Monday, November 17, 2014


Directed by Jan Bosdriesz

Cutting edge biography of the Dutch graphic artist.
Math and art meet in the mind-blowing woodcuts, lithographs and more from Maurits Cornelis Escher. Although he had no formal training in math, his distinctive visual illusions that give the brain a workout are familiar to many as geometry textbook covers.
Freely available online, Metamorphose: M.C. Escher, 1898 – 1972 shows how a kid from Haarlem (Netherlands, capitol of the North Holland province) would lay down on the floor in the church and listen to the organ blast Bach, filling the walls, his reflection in the dome above. Good times for young Escher, and he always wanted to find a way to show it.
“I hated school,” Escher says, “but the drawing lessons were always a great relief.”
This straight-forward documentary shows the woodcuts in jaw-dropping detail, the brilliance of which is offset by the stark lights and darks of piano keys. We learn of Escher’s love for the southern Italian landscape where he lived in his youth and which he idealized throughout his life, and for the woman he married, Jetta.
Mediocre student and fortunate son in a well-to-do family, Escher was able to focus on graphically illustrating an idea using as little as possible to be as clear as possible. The film itself is nearly as evocative and minimalist as its subject, gradually revealing the shifts in Escher’s evolving life.
When expressing ideas in woodcuts didn’t initially pan out, he turned to wresting from oblivion images of the daily life he saw around him.
Initially Escher considered his most enduring work involving Tessellations—regular patterns that divide a plane with no overlapping or gaps—as “an amusing game” inspired by Moorish tiles. What makes Escher’s work so useful to mathematicians is the symmetry of the endless repetition. A balance in keeping with what the ancient Egyptians called Ma-At.
Sketched hands that come out of the paper and into life, sketching each other. Stairs bending in impossible ways. Warped perspectives with the self-rendering artist at the center, holding the distortion in the globe.
Eventually Escher’s evolving genius was to link interlocking repeating patterns with human, animal, and fanciful imagery—“figures you can never actually see at the same time because one is the background of the other”—graphically illustrating concepts equally artful and mathematical in a picture too big to see.

 Stewart Kirby writes for


Friday, November 7, 2014


I'd been having a great deal of sex with my girlfriend. She's old enough to be my mother, and I ain't no spring chicken. She told me she went through menopause and everything, so the last thing we expected was for her to be expecting.

Or so I thought.

She was cute as hell when she broke the news. We stood in the center of this circle she has on her floor, just holding each other. Looking deep into her eyes I told her, "You're gonna be my baby mama. You bear my seed. Even now, it grows in you. Gotta be some kinda record here." She giggled. Together we marveled at the mystery. Then, glowing with an impish grin, my girlfriend revealed that, unknown to me, she had slipped a Ouija board under the mattress. Plus did some other esoteric stuff. She's got that shit all over the place. I never thought there was anything to it.

"You know what it was?" she said, explaining why she had operated in secrecy. "I was afraid you might not want me to have your love child." I told her not to be silly. We held each other, naked in the circle the way she likes, while she came up with names for the product of our union, all of which sounded like weird words in some forbidden tongue.

A few days later, my girlfriend was showing. We were so excited. She had me pull down an old high chair from her attic which looked like it was made sometime in the 1800s, and she started wearing black maternity dresses. The sex was incredible. She cut her usual fun-time intake, imbibing-wise, down to nothing like a good girl. I read Rosemary's Baby to her belly. Religiously, we watched every episode of not only "The Twilight Zone" but also "The Addams Family" as well. The former being my call. I'm the hugest Rod Serling fan ever.

This got cloying though, of course. After all that kinda crap nonstop, sometimes we had to resort to ETA Hoffmann and Franz Kafka readings just for a breath of fresh air. Then we'd dive into David Lynch and Craig Jones.

One night about nine weeks later, my girlfriend started screaming. There was a rainstorm pelting outside, and strange, lasting thunder ominously cracked. "Honey," I said through the door to her room, "you okay?" Again with the screams. Well, long story short, my girlfriend gave birth to a weird lump that night, a white-ish thing that looked like a cross between a fist and a brain. It had one eye that blinked. I could never remember whether it was one blink that meant yes or if it was two.

Our love child being a large one-eyed knotted lump, none of the antique baby clothes fit. I didn't want to say anything or be rude. It did seem a tad askew. I guess my girlfriend sensed what I was thinking, because she produced the Ouija board with a doleful look. The board was all bent out of shape and warped.

"I wouldn't have been so rigorous if I'd known it was there," I said. She laughed sardonically at that and called me a liar. When I asked whether our love child was a boy or a girl, she said probably.

"You realize," I said upon retrieving from her attic an ancient dusty stroller, "we're going to get some looks when we walk around town."

"Who cares?" my girlfriend said, wrapping our blinking love child in wax paper. Bits of lint and cat hair were forever sticking to the raw, brain-like skin. When her black cat, Baggy, short for Bagheera, tried to spray our love child, I was reminded of Baloo and came up with Balloon as a nickname.

"Balloon," my girlfriend said, shaking her head and chuckling.

With a finger to my lips I cautioned silence, and we gently snuggled closer keen to observe Balloon interacting with Baggy. The roughly kidney-shaped mass of meat, moist as Spam and just as pinkish, spasmodically inched across the floor emitting thickly muffled grunts of what we took for joy.

"They seem to really like each other," she observed.

I was actually a little bit worried for Balloon because Baggy's a regular terror, and when he's had enough of somebody, he lets that be known. Sure enough, Balloon inched across Baggy's tail, and faster than you can snap your fingers Baggy whipped around to scratch. But he never once did. He stopped immediately because Balloon had suddenly loomed, that one lone eye eerily protruding, like one of those caterpillars with the big fake orb on its raised rear end for defense. Baggy backed away. Very quietly.

"Wow, check out the love child stickin' up for the rights."

"I guess they had to work it out," she said.

Strolling around Madrani with Balloon, we went inside the Redwood Palace and showed off our miracle. The owners are really cool and congratulated us. My girlfriend thanked them. "I never thought at my age I could even have a kid."

"We do have a lot of sex," I said. "Say, do you carry Spam? I have an old Mr. Potato Head eye I'd like to jam into a lump of Spam as a toy here for the kid."

Grunting joyfully in the stroller, our love child excitedly blinked. Unfortunately, the Redwood Palace was all out of Spam. And this made our love child act like a total turd. You never saw such a meltdown. We were absolutely embarrassed with this outrageous behavior. My sugar dumpling looked at me like it was the responsibility solely of moi to calm down the bobbing ball sack spazzing out in the ancient carriage. Something in her eyes told me if I didn't get this familial public dysfunction under control, pronto, I wouldn't get any of this, that or the other.

"All right, that's it," I manfully declared, laying down the law. "You calm down right now, I mean it." I looked over at my girlfriend like I'd just jumped a dozen buses on my motorcycle. But when I turned back and looked into Balloon's protruding eye now angrily upraised, something happened. Something that gave me a sense of what scared off Baggy.

"There's a prince inside our love child," I told my girlfriend squeaking along outside the Redwood Palace.

"Is there?" she said. "That's great!You know, I knew there was something special about that kid."

"It gets dizzy when he does that," I confessed under my breath, passing the Avenue Cafe. On the other side of the street, I remembered, there used to be a gas station. The owner was my Little League baseball coach. I still have the trophy from our 1979 championship. And over next to that was where the Post Office used to be a long, long time ago, just like yesterday.

"It gets dizzy when he does that," my girlfriend repeated, shaking her head and chuckling.

I felt rather heroic as I ignored her. It did occur to me, strolling past the Burl Barn and the high school, checking out the sunlight streaking bright red up under the great big sexy blanket of clouds, she might have told me that inside our love child there could stand an antique royal fellow clad in tights and cape with a short sword and long-feathered cap.

"Why didn't you bother to tell me?" I asked heading down the hill out of town toward the grove.

My girlfriend took my arm. "Welcome to the real world," she said.


Monday, November 3, 2014


Starring Dan Aykroyd,
David Sereda,
Gordon Cooper,
Paul Hellyer,
John Hutchison,
Ken Storch
Directed by David Sereda
Running time 81 mins.

          It’s not new, it’s just interesting. In fact, it’s been with us for years. And it’s freely available on YouTube.
          In the 2005 documentary Dan Aykroyd Unplugged on UFOs, UFO enthusiast David Sereda sits down with Dan Aykroyd and has an amazing conversation.
          For those familiar with Aykroyd from “Saturday Night Live,” and the Conehead alien which he played, the idea that Dan could have something serious to say on the subject might just seem too far out.
          “It was like Einstein was hiding inside of a comic genius,” says Sereda. “Dan Aykroyd speaks about UFOs as if he was a full professor on the subject.”
          Striking UFO footage over many years from many varied sources around the world interspersed with Aykroyd’s cogent commentary compels.
          Astronaut Gordon Cooper, President Ronald Reagan, and sundry members of the military attest in the documentary at various times to the validity of the subject. Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian Defense Minister, is the highest-ranking member of the G8 to state unequivocally that UFOs and alien beings are not the stuff of science fiction, but actual fact.
          According to Hellyer, there are many different species of alien living with us now, and among them some that look just like us.
          In considering the rapid progression from the Wright Brothers to the Space Age, Aykroyd points out, “In a hundred years since fabric and wood we’ve come to advanced metallurgy, fuel use, and propulsion.” Try therefore to conceive of a species with a million years of technological advancement over us.
          One of the great things about YouTube is the related material that appears with a search. Among the names one finds associated with this subject is former Lockheed Senior Scientist Boyd Bushman. “Boyd Bushman on Antigravity Propulsion Devices” is another of David Sereda’s conversations worth investigating.
          One experiment Bushman conducted with magnets inside of a rock showed him that altering the rock’s magnetic field affected its gravity. In both the Bushman and Aykroyd conversations, the fascinating antigravity experiments of John Hutchison also arise.
          Another related search, ponderously titled “Robert Lazar – Ex-worker of Area 51 Tells All About Flying Saucers and Aliens – Secret Space Program,” offers insider insight into reverse-engineering a UFO.
          Lazar recounts how as a scientist working for the military he studied a craft which he came to realize was not of earthly origin. He describes the interior of the craft as ominous. “It feels as if you shouldn’t be there.”
          Among the array of interesting things Lazar has to say, UFOs such as the one he studied create their own gravitational field. Inside the craft--the walls of which one can see out of--matter and antimatter are combined into pure energy. Turns out, violating the first Law of Thermodynamics is crucial in artificially creating intense gravity in order to modify time and space.
          Boldly go and check it out.

 Stewart Kirby writes for

Tune in this Thursday to KMUD 91.1 FM Garberville for the second episode of LOST COASTER