Monday, June 23, 2008

Sherman Steals the Show

Mr. Peabody: Sherman, what did you do with the WABAC machine?

Sherman: It's in the high school auditorium. Saturday is the science fair, remember?

Mr. Peabody: But you can't enter something you haven't invented. It's got to be an original idea. Where have I gone wrong?

Sherman: You always say: Sherman set the WABAC machine for x, but I never get to set the WABAC machine.

Mr. Peabody: Sherman, you set the WABAC machine for prison. However' what good will that do anyone. It's your punishment...I mean er, learning experience to come up with your own individual science project. Don't borrow anyone else's ideas including mine. In the meantime I'll make the WABAC machine go back in time before you stole it.


Mr. Peabody: I'm so proud of you, my boy. A diorama of an ant eater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla. The termite mound of flour and salt is superb too.
Sherman: Go ahead!

Sherman: Look inside one of the termine mound windows!

Mr. Peabody: Why, there are wingback chairs and a Parsons table!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where is the WABAC?

Sherman was sitting in Mr. Peabody's muslin wingback chair, something he was never supposed to do. The front door of the penthouse opened with a crack startling him.

"Mr. P....pppppeabody! I didn't expect you back so soon!"

"I was going to stay the whole time, but they didn't have many dog parks in Denver so I left the conference early. Sherman - where is the WAYBAC machine ?!!!!"

"UH...I think it went haywire and transported itself to the past."

"Sherman, that is a false lie, not worthy of you. It is possible - even conceivable - that you've confused me with that gang of backward children you've been playing tricks on? I am Mr. Peabody and I'm nobody's fool."

(Sherman goes to front door) "GET OUT!"

"You're too short for that gesture. Besides, it's my penthouse."


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spiral Stairs and Their Origin

I rang the doorbell of Sherman's two-story Georgian home in West Covina. He answered. "That's the Dynasty theme. I love it!" I said.

"Guess again." He said. "It's Masterpiece Theater." I blushed like a sun-dried tomato. We sat on his mock-70's couch our fashionable shoes resting on a soft, white, new shag rug. We had mock turtle soup and afterwards Celestial Seasonings Great Spirit ginger tea in mis-matched cups. Raw sugar packets in a cut-crystal bowl. Sherman explained how, after being fired by Jay Ward, he was quite destitute. Finally he saw an ad on a bus bench in the Flintridge-La Canada area: "Become an Interior Designer." He took the course and soon had a thriving business.

"Well," I said, "You can certainly see your touch in this home. It's lively, fresh, whimsical and has good qi."

"Thanks," Sherman said, munching on a Milano.

"I love the spiral staircase.'

"Well," he said, "quite a necessity in two-story homes. You see, horses can walk up stairs, but they can't walk down. If you put in regular stairs you are going to end up with a bunch of horses standing around the second floor. Besides, spiral staircases are very Suddenly Last Summer."

"That was an elevator." I explained.

"I'm not going to put in a spiral elevator."

"I love suspence movies with cage elevators;" I said, "even Last Tango as I recall, but wasn't there a suspense movie with Julie Harris that involved a spiral staircase?"

"That was Jackie Bisset." Sherman said, rolling his eyes. I forget he was in the business.
I thanked Sherman for part II of the interview as he walked me to the door. As I crossed the lawn to my waiting car I could have sworn I heard a dog barking in his back yard.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The WABAC Machine

As we learned in our last episode, Sherman has grown up and has a thriving interior design business in West Covina. He also does consulting for Sherman Williams whose sentence "There's nothing black and white about green." is worthy of Soseki.

I recently met Shermie at the SFMOMA. I was sitting outside enjoying beef stew that came with tooth-breaking garlic toasts. A young man about 35 came up to me and said "You must be Bryce Digdug." Sherman's voice had finally changed! It was very deep. He still has the big nerdy glasses — very Edith Head. He informed me that Mr. Peabody couldn't attend because of "pressing family business" (perhaps the birth of 10 nieces?) but I suspect Sherman may be estranged from his dogfather.

We both spoke of how we admire Freida Kahlo who has a really big shew at the museum. In the gift store they had Freida mints, rulers, badminton sets, shower curtains, Rubric's cubes, ice cube trays, book ends, bird whistles, chess sets, battery packs, opera capes, fondue sets, journals, playing cards, coloring books, recipe books, car wax, Mylar balloons, cereal, rings, row boats, and car stereos. Sherman commented that the shuttlecock is somehow very Spanish. "It looks like a mantilla." We conducted a long coversation about the mantilla. I said they are a good disguise. Women are supposed to wear one and dress in all black when visiting the pope unless they are Catholic royalty in which case they have the Privilège du blanc. Jackie should have pushed the envelope and assumed the Privilège du blanc. Ironically, white trash like Laura Bush do not have the Privilège du blanc. Can't you just see her in a mantilla? She wore one just last week at the pope's vulgar right-wing garden party.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Predicting Colors

Sherman of Sherman and Peabody predicts these colors for 2009. (Courtesy Apartment Therapy) This brown was used on the accent wall in my hotel in New Orleans — Hotel Le Cirque on Lee Circle. The color in the upper left hand corner is the magic color. I discovered its magic whilst camping in Yosemite. I noticed a delicate weed, the fairy flower, in this hue, but of a lighter shade. By magic, I mean it partially transcends spiritual dimensions. There are many different interpretations and associations with this color, certainly a lot more than squash soup. It is a very clean and vibrant color. The interior of The Royal Tenenbaums mansion is this color. As Angelica Houston walks down a hall in her blue dress the reflection off her magic-colored walls changes it to purple. The French poet Arthur Rimbaud (pronounced Rim-bow) wrote a poem about the color of vowels.
Black A, white E, red I, green U, blue O- vowels, Some day I will open your silent pregnancies: A, black belt, hairy with bursting flies, Bumbling and buzzing over stinking cruelties, pits of night;
E, Candor of sand and pavilions, High glacial spears, white kings, & trembling cow parsley;
I, bloody spittle, laughter dribbling from a face in wild denial or in anger, vermilions;
U… divine movement of viridian seas, Peace of pastures animal-strewn, peace of calm lines Drawn on foreheads worn with heavy alchemies;
O… supreme trumpet, harsh with strange stridencies, Silences traced in angels and astral designs:
0 ... Omega ... the violet light of his eyes!¹
It is said that Rimbaud had synesthesia, or it could be he was a poet. Or it could be the absinthe. Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. Careful: it was Verlaine's downfall. It is said Nabakov had synesthesia and Glenn Gould aussi. Angie Haggstrom writes of Gould on Helium.com: He found himself sensitive to the cold and constantly wore a warm tweed jacket and gloves, even in the hot weather of Sarasota, Florida. Once, Florida police arrested him for vagrancy. Rimbaud dressed in a top hat and tails as flies buzzed about his pomaded hair. He was arrested all the time for vagrancy and once for being a revolutionary. Whatever he went through it was grist for his poetry—and the colors of his mind—I mean windmills—I mean—

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is Deery Lou part of Blackforest Gothic?

There is a buck on the bottle. German kitsch is on the scene. Just about every other retro style has worn thin. This arrival of schwarzwaldkitsch didn't bother me. Just think of the increase in my cuckoo-clock sales, repair, and consulting. Alpine Village in Torrance serves as the hip place for movie stars to hang out. They order "brot," the hip way to say it. A.V. has a countdown clock on their site in case you were wondering the number of days until Octoberfest. Once the antler and fake-antler chandeliers are out of style won't we all look foolish! Our little lawn elves — out! Our fake log cushions — for sale at a typical San Francisco garage sale, that is, over-priced. They call them tag sales in the East, n'est-pas? Though we are keeping the Deery Lou products we own and, of course, any Troll dolls.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What is the point of italic in a sans?

If Swissmiss married Kiss she'd be Mrs. Demon Starchild Spaceman Catman Stanley Simmons Freshley Criss Swiss-Miss or she could change her name to a single word: Hellvetica. Reminds you of Dagmar, doesn't it?

"The meaning is in the content of the text and not in the typeface." Sayeth the director of the film Helvetica, but I can't imagine reading Willa Cather in sans serif. The default font for the new, awful Microsoft Office Word 2007 is Calibri, a sans. You mean I'm supposed to type a business letter or a resume in a sans? Maybe if applying for a job at the Bauhaus.

I'm becoming very bitter. As mentioned in the previous blog typography is a way of expressing anger. Jan Tschichold used to turn red during class when mentioning the em-dash and I would cower under my desk.

Tschichold was the son a sign painter and trained in calligraphy. That art is the basis of typography least for serif fonts. Especially italic. What is the point of italic in a sans? Two lowercase els in a sans look like my skis when I'm manoeuvring around a tree in St. Moritz. The first postwar Olympics were held in that shining city, but my father Didrik was no competition against his fellow Norwegian Birger Ruud.

By the way, kids, if you want to have fun with type, type an Italic Garamond Ampersand.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Soulful Plea

Just as the Peanuts soulful plea to the egg hatched Mothra, my return to blogging was because of Junk Thief's post on typography. The "Angry Typographer" Jan Tschichold (no relation to the Hip Hypnotist) wrote a whole chapter on the dash. He said, "...a dash often conceals a thought, then one could imagine a book containing nothing but dashes. It is truly astonishing that neither the em-dash swindlers nor the ellipses-point swindlers have hit on the idea." Like the tilde and the umlaut, Jan was a special character. Greg wants to know how we feel about Helvetica. One remembers reading Art Forum's endless pages of double-spaced tiny sans-serif type. Certainly as cool as a Scandinavian modern living room (like Otto Preminger's New York penthouse) but ultimately —

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I'm back to blogging under this new URL Set your bookmarks to Brcye Digdug. The old Judy Meat will be up for only a while. It now shows the complete Judy Meat Years everything from Lee Van Cleef to Deery Lou. Hey, if Deery Lou married Lee Van Cleef he'd be Lou Van Cleefy.

Junk Thief had a wonderful post about the movie Helvetica. This brings us to the subject of typography in movie posters. I love McCabe & Mrs. Miller because of the ampersand. Very 70's, very hippie evoking the wild west.