Wednesday, May 28, 2008


my elementary school used to have some sort of arrangement with a book seller. once a week, we'd get a pamphlet of books for sale. i think it was called The Weekly Reader. i'm sure the idea was to encourage reading but most kids would spend their parents' money on the babysitters' club, maybe a choose your own adventure book or some mad libs. not exactly mind expanding literature. my investment was in comic strips and for a period of 5th grade, i was mildly amused by Garfield books.

years later, i noticed something that entirely changed the comic in my mind. most of the strips are of Jon Arbuckle and his cat Garfield. Jon speaks to Garfield and he responds. my revelation was that Jon's speaking appears in a speech balloon above his head while Garfield's replies are in thought bubbles. little clouds. while Jon is having this conversation out loud, Garfield is having an inner monologue. to the reader, it's an interactive conversation, but in Jon Arbuckle's reality, he's talking to his silent house cat.

then, some time ago, while wondering if anyone else thought this was weird, i came across a site in which someone removed all of Garfield's thought bubbles. it made the comic as if you were witnessing the comic first hand. a lonely guy having conversations with himself.

i thought of it again today for some reason and tried to find the site. instead, i found something even better. its called GARFIELD MINUS GARFIELD.

instead of just taking out Garfield's thoughts, which Jon can't hear anyway, someone omitted Garfield entirely. without the distraction of the orange cat's presence, you get a clear look at how deep Jon Arbuckle's problems really are. here's a sample...

(click to enlarge)
"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."
-from garfieldminusgarfield

there are a lot more here. head over and take a ride on the roller coaster that is the fractured, unstable psyche of Jon Arbuckle.

Monday, May 19, 2008


just another interesting British documentary. this one is about the physiological differences of the brain depending on gender. i thought the part about the size of ones ring finger in relation to prenatal testosterone levels especially interesting.

its approximately 50 minutes long.

UPDATE: i found 2 more videos from the BBC's 'Secrets of The Sexes' series. this one is about a study into attraction:

this one is a study about love:

Saturday, May 17, 2008


a couple months ago, i received a summons in the mail stating that i had been selected for jury duty. it was a familiar looking envelope as i'd received one around the same time last year, and also the year before that. it would seem that i am the poster boy for the model juror. the first two times, when i called in the night before to check the status and make sure i would still be needed, i was notified that my services would not be required. this time, they were.

first off, when i made my call in the night before, there was an automated message saying they no longer validated parking or provided any discounts for parking. since i had to report to the court of common pleas in the heart of Philadelphia, i would almost certainly have to put my car in a garage, setting me back at least $20 since i had no idea how long i'd have to stay there. i decided the train was a more economical way to go. what could have been a 15 minute drive became a $9 round trip ticket and a 45 minute railroad commute.

i got there 10 minutes early and had to pass through a security checkpoint. my bag went through an x-ray machine as i repeatedly failed to make it past the metal detectors without sounding the alarm. eventually i succeeded only to be pulled aside and reprimanded by the officers for having my cell phone in my bag. they demanded that i check it in at a desk in the lobby. i did so, then went back and set the alarms off another half dozen times.

i was directed to a large room and given a couple forms to fill out. 20 or so yes or no questions to test my impartiality. i filled them out at my seat, sitting amongst at least 200 other annoyed Philadelphians. periodically, a woman went up to a microphone and called out 40 names and sent them off to a civil or criminal trial. in between these announcements, i got to listen to the woman on my left vent her frustrations about civil duties and the fellow on my right poorly crack after everything that came out of the p.a. system. they both eventually got called away for jury panels. my name was never called.

hour 1: i mainly just sat quietly filling out my paperwork and listening for my name.

hour 2: the lady to my left began to get irate and let me know about all the things she's rather be doing. we were also privy to an instructional video about how fill out the forms in case anyone had doubt on how to answer yes or no questions.

hour 3: i got up and walked around the room. i tried to go out in the hallway, just to explore a little bit, but was quickly stopped by a couple boys in blue. i thought it was weird that they had guards posted. i went back to my seat and started reading, secretly devising the most intricate escape plan possible in my head.

hour 4: i read and intermittently gave a chuckle to the guy next to me as he tried to make jokes. i wouldn't have been shocked if he'd have opened his jacket to reveal a spinning, polka-dot bow tie. it was that level of comedic genius.

hour 5: i read. the woman next to me got called for a civil trial. she wasn't happy about it at all since it meant she had to walk all the way to city hall (a block away).

hour 6: i read and sketched. the jokester got called for a trial and told me he was going to tell the judge that he was on anti-psychotics.

hour 7.5: i was given a check for $9 and dismissed. cartwheels through the city's center ensued in celebration of my new found wealth.

honestly, prior to this ordeal, i was a little excited to be a juror (as hard as that may be to believe). i know most people dread the experience. there's something compelling to me about the power of justice. the authority of decision. i do live in a major city which held the record last year for homicides, so i figured that the chances of having an exciting case were in my favor. probably the first time in my life i was really hoping to meet the king of a drug cartel or a serial killer. the anticlimactic disorganization of the day dashed that feeling. the excitement fizzled out entirely around hour five.

i did manage to read an entire book (on a weekday no less), and i enjoyed a free, warm piece of apple spice cake... so, it wasn't a total loss.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


the band Pink Floyd has been tied to a lot of movies ever since VCR's and video cassettes became mainstream commodities. they've scored several movies in the past (The Wall, More), but their music has been recently linked to several films with which they have no official affiliation.

many people have likely heard about the connection between their "Dark Side Of The Moon" album with The Wizard of Oz. its definitely the most talked about. if you start the album at the third roar of the MGM lion at the beginning of the movie, the audio and visual seem to be connected.
have a look:

the wailing singer through the tornado scene and the lyrical coincidences relating to the Glinda and Scarecrow scenes seem almost too coincidental to be an accident. it is an accident, though. one i suspect was first discovered by a group of multi-tasking teenagers with a fair amount of weed.

lesser known is the synchronization of Pink Floyd's 23+ minute song "Echoes" (the final track from Meddle) with the final chapter of Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. i think this one is way cooler. one of my favorite songs with one of my favorite movies. not only is it more abstract and almost perfectly timed, but it could have potentially been done on purpose. Kubrick asked the band if he could use songs from Atom Heart Mother for the soundtrack. they denied the request. Roger Waters later stated it as one of his biggest regrets. Could they have written the song after the movie came out as an homage to what could have been?
you decide:

while searching for these full length videos, i came across one i never attempted before. i have tried Alice In Wonderland paired with the soundtrack to The Doors movie (which is actually really cool and quite obviously, totally coincidental), but never with Pink Floyd's The Wall. it seems to work out pretty well.

i could write out a list of interesting coincidences between the music and the correlating flicks, but i think its more intriguing to watch it yourself and see what you notice. intentional or not, its fun to experience something so familiar in a whole new way. again, i think a big "thank you" should go out to drugs for making these discoveries possible.