An Open Letter to Urban Dictionary

Dear Urban Dictionary,

I recently submitted a wonderful phrase to be included on your excellent and important site. It's a good phrase, one that captures just one of the myriad of amazing things about this Internet to which we've all grown so attached. My phrase was rejected. Rejected! I didn't even realize UD rejected phrases, I mean, most of the entries are either just regular words or people's names! There is NO reason "New York" should up there! None! And let's not forget the veritable panoply of elicit sexual terms and blatantly racist hate-speech included in your "definitions." Many of your entries also contain horrendous grammatical and spelling errors. Mine was well written.

Your site seriously needs to look deeply into your practices.

Click the image below to read the rejection letter (which includes my entry and definition):

I am deeply disappointed in you, Urban Dictionary. For shame.

Strange Androidesque Lady Plays Various Percussion Instruments (Poorly)

I guess these videos were made for some kind of instructional video...which is odd because I'm pretty sure this lady is terrible at what she's doing & has no business instructing anyone to do anything ever.

Let's begin with this awkward bit of high-hat demonstration:

Pretty terrible. Her cymbal work, however, will top that with jilted movements and awkward facial expressions:

Thus far our rhythmically-challenged friend has been showing at least some minute skill, but the following "thundersheet" demo requires none of it:

This has to be my favorite video, & thus saved for last. Where to begin? The slow start, the excruciating wait & stare that is the entire last half of the video. What is going through her mind? "I'm the best gong-player this side of [Where could this person possibly carry out her life?]. As with most things on the internet, this is best watched ad infinitum:


Ear Candle Therapy

I saw a sign near Union Square in a new salon advertising "Ear Candle Therapy" that had a photo very similar to this one:

(which is also hilarious looking this way:)

I had to find out more. Check Wikipedia for a great article. Some highlights:
  • "According to medical researchers, it is both dangerous and ineffective"
  • The FDA says, "...the use of a lit candle in the proximity of a person's face would carry a high risk of causing potentially severe skin/hair burns and middle ear damage."
  • "Material that appears after ear candling, sometimes alleged to be earwax and toxins, was found to be residue from the candle itself."
  • "Although Biosun, a manufacturer of ear candles, refers to them as "Hopi" ear candles, there is no such treatment within traditional Hopi healing practices."
Sounds like a safe, effective procedure. Let's all go stick a lit candle in our ears! Sounds like a great idea!*

*Sweet Gams! does not endorse nor recommend Ear Candle Therapy. Sticking a lit candle in one's ear does not sound like a great idea. Making a candle out of one's ear wax and lighting that, though, is a different story.

Amplified Cactus, Redux

Here at Sweet Gams! we like being self-referential. Not that we get mired in ouroboric meaninglessness, but it's just fun sometimes.

So, in light of all that, let us revisit the Amplified Cactus. This time, lion of the avant-garde John Cage can be found tinkering on the prickly thermophilic flora with some feathers:

For the curious, this is an excerpt from Nam June Paik's work called "Good Morning, Mr. Orwell."


When Robots Will Play Music.

I've been coming across a of lot of robotic music-playing lately & I'm not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, it's pretty cool from an engineering perspective, but on the other, it's a degradation of human-kind's greatest & most-expressive art form into something horridly soulless. With that said, enjoy some of these videos:

First up, a robot plays John Coltrane's solo from Giant Steps:

A robot named "Lev" plays the Theremin, the first electronic instrument ever:

The Theremin is actually a very expressive instrument when played by a human. See this performance by Clara Rockmore:

Or this short video of Pamelia Kurstin warming up in a studio: