Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, July 25, 2021

The “Pretty Ugly” art exhibit in the West Village apparently revels in the eyecandy of the weird.

But such visuals alone can’t possibly match the backstory behind one of its featured artists, the late Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski:

Although he lived in obscurity [in Burbank, California after fleeing Poland at the starts of World War II], he was not inactive. Among other things he formulated a universalist theory of history called Zermatism, based on the premise that all human life originated on Easter Island, that Polish was the source of all languages, and that a race of malevolent Yetis was destroying civilization as we know it.

His freely espoused aesthetic and political views gained attention in California cultural circles: he was as rabidly anti-Picasso as he was pro-Ronald Reagan and regarded art critics as the scum of the earth. The attraction of his neo-Symbolist sculpture — a life-size bronze bust in the show of the Polish military hero Bor Komorowski looks like a sad-eyed Darth Vader — is harder to fathom.

I dunno. Based on what I see of his work, I’d say the Komorowski piece is less sad-Vader-like than the “Ancestral Helmet”.

More on that Zermatism, to which Szukalski devoted a detailed 39 volumes:

Zermatism maintains that all human culture derived from Easter Island after the flood which destroyed all living creatures except those on Noah’s ark. All languages derive from a single source (the Protong) and all art is a variation on a few themes that can be distilled down to a single series of universal symbols. Zermatism explains the differences in races and cultures by claiming that they are due to the cross breeding of species. The first humans were nearly perfect but they mated with Yeti with abominable results.

As if the other aspects weren’t enough, the interbreeding with “malevolent Yetis” caps it wonderfully. I think I’ve located one of the apocryphal inspirations for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 12:12:06 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative
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Why do I bristle whenever I hear the phrase “needless to say”?

Because I invariably feel the urge to counter it with, “Then don’t say it”.

I understand what’s being conveyed, but really, you need to preface it with a really powerful set of statements for the impact to really come through. More often than not, people use it as overkill, trying to give their following argument more strength than it really has.

I’m reminded most of a long-ago colleague, who dropped her “needless to say”-s with abandon, especially when crafting formal written pieces. It came off as a verbal crutch. Probably the cause for my distaste for the phrase now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 10:21:06 AM
Category: Wordsmithing
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A big reason why I like football is because of the inherent gameplay flexibility it offers. The rules are the rules, but within them you can cook up any number of different formations, limited only by their effectiveness at actually moving the ball. It’s actually pretty unique among sports.

I only wish I had a better understanding of gridiron mechanics, so I could fully appreciate the innovation behind the A-11 offense, a hybrid of the spread option, West Coast offense and the run-and-shoot in which all eleven players are (technically) eligible receivers. Because, even though it’s strictly high-school level for now, it’s likely to spread up the football ecosystem soon enough:

The base offense is one in which a center and two tight ends surround the football, three receivers are split right, three more split left and two quarterbacks stand behind in a shotgun, one of whom has to be at least 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage…

Yes, per the rules of the game, only five players are eligible to catch a pass during a particular play and seven players have to set up on the line of scrimmage. But in the minds of [developers and coaches] Bryan and Humphries, you can develop an infinite number of plays with an infinite number of formations.

Talk about confusing a defense.

Apparently, it’s already crept into college games. Will it eventually make an appearance on Sundays, during National Football League games? It’ll be jarring to see two QBs line up on the field.

Actually, for all the talk about how much the A-11 will transform the game, I have a feeling defenses will come around to countering it. In particular, the NFL has proven to be killing field for gimmicky systems that otherwise thrive on the college/high school level. Prime example is the run-and-shoot, which enjoyed a heyday in the ’80s and ’90s but eventually was neutralized by superior defensive speed in the pros; it effectively became the “chuck-and-duck”.

In any case, news of the A-11 should gladden David Letterman. He has a running joke about introducing a new rule into football where you can put two quarterbacks on the field at the same time — although the rest of that joke is that they also get two balls as well. I’m thinking there’s not much chance of seeing that innovation in the game anytime soon.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 08:19:56 AM
Category: Creative, Football
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