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The Strange Poetic Beauty of Redacted Chimp

May 24, 2012 in Art, Poetry by snark

Redacted Chimps in the rain

Not exactly sure what this is, but I like it. A seemingly simple concept, Redacted Chimp is exactly that — pictures of chimpanzees with black (sometimes other colors) redaction strips covering their eyes, as if to mask their identities. Or perhaps their identities have been taken from them? Or they never existed in the first place? Or perhaps they are us, our proxy in the wild world? It’s impossible to say for sure, because interpretation is left to the viewer. But what makes this site even more interesting are the poetic fragments of narrative that are paired with each image. Here, for example, is the complete text that accompanies the image above:

Redacted Chimp 010. I love holding hands with your foot, in the rain, in the sun, in the rain. I love watching the rain careen off my hand, off your face, off the palm of my hand. There are plants in the world that nobody even knows the names of yet, that don’t even have names yet, that don’t have names. I love holding flowers in your hands, with my feet, in your rain. (Redacted Chimp 010)

A lovely image, probably triggered by the chimp in this picture holding hands with his (her?) own foot. And of course I love that it is also a musing on names.

Could the chimps be the poets here? Maybe they made this website as a way to reclaim their identities? Maybe this is the true beginning of the Planet of the Apes. Check it out, and report back here if you learn anything more.

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Monty Python — Rock Notes

April 5, 2010 in Art, Language, Names/Naming by snark

Monty Python, “Rock Notes”, from the album, Monty Python’s Contractual Obligations (1980). Performer/Writer: Eric Idle. Great inspiration for anybody faced with naming their band. Also inspiring is Wordlab’s Rock Band Names List and Band Name Generator. And if you sign up for a free membership to Wordlab, you can post your band naming project as a New Topic in the Band Names group Forum.

The clip below is a more recent performance by Eric Idle, with original the transcription below that:

Eric Idle performing Monty Python

Rex Stardust, lead electric triangle with Toad the Wet Sprocket has had to have an elbow removed following their recent successful worldwide tour of Finland. Flamboyant ambidextrous Rex apparently fell off the back of a motorcycle. “Fell off the back of a motorcyclist, most likely,” quipped ace drummer Jumbo McCluney upon hearing of the accident. Plans are already afoot for a major tour of Iceland.

Dead Monkeys are to split up again, according to their manager, Lefty Goldblatt. They’ve been in the business now ten years, nine as other groups. Originally the Dead Salmon, they became for a while, Trout. Then Fried Trout, then Poached Trout In A White Wine Sauce, and finally, Herring. Splitting up for nearly a month, they re-formed as Red Herring, which became Dead Herring for a while, and then Dead Loss, which reflected the current state of the group. Splitting up again to get their heads together, they reformed a fortnight later as Heads Together, a tight little name which lasted them through a difficult period when their drummer was suspected of suffering from death. It turned out to be only a rumor and they became Dead Together, then Dead Gear, which lead to Dead Donkeys, Lead Donkeys, and the inevitable split up. After nearly ten days, they reformed again as Sole Manier, then Dead Sole, Rock Cod, Turbot, Haddock, White Baith, the Places, Fish, Bream, Mackerel, Salmon, Poached Salmon, Poached Salmon In A White Wine Sauce, Salmon-monia, and Helen Shapiro. This last name, their favorite, had to be dropped following an injunction and they split up again. When they reformed after a recordbreaking two days, they ditched the fishy references and became Dead Monkeys, a name which they stuck with for the rest of their careers. Now, a fortnight later, they’ve finally split up.

[This paragraph is in the original, in between the other two paragraphs, but not in the YouTube clip version above.] [--Divorced after only eight minutes, popular television singing star, Charisma, changed her mind on the way out of the registry office, when she realized she had married one of the Donkeys by mistake. The evening before in LA's glittering nightspot, the Abitoir, she had proposed to drummer Reg Abbot of Blind Drunk, after a whirlwind romance and a knee-trembler. But when the hangover lifted, it was Keith Sly of the Donkeys who was on her arm in the registry office. Keith, who was too ill to notice, remained unsteady during thes thrt ceremony and when asked to exchange vows, began to recite names and addresses of people who also used the stuff. Charisma spotted the error as Keith was being carried into the wedding ambulance and became emotionally upset. However, the mistake was soon cleared up, and she stayed long enough to consummate their divorce.--]

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500 Worst Passwords

March 30, 2010 in Art, Language by snark

Kate Bingaman-Burt has created a nice poster featuring the “500 Worst Passwords“, gleaned from the book Perfect Password: Selection, Protection, Authentication by Mark Burnett:

500 Worst Passwords

500 Worst Passwords, by Kate Bingaman-Burt (click to enlarge)

Be sure to check out Kate’s blog, Obsessive Consumption.

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Homeland Security Blanket

October 13, 2008 in Art, Names/Naming by snark


The “Homeland Security Blanket” is the title of this work by Keene Valley artist Jerilea Zempel. After Zempel was detained by U.S. border guards for having a sketch of the project she decided to give it a new name.

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Mad wordslinger launches new website

August 13, 2007 in Art, Language by snark

Jay here, AKA snark. I have been working on this website portfolio of my language-based artwork for several years now, and while I have many more images to add, I decided finally to make it public and see what happens.


You can see that when I’m not thinking of names for things, I’m thinking of…well, words and the mashed-up metastasizing morphology of language. Sort of obsessive, I suppose.

And of course there’s a blog where I can ramble even more erratically.

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Wordlab’s Guide to Not Spending Your $600 Tax Refund

August 5, 2001 in Art by snark

Snark’s tacky would-be entry to a cheezy USA Today contest

In the spirit of our duly (singly?) elected President, I decided to come up with a suggestion everyone could live with, even if nobody actually likes it. To advocate either saving, spending, or donating to a worthy cause this massive infusion of lucre would invariably tip the delicate political balance in favor of Left or Right, Up or Down, Tipper or Laura. So, call what follows the Stem Cell Solution of the Tax Rebate Dilemma.

You know that creative and distinctive style of decorative home stencil painting that is ever so popular all across the USA today? Well, get ready to dress up your own domicile with this fun and easy $600 home improvement technique that actually pays you back over time.

Money Laundering

First, take your official, void-after-one-year United States Treasury check (mine says “Austin, Texas” on it – is the Federal Government being downsized to Texas?) for $600 to your local bank and cash it in for 600 one-dollar bills. Be sure to ask the teller for “brand new, mint condition” bills. If the teller hems and haws, be firm – this is the kind of thing banks have in abundance, though the teller my have to exhale a deep sigh and go to the manager, the vault, or the basement to dig up the extra-crispy G.W.s (George Washingtons).

Eventually, the teller will return with six neat hundred-bill stacks, each secured by a little paper garter belt. Pull out one of the bills and offer to tip the teller for his/her trouble. The teller is obligated to decline such payola, so you won’t be out any money; should the teller accept, quickly pull the dollar back and alert the authorities. Feeling smug after helping to apprehend another felonious member of the banking cartel, gently stuff your bricks of cash into a manila envelope you brought along for this purpose and exit the bank.

Next Stop: Your Favorite Office Supply Conglomerate

At the friendly office mega-warehouse, purchase one restickable adhesive glue stick, which dispenses the same sort of glue that makes those ubiquitous square yellow memo papers (remaining brand-neutral to the bitter end, I am). This is an important distinction – do not get a permanent glue stick by accident, as it could end up being a six hundred dollar mistake. The glue stick should cost you around one dollar, so let’s pull two from one of our crispy stacks to cover overhead operating expenses. Head on home with your fresh glue stick and $598 in raw materials – it’s time to redecorate the home.

The Home Stretch

The average size of US currency is 2.652 inches high by 6.125 inches wide. 598 one-dollar bills placed end-to-end will be roughly 3,662.75 inches long, or 305.22916 linear feet. This is long enough to provide a beautiful decorative border to the walls of one large or two small rooms in your house. First, measure four (Modern style) to eight (Classical) inches down from your ceiling and draw a faint, level pencil line on all walls to be transformed. Next, apply a single bead from the removable glue stick along all four edges of your Tax Rebate bills, either the front, back or intermingled as you choose (I personally prefer the iconographic power of all those little George heads smirking at me while I eat dinner or watch Fear Factor, but this being America you get to decide for yourself). Gently affix the tacky currency to the wall, aligning the top of the bill to the pencil line you drew. Repeat the process until you have exhausted the remainder of your tax refund.

When you are finished, you will have created a stunning new look in your home for a cost of only two dollars. No, that’s not a typo – this is where the philosophical implications of removable adhesive get played out in the national bully pulpit of domestic interior decoration. Whenever a real need arises to spend a few dollars, whether for a worthy cause or frivolous entertainment or a cheap thrill, simply peel from your walls just what you need for the expense at hand and enjoy. The gaps in your decorative wall-band will continually remind you how spendy or tightfisted you are, while the remaining bills will provide a little ray of hope that, no matter how bleak your personal fortunes may get, you’ll still have a little green left up there on the wall to buy the latest Mariah Carey CD, pay for the clean-up of an oil-encrusted seagull, or settle that outstanding parking ticket.

[Editor's Note: After all that hard work, Snark - still operating in the third person - read the fine print of the usaweekend.com contest rules, only to discover to his dismay that the fine folks at USA Today are not looking for an essay, but rather just a single sentence. Feeding the above to his pet monitor lizard, Snark re-jiggered his synapses and came up with the following lame approximation of humor for his official contest entry]:

At the bank I will trade the check for 600 extra crispy new one-dollar bills and load them into my custom-built PEZ candy dispenser with the G.W. Bush head on top; whenever I want to spend a dollar on anything, I will tilt back the head and out will pop a fresh bill from the President’s mouth.