Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012
"Have absolute Faith in Herbalife. Have absolute Trust in the Leadership. Everything that they promised has come true and THE BEST IS YET TO COME."
Friday, December 28, 2012


"This is what I would call an adult problem and most people solve it in the adult fashion: they learn to tolerate the cheating. But that is not the right answer to people who want to live a larger and better life."
Monday, December 24, 2012
Latenight drizzle in the lamplight, Sixto Rodriguez's Think of You on the deck.  Merry Christmas to Tsawwassen and East Wellington, Ann Arbor and Kitsilano, Glasgow & Commercial Drive, Toronto & Chilliwack & Victoria and Eagle Harbor.  Hardest and in many respects most rewarding year of my life.  Love from Rose T. Cat and Kato and L. and I to all of you, always.

You may not realize it day to day, but you really do make a difference to me.  Thank you everybody.  Merry Christmas, or Pagan Winter Festival, or whatever, from cranky old me.  Thanks.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
"The letter was not, at once, apoplectic, hyperbolic and grammatically dubious, especially when it came to the use of commas and attention to subject-verb agreement. It did not refer to homeless people as 'the homeless,' in the same way one might refer to a syntax-challenged angry-letter writer as 'illiterate.' THE LETTER DID NOT LIBERALLY EMPLOY THE USE OF BLOCK CAPS."
"The wife was in a unique position to be fully familiar with and knowledgeable about the husband’s assets, both as counsel for Renegade prior to, during, and after marriage, and in assisting the husband with his 1994 divorce and the subsequent settlement of that action.  The wife had full access to and knowledge of the husband’s financial affairs at all material times.  Specifically, her questioning revealed that she had information, prior to the marriage, that the value of Renegade’s assets was inadequate to support its bank loan, such that the respondent was being asked to personally guarantee Renegade’s debt. Although she did not know what the shares of Renegade were worth, it was her evidence during questioning that she understood that the value of the Renegade assets had fallen.  Objectively, this information ought to have raised a question in her mind as to whether the date of marriage value of $7,603,685 being used by the husband in his net family property statement was accurate."
"'A lot of these e-book consumers aren’t behaving like lab rats at a feeder bar,' the analyst said."
They went off in her car together. There is more than one road to the city.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Bookseller, Cameron's Books, Portland, OR, June 1964
Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Clint Burnham, At Work, 2003.  Curated by, or produced in collaboration with, Tim Lee.

The question of quotation, reproduction, repetition etc. in my work.  Reenactments and autonomous photographs made mostly, but not exclusively, digitally, utilizing both "amateur" and "professional" technology, eg., BarbieCam; Leaf digital back on old Mamiya 645.

Reenactment (War Game Tree, 2012) as distinct from appropriation.  So far I've only made two real appropriations, Theft, 2006-7, 2012, and Into Thin Air, 2012, both consisting of other people's photographs that I found (one on the Internet, the other on one of my cameras), color-corrected, printed, and presented as my own.

The Street Views (Metropolitan, CJ, & etc.) aren't appropriations.  They're autonomous pictures, found and framed using my office monitor.  Appropriation implies the seamless translation of a preexisting thing into an alternate context, qv. Sherrie Levine's Walker Evans and Edward Weston photographs.  Art history lumps Levine and Sturtevant together, but there's a difference between the two, and a further distinction between Sturtevant's moreorless seamless reproductions of, say, Felix Gonzalez-Torres' go-go dancer or lightbulb strings, and her somewhat more laboriously handmade recreations of paintings by Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and others.  Levine and Sturtevant are good artists -- Sturtevant's fearless independence is very important to me -- but I don't think my reenactments, or appropriations, have much to do with either one of them.

Also, contrary to some opinions, I don't exclusively reenact Jeff Wall pictures.  Scott McFarland, David Hockney, John Carpenter and Gustave Courbet have either been or are about to become the lucky recipients of some sustained looking.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
"No one wants to send a 13-year-old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, 'Something must be done.'"
That sentiment might explain his struggle and dissatisfaction: despite all efforts, there are some lost things, or lost moments, or lost people, that remain irretrievable.
Thursday, December 13, 2012


"If you're going to argue 'I didn't want to do X, but X overcame my will with its seductive powers' we don't let you wander around in public, since you're operating at the level of a small child who really wants a cupcake and a chance to see what happens when you ram a Mini Cooper into a police cruiser."
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Metropolitan (70), 2012
Saturday, December 08, 2012

"Dreaming of Dad having to do Christmas retail." Courtesy L.
Friday, December 07, 2012

Street View study for an "LA picture" I hope to shoot next spring.  Possibly credible as an autonomous work.
"Amazon disclosed in October 2011 that the IRS wanted $1.5 billion in unpaid taxes. It has declined to say exactly what transactions the charge relates to but said it was linked to 'transfer pricing with our foreign subsidiaries' over a seven-year period from 2005."

Q:  What will the balance sheet look like with even .75 billion removed from it?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Tonight's soundtrack: "...various keyboards, mellotron, flutes and strings..."


Christopher Brayshaw, La Cinega, 2011

Three theses:

1. The demand that a work of representational art -- a painting or photograph -- resemble something confuses the work's ostensible subject(s) with the work's own autonomy as a thing-in-the-world.

2.  There is no such thing as a single "subject" in painting or photography.  The tree's scarred trunk is no more the subject of my picture than the little green leaf in the foreground, or the rock and the nail and the weeds, or the cracked pavement beside the trunk, or the window's reflection in the deep shadow below the brickwork, or the security gate's beautiful iron curlicues, or the deeply slanted space at upper left.  All of these things are equal.  All of them have meaning.

3. If ever in doubt about one of my pictures, it's probably a self-portrait.  Even the reenactments.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Jeffrey B. quoted in Fortune magazine's "CEO of the Year" profile: "Your margin is my opportunity."

Well, maybe.  Definitely true if margin equals profit.  But margin actually equals gross, not net, profit.  So out of margin comes every possible kind of expense: Xmas decorations for the front window, new sign, cloud computing facilities, trash bags, courier charges, conveyer belts for the warehouse, etc.  These expenses don't go away, and they scale over time, especially if building a national or international brand.  The bigger the enterprise gets, the bigger its investments in, for example, cloud computing and warehousing.

Capex has to be paid somehow.  You can either do it out of margin or you can do it with cheques written by venture capitalists.  As Fortune's article makes clear, Jeffrey's disruptive/transformative seat at the prom has been paid by two sources: vendors (who are now fed up with their position as parents endlessly doling out money for their ungainly offspring's whims; the Random/Penguin merger is a late, and in my view long overdue attempt to create an entity big enough to dictate terms (discounts, dating of invoices, returnability) to Jeffrey, instead of the other way around), and VC funding.

Some questions.  The buy side guys think I'm doomed, but I've spent my whole life being misunderestimated by almost every condescending "professional" I've ever met.  So, in order:

1.  What return do VCs typically require from a technology investment?

2.  What timeframe do VCs typically require for payback?

3.  How long will this payback take with a 1.8% net margin?  (Jeffrey's statistic, plucked from his 10Ks, not mine).

4.  What is's current PE?  (again, derived from the 10K and public sources like Yahoo & Google Finance).

5.  Has any company in the history of finance and investment sustained a triple-digit PE over the medium- to long-term?

5a.  Is there money in the bank?

5b.  How much of it belongs to suppliers?

6.  What will happen when (not if) generous vendor terms and VC funding decouple from the train?

Food for thought for Mr. CEO of the Year.  And an interesting forensic accounting problem/thought experiment for the rest of us.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Between the Time and the Tides
Monday, December 03, 2012

"She never stopped role playing a friendly looter, and everything she did was scrupulously game-legal. Which made the people who melted down and started screaming 'faggot' even funnier.

One furious player followed her home through a portal, but since a tamer's house is a menagerie of murder, it was like a gritty reboot of a Disney musical number: Every single thing in her house could move, and each one of them wanted to kill him. He ended up hiding in her shed and traded everything, including his character's pants, to be saved. Which is weird, because normally when you take off your pants to pay someone for release it's a lot more fun."
Sunday, December 02, 2012

Another kindred spirit takes a stab -- [WHEEZY RUSTY LAUGHTER] -- at Haddonfield, thirty-odd years on.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
OBAMA: Did you believe anything you were saying in the final weeks? I mean, I couldn’t believe some of the stuff coming out of your mouth.

ROMNEY: Almost none of it. They fed it to me in an earpiece. I was so tired I didn’t know if I was speaking English. You?

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