June 18, 2010
Alex Cox, director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, and one-time presenter of Moviedrome, which was a cult movie education for an entire generation of British people, has posted a ton of free stuff on his site: 10000 ways to die (pdf) - his book on Spaghetti Westerns, the Moviedrome guide parts 1 and 2 (pdf), a video defence of Walker (quicktime), and much much more.
JJ Cromer is a self-taught painter, whose dense, liney work reminds me of Howard Finster and Basil Wolverton.
(Late) Friday Flash Fun: Faultline is a clever platformer where you can fold parts of the level to advance.
What if our beloved modern devices had been invented in the past? Say around 1977? Introducing the Pocket Hi-Fi, The Laptron 64, MobileVoxx, and the Microcode 3000!
Although people have been worried about correct speech for thousands of years, it's apparently the status anxieties of modern societies that create the market for usage advice in which artificial "rules" can spring up and spread, independent of the genuine norms of speaking and writing. [via]
Near the Egress. "Over 800 modern dryplate tintypes were made from b&w film to produce this experimental stop-motion video of a circus. Antonio Martinez created this video to serve as a desired childhood memory of the circus, but through the mind of an adult." [Via]
If you listen close enough you'll hear police sirens in the distance, water pipes humming, Chinese sweatshop workers listening to Chinese language radio programs and singing traditional Chinese sweatshop songs. And yes, even a barking dog somewhere in the distance. This is the sound that surrounds the sound of Man Man, a cast of characters who rotate around one Ryan Kattner (a.k.a. Honus Honus), a grown fellow who was once a military brat who missed the 1980s pop music of the United States. Based in Philadelphia, but not part of the scene, the band mixes a lot of influences. Though (too) often likened to Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, and Captain Beefheart, Honus said "It's beyond flattering... but I just don't possess the same kinds of things those guys do." Their sound has also been likened to circus music, Viking vaudeville and manic Gypsy jazz, but the band has always insisted that what it plays is pop music. "Pop music has something catchy about it, whether it's a vocal or a rhythm or a keyboard line, whatever it is," said Pow Pow (real name Christopher Powell). Whatever their sound, they gained enough notoriety to tour with Modest Mouse (who they called "a gateway drug to better music"), and they're still at it. But enough with the words, time for some music videos! 10lb Moustache and Rabbit Habits are the two official videos, though Engrish Bwudd has inspired a number of fan-made vids, and even a belly dancing number. (More words and music inside) [more inside]
“People talk a little more of the war, but very little. As always hitherto, it is impossible to overhear any comments on it in the pubs, etc. Last night, E[ileen] and I went to the pub to hear the 9 o’c news. The barmaid was not going to have it on if we had not asked her, and to all appearances nobody listened.”On May 28, 1940, George Orwell began keeping a war time diary. Printed in “full and in chronological order” by the Orwell Trust, 70 years after he wrote them, with selected historian’s notes. Pre-war entries are a little duller, focusing on topics like recipes (macon!), the weather, gardening and farming. (Previously)
Shodo 'Arabi. "An appreciation of calligraphy is a lifelong interest for many Japanese, and for some, acquiring proficiency at it is a lifelong study. Yet, over the past two decades, a few have quietly put down their fude and picked up a bamboo qalam to try their hand at calligraphy in Arabic, which, they often find, is not as alien as they had thought."
The long awaited Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened this morning at Universal's Islands of Adventure to much fanfare, including appearances by many of the movies' stars. [more inside]
Bushmeat stew: complexities of a shadowy trade. Illegal bushmeat (estimated 270 tons a year) 'rife in Europe' Bushmeat, or wild-animal meat, has been part of the traditional diet of many forest-dwelling African people. It is found to introduce disease and might well be more common than you think. (wiki; related)
"Tone-Quester" is generally a musician (more than likely a guitarist) who purchases/modifies amps/pedals/cabinets in search of a certain sound. They fiercely pride themselves on being able to distinquish the differences between pickups, tube amps vs. transistor amps. With this in mind, Wolfe McCloud, a pickup designer, decided to challenge My Les Paul forum members. [more inside]
Girls suck at video games (vimeo)
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Vince Neil does it. Mike Ditka does it. Jeff Gordon does it. Even Madonna does it (with her dad). Now glam band rockers Whitesnake are doing it too, with Whitesnake Zinfandel.
The High Budgetary Cost of Incaceration (Full pdf) "The United States currently incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world. We calculate that a reduction in incarceration rates just to the level we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards) would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year, with the large majority of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments. As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion."
My Playground is a Danish documentary film by Kaspar Astrup Schröder about movement in urban space. The film explores the way Parkour and Freerunning is changing the perception of urban space and how the space is changing the traceurs and freerunners. [more inside]
Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, is an impairment which limits one's ability to recognize faces (previously). As part of the World Science Festival, Robert Krulwich interviews two famous suffers of this little known disease: the portrait artist Chuck Close and the neuroscientist and writer Oliver Sacks. [more inside]
Portuguese writer and 1998's Nobel Prize for Literature recipient José Saramago has died, age 87. [News link in Portuguese] He died in Lanzarote, Spain, where he had lived since a bust-up in the early 1990s with Portugal's government over his controversial book, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Saramago wrote nearly 30 books, and was cited for the Nobel as a writer "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality." No holiday for death, after all.
The Bollywood film "Dear Friend Hitler" has lost its Hitler, Anupam Kher, due to protests from India's Jewish Community. The film was to focus on "Hitler's love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence...to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia during the last few days of his life." Westerners may be puzzled by the project's flippancy towards its subject, but knowledge of the Holocaust is relatively slim in India, where Mein Kampf is a best-seller supposedly lumped in with Who Moved My Cheese. While Hitler may have lent some wispy nominal support to India's independence movement, the fact is most of the people who tried to draw a connection between Hitler's fortunes and that of India were just plain loons. [more inside]
10 Exotic Wooden Bathtubs: if I had the space and the money I would definitely get one of these gorgeous tubs; I particularly like the Maax Viaggi, Sasso Ocean and Adagio. [more inside]
From 1979 to the end of the '80s, Sam Hurt produced a strange and wonderful little comic called Eyebeam. I'm very happy that the entire archives are up, as well as later additions. About the drab but sometimes very weird life of the eponymous character, the comic addressed a wide range of topics, including the decor of Chinese restaurants, wearing the wrong clothes to work, beach gidgets, job security, male answer syndrome, not-quite-vegetarianism and time travel. It managed to be pretty wise while still being funny. Just don't take it too literally.