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In Praise of Shadows

I got a new book on the Kindle, it's by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki and he wrote it in 1933. An English translation was made in 1977. The introduction said that shadows are to light what empty space is to an architect. Or something. Heck, why don't I just quote the intro? Charles Moore (School of Architecture, UCLA) said it better than me.

It comes with the thrill of a slap for us then to hear praise of shadows and darkness. So it is when there comes to us the excitement of realizing that musicians everywhere make their sounds to capture silence or that architects develop complex shapes just to envelop empty space. Thus darkness illuminates for us a culture very different from our own, but at the same time it helps us to look deep into ourselves to our own inhabitation of our world, as it describes with spine-tingling insights the traditional Japanese inhabitation of theirs. It could change our lives.

Well, sure, we hope that every book we read will change our lives, and sometimes they do. Anyway it seemed like an interesting book to read. The artist of the current story, Norman Maurer, for example really liked shadows. And solid blacks. Oog, that sort of thing is what I really need to learn how to do. Stick a bunch of solid blacks in there. I think it's more obvious with black and white comics but I heard some guy (who was behind a table at a comic convention, which showed some kind of expertise (either that or extreme fanaticism)) say that solid blacks are what people look at the longest when they read a comic.

Yeah, he may have been just repeating something he'd heard his art professor say. I wonder if he was living out of his van.

Oh yeah, also last week the big tech companies kicked Alex Jones off of their platforms. Some people thought that this was the start of a big tech push, but truth be told, the tech companies have been booting right-wingers off of their platforms for about a year now. A list compiled the other day by included Chuck Johnson, Milo Yiannopoulos, Andrew Torba, Sam Hyde, Baked Alaska, Roger Stone, Martin Shkreli, Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, Anthony Cumia, Tommy Robinson, Paul Golding, Jayda Fransen, Sabo, Red Elephants, Owen Benjamin, Hunter Avallone, and most recently Gavin Mcinnes.

Yeah, I remember Milo got kicked off Twitter because he said that the Ghostbusters remake was a shitty movie. They sure showed him!

I wonder where this will end. Seeya next week!

Comic transcript

We're looking at a classic Crimebuster comic today and for the next couple of weeks. Like all of them it has no given title, but it's packed with action! If you would like to know what it's about, just read the angry caption on page one but remember to come back to this page for the latest!

Billy Bates runs up to the admission gate at the race track in 1948. "Am I in time for the third?" he asks, and the guy says "You will be if you hurry in! The betting windows close in one minute!"

Billy runs next to the betting window and holds $2K through the bars. "$2,000 on New Baby to win!" The guy replies "Yessir - that's number six - you just made it!"

Now Billy's trying to push through a crowd of people at the track. We see "They're off!" in large wiggling letters at the top of the comic panel so we know the horses have started running. "Hey - let me through!" cries Billy, "Good grief - here I have two grand on a horse and I can't even get near enough to see the race."

I wonder if that was the plot of a recurring nightmare for Charles Biro.

Billy grabs the shoulder of another fellow wearing a tie in the middle of the day just like him. "Who won? Who won?" asks Billy.

The blond guy with the tie angrily tears up his ticket. "Some @@!!##Z!! Long shot - number six!"

Billy staggers up to the board where they put up the racing results by hand. He holds his head in disbelief. "Number six - that's New Baby! An' great guns - look at the price it's payin'!" The board says that the "Win" bet returned $84.30 for a two dollar bet.

Billy smiles broadly as he walks away from the betting window with his money. "Over eighty-four grand!" he says, "Boy! That puts me in the chips! Let's see - I pay bookie odds at the 20-1 limit - that means I owe Gabby $42,000 and collect over forty grand for myself! Wow!" The guy at the window looks after Billy's retreating figure with a quiet expression.

Now Billy's on a plane again? Or a bus? I dunno. He thinks to himself "Yippeeee!! Oh, man, is this my lucky day! I can't wait to get back home! I'll pay off Gabby and then I'll do some splurging... and with all this dough, maybe I'll give up book-making! This sure was a close call for me!"

Billy's back outside Beris Pool Room, his bookie hangout. He's counting out his money to the little ugly fella with the disfiguring scar. "Forty," says Billy, "Forty-one, forty-two grand! There it is, Scar!"

Scar tastes his cigarette with his tongue. "Sa...a...ay, you're okay! The boss was afraid you might not pay off, when I told him how you squawked about takin' the bet - but you came through - smart boy!"

Yeah because you threatened to kill him if he didn't take your bet.

Scar thinks for a bit, then says to Billy "Of course, it wouldn't have been very healthy for you, if you hadn't paid off!"

Billy's like aw shucks. "I can imagine! Just tell your boss I did it this once, but I can't handle big bets like that any more! As a matter of fact, tell 'im I'm gettin' out of the game!"

Oh, gosh! I don't think Scar or the Boss want to hear talk like that!

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