1. "Occasionally, an artist will paint something, but neglect to include monkeys and/or robots. When I can, I fix that." Birmingham, Alabama artist John Lytle Wilson explaining his “Corrected Paintings” series.

  2. As brilliant as he was in Sweet Smell of Success, Mr. Cory, and The Boston Strangler, there’s no getting around the fact that Tony Curtis was mildly pigeon-toed. Cost him a lot of work. Anyway, I love this shot of the boys: Nat real ready to kick someone’s ass; Peter Lawford already exhibiting the tense body language and morose demeanor that the about-to-be-persona-non-grata types just can’t hide; Frank as drunk as a bicycle, shouting orders to an innocent bystander he’s positive is the concierge. Lawford must have owned six dozen pairs of those suede loafers. Stick with what you know, I guess.

  3. National Poetry Month update:

    And ev’ryone will say,

    As you walk your mystic way,

    "If this young man expresses himself

    In terms too deep for me,

    Why, what a very singularly deep young man

    This deep young man must be!”

    from “The Aesthete,” W. S. Gilbert

  4. A Few Things I Happen to Know About the Lord

    I praised the Lord yesterday, and dig this: I may praise Him again tomorrow. Why? Because He’s awesome, just for openers, but also because He makes amazing stuff and does good things. Just the other day I saw a photo of the Grand Canyon and I thought: props to God! (For the canyon work; I don’t know who took the photo. But since the Lord made light and color, I guess He gets a piece of that action, too.)

    I remember when I was asked if I had a “relationship” with the Lord, and I was like “Hell to the heavenly yes!” We’re living in a time when all kinds of folks are sucking up to Donald Trump, Lady Gaga, James Cameron, or Mr. Sean “Diddy” Combs. Me, I think I’ll take my chances with the creator of the friggin’ universe, thanks very much. I need a player who’s out there doing some good. Huge good.

    It’s not only the planets or stars that impress me, though. Sometimes I’m more blown away by the little stuff the Lord does. Bats can find their way through the dark using sound. Ants can carry objects 16 times their own weight. Chocolate can be melted into a sauce. When people talk about intelligent design, they’re talking about my boy, God.

    It’s true that a lot of people still question the “goodness” of some of God’s work, and they get into this big drama about morality and free will and whatnot. Having spent some time with the Lord, I can tell you that He doesn’t need you to dig what He’s doing. But don’t take my word for it; thumb through a few chapters of the Old Testament and see how Yahweh rolls once He’s made up His mind. Better yet, ask the Egyptians how that worked out for them.

    Of course, some of that Old Testament stuff might give the impression that the Lord is a ball-breaking, type A micro-manager, but I just wish more people knew His other side. In fact, if you want to witness a major chill-out, read the Sermon on the Mount. It’s almost like He created a sort of spiritual Casual Friday. For example: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that hate you.” Does that sound like a playa hata to you? I didn’t think so.

    I can tell you this much about the Lord. He smells good. You might think that He would use some old-school cologne such as frankincense or Aqua Velva, but there He is all crisp and fresh with Burberry Brit and maybe some Calvin splashed on to mix it up. Burberry Brit happens to be my personal fragrance, and I guess that gives you a clue about just how close I am to God. I don’t mean that in a boastful way. Actually, my cup runneth over with humility. Hanging around with a guy who can build a galaxy from a single flask of hydrogen will do that to you. Talk about bringing sexy back.

    That’s another thing about the Lord that I should confirm. He’s definitely a guy. A man’s man, you might say. God likes red meat (kosher, oddly enough), admires German engineering, and won’t turn down a good pair of cuff links. He especially likes any kind of tool or gadget that does what it’s supposed to do. The Lord also knows how to have a good time and impress the ladies. (When He’s at any get-together and all of sudden the kitchen faucet starts pouring pinot noir, it’s officially a party.) He’s like a little kid at Christmas, and forget about what way too many of His so-called followers complain about each year: the Lord is not concerned about “the real meaning” getting lost in all the hustle and bustle. He figures humans are advanced enough not to confuse Bethlehem with the North Pole. As for the Santa Claus story, as myths go, the Lord tells me He’s “heard a lot worse.”

    The main thing is that the Lord has got my back, and not just when I’m in a mix-up with some opposing fans at the stadium. What’s really off the hook, though, is that He has everybody’s back. Theologically, that’s pretty heavy, considering that both teams pray before the game. I’m not sure how that gets sorted out.

    I do understand that deal about his footprints in the sand next to mine on this long journey, and that when there is only one set of footprints it doesn’t mean He took a sick day: that’s when He was carrying me. It’s a beautiful story if you’re a motivational speaker, I guess, but I don’t want Jesus to carry me down the beach. That whole idea sounds kind of gay. I haven’t said anything directly to Him about this, but my unspoken prayer is that He will just build me some kind of beach house in heaven instead. With a seaside crib in place, I can deal with the long journey through the surf, over the dunes, what have you.

  5. greenvincentine:

    "Neither I, nor the audience, had ever seen anything quite comparable to the physical gyrations that accompanies the vocal gymnastics of one Roy Head. His flips and splits sent the audience into an ecstasy, shouting, and hand clapping.
    The Union Gap was formally rebelized on the stage of the Auditorium, when they were made honorary members of the Alabama State Militia.
    Though the group appeared as usual in their Yankee uniforms, a Confederate flag graced the stage for the remainder of their performance.”
       from a Birmingham News review of Alabama radio station WVOK’s “Shower of Stars” show, March 16, 1968

    image: radio panel in Dean Martin’s custom 1962 GHIA L6.4

  6. Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,

    And lived in a small house near a fashionable square

    Cared for by servants to the number of four.

    Now when she died there was silence in heaven

    And silence at her end of the street.

    The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet—

    He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.

    The dogs were handsomely provided for,

    But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.

    The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,

    And the footman sat upon the dining-table

    Holding the second housemaid on his knees—

    Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.

    "Aunt Helen"  T. S. Eliot

  7. Today’s Motivational Devotional: Taking Criticism
    There may come a day when colleagues and observers harshly reject your plans, your projects, or your beliefs. In such times it’s important to remember that they don’t know your story; they have not walked your journey. Forgive them and move on.

  8. Which Thing Are You?

     I took a quiz to find out what I am, and I got something awesome! Which thing are you?

     Which stage prop from a sitcom would I be? According to the “Entertainment Weekly” quiz, I’m Jerry Seinfeld’s telephone (land line). Dang! I was hoping for the fridge.

    Love, love, love the Wool Growers Association quiz; I got Border Liecester! Which breed of sheep are you?

     Tricky stuff filling in that Roman Numerals Career Profile questionnaire, but guess what? I’m MCMXXIX. Hey, that’s 1929—the year of the stock market crash! Ruh Roh.

     Yikes. Creepy crawlers in the African Serpents and Other Reptiles personal profile, and look out everybody—I’m an Eastern Green Mamba. Free the vipers!

     I also took the Arabic Numeral quiz, and apparently I’m “8,” whatever that means. I guess this helps at the casino?

     I followed my heart in the Kitchen Utensil Matchmaker quiz, and now I’m dating a slotted spoon! (for non-stick surfaces). Which utensil is YOUR honey bunny?

    Just completed the Silent Movie Starring Mabel Normand quiz, and I got For the Love of Mabel. Anyone who knows me probably saw that coming!

     Whew! Finally finished that “Engines of Antiquity” quiz. I got Water Wheel, which also means I’m very spiritual.

     I kicked that “Badass Aircraft of the Second Word War” quiz. I’m a B-17 Flying Fortress, bitches. Yo, Hitler, I’ma fuck up some German munitions factories!

     According to some stuff that happened during my birth, I’m polypropylene. What type of plastic did your mom’s procedure make you?

     Which hardwood was I in a past life? A shellbark hickory. Take the quiz and find out what you’re made of, fella.

     Dig this, comrades: I just completed the Former Soviet Union Automobile Production quiz. That’s me behind the wheel of a 1968 Moskvitch 412! Is reliable transportation—nyet!

     If we can trust the Corrugated Cardboard Personality Assessment, I’m Single Wall Board, E-flute. I may contain the next pizza you order! Which cardboard container are you?

     Here’s some Bible fun, you guys. A new i-Phone app matches your employment history with Old Testament plagues; it turns out I’m locusts. You mofos better harvest that wheat before my ass gets back in town!

     WTF? That Buzzfeed quiz has me down as Richard Speck. Which real-life serial killer are you?

  9. National Poetry Month update

    she being Brand
    and you
    know consequently a
    little stiff I was
    careful of her and (having
    thoroughly oiled the universal
    joint tested my gas felt of
    her radiator made sure her springs were O.

    from “She Being Brand New,” e.e. cummings

  10. It’s been said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but let’s not discount what sunlight and shadows can do.