Friday, February 18, 2011

Cute Animal Overload


Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cute kittens -- not a trick!

Okay, I started off the week feeling a little belligerent -- see this blog's last few posts.  But I've turned the corner, and I'm in a much different place emotionally.  Today we're going to relax and watch kittens playing with a bell on the end of a string.

Now I know you're thinking "this is a trick."  If you know me, you  might suspect that this video is like five seconds of kittens playing, then a minute and a half of shocking images of sociopaths pulling the legs off of frogs, bloody underground dog-fights, hunters skinning squirrels, monkeys in a laboratory being sprayed in the eyes with deodorant, and grainy black-and-white footage of a soulless teenager dropping a bag of unwanted cats into the river under the Choctawhatchee Bridge.

Now if I were to make such a video, I'd justify it by saying "animals are mistreated cruelly every day and we ignore it, so if I have to trick you into looking ugly reality in the face by making you think you're going to see adorable baby animals and then springing images of gory chaos on you, then so be it.  You know, like I'd be making some kind of point.  But that's not what I'm up to.  Promise.  Pretty Promise.

So without further ado, here is a short video of baby kittens playing together that you can watch with the entire family.  It's adorable.  Honest. 

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

deer corpse

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Since I'm in a mood, and the week's them seems to be Animals, I'm going to sit this morning and try to watch Earthlings again.  You can watch the movie with me -- it's free and available here.

Earthlings is an extremely difficult film to view.  The last time I tried, I made it about 30 minutes in before I was just overwhelmed.  Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and scored by Moby, Earthlings purports to be about the connection between Nature, Animals and Humans.  Watch the trailer below.  It seems innocent enough.  But the trailer is a soft-sell.  What Earthlings IS is a machete to your innocence.  Earthlings is about the god-awful cruelty and disregard with which we treat animals -- our fellow Earthlings.  It's not pretty. 

Very quickly I come to an impasse.  If I discuss details of what is in this movie, I feel like I may make you less likely to watch it.  There's a reason this film is nicknamed "The Vegan-maker".  So all I'll say is to make sure there are no children around before you click "Play".  And have a box of tissues handy because it will move you.  

We live in a world of processed products in which we never have to come face-to-face with the consequences of our appetites.  Earthlings is a movie that I feel like everyone on Earth should be required to watch -- but I haven't even managed to watch it all the way through myself yet.  So I'm going to try again to look this square in the eye.  Right now, this morning.  Why not watch it with me?

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Bloody slaughter

These fellows seem pretty proud of themselves.  It's not every day that you get to swim in the blood of your enemies.  Of course, it's a little easier if your enemies are tuna and your team gets high-powered rifles... but no less invigorating, I see.  Humans suck. You know what?  I'm in a mood this week.  You get both barrels: Dolphin killing in Denmark and Japan.        

If you haven't watched The Cove, do so.  But put the kids to bed first.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Straight and Narrow

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

There's no way like the American Way

 A breadline during the Depression.  One of my favorite photos, by Margaret Bourke-White.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lament for an empty mailbox

Back in the mid to late 90s, I edited several zines... cheap DIY magazines I photocopied at Office Depot and traded with other folks through resources like Factsheet Five.  I certainly never made any money from these efforts, but I took them very seriously.  There was something about networking with a secret underground, receiving submissions of poetry, art, comics and fiction from around the country, playing editor, and seeing all the creative zines other people had come up with.  Whether the product was good or not wasn't the point; I was plugging into a network of like minds, and as a reward, I often had a full mailbox.

Widespread broadband access to the internet changed things.  Email was faster and easier than snail-mail, and for most folks, "making a zine"' became "coding a website", or later, "blogging about blogs in a blogger blog".  I was resistant at first, but like most people, I eventually accepted the new formats.  But this blog entry isn't really about zining, really, it's about loss.  At the risk of being 'that old guy', I'd like to take some time this morning to lament something that's been lost for many: the joy of the visceral experience of handling physical mail.

When I was zining, checking my mail was often the most exciting time of my day.  I never knew what might be coming on any given Wednesday.  Sometimes the mailbox would be overstuffed and I'd have to make a special trip to the post office to pick up all the things that wouldn't fit.  What would I find waiting?  Submissions for a zine?  Someone else's magazine to read?  Hate mail?  A flirty letter?  A check for $3.00?  Envelopes with crazy drawings and collage all over them?

A crepe
Sure, going through an email inbox can sometimes yield these kind of dopamine hits.  But with physical mail, you hold something actual in your hands.  Each item has a distinct mass and size and texture.  You anticipate what you'll find upon opening.  You mentally shake each box.  Every day is Christmas.

When your fingers are ink-stained, you know you exist.  You can prove it with the ink stains on your fingers.

Like old books, letters have distinct smells.  They may be naturally woody, or sharply acid.  Sometimes they're perfumed.  They smell like cigarettes or animals or pine.  A love-letter smells like the damp fingertips of someone you long to taste.

Email doesn't activate the senses.  A tweet doesn't impress itself upon your memory.  You don't treasure a text message and save it in a shoebox.  These things electronic are disposable, temporary, insubstantial.

Being able to check your email messages throughout the day is wonderful.  But there's value in ritual.  In the past, mail was part of the daily cycle: the sun rose, you ate, you worked, you ate, you looked to see if the mail had come and it hadn't so you looked again and kind of paced around and looked up and down the street and you thought where the heck is the mail truck and eventually you saw it coming and you met at the box and you finally got to go through the day's treasure, you ate, you bathed and you slept.  Now, the patient's pulse has become erratic.  Anticipation has bled infiltrated every hour.  The patient may need to be sedated.  

When you receive a hand-written letter, you know that someone took the time to sit down and think through what he or she wanted to say to you.  There was no cutting and pasting and editing after the fact (though I do remember a lot of wadding up of paper and starting over of hand-written letters I wrote -- drafts are drafts).  When someone writes you a letter, he or she has crafted for you a gift.  When you hold the letter in your hands, you know that person spent their time thinking of you.  Someone has made you a paper flower, and it has floated downstream, and now you can hold it to your breast. 

What brought back all these memories for me was a visit to the website of the International Union of Mail-Artists.  The photos of postcards, letters, and collages in this blog entry were found on that site.  It warms my nerdy little heart to know that there are people out there still sending each other physical mail -- that they never stopped -- that people still take the time to create unique and personal artworks and send them to each other.  I urge you to take a look around their website and see if it doesn't inspire you to dig out your paints or scrap-booking materials and create something nice for someone you know who's far away.  Or maybe even to take a few minutes to make the day of someone you've never even met.

As for me... it's time for me to go.  I think I hear the mail truck.  

Artworks in this blog posted at IUOMA by members Janine Weiss-Vuille, Denis Charmot, Valentine Mark Herman, HouseOfHearts, Douglas Galloway, and Amazon59.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Into every caricutarist's life, a little pain must fall...

The best part of this image is that the filename is ‘gonnabepissed1.jpg’ --

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Man's skin turns blue from alternative medicine -- video

Paul Karason's skin has turned blue from consuming the "health remedy" colloidal silver, yet he continues to take the purported cure-all.  Drinking colloidal silver has caused Paul to suffer from a condition called Argyria.  Although he seems to be handling it well, it's a sad enough situation that we will restrain ourselves from mentioning Papa Smurf, making a blue-ball joke, or referencing Violet Beauregarde.

Colloidal silver's effect is explained by the Mayo Clinic: "It's not clear how much colloidal silver may be harmful, but it can build up in your body's tissues over months or years. Most commonly, this results in argyria (ahr-JIR-e-uh), a blue-gray discoloration of your skin, eyes, internal organs, nails and gums. While argyria doesn't pose a serious health problem, it can be a cosmetic nightmare because it's not reversible, even when you stop taking silver products."

Tragic, or small price to pay to not get head colds?  If you would like to try colloidal silver, you can read about its supposed benefits here -- and I'm sure you'll notice that it comes in a very pretty blue bottle.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Iced over

A frozen aquarium in Japan, foosball photo from a great photographer's blog, a snow castle in Finland, an Ohio lighthouse covered in ice, a man with an iced beard, and a park bench sculpture in winter.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'll have the lesbians, slathered in cephalapod.

Id've thought it would take a lot to make two girls kissing not be fun to watch.  As it turns out, not so much.  Just add octopus.  Oh, those Japanese and their tentacle thing... Japan is, in the opinion of 4 out of 5 experts on what is and is not weird, weird

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chinese architect's egg house

Perhaps Chinese architect Dai Haifei's egg house is the solution to the plight of the homeless.  Faced with unaffordable Beijing rents, Haifei created his own solar-powered dwelling and planted it outside his workplace.  The entire project cost him less than $1000.  Imagine what you could build with $2000.  The sci-fi nerd in me would like to imagine a modern city covered with pods.  More at

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kokichi Sugihira -- The world's best illusion

 One of the most effective, eye-fooling illusions I've ever seen. 

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