January 7, 2009
A recent series of posts on the web site of First Things magazine looks at what could be described as a reactionary moment on the part of some folk and roots musicians in Québec and around the world... and we're not talking The Goldwaters (Wikipedia). [more inside]
Newsfilter: It's that time of the year again, though now it seems to be more serious. Russia stopped all gas supply to Europe via Ukraine on Wednesday, January 7, 2009. The EU depends on Russia for about a quarter of its total gas supplies, some 80% of which is pumped through Ukraine. At least seventeen countries are affected, many of them severely as Russia is their primary or only source of gas. [more inside]
If you were a fan of late-nite horror movies in Northern California during the 1970's, you likely spent Saturday nights watching Bob Wilkins, the droll, cigar-smoking host of Creature Features. An unlikely horror-show host, Wilkins' deadpan delivery and apparent disdain for the show's films (he reguarly suggested his audience change the channel) made Creature Features a show not to be missed. Bob Wilkins passed away today after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Mantyhose, they are all the rage. Not sure where to get a pair of your own? Look no further. Once you have obtained your new pair of mantyhose, learn how to put them on.
Salon has an article up which is a pretty solid summary of why marijuana is illegal.
Welcome to Lily Dale the largest spiritualist community in the world. Just an hour south of Buffalo, NY-- it boasts an extensive summer program of lectures, workshops as well as the world’s most powerful mediums. Stop by for a reading, hunt for ghosts and see the house where the Fox Sisters first got started. [more inside]
"So I found out yesterday that the soundstage for "The Wire" still existed. I wasted no time in visiting it and was there almost less than 24 hours [sic]. It's one of my favorite TV shows ever and I had to see this before everyone ruined it. The building is also scheduled for demolition and they are going to build a super market on it." NOTE: LINK CONTAINS SPOILERS [more inside]
R. Stevie Moore likes to stay home and play himself some music. Having done so for over 42 years--that's over 2000 songs and 400 albums--he has become the undisputed grandfather of do-it-yourself psychedelic pop and punk. Tagged for decades as underground, an outsider and criminally ignored local genius, R. Stevie is now exploiting and exploding that myth, no short thanks to the internets. Here's where he has scattered his recordings; here are two places where he keeps his home-made videos. WFMU archives his pioneering appearances on their great radio station from 1978-1998. Finally, here are two complete albums' worth of his Greatest "Hits": Hobbies Galore (1973-2005) and Tra La La Phooey (1959-2003). Long Live R. Stevie!
Proving that humor can be found in any tragedy, conservative website PajamasTV has named "Joe the Plumber" its "war correspondent" in Israel. Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who claimed that a vote for Obama was a vote for the death of Israel, has recently been writing an "insider" book critical of John McCain's campaign for the presidency.
Flickr stream. "...[T]he 5′X10′ diorama is comprised of 60,000 Lego bricks. It cost creator Mark Borlase about $3,000 and four years of construction time to complete." Take note of his custom LEGO pieces. [via]
Enjoy the Travel Film Archive on YouTube. They have tons of videos from the 1900s through to the 1970s. For example, you can learn about that wonderful island South of India, Ceylon.
Seattle area gay bars received a very strange and threatening letter yesterday. Dan Savage believes it might have been sent by a gay person. Here is Savage's first post about the letter.
A Loft Filled with Dirt, the Man Who's Cared for it for 19 Years is a short film about Bill Dilworth, who has maintained Walter De Maria's installation, The New York Earth Room for the past 19 years. One of three "Earth Room" pieces De Maria made in the 1960's and 70's, the NY project is the only one still in existence.
The Washing Machine That Ate My Sari: Mistakes in Cross-Cultural Design is a fascinating article about making cross-culturally sensitive products for the Indian market. The title refers to how the Whirlpool company's introduction of the World Washer into India proved to be a financial disaster, because a millimeter gap between the washer's agitator and its drum ended up shredding most traditional Indian clothing. You can also read about how the Indian preference for warm milk at breakfast turned Kellogg's corn flakes into a big flop in India.
I know how Mefi loves bacon. Here's a tasty-looking appetizer for all you crafty types who want to combine your love of pork with your weaving skills.
Wayne Martin Belger is an artist who creates pinhole cameras out of some unusual materials... like human skulls, for example.
Space elevator just broke? Wondering what's going to happen? Wonder no more!
Scientists at the Auckland Museum will be performing a necropsy of a great white Shark between 11am and 1pm New Zealand time on Thursday. Though they will be examining the contents of its gut, they will also, among other things, look at its sex organs (female) and jaw. The necropsy will be viewable on the web from 2pm NZ time (when's that?). [more inside]
A perfect space storm, which happens about every century, like the one that occurred in 1859, could cause "catastrophic social and economic disruptions", according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences on behalf of NASA. "Potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply and so on," the report states. Outages could take months to fix, the researchers say. Banks might close, and trade with other countries might halt. The next peak in solar activity is expected around 2012.
“You can’t roll a joint on an iPod” or how the iPod killed the music industry. First the music biz overlooked the computer CD rom when they put copy control on cd burners. Then they eliminated the single. Shortly after that "mp3" replaced "sex" as the most popular search term. Apple has become the largest music seller largely against the wishes of the music biz, but 99 cents beats free. Yesterday Apple announced they were eliminating DRM. The questions remains, who needs Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and EMI, does Apple? When is Apple just going to replace them? There were rumors a year ago that they would launch a record label with Jay-Z but that does not appear to have come to fruition.
Maximum Fraud: Ramalinga Raju, the Chairman of India's fourth largest exporter of IT services, Satyam Computer Services has admitted to falsifying records of at least five thousand crore rupees. Indian regulators are horrified, competitors shocked, chaos has ensued. [more inside]
In these difficult economic times, what's a museum to do? Is an art collection a financial asset or a trust to be held in perpetuity? These questions are being raised by The National Academy in New York's recent sale (or "deaccessioning" in museum lingo) of two important paintings for $15 million to shore up its finances, first reported by Lee Rosenbaum's ArtsJournal blog. The museum's director told The New York Times that it was the only way for the 183-year-old academy, which runs a chronic operating deficit, to survive. The Association of Art Museum Directors censured the Academy and called on its members to suspend any loans of art to the institution. New York lawyer Donn Zaretzky's ArtLaw Blog has become ground zero for a fascinating debate involving art critics, museum directors, financial bloggers and others.
Every year the Strategy Team at Saxo Bank, a Danish virtual bank, publishes a list of ten black swan class market events. Some of the more dramatic possibilities Saxo advance for 2009: crude trading down to $25 a barrel causing severe social unrest in Iran, the S&P 500 falling to 500, Chinese GDP approaching zero and several member states dropping the Euro. The complete 2009 list is here and for completeness their 2008 [ .pdf ] , 2007 [ .pdf ] and 2006 lists [ .pdf ] are also available. [more inside]