While Seated, Date Descending [008]

Michael David Murphy
While Seated
Published in
6 min readMay 2, 2016


20160503_IMG_5984_MDM_6s.jpg — Of the belief that in a crowd like this, it makes sense to show your face.

20160505 — In the year since Trump announced his candidacy, I’ve watched “A Face in the Crowd” twice. It’s as politically wired as a film like “Network”, but twenty years earlier, and was written by Elia Kazan who had first-hand experience with the scourge of McCarthyism’s blacklist.

Great to see On the Media spend eight minutes on how a film from 1957 has found such resonance, sixty years later.

WNYC’s “On the Media” visits “A Face in the Crowd”
“Lonesome Rhodes” serenading a budding NPR correspondent in his jail cell — google image search

20160505 — I’ve been trying to figure out an easy, slim, unbranded, future-proof way of including audio files here in posts on Medium. I asked twitter, and The Great Ted Rheingold was kind enough to point me to the list of supported services at embeddly.

My dilemma was this; I want to host the files myself. I don’t trust that whichever audio host I select (even soundcloud) will be around a year or two from now, but as long as I pay my hosting bill, mine will.

As far as I can tell, none of the embeddly services support that kind of “host-it-yourself and here’s a configureable player” so you still have point a supported service at your hosted file. After mucking around with a few, I chose huffduffer, because they had the smallest, thinnest, unbranded player.

I used it once above, and once below. It’s an extra step, but that’s the world we’re in right now. (I used to use the Odeo embed code that allowed the same functionality, and it worked for years after Odeo had morphed into Twitter…)

20160504 — All I wanted was to see Bernie Sanders’ name on the front-page of nytimes.com the day after winning Indiana over Hillary Clinton.

20160503 — Screenshot because my tweets delete
20160503 — MDM Vine
20160503_rudd_24fps.gif — [MDM] Links to giphy, so you can grab it for yerself.

20160503 — Global news flash alert notification: I ate a table grape this weekend and it had more layers of flavor, nuance, subtlety & surprise than 95% of craft beer being produced in America today.

Casey in Glenwood Springs, Sante Adarius in Capitola, and The Rare Barrel in Berkeley are currently included in the 5% of American craft breweries making elixirs more memorable and flavorful than a simple table grape.


20160502 — If you think Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr haven’t been referenced (together) in a rap song before Hamilton, you may have forgotten “Lazy Sunday” (from 2009) which included this bit between verses about cupcakes.

(audio for Burr/Hamilton Lazy Sunday verse)
Screenshot [copy/paste]

20160502 — Had the not-so-original idea of taking the shot-by-shot remake Rudd/Fallon did of this classic Styx video, and paring them side-by-side, with the pretty-much-original idea of splitting the audio so Rudd sings out of the left channel, with Styx out of the right.

20160502 — Too_Much_Time_On_My_Hands__x2__-_YouTube.png
20160502 — What it looks like (on the left) when your 7 month old is sent in for surgery, and what he looks like (on the right) 24 hours later after rest and recovery.
20160429_IMG_5895_MDM_6s — When your fashion choice matches your surroundings.
20160430_IMG_5913_MDM_6s — When your fashion choice does not match your surroundings.
20160427_IMG_5850.jpg — Screenshot or a elliptical motivational poster?

20160501 — If you’ve seen Hamilton, or listened to the cast recording a few dozen times, ask yourself this: how much would you enjoy Hamilton if it were a fictional story about a founding father who never existed, nor died in a duel?

The musical is powerful not just because Hamilton is expertly crafted and a clear work of genius, but because it isn’t fantastical made-up nonsense from someone’s inflated imagination.

The fact that Hamilton is based on a true story (more than less) is the base for its secret sauce of success. If it weren’t, Hamilton would sound like every other overblown musical you’ve turned your ear to and thought, “how the hell can people listen to this?

I had a friend who tried to turn me on to the soundtrack for Rent ten years ago (when it was ten years old) and while I could appreciate the contemporariness of its subject matter, I couldn’t for the life of me begin to care about characters who were sketched from thin air, and I couldn’t understand why they were singing or what they were shouting about.

The conceit of a musical is so high: we’re all just singing and dancing for you — to non-fans-of-musicals, the barrier to entry is beyond us. I just can’t care about some phantom guy singing in a half-mask, anything related to Nathan Lane, or when sentences are sung (instead of spoken) for dramatic effect.

Truth (or the appearance of this nebulous, collectively-agreed-upon thing that’s usually called “truth”) exerts a kind of gravity that draws us in, makes us want to do to the extra work to know more and care.

20160501_fata_morgana.gif — A gif I made of a kid holding his pet fox in Werner Herzog’s Fata Morgana, which I saw on a crappy bootleg 20 years ago, and despite how Herzog thinks of his film as a science-fiction creation-myth, I still can’t resist falling asleep while watching, though there are clear and brilliant and moving moments like this bit of amazingness, above. Plus, the film has a quality I can only describe as “lensy”. There’s a specific way it’s photographed that makes you consider the superior quality of the lenses through which the film was made.
IMG_5492.JPG — I figured that if I was going to try watching Fata Morgana one more time, I might as well roll my own double feature and pair it with this double-IPA from Swedish contract brewers Omnipollo, who make Fata Morgana double IPA. Months ago, seeing a bottle of this in the store, I heard a chime from a memory that wasn’t so clear — I knew that I knew that I knew something once called Fata Morgana, but had no idea what it was, until a selection of Herzog’s documentaries came streaming across Mubi this Spring. (Sometimes when I walk our dog Cronkite around the neighborhood, kids ask if she’s a wolf.)

“I observed on the set there was a one-legged chicken and the other chicken went after it and killed and ate it. Chickens are cannibalistic and we do not know what we are eating when we’re eating chicken.

We’ve got the feeling that (chickens) are nice creatures, but they are cannibals, they are vile. They are vile and base. They are debased animals with a profound stupidity that is frightening. When you look into the eyes of a chicken — just look at it very carefully, it’s kind of frightening, because it’s such a flat stare.”

— Werner Herzog (9min 40sec into this recently published 2006 Hot Docs interview)

When I lived on an island off the coast of Maine in a lighthouse, there was a phenomena I never photographed (I didn’t have a good camera back then) but I saw all the time. It’s called Fata Morgana, and it’s when there’s a weird, shifting mirage in the distance (in the desert, or ocean) where an object appears to be levitating above the horizon.

From the island, we usually saw big cruise boats or passing tankers affected by this thermal inversion, but I have a clear memory of seeing Monhegan Island, the whole huge island itself, lifting off the surface of the water one summer morning. (Or was it a dream?)

And then this photo of the Farallon Islands reminded me I’d seen it while riding my bike to work across the Golden Gate Bridge when I lived in San Francisco and worked in Sausalito.




Michael David Murphy
While Seated

Photographer, Writer, Non-Profiteer.