Let It Grow

I was digging into my copy of Comics for Ukraine — and so already keenly aware
of the compartmentalization we practice daily to appreciate art in the midst of tragedy or, more generally, simply live our lives even as they or the lives of others are under imminent threat — when reports came in from Israel of the horrifying assaults there
on Saturday.

Man backlit with his silhouette filled by rippling Ukrainian flag, slingshot in hand, facing giant red figure with hammer and sickle

The book, just recently arrived, was crowdfunded in June of last year through Zoop
to benefit the work done by Operation USA. Its subtitle is Sunflower Seeds after the curse directed at Russian soldiers by a bold Ukranian woman who told them to put seeds in their pockets so that when they die sunflowers will grow in their place on the land they attempted to occupy.

5 of Five

Need a laugh?

I’m conflicted. The dissonance of firing up the blog again, rooting on my Phillies, and hoping to get out for my birthday this weekend despite such unending pain existing half a globe away is acute. Yet I just passed an hour listening to Episode 5 of the podcast Strike Force Five while doing some graphics work for an upcoming project and the only reason I’m not incapacitated from cackling out loud nearly the entire time is that my asthma’s so bad I’ve kind-of unconsciously trained myself not to push out breath as I’m silently convulsing in hysterics.

Strike Force Five Episode 5 logo

Strike Force Five united late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers in a series of highly candid, very lightly structured conversations, sponsored to bring in money for their staffs as the strike by the Writers’ Guild of America halted production of their programs. Twelve installments were released over six weeks.

Red in the Head

I don’t always get auras with migraine episodes, and the only kind I get when I do is a strong but fleeting scent. One from not too long ago that’s stuck with me is the aroma of Big Red gum.

Close-up of pack of Big Red gum in someone's hand with stick being pulled out in a blur
Ad screenshot © 1979 Mars Wrigley via Bionic Disco.

I’m pretty sure I haven't chewed or even thought much about it in close to 40 years. I certainly didn’t remember it being such a distinct sort of cinnamon — and that surprise of specificity is a recurring theme with the smells, be they a brief reminder of the brand of cigarettes Dad’s parents smoked or the musty, vinegar-ish scent of the wood in parts of Mom’s parents’ house. I’ve smelled garlic, not as prepared with any particular dish that I recall, and the breath of my late cat Pebbles.

The Mind’s AI

So there he was, Richard Dawson, in all of his ’70s glory — with a dark blazer and medallion over gray turtleneck — seated behind a large, ornate desk in a room lined with bookshelves. The camera pulled in on him as credits appeared on screen announcing that I’d come across some kind of documentary series on talk shows.

I landed on this sight while flipping television channels in a dream.

Waking up, I got the sense that I hadn’t actually been flipping channels but rather watching the results of artificial intelligence tasked with creating such a program. It was still a dream, of course, no matter the rationale behind what was on that monitor in my unconscious mind’s eye; as I rapidly became conscious, however, I found myself intensely musing on similarities between dreams and imagery generated by omnivorous algorithm.