Before most of us sit down to gluttonously gorge on our Thanksgiving Day feasts, we should take a moment to thankfully reflect on all hard workers who plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve and sell our food.
Farmer’s Toast (Godspeed The Plow)
Come all jolly fellows that love to be mellow,
Attend unto me, and sit easy;
A pint when it’s quiet, come lads let us try it,
For thinking can drive a man crazy.
By plowing and sowing and reaping and mowing,
King Nature affords me a plenty;
I’ve a cellar well-stored, and a plentiful board,
And my garden provides every dainty.
I have lawns, I have bowers, I have fields, I have flowers,
And the lark is my morning alarmer.
So you jolly boys, now, here’s a health to the plow,
Long life and success to the Farmer.
Let the wealthy and great roll in splendour and state,
I envy them not, I declare it.
For I eat my own hams, my own chickens and lambs,
And I shear my own sheep and I wear it.
Were it not for my seeding you’d get but poor feeding,
I’m sure you would all starve without me.
I’m always content when I’ve paid my rent,
And I’m happy when friends are about me.
Draw near to my table, my lads if you’re able,
Let me hear not one word of complaining.
For the jingling of glasses all music surpasses,
And I love to see bottles a-draining.
For here I am king, I can laugh, drink, or sing,
And let no man appear as a stranger.
But show me the ass who refuses a glass,
And I’ll treat him to hay in the manger.
This song was originally published as a broadside in the early 19th century, the verses can be found on plates and mugs produced at the time. Nobody knows who wrote it, but he was probably not a farmer.
I like words with complex or interesting meanings that have no counterparts in English. A few years ago I stumbled across the word Nervio and loved the definition so much that I try to use it whenever I can. Roberto Greco describes it this way:
Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, “It’s so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death.”
Nervio was a sensation I have felt so many times in my life I was shocked that I had not, up until that point, seen a word that describes it. Nervio brings to mind phrases like, “I’m gonna squeeze you right in two” and, “Oh, I could just eat you with a spoon.” Nervio is why I am constantly threatening to nibble on my children’s toes. It’s a physical and emotional sensation that sits in the gut and wells up through you. The Robert Capa portrait, below, of Pablo Picasso with his son Claude does a good job of depicting the sensation with an image.
Most inner moons in the solar system keep one face pointed toward their central planet, much like our own moon. This is called gravitational locking, or tidal locking. The gif above shows that certainly isn’t the case with the small moons of Pluto, which behave like spinning tops. Pluto is shown at center with, in order, from smaller to wider orbit: Charon (which you can see is actually tidally locked), Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra (which all spin).
This haunting video is an exploration of Pablo Picasso’s massive 1937 painting “Guernica” The movie’s creator, Lena Gieseke, isolates each of the major subjects in the painting, renders them in 3D and uses the camera to explore the scene.
It provides the unusual opportunity to view the painting from a unique perspective, revealing aspects that would normally stay hidden from the casual viewer. When we discern the original painting in this three-dimensional reproduction, we recognize which features most significantly constitute the painting. Consequently this three-dimensional exploration of Picasso’s Guernica is an innovative technique for comprehending and appreciating the original masterpiece.
Andrej Karpathy trained a Convolutional Neural Network with a dataset of 2 million photographs to determine what makes the perfect selfie. The image above contains the top 100 best selfies (here are the 1,000 best selfies) Andrej concludes that the best selfies have these qualities:
- Be female. Women are consistently ranked higher than men. In particular, notice that there is not a single guy in the top 100.
- Face should occupy about 1/3 of the image. Notice that the position and pose of the face is quite consistent among the top images. The face always occupies about 1/3 of the image, is slightly tilted, and is positioned in the center and at the top. Which also brings me to:
- Cut off your forehead. What’s up with that? It looks like a popular strategy, at least for women.
- Show your long hair. Notice the frequent prominence of long strands of hair running down the shoulders.
- Oversaturate the face. Notice the frequent occurrence of over-saturated lighting, which often makes the face look much more uniform and faded out. Related to that,
- Put a filter on it. Black and White photos seem to do quite well, and most of the top images seem to contain some kind of a filter that fades out the image and decreases the contrast.
- Add a border. You will notice a frequent appearance of horizontal/vertical white borders.
Andrej also created a TwitterBot that will judge your selfie. Simply attach your selfie (or a include a link) to a tweet that mentions @deepselfie anywhere in it. The bot will analyze your selfie and give you its opinion (e.g. score 90% means that the Selfie Bot is 90% sure yours would be in top half of selfies. Selfie Bot was not impressed with my selfie.
— Selfie Bot (@deepselfie) October 27, 2015
Referred to simply as The Lick this melodic element can be found in nearly all genres of music and played by all kinds of instruments. It has somehow managed to seed itself everywhere. It can be found as early as Stravinsky’s “Firebird” (1910). Player’s “Baby Come Back” and Santana’s “Oye Como Va” are based on variations of The Lick. Although the origins of The Lick are unknown, it has propagated throughout the entire musical kingdom as you can see from the two videos below.
I have come down hard on artists who use clichés too much. But I think The Lick proves itself as something greater than a musical cliché, something more like a musical meme. The best art copies, reconstructs, personalizes, mutates and owns up to other great artworks that came before it. Viva La Lick!