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Who Even Designs this Stuff!?

from Saturday, August9th of the year2008.

Sometimes I am just amazed at People. Sprint, which is a phone company I used to have a million years ago, has released the most Chinatown-ass, Parda-bag-ass, discount-looking fake iPhone I have ever seen. Feast your eyes on this monstrosity:

Yikes! Baby, what it DO!? If you are so compelled can click on this insane website, which is “” Instinct the Phone Dott Comm, following in the grand grammatical tradition of “Pizza the Hutt.” If you click there, you can watch a lot of bad movies and stuff, too. Work with me here for a minute: open up that picture of the phone in a new window and let’s go through this. What appalls me about something like this is the number of people who worked on this entire advertising campaign. At no point did anybody say, this looks like the most janky, broke-down, iPhone that ever there was. Some poor designer had to design that mushroom-head home button at the bottom: is that even stylized or is that just existing in a land outside of style? The “phone” icon on the bottom right looks like one of those clamps they try to sell you in the in-flight magazine so you don’t fall out the tub. Then, there are the angles of the icons in the navigation buttons. Beloved, I am Vertiginous! Why is “photo” in the singular? Look at the kerning on TV/Video. I’m not saying that I’m William Caslon up in here, but somebody “” at least one human being “” must have seen that. And that person must have said, yes! This is a good idea! Let us sell this to people, for cash money! This kind of stuff breaks my heart, though, because it is so hideous to behold, and took so many hours of people’s most precious time: smart kids, who went to RISD or whatever and have to stay up all night splitting Adderall with each other just to flesh out this sad campaign that presumably some dude in an Ugg Boot thought up and jotted down in a Moleskine.

Ugg. Whenever I get down, I put trust in my iPhone alway to soothe with its ability to pick just the right music. Yesterday, it offered me John Adams’s Shaker Loops, which is one of those pieces with which I enjoy a scary intimacy. I totally worship a Shaker Loop. Sometimes, if I start listening to it, and then take off the headphones, I’m not sure if the music has stopped because I can keep it going in my face all the way to the end. The piece is organized in four sections, the first of which I offer below just as an incentive to buy the rest. Shaker Loops is a piece that banks on simultaneous quick motion (the ecstatic bowstrokes of a string orchestra) and a glacial harmonic motion. The result is sort of Google Earthy, where you can move from a wide shot of Asia to a detailed view of your friend’s house instantaneously. It is also painfully, twitchingly emotional. Buy on it here, and read what the composer has to say about it on his website here.

[audio:02 Shaking and trembling.mp3]
John Adams Shaker Loops Part 1: Shaking & Trembling
San Francisco Symphony / Edo de Waart

My phone also decided that I wanted to listen to a Rachmaninof Vesper (just the one), which was pleasant unto the ear.

Oh my god! Bernie Mac Died! He was so funny, so funny. I used to religiously watch the Kings of Comedy DVD.

Here is one of his best, and most famous bits. It’s all about the use of the eyes. Also the following “” so genius:

I came in the house the other day, 1:30 in the morning. The two year old gonna send the faggot downstairs for some milk and cookies. I’m going upstairs, he coming down: he gonna walk past me like I’m a visitor. I said, “where you going?” He said, “To get some milk and coooookies.” He goes upstairs, the two year old, I hear the two year old say, “Where the cookies and shit?” He gonna tell her, “Him downstairs.”


  • bernie mac’s skit was terrific. thank you for including it in your blog. he curses with such style and humor and warmth.

  • I love the internet. I was intrigued by the short article in the NYT which noted your success and then bought some of your music on Itunes which I’m enjoying very much. When I googled your name I was amazed to know your connection to Tunbridge, a town not far from me. Then there was a link regarding your association with Sam Amidon of whom I was also unaware. I downloaded and can’t stop listening to “All is Well”. I hope to see you at the 802 Tour stop in Montreal on the 26th. Looks like the 25th is free. What about a stop in Vermont somewhere…not that I mind driving to Montreal.

  • Or the LG Dare… sorry, just not cool.

  • “Why are you talking black?”

  • A little while ago you wrote about iTunes censorship of c*m. Well, add to your list Britten’s “King Herod and the Cock”.

    Doing a search in iTunes for that song brings up seven versions of “King Herod and the C**k” which of course makes it seem so much dirtier than the original.

    Silly, silly, silly.

    Nico responds: Oh, I know. Do you know the Walton “King Herod and the C**k?” It’s amazing. Check out this recording I have. These boys say “thrusted” with such a rolled R, it is completely perverse in a way only English people can achieve.

    [audio:16 9. King Herod and the Cock.mp3]
    William Walton King Herod and the Cock
    I think this shit is New College Oxford but I have no way of finding out.

  • “Google Earthy”: good metaphor for that.

  • And then there was Isaac Hayes. And Georgia. Not a good week. My husband sings Georgian songs with Em. here in Portland, city of roses. When you arrive you might enjoy food at Navarre, Beast or le Pigeon. The Aladdin Theater where we and many others will see you with 802, was once a porn theater, and it is in a neighborhood called Brooklyn.

  • “but somebody — at least one human being — must have seen that.”

    That’s what always astounds me about terrible movies. It takes so many people to make a movie! Bad scripts are comprehensible, if unfortunate, but — who acts in these? Who does the editing? Who does the directing? WHO DOES THE PRODUCING? WHY WOULD ANYONE FINANCIALLY BACK SUCH A VENTURE?

    Apologies for the capslock. It is a sensitive subject.

  • Glad to hear I’m not the only one slightly obsessed with Shaker Loops. I put it in my alarm clock for weeks at a time, especially in the winter. It’s a fantastic way to wake up when you don’t want to.

  • I never liked Shaker Loops until I heard the original version for string septet. Somehow a string septet better befits the scale of the piece, and the eccentricities of individual performers lead to greater tonal heterogeneity.

    In live performance the septet can also makes for one heck of a sadistic show: Strings snap, music slides off stands, bows become shaggy like unbrushed ponies, and for a grand finale, the performers — exhausted by the endless semiquavers — collapse in a dead faint.

  • My god, where did you get the Los Shakers album?? I grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay, and they were the big group in the 60s… I still have two of their albums. They were awful, and it is incredible that there is someone in the U.S. besides me who knows about them.