Monday, August 29, 2011

I Won a MacBook Pro!

Uh, not really, but I did receive the following email from the "CEO" of Craigslist, Jim Carre:

Attention Recovered Wingback Chair,

My name is Jim, Chief executive officer of Craigslist. We have recently partnered up with The apple company regarding a one-time promotional event today, we are giving away complimentary MacBook Pro to randomly selected people who have submitted an advert that use Cl. You've been selected as one of our most recent winners for today. We randomly choose numbers to match up with ads on C-list and your advertisement matched with our latest drawing.

We have now joined up with Apple to market their most popular product yet, the Apple MacBook Pro. Once again, we have been operating this promotion for one-day only. All you need to do is CLICK HERE to check out our website created for this promotion and type in your email to get yours for free. Just be sure to enter your email so we may locate our records to ensure that we have reserved one for you. That is it!

Congrats on winning a free Apple MacBook Pro (valued at $2,499.00). In case you've got any query or considerations, feel free to email me back. However, you need to claim your free MacBook Pro first to make certain one will be set-aside for you prior to the deadline ends. We do understand that you may not receive this e-mail until after the deadline, however, we suggest you check out the website and enter your email to see if we still have got yours on hold, which we often-times do because others haven't claimed theirs in time.


CEO, Craigslist

Well, this email had me going for about a second. I must be getting sloppy in spotting these scams. When I moused over the "CLICK HERE", I could see the link's address in the bottom of my browser window, and for a minute it looked like the official apple website. But it was not Also, a quick google search reveals that the actual CEO of Craigslist is Jim Buckmaster and not Jim Carre, as it said in the from portion of the email. And of course I found it very strange that the CEO of Craigslist would use a hotmail account. The email was from Nice try asshole! Obviously this is just another phishing scam. You can read more about it here:

It always surprises me how stupid these scammers must think people are. A little research by this guy on the actual name of the CEO of Craigslist, and a more legitimate sounding email address might have made the difference here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Used To Be Like You...

When you're young people look at you and think how wonderful your future will be. Maybe you'll be a doctor or a lawyer. Or maybe all you'll ever be is a hobo with a shotgun! With today's wintry economic climate the later is becoming increasingly more probable.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Those Grizzlies

I finally saw Werner Herzog's excellent film, "Stroszek", the other night. It had been on my list for a long time, especially since I heard that Roger Ebert said it was "possibly the best movie ever made". It was very good, but not "best ever" good. The scene below got me a little nostalgic for that old park they used to have here in Florida when I was a kid. They had to shut it down in 1980 after all those kids got mauled. You know the one. The one that had those grizzlies...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ay Kay Fowty Sem!

I live in a manufactured home community (trailer park), and I see a lot of tacky garden statuary. I think I've finally found the lawn ornament I need outside my place. Check out this machine gun welding gnome I saw on Etsy:

And then to be completely obnoxious, once I've filled my front yard with all this menacing kitsch, I can blast this song all day long:


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Commissar Vanishes

Okay, here's another book review that's vaguely art-related. It's for David King's The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia. This picture book tells the history of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union with a chronological collection of doctored photos and artwork. These are photos the author collected himself, many of which were never published before. We get to see the original photos alongside the photos that are were manipulated according to Stalin's wishes, either to put the dictator in a better light, or to remove a person or groups of people who fell out of favor with him and suddenly "disappeared".

This is way before Photoshop and the photo doctoring is all done with scalpel and airbrush, usually very poorly. The resulting images are both chilling and sadly humorous. In the photos below Stalin stands with three other party members celebrating the destruction of Zinoviev's anti-Stalinist opposition, then with two members, then just one, and finally the "Red Tsar" is alone in an obsequious portrait painted from the original photograph.

Below is another example. Now you see him. Now you don't. Watch NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov disappear.

And Stalin didn't like this humble worker, who is helpfully pointing the way for the "Boss", in the same photo with him, so he had the poor fellow airbrushed out in the official published version.

There was also something called "Personal Responsibility", which meant that not only could Soviet citizens not be caught mentioning the names of people who had suddenly "disappeared", but they could not keep books or publications of any kind with photos of "enemies" of Stalin's regime. Citizens had to black out offending photos and names themselves on any piece of property they had. Below a dutiful citizen has violently removed Trotsky's face. Stalin tried to have the revolutionary's name and image removed from history. So many photos and paintings of Trotsky were destroyed or unpublished that the author of "The Commissar Vanishes" dedicated a whole new book, which is again filled with images that David King personally collected, called "Trotsky: A Photographic Biography" to the maligned leader of the October Revolution.

Below is one of the saddest images from the book. A propaganda photo of Stalin with a six year old girl, who is cheerfully presenting the dictator with a bouquet of flowers. The photo became an icon. Stalin later had the girl's father and mother murdered. In the original photo there was also a smiling man present at the ceremony in the background. He was airbrushed out after Stalin had him murdered.

Also in the book are many examples of Soviet Social Realism meant to glorify Stalin or distort history. Stalin is painted taking part in key moments of the October Revolution he did not actually take part in and among the common folk, whom he despised being around. Here we see a painting of Lenin being cheered as he rolls into Petrograd on April 16, 1917. Even though he left no trace and was never remembered being a part of the historic event, Stalin can be seen in the doorway behind him.

My favorite painting from the book is below. Why not let "Uncle Joe" and First Deputy Premier Molotov take the kids out for a stroll in the countryside? Lol.

"The Commissar Vanishes" is an incredible collection of images that illustrate better than any text could the surreal horror of one psychopathic leader's complete control of a nation and its people. To bad Stalin didn't have Photoshop. Distorting history nowadays is a lot easier. Alles klar herr kommissar...