Read this now or hate yourself later
If I told you what this was you’d never click it
Early signs of your death

My little man never rising to the occasion
Is it too late to save your memories?

Perfect for all activities and seasons
Unload groceries in one or two trips
Protect and beautify your garage floor
You will not believe why his dad shot him

Eat this
magic is one click away
get erect, get correct, get respect
Where do we send your bottle of Brain Storm?

Glasses destroy your vision
Potatoes will kill you
This made hitler cry

You look terrible Jake
Don’t ignore this

Translated directly from the junk email filter of Jake Nassif

 m1ta665I HAVE SERIOUS SKEPTICS IN MY MIDST. Not rainy-day naysayers like me, but the advanced kind: people so far down the rabbit hole of mistrust that any widely-held conclusion is a flimsy alibi begging to be blown up. Spend too long in their hot house of doubt and the suspicion is contagious.

It’s not like I’m some sheep. I question authority and assume hidden motives. But some things seem beyond argument: the efficacy of childhood immunization, for example, or the need to alter our behavior in the face of climate change. When terrible shit happens, why jump to an evil conspiracy of corporate/government/Illuminati-backed monsters? Incompetence or stupidity is so much likelier.

Yet here they are, seeds of doubt, planted by people who I know to be intelligent (if obsessive and not always reasonable). My father in law, our contractor-in-residence for the past week, gleefully debunked every argument I had in my (admittedly tiny) arsenal in favor of alternative energy and against continued reliance on oil. Solar and wind power are not young technologies with a long way to go, he says. Not at all. They are corrupt government boondoggles enriching well-placed criminals (George Soros is a favorite of his) while threatening animals and even people (“ask a pilot: solar arrays blind and kill”).

Is wishful thinking clouding my judgment? Do I lack for facts? Are facts even relevant anymore? Am I paranoid enough?

Among many myth-busting conversations of late, one that sticks with me is about Flight 370. For 29 days, it seemed plausible to me that a state-of-the-art jet equipped with all manner of transponders, GPS and backed-up back-up systems, could tracelessly fade into oblivion. But after a boozy late-night talk with my friend Aaron, I feel naive. He points to what others claim is undeniable evidence of a coverup. By 11pm I’m half-way buying that we’re not getting the full truth. Then Aaron tells me that three Chinese owners of a priceless semiconductor patent were on the flight. The only other owner is an American with high-level government influence. So that monster called in the hit and the U.S. cloaked the whole deal so we alone can exploit the technology.

Well, duh.

>> Download a new mix, “Normcore Omniverse”

The Cool Kids – Freak City (Outro)
Latyrx – Watershed Moment (f. GIft of Gab & Merrill Garbus)
Annie Nilsson – Gotta Get Up
Donovan – Clara Clairvoyant
Grant Hart – Letting Me Out
Parquet Courts – Tears of Plenty
John Vanderslice – “Diamanthunde”
Dâm-Funk – Mirrors
Melt Yourself Down – Fix My Life
Open Mike Eagle – I Rock
Brand Nubian – Shinin’ Star
Quasi – Nostalgia Kills
Joanna Gruesome – Secret Surprise
Elastica – Stutter
The Imps – Uh Oh
The Beatles – Boys
Lou Reed – Real Good Time Together
Royal Trux – Liar
Actual Wolf – Victims & Things
Graham Nash/David Crosby – Frozen Smiles
Bill Callahan – Javelin Unlanding
Pentangle – When I Get Home
The Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died

NEW PAINT, SHELVING, A COLOSSAL CANOPY and other environmental upgrades are remaking my world (not a monumental task, small as it is). After a decade in this house, its ubiquitous flaws—gerry-rigged fixes, unresolved projects, heinous finishes—have become almost invisible; I only realize how bad it was now that it’s better. I squeegeed the windows for the first time in years; so beautiful I’m ashamed for waiting. Not quite the Agenda-Free Summer we dreamed of after the wall-to-wall weariness of 2010, but there’s more (freshly painted) room to space out and goof off, my perennial wont.

Kevin has kept this card in his wallet for at least 10 years

Found a Califone at a garage sale with a built-in speaker loud enough to rock a party

The Chapman Bro’s piece at the M.I.A. mirrors Johanna’s best playground move









What took us so long to do bubble baths? No other type of bath will now be accepted

Craig’s lubricated lemon, prepped for plaster-casting by the Schmelzer Technique (pics to come)

A little brown haven under the sick pines at Afton State Park (recently ransacked during our government shut down)









With head-to-toe Hello Kitty at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A motley assemblage of items for plaster-casting, our latest Make Sh!t experiment

A curious hidden refuse pile discovered on the outer edges of Afton SP

I’LL TAKE YOUR INSPIRATION, THANKS. Since my friend Witt quit his job to be a stay-at-home Dad by day and earn a Graphic Design degree by night, I’ve been feeling jealous. His assignments, which have him parlaying scraps of artistic influence (Baldessari, Steve Powers, Bruce Conner) into his own collages, books and zines, are impressing the hell out of me. And his enthusiasm’s contagious.

Witt’s total reinvention is a bus-length too far for me to jump. But I’ll take new creative outlets and encouragement any day. That’s the idea behind “Make Sh!t,” a weekly hands-on free-for-all in St. Paul hosted (so far) by Craig, media concierge and analogue bon vivant. Four sessions in, our motivation is in full effect, if not our vision, craftsmanship or originality.

Witt inks up Craig’s old letterpress to make birth announcements for Lil’ Ella. Not sure he got the prints he wanted, but purple ink found its way onto every hand and shoe sole.

I bring Xeroxes from home to collage. Here, Angler’s Guide to North American Fish meets the Golden Book of Guns.

Going ballistic with the gluestick.

Plenty of beer to Make Sh!t, consumed with and without a clamp prosthesis.

Slide manipulations.

Things got dissonant last week. Paul and Craig shred with atonal axes.

As close as we got to a groove.

I grimace when I’m really feelin’ it, man.

Found hallway sculpture, 12:30 a.m. Another productive Make Sh!t Thursday.

>> Roxy Music – Re-make Re-model

A SLEW OF VINTAGE FREIGHT COMPANY PADS were my booty from Sarah’s recent trip to Salem (Oregon), quirky artifacts from the Early Modern era of office stationery scored at a flea market. They’re nice to have by a desk phone (preferably corded), with an in-between size and parchment-like surface that’s good for drawing. You gotta love the tiny maps and type that looks like it’s in a hurry (click a couple times to enlarge).

> The Modern Lovers – Old World

Among all the celebrated firsts, Jo’s first licensed character obsession isn’t a milestone I was excited about. But while it would be unthinkable with Disney Princesses or Hannah Montana, Hello Kitty has grown on me. Something about her inscrutability and projectability. And thus for Halloween I was convinced to carve her likeness in pumpkin.

Hello Kitty

Johanna (Urban Cowgirl) and Rey (Robot Superhero) hit up both sides of 44th Avenue on Halloween, taking turns knocking. All grade-A candy, handed out in twos (it’s a low-traffic trick-or-treat street). It was a good run, though Johanna not only forgot to say thank you most times, she frequently coughed in the candy bowl. Horrors!

Photo 34

Glancing at television, I sometimes have to remind myself it’s being broadcast from this planet.


Speaking of things that give you pause, WordPress serves up all kinds of info about how visitors found your blog, and I check it from time to time. Turns out yesterday somebody came to this site by performing the search: “Fucked my cousin’s friends at the family reunion.” My people.

I recently went to TruValu looking for a manual aerator. Something to loosen up the soil for grass without the full-on assault of a fume-belching engine. Reasonable enough, right?

I was unprepared for the scorn I received. Such a thing hadn’t been manufactured since the 1970’s, I was told. Instead of helping me find what I wanted, Mr. TruValu really heaped it on, calling a friend to underscore how out of touch I was: “I got a guy here who wants to live in the 1800s…”

Sarah found one on the internet that day (it looks a like a crutch with two tubes that plug the soil).  Aside from debating the wisdom of hardware storemen, or the merits of manual aeration, why is there such a deep disrespect for technology that’s passed its prime? Of the 100 or so things I do in an average week, I’d say 95 are accomplished using devices three or more generations (about 10-20 years) behind state of the art. It’s not really about the aesthetic of the old for me. And it’s only a little about cheapness and retailphobia. Isn’t there any virtue left in working with what you have?

Like a mobile phone that excels at the two things you need it to do—and no more. Or a functional but junky bike that no one bothers to steal. Personally, I love the feel of non-technical fabrics against my skin, and look forward to moving an inert toothbrush back and forth under my own power.

If you stall long enough, the rewards are huge. Imagine the thrill of having decent 8 Tracks handy when suddenly all you’ve got to play music is an 8-track jukebox with pumping disco lights (true story). Good ole Craig has wrought a new techno-psychadelic style from the death throes of his ancient Canon Elph:


Sure, worship of obsolete formats can be taken too far. But a practical popular movement couldn’t arrive soon enough for me.

Turns out Harry Allen a/k/a “the Media Assassin,” doesn’t just lurk around the PE water cooler like Professor Griff, but is, in fact, out there assassinating media ignorance. A short essay on racism in the new Old Navy commercial that white people probably can’t see.

Why my local dry cleaner rocks (not only because it’s staffed by teenagers using pre-1970’s technology).

I avoid blogging about creative/media/advertising work, but this social networking application by Zeus Jones suggests what can happen when smart ad people divert their energy from helping us to consume more, like to enter a contest.

A well-worn technique hits sardonic new heights: The Nietzsche Family Circus. (Thanks, Sytsma)

The only weather site I will ever need.