Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 - Taking it out with a Bang! (Metaphorically speaking...) (video restored)

Spy Vs. Spy (found here)

"… Washington, D.C., is rocked by leaked documents showing that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting massive amounts of data on the phone calls, emails and other electronic activities of millions of American citizens. An NSA spokesperson insists that this program is vital to the fight against terrorism, and that Americans “have absolutely no reason to fear that their privacy is being invaded, or that there are tiny government video cameras concealed in every low-flow toilet in America.” The spokesperson adds that “as a totally unrelated side note, you people need to increase your dietary fiber.”

- 2013 - Dave Barry's Year in Review via The Miami Herald*

Ah well, the year is winding down... but, for many of us, not soon enough. Traditionally, the old year is "rung" out, but, as for 2013 - affectionately known in some circles as the Chinese Lunar Year of the Cockroach** - perhaps, extermination is in order. Hmmm... but, how (I pondered)?

And then, what to my wondering mind's eye should appear (or, maybe it was Mac, preternaturally ad libbing), but "Spy vs, Spy"that dialogue-free, darkly humorous cartoon which first appeared in Mad Magazine in the 1960's. Now, there's a cure!

A Plague Doctor via Wiki

Looking like a cartoon version of twin Plague Doctors, the Black Spy and the White Spy - originally drawn and conceived of by Cuban exile, Antonio Prohías - supposedly represented a metaphor for Cold War espionage. Of course, these days the espionage is even colder, and perpetrated by the NSA against American citizens, but, why go there? In the last analysis, the strip is a creative exercise in innovation: inventing a seemingly endless array of unique (and hilarious) methods of annihilation!

So, below is a compilation of Spy Vs. Spy shorts... a sure cure for the end-of the year blues. 

Cheer up... 2013 (via The Independent, and, more humorously, JibJab, and, more Fortean: Red Pills of the Year)*** is about to become history!

* Synchronicity alert: Dana Tonnies has just informed me (12/29/13) via email, that, while going though Mac's books, she and Bob found an autographed book by the one and only Dave Barry!  (I hadn't known he was a fan.)

** Here's a proposal: La Cucaracha as the official dance-tune for 2013 New Year's Eve festivities. Get those feet stomping!

*** In the event that you, the reader, have yet to laugh at any point in this post, you are, indeed a tough nut to crack. But, not so tough that boingboing's David Pescovitz can't crack you! Re: Best News Bloopers 2013


DISCLAIMER(!): Any references or allusions to "explosives" in this post are intended to be (blackly) humorous existentialist metaphors, and are not intended to inspire actual acts of terrorism.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas, 2013

Mac's parents, Dana and Bob Tonnies (and their Christmas tree), 2013

"And so this is Christmas,  and what have you done?"

Well, if you've managed to make it through this year without losing something, breaking something, or throwing yourself off a bridge, then, I say: congratulations on a job well done! We all deserve a holiday... and, regardless of what dogma you adhere to, or what faith you do or do not possess, December's holidays are there for your emotional survival. It's possible to be extravagant, sentimental, indulgent... even cheerful, if you can manage it; all in the name of being Human, with a capital H.

What inspired this Christmas post was the adorable photo Mac's mom, Dana Tonnies, sent me recently (above). The Tonnies' are wonderful people, and have been supportive of myself and this blog. So, it suddenly came to me that Post-Mac Blues was missing something: namely, Mac's mom and dad. I think Mac would want them here. And Dana, being the gracious woman she is, agreed to let me use the photo. I don't think there'd be an Xmas post without them.

So, on behalf of Dana and Bob, myself, (and those who can't corporeally be present): Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!*

And, may 2014 cure all our woes... (specifically those produced by 2013)... meaning: have a happy and healthy New Year!

* (And, for Dana: Judy Garland's lovely orignal.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Virtual Afterlife: Questions You Never Thought You'd Ask

Artifacts - digital (automatic) - 2007, DS
(a gift to Mac, Xmas, 2007 - click on for clearer image)

"And then what? Well, such a technology would change the definition of what it means to be an individual and what it means to be alive. For starters, it seems inevitable that we will tend to treat human life and death much more casually. People will be more willing to put themselves and others in danger. Perhaps they will view the sanctity of life in the same contemptuous way that the modern e-reader crowd views old fogeys who talk about the sanctity of a cloth-bound, hardcover book. Then again, how will we view the sanctity of digital life? Will simulated people, living in an artificial world, have the same human rights as the rest of us? Would it be a crime to pull the plug on a simulated person? Is it ethical to experiment on simulated consciousness? Can a scientist take a try at reproducing Jim, make a bad copy, casually delete the hapless first iteration, and then try again until he gets a satisfactory version? This is just the tip of a nasty philosophical iceberg we seem to be sailing towards."

- excerpt from: The virtual afterlife will transform humanity by Michael Graziano, 12/18/13, Aeon Magazine

Remember Dmitry Itskov... from this post? Well, for all of Mac's fellow transhumanists out there, over at Aeon magazine, Michael Graziano, a neurologist (and a musician) asks a number of intriguing questions about the reality of a "virtual" existence. He isn't providing many answers here, but, personally, I find this is a tremendous relief (!).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Posthuman Blues, Volume II" Now Available!

"There's an itch in my mind, but I can only find it occassionally. It's like rummaging through a box of ancient refuse and incomprehensible knick-knacks and suddenly feeling the two-pronged bite of a snake between your fingers; you recoil. shrinking, but your curiosity is irreversibly piqued. You want to empty the box into the light of day regardless of the danger - or maybe even because of it." 

- Mac Tonnies, via the cover of Posthuman Blues, Volume 2 (2005-2006)

Just in time for Xmas, Redstar Books announces that the second compilation of posts from Mac's Posthuman Blues blog, Posthuman Blues (2005 - 2006) Volume II, is now available, and can be purchased here.

The foreword to this volume is written by Radio Misterioso's own Greg Bishop.


"Posthuman Blues is of a piece with the Lost Generation of the 1920s and the Beat generation of the 1950s. Tonnies spoke for his generation with passion, eloquence, and a rare insight."

Aaron Gulyas, via the cover of  Posthuman Blues, Volume 2 (2005-2006)

Update, January 6, 2014:  I've just received my copy, and I'm happy to report that this volume is illustrated with photos and a number of Mac's drawings!

Aaron Gulyas reviews it in this blog post. And, here's the Amazon link.