April 24, 2011

The Beauty of Maps

Ran across this a couple of days ago while rummaging through my overflowing Google Reader. There is some repetition in this series, but overall it was pretty interesting, especially the comic maps explored in the fourth part of the series.

Check out the rest of this BBC Documentary over at Visual News.

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Maurey in Modern Art

You should probabaly follow this blog. Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous, but also hilarious. My brother Jim and his girlfriend Julia have way too much time on their hands. While you're at it, follow their real blogs, too. They make cool art.

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April 22, 2011

Pictures of Maxwell Heinrich Janke

Max is an Eagle Scout,

Who doesn't like being left alone,

But looks good on a backdrop of unpainted wood.

The pillow on the chair behind Max reproduces a painting by Toulouse Latrec. Latrec had a disease where his legs didn't grow past the age of nine or something like that. He's Max's hero.

Max is a two year old long-haired Dachshund, a "red" as they say. He's got himself some goggly peepers and he's quite licky and often.....imposes on intimacy. But he's a keeper.

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April 20, 2011


Put Your Lips Together and Blow? Not Necessarily

Luke Janssen wants to make whistling cool again.

Sitting in a chair in his Williamsburg apartment, Mr. Janssen, who is from England, whistled along to a blues song as he strummed his guitar. But his is no ordinary warble. In fact, Mr. Janssen, 35, is considered one of the world’s best whistlers. And he may also be one of the more controversial.

The palate style is a rarity, and Mr. Janssen’s almost freakish ability to make notes soar and tremolo has earned him respect among many of whistling’s cognoscenti. It also won him a big-screen TV in his first ever whistling contest in 2005 in Sydney.


But the style also has its detractors among purists who say it doesn’t belong where the pucker style has long prevailed.

See the story and a sweet video feature over at The New York Times.

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April 18, 2011


Add this to the epic walrus file:

Surfrider: Walrus by hourigan

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April 17, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "Timebomb"
Artist: Old '97s

I can't think of a better encapsulation of Texas craziness (think Slacker) and punk rock. Killer guitar intro and those howling, pseudo-rockabilly vocals really sell it for me. Really, I should have been into these guys earlier, considering my already-established interest in alt country/cowpunk. Glad I finally came around and bought this album.

Song: "(Don't Let Them) Cool Off"
Artist: Peter Bjorn and John

I didn't think anything could dethrone "Second Chance" on the new PBJ record, but "Cool Off" has the right blend of Thin Lizzy, use of the phrase "one trick pony," and movie-montage groove to do it. Around the 50th time I listened to this song this week -- finally through the best speakers in the house (as opposed to the car, mostly), Katie came down the hall: "You're obsessed, you know that right?"

Song: "Black Night"
Artist: The Dodos

Besides the new Peter Bjorn and John album, I've been listening to The Dodos primarily this week. This song reminds me of the type of track I'd pick to lead off a road trip mixtape. Maybe that's why I've been listening to this song a lot lately.

Song: "Peaches En Regalia"
Artist: Frank Zappa

Song: "Luck Be a Lady"
Artist: Frank Sinatra

Song: "Damn These Vampires"
Artist: The Mountain Goats

I just received this album in the mail today. If I had listened to the album more carefully, I would surely have chosen a song that more subtly displays my incredibly discerning taste. But since I can't, this is a pretty good one.

Otherwise, I was happy to learn that "All Eternals Deck" refers to Tarot cards. When I learned of the album's name, I had initially envisioned a deck (as behind a house, or on a ship) full of immortals. While my imagined scene was strange and intriguing, I'm happy the album is about Tarot cards. How would one make an album about a lot of deities standing on a deck, anyway?

Song: "Boris the Spider"
Artist: The Who

I was raised on the Who. This song was a favorite in elementary school. I loved then, and still love now, the contrast between falsetto and deep growl, and that dominant base line.

In January a local band, the Electric Blankets, played a few Who covers (I Can't Explain, Pictures of Lily, and Boris the Spider) which ended up being clearly the best part of the show. Jack's track last week reminded me of that.


April 10, 2011

Cherry on Top

Tony, Katie and I trekked out to Norfolk yesterday to attend the Virginia Press Association awards banquet. I think the trip re-energized us to think about reporting and ways to reach out to the community. The drive back to Waynesboro was filled with conversation about journalism and our roles in Waynesboro...or wherever this industry takes us.

I figured it'd be a good time to update other Sad Bears about some of our work here. I've now surpassed my one-and-a-half year mark at the paper...Tony and Katie have now been here for almost three.

The News Virginian performed extremely well in 2010, winning (for the second consecutive year) the VPA's top honor for The Borders Within series by myself and Tony.

We took home the VPA Public Service Award. Charlotte Hall, a retired editor of The Orlando Sentinel and former managing editor of Newsday, judged the community service competition:


Of “The Borders Within” Hall commented: “Tony Gonzalez and Chase Purdy spent more than a year … developing contacts, gaining the trust of newcomers and even learning Spanish to facilitate their reporting.

“The results were a series of stories that revealed the humanity of newcomers and contributed to greater community understanding.

“In one case, their reporting also righted a wrong, as they showed how immigration red tape had dangerously divided a family."

Read the rest of the review at The News Virginian.


Every member of our staff won a VPA award this year. I walked away with 10, including first-place honors in breaking news writing, multimedia feature and feature writing portfolio. Tony snagged 10 awards as well, including first-place finishes for investigative reporting and public safety writing. Katie brought home a war chest, including several first-place wins, for her work on the production end of the paper.

I'd be interested in hearing about some of our other accomplishments or what projects we've been working on at Purdue, The Effingham Daily News, Crain, Ohio University, University of Arizona, et al.

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April 9, 2011

The legend of the Halbatroatess

Archiving my inbox, I stumbled across an old e-mail, with the timestamp of "Mon, Mar 5, 2007 at 12:45 PM". The title is "The legend of the Halbatroatess", written by that venerable Iowan, Robert E. Ogden, Esq. Read along with this video, and the mysteries of the universe will be unlocked.

On a lofty night, when the moon sang to the sea, there emerged, bourne of evil supreme, the hatefish. Once the hatefish had devoured its fill of beastflesh, it stalked to find a mate in the cloudy morn. It discovered it's prey: the wild, tooth-beaked horns of the southern-indochinese albatross. The two mated severely and ferverously, and the spawn was the fearsome Halbatross. The Halbatross is part man part albatross, and all hatefish. The Halbatross knows no measure of sympathy, and can devour entire civalizations of dark-skinned peoples without a second though and a laugh on its fetid breath.

And one day brought a time and a place where the Halbatross desired a mate. It sought the strongest of the cyborgs, a legend of mythical import, to bear its loathsome offspring. It sought J. Oatess, the master of the race of men-borgs, the strongest and most ruthless killer the night had known. And in the folds of the black evening, the Halbatross came upon its prey, and took him with zest. The great cyborg did not protest; oh no, he had been feeling randy in the first place and was glad to give himself to the hungry Halbatross. Their lust was shameful, but they dove headfirst into one another with abandon.

Several thousand years later, as an indirect and questionably linked off-shoot of this fateful eve, there arose from the bloody waves a creature so foul and loathsome, so deplorably despicable, that William Shatner was forced to bear his own children. There are no words to describe the horror of what had become; the horror of the great and mighty Halbatroatess. It was a deformed and hideous menace, a plagued leper so fitful that one could not lay eyes upon it without having a spontaneous seizure-orgasm-enema. So it let out a throaty groan, and its hooved foot, only one, mind you, stamped and mashed through flesh and bone. Many a man-creature was cleanly severed and many a loin was brought into the belly of the Halbatroatess. Only God knows what chaos the Halbatroatess has wreaked on one fateful nacht or another. Of the carnage left in the repugnant wake of the Halbatroatess, there is little more to be said. It munched the hatefish from the sea and snatched the albatross from the air. It mated with both of them and the Halbascrotles were bourne, unholy little bastards, to plague the earth long after the Halbatroatess had glutted itself on flesh. The fruit of the loins of the Halbatroatess still scourges the earth to this day.

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April 8, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.

Note: This mix is two-weeks old. Amazing what March Madness and people going on trips (T + C to Chicago, Jack to MI) can do for you forgetting to do stuff. So this might not reflect current tastes, but it's what all respondents were listening to... on March 22. Enjoy.


Song: "Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand"
Artist: The Who

I found this album (The Who Sell Out) used on CD for like five bucks a week or two ago. This is an album full of weird songs, but this one takes the cake (well, aside from the one where Roger Daltry talks to his tattoo). Don't ask why, but there's something endearing about it. I guess that could go for the entire album. This isn't the mod-punk Who, that's for sure. Don't expect any anthemic choruses or raucous playing on this one. It sounds more like a Kinks album (like Village Green) than anything. It's a "concept album", I guess, what with all the fake commercials and radio jingles and such. Mostly, though, I think it was just Pete Townshend's excuse to put all these weird songs on an album. Don't get me wrong — it works, somehow. Maybe because all the songs are about weird things, like "Odorono" and "Armenia City In The Sky" and "Heinz Baked Beans." Like I said, it works. But I don't have any idea why.

Song: "I Want to be the Boy to Warm Your Mother's Heart"
Artist: The White Stripes (R.I.P.)

Unless subconsciously, my recent attraction to the White Stripes has nothing to do with their officially calling it quits. I've queued up "De Stijl" and their self-titled debut on the iPod and hit shuffle, which I never do, and it's been enjoyable while cooking.

Song: "Welcome Home"
Artist: Radical Face

Been listening to this song for the past couple of weeks. Seems fitting.

Song: "Baby Missiles"
Artist: The War on Drugs

These guys have reportedly been making pals with Animal Collective, and the influence shows on some of their other tracks. This one, however, will have you thinking Bruce more than anything else. I checked them out because they'll be in Pontiac to open for Destroyer next week.

Song: “Eye of the Tiger"
Artist: Survivor

Song: "Big In Japan"
Artist: Tom Waits

It's one of Tom Waits's catchier songs. What's with the paintings in the youtube slideshow?

Song: "Sudden Organ"
Artist: Yo La Tengo

Years past, probably in a Galloway dorm room, Julie played this for Sean and I.

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April 7, 2011

This Happened

Vanessa left Beirut La Pita, a local Belleville dining spot, for an appointment, while I stayed behind to box the uneaten food and pay the bill. While walking to her car, this happened: Vanessa fell in a pothole and lost her shoe. While recovering, dusting herself off, replacing her shoe, etc. (she did not just stumble, but actually fell down... all the way down), a woman approached her with a religious tract. Still stooping to put on her shoe, Vanessa explained that she was a Christian and suggested the woman keep the tract to save paper. It was a sizeable tract (filled, no doubt, with good advice alluding to the good-Samaritan, who would, no doubt, help a sister should she stumble...or fall into a pothole.) The woman responded, "How do you know?" This conversation went on for a few moments, as Vanessa's shoe was now in place and she felt comfortable enough to defend her faith to an absolute stranger. Finally, the woman conceded the point: "Yes. You look like a Christian." The encounter was abruptly terminated by an African-American woman honking her horn, as the two were apparently blocking her exit from a parking space. Also, Max (that's our Dachshund), peed in Vanessa's side of the bed this morning: a gesture expressing his frustration at our marital intimacy. He peed on it; it's his now. Given the previous story, I am much more inclined to accept this form of societal structuring.

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