Thursday, December 29, 2005

Evolution wins in court. Judge John Jones (say that three times fast), has "concluded that intelligent design is not science". This from a conservative judge appointed by Bush. You get the feeling that despite how many 'conservative' judges are appointed to federal positions, they typically follow the logic and reasoning of law and the intent of the Constitution rather than their own religious or spiritual leanings or the dogma of the politicians who appointed them. While it may appear that some recent court decisions have been framed by "Liberal" ideals, I think the opposite is true. Instead of proving Liberal ideas to be legally sound, it more often reveals "Conservative" ideals to be in contrast to the original intent of the American legal system. Okay, I'm out of my league here, but it's fun to sling the hash occasionally.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's official. Dick Cheney is an incorrigible bastard. Well known as an asshole and a miscreant, the vice President actually flew out of his way to add "bastard" to his growing list of derisive monikers. His latest tie-breaking Senate vote would reduce medical care for the elderly, increase fees on student loans, crush hopes and dash dreams. Since General Pinochet was removed from power, Cheney remains the main purveyor of evil in the Americas. This is a reputation the Vice President is apparently trying hard to change using increasingly mischevious tactics. As part of 'Scooter' Libby's testimony, it became known that Cheney had made plans to procure and shred the Naughty/Nice List of one Father Christmas. The shredding plan was halted by Cheney himself however, when upon learning that his Naughty designation would earn him a lump of coal, which was in fact, exactly his desired Christmas wish. Rumors in the marketplace have now been swirling that Cheney's office have been purchasing Naughty designations of every senator and congressman in Washington, with the goal of building a 'large lump of coal reserve'. It is believed by energy analysts that such of cache of 'lumps of coal' could offset America's short term energy crunch and possibly reduce dependency on foreign oil. The Vice President nor his office could be reached for comment.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm not sure how I overlooked this great site created for the 2003 (or was it 2004?) AIGA biennial conference. The Vancouver Cultural Guide covers shops, nightlife, restaurants, attractions, and outdoor activities, in an interactive grid and contextual map. It also includes useful print and SMS features which allow you to take information with you, either on a printed page or on your mobile phone. Huzzah! I'm surprised the City of Vancouver hasn't taken this over for its own means. Any city could benefit from such a smart, concise and cleverly designed guide.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ollie Johnston, the famed Disney animator and one the original '9 Old Men' is finally receiving a National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts. What took so long? I can only imagine those responsible for such decisions are either so young they've never heard of Johnston or even hand-drawn animation, or they are so old, that they had long since forgotten about Johnston. Either way, it's long overdue and well deserved.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The current Douglas Coupland exhibition at the CCA in Montréal, Super City, which consists of building block sets such as Lego™ and Tinker Toy™, is a conundrum. It is far too designed to be art, yet far too artful to be design. Coupland is certainly prolific, and even if other people manufacture his installations, his skill as a project manager alone should put many designers to shame. A critically acclaimed author, artist, designer and now playwright, he makes a fantastically large target for criticism from any of the four separate disciplines he inhabits. His industry has at least given hope that if you work hard, are polite, thoughtful, articulate and playful you can accomplish an awful lot. Perhaps it is that so much of his work hits a personal nostalgic vein that endears him to some and repels others. Is that level of nostalgia healthy for an artist? Though some may shrug off his visual and written work as more pop than art, there is a comfort and accessibility to it that would be hard to deny. Through it all, he may unwittingly be Canada's most successful designer. On a personal note, I find it hard not to be jealous of the guy. I want to doodle and scribble and make stuff and be interviewed about it too. The connecting thread here is Coupland's ability and talent as a designer and author, which is not a common combination. Imagine if Bruce Mau could write like Coupland how much better any Mau-ist tome might be. Super City, Douglas Coupland is on at the CCA until November 20, 2005 (or save yourself the trip and see a clip of the exibit here - Quicktime required).

Friday, September 30, 2005

I'm taking a few days off to see the sites and sounds of Canada's most hip city - Montreal (with apologies to Vancouver and Yellowknife).

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Eva Zeisel is set to receive the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Cooper-Hewitt in October. Zeisel will be 99 in November, raising the question, why didn't she receive such an award 20 years ago? Better late than never I suppose. Yet, what designer did more to move Modernism beyond its unadorned utilitarian interpretations? Her designs show an exploration of organic, fluid, natural forms well before any software modeling was possible or imaginable. Zeisel's continued creative output should also give hope to any designer who might fear the onset of age means diminished ability.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's finally happened. The years of joking have given way to a real live product. Spray-on Mud is an easy to use, can of mud to spray on your SUV - when the "U" stands for Urban and the worst dirt you're likely to get on your 4X4 is a spilled latté or perhaps a heavy tree pollination. What could be next? Vitamin infused toilet paper? Street heroin, laced with influenza innoculations? I don't why those two came to mind. The idea of the gas guzzling 4X4 seems to be reaching its zenith as even the U.S. military are tiring of having to invade oil rich countries to top up their Hummers. As the military experiment with hybrid hummers that get 55mpg (as opposed to 11) you can envision the elite of North America, driving to the farmer's market in their eco-minded hybrid truck, covered with freshly sprayed canned mud. That's it, the funeral parade of the all American Male.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It's commonly accepted in North America that Japanese cities suffer from real estate shortages. What isn't so commonly known are the innovative housing solutions that come from such scenarios. The Muji Infill House is a nice example of what you can achieve in a small footprint. Or perhaps it's a terrible example but the photos of the hide-the-clutter-doors appeal to my never attained zen image of a beautiful home. Now if we can just convince Toronto City officials that infill housing is in the city's interest, maybe we can finally have an alternative to high-rise condos and the over-densification of already stressed downtown neighbourhoods.