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~ Vol. 45 ~

More than you can handle in this edition of Quipsologies.


Miss America has moved from Atlantic City to Las Vegas, but at least some beauty contests (2nd from the top) are still viable. We’re hoping Speak Up gets Miss Congeniality.


Taking desktop images to the next level. [Thanks to Erik Moga for the link]


Blackletter in Mexico: A beautiful thesis project by Cristina Paoli at the London College of Communication.


The winners of the more-complicated-than-it-would-seem DWR Champagne Chair Contest 2005. [Via Kottke]


The Museum of Bad Art. [Thanks to JonSel for the link]


Adscape, a study by Alexis Lloyd, a student at Parsons The New School for Design, of the type of advertising in three different sections of New York. [Via Gothamist]


A bevy of beer bottle caps.


Otto adhesive film is inspired by the intricately chiselled wooden screens that are found within Islamic countries. Otto captures the hand made quality of these decorative designs within this translucent material for the modern home.

one two three


New meaning to in and out burger.

Make your own subway signs.


“Perhaps, after all, Baudrillard’s abreactions are performed to help us forget the trauma of the death of photography. A death which, as he says, ‘enfolds the image’ as in this series of images assembled around a nothing, a punctum, a death which survives in the work of the photograph. For Baudrillard, post-photographic practices enact the death of the punctum itself, which is the poignant nothing at the centre of the image, but lost to both time and the viewer. It is this death of the death at the heart of the photograph which haunts him and which he fears will be ‘lost in the automatic proliferation of images.’” Artaud scholar Edward Scheer on the photography of Jean Baudrillard — “The most delicate of operations”: Baudrillard’s Photographic Aberactions — found in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies.


Prince Charles: font critic.


John Courie II “The Process (detail)”, 2005
Announcing the Dept. of Applied Office Arts. In office space, no one can see you draw.


Cingular Wireless was given a patent for emoticom usage on mobile phones. So instead of making cell phones sound better, improving battery life or reducing their environmental impact, we get new ways of texting smileys. (•_•?) (-_-)


Contextual advertising gone bad.
And here’s another unfortunate juxtaposition.


Plan 59’s Gallery of Demonic Tots and Deeply Disturbing Cuisine as found in mid-20th Century advertising. (via The Consumerist)


Department of Better-Red-Than-Dead Co-Branding: Last week, Bono, American Express, the Gap, Giorgio Armani and Converse launched Project Red.


Return of The Department of Perhaps They Went for the Lowest Bid: If the United States is the most powerful nation on earth, then why is the National Security Agency’s CryptoKids website so awful?


Issue 20 of P.O.V. — a Danish journal of film studies features several worthwhile articles on the iconography of terror, mass media, and the collision of the two.


Yesterday, while driving back from a lovely weekend in the country, we passed a billboard which brought to mind one of The Ten Commandments: Thou shall not steal.


Carlo McCormick, Adam Purple, Justin Ladda, Duncan Hannah, Tseng Kwong Chi, Jack Goldstein, Mike Bidlo, Sur Rodney (Sur), and Gracie Mansion. Just some of the names which were omnipresent in the downtown New York that I moved into during the 1980s. And to see them again evokes cherished memories. These names, and many others, make up a wonderful interdisciplinary exhibition currently at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library — The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene 1974-1984.


A concurrent exhibition (organized by ex-I.D. Magazine editor Christopher Mount) that also celebrates my beloved New York is at Parsons, The New School for Design — Anarchy to Affluence: Design in New York, 1974-1984.


About a year and a half ago, Milton Glaser proposed a silent demonstration of anger against the Bush Administration. Sadly, things haven’t gotten better and an organization known as The World Can’t Wait is proposing an extremely loud evening to coincide with the upcoming State of the Union address. One of the organizers is Debra Sweet who, upon receiving a public service award from President Nixon, said “I find it hard to believe in your sincerity in giving out the awards until you get us out of Vietnam.” Plus ´┐Ża change…


A quieter and more elegant symbol of protest is the proposal from Arms Against War. If you want an end to the war in Iraq, then simply wear a strip of white fabric around your arm. (via CounterPunch)


Oh great, another surface for a branding touchpoint:
Rooftop ads for Google Maps.


“Andrew. Really. I don’t think the creative directors in question are so much ‘looking to the masters for inspiration’, as they’re scanning art databases with one hand, sipping from a Cosmo with the other, and hitting ‘save’ when a work of art pops up which portrays several human figures, with at least one of them supine and/or eye level to another’s crotch. Then they click, ‘add jockstrap’. The classics are then reinterpreted for a new age, and the pants are marked up another few hundred.” (via Modern Art Notes)


“How to define success in the arts? Answering this question is harder than it may look. Do you define success by comparing salaries? (But can Sly Stallone be called a better actor than many of the people he out-earns?) By asking profs to supply the rankings and make the judgment calls? (But profs … Well, patooie on them.)”

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ARCHIVE ID 2527 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Jan.30.2006 BY The Speak Up Authors
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Prince Charles: font critic.

Nice one! Very funny, Mark.


Re: Got Faith

But the Ten Commandments don't say, "Thou shalt not make amusing parodies."

On Jan.30.2006 at 09:20 AM
Ryan Peterson’s comment is:

Completely unrelated to anything, but In an Interview with Stephen COlbert on the Onion's A.V. Club he started talking about his set design and I thought it was worth posting:

One of the things I said to the set designer?who has done everything, I mean even Meet The Press, he does that level of news design?was "One of your inspirations should be [DaVinci's painting] The Last Supper." All the architecture of that room points at Jesus' head, the entire room is a halo, and he doesn't have a halo." And I said, "On the set, I'd like the lines of the set to converge on my head." And so if you look at the design, it all does, it all points at my head. And even radial lines on the floor, and on my podium, and watermarks in the images behind me, and all the vertices, are right behind my head. So there's a sort of sun-god burst quality about the set around me. And I love that.


On Jan.30.2006 at 01:33 PM
whitney’s comment is:

forgive my n00bness...but what's wrong with the cryptokids site?

On Jan.30.2006 at 02:07 PM
amy papaelias’s comment is:

Cingular Wireless was given a patent for emoticom usage on mobile phones.

holy cow. what's next, Verizon patents slang?

On Jan.30.2006 at 08:55 PM
amy papaelias’s comment is:

Cingular Wireless was given a patent for emoticom usage on mobile phones.

holy cow. what's next, Verizon patents slang?

On Jan.30.2006 at 08:55 PM
jenny’s comment is:

Cingular Wireless was given a patent for emoticom usage on mobile phones.

I've done some cell-phone work, so I sent links to this quipsologies to a couple of people in the industry I know - they were pretty upset, but apparently, the patent has been applied for but not granted (yet): see the update at the end of this article.

On Jan.30.2006 at 10:20 PM
jesse’s comment is:

Yes, what's your beef with the CryptoKids site?

On Jan.31.2006 at 09:36 AM
m. kingsley’s comment is:

The CryptoKids site? Me? My beef?

Well... here's two to pick from:

1. It's kind of half-assed.

I can imagine a meeting where the NSA's Director of Public Relations (which is a bit bizarre for a secret agency to have, but they most likely do) brings up the idea for an outreach to kids. The agency's been in the news with the whole illegal wiretapping mess, and they figure kids will come home after school asking "Mommy, what's the NSA?" After some stumbling around, Moms will come across the CryptoKids site and breathe a sigh of relief that it looks safe enough.

But it's actually kind of lame.

When I was a kid, I was really into Space. I remember staying up into the wee hours to watch moon landings with my father and being fascinated with the science of it. I didn't need — and actually resented — the kiddy coloring books and watered down kid-safe crap that sprang up around it. For example, I actually saw a coloring book that had a crappy narrative about the first moon landing with a picture of Nixon on the phone, congratulating the just-returned astronauts.

Coloring a picture of Nixon? Yech. I'd rather learn more about the quarantine booth.

So my point is, if the NSA is going to do an outreach to kids; then they need to do more. With shows like E-Ring and 24, there's a lot of ground between coloring pages (take a look, they're on the CryptoKids site) and Jack Bauer cutting someone's head off.

The NSA's only covered up to age 7 at the most. What about after that?

I keep hearing how American needs experts in Arabic, Farsi and all other sorts of languages. There's certainly no encouragement elsewhere, so why not from the NSA?

The world's full of distractions and god knows kids spend enough time with the X-Box. So if the NSA's really serious about nurturing future generations of language, computer and code experts; then they need to do more than set up a kindergarden-level website.

2. It's kind of creepy.

Especially in light of recent news reports about Bush's directives to listen in on American communications without a court order. "Oh it's OK! The NSA likes kids. Whew! Nothing to worry about here."

So. If you're looking at the CryptKids website and think "Gee, pretty good flash work", then you're not really thinking.

My friends, there's more to communication than the aesthetics.

Jenny — thanks for the update.

On Jan.31.2006 at 01:28 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:


I thought so too. This NSA site is creepy stuff. It's about as cool/cute as a Hannibal Lecter cookbook...

My father worked in the Space Program when I was a kid, so he brought home all the corny US Gov paraphernalia on space flight as well as the underground UFO magazines floating around the facilities. Pictures of Nixon may be strange, but you should have seen the images of space aliens supposedly in contact...

On Jan.31.2006 at 02:16 PM
jesse’s comment is:

Mark, thanks for the response.

Your reasons for not liking the site seem to have more to do with politics, outreach, and creepy feelings than with design. I did look at the site, and yeah, I saw the coloring pages, but I disagree that it's only covering ages 7 or younger. I think there's quite a bit of informational content and some good jumping-off points for interested kids. The character bios were maybe a bit overwrought, but overall I think the site is decent for a government agency. It works, loads quickly, and is pretty well organized. And I'm generally not a fan of Flash.

I hope you weren't really implying that people who like the site aren't capable of critical thinking, that would just be dumb.

On Feb.01.2006 at 10:26 AM
m. kingsley’s comment is:

Jesse —

From my disadvantaged point as an outside observer...

Much effort was put into the site towards how: code, layout, organization...

More effort than the consideration of why: impact, potential criticism, follow-through...

Critical thinking is more than liking and disliking.

Texts under criticism have both an aesthetic and an ethic.

Design covers politics (used in the Marxist definition) and pretty pictures.

On Feb.01.2006 at 01:15 PM
jesse’s comment is:

More effort than the consideration of why: impact, potential criticism, follow-through...

How do you know?

Critical thinking is more than liking and disliking. Texts under criticism have both an aesthetic and an ethic. Design covers politics (used in the Marxist definition) and pretty pictures.

Oh, I get it now!

Look, you don't have to like the site, that's fine. You said the NSA should do more with the site if they're serious about encouraging kids to pursue relevant disciplines. What would you suggest? The NSA is probably listening.

On Feb.01.2006 at 02:03 PM
oscar’s comment is:

Cingular has applied for an emoticon-related patent, but it has not been granted.

On Feb.01.2006 at 06:04 PM
jesse’s comment is:

Not gonna get an answer here, am I.

On Feb.05.2006 at 06:43 PM
Steve’s comment is:

NSA thoughts.

Okay, I don't like it. For one thing, if I was a kid and I liked something as cool as this, I'd hate to see it be treated like all the other kid stuff. You know? They aren't making it stand out as interesting, important, or anything. And also, this is a very mature subject matter... Why are 5-9 year old kids going to use this site? Do any of you expect your young'ns to visit a site like this?

I think it needs to reach to a slightly higher age demographic and I think it needs a slightly more mature appearance. Those weird characters... What's that? They're weird. A turtle that rocks out on the keyboard? Okay, I see what the goal was there (I think) but I think the goal doesn't provoke any of the progress or success originally intended. Like I said, I think this program reaches out to kids who are a little too young for the subject matter.

If it touched base with reality a little or perhaps a lot more and made it seem way more... Suave or just plain old cool, I think it would make more sense. And I have a feeling kids who were actually interested in this would want the NSA to reach out to them as... Very mature, responsible, intelligent, and special youths, rather than little kids who like turtles that rock out on keyboards.

I think that concert would totally suck, too.

I don't mind if you totally disagree, I'm a fairly young one myself (19) and I'm not really fimiliar with kids aside from when I was one and those memories could be a bit clearer. So I can't say I know how this site would appeal to the 5-9 demographic, but I have a strong feeling it's not a hit at all.


On Feb.06.2006 at 04:47 AM