Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Happy Hallowe’en from the Cthulhu Group–your trusted name in finance

Mrs. Dymme mistakes the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu for children trick-or-treating as financial executives.

Ia? Shub-Niggurath? Is that Trick-or-Treat in a foreign language?

October is my favorite month because it has my two favorite holidays–my birthday, sometimes also known as Columbus Day (a day off AND presents, now that’s MY kind of holiday) and Hallowe’en. The end of October is fast approaching, the leaves have turned orange and started to fall, and the kids have started working on their costumes–unless they go to anime cons, and then they have costumes ready all year. But for some of us, Hallowe’en started last year and has continued on through the last 12 months–the bankers who destroyed the economy, told us that it would get worse if we didn’t give them nearly a trillion dollars to bail them out, and then proceeded to give themselves bonuses for doing such a great job. TRICK OR TREAT! Now, It wasn’t completely their fault, after all, we gave them the money And then said, “Oh, don’t bother to tell us how you’re going to spend it–we trust you to make the right decisions.” After all, look where your decisions have gotten us so far! With 20-20 hindsight, this lack of oversight was beyond doubt a true oversight that we should have had the foresight to forestall. But the Bush administration was still in charge and one thing you have to say about the Bush administration–when they were wrong–they made sure they were ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Not that things have changed that much with the Obama forces–our national treasury is still in the hands of Goldman-Sachs and the prospect of tougher regulation looks like it will go the way of single-payer health coverage–off the table before we even start. Instead, we’ve decided to ask these pirates if they pretty please with sugar on top, consider not acting like the total greedy bastards that they are.
But, isn’t it amazing how the real solutions get taken off the table so quickly–like impeaching Bush, which never even got to a vote because it had been taken off the table, and once the Democrats take something off the table, it’s like last month’s minutes at the cell phone company. Look at credit card reform–capping interest rates? That might make the credit card companies upset. Instead we forced them to “give notice” when they were going to gouge their customers–and then gave them enough of a grace period to institute loan shark rates before they had to even think of giving notice. Will we even be able to slap the wrists of the credit rating companies who issued fantasy ratings for the worthless securities that drove the economy into the dirt? No no no! those ratings are “opinions” and thus guarded by the First Amendment. The rating companies have no obligation to give an honest and truthful rating, according to their lawyers. If that’s true, why do we even have these ratings companies–why not just let everybody rate themselves and cut out the middleman! And on the health care front, the big question is whether the “public option” is going to be watered down as much as a strip’n'clip bourbon and water–or water and bourbon.
To add insult to injury, our old friend Joe Liebermann has announced that once again he will not vote with the Democrats but with the Republicans against the public option, demonstrating once again that his votes are not about what’s good for the country but what’s good for Joe Liebermann. I think he was jealous of all the attention Olympia Snowe was getting. Hey, they should all be getting upset about ME! Seriously, Democrats, I think it’s time you re-evaluated your relationship with this man. He promised to caucus with you, but cheats on you every chance he gets. If this was a marriage, you’d be consulting a divorce lawyer…a year ago when he supported the Republican Presidential nominee. I wanted to draw him today as an asshole (really–two cheeks with a hole in the crack) but since I don’t want to have to mark it “mature” I decided to do him as a slug amidst the chthonic spawn of Cthulhu instead :) I think it’s an apt analogy considering what he votes for.
In any case, Happy Hallowe’en: kids, trick-or-treat safely and treaters, always buy extra of your favorite candy. Now I’ve got to go carve some pumpkins :)

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Recovery is Underway–Quit the Bank Before They Cap Pay–Happy Days Are Here Again!

A patient is told by his doctor that he's on the road to recovery because his tapeworm is growing bigger....

What's the difference between a bank executive and a tapeworm? You can cure a tapeworm infection.

Oh yes, the Dow hit 10,000 and the GDP was up 3.2% last quarter. Time to Celebrate–the Great Recession is OVER. Happy Days are here again! The skies above are clear again–So let’s sing a song of cheer again–Happy days are here again!
What’s that? Your bank just closed? Oh, don’t worry, the FDIC will cover THAT. Oh, you didn’t have any money in it anyway? So, what do you have to worry about? You’ve been out of work for two years, your unemployment has run out and the only job you can find is part-time trash cleanup at McDonalds? Well, be thankful for Mickey D’s, some people don’t even have that. Oh, and your mortgage is being foreclosed and you’ve been evicted from your house and are living in your car. It could be worse! The repo man could be coming for your car! Oh, you park in different lots every night because of just that. Hey, not to worry, all that will be over soon! The Dow is up, the GDP is up, Happy Days are here again! Let’s Party like it was 1927! After all, we got our bonuses–and left our jobs before the government capped salaries! It doesn’t matter that the rise in GDP was because of tax break for new house buyers and the Cash for Clunkers program–we’ll worry about that NEXT quarter. Altogether shout it now–There’s no one who can doubt it now–So let’s tell the world about it now–Happy days are here again! So long sad times–Go long bad times–We are rid of you at last! Howdy gay times–Cloudy gray times–You are now a thing of the past! Your cares and troubles are gone–There’ll be no more from now on! Happy Days are here again! The skies above are clear again–So let’s sing a song of cheer again–Happy days are here again!

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Adobe to Add Artificial Intelligence to Photoshop

AFTER SEEING WHAT RALPH LAUREN DOES WITH IT, WE FIGURED WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING!

A catwalk model walks down the runway, turns sideways and partially disappears, only to reappear when she walks back.

Ralph Lauren's Preferred Model

(SNN) SAN JOSE, CA–Adobe Systems announced today that the next version of Photoshop would include an artificial intelligence (AI) capability. A spokesman explained, “We originally designed Photoshop to include a vast range of capabilities so as to allow the creativity of artists unfettered expression of their visions. Recently, however, we have discovered that some artists have used these capabilities for extraordinary tastelessness, particularly in the area of fashion modeling. Consequently, we are adding an AI engine to moderate the use of some of Photoshop’s functions, for example, in fractional horizontal scaling. It will operate something on the order of Microsoft’s Nanny messages. When PS detects that a female model is being scaled to a sub-anorexic image, the AI will activate and ask the designer, ‘Are you sure?’”
Ralph Lauren recently made the news by photoshopping a model to resemble a lollipop with clothes. The model, Filippa Hamilton, a size 4, earned Lauren’s ire for being too fat in his estimation and was fired. Lauren’s insistence on wire shaped models has not been limited to the realm of photography, but includes his runway models as well. In a related incident, another model, Ima Throwuppamylunch, whom Lauren was grooming as his next supermodel, fell through a dimensional portal when she turned sideways too fast on a catwalk and disappeared from three-dimensional space. Physicists have been trying to pull her back from the two-dimensional void, but efforts have proved fruitless since the model does not have enough mass for three-dimensional instruments to take hold. The Organization for Normal Sized Women, known by its slogan “Size Ten and Proud” (STAP) issued the following statement: “Women have been subjected to more and more unrealistic expectations about their bodies to an unprecedented degree by designers. When men and women both realize that the Barbie doll represents a ridiculous caricature of the female physique, perhaps horrible tragedies like this last incident can be avoided.”
A Mattel spokesman countered: “Barbie would never fall into a dimensional void–her boobs are too big.”


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Oh, yeah, I forgot–I DID use that picture and then deleted it from my Hard Drive

The Celebrated AP-Disputed Obama HOPE Poster by Shepard Fairey

The Celebrated AP-Disputed Obama HOPE Poster by Shepard Fairey

Caricature of Shepard Fairey in the style of his Obama HOPE Poster

The Not-so-celebrated Shepard Fairey DOPE Cartoon by Greg Uchrin

AN INTERVIEW WITH D. LeTANTE, DESIGNER OF THE MONA LISA

I recently had the opportunity of visiting the studio of M. D. LeTante, the celebrated graphics artist and music sampler. While I was there, he unveiled for me his latest work, The Mona Lisa, a poster of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa in situ at the Louvre, in a limited graphics palette, underlined in big letters with the word, “REPRODUCE.” I took the opportunity of interviewing him for this journal.
The Mona Lisa is your boldest work yet.
Thank you.
May I ask if the word “Reproduce” is a reference to the copy of the Mona Lisa in your work?
Oh heavens no–in the first place, this is not a copy of the Mona Lisa–that would take HOURS–no, this is a photograph I took when I was in Paris for my senior year of high school.
I didn’t think they allowed photographs.
No, they kicked me out (laughs).
You worked from a photograph, then?
Yes, I scanned it into Photoshop and posterized it and smoothed it. With the addition of the word REPRODUCE it took less than 10 minutes. I never do anything that takes longer because I want to maintain the spontaneity of creation.
I understand, nothing kills spontaneity like disciplined concentration.
Yes, discipline kills inspiration. But to go on with your question: nor is it a copy in an artistic or philosophical sense. My poster is more of a re-contextulization and re-conceptualization of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Have you ever read Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote? Pierre Menard has decided to write Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He buries himself in studying Cervantes’ sources and his period so that he can compose the Quixote, matching Cervantes’ work word for word. It is an amazing work, so much richer than the original. Cervantes’ work was superficial, grounded in his own time, but Menard’s had so much more depth because it was written in the 20th century. Similarly, my version of the Mona Lisa is grounded in the 21st century, looking back at the Renaissance. It makes a completely different statement in a Foucaultian context. One is forced to ask, what is this woman smiling at? And why is she smiling at all, while we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the world is being destroyed by global warming?
Then what is the meaning of the word REPRODUCE?
Exactly what it says–a command to be fruitful and multiply so we may satisfy the maw of our corporate overlords, like the humans in John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE satisfied the needs of the aliens who ruled the world. I’m thinking of doing a series on the concept.
Oh? What would you call it?
I think, “REPRODUCTIONS”.
Shepard Fairey was impressed with THEY LIVE as well–he did a series of works on the command OBEY as used in the movie.
Yes, we used to skateboard together. As a matter of fact, he’s the reason I decided to concentrate on re-sampling public domain works…that bad business with the Obama HOPE poster.
But Shepard was always a bit lax about attributions and things like that.
Yes. As a friend of Shepard Fairey, do you have any insights into that?
I think so. I have no doubt that Shepard was using the larger photo of Obama with George Clooney. After all, taking only a portion of that photograph would put him well within the restrictions of fair use. When he cropped it, like Pierre Menard and the Quixote, he managed to reproduce the precise cropping that AP used to release a second version of that photograph. Naturally, when he found that other photograph on his hard drive, he realized that in this cynical world, no one would believe that he independently made the same judgement as some anonymous AP editor, so he had no choice but to erase it from his computer.
He did say that he lied and deliberately destroyed the evidence by erasing it.
See what I mean? He had to confess since no one would believe otherwise.
But you do agree that AP is behaving like a stultifying corporate giant in insisting on its intellectual property? After all, the photographer said he couldn’t imagine anything better than his photograph being used to help Obama’s election.
Oh, of course! But I do have a little quibble from the point of view of an artist. Supposing someone comes along and sees my masterpiece, The Mona Lisa. What’s to stop him from appropriating it and using it in his own artwork. That is so inappropriate. I mean, what are MY rights with regard to my own work? Mannie Garcia can be noble because his work was used in a noble cause, but I’m planning on selling my limited edition on eBay at 500 dollars a print. I need to have that protected. Shep would agree–look how he jumps on people who copy HIS work.

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Tipping Encouraged–Have a Safe Flight…

Have a nice day and thank you for flying Air Air--Suggested Gratuity 15%

In an unprecedented development, Air Air--the most trusted name in air--has decided to allow pilots and crew to collect gratuities from the passengers...

(SNN) WASHINGTON DC–In an unprecedented development, airline AIR AIR–the most trusted name in air–is allowing pilots and crew to collect gratuities from passengers. This decision follows quickly in the wake of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s testimony to Congress describing his loss of pension and cuts in pay after airlines were given a free hand by the Bush administration after 9/11 to do anything short of cutting executive salaries and bonuses to avoid bankruptcy. Sullenberger is the pilot who had to ditch his Airbus 320 into the Hudson River after Canadian terrorists sent a flock of suicide geese into the Airbus flight path, fouling the engines and dying while honking “O Canada!” No other lives were lost as Sullenberger glided the aircraft into the Hudson River and each passenger was given the bird by the airline for Christmas dinner.
Last February, Sullenberger’s copilot Jeff Skiles also testified that low pay and torturous working hours were forcing airlines to hire pilots before they had finished flying school. More recently, Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story contains interviews with pilots who were forced to enroll for food stamps and take extra jobs to make ends meet. Congressmen who weren’t twittering during Sullenberger’s testimony harrumphed a good deal and threatened to think about doing something. “Who wants to fly with a pilot who has to work 24 hours a day just to make ends meet? I wouldn’t want to fly with any pilot who hasn’t gotten at least 4 hours of sleep,” an anonymous Congressional source told us.
Air Air touted its new policy as directed towards passenger safety concerns. “Passengers may now take responsibility for their own welfare,” Air Air’s representative, who asked to remain anonymous, told us. “The more they give pilots and other crew, the less staff will need to take on extra jobs. We see this as empowering passengers by making them a part of the flight team through their contributions. Naturally, first class and business class travelers will be exempt from the need to “tip”. We suggest 15% plus two dollars a bag. Gratuities may also be left at the airport to ensure air traffic controllers take notice of your flight. These gratuities should be paid in small bills rather than credit cards to avoid a paper trail.”
Sullenberger’s book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, co-authored by Jeffrey Zaslow, is available in bookstores this month.

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