September 18th, 2016 · 2 Comments
Black Scat Books will soon publish my translation of Alphonse Allais’s first book, Double Over: Blackcattish Stories (A se tordre: Histoires chatnoiresques). At my publisher’s request, I drew the following frontispiece for it. Since the stories were taken from Allais’s contributions to Le Chat Noir, the paper published by the cabaret of the same name, I invoked its eponymous black cat, and took the latticework from a photo of its seating. Allais fans will recognize the pictures on the wall, shown at the Incoherents’ Exhibitions of 1882 and 1883: Paul Bilhaud’s Negroes fighting in a tunnel and Allais’s response, First communion of chlorotic girls in the snow.
Double Over should be out next month.
Tags: *Cartoons · F
September 11th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Tags: *Sketchbook · S
September 7th, 2016 · 1 Comment
I’ve drawn imaginary musical instruments for years. Here are a few.
Tags: *Cartoons · *Music · M
August 29th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Tags: *Index Cards
August 15th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Ever eager for literary constraints, I wrote this tale in heroic couplets, alternating masculine and feminine rhymes, with each stanza an acrostic of the title. Heroic couplets seemed appropriate, since it concerns adultery at a cosplay convention. Here’s the first stanza (of eight):
The Chromatologist was colorblind:
He had to check the colors in his mind.
Eccentric though it seemed as a vocation,
Considering his crucial limitation,
He’d boldly made the choice to specialize,
Regardless of his insufficient eyes.
Of course, he kept his failing from his clients,
Mistrusting them to comprehend that science
Assumes that even normal sight’s too dim
To work the work that they’d entrust to him.
On many jobs, his young amanuensis,
Labouche, corrected some chromatic census,
Or verified a red was really red,
Green green, and not some pink or brown instead.
In short, the doctor’s eyesight was defective,
So he employed Labouche as a corrective.
They’d just wrapped up a case that afternoon.
Tags: *Words · C
August 1st, 2016 · 1 Comment
Tags: *Index Cards
I’ve wanted to build something like this for years. After some experimentation with materials and dimensions, I settled on 20 feet of 1/2 inch copper pipe. I originally wanted it to go around the whole room, but 20 feet seems to produce the best tone. It now hangs near the ceiling in my music room. I’m working on a plastic version for the bathroom.
UPDATE: I finished the bathroom roomhorn. It goes around the whole room, near the ceiling, using 30 feet of vinyl tubing, with a plastic funnel for a bell. How have I gone through life this long without a bathroom roomhorn?
Tags: *Music · *Sketchbook · R
Speaking of ears, here are some sketches of chonchons, those peculiar creatures from Chilean folklore. Borges described them at some length in his Book of Imaginary Beings; here’s a shorter account, from the Dizionario dei Mostri (ed. Massimo Izzi, L’Airone, Roma, 1997), in my translation:
Vampire composed of an isolated human head with enormous ears, which function as wings for its nocturnal flights in search of victims. It is invisible except to witches, and they can only detect its presence from the strange cry that it emits: tué tué tué. If it is rendered powerless with the proper magical rites, it falls to earth, and can no longer fly unless another chonchon comes to its assistance.
Tags: *Sketchbook · C
Ears are strange looking things. Here are some studies of ears.
Tags: *Sketchbook · E
Black Scat Books has published a trade paperback collecting the three issues of Oulipo Pornobongo, a curious little publication devoted to smut written under formal constraints, edited by Norman Conquest. I contributed six pieces (a song, an acrostic, an alphabet, a univocalism, a comic strip on a scenario by Derek Pell, and a homophonic transliteration). I also translated a short story by Alphonse Allais, which used no constraints, but is included to acknowledge Allais’s position as an “anticipatory plagiarist” for Oulipo.
The other contributors are Alain Arias-Misson, Paulo Brito, Norman Conquest, Rusty Cuffs, Farewell Debut, Tom La Farge, Larry Fondation, Paul Forristal, Ryan Forsythe, Eckhard Gerdes, Harold Jaffe, Roger Leatherwood, D.S. Macpherson, Samantha Memi, Ellen Nations, Opal Louis Nations, Andy O’Clancy, Lance Olsen, Derek Pell, Shane Roeschlein, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Maria Schurr, Lucy Selleck, Kebob G. Shoon, Tara Stillions Whitehead, and Giovanni Zuniga.
Available from the inimitable Black Scat Books!
Tags: *Words · O