Thursday, June 30, 2011

Matt Taibbi on Michelle Bachmann's Holy War

from Richard Metzger at DangerousMinds
Matt Taibbi takes on goofball far-right Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the pages of the new Rolling Stone. It’s everything you want it to be, trust me:
The Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don’t laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children’s show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing “launch” instead of “lunch” inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. “It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!” she gushed. “You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard.”

I said lunch, not launch! But don’t laugh. Don’t do it. And don’t look her in the eyes; don’t let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She’s trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don’t, because the secret of Bachmann’s success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

Bachmann’s story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you’ve finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you’ll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it’s a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator. Whatever she is, she’s no joke.
Michele Bachmann’s Holy War (Rolling Stone)
Videos: Michele Bachmann's Craziest Moments

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Have A Problem In Your Life?

Easier said than done, but good to keep in mind!

from BoingBoing

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When Woody Allen met Billy Grahm

Militant agnostic and general pessimist Woody Allen spars good-naturedly with Rev. Billy Graham during this engaging interview from The Woody Allen Show, on September 21, 1969. Topics of discussion include the meaning of life, pre-martial sex and marijuana.

Allen reminisced about the encounter in an interview with Commonweal in 2010:
Whatever Works
by Robert E. Lauder

Woody Allen is a writer, a comedian, and the maker of over seventy films. He recently spoke with Fr. Robert E. Lauder about the function of humor, film, and “the overwhelming bleakness of the universe.”

Robert E. Lauder: From the earliest days of your career as a stand-up comedian and filmmaker, you have dealt with philosophical and religious questions—the existence of God, life after death, the meaning of life. Can you remember when these questions first became important for you?

Woody Allen: These were always obsessions of mine, even as a very young child. These were things that interested me as the years went on. My friends were more preoccupied with social issues—issues such as abortion, racial discrimination, and Communism—and those issues just never caught my interest. Of course they mattered to me as a citizen to some degree…but they never really caught my attention artistically. I always felt that the problems of the world would never ever be solved until people came to terms with the deeper issues—that there would be an aimless reshuffling of world leaders and governments and programs. There was a difference, of course, but it was a minor difference as to who the president was and what the issues were. They seemed major, but as you step back with perspective they were more alike than they were different. The deeper issues always interested me.

RL: Frank Capra said that he used humor as a device to make his audience sort of receptive to his themes. I don’t think you use humor as a device. It seems to me to be more integral to your vision of life and art. Would you agree?

WA: Yes. I think Capra was a much craftier filmmaker, a wonderful filmmaker. He had enormous technique, and he knew how to manipulate the public quite brilliantly. I was just doing what I was doing because it interested me, and in fact obsessed me. I was not doing it with an eye to manipulate the public. In fact, I probably would have had a larger public if I had gone in a different direction.

RL: When Ingmar Bergman died, you said even if you made a film as great as one of his, what would it matter? It doesn’t gain you salvation. So you had to ask yourself why do you continue to make films. Could you just say something about what you meant by “salvation”?

WA: Well, you know, you want some kind of relief from the agony and terror of human existence. Human existence is a brutal experience to me…it’s a brutal, meaningless experience—an agonizing, meaningless experience with some oases, delight, some charm and peace, but these are just small oases. Overall, it is a brutal, brutal, terrible experience, and so it’s what can you do to alleviate the agony of the human condition, the human predicament? That is what interests me the most. I continue to make the films because the problem obsesses me all the time and it’s consistently on my mind and I’m consistently trying to alleviate the problem, and I think by making films as frequently as I do I get a chance to vent the problems. There is some relief. I have said this before in a facetious way, but it is not so facetious: I am a whiner. I do get a certain amount of solace from whining.

RL: Are you saying the humor in your films is a relief for you? Or are you sort of saying to the audience, “Here is an oasis, a couple of laughs”?

WA: I think what I’m saying is that I’m really impotent against the overwhelming bleakness of the universe and that the only thing I can do is my little gift and do it the best I can, and that is about the best I can do, which is cold comfort.

RL: In Everyone Says I Love You, the character you play gets divorced, and as he and his former wife review their relationship near the end of the film, she says, “You could always make me laugh,” and your character asks very sincerely, “Why is that important?” Do you think what you do is important?

WA: No, not so much. Whenever they ask women what they find appealing in men, a sense of humor is always one of the things they mention. Some women feel power is important, some women feel that looks are important, tenderness, intelligence…but sense of humor seems to permeate all of them. So I’m saying to that character played by Goldie Hawn, “Why is that so important?” But it is important apparently because women have said to us that that is very, very important to them. I also feel that humor, just like Fred Astaire dance numbers or these lightweight musicals, gives you a little oasis. You are in this horrible world and for an hour and a half you duck into a dark room and it’s air-conditioned and the sun is not blinding you and you leave the terror of the universe behind and you are completely transported into an escapist situation. The women are beautiful, the men are witty and heroic, nobody has terrible problems and this is a delightful escapist thing, and you leave the theatre refreshed. It’s like drinking a cool lemonade and then after a while you get worn down again and you need it again. It seems to me that making escapist films might be a better service to people than making intellectual ones and making films that deal with issues. It might be better to just make escapist comedies that don’t touch on any issues. The people just get a cool lemonade, and then they go out refreshed, they enjoy themselves, they forget how awful things are and it helps them—it strengthens them to get through the day. So I feel humor is important for those two reasons: that it is a little bit of refreshment like music, and that women have told me over the years that it is very, very important to them.

RL: At one point in Hannah and Her Sisters, your character, Mickey, is very disillusioned. He is thinking about becoming a Catholic and he sees Duck Soup. He seems to think, “Maybe in a world where there are the Marx Brothers and humor, maybe there is a God. Who knows.” And maybe Mickey can live with that. Am I interpreting this correctly?

WA: No. I think it should be interpreted to mean that there are these oases, and life is horrible, but it is not relentlessly black from wire to wire. You can sit down and hear a Mozart symphony, or you can watch the Marx Brothers, and this will give you a pleasant escape for a while. And that is about the best that you can do…. I feel that one can come up with all these rationalizations and seemingly astute observations, but I think I said it well at the end of Deconstructing Harry: we all know the same truth; our lives consist of how we choose to distort it, and that’s it. Everybody knows how awful the world is and what a terrible situation it is and each person distorts it in a certain way that enables him to get through. Some people distort it with religious things. Some people distort it with sports, with money, with love, with art, and they all have their own nonsense about what makes it meaningful, and all but nothing makes it meaningful. These things definitely serve a certain function, but in the end they all fail to give life meaning and everyone goes to his grave in a meaningless way.

RL: That brings us to the end of Crimes and Misdemeanors. Your character and an ophthalmologist named Judah are having a conversation, and Judah pretends he’s talking about a screenplay but he’s really talking about his own life. He says people do commit crimes, they get away with it, and they don’t even have guilt feelings. And your character says this is horrible, this is terrible, and then you cut to a blind rabbi dancing with his daughter at her wedding, and we hear a voiceover from a philosopher your character admires. He says something like, “There is no ultimate meaning but somehow people have found that they can cope.” The philosopher didn’t really cope; he committed suicide. When I first saw the film I thought you were offering the audience several views of life and leaving it to them to decide which is closest to the truth—Judah’s, Cliff’s, the philosopher’s, or the rabbi’s. (He’s the one who seems to be the happiest and most fulfilled character in the film, despite his blindness.) But in an interview you said that really the ophthalmologist is basically right: there is no benevolent God watching over us at all, and we embrace whatever gets us through the night. Is that right?

WA: I feel that is true—that one can commit a crime, do unspeakable things, and get away with it. There are people who commit all sorts of crimes and get away with it, and some of them are plagued with all sorts of guilt for the rest of their lives and others aren’t. They commit terrible crimes and they have wonderful lives, wonderful, happy lives, with families and children, and they have done unspeakably terrible things. There is no justice, there is no rational structure to it. That is just the way it is, and each person figures out some way to cope…. Some people cope better than others. I was with Billy Graham once, and he said that even if it turned out in the end that there is no God and the universe is empty, he would still have had a better life than me. I understand that. If you can delude yourself by believing that there is some kind of Santa Claus out there who is going to bail you out in the end, then it will help you get through. Even if you are proven wrong in the end, you would have had a better life.

RL: Seven or eight years ago the New York Times asked you to name a favorite film and you picked Shane. It seems to me that the character of Shane is a Christ figure. At one point, Chris Callaway, the guy Shane has beaten in a fistfight in the saloon, changes sides. He leaves the villains and joins Shane and the good guys. When Shane asks him why, he says something has come over him. Shane has had some mysterious impact on him. Shane does not ride off into the sunset as heroes usually do in old Westerns. He rides off into the sunrise, and as he does so the director does this strange thing: he holds a dissolve of a cross from the cemetery, and he keeps it on the screen for about five seconds. Do you remember that at all?

WA: I do remember it. Yes, now that you bring it up, I do.

RL: So the film seems to end with resurrection imagery.

WA: I didn’t see him as a martyred figure, a persecuted figure. I saw him as quite a heroic figure who does a job that needs to be done, a practical matter. I saw him as a practical secular character. In this world there are just some people who need killing and that is just the way it is. It sounds terrible, but there is no other way to get around that, and most of us are not up to doing it, incapable for moral reasons or physically not up to it. And Shane is a person who saw what had to be done and went out and did it. He had the skill to do it, and that’s the way I feel about the world: there are certain problems that can only be dealt with that way. As ugly a truth as that is, I do think it’s the truth about the world.

Thanks to Richard Metzger at DangerousMinds

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Transparent Pontiac for sale

from BoingBoing
This beautiful, skeletal Pontiac was built for the GM pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. It's up for auction in Plymouth, Michigan, with an estimated sale price of $275,000 - $475,000.
As of yet, RM doesn't have any detailed information about the Pontiac, but from an article in Special Interest Autos #34, we see that GM built two - possibly three - transparent cars for the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940, one of which was a Deluxe seven-window touring sedan (B-body), the other of which was a Torpedo five-window touring sedan (C-body)...

Visitors to General Motors' "Highways and Horizons" pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair came away awed by a vision of the future. The work of renowned designer Norman Bel Geddes, GM's "Futurama" exhibit foretold the communities and transportation systems of 1960, many of which came to pass. Other peeks at the future included "Previews of Progress," inventions that seemed like magic: "Yarns made of Milk! Glass that bends! The Frig-O-Therm that cooks and freezes at the same time! The Talking Flashlight transmitting speech over a light beam!" exclaimed the exhibit's guidebook. Sharing top billing with the Futurama and Previews of Progress, however, was the "'Glass' Car - The first full-sized transparent car ever made in America."
The Tin Indian that wasn't: RM to offer see-through Pontiac

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Kicking off with “Rockaway Beach” this is The Ramones performing live on the classic German TV show Musikladen, in a special recorded on September 13 1978, in Bremen.

Track listing:

“Rockaway Beach”
“Teenage Lobotomy”
“Blitzkrieg Bop”
“I Don’t Want You”
“Go Mental”
“Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”
“You’re Gonna Kill that Girl”
“Don’t Come Close”
“I Don’t Care”
“She’s the One”
“Sheena Is a Punk Rocker”
“Havana Affair”
“Needles & Pins”
“Surfin’ Bird”
“Cretin Hop”
“Listen to My Heart”
“California Sun”
“I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You”
“Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”

from: DangerousMinds

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Optimist's Tour of the Future":
inspiring and funny look at the evidence for a bright future

Mark Stevenson's An Optimist's Tour of the Future is a hilarious and inspiring romp through some of the most promising directions in technology -- from permaculture success stories in Australia who are beating the drought and sequestering carbon to nanotechnology boosters who are showing off successful prototypes for effective energy generation, water filtration and desalination, and other cool and world-changing applications. Stevenson, a former standup comedian, writes with enormous warmth and humor, and he fast-talks his way into the presence of some hard-to-reach scientists and theorists who really represent the cutting edge of their fields, from Eric Drexler to Nick Bostrom. Stevenson does an admirable job of presenting these findings in a lay-friendly way without eliding too much important detail.

Stevenson presents his book as a curative for "pessimism." Stevenson looks at the evidence for humanity's impending doom and finds it wanting: even in the poorest places on earth, lifespans are longer, affluence is up, violence is down from most of human history. He doesn't discount all the problems that others have identified, from climate change to war to starvation, but he believes we can and will overcome them with technology. Stevenson looks at the ethical and philosophical dimensions of these technologies, signposts some of the problems they may give rise to, and brings it all off with a flourish that's sweet and upbeat, as befits his title.

If you're someone who believes that there's no possible, conceivable way to solve contemporary problems with technology, then Stevenson's argument is probably one you should be exposed to. But where I found his analysis wanting was in the presumed inevitability of technological triumph over social ills. Humanity may develop or possess the technologies to fix its problems, but capacity isn't political will. Humanity has previously possessed the knowledge and tools to address many of its problems, but failed to bring them to bear for extremely long periods (we had a 500 year interregnum as the result of one such failure, commonly known as the Dark Ages).

Those of us on the policy side of technology are often optimistic about technology's transformative potential, and pessimistic about its inevitable triumph. This isn't a counsel of despair: it doesn't mean we're doomed. Rather, it's a call to action: if technology can solve problems, then we should figure out how to midwife the right kind of technology and the right kind of society.

The di-polar world that Stevenson establishes -- "technology can't solve our problems" and "technology will solve our problems" -- doesn't admit of a third pole: "technology can solve our problems, if we fight to keep it free and open."

Which is a shame, because if there's one thing we need, it's optimists who believe that the net and the PC and their many spinoffs can improve the world, and who use their optimism to pursue a mission of free, fair and universal access to the world's systems. Optimist's Tour is fine as far as it goes, but I wish it went further. An Optimist's Tour of the Future

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot Wheels!

Tanner Foust, an American professional racing driver and stunt driver, broke the world record for a distance jump in a four-wheeled vehicle at the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th, 2011. Watch as Tanner Foust drops 10 stories down 90 feet of orange track and soars 332 feet (101 meters) through the air.

quick replacement for the deleted video below

Thanks, Presufer

Got A Kid?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The first non-leather glove ever used in major league baseball

from Carpenter Trade (the people who made my own incredible custom and cruelty free 100% vegan glove - see above and bottom).
Brian Gordon is the first player ever to use a non-leather glove in major league baseball. Ever since Doug Allison first wore a glove in 1870 all major league baseball gloves have been made with leather. Until now.

Gordon used this groundbreaking glove on June 16, 2011 as the starting pitcher for the New York Yankees against the Texas Rangers. Gordon converted to pitching after spending his first ten years as an outfielder. Now, in his 15th year of professional baseball, he has been brought up by the Yankees, having led AAA baseball with the lowest ERA of 1.14. His long journey gave him several years’ experience with gloves, and Gordon chose Carpenter as the best. He says of his Carpenter glove, “For the first time in my career I felt comfort and control on the field. I love it.” Gordon was born in West Point, NY and he is the only NY player using a glove made in NY.

The idea of a non-leather baseball gloves defies expectations of the traditional smell and feel of glove leather. However, synthetic materials have already been a growing trend for several years. Star players such as Roy Halladay and Alex Rodriguez have already been using gloves that have some synthetic parts. Synthetics offer greater strength than leather while also being remarkably lighter. Carpenter synthetic gloves average 10 ounces lighter than comparable leather gloves, giving players a considerable performance advantage where speed is essential. Carpenter gloves are the lightest gloves used in professional baseball today.

(photo © Rob Tringali)

"This is probably the first real innovation since the Wilson A2000 in 1957. The baseball glove has never seen a re-engineering like this before. Not only are the materials better and more practical, but never before has a glove been built specifically for one hand,” says Jason Friedman, a writer and moderator of the popular Glove-Works baseball glove forum.

This glove was made for Gordon by Scott Carpenter of Carpenter Trade Company in Cooperstown, NY. Carpenter’s alternative approach to his business is as unique as his innovative baseball gloves. The market is dominated by large corporate brands who have a tight grip on players who are paid to wear their logos. It is telling of the quality and performance of Carpenter gloves that so many professional players are refusing money from larger established brands to wear Carpenter gloves. Scott Carpenter has never paid players and has never done any advertising or marketing beyond his website: He makes all Carpenter gloves himself. The baseball glove is an American icon; Carpenter is proud to be the only glove brand used in major-league baseball that has never imported, never outsourced, and has always produced their own gloves in the USA.

Scott Carpenter began his glove business in Cooperstown in 2001. Cooperstown is known for its history and for preserving the rich traditions of baseball. However, this is an account of a Cooperstown local breaking with tradition and pioneering a trend that will shape how baseball is played in the future.

Here's a great AP story about the big day, with additional pic's.

By the way... You want to inquire about buying one of these? Well you can't! This year Scott has changed his policy, and just as I acquired my latest personal glove, you can too by TRADE only no cash exchange for 2011, you make your offer and they will see how it works for them, and remember these gloves take a lot of time and are a labor of love, so be ready to give for what you get.

Monday, June 20, 2011

They Are Trying to Build A Pool In the River,
and They Need Your Help.

Looks pretty cool to me...

"+ Pool is our initiative to build a floating pool for everyone in the rivers of New York City, and we need your help. With your support, we can make it possible to swim in clean, natural river water here in the city."

Here's the main web presence + POOL

And here on KickStarter

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Awesome People Hanging Out Together

I'm the last one to usually care about pictures of celebrities and famous people hanging out together, but these are some pretty cool snap shots found on this public tumbler page :

Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Warren G. Harding, and Harvey Firestone, Maryland, 1921.

Prince William, Kanye West, Prince Harry and P.Diddy

Woody Allen and Michael Jackson

Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein

Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, and Sidney Poitier

Barack Obama and Willie Mays on Air Force One

James Brown and Mick Jagger

Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart

Lou Gehrig and the Marx Brothers

David Bowie, Iggie Pop and Lou Reed

Pee-Wee Herman, Rodney Dangerfield and David Lee Roth

Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel

Eartha Kitt and James Dean taking Katherine Dunham’s dance class

Bob Dylan and Muhammad Ali

Salvador Dali & Walt Disney

Andy Warhol and Alfred Hitchcock

Charlie Chaplin and Helen Keller

BONUS: Famous People Hanging Out With Their Vinyl

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bike Lane Protest

I personally think it's amazing that in recent years NYC has attempted to make the city street a bit more green friendly for pedestrians and bike riders. But indeed there have been some problems. This great video exposes one of them.
Casey Neistat (one of the Neistat brothers who have a TV show on HBO) is using YouTube to protest being issued a traffic ticket for not riding his bicycle in a Manhattan bike lane. Neistat felt the ticket he got above and beyond. So he made a protest video in which he plows his bike into various obstacles in bike lanes.

thanks Presurfer

Friday, June 17, 2011

Well Deserved... Diss

lazy enough to show it was just about making a statement and not wasting time or effort, classic.

Thanks, Ryan

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time Lapse Video Of The Earth's Rotation

Filmed at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope located in the Atacama Desert, Chile, by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Le Tigre: Who Took the Bomp?

Friend, (as well as part time softball teammate) Kathleen Hannah and her most recent band Le Tigre have released a new DVD.

Here's the story from DangerousMinds
It’s been some time since we’ve last heard from iconic feminist rockers, Le Tigre. A new DVD titled Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour has just been released with a mix of footage from their 2004 world tour and conversations with band members JD Samson, Johanna Fateman and Kathleen Hanna. It was directed by Kerthy Fix. interviewed Hanna about the project:
How did the documentary come about?
We were about to go on tour in 2004 and I was thinking how there was no good documentation of the projects I’ve done, and about how weird we all were in the ‘90s, like “Don’t photograph me!” We were so freaked about being sucked up by the mainstream that we didn’t even document ourselves. I didn’t want that to happen to me, as a grownup. We put some money into a camera to shoot our shows, just to have it, not really thinking that we’re making a movie. Then we started filming stuff on the bus or backstage. After, we stopped touring, revisited some of the material and slowly started putting it into the project and finally it’s done, six years later.

What’s your favorite part of the movie?
I like a lot of the stuff that Johanna says about JD in the interview part. There is some stuff that we never really say to each other because it’s too corny. Like, you don’t actually sit in a room and go, “Here’s what you brought to the band.” It was interesting to hear Jo say these sweet, sentimental things about JD. She talked about a lot of stuff that happened in terms of JD’s gender and presentation, how that did change how people perceived us as a band. I definitely got an education by seeing the way a journalist would treat her and not know how to treat her. I don’t know, I guess it just brought this issue to the fore. It felt really good to have that spoken out loud.

Was there anything that you might have forgotten about or were surprised to see?
Just how goofy we were. I don’t think people think of us as being that goofy and I don’t think of us as being that goofy, but looking back at the footage I was like, “Oh my God.” Every time the camera went on we were totally goofy and I know when the camera went off, we were equally goofy. I sort of forgot about that, that everything was kind of a joke and lighthearted and it was really in contrast to some of the other things that were going on that were really heavy. It was either really heavy, like “We’re being boycotted!” and then trying to put a Band-Aid on everything with humor, all the time.

Read more of Kathleen Hanna Looks Back on Le Tigre, Praises Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride, Dismisses ‘Boring’ Odd Future (Spinner)

Below, a live “Deceptacon” from Who Took the Bomp?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

50 Things Every Graphic Design Student Should Know

A list compiled by Jamie Wieck of 50 things every graphic design student should know on leaving college. Some of these points are obvious, others less so - but all are brief, digestible nuggets of wisdom that will hopefully go some way to making the transition from graduate to designer a little bit smoother.

[some of my favorites]

4. You cannot score without a goal. - If you don’t know what you want, then how can you pursue it? Having a goal defines an end point, and subsequently, a place to start.

5. Starting anything requires energy. - It takes more energy to start than it does to stop. This is true for physics, your career, and that idea you need to work on.

9. Curate your work. - Never stop editing your portfolio. Three strong pieces are better than ten weak ones – nobody looks for quantity, just quality.

10. Listen to your instincts. - If your work doesn’t excite you, then it won’t excite anyone else. It’s hard to fake passion for mediocre work – scrap it.

17. Make friends with a printer. - A good relationship with a printer is invaluable – they will help you save money and the environment.

20. Ask questions. - Assume nothing. Ask questions, even if you think you know the answers. You’ll be surprised at how little you know.

35. The environment is not a limitation. - The environmental impact of your work isn’t a fashionable consideration – as a creative, it’s your most important consideration.

38. Do not underestimate self-initiated work. - Clients get in touch because of self-initiated work. Ironically, business is excited by ideas untouched by the concerns of business.

45. Be an auteur. - Regardless of who you’re working with, speak up if something’s not right. Take it upon yourself to be the barometer of quality.

48. Get out of the studio. - Good design is crafted from understanding the relationships between things. These connections can’t be found when locked in a studio.
There's some really great advice here, although i can't say i agree with 100% of it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised':
A Great GIL SCOTT-HERON documentary

Posted in his honor to celebrate his life as he passed just a few weeks ago. Directed by Don Letts for BBC television.




thanks, DangerousMinds

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Foreign accent syndrome

from BoingBoing
National Public Radio's Morning Edition ran a fascinating story about "foreign accent syndrome," a very rare condition in which a brain injury seems to lead to a change in speech that sounds like the sufferer is speaking with a foreign accent. For example, Karen Butler went under anesthesia for dental surgery and emerged with a strange English-Irish accent. From NPR:
There have been only about 100 known cases of the syndrome since it was first reported in the 1940s. The most famous case was a Norwegian woman who was hit by shrapnel in World War II; she developed a German accent and was ostracized as a result.
Other cases include a British woman from Devon who developed a Chinese accent following a migraine, and another British woman who had a stroke and now sounds French.

(Neurologist Ted) Lowenkopf says FAS affects only a small area of speech — just the pattern and intonation. Strokes and brain trauma usually cause major damage to the brain and leave people with far bigger speech problems than just a change in accent.

Butler may have suffered a small stroke while she was under anesthesia, but she won't know for sure unless she has a brain scan. (She says her insurance company won't pay for one.) Lowenkopf says comparing an old scan that Butler received years ago to a new one could shed some light on what happened.

In the meantime, it's possible that Butler could get her American accent back through intensive speech therapy. But unlike other people with FAS who have become depressed by their change in accent, Butler quite likes her new one. She says it has made her more outgoing and is a good conversation starter.
" A Curious Case Of Foreign Accent Syndrome"

JUST IN CASE that wasn't weird enough, check out this incredible story over at DangerousMinds on "The Secret Language of Twins, Poto & Cabengo"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Spray Paint The Walls"
the BLACK FLAG story
by Stevie Chick
REVISED U.S. EDITION - Now Available!

It was a while back that I first posted these two stories about the INCREDIBLE book on Black Flag, since then a bunch of folks invloved sent the writer some corrections and since then the book has finally been published by a U.S. publisher, with all the corrections that they were able to figure out. So if you did not get the book then, NOW is certainly the time. I consider it a must have great read. Get it direct from PM press.

From the Desk of Joe Carducci...

I guessed/predicted in Rock and the Pop Narcotic that regarding Black Flag there was never enough sales for the real publishing industry to ever write a check to get to the bottom of the band's story. Back in the late 1980s when I wrote R&TPN only Faber & Faber was even issuing original music titles, and indeed they were the only publisher to take a look at my manuscript. But the 80s/90s roll-out of Tower Books, Barnes & Noble, and Borders did spur a short golden age of the music section in book stores. That's over now. But Omnibus in the UK, which once had the only book on Black Sabbath in print, now issues the first comprehensive book about Black Flag, first in the UK, soon here. Spray Paint the Walls is very well reported and assembled by Brit music writer Stevie Chick, author of the better of the recent Sonic Youth books. Neither Greg Ginn nor Henry Rollins sat for interviews but their voices are included from earlier interviews, and more importantly Chuck Dukowski spoke to Chick - a first I believe. The story, laid out from the band's earliest practices in 1976 to its end ten years later, makes a far more dramatic book than the usual shelf-fillers with their stretch to make the empty stories of various chart-toppers sound exciting and crucial and against the odds. I read a rough draft; I'm sure most of the minor Anglocentric miscomprehensions of timelines, causalities and geography are still in it but the book is powerful because it does the story justice. And those miscomprehensions are shared by most American music writers as well so what the hell...

Excerpt: Black Flag Polliwog Park episode from Stevie Chick's book.
Joe's note, from the fairly new blog that he writes for called The New Vulgate


here's the other note i posted:

Finally a biography of Black Flag, the most important band of my generation. Here's an advance peek of the cover proof with my photos. I've got word from a very trustworthy knowledgeable source, who has read an advance galley, that the book (although a few minor inaccuracies) is GREAT.
It's being released in the next month or so, you can advance order it on sale here.

There are two small photo sections with some pretty rare and cool stuff, out of the 400+ pages of the book. Here are two more of mine (out of 8 or so you'll also see inside).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Limited Edition Classic Photo Available
To Benefit Duane Peters ... via REBATE


1981 Tod Swank image of DP and photographer Glen E. Friedman signed by all 3!

This classic 1981 image of Duane Peters performing his signature DP Layback is available now in limited edition of 13 prints, and for a limited time only.

This is your only chance to get this shot of a true classic, The Master Of Disaster himself, ripping the Del Mar Skateboard Ranch in Southern California at the 1981 pro-am contest while also being photographed by the legendary Glen E. Friedman (pictured at Left). The limited series of 13 prints will be signed by all three Legends: Duane Peters, Glen E. Friedman, and photographer-turned-pro-turned-skate-industry-mogul Tod Swank.

The auction ends Tuesday, June 14, 2011, unless all prints sell out before then.

Get it while you can!

eBay Listing:

All proceeds will help Duane Peters pay his mass of medical bills. He saved his own leg! But now it’s time to pay the piper. So earlier this month a group of Duane’s friends and supporters got together and put several items up for auction on eBay. Some amazing collectibles and custom-made pieces, like original Mark Gonzales artwork, or a DP-themed skate scooter handmade by Jason Adams and Reeps. Some hosted fundraising events with bands and beer, or released products with a portion of proceeds going to Duane. And others just wrote checks.


Because you can thank Duane Peters for skating the way you do. You can thank Duane Peters for defining skateboarding in the 1980s, and setting it on its current course. He took the elegant freestyle of the 1970s and shoved it through a meat grinder. He took skateboarding “Off The Wall” and went balls-to-the-wall. He put the snarl in gnarl, the punk in rock, the fuck in you.

Duane Peters isn’t a relic - he didn’t invent the Indy Air and disappear, retire, or fade away. Pushing 50, DP has been charging as hard as ever, skating, touring, slamming, and getting right back up to do it again.

But recently the Master Of Disaster had a bad knee injury turn worse. Gangrene. The doctors prepared to amputate his leg, but Duane pleaded to save it. He knew that no leg would mean no skating. And without skating, he’d descend into old habits that would pretty quickly kill him.

He’s been cleaning himself up, sharing the rough road with thousands of Twitter (@DuanePeters) and facebook followers, and keeping his head straight to be able to raise his son, Clash. But skateboarding is the compass that makes that effort possible. No leg, quite simply, would have meant no skating. And that would’ve meant the end of the Master Of Disaster.

Saving his leg meant saving himself. “Skate or Die” had never been more true than it was for Duane throughout his ordeal.

But to save his leg, Duane underwent intense treatment and therapy. It was rigorous, painful, and very expensive. He’s been selling everything he owns, and he’s still got thousands of dollars in medical bills stacked up against him.

Duane needs our help (not just you or me, but us). He would never ask, so we are asking. The skateboarding family is about skaters helping skaters. It’s about seeing a brother like DP backed against the wall and doing something about it. Whatever you can.

If we all lend a hand, two things will happen: we will collectively raise some money to help Duane, and in our efforts Duane will realize what he’s given us all. Over the decades he’s remained a champion for skateboarding. A champion for what skateboarding means.

The print sale ends the evening of Thursday, June 14. Get pone, or get your friends to pitch in to share one.

Help the Master Of Disaster get through this - he battled gangrene and saved his leg, and now you can help show your appreciation for the fact that he can still skate like a bat outta Hell! Participate and help out. He deserves this. And you deserve this opportunity.

Thanks for your generosity.
Info originally posted at:

Here's a few unpublished images of mine of Duane taken more than 25 years apart!

This bottom photo may have been taken the same day as the Swank photo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A possible link between pollution and crime—and marshmallows

At Wired, Jonah Lehrer delves into an interesting theory about why American crime rates have fallen so drastically over the last 30 years. Apparently, there is both a correlation and a mechanism that would seem to connect falling rates of a certain kind of environmental pollutant to the downward trend in crime statistics. It all comes back to one of my favorite experiments in the annals of behavioral psychology. I'm speaking, of course, of the marshmallow test.

In the late 1960s, psychologist Walter Mischel left pre-schoolers alone in a room with a marshmallow. He gave the kids a choice: Eat your marshmallow now, and it's the only one you get. Resist temptation, and you'll be given two marshmallows to eat later. It's a classic test of delayed gratification and self-control. And only 20% of Mischel's test subjects managed to get the second 'mallow. Their secret: Distracting themselves with other activities, like singing or playing a pretend game.

But here's the interesting thing I didn't know—Mischel has followed those marshmallow kids over the course of their lives. Today, we know that the 20% who could hold out for a second marshmallow also had higher SAT scores, more friends, and fewer anger management issues as teenagers. And, thanks to brainscans, we can actually see differences between the adult brains of the 20% and their less self-controlled counterparts. In particular, Lehrer writes, the 20% demonstrate more activity in "the frontal cortex, [including] areas such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate, and the right and left inferior frontal gyri."

How does this tie back to crime and pollution. Turns out, those are also regions of the brain known to be particularly (and detrimentally) affected by early childhood exposure to lead. Medical researchers have long known that decreased impulse control is a common side-effect of lead-related brain damage. And, during the time that America's crime rates have fallen, so too have the levels of lead in our bloodstreams. According to this theory, environmental regulations that banned things like leaded gasoline and paint might be partly responsible for the fact that the murder rate in many American cities has fallen by 50%.

What Mischel's data demonstrates is that attention isn't just about information. Instead, it's also what allows us to blunt the urges of our errant emotions, allowing us to look past the desire to stuff that yummy marshmallow into our mouth. While we can't always control what we feel - many of our urges are ancient drives, embedded deep in the brain - we can control the amount of attention we pay to our feelings. When faced with a tempting treat, we can look away.

This returns us to aggression. Let's say you're being teased by a bully at school. You can feel your anger rising; the hot emotion is vibrating in your veins. It would feel so good to punch that bully in the face, to vent your frustration with a fight. However, you also know that such violence will get you suspended from school, which is why throwing a punch is not a good idea. If you can't strategically allocate your attention - and this is a skill that requires a solid prefrontal cortex - then you're not going to be able to resist your anger. You're going to get in a fight and get suspended. However, if you can properly look past this negative emotion - perhaps by counting to ten, or just walking away, or finding something else to think about - then your anger will subside. The hot feeling has been cooled off.

from BoingBoing

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Helen Keller was a militant anti-capitalist radical, lifelong socialist

from Richard Metzger at DangerousMinds:

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands - the ownership and control of their livelihoods - are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.” — Helen Keller, 1911

This will piss off the Teabaggers: There is a terrific, short essay on Helen Keller’s political activism over at Dorian Cope’s always essential On This Deity blog. It’s a “must read” and focuses on the parts of her life story that they don’t teach us about when we learn about Helen Keller in school…
But what the endless accolades and history books almost always fail to mention is that Helen Keller was a militant radical activist. Her views mirrored the likes of the era’s most notorious dissidents – Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs – who were respectively deported and imprisoned for ten years. “I don’t give a damn about semi-radicals,” she infamously proclaimed; indeed, she leaned so far to the left that the FBI kept a file on her for un-American activities. She was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union; a lifelong socialist who campaigned for Eugene Debs’ presidential candidacy; a member of the revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World; a suffragist and crusader for birth control; an anti-fascist (the Nazis publicly burned her books); and a pacifist, who condemned America’s imperialistic motives in both world wars. Having benefited from a privileged background, Helen recognised the social injustices facing those denied the same opportunities – and blamed industrialism and capitalism not only as the root of poverty but also disability-inducing disease. Her anti-capitalist and pro-worker stance was such that at the 1919 Hollywood premiere of a silent film about her own life, she refused to cross an Actors Equity Union picket line and joined the striking workers on their march.

In her lifetime, Helen Keller was one of the most recognisable women in the world, and those who flocked to bask in the radiance of her fame were positively scandalised by her beliefs. After publicly supporting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, admiring the Russian Revolution, and fearlessly lambasting the powerful John D Rockefeller for his role in the Ludlow Mine Massacre (“Mr Rockefeller is a monster of capitalism”), Helen’s radicalism became a source of extreme embarrassment to those who required her to be true to The Myth in order that they might gain:

“So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘archpriestess of the sightless’, ‘wonder woman’, and ‘a modern miracle,’” Helen bemoaned. “But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics – that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world – that is a different matter!”

Read the entire essay at On This Deity and WATCH THIS AMAZING FOOTAGE:

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Hunt For The True Mona Lisa Begins

(Reuters) - Researchers have begun their hunt for the remains of the woman who might have been the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, hoping to unravel a mystery that has baffled art historians for over five centuries.

A team of experts armed with a special radar device descended this week on a dilapidated convent in Florence where they believe the body of the woman who modeled for da Vinci back in the 16th century is buried.

The real Mona Lisa, Italian art historians say, was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a rich Florentine silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo who is thought to have commissioned the portrait -- although there is no definitive proof of this.

The researchers say that if they can find her skull, they will be able to reconstruct her face and compare it with the painting.

The true identity of Mona Lisa and her enigmatic smile have intrigued art lovers around the world.

According to the Louvre museum in Paris, where the painting is on display, the portrait was likely painted in Florence between 1503 and 1506 and could have been commissioned to mark one of two events: either when Gherardini and her husband bought their house or when their second son was born.

The key to solving the mystery may lie at the Saint Orsola convent, a structure in central Florence almost reduced to ruins.

Using radar equipment which can identify objects underground, scientists are scanning the floor in the small church to pinpoint areas where they may start digging for Gherardini's remains.

"We have a document confirming the burial of Gherardini in 1542 here in the convent" said Silvano Vinceti, head of the National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage.

Researchers say Gherardini spent the last years of her life at the convent, looked after by her two daughters who were nuns, and was buried there.

"To be sure we have to find the DNA in her bones, and once we have found that we can compare it with the DNA of her children who are buried at the Santissima Annunziata convent," said Professor Francesco Mallegni, a paleoanthropologist.

Vinceti has been studying the painting for months and recently claimed to have found symbols hidden in the portrait.

He says Gherardini might have been an early model for the Mona Lisa but that da Vinci was also probably inspired by the face of his young male apprentice, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, who some say was also his lover.

It is not clear how long the project to study Gherardini's remains will need before coming to any conclusion but some of her descendants have already expressed skepticism.

"Let her rest in peace. What could finding her remains change to the charm of Leonardo's painting? To look for her bones seems a sacrilege to me," said one of them, actress and writer Natalia Strozzi.

(Writing by Eleanor Biles and Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Steve Addison)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Irrefutable Proof that God is Not Dead

The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote. Follow the link to the site and hit the refresh button for a different comic and quote each time.

Intelligent Design, indeed.
thanks, Niclole Panter, DangerousMinds

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rare Color Photographs Of The Great Depression

It was an era that defined a generation. The Great Depression marked the bitter and abrupt end to the post-World War 1 bubble that left America giddy with promise in the 1920s. Near the end of the 1930s the country was beginning to recover from the crash, but many in small towns and rural areas were still poverty-stricken.

These rare photographs are some of the few documenting those iconic years in colour. The photographs and captions are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color. The images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, shed a bleak new light on a world now gone with the wind.
thanks, PreSurfer

Friday, June 3, 2011

"And who says there’s no trickle down economics?"


thanks, Richrd Metzger from DangerousMinds

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Louder Than A Bomb"
A documentary film by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel

Louder Than a Bomb tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for and compete in the world's largest youth slam. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. While the topics they tackle are often deeply personal, what they put into their poems—and what they get out of them—is universal: the defining work of finding one's voice.

Although these SLAM competition films seem to be all over the place, this one looks really cool. Look for it!

New York City, NY Now Showing — IFC Center
Columbus, OH Now Showing — Drexel Theatre
Chicago, IL May 20-26 — Gene Siskel Film Center
Boston, MA Opens June 3 — Coolidge Corner Theatre
Palm Springs, CA Opens June 3 — Camelot Theaters
Amherst, MA Opens June 3 — Amherst Cinema
Washington, D.C. Opens June 10 — The West End Cinema
Portland, OR Opens June 10 — Living Room Theatres
Lake Worth, FL Opens June 10 — Lake Worth Playhouse
Corvallis, OR Opens July 17 — Darkside Cinema
Salem, MA Opens July 29 — CinemaSalem

Thanks, Jen Z

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

F.B.I. Target - someone who was unnecessarily followed

from the NYTimes
For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target


AUSTIN, Tex. — A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

“The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.”

Actually, the item in question was more mundane.
“It was a quilt,” said Scott Crow, marveling over the papers at the dining table of his ramshackle home, where he lives with his wife, a housemate and a backyard menagerie that includes two goats, a dozen chickens and a turkey. “For a kids’ after-school program.”

Mr. Crow, 44, a self-described anarchist and veteran organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists across the country known to have come under scrutiny from the F.B.I.’s increased counterterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Other targets of bureau surveillance, which has been criticized by civil liberties groups and mildly faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general, have included antiwar activists in Pittsburgh, animal rights advocates in Virginia and liberal Roman Catholics in Nebraska. When such investigations produce no criminal charges, their methods rarely come to light publicly.

But Mr. Crow, a lanky Texas native who works at a recycling center, is one of several Austin activists who asked the F.B.I. for their files, citing the Freedom of Information Act. The 440 heavily-redacted pages he received, many bearing the rubric “Domestic Terrorism,” provide a revealing window on the efforts of the bureau, backed by other federal, state and local police agencies, to keep an eye on people it deems dangerous.

In the case of Mr. Crow, who has been arrested a dozen times during demonstrations but has never been convicted of anything more serious than trespassing, the bureau wielded an impressive array of tools, the documents show.

The agents watched from their cars for hours at a time — Mr. Crow recalls one regular as “a fat guy in an S.U.V. with the engine running and the air-conditioning on” — and watched gatherings at a bookstore and cafe. For round-the-clock coverage, they attached a video camera to the phone pole across from his house on New York Avenue.

They tracked Mr. Crow’s phone calls and e-mails and combed through his trash, identifying his bank and mortgage companies, which appear to have been served with subpoenas. They visited gun stores where he shopped for a rifle, noting dryly in one document that a vegan animal rights advocate like Mr. Crow made an unlikely hunter. (He says the weapon was for self-defense in a marginal neighborhood.)

They asked the Internal Revenue Service to examine his tax returns, but backed off after an I.R.S. employee suggested that Mr. Crow’s modest earnings would not impress a jury even if his returns were flawed. (He earns $32,000 a year at Ecology Action of Texas, he said.)

They infiltrated political meetings with undercover police officers and informers. Mr. Crow counts five supposed fellow activists who were reporting to the F.B.I.

Mr. Crow seems alternately astonished, angered and flattered by the government’s attention. “I’ve had times of intense paranoia,” he said, especially when he discovered that some trusted allies were actually spies.

“But first, it makes me laugh,” he said. “It’s just a big farce that the government’s created such paper tigers. Al Qaeda and real terrorists are hard to find. We’re easy to find. It’s outrageous that they would spend so much money surveilling civil activists, and anarchists in particular, and equating our actions with Al Qaeda.”

The investigation of political activists is an old story for the F.B.I., most infamously in the Cointel program, which scrutinized and sometimes harassed civil rights and antiwar advocates from the 1950s to the 1970s. Such activities were reined in after they were exposed by the Senate’s Church Committee, and F.B.I. surveillance has been governed by an evolving set of guidelines set by attorneys general since 1976.

But the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 demonstrated the lethal danger of domestic terrorism, and after the Sept. 11 attacks, the F.B.I. vowed never again to overlook terrorists hiding in plain sight. The Qaeda sleeper cells many Americans feared, though, turned out to be rare or nonexistent.

The result, said Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent now at the American Civil Liberties Union, has been a zeal to investigate political activists who pose no realistic threat of terrorism.

“You have a bunch of guys and women all over the country sent out to find terrorism. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of terrorism in many communities,” Mr. German said. “So they end up pursuing people who are critical of the government.”

Complaints from the A.C.L.U. prompted the Justice Department’s inspector general to assess the F.B.I.’s forays into domestic surveillance. The resulting report last September absolved the bureau of investigating dissenters based purely on their expression of political views. But the inspector general also found skimpy justification for some investigations, uncertainty about whether any federal crime was even plausible in others and a mislabeling of nonviolent civil disobedience as “terrorism.”

Asked about the surveillance of Mr. Crow, an F.B.I. spokesman, Paul E. Bresson, said it would be “inappropriate” to discuss an individual case. But he said that investigations are conducted only after the bureau receives information about possible crimes.

“We do not open investigations based on individuals who exercise the rights afforded to them under the First Amendment,” Mr. Bresson said. “In fact, the Department of Justice and the bureau’s own guidelines for conducting domestic operations strictly forbid such actions.”

It is not hard to understand why Mr. Crow attracted the bureau’s attention. He has deliberately confronted skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members at their gatherings, relishing the resulting scuffles. He claims to have forced corporate executives to move with noisy nighttime protests.

He says he took particular pleasure in a 2003 demonstration for Greenpeace in which activists stormed the headquarters of ExxonMobil in Irving, Tex., to protest its environmental record. Dressed in tiger outfits, protesters carried banners to the roof of the company’s offices, while others wearing business suits arrived in chauffeured Jaguars, forcing frustrated police officers to sort real executives from faux ones.

“It was super fun,” said Mr. Crow, one of the suits, who escaped while 36 other protesters were arrested. “They had ignored us and ignored us. But that one got their attention.”

It got the attention of the F.B.I. as well, evidently, leading to the three-year investigation that focused specifically on Mr. Crow. The surveillance documents show that he also turned up in several other investigations of activism in Texas and beyond, from 2001 to at least 2008.

For an aficionado of civil disobedience, Mr. Crow comes across as more amiable than combative. He dropped out of college, toured with an electronic-rock band and ran a successful Dallas antiques business while dabbling in animal rights advocacy. In 2001, captivated by the philosophy of anarchism, he sold his share of the business and decided to become a full-time activist.

Since then, he has led a half-dozen groups and run an annual training camp for protesters. (The camps invariably attracted police infiltrators who were often not hard to spot. “We had a rule,” he said. “If you were burly, you didn’t belong.”) He also helped to found Common Ground Relief, a network of nonprofit organizations created in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Anarchism was the catchword for an international terrorist movement at the turn of the 20th century. But Mr. Crow, whose e-mail address contains the phrase “quixotic dreaming,” describes anarchism as a kind of locally oriented self-help movement, a variety of “social libertarianism.”

“I don’t like the state,” he said. “I don’t want to overthrow it, but I want to create alternatives to it.”

This kind of talk appears to have baffled some of the agents assigned to watch him, whose reports to F.B.I. bosses occasionally seem petulant. One agent calls “nonviolent direct action,” a phrase in activists’ materials, “an oxymoron.” Another agent comments, oddly, on Mr. Crow and his wife, Ann Harkness, who have been together for 24 years, writing that “outwardly they did not appear to look right for each other.” At a training session, “most attendees dressed like hippies.”

Such comments stand out amid detailed accounts of the banal: mail in the recycling bin included “a number of catalogs from retail outlets such as Neiman Marcus, Ann Taylor and Pottery Barn.”

Mr. Crow said he hoped the airing of such F.B.I. busywork might deter further efforts to keep watch over him. The last documents he has seen mentioning him date from 2008. But the Freedom of Information Act exempts from disclosure any investigations that are still open.

“I still occasionally see people sitting in cars across the street,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve given up.”