Ask A Genius 561 – Mosaics for the Wife; From Russia with Love

June 29, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You are really into mosaics. When we met years ago, you had a bunch.

Rick Rosner: Micromosaics, Carole decided she likes micromosaics. These are very, very, sometimes incredibly, small mosaic is showing flowers, which are for poor tourists who can spend $10 or the 1920 equivalent of $10 showing costume jewellery.

Then there are those showing Roman ruins for richer tourists. They are nor more than 2 inches across, some of them. Some have thousands of shards of glass in tiny mosaics. I have been busted ones, cheap, repairing them, and giving them to Carole.

Every once in a while, I’ll go to Etsy or larger, regular-ish ones. But they almost all suck. They’re just not good because, in America, making good mosaics is not a thing. What happened is paint by numbers kits, you’re probably too old.

Paint by numbers, in the ‘50s, and into the ‘60s, there was this drive for people to create art; it’s probably less now, because there are other things to do and you can create better stuff on your computer. You can use computer graphics to make decent looking stuff.

People were limited before and people made paint by numbers. You get a board. You get a set of a dozen colors and a little paint brush. The little tubs of paint half of an inch across would be labelled with a number.

There would be a number and with an outline. It told you what colour, what number, to paint on that board. When you were done, you had a not great looking little painting that you painted by yourself by numbers, similarly, there were mosaic kits.

It allowed people to make mosaics with tiles. They weren’t great looking because you were taking the little square tiles, gluing them down, grouting them, and then you’d end up with a primitive thing that you use as a trivet or can hang on your wall.

They were popular in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and maybe into the ‘70s. They weren’t artistically sophisticated. Then American got the idea that these are what mosaics are, not great. A fancy person, unless they were into retro-kitch, a low of these mosaics now, from the ‘50s, might sell for $50 to $100 if you can find them on eBay.

They are kitchy, but not super great art. When I look around for decent mosaics, there aren’t that many. Sometimes, one will showup out of the Vatican mosaic factory because the Vatican was the originator of the post-ancient Roman decent mosaic because in the 15th or 16th century; the Pope decided to replace a bunch of frescoes across the Vatican City with mosaics because the frescoes were getting wrecked by the moisture of tens of thousands of tourists breathes. He hired a bunch of craftsmen to get trained to make mosaics that are so good looking and so precise.

You can’t tell that they’re not paintings. Unless, you’re standing a couple of feet away from them. It led to the mosaic workshop, the Vatican mosaic workshop, which is still in business. They made, maybe, 9,000 mosaics that can be sold to people who can afford them in the 300 years since they became a commercial enterprise.

Every once in a while, those will go for auction and sell for a couple of thousand bucks. At least those very decent mosaics are out there, but there aren’t that many of them, looking around a few days ago on Etsy, I came across people making decent mosaics out of St. Petersburg, Russia, where, in Russia, I still think people make decent mosaics.

I don’t think the reputation of mosaics was wrecked by a bunch of crappy mosaics as they were in America. Obviously, there are still people in Russia making decent mosaics without a lot of grout showing and close to photorealistic and look like somebody made and effort and look like what they portray.

My wife likes flowers. There are mosaics of flowers that look like somebody worked from a detailed photo of flowers and turned it into micromosaics and looks pretty close to what must have been the original photo.

They are cool. I am using Google Translate to talk to these people in Russia. So, the F.B.I. probably already have a dossier on me because I am a weirdo who tweets a lot. This should be in such a file because I am communicating in Russia with a couple people in Russia via Google Translate.

Eventually, I might end up owning, and might get one of these for several hundred bucks, which is a good deal for a competent mosaic compared to $3,000 for one that came out of the Vatican factory. Here is a tip if you are using Google Translate, which gets better and better, it has been around since 2007.

It has a bunch of languages now. The languages are pretty decent. You’d think there’s no way to tell because you don’t speak the language you’re translating into it. There is one way. Copy and paste or cut and paste the set, set it aside, but then they have these reverse arrows that take the translation and translate it back into English, then you can read the message as Google Translate translated the Russian back into English, so, you can proof it to see if it makes sense, if it isn’t saying anything inadvertently offensive.

You still don’t know what it says in Russian, but you do have Google’s translation of Russian back into English. It will not be exactly what you wrote in English. But how close it is to what you originally wrote in English is an indication of how decent the translation is, it is a nice way to check your work to make sure you’re not saying something incomprehensible or offensive to the Russian.

There is a game that you can play back and forth. You can do it back and forth multiple times. It can begin to sound really weird. Anyway, the end.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.


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License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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