December 3, 2008
Norman Mailer directed a movie featuring himself, his then-current wife, one of his ex-wives, Rip Torn, an Andy Warhol superstar, and Hervé Villechaize. It didn't end well. (warning: language, blood, crying children) [more inside]
Search for an Rx - We asked Johns Hopkins administrators, physicians, and researchers about the health of a system Americans rely on to keep them healthy. Afterall, an ounce of prevention... [more inside]
"We're not selling here -- we're hunting!" The young man or woman at the mall kiosk who grabs your shoulder and says "Can I have twenty seconds of your time to show you something amazing?" might be a young Israeli saving up for a pre-army jaunt to Asia or South America. The U.S. kiosk trade has become popular enough in Israel to inspire a folk-rock song by musician and kiosk veteran Rami Feinstein. The Wall Street Journal offers a generally admiring profile of the Israeli "natural-born closers." The Capital Times, in Madison, WI, wishes they'd buzz off.
Eliot Spitzer is back in the public spotlight as a biweekly columnist for Slate. His first column argues against bailouts. More background info.
Thomas Edison's Concrete Houses From 1902 to roughly 1917, Edison was in the concrete business, and concrete houses would be one of his biggest failures. [more inside]
There used to be this problem you see, until one of our own kindly settled it. His services are desperately needed once again.
The poet is a radio. The poet is a liar. The poet is a counterpunching radio. Jack Spicer was a poet, linguist, & early gay rights activist. For a long time, his poetry was out of print and difficult to find, but now Wesleyan University Press has (finally!) published his collected poems. The book takes its title from Spicer’s last words: My Vocabulary Did This to Me. [more inside]
The Orienting Stone. "A snowy white stone that gives shape to the universe: as it happens, we all carry within our skulls the vestige of such a thing, a kind of existentially reversed qibla (this one perspectival, the other metaphysical) that gives us our sense of being at the center of things, the sense that we are upright at the origin point of a three-dimensional space..." [Via]
Some of you might know the story of Heidi Erickson, better known to most as the Beacon Hill Cat Lady. After being evicted from her Boston apartment upon the discovery of over 100 cats, some alive, more dead, in her home, Erickson soon took up residence in a Watertown apartment. The saga soon played itself out again. [more inside]
A See Monkey calls for detente on Aquaman jokes. I could include a bunch of links here, but Glen at NPR has already done all the work for me.
To see the White Russian renaissance in full bloom, it is instructive to attend a Lebowski Fest. With commentary from the original Dude. (NY Times)
Austin music scene ~1990-1995 (an unscientific survey): 8 1/2 Souvenirs 1 - American Analog Set 1 2 - Bad Livers 1 - Bedhead - Butthole Surfers 1 - Duckhills 1 - Ed Hall 1 - Fuckemos 1 - Furry Things - Gals Panic 1 - Glass Eye 1 - Johnny Goudie 1 - Hamell on Trial 1 - The Horsies - The Impossibles 1 - Daniel Johnston 1 - Motards - Pocket FishRmen 1 - Poi Dog Pondering 1 - Pariah - Pushmonkey 1 2 - The Reivers 1 - Retarted Elf - Scratch Acid (yes, I know -- late 80s...) - Shoulders - Sincola - Sixteen Deluxe 1 - Sons of Hercules 1 - Soulhat 1 - Spoon 1 2 - Starfish 1 - Storyville 1 - Twang-Twang-Shock-a-Boom 1 - Ugly Americans - Wild Seeds 1. Previously: 1 2 3
"Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil." Alex Graven, 9, has had How to Talk to Girls, the runaway hit of the Soaring Hawk Elementary School book fair, picked up by HarperCollins. How do you spot these oil-guzzling cars? ""It is easy to spot pretty girls," Alex writes, "because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry." [more inside]
Funerary rites differ widely across cultural time and space, and customs that seem normal to their practitioners can seem bizarre and macabre to outsiders. Certain Zoroastrian sects—such as the Parsis of India—famously place their dead atop dokhmas, or "towers of silence", to be devoured by vultures. In recent years, the decimation of India's vulture population due to diclofenac poisoning (previously), and the construction of modern high-rise buildings which provide an unintended view of the process, make the future of this custom uncertain. (If you're feeling morbid, you can get a vulture's-eye view from this video.) The Tibetans sometimes practice a similar custom known as "sky burial" (warning: graphic photos). [more inside]
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean last week while on an acceptance testing flight at the end of a lease. The tragedy occurred on the 29th anniversary of the airline's worst disaster, the crash of sightseeing flight TE901 in the Antarctic. Beginning in 1977, the popular one-day flights took passengers on low level flights over the Ross Dependency, with experienced guides providing commentary. TE 901 flew on beautiful, clear day, and yet the DC-10 collided with the side of Mt Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The original accident report cited pilot error, but that was only the beginning. [more inside]
Henry G. Molaison, known to psychology and neurology students worldwide as "H.M.", dies. Previously.
The Mumbai terrorists took cocaine, acid, and other drugs to stay awake during the attacks. Not the first.
They navigated by GPS. They used Blackberrys to check on the police response via the Internet. They carried cellphones with switchable SIM cards. The practiced using images from Google Earth. They called VOIP numbers to communicate with their leaders. They used a re-mailer to claim responsibility for the Mumbai attacks anonymously. Terrorism in the digital age.
"a story of great potential overwhelmed by a genius for acts of pointless economic self-destruction"
People with a keen strategic sense maintain a well-diversified hoard of coins and painstakingly build alliances with local shopkeepers or bank tellers, conspicuously proffering coins for one purchase or deposit in the hopes of being indulged when they're short of change at some point in the future. Argentina's coinage problem. [more inside]
Eight Magnum photographers portray people in nine countries around the world before and four months after they began antiretroviral treatment for AIDS.
Phase — Mother Earth, a piece created by Mono-ha artist Nobuo Sekine in 1968, has been re-created:
Consisting of a hole dug into the ground, 2.7 metres deep and 2.2 metres in diameter, with the excavated earth compacted into a cylinder of exactly the same dimensions, Phase — Mother Earth was instrumental in the early development of work by the Mono-ha artist group, and has been considered a landmark work in Japanese postwar art history.More about Mono-ha inside. [more inside]
Have you seen the new ads for Diet Pepsi Max? Reactions have not been kind. Some are comparing it to The Book of Bunny Suicides. The images in the Pepsi links are the same, the comments are not. [more inside]
"The Story of Ricky" [Google Video 1hr27min]: An epic tale of one man's determination to overcome impossible odds using Qi. [more inside]
Zimbabwe Hiding Cholera Epidemic. Sadly, no one knows what the real death toll numbers are. First hand report from Sarah Jacobs with Save The Children. Morgan Tsvangirai, backed by former President Carter: Zimbabwe is in shambles...deaths from starvation and a cholera outbreak threaten to surge with the rainy season approaching. [more inside]
"I was listening to the radio and it’s one of those moments where you have to stop what you’re doing and pay full attention.” Dory Previn, met composer Andre' Previn while working in MGM's music dept. in the 1960s. They collaborated on movie music such as "A Second Chance" and "Valley Of The Dolls". Andre' divorced Dory in 1969 to marry Mia Farrow. Following this, Dory Previn recorded six original albums known for their wit and confessional tone. Dory Previn unofficially retired in 1976 and has been reluctant to give interviews. However, she released a free online album, Planet Blue in 2002. She gave a rare interview to the Times in February. She talked about her influences and meeting Howard Hughes with Bernadette Cahill in 2005.
Gwynne Dyer's new book Climate Wars discusses the conflicts likely to result in the near future from our changing climate. The first chapter ("The Geopolitics of Climate Change") is available here. He is now on a lecture tour [various lecture notes] and speaks on the subject [MP3 of radio interview] next Monday in Toronto. [more inside]
"Some day we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me." In 1979, Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher composed "The Rainbow Connection" [midi] which served as a radio hit and song for the The Muppet Movie. It was nominated for an Academy Award and reviewed in the allmusic guide as a song in which "Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland." Enclosed are some performances of it I hope you enjoy. [more inside]
Second Great Depression? We should be so lucky. Or so Dmitry Orlov says. Orlov, an engineer who watched the collapse of the Soviet Union, argues that the United States is well into a similar process of collapse. In Orlov's model, collapse is divided into five stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. The first one is currently happening, and the next two are guaranteed to follow; as for cultural collapse, that happened a long time ago, but people were to narcotised by consumerism to notice. And things look set to get very, very dire indeed, with runaway hyperinflation, shortages, the breakdown of political institutions, the fragmentation of the US, and, if the "social collapse" stage is reached, roaming gangs and ethnic cleansing.
How many calories did you drink last night? Alcohol intake, rendered in food equivalents. [more inside]
First libraries started loaning records, then toys, then films and games - now they're loaning out people. The Living Library Project allows members to hear people's stories not on the page, but in person.
Prop 8 The Musical Conceived and written by Broadway composer Marc Shaiman, starring Jack Black and John C. Reilly, and featuring an all-star cast.
The Mau Mau rebellion against British rule in Kenya lasted from 1952 to 1960. Although there were atrocities on both sides, there has been a movement in Kenya to claim compensation from the British government for their actions. Obama's grandfather took part in the uprising (some have labelled him an "insurgent") and was captured and brutally tortured by the British. [more inside]