggestion for running mate

By Pablo Fanque, National Affairs Editor
illustrations by Jack Brummet

First, The Donald tantalized us earlier this year, and his polling numbers went--briefly--through the roof.  Then he dropped out, but left the door open just a crack.  Over the last few months, many of the Republican Presidential wannabes have made the trek to his office (for what--money?  his blessing?).  The Washington Post had a great piece on their blog in early December titled "2012 Republican are kissing Donald Trump's ring.  But why?"

It seems that Donald Trump, like most of the rest of the American electorate, has found Republican Clown War sorely lacking in substance, in a viable candidate, a rational platform--lacking in just about everything.  Now, Trump has switched his political affiliation to "Independent," and is possibly considering running again.  At least that is what some staffers and a spokesperson say.  No word on how this would affect his reality show, which could be subject to equal time provisions from other candidates if he did decide to run. 

From today's Christian Science Monitor:
Given his not-too-shabby polling numbers, deep pockets, and new-found status as a registered independent, business mogul Donald Trump is in a decent position to launch a third-party run for president of the United States.
The snark on the street is that Mr. Trump, a temperamental fellow who has toggled his party affiliation before, dumped the Republican Party on Thursday in anger after only two in the large field of GOP presidential candidates agreed to attend a debate he was slated to moderate. Some Republican hopefuls had questioned whether it was ethical for Trump to host a debate while considering a potential presidential run himself.

A Trump spokesman, however, said his boss dropped out of the debate and changed his party affiliation "to preserve his right to run for president as an independent."

If you do run, Mr. Trump, may we suggest that you sign up your old friend, the Ex-Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as your running mate?  With a double whammy like that, what could possibly go wrong?

Photo: source unknown

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday decorations and Alien Lore

Thanks to our friend Teresa Thiessen for sending this along.  The photo somehow reminded her of ATIT.
"Appropriate holiday decor for the blog. :)".


Saturday, December 24, 2011

ATIT Reheated (from 2005): Remembering the 1980 NYC subway strike

By Jack Brummet, NYC Metro Editor

Contract talks broke off between New York transit and union negotiators last night [ed's note:  we published this in 2005]  without an agreement (just before the midnight strike deadline). 34,000 workers have gone on strike. Seven million people a day need to find another way to get around.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a "comprehensive emergency plan" to help mitigate the effects of the strike with more ferry service, only car pools allowed into Manhattan, several major streets, including Fifth Avenue, clear of all traffic except buses and emergency vehicles. I believe taxis are also required to pool riders (as they did in 1980).

We lived in Manhattan during the 1980 strike. It started on April Fool's Day and lasted 12 days.

According to, the absentee rate during the strike was around 15-20%. That may be true, but those of us who actually showed up for work didn't make it in until very late, and everyone left early. It was basically a circus atmosphere all over town. Employers were glad to have us show up for even a few hours a day. Even the most skinflint of employers (and that would include mine, Carl Fischer music publishers) paid people to share cabs in to work. The cab ride from the Upper West Side to the East Village took about two hours...barely faster than walking. It was a total zoo, with gridlock everywhere, and thousands of cops on traffic duty to contain the honking, chaos, and (literally) millions of pedestrians.

Heading to work on The Brooklyn Bridge

I don't remember road rage, or riots, or people being particularly angry.
In fact, it was like anytime things went wrong: New Yorkers pulled together; they griped and kavetched, and they lived with it, and had a pretty good time doing it. I remember the endless commutes, schlepping back and forth from uptown to downstown. I remember sharing cab rides with Arthur Cohn (the cranky, funny composer and conductor known for his books on contemporary music, The Collector's 20th-Century Music in the Western Hemisphere and 20th-Century Music in Europe), Susan Lurie, a friend and excellent flautist, and at least one other person, possibly Pinky Rawsthorne. . .although if she was in the cab I think I would have remembered it, because there would have been a lot more laughter.

The New York Post Transit Survival
Guide - Click to enlarge

In 1980, the subways were dirty, dangerous, smelled, tended to catch on fire at times, had no air conditioning, and were covered with tags and graffiti. And boy, did we miss them. After returning home at night, you stayed in your neighborhood, or within walking distance anyhow. Somehow they settled it all in a couple of weeks. Good luck New York!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Six years ago on ATIT: Poem - The World Seems Especially Calming And Verisimilitudinous Today

By Jack Brummet

Swim run fly crawl creep
The animals don't kill time
And time loves them back

Threading high fidelity cirrus
The sun unloads the last of its rays
And blesses the mountain palisade

So much depends upon
Keeping this up
(And a red wheel barrow).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Charlie Chaplin's memorable speech from "The Great Dictator"

Seventy years ago,  Chalie Chaplin made this memorable speech in one of his best films—The Great Dictator.  What a fantastic performance, and what a touching speech!  It seems shockingly prescient, shining a light right here,  right now, on us and our Situation. Thanks to Tony Ravo for sharing this.  I haven't seen this movie for a few years, and it's good to remember.


Ronald Reagan talks about the Democrats (Pre-politics of destruction in U.S.)

By Jack Brummet, Two-party system editor

This video clip of a good natured speech by President Ronald Reagan reminds me of the days before the politics of destruction took over.  It reminds me of Adlai Stevenson's famous quote about Republicans:  "I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”

[Thanks to Guy Brummet for sending this along].


The last U.S. crate shipped out of Iraq

Just in time for Christmas, the USA has now pulled out all of its troops from Iraq, ending the long war.  A photographer caught the last crate to be shipped out, back to the USA.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Three-time Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell

Digital Art by Jack Brummet

I was inspired to revisit Candidate O'Donnell after her hilarious "endorsement" of Mitt Romney (see Christine O'Donnell endorses Mittens, pouring salt on his festering flip-flop wound).

click to enlarge

Ten most memorable TV cameos on

By Mona Goldwater, Television Editor

We like these guys.  recently published an article on the ten most memorable TV cameos.  Our only complaint is that they didn't include Richard Nixon's famous appearance on Laugh-in, where he famously uttered their catch phrase "Sock it to me."

Bob Dylan on Dharma and Greg:


Faces No. 53

Drawing by Jack Brummet


Alien Lore No. 217: The night UFOs buzzed the White House

By Jack Brummet,Extraterrestrial Affairs Editor

Not long after the events of Roswell, the Mount Rainier UFO sightings, and Socorro, UFOs made a showy presence for the leaders of the free world. In 1952, UFOs buzzed the White House, the Capitol building, and the Pentagon. Yes, these UFOs, presumably piloted by aliens, or Greys, seemed to be thumbing their noses (if they had noses) at the institutions we thought kept us safe.

Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base picked up a number of UFOs on their radar screens on July 19, 1952. These sightings seemed to trigger a wave of sightings that no one has ever been able to explain.

At Washington National Airport, air traffic controller Ed Nugent [Ted's dad?] saw seven blips on his radar screen. No planes were supposed to be there. He brought in his boss and said jokingly, "Here's a fleet of flying saucers for you." In the tower's glass-enclosed top floor, another controller saw a strange blip streaking across his radar screen. It wasn't a bird. It wasn't a plane. What was it? He looked out the window and spotted a bright light hovering in the sky.

From the Washington Post, July 19, 1952: "Air Force spokesmen said yesterday only that an investigation was being made into the sighting of the objects on the radar screen in the CAA Air Route Traffic Control Center at Washington National Airport, and on two other radar screens.
"Methods of the investigations were classified as secret, a spokesman said. 'We have no evidence they are flying saucers; conversely we have no evidence they are not flying saucers. We don't know what they are,' the spokesman added. "

From the Washington Post, July 28, 1952:
"Military secrecy veils an investigation of the mysterious, glowing aerial objects that showed up on radar screens in the Washington area Saturday night for the second consecutive week.

"A jet pilot sent up by the Air Defense Command to investigate the objects reported he was unable to overtake the glowing lights moving near Andrews Air Force Base.

"The CAA reported reported the objects traveled at 'predominantly lower levels'--about 1700 feet. "


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christine O'Donnell endorses Mittens, pouring salt on his festering flip-flop wound

By Pablo Fanque, National Affairs Editor
Illustrations by Jack Brummet

Christine O'Donnell endorsed Ex-Governor Mitt Romney, last week. It's not what Romney's campaign had in mind, even though they probably recruited her for the job.   In fact, it blew up into a minor tempest in the political press.

"That’s one of the things that I like about him — because he’s been consistent since he changed his mind,” O’Donnell said.

She went on to say that Romney is “humble enough” to admit he doesn’t always have the right answers and is open to making the “necessary changes” to his own view points sometimes, but maintained that he never betrays his core convictions.


Ben Lapps--15 year old guitar whiz rocks the acoustic guitar

This is pretty amazing--Ben Lapps uses a combination of drumming on the box with a hammered-on style like Stanley Jordan.  /jack


Sunday, December 18, 2011

One more Sen. John McCain temper tantrum

By Pablo Fanque, National Affairs Editor
Photo source unknown; painting by Jack Brummet

Senator John McCain [1] is outraged that President Obama actually did what he said he would do in his 2008 campaign.  He said he would end the war in Iraq.  Our last troops left Iraq last week.

McCain gave a short speech in the Senate last week, where he said "I believe history will judge Obama's leadership with the scorn and disdain it deserves".

In 2004, AND 2008,  the American people showered Senator McCain with the same scorn and disdain he piled on The President last week.  We, The People, rejected him in both the 2004 primary/caucus season, and in his disastrous and embarrassing run with Ex-Governor Sarah Palin.


[1]  Remember when the Democrats pitched McCain as a possible running mate for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 [what a difference eight years makes]? 

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jodi Wilgoren wrote in the NY Times in May 2004:
The enthusiasm of Democrats for Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, is so high that even some who have been mentioned as possible Kerry running mates -- including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator -- are spinning scenarios about a ''unity government,'' effectively giving Mr. Kerry a green light to reach across the political aisle and extend an offer.

''Senator McCain would not have to leave his party,'' Mr. Kerrey said. ''He could remain a Republican, would be given some authority over selection of cabinet people. The only thing he would have to do is say, 'I'm not going to appoint any judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade,' '' the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, which Mr. McCain has said he opposes.