Donovan’s Brain?

Photo by Roman.

Donovan’s Brain is the title of a 1942 sci-fi / horror novel by author and screen writer Curt Siodmak. According to Wikipedia, it’s been made into movies more than once, including a 1953 production that shares the title. I saw the movie once ages ago and actually have a 1969 re-issue of the book, but I remember almost nothing about it except that it probably could also be classed as detective fiction.

Disembodied brains have been a constant trope of horror and fascination in the sci-fi and fantasy genres probably as long as folks have been writing such stuff. It would be an interesting compare and contrast of the treatments of that plot device by various authors. I mean, consider on one hand the heads preserved alive in C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength or the intelligences embodied in light in Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars and Against the Fall of Night. In the face of the mighty productivity of the authors of popular fiction, the bibliography alone would be a significant project.

And, of course, what do zombies want? Brains…

One lunch time when my Dad was working a day shift, Mom asked if I’d like something different for lunch: baked calf brains. Dad was one of those meat and very salty potatoes sort of guys so this was not something he’d have cared for… But I was game. No, it did not taste like chicken. As I recall, Mom’s production tasted like meatloaf, a meatloaf of sincerely alarming appearance.

I think I finished my serving but I’m certain I did not ask for more.

I was inspired to suspect that many of my fellow children had meatloaf for brains and alas that nothing since has challenged that prejudice.

Though to be fair, we all have meatloaf brains. *

On the other hand, maybe the photo is of a very large wad of used chewing gum…

But really, the photo above is not someone’s discarded higher or lower functions but what looks to be the result of maybe a full can of spray foam, the kind of stuff used to seal rodent holes. Was that the intent here? They could have done as well with less, especially if steel wool also blocked the hole. But this overkill makes for a much more interesting photo, yes?

* For an interesting perspective on this, see “All People Are Created Educable, a Vital Oft-Forgotten Tenet of Modern Democracy” over at Ex Urbe.

Bon Appétit

ISART Digital came out with the first of their 2021 graduation videos a few weeks ago. They are remarkable and you should visit them to see more. So far, though, this is my favorite:

“His grandchildren’s unexpected arrival leads Robert to prepare an extraordinary meal. Unfortunately, he is missing some key elements for his chosen recipe. The grandfather goes on a perilous journey to fantastic worlds to bring back unusual ingredients.”


when you come to the fork in the road, take it.

This little bit of the surreal from Optical Arts was just what I needed when I ran across it. (Full screen is recommended.)


It also seemed to be a bit of shade cast at art museums and galleries. I would be fine with that.

But the fork does have a history. Watching the video brought to mind “The History Guy” YouTube Channel (a channel that is typically very interesting and very annoying) that had this item:


The Illuminated Egg

Humpty-Dumpty awakes to a fall…

Photo / graphic by Roman.

Oh, the egg came first: There being eggs long before there were chickens, long before there were indeed dinosaurs. Eggs! Gleaming with an intelligence that is beyond autistic in focus, a sociopathic revolutionary move-fast-and-break-things intensity, laden with life’s magic entropy. Eggs! We eat children, don’t we?

The tattoo’d egg was a marvel to behold, each illustration enthralling the eye until it writhed into life, telling a story– no, becoming a story: for a moment, for an hour, for days or maybe even a lifetime until it is over and naught but a second has passed…

It begins with breakfasting on eggs. Two fried eggs under melted cheese and salt and pepper and sage, fried yet still runny perched atop sourdough bread. That moment of anticipation just in front of that first fragrant bite: Let that be the sustained drone, that first harmony of the day’s opening bars, only a few beats, until it rests in the bitter satisfaction of coffee and cream.

It always begins with eggs…

— Yip

Sty Sight*

Here’s pig in your eye!

The swine qua non of the rural county fair: greased pig wrestling. Really, now, isn’t the prospect of becoming bacon enough? ‘Tis insult on injury, methinks, even if all of us, not just pigs, live to be eaten.

Photo by ?.

I don’t recall who took the photo except it was not me. Nor do I know where it was taken. It was given to me back in college days by a friend, a student at the Institute of Design; it could have been any of several chums. This was not long after the time the Yippies proposed running an actual pig for President of the United States (prescient, eh?). I think I acquired the print with propaganda in mind.

It’s not a very good photo, in my humble opinion. Why, then, is it inflicted upon you? It’s just an excuse for some almost clever word play. If the play doesn’t bring at least a twitch of a grin to your face then it is truly a total waste of your time. You are not entitled to a refund nor will you receive an apology; this is not the first time today that you’ve totally wasted your time. Go forth, my friend, and sin some more:

If pigs could fly, there’d be a sty in your eye quicker than bacon grease for fried potatoes and eggs! But soft! Those arterial plaques await you; their time is your time: that tightened chest, that breathless breath! The plaques explode like land mines, scattering clots of careless shrapnel across the body. Will it be idiocy, this time, or drowning or a fatal lack of heart? Sit down, old friend, and gain some minutes to stare old Death in the eye sockets. Oh? The brow ridges that grace these orbits? Yea, verily, Death is of an ancient lineage that even Yorick fails to amuse — to Yorick’s cost, I should add. Death bears witness… or bares witnesses, as the case may be, and stands in judgement: Will this be a fossil? Or will time dissolve it all? Be glad it is not your duty to watch an endless reprise to the end of the universe. The tragedy grows numb after an aeon. It grows to an eternity with the full weight of time, an infinite weight that leaves one unable to grab that pork pie hat (remember the pigs? this is about pigs.) and leave. There is no balm for boar-dom. Squealing does no good. Not even Yorick will laugh; only – perhaps – those waiting to feed will be amused.

Sick transit glorious Monday:
The CTA train don’t come.

* Blind sight is a condition wherein the eyes function well enough, but the neural connections that bring the information to conscious consideration are damaged. Other connections remain, so while persons with this condition are indeed blind, they may nonetheless be able to negotiate the obstacles in a path or to grab an object. They won’t know why. Sty sight is a condition wherein the eyes function well enough but the subject is unable to perceive the pigs or what they wallow in. And they wonder why.

Monju Hunters of Sōfugan Island

In a desolate time we visit “Sofugan Island”, an Island that was once famous for providing the mainland with the valuable meat of colossal mutated whales, known as “Monjus”.

If you hang around YouTube or, most especially, Vimeo long enough, you’ll become familiar with a particular kind of short form documentary that typically focuses on some artist, eccentric character, or oddity of place or history. Karim Eich nails it, and the animation is pretty cool, too.