Cockamamie Celestia

Credit comes where credit’s due, and laws—

well, laws come twitterpated before the thaw

of old white men in old white suits;

They (omniscient, omnipresent, indescribable they) did it first to Galileo

then to poor sweet Mattimeo

(better known as Bob the bloviating, argle-bargling snob)

with the theory that he chose to lob:

Balls.

You laugh, but it’s quite a simple fall—

the world, the moon, the stars, and all the drumming racket between

it’s all just balls of a rather vibrant sheen.

Given, he colored himself early with the choice

of Al Gore for Internet’s first modest voice—

a tubular choice for a system clogged

with indecision blogged

for people! for substance!

Well, he’s nothing but a nuisance

some little boy crying wolf

when the world was playing golf—

but as the rest claimed ends of ice and fire

(destruction, not the Game of Thrones) desire

telescopes were found to spy The Bearded Man align

the perfect shot from His designs

too late to cry for all their hope

that God was not a golfing man or replicating trope—

Pool’s the game on which He set His celestial roots.

Wear that Millennial Stamp with Pride

I want you to stop and consider something for a moment. Our generation is in a truly unique position in the history of the world. We are the first to have not only grown up with the Internet, but grown up on the Internet. This is the critical difference between us and everyone gone before us.

Call us the Millennials. Call us the next Lost Generation. But there is something more to us.

Ok, screw that headline.

After all, it is they that come up with the terms: we surf the Net. We cruise the Web. We are lost in Virtual Space, careening through the system of Tubes that constitute what is, to them, nothing more than an overly addictive game.

But it is not a game. One plays a game. We don’t “play” the Internet. It is as critical and ever-present in our modern environment as the grass beneath our toes or the atmosphere that holds us to it. It is not external—it is connected. It is not alternate reality, but another layer of reality itself.

Which is to say, the Internet is not something we use. It’s something we live—on it, inside it, alongside it, frolicking with it down memory lane, what have you—but it is an inescapable facet of our existence. We use the Internet to keep in touch with those both near and far, to organize, to research, to prepare. We plan with it, chart calendars on it, study, and dream through the wondrous expanse of its pages. Friends and enemies rise and fall online. Love and hate flourishes and dies in its expanse. Some of the greatest debates (and the tackiest) in the history of mankind are no doubt, out there, in the expanse of the Internet…Online, eternal, waiting.

For us, the Internet has never been something we needed to “learn.” It is an evolution—another entity, sitting alongside us in the classroom, aging and lengthening before our eyes. It is continuous. In it, we grow, and through us, it grows. It is. It simply is.

What more need I say? The Net is a part of us. It’s not tacky sci-fi, not some Utopian paradise—it is, at its simplest, the collection of thoughts, ambitions, emotions, which embody Us. It is us. Let the history of mankind be writ large upon it.

And let the folks on it learn to start treating one another as equals. But hey, that’s just commonsense in facet of life, isn’t it?

…isn’t it?

Bringing Art to New Generations

Once again it seems Google is leading the charge to a more collaborative universe, and this time it’s taking an aim at art fans around the world.

Google, whose name has long since been synonymous with web innovation, has now extended its cameras from the streets to museums the world over. From the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Google’s latest program, Art Project, allows users to view hundreds of pieces of classic and modern art without ever having to leave their desk.

The program actually launched last week, for those of you that may not have heard of it, but I myself only discovered this gem a few days ago. I’m already in love. For the art fan like myself, this program opens the doors to 17 museums across the United States and Europe and hundreds of artistic treasures I otherwise likely never would have gotten to see in person.

Yet as interesting as this new realm of possibilities is, Art Project is, at the moment, more intriguing for its potential than for its actual capabilities at the moment. The system is a bugged one in places, and you get the feeling Google’s still finding its ground to stand on with this program. Some locales are higher quality than others; some are fairly blurred and abstract, while with others you can zoom right into high-resolution images such that you can almost feel as though you’re running your hands along treasures like Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” or Byzantine iconography It’s just you and a magnifying glass for these images, so you can pour over every succulent inch.

The museum tours themselves are simply Google’s street view brought indoors, and you can use arrows to tour the facilities at your leisure. In several locales you even get the full 360-degree treatment, so as to lose nothing of the world’s most stunning galleries – like, for example, the beautiful murals in Versailles. Not all rooms in these places are in the boundaries yet, but there’s still enough of a journey that you can busy yourself for several satisfying hours.

Though many museums have already allowed virtual journeys like this, Art Project is still a major leap forward in the interaction of the web and the arts community. It provides easy travel across continents and years of artistic splendor, all gathered nice-and-tidy under one accessible roof. Best of all: it’s an art journey that’s completely free.

With luck and time, hopefully more museums and galleries will sign on to the project. Google itself noted that thus far, while many have been approached, these 17 museums were the only ones to sign on to the idea. If people start devouring this new internet gem, though, it could spark something of a revitalized art craze – and that could stir more of these places to action.

In this day and age, anything that keeps the art scene alive is a good way to go; the old generation needs to get with the program, and this is a nice start on that road. Reconciling the classics to modern technology only helps to further preserve these beauties for the generations to come, and it preserves, above all, the knowledge and culture we should all cherish.

So my review? Good program. Great potential. Definitely worth a look – just be prepared for some bugs, and don’t go in expecting the world. As they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Google’s opening its doors to more art than Rome ever saw.

Epitaphs and Soundslides

So I learned something valuable yesterday: WordPress does not like Soundslides – no, no it does not.

Attempting to upload the photo essay I made of the Snowpocalypse met with less than desirable success, but I shall see if I can’t work my way around it in the days to come. Where there’s a problem, there’s generally a solution – especially with technology. Might just take a bit of finaygling…

That said, today in honor of that and other frustrations, I give unto you a quick two-liner for all those struggling through the mundane toils of the world. Let’s call it…Epitaph:

Just the tip, said I,

and the world shafted me by and by.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the great snow showers, my friends have taken liberties with the snowy plains of my house and seem to have turned them into a mural. Also started into an underground cave network. Yes, pictures shall follow. Soon, if not today. Perhaps Monday, after tomorrow’s quotes and One Shoot Sunday fun…

Everyone ready for the next photo prompt? We’re engaging a wonderful nature photographer this week named Sean McCormick. I think you’ll enjoy his work very much. Long interview too. We’re thinking of making it a two-parter…extending the One Stop love out for all you happy readers out there. Be sure to check it out.

And to my American friends out there…so, about that Superbowl. All ready for the game?