Deer, Grapefruit and Ricky Jay

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This is a new format for me. For the next week or so I'm going to keep track of what I find on the web that really tweaks my noodle and I'm going to post about it. I guess that's what a weblog is supposed to be - a log of your web browsing - but in the past I've always tried to turn it (unsuccessfully) into a place for long form essays.

Browsing kottke.org this morning I was dazzled by this cover of the Beyonce song Single Ladies by Pomplamoose. It's in a format that they're calling a "Videosong" where everything you hear is shown at some point and there's no lip-synching or pantomime. If someone is playing an instrument, you're hearing what they played.

Constrained art forms like this often yield amazing results. It's as though the harder it is to fit your art into a certain shape the harder you end up working to fit the requirements. Of course, that also means you work harder on it than you would otherwise. Pomplamoose's results aren't typical, but they are incredible.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIr8-f2OWhs]

It's hard to describe exactly how much I love watching Ricky Jay at work. He operates on some other plane that gives him enough insight into other people to bend them to his will. Seeing him relieve this group of unsuspecting marks of their pocket money is like watching a live-action Mamet film.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHxVpRvlCfI]

For years I've been laboring under the delusion that a male deer is called a "hart", which is true, but only if you were born several centuries ago or you're talking about heraldry.

According to the Wikipedia the proper modern name for a male deer is a "stag", but only if they're medium sized. If they're very large they're called a "bull". I'm continually fascinated by the huge portion of the English vocabulary that's reserved for describing animals, especially game animals.