insto @ 5:56 pm

it’s bloomsday today and i got the test pressing for my new insane book that i’ve been working on in relative silence. very fortuitous! here’s a shot of the back cover only:

it’s a scrambled up text written using a recipe of my own invention.

it’s one of a few post-MN projects that i’ve been slowly working on with great enjoyment, and like the others it’s fun to work on, and it’s pretty abstract, which for me means it isn’t based on declarative statements. in other words, it is one of a set of projects that are absolutely lovely to work on when one is burnt out! my goals are to have an official copy in hand while the rhododendrons are still in bloom, and to complete 18 more books in this series at some point in the manageable future. test pressing looks ok but there’s still a bunch of things i have to tighten up before it goes live.

oh yeah, and the mug above is still available- picture by/of danica.


in the midst of the water and the water is the water

Crocodile @ 1:01 am


hey thou, o man of god

Crocodile @ 10:23 pm

in times of trouble i look to certain kinds of filtered noise. here’s a pleasant grip of google translate glitches i did earlier this afternoon.


space academy 123

Crocodile @ 3:10 pm

this one really hit home. catch them all at


saxophone query

Crocodile @ 5:00 am

checked in on leonardr’s page this morning, which now that he’s working a cool job he enjoys (at NYPL) is mostly movie reviews and rightful boasting. is there a word for boasting when it’s well-earned? anyway i was struck by something he wrote about mister rogers neighborhood:

The thing that stood out to me is that when he shows you a potentially unfamiliar place like an art gallery or an airplane, he always takes the time to verify that there are bathrooms there. He goes into the airplane bathroom and shows you how everything works. So you don’t pee your pants on the plane flight because you’re afraid to use the toilet.

that’s really nice. tonight me and satchmo watched a little of mister rogers on youtube- some of a random episode, his incredible senate testimony in support of PBS funding, and the segment where saxophones are made.

i guess this is from sesame st, not mister rogers– mister rogers would’ve told you what it was going to be at the very begining. anyway i absolutely loved this when i was a kid but forgot about the soundtrack, which i ended up emulating later in life. does anyone know who played on this?


grep for sounds

Crocodile @ 4:36 pm

~/Videos$ grep -r -i --include \*.srt "([a-zA-Z ]*)" .

search through the “Videos” folder for lines in subtitle files that contain parenthetical remarks (usually sound effects). results after the break.

the picture above is all the tiles from the NES game Faxanadu that make up the background



recent lookups

Crocodile @ 7:07 pm


comic books / shitmetal

Crocodile @ 3:38 am

olivia’s applying for a grant for a thing involving me, so for reasons of documentation, i put the stuffed animals page back up. then i got zooted at the coffee place thinking about getting back in the game? i miss these guys… some of these designs are really fun, easy to make… ugh… someone talk me out of it…

anyway, today i went and wrote at the coffee shop for a little bit. on the way home i stopped in to the metal store thinking “i really want to listen to some shitmetal right now”, but i didn’t really have a good idea of what i meant. nothing really shouted at me. it was the guy i know the least working, i didn’t want to burden him with such a nebulous query (though i like him, he’s a nice guy). later i ran into a different metal store guy, the guy who i’d say is “my guy”, at trader joe’s of all places. he had a very clear idea of what “shitmetal” means, and gave me some solid recommendations right there by the stacks of cookies. then we kept seeing each other while shopping, toasting tiny little free cups of coffee… verrrrry nice.

i always tell comics people to bring their shit to the metal store but not everyone does, which is a shame, because they have good stuff there! today i got a bunch of stuff they got from the last gasp distro, including a few issues of maybe my favorite comic book of all time, duplex planet illustrated. everything was at cover price, incredible. they have zaps, weirdos… gotta check it out. also got a back issue of heartattack with a circle a cycles interview in it, it was 50 cents and from 2005. 50 cents in 2005 is still just 63 cents in 2017 money. it’s 64 pages, magazine size, black and white on newsprint. i know that paper costs keep going up, but picture charging 6 times this, and still coming in under $4 retail???? too bad everyone went in the cult/expensive direction. bring back cult/cheap!!!!!

shitmetal links:
immortal warmaster jeremy harris sends the following:

chris from the record store / trader joe’s recommends

no surprise that everyone’s got their own idea of What Is Shitmetal. for what it’s worth my tastes skew closer to harris’s. looking for wild, dumb, somewhat inept (the nice way of saying this is “lively”). probably going to cruise the search term “1985 demo” for a while. send links.

oh yeah, got a new one up on the outline: st patrick’s day


let’s go (to frankenstein castle)

Crocodile @ 3:08 am

last night and this morning writing about mary shelley’s frankenstein: a modern prometheus (first published march 11) for my column, which should go up tomorrow. a tough part of this gig is walking away from riffs that are Too Heavy For Me, or Good But Not Now, and/or More Work Than Required. roughly we’re talking about knowing when to hold em, and knowing when to fold em. oftentimes lately i’ll get on a subject and realize that i’d like to read a good book about it, but i can’t write the book. i only need to do a couple hundred words, i don’t need to drop a thesis every week (or ever, at all). moreover, some topics are simply not for me to write about. and some are flat-out bummers. nothing against bummer reality (aside from the obvious desire to change it), but from a workflow standpoint, it poses a distinct motivational problem. for me.

anyway i’m getting better at making this decision. deciding to write about frankenstein was a no-brainer, though i still had to pick my path. this week i read a lot about but didn’t write at all about castle frankenstein, which seems incredible! here’s my loose notes:

the “legends and myths” section of the frankenstein castle wikipedia page seems lifted entirely from some other more fantastic source. as such it’s liberally sprinkled with “[clarification needed]”s, so many that at times they read like back-up vocals. buuut it’s pretty sick!!! includes notes on a dragon that kills and is killed by a knight errant, a fountain of youth where on walpurgis night old women from nearby villages undergo tests of courage, a myth of gold that led to mines which collapsed on foolish diggers (and zero gold), strange magnetic phenomenon, a sea of rocks, etc.. old women undergoing tests of courage is a great bit- fury road really whetted my appetite for this angle, hopefully we get more old women undergoing tests of courage next blockbuster season.

the gnarliest part of the page is regarding perhaps the source of the myth that inspired mary shelley, an alchemist named johann dippel, who was born in and lived in the castle in the 1600s. among other alchemisty things, he’s credited with an eponymous oil:

Dippel created an animal oil known as Dippel’s Oil which was supposed to be equivalent to the “elixir of life.”

everything’s an elixir of life to these people– it’s worth noting that dippel was trying to exchange the recipe for the deed to the castle (which he was denied) so upselling was certainly involved from the beginning. but it wasn’t all hogwash– the page on dippel’s oil says:

Dippel’s oil had a number of uses which are now mostly obsolete. Its primary use was as an animal and insect repellent. It saw limited use as a chemical warfare harassing agent during the desert campaign of World War II. The oil was used to render wells undrinkable and thus deny their use to the enemy. By not being lethal, the oil was claimed to not be in breach of the Geneva Protocol.


also via Dippel’s page:

According to [a single 18th century source] Dippel and the pigment maker Diesbach used potassium carbonate contaminated with this oil in producing red dyes. To their surprise, they obtained a blue pigment “Berliner Blau”, also called “Preussisch Blau” or “Prussian blue”.

via prussian blue:

Prussian blue was the first modern synthetic pigment. It is employed as a very fine colloidal dispersion, as the compound itself is not soluble in water. It is famously complex, owing to the presence of variable amounts of other ions and the sensitive dependence of its appearance on the size of the colloidal particles formed when it is made. The pigment is used in paints, and it is the traditional “blue” in blueprints.

hokusai wave, starry nights, etc.

In medicine, Prussian blue is used as an antidote for certain kinds of heavy metal poisoning

It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system. Prussian blue lent its name to prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide), which was derived from it. In Germany, hydrogen cyanide is called Blausäure (“blue acid”), and Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac gave cyanide its name, from the Greek word κυανός (kyanos, “blue”), because of the color of Prussian blue.

This Prussian blue pigment is significant since it was the first stable and relatively lightfast blue pigment to be widely used following the loss of knowledge regarding the synthesis of Egyptian blue.

no conclusion, just notes, maybe to return to later. if anyone has a good movie (other than fury road) in which an older woman protagonist undergoes tests of courage, comments are open.


shemp musings

Crocodile @ 6:43 pm

i’m working on my next outline column, reading the wikipedia page on shemp howard (born march 11, 1895). this is nice:

On November 22, 1955, Shemp went out with his friends Al Winston and Bobby Silverman to a boxing match (one of Shemp's favorite pastimes), at the old Hollywood Legion Stadium (at North El Centro Avenue & Selma Avenue), located just one block above the Hollywood Palladium. While returning home in a taxicab that evening, he died of a sudden massive heart attack, at the age of 60. He was leaning back and lighting a cigar after telling a joke, when he suddenly slumped over on his friend Al Winston's lap, accidentally burning Al with the cigar. Al thought Shemp was playing a joke, since Shemp was laughing moments earlier, but realized he was actually dead. Moe's autobiography gives a death date of November 23, 1955, as do most subsequent accounts, because of Moe's book.

that’s a true comedian’s walk-off, the ultimate take, and burning a friend with a lit cigar is an addition only a pro could pull off. i wonder what the joke was, the one that shemp walked on. i wonder if there’s a formula for assessing the probability of something being better to wonder about than to know.

also via the page “Fake Shemp”:

Fake Shemp, or simply Shemp, is someone who appears in a film as a replacement for another actor or person. Their appearance is disguised using methods such as heavy make-up (or a computer-generated equivalent), filming from the back, or using partial shots of the actor.

shemp lives on after death by being the namesake of a style of living on after one’s death. what’s the verb for his interaction with this concept? it was pioneered unto him?

crispin glover sued spielberg over his fake shemp in back to the future 2, and now there are clauses in the screen actors guild collective bargaining agreements prohibiting the use of shemps. but maybe you just have to work out a deal with the original face? peter cushing was massively shemped in the last star wars movie, i feel like we’re going to see more and more of this sort of thing, even among the living. “i’m busy, shemp me in”.

list of fake shemps

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