Showing posts with label hippies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hippies. Show all posts

Saturday, April 08, 2017


Every art school used to have a huge collection of white plaster casts. Some still do. White allowed the student to see shadows more clearly and shadows are a lot of what pulls a composition together and suggests drama.

I'm writing this to suggest that we expand that collection a little bit to include a few colored mannequin heads. Mannequins don't have the same educational value as classical busts but the best ones are nice and cartoony and are often a good way to drive home a few basic lessons about what to emphasize on a face.  What are those lessons? Read on.

Most of the old flapper-era female mannequins favored clear, sharp, Catherine Hepburn-type chins.

Real women on the other hand, often had weak chins, and would probably have preferred to emphasize their eyes. That wasn't so easy to do. According to an article I read the older kinds of eye makeup had problems with dry spatter and required constant touch ups. More about eyes later. 

Back to sharp chins. They show to best advantage when the head is tilted back. That reinforces the haughty, aristocratic image that fashion likes to convey.

 Somewhere along the line a long, vertical mannequin faces were introduced. I think of it as a modified Asiatic look but you can find African masks that look a bit like that.

 The sharp chin never went out of style, though. It got new life when it was combined with the forward-thrusting muzzle. Here the whole bottom half of the face is pushed out. It's a very cartoony look.

For a while bulbous foreheads were in. How that started I can't even guess.

The big game changer was the invention of non-spatter eye make-up.  That changed everything. It allowed for an emphasis on the eyes rather than the chin and that led the mannequin makers to tilt the head down.

Thin faces give greater eye emphasis so the wall-eyed, wide-angle, thin look took over.

Mens mannequins were less influenced by beauty products. About the only major face product change in my lifetime was the use of shampoo to replace bar soap in the washing of mens' hair. Shampoo made straight hair possible and wavy hair models disappeared. Chin emphasis persisted, though.

We men also liked the ultra-manly J. C. Leyendecker look. Later came the Arnold Schwarzenegger look.

The Arnold look receded and the nice guy next door look (above) took over. That was followed by the Urban Hipster look, which is what we have now.

I'll end with the observation that the hippies were never represented in the mannequin world. They had disdain for fashion and the fashion world retaliated by snubbing them. Fascinating, eh?

Monday, March 20, 2017


Here's how it happened. 

My wife and I were talking about the new house we're hoping to get and I mentioned a type of screen we could get for the back porch.  She said something like, "Oh, not that kind. Our bees'll get stuck in it." 

Huh? Our bees? 

I laughed and said, "Haw! you're gonna die when you hear this. I thought you, this is rich...Haw! I thought you it comes...I thought you said...'BEES'. Haw haw, haw!"

She replied dryly: "Yeah. That's what I said...bees. I've wanted to be a beekeeper ever since I was a little kid."

(Groan!) A long discussion ensued during which I was reminded of favors that I owed.  The upshot want to see a picture of me a year from now? That's me (above), and all the hapless guests who ignore the warnings and venture out into our backyard. 

I forgot to say that my wife wants a goat, too. 

We might have to let the goat live inside the house.

How can I kick the poor creature into the backyard when all that carnage is taking place out there?

Have you ever seen a corpse stripped by bees? Well...I haven't either...but it must be terrible.

I don't think any amount of coaxing will convince the pets to leave the house.

Would you if you knew the yard was full of bees?

I don't know what the neighbors will think. If we're lucky we'll have hippie neighbors. Bees don't sting hippies. That's why God created there'll be somebody to love the world's bees.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Every generation needs a new story, a new narrative, a new sense of history. That's what  gives the new guys the confidence to go out into the world and challenge the old bulls. I've witnessed several new stories in my lifetime and all of them are nothing less than fascinating. I thought it might be fun to tell some of them here. I'll start with the story my Dad's generation, i.e. the 40s - 50s generation, made for themselves.

My Dad's generation developed the story that my Granddad's generation were nice people but they were also stupid and uneducated farmers who were intellectually unfit for the modern world. If you saw the movie "The Caine Mutiny" you got a taste of that. 50s man believed he was suave and sophisticated and adaptable in a way that no previous generation was.

My generation, I'm embarrassed to say, was the Hippie Generation. For them the previous lot was racist, sexist, jingoistic, constipated, and emotionally disturbed. We, on the other hand, We perceived ourselves as....Ahem!....svelte, gentle, artistic, intuitive, idealistic, and (unfortunately) too hip for manual labor.

My generation was replaced by the Punks who thought that we hippies lacked manliness and were pampered and worthless. Their story cast them as refreshingly authentic and righteously angry that they were stuck in lower class Hell. A typical Punk dinner might be hot dogs with a side order of Cheese Puffs washed down with diet soda or bourbon.

Coinciding with the punks were the Yuppies who re-invented the mainstream. They had disdain for the excesses of the Hippies and Punks though they secretly envied their purity. Yuppies had a story that cast them as futuristic warriors like Luke Skywalker. They would end poverty and bring about universal peace by being Fabian Socialists working within the system and yes, making a buck or two.

The Punks and Yuppies were replaced with a grunge movement that tried to unite the two warring camps but failed. They morphed into the Emos and Hipsters, which is sort of what's around now, but is slowly winding down. Emos combine Anime, Punk, and gay culture influences. Their story is that they're the most aesthetic generation ever, and the most imaginative. I doubt that, but who am I to question?

Last but not least, comes the very latest wave...the Computer Geeks. They might look like Grungers or Hipsters or Yuppies but what they have in common is their total dedication to the computer. They have disdain for Gen X'ers who were merely part-time computer users who got side-tracked into diversions like video games.

Geeks believe that Gen X'ers never understood the mystery, the power, the cult of the computer. The Geeks story is that they are first true human beings. They are the old- world destroying infant that appears at the end of the movie, "2001." They're mad because the rest of us are still are still drawing breath. They believe that new computer programs should be as hard to use as possible because that will cull out the inferiors from the true humans.

Me, I'm a product of most of the movements that occurred in my lifetime. Maybe most people are. I'm both an anti-communist Cold Warrior, and a mellow hippie. I have a taste for the Punk, in-your-face shock ethos, and I like a good suit and a fresh salad just like the Yuppies. I like my video games and I like my computer. I'm not aware that I have any Emo influences, so maybe that's the exception. I have additional bookish influences too, but that's a subject for another blog.

Fascinating, huh?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I believe a lot of what cosmology serves up, even when it's bizarre and counter intuitive, but I might have reached my limit with the latest theories.

The new idea is that our reality is just a holographic projection of the true reality, and that true reality is located on the flat, two-dimensional, inner wall of a black hole somewhere. According to this theory I'm not really typing this blog on a planet called Earth, I'm just a holographic projection of something something that's happening very far away under the Event Horizon of a black hole.

Does that sound plausible to you? Not to me; I just don't believe it. Being a science fiction fan I almost hope it's true, but....naaaaaaw.... it's just too weird. Really, will anyone will believe this thirty years from now?

That's not the only idea I have trouble with. How about "M" theory, also fast becoming a mainstream idea, which says that the universe is layed out on an undulating flat sheet called a membrane? According to M theory our brane is separated from the flat brane of another universe by a thin fourth dimensional space. Some time around fourteen billion years ago our brain somehow touched the brane next to ours and The Big Bang resulted.

Nope, I don't believe that either. I'll follow the idea with interest, and I sort of want the theory to be true, but...once's just too weird. If the universe is flat, how come it doesn't appear that way? Shouldn't theory conform to observation?

BTW: Roberto said that YouTube has just taken this video (above) down. Here's a more technical video on the same subject that might be of interest:

Apparently all these strange ideas spin off from the attempt to apply String Theory to cosmology. String Theory requires the existence of eleven dimensions and the existence of infinite numbers of universes. It's not regarded as proven but it's the operating assumption of a whole generation of cosmologists. But what if they're wrong?

The infinite universes concept is not without challenge. Skeptics like Michio Kaku claim that any equation that delivers an absurd answer like "an infinity of infinities" must be wrong. Count me with the skeptics. We don't even know the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which are held to account for most of what exists....maybe a theory of everything is premature.

I should mention another theory that's being bandied about lately...the theory that we're a simulation, a sort of video game on someone else's computer. This, I'm happy to say, isn't embraced by mainstream physicists, but it is being researched by a team in Germany. They figure that any simulation must occur on a grid of some sort, and that grid should be detectable. As a science fiction fan I love the idea, but....really.

All this reminds me of a book I just found out about called "How the Hippies Saved Physics." I could see a book about how they tried to wreck physics (computers excluded), but save it???? Did I really read "SAVE?" Astral projecting, pyramids-that-sharpen-razor-blades, California's going to physically detach from the continent in our time, gurus that levitate, past lives in Atlantis, the only good technology is the batteries in electric wheelchairs, anti-business hippies...THEY saved physics????  This I've gotta see! I'll see if the library has it.