Category Archives: Art

Who is Lady Ga Ga?

If you don’t know who Lady Ga Ga is, you don’t deserve to keep reading this post. But I will let you anyway. According to Wikipedia

Her contributions to the music industry have garnered her numerous achievements including two Grammy Awards, amongst twelve nominations; two Guinness World Records; and the estimated sale of fifteen million albums and fifty-one million singles worldwide. Billboard named her as the Artist of the Year in 2010 and ranked her as the 73rd Artist of the 2000s decade. Gaga has been included in Time magazine’s annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world as well as Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world. Forbes also placed her at number seven on their annual list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

But that’s not who she is. That’s just how society has rewarded her. This is who she is:

Regardless of how this makes you feel about her, you can’t say she isn’t creative. In interviews she says things like “I am Lady Ga Ga.”. She comes across as more than a little wonky. But before she “was” Lady Ga Ga, she was someone else.

Here’s who she was (if you are my mom or her sister and you are only going to watch one of these video, I recommend this one):

I like the part at the end when the critic says “Norah Jones, watch out!”. And this makes me wonder: is she Lady Ga Ga? Is she really writing the type of stuff she would like to, all things being equal? Or is she fronting? We can probably guess that because she wasn’t making an s. ton of money playing classical piano she was encouraged to whig out a little, or else discovered how to do so on her own. But now that she’s this far into it, has she lost her former self in her stage persona, or does she go home, put on a sweatshirt, brew some organic tea, crank up the Enya to medium, and curl up on the couch with a hardbound copy of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?

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Filed under Art, Blogs Proper

BONUS DAY

The other day I gave you a little bit of homework, and today I am going to give you the answers so that you can grade yourself.

1. The difference between a typeface and a font.

In brief, a typeface is a collection of fonts, such as “Helvetica”. Within the Helvetica typeface you can have Helvetica Neue, Helvetica Italic, etc. in differing point sizes. An example of a specific font within the Helvetica typeface would be “Helvetica Bold 12 point”.

You can even choose to embolden or italicize each font, even if it comes as bold or italic already. Just as you can change the kern, ligature, baseline, and other aspects of it. But those changes are made to the font, they are not changes of the font.

So “Times” is not technically a font. It is a typeface. But I won’t get after you for conflating the two, just as I won’t get after you for misunderstanding “irony” (which, you do), though I enjoyed arguing about it with Jon, and arguing about that argument with everybody else. More on this genus of argument later in this post.

2. The difference between a forward slash and a backslash.

A forward slash goes like this: /, whereas a backslash goes like this: \. So the domain that hosts this blog should be pronounced aytch tee tee pee colon slash slash (or forward slash forward slash) ess double-u eye en gee ar (or argh!) oh vee (“as in victor”) ee ar dot com. There are almost never any backslashes in domain names or URL’s. It’s ironic (shout out) when people go to the trouble of specifying the direction of a slash in a domain name or URL, only to specify it incorrectly. Just say “slash”, or, if you must, “forward slash” (which is the default type of slash, which is more meaningful I-well, you know the story).

Also, you don’t really need to specify “www” anymore (more on why later), and rarely do you need to specify the “http” anymore either. But whatever.

3. The difference between a domain and a URL.

A URL is, quite simply, the full address of a resource on the web. Whereas a domain name is the thing immediately preceeding “.com” or “.net”, or the like. So the domain name of this website is just “swingrover.com”, whereas the URL for this page is http://swingrover.com/blog/2010/12/15/answers-to-your-homework/.

4. The difference between the B and STRONG tags.

To style text as bold in HTML, you can either use the B or the STRONG tag. For example, “<b>bold text</b>” would be rendered “bold text” in a browser, just as “<strong>strong text</strong>” would be rendered “strong text“.

The difference is that the B tag is only an aesthetic element, whereas STRONG text is supposed to convey something semantic and its styled text should be pronounced strongly by electronic text readers.

And who wouldn’t want that?

The debate about whether the B tag should be dropped entirely from the W3C HTML spec, and/or whether and when to use the STRONG tag hotly rages on and on in tech forums, and I love it. I think it is hilarious. And this brings us around to the genus of argument in which the infamous one we had concerning “irony” (though not concerning irony, exactly – do you know the difference?) should be placed.

This genus is also home to arguments over Settlers of Catan rules, how to pronounce and spell “Shady Ripkins”, the necessary and sufficient conditions one has to fulfill in order to be said to have “Dan-dar”, and debates about the same for “Canonical Swingrover” (see here and here). It is the same genus of argument Lindsey, Brianna, and most others despise, the one whose member species Jon loves too, and the one responsible for 75% of any intraswingrover conflict.

I love these arguments because of their finitude. This is the same reason I love chess, why I would enjoy being a lawyer or studying the pre-Socratics, and why learning about grammar sounds like a fun time to me.

I also love them because they are ridiculous, and it is funny to take ridiculous things seriously. And it is fun to instantiate funny scenarios. If you are willing to go through and cause more than a certain amount of pain in order to instantiate such scenarios then you are Daniel Walker and you engage in “antics”.

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Filed under Art, Blogs Proper, Family, Misc

Horse’s Head

I am now firmly of the opinion that everyone should own at least one horse head mask in his lifetime.

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Filed under Art

Post-​​​​​​​Zombie ​​​​Apocalypse

I laughed aloud at 30 Rock the other day when Jack remarked in passing that Liz wouldn’t have anything to offer society after a zombie apocalypse, because Jonathan and I had discussed that very issue the day before.

From time to time my heart searches out reasons to despair. I don’t know why it occasionally feels comforting to revel in despair. David tells me it’s my superhero weakness and invests in me through encouragement at every turn.

My wife usually makes me man up.

But I’ve thought about what role I might play in society, post-zombie-apocalype. Try to picture the scenario: there are maybe a couple hundred or so humans left alive on earth, and they are beginning to rebuild society. You are among them and so am I. Let’s say these are average or above average people in terms of morality and intelligence. They generally want to work together and are willing to compromise, but there is a lot of work to do to rebuild. Maybe the wall keeping the remaining zombies out encircles some grocery stores, so there is food for now, but it won’t last. We need farmers. Maybe there are some usable buildings left, but a lot of demolition and construction have to be done. I consider hunting, gathering, farming, and construction-related activities “bottom-up”, but we need “top-down” people too: rulers. We need some people to help organize the construction efforts, the medical undertakings, what war effort may remain, etc.

We need queen bees as well as worker bees.

But where do you fit in? Where do I fit in? I’ve thought a lot about it. I’m not good at queen-beeing or worker-beeing. So would I just find a menial job I could just do? Would I try to get involved in the politics? What? The fact is that my interests and skills are just not very value-adding in post-zombie-apocalypse land. And frankly, I often have trouble seeing their value in reality-land. If all my hopes and dreams come true and I get to teach philosophy, perhaps someone will pay me to teach them. But for what? So they can turn around and teach someone else? Where does it end? Or rather, where does the value-adding occur? My work won’t help people eat, won’t be physically constructive, won’t clothe people, and won’t help organize and govern people. It feels like a pyramid scheme, except with less monetary benefit to myself. It’s a bankrupt, ivory tower scheme.

When I shared this with Jon, he put things in their proper perspective for me:

We don’t seek understanding and creativity so that we can eat and build shelter. We eat and build shelter so that we can seek understanding and creativity.

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Filed under Art, Minor Epiphanies, Philosophy