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My Interview with a Famous Tomato Soup Can September 17, 2008

Posted by whatacharacter in Art, humor, life.
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Interview with a Soup Can
by G.H. Humes © 2008

Warhol’s Campbells Tomato Soup Can

The following is a rare exclusive interview with Andy Warhol’s famous can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup [TM reg. pat. off.], which was Campbell’s first brand of soup originating in1897, appearing in the upper left corner of Warhol’s renowned “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” series of 1962.

This insightful talk offers a rare candid glimpse into the trend setting New York art scene of the early 60’s. How excited I was to be able to interview such a star icon of pop culture! The can obliged to meet with me with the provision that no Swiss army knives or oyster crackers could be in the room. [note: all instances of referring to the can as “Tom” have been removed at the agent’s request.]

I: Thank you for you time Tomato Soup can. It’s been over 46 years since being discovered by Andy Warhol, and making it to the top of the silk-screening scene at “The Factory” in New York City. Your popularity today shows no signs of drawing back. How did you feel back then, going from one factory canning process, to another in art at “The Factory”?

Can: “ ”

I:  Yes, it is indeed one of those existential questions without easy or utter-able answers.  I suppose it was by random chance you were preserved from consommé or otherwise consumed existence (self referring laughter ensues). Tell us how are you feeling after all these years?

Can: “Exp. date Nov 1969”

I:  *laughs* Many of us feel past our expiration dates by a certain age, but certainly you don’t look too yellow around the label. Time has been good, and I’m sure you’ve seen much. Care to relate any wild tales from the NY art scene of the 60s?

Can: “ ”

I: Your hesitancy is natural, and if you prefer to keep your memories private we’d understand … but could you offer perhaps just one tidbit of enlightenment to our readers?

Can: “condensed”

I: Indeed! The confluence of diverse inspirational catalysts certainly permeated the very air in those heady times! Besides Mr Warhol himself, who else would you say were some of the top movers and shakers in those days?

Can: “ ”

I: Perhaps you speak of John Cage. It would be hard to say who else, with so many of the avant-garde counter-culture running around The Factory – like musicians Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico … filmakers, photographers, painters, actors … and who can forget Ultra Violet, or Edie Sedgwick?
How do you feel that the highest price paid for any of the Soup Cans was $11.66 million US in 2006, for a torn labeled Pepper Pot can … and not Tomato?

Can: “ ”

I:  As diplomatic an answer as I can imagine. I’ve felt it somewhat gauche that certain puerile interests in human nature find cans in various states of undress more provocative.
It’s interesting to me that few realize that there were 32 different Campbell’s soup can flavors appearing in the original 1962 show, yet you remain the most iconic of the group!
Do you think the Chicken with Stars soup can is still as presumptuous as back then? And what do you say about the modern “Healthy Choice” low sodium can version of you today?

Can: “ ”

I: Tactful answer. Yes, probably best not to say without your lawyers present. However, if I may ask … which do you prefer, mixing with water or milk?!

Can: “ ”

I: *laughs*  Maybe you burned the photos by now. Quite the steamy pot running around the streets of the Village back then, eh wot?
Regarding Warhols choice to pick you as a pop icon: it seems he consumed quantities of similar soup substances before holding you up before the world. It’s been debated whether someone’s suggestion prompted him, nevertheless he was quoted as saying “I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it.”
How do you feel about that statement?

Can: “ ”

I: Truer words could not be said … the genius that you are! (applauds)
Well Tomato Soup Can, we certainly appreciate your time *not* opening up to us, as you might smell a bit by now …but we certainly hope you continue to enjoy your sweet success maintaining stark reverence to basic patented consumer marketing … or wait, were you supposed to parody that?

Can: “ ”

I: Zen indeed, Tomato Soup Can! Zen indeed! Let the reader judge for hermself.

More exciting new for next month readers! We pop the lid on Duchamp’s toilet seat, and who knows what we’ll find!? Perhaps old sticky dada?


Zip Zan Zinkle April 8, 2008

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs.
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What is this place?

How time flies …

I’ve busy trying to solve the paradoxical conundrum:

if 2 x “U” = Double “U”


howcome half of “W” = “V” ??

Why I hate Jazz May 1, 2007

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, music.
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Hate is a strong word, and I really don’t mean it that way.

I love all music, it’s just that Jazz has an uncomfortableness to it. It’s too much like life. Too many ups and downs and speed changes. Jazz is messy and complicated … like life.

Rock, blues, R&B, and pop command a steady familiarity we can enjoy and be comfortable with. It’s nice to catch on to a catchy melody, or a good beat you can dance to. And really, what’s more steady and comfortable than that old boot, Country/Western – a massively popular style? Okay, maybe that’s too simple even for me … but that’s not to deny the power of it’s basic, comfortable beat.

Some jazz can blend into a nice groove, but it demands too much sophistication and confidence with life for me to like it much right now. To get into jazz, one needs some rarified air to breathe, and zeal to exude. It requires training to quickly get into attack positions, and rip into something. But the air is getting sucked out of life now, and everything is making me uncomfortable, and so, jazz is more than I can handle at the moment.

Not to say I don’t admire jazz. It’s real – and abstract at the same time. The players who play it are the best. They have style, fire, and can deal with the uncomfortable complexities of their music. They seem to handle life like a stone groove, man. They’re copacetic.

Not grumpy old me today. I think I’ll go listen to some Conway Twitty.

Uncut Crystals April 6, 2007

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs, mind, spiritual, useful.
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gems12.jpgWhile attempting to shine on my crazy diamond, it occured to me that rare flawless clear perfection is not always the order of the day. Diamonds are quite commonplace. In fact, the production of gem-quality diamond exceeds sixty million carats. This equals twelve metric tons and would fill about 145 bushel baskets ( could be more, but market production is closely regulated). The diamond is more of a McGemstone, really … consider that the next time you pony up a few thou’ for yer girl’s best friend.

Unless you are some “fancy” diamond, there are gems more valuable – and precious. Per carat pricing show Sapphire, Emeralds and Rubies have all out-priced diamonds at different times in history. Even pearls, a looongtime ago. Current claims today are made that actually Emeralds are most valuable by weight, Rubies by rarity, and a Jade necklace was the most expensive market jewelry of all, selling at auction for a cool 9.3 million USD.

It just shows that a little rare brilliance, color, softness and fire is sometimes preferable to the hard cool common diamond. Variety out sparkles conformity.

Remember this as earth’s pressures squeeze you into a molecular configuration you never dreamed possble, and shine on you crazy aluminum oxide, with trace elements of chromium oxide (ruby).

What to Order? March 26, 2007

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs, useful.
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Where ever one ventures to consume the morsels of a local favor – whether a taqueria, street-side bistro or cafe – simply order “one,” with “please,” in the local venacular. Whatever then you receive is no doubt the best of what that establishment has to offer, and you should be most satisfied.

Another tip gleaned from experience: when expected to wait, on a list, at some busy restaurant, always leave the name “Lee.” It is phonetically simply to relate, remember, and hear when called.

For those requiring a more baroque flourish, “Cartwright” may be used.

Know your Avoirdupois March 26, 2007

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I recently was befuddled to realize my scant error in confusing the dram measure of ounces, not realizing the Apothocaries weight equalled 8 drams to an ounce, compared to the Avoirdupois of 16 into 1.

A common mistake I am sure, however I trust my barkeep will indulge my discretion whether my wee dram order of Laphroaig will measure into the standard, or take on medicinal proportions.


I’d rather not talk about it … December 6, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs, life.

Today’s blog will be about all the things I’d rather not talk about right now. This pretty much sums it up for me. Just thought I’d share this with you and the world … on this blog. Today. I realize it isn’t saying much, but there ya go.

I will say this:

I’ll tell ya what “Brown does for me.”


UPS better find out what made my spiffy new custom ordered Toshiba Tecra M7 Tablet laptop PC, get signed over as “DELIVERED,” to someone named “Barrow” at the “Dock” location, in Seattle. I know it wasn’t to me … and I’ve been soooo waiting for this because its a freekin’ spiffy TABLET laptop and has cost me many thousands of dollars, and I thought I’d do some really great art stuff on it – for work, and 3D for my portfolio – and it would be the answer to all my problems, and Clarence the angel would get his wings, and …

well, I’d guess I’d rather not talk about it.

El deformación del tiempo November 20, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs.
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Stats are so fun to look at. Some poor soul even went to the trouble of translating this blog into spanish. I found it most amusing to read … even with my intermediate understanding of that language. Note: title is “The Time Warp” from my riff-raff pic on “about.”

My tribute post declaring the 100th anniversary of the first animated feature, always gets hits from people looking for “Happy Birthday Animation!” Sorry for the disappointing lack of of an actual birthday animation to put up on yer Myspace … I’ll choose my semantix more carefully next time.

A rough pencil sketch of “The Ramones” is quite popular in Italy for some reason … which is totally cool.

My proudest accomplishment is increasing the awareness of Slovenian beehive folk art. My post on the matter gets about one hit a day, which for me is amazing … and again, amusing!

Viva la revolucion de la informacion!

Hitler! September 15, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs.
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Nope I’m not drunk, nor anything close to nutzi. Just figured this a natural follow-up on the previous discussion on the nature of God and associated spiritual matters. Like the old joke how you know you’ve had too much to drink when the conversation regresses to views on God and/or Hitler, I guess I’m naturally inclined to such deep introspective notions without the tequila shots.

So, here tis: Hitler was a very,very,very,very,very,very,very baaaaaaad man, and I find most people agree. An interesting quote from a metal musician of a dark gimmicky genre goes “people may not agree on what’s good, but everybody knows what’s bad.”

Profound. Often I find that by allowing oneself the awareness of the antithesis of a matter, ones gains a better understanding of the the opposite focus.

Quite a few folk I know, myself included, approached a faith in God coming out of a dark, negative metaphysical outlook, i.e., if there’s evil, then there’d better be good too!

An excellent piece in this weeks Newsweek An Alternative September 11 History” by Jonathan Alter, illustrates this by painting a picture of what it would be like now, had Prez Bush made some decisions along the way that made sense. Nothing quite hi-lighted his mistakes better than viewing the alternative. So too, it stoked my ire to a greater degree.

But what about necessary evils … such as roof-of-mouth ripping Cap’n Crunch, aerobic excercise, … and AOL Instant Messenger?

I finally got AIMed because at work it’s the de facto communications channel. I had been aware of the evil potential of this tool, from hearing the constant annoying “BOODLY-BOOP” my kids responded to, plus the decrepit level of “l33t” semantics one is required to sink to.

Conversation at the office is now largely supplanted by this tool, when one could just as simply turn around, or lean over the cubicle wall to directly ask a human question. Really, is asking “Excuse me but…?” any less intrusive than a “BOODLY-BOOP?” Heck, no one hardly even uses email anymore.

Anyhoo, I am now gregoogly on AIM, and there most mornings and afternoons, if anyone wants to endure some very sloppy sparse typing from me. At least the distant communication benefit I can better accept.

Best for you! September 7, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in humor, just my blogs, life.

Best for you Best for you Best for you.

It’s written all over the quirky Chinese greeting card we got this summer.

“Only the person

cherish ones youth

He is the most beautiful person in the world. ”

Only a drunk Confucius could have said it better … cherish it because just as the summer ends and the flower fades, so goes life. That’s the gist of the physical part of it, and I’ve been feeling it a lot lately.

I wasn’t quick enough to save the Hotmail account I’ve had forever. Fully aware of the 30 day log-in or die expiration, I managed to lapse and lose years of emails I’ve hoarded. I bet I missed it by a day too. Everything changes, nothing’s permanent. My memory fails to recall if I’ve even lost anything special … probably just a lot of old jokes.

Even as I complete another Solar revolution next month, my vow will be to remain the most immature 40-somethingish year old alive, while cashing in on a wealth of experience. I guess I’m hitting real middle-age now, and it’s probably time to get real, having spent my twenties acting 30s, and my thirties acting 20s. The 40s are the 40s.

Like the waning days of summer, the 40s are full of desperate energy among busy bees, and graceful loss of chlorophyll in trees.