Ray Bradbury, RIP

fahrenheit 451 605x1000 Ray Bradbury, RIP RIP ray bradbury

An excerpt from Bradbury’s finest novel, Fahrenheit 451. The author died yesterday, June 5.

“When did it all start, you ask, this job of ours, how did it come about, where, when? Well, I’d say it really got started around about a thing called the Civil War. Even though our rule-book claims it was founded earlier. The fact is we didn’t get along well until photography came into its own. Then — motion pictures in the early twentieth century. Radio. Television. Things began to have mass.”
Montag sat in bed, not moving.
“And because they had mass, they became simpler,” said Beatty. “Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books levelled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?”
“I think so.”
Beatty peered at the smoke pattern he had put out on the air. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.”
“Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume. I exaggerate, of course. The dictionaries were for reference. But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet (you know the title certainly, Montag; it is probably only a faint rumour of a title to you, Mrs. Montag) whose sole knowledge, as I say, of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: ‘now at least you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbours.’ Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.”
“Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click? Pic? Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline! Then, in mid-air, all vanishes! Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!”
“School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”
“The zipper displaces the button and a man lacks just that much time to think while dressing at dawn, a philosophical hour, and thus a melancholy hour.”
“Life becomes one big pratfall, Montag; everything bang, boff, and wow!”
“Empty the theatres save for clowns and furnish the rooms with glass walls and pretty colours running up and down the walls like confetti or blood or sherry or sauterne. You like baseball, don’t you, Montag?”
“Baseball’s a fine game.”
Beatty went on, “You like bowling, don’t you, Montag?”
“Bowling, yes.”
“And golf?”
“Golf is a fine game.”
“A fine game.”
“Billiards, pool? Football?”
“Fine games, all of them.”
“More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less. Impatience. Highways full of crowds going somewhere, somewhere, somewhere, nowhere. The gasoline refugee. Towns turn into motels, people in nomadic surges from place to place, following the moon tides, living tonight in the room where you slept this noon and I the night before.”
“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex-magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”
“Yes, but what about the firemen, then?” asked Montag.
“Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.”
Beatty knocked his pipe into the palm of his pink hand, studied the ashes as if they were a symbol to be diagnosed and searched for meaning.
“You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right? Haven’t you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren’t they? Don’t we keep them moving, don’t we give them fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these.”
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
“There was a girl next door,” he said, slowly. “She’s gone now, I think, dead. I can’t even remember her face. But she was different. How — how did she happen?”
Beatty smiled. “Here or there, that’s bound to occur. Clarisse McClellan? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can’t rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. We had some false alarms on the McClellans, when they lived in Chicago. Never found a book. Uncle had a mixed record; anti-social. The girl? She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I’m sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. The poor girl’s better off dead.”
“Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen, often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your dare-devils, jet cars, motor-cycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.”

From The Citrus Report

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Stones Throw x Madvillain “Madvillainy 2″ Box Set Comic Special

CD BOOKLET INSERT 16 1 2 605x300 Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

Seeing that our friends at The Citrus Report spend their Mondays featuring all that is good with Madlib and his universe, we can’t believe they missed the new Madvillainy 2 box set featuring this incredible 12-page mini-comic. As Jeff Jank told Juxtapoz this morning, “comic was done by James Reitano who did the Madvillain “ALL CAPS” video. The concept here was to continue the next episode where the CAPS video left off cliff-hanger style. We went all out with ’70s-80s comic book details, a letters page with a real letter, 8 track tapes, etc. The album itself is Madlib’s personal version of the album. The LP comes with 2 records, the comic, and digi download card.”

CD BOOKLET INSERT 16 1 3 605x301 Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

CD BOOKLET INSERT 16 1 7 605x302 Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

MADVILLAIN Madvillainy2 605x605 Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

madvillainyrmx 3book Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

madvillainyrmx 4book Stones Throw x Madvillain Madvillainy 2 Box Set Comic Special Madvillainy 2 Madvillain Madlib jeff jank comic book

The Citrus Report x IPaintMyMind for New York Comic Con

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The Citrus Report, in conjunction with IPaintMyMind.org, are Media Partners for New York Comic Con x The Cultyard, which took over the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City this weekend. With the likes of Zerofriends, Tara McPherson, Erick Scarecrow, and more, there’s been plenty to check out. Here’s our 1st batch of photos from Day One of NYCC, check back for more photo-updates throughout the weekend and into early next week.

We also were able to interview Tara McPherson who is being featured as a member of The Cultyard, a section at New York Comic Con developed by Jonathan Cathey of The Loyal Subjects and Jim Crawford of StrangeCo. The Cultyard started in 2004 as an unofficial/official coupling of like minded companies and has grown into a formidable presence at NYCC. More from Jonathan and Jim as well, stay tuned…

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Print and comics are making one last stand

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Two different comic book editions, according to The Moment, are making a grand statements in the physical print world. “Absolute Planetary,” Volume 2, comprises the last 15 issues of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s series, and “The Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer Artist’s Edition” collects all 119 interior pages and seven covers depicting the artist’s pulpy hero. Our point, Comic Con is coming up, and the niche, cult followers like their physical world after spending an entire 364 days before Comic Con on the Internet on forums of nerdery. We were there with that, so we know.

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Harvey Pekar, RIP

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A sad day in the comic world, as American Splendor’s Harvey Pekar has just passed away at age 70. He had been working on a new project with fellow comic artists at the Pekar Project, and just had an interview in Juxtapoz. We just talked to our friend at Jux who did the interview who passed the word on.

Here is the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s nice write-up.

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Seattle Cancellation

Hello friends.
Due to a family emergency, I will be unable to attend the Emerald City Comic Con this weekend in Seattle. I was scheduled to be signing on Saturday, March 13 from 1-3 at the Zerofriends booth. Unfortunately, I will NOT be there. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and continued support.
Thank you.

Weekend Update Without Dennis Miller (but with Me Instead)

Dear everyone,
If our beautiful relationship is to stay intact, there are a few things I think you should know about this weekend…


I’m not sure if God vomited a specific pattern of golden bile atop the clouds along the path in the sky through northern California and Oregon, but hopefully He did, and hopefully those clouds are illuminating GOLD so I can follow those sons of bitches up to the Emerald City to hang with the Wizard and look at some comic books. It’s been a while since I have had the pleasure of going to a comic convention and saying hi to this guy:

But that’s exactly what I’m doing…kind of:)
This upcoming Saturday, I am taking a quick and whimsy plane ride up to Seattle to get some coffee, try to read some poetry with Kurt Cobain’s ghost, and visit the EMERALD CITY COMIC CON.

I will be appearing/signing/meeting you beautiful souls on Saturday, March 13, from 1-3 at the Zerofriends Booth (#909) at the convention. I won’t be there Sunday, as I have to get back to California and tend my beet farm with Dwight Schrute who is in town this weekend, but Zerofriends will have a booth there with all of our regular fun stuff. And since we always like to have at least one new release at each show, and since I don’t have the power to “release the Krakken” like I want to, we are going to be releasing a new limited print of my recent painting, “The Zookeper’s Secret”.

Here is the info on the con, my magical appearance, and the print release:

Where: Washington State Convention Center, SEATTLE, WA
When: March 13-14
Why: Because comics still rule. Not comics like Dane Cook. Real ones. Like Batman ‘n shit.
What part 2: I will be signing at the Zerofriends booth #909 on Saturday, March 13th from 1-3.
What part 3: Zerofriends, on top of having a ton of other products, will be releasing this dandy new limited edition print, “The Zookeeper’s Secret”:

“The Zookeeper’s Secret”
By Alex Pardee
Limited Edition of 100

22″ x 17″ Printed with archival inks on Velvet Cotton Rag.
Signed & numbered by Alex Pardee

A little detail of the duckface:

And here is the story of “The Zookeeper’s Secret”:

There isn’t a zoo within 100 miles of my house, but somehow, my neighbor, a middle-aged, Warcraft-obsessed hermit named Lyle, insists he’s a zookeeper, yet I’ve never seen him leave his house for longer than an hour. When I confront him about this, he just laughs and tells me a mundane story about how a snake got into the Koala cage, or how a kid pretended to be a monkey and threw his own shit all over the gift shop floor. But his favorite stories always revolve around this secret animal that he, along with the zoo scientists, are studying profusely until they have enough info to reveal it to the world. Some kind of underwater rabbit that can breathe both on land and while submerged. He calls it a Swimbit, but he says that’s just a “code word”. Lately there’s been a problem with the Swimbit. It seems that a sore on its torso has actually grown and morphed into a visible parasite, complete with arms, legs, and “the devil in its eyes”. The parasite is clearly sucking the creatures blood, Lyle told me, mixing it with its own, and spitting the plasma back into the Swimbit’s bloodstream. Lyle said he tried to remove the parasite but failed. The swimbit is dying, but you couldn’t tell from the look on his face. Lyle says it has less than a week to live. But the parasite, on the other hand, might end up destroying the world.

Now, secondly….

Along the same coast (that may or may not break off into the Pacific Ocean within a few years according to THIS GUY), I will have a piece in the Mo’Nique-sized HI-FRUCTOSE MAGAZINE’S 5th ANNIVERSARY ART SHOW! Too many rad artists to name so I suggest you just follow a DIFFERENT golden brick road down to LA and go check this out:

Info: 5th Anniversary of Hi-Fructose Magazine
Saturday, March 13th, At CoproGallery
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave. T5
Santa Monica, CA

Here is the piece that I did for it. It’s a 3 parter, documenting my 3rd favorite (not so famous) mythical beast, the UNIRKEY:

Detail of the main painting:

Concept sketch from the first time I saw a Unirkey:

And finally, the little-known story of the Unirkey (which also comes framed with the other 2 pieces):

“If the X-men were real, my Grandfather’s Great-Great Uncle Randy would certainly be a part of the team. Instead of being a cool super mutant though, he’s just kind of a…well…mutant. He suffers from a disease that allows him to age, but doesn’t allow him to die. At all. He looks kinda like how the guy at the end of Indiana Jones looks when he chooses poorly, except for like, he’s alive. And awesome. I don’t see Uncle Randy much anymore as he seems to like going to Egypt a lot since he says he fits in there better and gets to play funny pranks on tourists where he lays down in sarcophaguses and then jumps up and scares people. He’s hilarious. 

One of my favorite stories that Uncle Randy used to recite to me when I was little was about his third favorite mystical creature, the Unirkey. He said that in 1621, the Pilgrims begged the Heavens for a turkey big enough for the 53 of them to feast upon to celebrate their harvest. To their disbelief, a 240 pound wild turkey fell from the sky right onto the serving platter on the middle of the giant dinner table.
“GET IT!” yelled the head pilgrim. But the turkey was too quick. It clawed its way off of the table and soon had a band of hungry pilgrims chasing it into a small patch of forest. Little did anyone know, a once-in-a-lifetime event was happening in the forest at that very moment: A 6-eyed Unicorn who lived behind the rainbows was bathing in a waterfall in plain sight. The unicorn sensed the fear in the giant turkey from the sky, and acted accordingly. The unicorn exploded out of the waterfall, ducked his neck down, swooped up the turkey, flung him onto his own back, and galloped straight through the band of Pilgrims, piercing almost all of them with it’s majestic horn. After the Unicorn bolted into the sunset, no one heard from, saw, or mentioned that incident again. Until years later, in the middle of the same patch of forest, on Thanksgiving, behind the waterfall, someone saw something. It was giant. It resembled a turkey…but with six eyes…and a breathtaking horn. And it seemed to be….glowing. When the man approached the magical beast it had vanished. More sightings were reported behind waterfalls all over the world over the years, all occurring on Thanksgiving. Rumor has it that the giant turkey and the unicorn were quite smitten with each other, and that this mystical Unirkey is their love-child. But what does it want? And where will it strike (a pose) next? No one knows, but if I were you, I would pay close attention to any form of flowing water on Thanksgiving, as you might be in for a surprise.”

So yah…umm, that was a lot to take in. Sorry. Don’t worry, I’ll have more tomorrow. For serious. Goodnight.
PS. My puppy just pissed on my couch. Damn. Damn. Damn. Gross.