With Apologies To Valued Commenter Raven…This Is Funny

And yet more thread.

To start: do not bring a bulldog to a roundup:


Texas is up pretty convincingly as I write this, but in Raven’s honor I’m rooting for Georgia, and there’s lots of time.

In other ways to enjoy the first day of a better year (saying it often enough helps make it so!) — another video I love to show my documentry class:


One of the early assignments is to take a bunch of historical newsreel footage of New York and cut it to some contemporary song — I have some cuts, and the students can use those or pick a favorite tune of their own.  That exercise is all about cutting to and with picture, beginning to think in visual narrative, and getting the start of a feel for the role of rhythm in conveying meaning and feeling.

This video helps get some of those asks across — and it repeats the theme of the Umbrella Man video: technical skills are great, and expand one’s palette.  But it’s possible to achieve a great deal with simple craft, as long as you know what you’re trying to say, and take great pains to make the straightforward shots and cuts you know how to make as precise as possible.  As, I think, this video does.

And because I love pictures, here’s an old favorite to help the year begin on the right note:

I say hello to the fighting Temaraire, here on her last journey, just about every time I return to London (and will again later this month).  Turner is one of those artists who needs to be seen in person.  Reproduction gets close to what he did with light; it cannot capture the texture and play of his paint.  Anyone on or travelling to the east coast…if you come to Boston, his “The Slave Ship” at the Museum of Fine Arts is a pilgrimage destination.  Truly, if you’re in town, you owe it to yourself to see this astounding work.  And if you’re in range of New Haven, Yale’s Center for British Art is a must-visit.  It’s got a ton of remarkable art, and as good an introduction to the singular visions of Turner as I’ve seen outside of London.  (If you do make it to London, then the Tate Britain gallery, a recent find of mine (I’m slow) has a wealth of Turners. The National Gallery has the headliners, the ones that make the art books — but Tate B. has enough examples to see how his eye and sensibility matured.)

As you might have guessed, I’m a Turner fanboi. Not apologizing.

Open thread!

64 replies
  1. 1
    Shana says:

    I love Turner too although I don’t know his work as well as I’d like to. I always think of the scene in Skyfall with Bond and Q where Q talks about this painting.

  2. 2
    Ben Cisco says:

    Watching TX – GA. Not sure what’s up with the Dawgs, but hopefully they’ll get turned round in the second half.

    In other news, I got a call I’d been hoping for. Hope lives on…

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Shana: Yes! That was a lovely scene, to which you just sent me to re-enjoy.

    That’s the room — Temaraire next to the awesome “Rain, Steam and Speed” — complete with bunny racing like hell in what always appears to me to be a soon-to-fail attempt to outrun the train. On the opposite wall, just towards the Trafalgar Square end of the room hangs another of my favorites, Stubbs’ Whistlejacket. My grandfather kept and rode steeplechasers, and I think of him everytime I look at that great Arabian.

  4. 4
    Aleta says:

    “Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamboats of Shoal Water” is a wild one.

    It’s at Clark Art Institute in Williamstown (in a larger exhibit til March 10).

  5. 5
    zhena gogolia says:

    Rmoney is sticking the shiv into POTUS in the WaPo, although he approves of his judicial appointments:

    To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.

  6. 6
    zhena gogolia says:

    I’ve spent hours in the Turner room at Yale.

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Aleta: Indeed!

  8. 8
    Ben Cisco says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    although he approves of his judicial appointments:

    Which is why it’s just posturing. Positioning himself as the reasonable alternative. NO SALE.

  9. 9
    James E Powell says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    New Year’s Day Prediction: Trump does not run for re-election. Romney & Kasich got at it in the primaries, but neither wins the nomination.

  10. 10
    Tom Levenson says:

    @James E Powell: Who does? Pence?

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Kid Rock.

  12. 12
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Those are all pretty words but are meaningless given his willingness to vote for Trump’s judicial appointments, as you note. None of these so-called Never Trumpers ever do anything substantive to oppose Trump.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: No he’s not. He’s posturing. Just like Collins, Corker, Flake, Sasse, etc, etc, etc. He will vote with the President over 90% of the time. He will vote with McConnell almost 100% of the time. What he’s doing is working the refs, specifically the politics reporters, so that he can get good coverage for doing terrible things.

  14. 14
    James E Powell says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    It’s hard to say, but the Republican base is not going to support anyone who was not a Trump supporter. I would doubt Pence because he doesn’t have the charisma.

  15. 15
    ThresherK says:

    Ugh. A Wilmerite I know was saying something about Swiss banks and “the revolution-it’s starting-on th e inside” with way too much excitement.

    Is there something going on with that? This was Sunday. Damned if I’ll let him try to explain something thru his twisted prism.

  16. 16
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Adam L Silverman: All true. But what could be a source of some wry amusement is that Trump won’t notice the votes, but he’ll remember to the last flicker of demented awareness Romney’s holier-than-him rebuke..and react accordingly.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tom Levenson: Of course.

  18. 18
    debbie says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    A nice way to start the new year!

  19. 19
    Ruckus says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Mittens approves of everything individual 1 does, just not how he does it so badly. Mittens isn’t any better than individual 1, other than he actually realizes there are other people in the world. He doesn’t care if they die, he just knows they exist. On the ladder of life that’s about a quarter of a rung. Which is still about a 1000 rungs below a human you might meet on the street and not feel like you just met a massive criminal asshole. But only because you crossed the street before passing.

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I look forward to working on these priorities with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other senators.
    Furthermore, I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.

    ‘Don’t worry, Mitch, I’m not gonna rock your boat, old top’
    I’d be thrilled to be proved wrong, but I don’t think Willard’s gonna do shit.

  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    I love Turner😍

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    You nailed Willard😒

  23. 23
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: There are few humans in the entire history of hominids who have more self-regard than Mitt.

    With less justification, I might add. His picture is in the dictionary next to “A legend in his own mind.”

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Mitt’s so botoxed that if he tries to furrow his brow he’ll crack his face.

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    but I don’t think Willard’s gonna do shit.

    Of course he won’t.

  26. 26
    Ohio Mom says:

    @James E Powell: Maybe because I’ve been traumatized by having Kasich elected governor to my state twice, I can really see him having a good chance at the White House.

    People fall for his moderate act. All those suburban moms I live amid, who didn’t vote for Trump and are horrified by him, think Kasich is what Republicans were meant to be. They will come out to vote for him.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Tom Levenson: I see people speculating that he’s gearing up for either a primary challenge or that trump won’t be a candidate. I’ve been assuming he’s toadying to trump to keep the Romney name from becoming accursed to the mouth-breathers, but Udall’s old line about the only cure for presidential ambition must be doubly true if you buy into the White Horse/Mormon Kennedy stuff.

  28. 28
    JaB says:

    Turner- saw his watercolors of the burning of Parliament- you could feel the heat coming off the paper…one of those times when art can put you in another world.

  29. 29
    Amir Khalid says:

    I am wondeing when Mitch McConnell will announce, “No legislation that passes the Democrat House will be voted on in the Senate.” Or has he said that already?

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    Lived in OH for a decade, never understood the politics.
    What are people looking for, a sad story, a friendly face, someone with the BS generator at 100%, a name they remember and can’t remember they heard it from someone reading the posters at the post office with the front and side profiles and numbered name tags?

  31. 31
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    They certainly came out to vote for DeWine. I remember DeWine made pro-Trump noises for the primary then moderated for the general. He’s the same asshole who refused to prosecute Cafaro for the Oak Hill Renaissance scandal.

  32. 32
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He’s absolutely going to vote with MacTurtle and he’s clearly working the refs early and hard.

    @Tom Levenson: No one should apologize for being fans of either Turner or Stubbs. The Taft Museum in Cincinnati has 12 Turners.

  33. 33
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Southern Ohio borders Kentucky. Nuff said

  34. 34
    Ben Cisco says:

    @debbie: Indeed it is. To say I’m relieved would be a massive understatement.

  35. 35
    The Dangerman says:

    @James E Powell:

    New Year’s Day Prediction: Trump does not run for re-election.

    Assuming no outside influences (i.e., Muellermas), he definitely runs for re-election; as soon as he is Joe Private Citizen, his ass is indicted.

    Depending upon what the Markets do (it’s all fun and games, i.e., playing with matches is fun when it’s just pissing off the Liberals, until someone accidentally lights up the DOW), he might not be their nominee, but he’s running. He would make a crazy convention if he’s not gonna be the nominee.

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ohio Mom: I worry about Kasich running as an indy and creating a space for trump to win the EC again. If he runs against trump, the way Perot did to Bush and Nader did to Gore and Wilmer did to Hillary, he’d be doing the country a service. I don’t get the sense he’s that selfless.

    I think the most disingenuous thing I’ve heard from his is how expanding Medicaid is a good, non-partisan, commonsense solution. He’s implementing Obama’s policy, fercrissake.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ohio Mom: His moment, if there was one, for being the Republican nominee, let alone president, has passed. The Republican Party and its base have gone full revanchist and all in on white, christian herrenvolkism. At best Kasich can provide a final service to the Republic in running against the President for the Republican nomination, which will weaken the President and reduce his chances of being reelected. Think Senator Kennedy versus President Carter or Pat Buchanan versus President Bush (41).

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Romney won’t try to primary the President. Doing so would take courage. Romney has none.

  39. 39
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Meaning?

  40. 40
    Ohio Mom says:

    Well, I hope all of you are right about Kasich not having a chance. I’ll be glad to be wrong.

  41. 41
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: on a different note, check your calendar for January 14 or 15. Party in Blue Ash!

  42. 42
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    @Adam L Silverman:
    I agree with both of these but really I think that someone would speak to them, behind closed doors and warn them off. Don’t have any idea who that might be, it’s just a feeling. However and it’s a big however I think the republican party is so broken right now it’s hard to say what might happen in two weeks let alone in 18 months. Individual 1 has broken everything he’s touched and that has been the republican ideal for the last 50+ yrs so I’d bet that if he’s still alive and in office, which I’d bet yes, because that’s my luck these days, he’d be their despot. I do add that a lot of the republican front runners have the same amount of courage as mittens. If that unnamed strong arm tells one of them, he’ll tell all of them to sit down and shut up, just like last time. Because all of them can be bought and everyone of them is cheap, in all the ways that word is used.

  43. 43
    Mary G says:

    Romney’s a big fat liar same as Twitler, he just does it at a lower volume. I think that first debate with Obama that sent Sully into a Chicken Little panic was just President Obama being gobsmacked at how nakedly Mitt denied saying everything he had said during the primary in a “pivot” to the general all the punditry admired.

  44. 44
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: I think it’s the old “Cincinnati is the most northern southern city” thing, expanded.

    I have to admit, I don’t get my adopted state either. It wasn’t always quite this Red. Some of it is gerrymandering and the fact that the population skews older. We’re aging in place and losing young people to other states. But when I moved here, our senators were both Democrats: John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. I can’t imagine that happening again.

  45. 45
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:
    Isn’t Kentucky the same state that elects McConnell to the Senate every six years?

    Ohio Mom got my meaning.

  46. 46
    Mesmer says:

    Pro tip: an easy way to give your students a visceral understanding of the relationship between music and image is to have them do a very simple exercise. Step 1, turn on the TV with the sound off. Step 2, put on a piece of music that you are intimately familiar with. Step 3, start flicking the channels and see how the music’s emotional meaning is altered and heightened by random choices. A shoutout to Mr. Levenson and all the BJ crew from a long time lurker.

  47. 47
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    I think Ohio might no longer a swing state. How long will it take the national media to get that? The only upside I can imagine is less political ads during presidential election years.

  48. 48
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Let’s plan for Janurary 15 – my favorite bartender doesn’t work Mondays. .

    @Ohio Mom: I understand your point, but I rather resent having the commonwealth where i was the first member of my maternal family born in a hospital being slammed, red as it is. My father was 15 years older than my mother, and was born in the same hospital in Queens as Mr. Q. Urban/rural divide on display.

    The youth in Hamilton County are making a difference though – all 3 commissioners and a boatload of judges, Though Steve Martin is a reasonable R, and the rest of those a reasonable R judges are about to age off and only do VJ work. The younger ones are almost as rabid as Trianafilou. So I have (some small) hope locally. Some days.

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: It’s actually a Commonwealth and yes it’s very red. Your tone sounded a bit hostile, but I’m tired having worked longer than I’d planned last night and early today.

  49. 49
    Steeplejack says:

    This Twitter video on Bevo vs. Uga is great because of the (as usual) hilarious comments.

    “Good heads-up play by Uga here. Reads the blitz and moves away from pressure.”

    Bevo is not here for this mascot meeting. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/KXgaQzGm0W

    — Danny Davis (@aasdanny) January 2, 2019

  50. 50

    Mitt Romney strongly disapproves of how crass and obviously stupid Trump is pursuing the policies of bigotry and corporate greed that Mitt Romney has dedicated his life to. This is especially impressive given Romney’s less than stellar intellect.

    Mitt Romney disapproves of large portions of Trump’s foreign policy, such as being nice to Russia and not starting a war with Iran. Pretty sure he dislikes the trade war, especially with how rough it is on the stock market.

    Mitt Romney strongly disapproves that Trump is president, because Mitt Romney was supposed to be the Great White Hope, gosh drat it!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Romney primaries him. Romney absolutely is eying the presidency, and will continue to do so until he dies. Like Pence, he believes it was promised to him by God. Romney is not Pence or Trump stupid, however, and does recognize the existence of factors beyond ‘I want it, it’s mine, it was promised to me me me.’ I have no good sense of exactly when he does what.

  51. 51
    Another Scott says:

    @Ben Cisco: Yup.

    It’s been clear for a long time, though it just re-crystalized itself for me this afternoon, that these days the GOP doesn’t care who the president is as long as it’s not a Democrat. As long as they hold the Senate, and have a rubber-stamp in the Oval Office, they can ram through any judges they want, and thus control the laws and the national government. And by holding one house of the legislature, they can prevent Democrats from doing anything important.

    They’ve said as much many times, of course, but they really mean it.

    And by having the Executive, they can gut the government from the inside, punch down on the rest of us that they are supposed to be serving, while enriching themselves in the process. Also, too.

    They’ll Tut Tut and Wrinkle Their Brows and play to the people (“it’s so unfortunate that both sides…”) who don’t pay attention to politics until 45 minutes before they go to vote, but they won’t do anything to stop Donnie and his Minions. They don’t care. Donnie signs the things they care about and that’s all he has to do for them to control the rest of us and the direction of the country.


    tl;dr – Rmoney is bloviating. It doesn’t mean anything.


  52. 52
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Didn’t mean to come across as hostile. It’s was only a reference to how red Kentucky is.

  53. 53
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Simon Maloy @ SimonMaloy
    Mitt Romney energetically sought Trump’s endorsement at the height of the racist birther campaign and brushed off Trump’s racism because he needed the votes

    Mitt Romney can eat shit

    the Romney campaign also had trump record robocalls late in the 2012 campaign

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Dude, you’ve really got to cut back on the Zima.

  55. 55
    James E Powell says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    I don’t get my adopted state either. It wasn’t always quite this Red.

    Yes, how well I remember the ’82 election. Good times. But it’s been the same throughout the Great Lakes. Forty years of industrial decline, deeply rooted racism, increasing unfocused hostility toward anyone not like them, hostile ignorance, and resentful nostalgia. I live in Los Angeles now, but it’s Hang On Sloopy til I die, so I will always grieve for my beloved home state.

  56. 56
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I’ll bite. What did I say wrong?

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: I’m just teasing you.

    But I’d still give up the Zima if I was you.

  58. 58
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I still have three bottles of the stuff in the garage fridge. Eventually I’ll have to since it was a limited release.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    SectionH says:

    TL: I’m such a Turner fangrrl, albeit a lazy one. Haven’t seen nearly as many originals as I could have (although in my own defense, almost all of my trips to both Boston and London since the ’70s have been business with not a lot of time for cultcha… ) but damn, if Mr S & I could go to the Netherlands for the Van Gogh 100th celebration I should be able to get my act together and go back to London for Turner, esp. as we shouldn’t even need to buy special tickets, etc.

    I don’t know if I’ve said Thanks to you before, but in case not, I love that you include the art you do in your posts. Definitely for me, those are the links I’m most likely to click every time. Well, maybe except for a few posters’ pet pix. ;->

  61. 61
    oldster says:

    Tom, have you shown your class the WWII propaganda short where the Brits took Nazi footage and cut it to a popular music hall hit, the “Lambeth Walk”?

    It makes the fearsome goose-step looks laughable. Legend has it that Goebbels was furious.

  62. 62
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @oldster: GTFO of here! Brilliant! :D

    Re Turner: When I entered the Turner room at the Tate & approached the Temeraire, I was accosted by an elderly gentleman who informed me that Turner had got it all wrong – he had the Sun going down in the east (or rising in the west, or some such).

    By way of riposte I quoted him Richard Wilbur’s poem “Mind”:

    Mind in its purest play is like some bat
    That beats about in caverns all alone,
    Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
    Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

    It has no need to falter or explore;
    Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
    And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
    In perfect courses through the blackest air.

    And has this simile a like perfection?
    The mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save
    That in the very happiest intellection
    A graceful error may correct the cave.

    Shut his pedantic pie-hope up right nice.

  63. 63
    Hunter says:

    I’ve always loved Turner, and one of the highlights of my sole trip to London was seeing his work live, in person.

    But I have to admit that it was the Rothko “Seagrams Paintings” at the Tate that led to my companions having to drag me bodily from the gallery. Of course, the same thing happened with the Monets at the Tuilieries in Paris. That was really like being in his garden.

  64. 64
    Mo MacArbie says:

    My long-ago exercise in video over music was OJ’s Ride of the White Bronco. We put on Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere” and changed channels to the beat to vary the angle of the shot.

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