Ryan McGinley: 

Black Star. Dakota Hair. Golden Grassland. Tumbleweed.

What do rats hallucinate about?

Do dolphins sleepwalk?

Do sharks ever have nightmares?

Last night I was tuning my violin and a shark lurking in the shallow depths of the water beached itself in front of me and dug its teeth into the crook of my left arm, slowly, painlessly, remaining there.

the tattoo collector

Photograph of Dr. Katsunari Fukushi, reproduced from the article “Remains to be Seen”, in Tattoo Time Volume 4: Life & Death Tattoos, by Don Ed Hardy (1987).


Recently, I realized that Motown hits, like modern pop songs, are extremely formulaic. However, since there were so many fewer synthesizers, effects, and recording tricks available in the Motown era  it’s way easier to follow the formula and churn out a Motown instrumental. 

I exhausted my library of Motown songs and wrote down the commonalities between my favorite hits. Then, I wrote down the formula, instrument by instrument. Here are a few of the components:

“Basic pop chord progression”

“Twinkly four-bar piano riff with rolling transition”

“Claps on the 1,2,3,4”

“Horn blasts on the ‘one-and’ with syncopated decoration”

“Strings on the chorus”

“Syncopated upright bass riff”

“Intense layering”

Finally, I added the instruments, made up a lighthearted melody, and, lacking vocals, added a few snippets from a ominous 1963 conversation about Vietnam between LBJ and Senator Russell.  Voila! 

Now I just need a vocalist to sing a set of equally-formulaic Motown lyrics. Any takers?



Listeria monocytogenes somersaulting his way to his next prey.

new year’s resolution

Tokyo, 11.07

Surprising that Tokyo doesn’t have gates set up inside subway stations to prevent people from jumping into the tracks, like Seoul. Instead they have signs telling people to push an emergency button to alert the conductor in case something happens in the tracks.

It’s like the difference between eastern and western medicine—preventative care vs. symptomatic relief—except this is all in Asia so it’s confusing.

Iceland, 06.07

Driving out of Keflavik you pass by moss-covered rock remnants that make you want to peel off their green skin, much the way you’d peel off pomegranate skin.

Barren, so far so. Rainy.

How do they determine the color of a roof?

Here the houses in neighborhoods are all intimately and tightly packed in and yet it doesn’t feel claustrophobic, appearing instead as though the backyards are converging and overlapping for friendly rendezvous.

Reykjavik domestic airport: I’ve come to the tiniest airport much too early. It almost looks like a child’s lego construction of what an airport should look like, a building painted in IKEA colors, equipped with an area for eating, checking in, waiting, playing and taking off. There are only 3 gates. See Figure 1. Right now a tubby man, bald with glasses sliding down his nose, is playing at one of the arcade machines. See Figure 2. He just left and came back with more money. The machine keeps playing xylophonic arpeggios. Another old man has joined him. 

Near Snaefell in eastern Iceland the land is so expansive and the population density so sparse that each swan gets its own pond to wade around in.

The nature of temptations you face here is different. Like should you cross the river in the old grandfather subaru?

Hitchhiked to and from the nature bath in Lake Myvatn. Two old men driving me back to Reykhalid say Krafla? That’s too far by foot! You should’ve come with us, if only we’d known! Apparently the travel buddies best suited for my stamina are 80 year old men, and I am quite alright with that.

Only SUBWAY® here. No Starbucks or any other American chain.