Coles Custard Creams

When I was a child I had a scented eraser that resembled these biscuits, so maybe I've a sentimental interest in Coles Custard Creams.

Their smell is how I remember that erasers' scent. There's the same ornate design but this biscuit is larger in size.

The Custard Creams' buttery shortbread exterior encases a powder-y cream, which although sweet has something egg-like like custard.

There are two ways to eat this style of biscuit.

The first is to first dip it in tea, usually three times to achieve an optimal balance between saturation and structural integrity.

The second is to split the layers of the biscuit and place each cream-side down on one's tongue.

Random haiku

About a week ago I posted a haiku on Twitter. It was one that I wrote as part of my plan to write a haiku each day this year.

Then I was surprised when this reply came back within a day or so, which incorporates my middle line into a haiku apparently composed from others on Twitter.

It prompted me to think about the scripts and bots that populate Twitter and where one draws a line with collaboration and begins to call it plagiarism.

Then I remembered something about recent poetry controversies concerning lifting lines from other works in the guise of quotation.

In a Roman Osteria

This Classical Art Meme kept showing up in my social media and a strange thing happened.

Each time I looked at it, I'd spot another detail. As I did, I started to ponder the painting. In particular the question of the role of the viewer.

It seems like the viewer is put into the role of someone flirting with the two young women and who will now have to deal with their male companion.

You'll notice he is armed when you spot the knife handle sticking out of his pocket.

Yesterday when I searched for the original painting by Carl Bloch and it was interesting to learn the artwork is a kind of remix of Wilhelm Marstrand's painting of another Italian Osteria Scene. Marstrand was one of Bloch's teachers.

Another interesting detail in Bloch's artwork is that the patron who commissioned the painting, Moritz G. Melchior, is shown in the background. I'd also been wondering what brief Melchior gave Bloch. Did he say "I'd like a painting like Marstrand's one with the pretty Italian girls"? Or maybe "I'd like a painting where, when I look at it, I feel like I'm desired by young women."

Anyway, one final comment is that I think Bloch's remix is an improvement on the original and it's not just the inclusion of a cat -- although I think that was a very savvy move.

Excuse me

Dopes

It's interesting to observe one of the local newspapers present the issue of medical marijuana after decades of the 'war on drugs'.

The image of a brown-skinned person smoking a joint is probably one that confirms biases among their ageing readership. It's a strange image for medical applications of the plant, seeing as smoking marijuana can cause health complications.

My understanding is that "medical marijuana" will be refined and presented as a medicine, such as hashish oil capsules or tinctures. Even if I'm wrong, it'd still be better to present images of people eating cakes or vapourising as these are healthier alternatives to smoking the so-called drug.

I write "so-called" as marijuana is a plant and the idea of a drug suggests a chemical that has been processed (like alcohol) or refined (like heroin).

Previously I commented on the apparent hypocrisy on the same news website, with stories on a drug raid accompanying one about medical imports being approved.

Animals could eat you

Another funny pic spotted elsewhere.

This one reminds me of the cute sign reminding people not to tease geese at the National Zoo in Canberra.

Two sides of stereo

Spotted this image on Twitter but, sorry, didn't get a photo credit.

It looks like something Scarfolk Council would produce.

One for the money


Smartiepants

Via Instagram

Wagging the dog

Winston S. Churchill is attributed with the line that "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on," but it's clearly an idea that is still relevant.

Last week a North American friend commented on Facebook about a search topic that seemed to be trending, the question whether "Obama is planning a coup".

When I read about this on Sunday night it occurred to me that it would probably be a couple of days before the Australian media picked up on the story.

Then on Tuesday morning I heard it discussed on ABC's Radio National, later finding this story online.

While there is no suggestion that former US President Obama is planning a coup, it's fascinating that it's widely a topic for discussion.

And that the Australian media is picking up on the discussion suggests to me 'the tail is wagging the dog,' because this kind of news story is a reaction to unofficial sources.

In the days before the number of PR professionals overtook the number of journalists, one would expect that a news story would contain researched opinions.

These days it seems like media organisations are trying to outpace more nimble and less newsy websites in pursuit of clickbait headlines to drive page views.

Towering over the gods

Flipping through books about Art Deco at the library last week and I saw this design on the Rockefeller Centre in New York.

I like the way it's viewed while craning your neck to look up, which is where you'd expect to find an old god among the clouds. Yet this one is crowded by the building, which seems to be the point.

It's as though it's meant to give the impression that new gods have replaced the old.

This photo by "me9aman" via Google image search.

RIP Ninja Tune Forum

This week saw the closing of an online community that has nourished me over the years.

The forum on the website of record label Ninja Tune was one I've visited since 2001. When I first moved to Wagga and didn't know anyone, it filled a considerable gap in my life.

Then when I bought a computer and started playing with audio software, the remix competitions organised by members of the Forum introduced me to many techniques. For a number of months the stems that made a song would be uploaded and then later it'd be fascinating to hear how different producers had manipulated the material.

Over the years other projects developed as a result of posts on the Forum and many of the best were based on a simple creative constraint, much like the Disquiet Junto that I engage with each week.

The 64-bar Challenge was one of the better-known, which sets a length for a track with an agreed BPM. Results were even prepared by Ninja Tune luminary Keven Foakes, who now handles the DJ Food-moniker that was first an outlet for the Ninja Tune label's founders Coldcut.

(I've recently contributed a couple of tracks to a new Challenge and it was interesting for me as the BPMs chosen weren't those I normally use.)

The Seven-minute mixes were another good project, where the goal was to provide an overview of an artist or band within that time constraint. I enjoyed sharing Beck's breaks, some of Skunkhour and the INXS mix below.



Another project was Cut And Run, which involved a four-bar conribution with the first overlapping on the previous contributor and the last overlapping with the next. The result is brief but gives a taste of the different approaches.



And, finally, the Remix Chain. We're currently working through the fifth of these collaborative projects, where each person remixes the last in a Chinese whispers-style. The title Shinobi Cuts is a play on Ninja Tune but in recent years with conversed more on Facebook than the Forum, so I guess that shows one of the challenges to online communities in recent years.