Water Ritual

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Photo by Roman

Among the many puzzling if not quaint customs preserved by the natives of Chicago is the weekly Watering of the Concrete. Since this is mostly a summertime ceremony, it can be quite refreshing on the hottest of days. The origins and meanings of the ritual are quite obscure but are said to be related to another ritual, The Paying of the Rent.

“Men in Blues”

The pacing may have been off a bit, but that comes with the territory when just about every alien in the Hollywood movie universe is (are?) after the Blues Brothers. Because I think it is important that we smile in the rising gloom, may I present to you another video mash-up by Fabrice Mathieu.

I remember Blues Brothers being filmed in Chicago. On one of the filming dates, I was on my bike to Chicago’s south side to get a haircut. It was the last haircut I ever got.

Ou La La!

Photo by Roman.

This is another panel from the 2022 Artists of the Wall. This one, I believe, was completed after the event as I do not at all remember seeing it when I took photos there a week after. There are usually a few panels that get completed in the weeks after, but then, befuddled by fumes of THC as I often am, how can I say for sure if this is one of them?

“Ou la la” could be an appropriate title. “La la,” I have read, is something one might say over spilt milk:

It is a dark and stormy night. The rain comes gushing down: A multitude of splats becomes a roar, the air a thousand concussions. A cold wind descends from heaven. Outside flickers with a sick florescent sky. Inside humidity makes the jar slick when returned to the fridge. It slips. It falls. It breaks in pieces: a half pound of coffee.

Oh! la la…

Thus back in the imaginary days of the Moulin Rouge, “ou la la” accompanied the choreographed display of chorus-girls’ underwear as an expression of mass mock dismay over a collective wardrobe malfunction.

Of course, that may all be so much horse feathers as “la la” is not exclusively dismay…

Saint Urho

Finland has been an item in the news lately as one of the blow-back consequences of Putin’s ill-considered adventure in Ukraine. But that’s not what this is about: We need to smile, at least. Voila! This video.

I stumbled upon this video about Saint Urho while visiting the blog of science fiction author Walter Jon Williams: “Here we have a history of Finland’s totally genuine fake hero, St. Urho. Who was born in a Minnesota town called Virginia.”

Totally true. Originally broadcast on PBS stations WDSE / WRPT.

The Strandbeest

Some years back I was a regular visitor to the Colossal web site… It was more of a arts / craft visual blog than the web publication it is today… but my point being, they posted an article / video of the Strandbeest that left an impression. Now this video from Theo Jansen (the “beest’s” inventor) just popped up. I had to view it.

These constructs are largely wind-powered and self-steering… as you might have guessed from some of the desperate attempts at heading off the beest’s bee-line toward destruction.

In any case, Theo Jansen explains it this way:

“Strandbeest Evolution 2021 provides an update on the evolutionary development. Every spring I go to the beach with a new beast. During the summer I do all kinds of experiments with the wind, sand and water. In the fall I grew a bit wiser about how these beasts can survive the circumstances on the beach. At that point I declare them extinct and they go to the bone yard.”

Happy New Year

by the light of a lit bong…

I’m a sucker for light and I’m a sucker for bongs as well, begging your pardon. Here is an image that combines the two. The light shining through the bong had been filtered through yet another favorite of mine, glass bricks. It has a pleasing geometry, if nothing else.

Fair warning: after a few decades of such happy new years, your lungs are likely to resemble the photo, so be aware. On the other hand, I did once almost drown and if you don’t stay out of the water, it could almost happen to you as well!

Photo / graphic by Roman.