I think I mentioned a while ago that I was starting the day by calling up an AppleTV app that had hundreds of paintings from various museums. If I didn’t mention this, I can’t imagine how I missed sharing such a vital and necessary detail with the world, but we are here to correct it now.

So I start the day by (etc) and it’s a reminder that not everything that hangs on a museum wall is good, and B) the quantity of paintings is remarkable. For every one that hangs on a wall, there are . . . what, a hundred in the basement?

This Hans Bols came up the other day. St. John having a vision at Patmos, which may or may not have been the basis for Revelations, because he may or may not have been the author. I suspect the phrase "records from the era are spotty at best." Anyway:

Link to 6K pixel copy.

Museum description:

This blue landscape provides the backdrop for a Bible story from the Book of Revelation: the vision of John, in which he sees Mary and her child appear in heaven. But here it is the imaginary landscape that dominates with its turbulent sea, fairy-tale mountains and bustling harbour. And an endless sense of depth.

This painting is one of the earliest large-format landscapes. The Flemish painter Hans Bol painted this imaginary landscape using watercolour on linen. Paintings like this are particularly fragile, and few have withstood the ravages of time.

You wonder how many we lost, how many are yet undiscovered. Would someone see this in an old farmhouse somewhere, buried because either the Germans were coming, or the Russians were coming, and think: it’s a lost masterpiece?

I would, because I was an art history minor! Kidding. But here’s the thing I want to point out. The museum description says John is seeing Mary and her Child in heaven. Never mind that he’s not looking at them. It’s this:

Some multi-headed hellbeast from Revelations taking a tumble. It seems odd that the museum page didn't expplain that.

As for Mary and her child, is that single darker dot intended to represent the baby?

The more I look at it, though, the more interesting it becomes. Not because it's a single striking composition, but because it has so much going on. As usual for the era and genre, there are contemporary fishermen in a modern town going about their work while the dude is tripping on an improbably island. And the sky is almost Turneresque.

Speaking of Turner, I have to confess to doing something to these paintings, just out of curiousity: automatic color correction. They're old. Things yelllow. What would Photoshop do to it?

Which strikes you as more plausible?













I think I just watched the most innovative piece of TV I’ve seen in a long time. And it was a radio play.

It’s “Calls,” and since it’s on AppleTV, it will not be widely seen, to put it mildly. It looks like this.

It’s a series of overlapping phone calls. The characters and their situations are immediately established and clear. Girlfriend calls Boyfriend on other side of the country; Boyfriend has a new Girlfriend. Old Girlfriend hears someone outside the house. Ten minutes later, the world is ending. For everyone.

You can listen to it and understand it all, which is why it’s a good radio play. But since this is TV, the conversations appear as words as they are spoken; the words on the screen fritz and fuzz; the symbolic representation of the conversation, which began as an audio wave, gets more impressionistic. It was 12 minutes long, and riveting. Hair-standing-up / gooseflesh.

It was better than the previous night’s entertainment, which consisted of John Goodman wearing a Russell Crowe skin-suit driving a big pickup for two hours, being angry. UPDATE: it was actually Russell Crowe; he has been supersized. GOOGLING: ah, there are friends who are worried that he is overeating. Ah, there is pushback from people who tsk-tsk about a gawker culture policing his weight. Okay, but this is Orson-Welles-tier heft.

Which raises the question: were there stories about Welles’ transition? Did it not seem as if he went away for a while, then came back FAT?



It’s 1936. These are newspaper ads from the LA Times, the best examplar of the golden age of newspaper design.

“Who should we get for the radio show? Someone that really exploits the essential auditory nature of the medium.”

“I’m thinking, a dancer

Why yes, I do have it. And so can you.


The Depression was not uniform in its length, severity, mpact. There were still people who could buy these things.

There always are.

The Palomar in Hollywood had three more years to go before it would be lost to fire.

Everyone loved Phil. How could you not?

His first name, by the way, was Wonga. I’m still amazed they never made reference to that on the radio shows.

All your emotions - well, the basic ones - are pulsating:

Quite the show.

(Poulsen) was invited by the California Festival Association in 1936 to stage an outdoor production of the medieval pageant, Everyman, at the Hollywood Bowl. Legendary film producer Irving Thalberg arranged for the play's backing through the support of Dr. A.H. Giannini of the Bank of America, with the proviso that a large portion of the production's profits would benefit Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany. Thalberg hosted a lavish dinner for Dr. Poulsen the week before its premiere, attended by MGM chairman, Louis B. Mayer, among other Hollywood elite, and the production itself - an expensively-mounted spectacular of the 15th century morality play - opened to a star-studded premiere with 12,000 people in the audience.

Gummint stage shows, believe it or not. It put actors and stagehands back to work, opened theaters.


Although The Federal Theatre project consumed only 0.5% of the allocated budget from the WPA and was widely considered a commercial and critical success, the project became a source of heated political contention. The House Un-American Activities Committee claimed the content of the FTP's productions were supporting racial integration between black and white Americans while also perpetuating an anti-capitalist communist agenda and cancelled funding for the project on June 30, 1939.

That was back in the Dies-Committee days, which would later distinguish itself by writing the infamous "Yellow Report" in favor of Japanese internment.

In 1946, the committee considered opening investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, but decided against doing so, prompting white supremacist committee member John E. Rankin (D-Miss.) to remark, "After all, the KKK is an old American institution."

Real piece of work, that guy.


“Chicago is only an overnight trip.”

I mean, it sounds like a long time now - and I suppose it was - but compared to rattling along for days and nights on a train, it was a miracle of the modern world. Still is.

Damn those small-minded, unimaginative people who said it could not be done, and thwarted mayo advances for God knows how many years.

“John Mack Mayo” comes back from google with lots of doctors.

That will do today, I hope. Thank you for your continued indulgence.






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