The upcoming transfer of power in the United States will be a time with much pomp and music, with people singing along to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America," but "Hail to the Chief" remains instrumental, even though there are lyrics, as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle. And if we sang those lyrics, we'd be missing its origin as a song to celebrate Roderick Dhu, or Black Roderick, a fictional medieval Scottish outlaw, which was re-written a number of times before becoming the song that Julia Tyler, wife of President John Tyler, requested for presidential entrances. [more inside]
This past May on Metafilter, we looked at “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls”, a wildly popular variety show that was broadcast every Wednesday night in the 1930's and 1940's from the state prison in Huntsville, TX. It featured performances by male and female prisoners. No recordings of the show have ever been found. In the early forties, eight inmates of the Goree State Farm prison unit formed one of the first all-female country and western acts in the country and their performances were broadcast on Thirty Minutes. The Goree All Girl String Band captured the hearts of millions of radio listeners but never cut a record or went on tour and have thus been ignored by music historians. When they were paroled, they nearly all vanished forever. [more inside]
After studying Alien in intimate detail, it’s time to look at the typography and design of Ridley Scott’s other classic sci-fi movie, Blade Runner.
Architectures is a youtube playlist of 53 short (1/2 hour) architectural videos of buildings around the world, mainly Europe.
On today's Comedy Bang Bang podcast it was officially announced that Weird Al will take over as bandleader for the fake talk show on IFC.
The value of fiction was clear to Virginia Woolf, who argued that nonfiction consists of half-truths and approximations that result in a "very inferior form of fiction." In Woolf's terms, reading ambitious fiction isn't comfortable or easy. Far from it: "To go from one great novelist to another—from Jane Austen to Hardy, from Peacock to Trollope, from Scott to Meredith—is to be wrenched and uprooted; to be thrown this way and then that." The illuminations that fiction offers are gained only with considerable effort. "To read a novel is a difficult and complex art," Woolf wrote. "You must be capable not only of great fineness of perception, but of great boldness of imagination if you are going to make use of all that the novelist—the great artist—gives you."– The Virtues of Difficult Fiction by Joanna Scott. She was interviewed by Larry Mantle on public radio show AirTalk about her essay. In the passage above Scott's quoting Woolf's How Should One Read a Book?
Wisconsin governer Scott Kevin Walker, currently the 3rd favorite to be the GOP 2016 presidential candidate, is said to have been approached by voters with the idea of building a wall between the USA and Canada. Walker claims some voters supporting a northern border wall worry that terrorists could cross from Canada to the USA. It is unclear what such a wall would look like; the U.S.-Canada boundary is the longest international border in the world at 5,525 miles long, which includes the Alaska/Canada bit, and has many crossing points. To complicate the issue, Canada and the USA are in (currently non-war) dispute over their border in several locations.
Today, ultra-distance runner Scott Jurek will mark the end of a 47 day journey when he summits Mt. Katahdin in Maine. If he reaches the top before 4pm, he will break the previous Appalachian Trail world speed record set in 2011 by Jennifer Pharr Davis, who completed the trek in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. You can follow Jurek's progress here.
"The spirit of the 60s lives in these trailers, leaning hard on mood and music, not plot. The same is true for the Godfather trailer, as Coppola gives audiences a peak into the Corleone family.-- An epic history of the movie trailer, by Matthew Schimkowitz
However, the closer Hollywood gets to the age of the blockbuster, the more the modern trailer starts to reveal itself, and it all starts with Jaws -- the film phenomenon of the summer of 1975. [ ... ] It introduced something new to trailers: relying almost entirely on the narrative of the film to advertise it. In 3 minutes and 21 seconds, the entire story arc of the film, save for the ending, is given away. There’s a shark terrorizing the beach on the 4th of July, it’s up to a local sheriff to take care of it, and he teams with a scientist and a fisherman to get the job done."
"If you want to hear music, you know what you do - you turn on the radio, put on a CD, or even go to a concert. But as the age of the info superhighway inches forward, you can even get music from your own home computer." That's the intro to a short CNN segment on IUMA, the Internet Underground Music Archive, which opened in 1992 as an effort for unsigned bands to share their music on the world-wide web, for free. Unfortunately, it fell the way of many early 1990s online entities: it was bought out, then the new owners couldn't keep up with changing times, and the site went dark. Except before IUMA disappeared, John Gilmore grabbed much of the material and backed it up on tapes, and turned to (MeFi's Own) Jason Scott and Archive.org to bring back IUMA. They did, and you can now browse through over 45,000 bands and artists, and more than 680,000 tracks of music.
It’s been a while, but tomorrow night, Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts (previously) return to finish the third season of the Comedy Bang Bang TV show (previously). You could watch a new episode streaming right now or check out CBB podcast classics (previously) after the jump (most links NSFW, some in poor taste). [more inside]
Consider an arthouse, darker, noir version of Men in Black with secretive alien refugees trapped in Manhattan, tentacle sex and concept art by H. R. Giger. Clair Noto's The Tourist could have been transformed into a great movie in the right hands. Instead, it has languished in permanent development hell since the 1980's. Some call it "the greatest scifi screenplay never produced" (Article, part 1 and 2.) Decide for yourself and read Noto's original screenplay. [more inside]
Announced at the end of June, Emojli was billed as "the emoji-only network." One source called it worse than Yo. It launched yesterday with 70,000 names registered. The creators of the app 🌠 Tom Scott (previously on Metafilter) and 😃 Matt Gray (who shows up frequently on Tom's YouTube channel) presented a talk: "Emojli: Behind the Scenes and Why You Should Never Build An App."
Five years ago, Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, aka Alfred Darlington (more widely known as Daedelus) finally released an album with his wife, Laura Darlington, under the group name The Long Lost. And it's beautiful, light and airy orchestral pop that owes a greater debt to Caetano Veloso than Coldcut, the style of music that might not out of place being played live in a knitting shop, which could seem a bit strange for a group releasing their music on Ninja Tune. For further fond words, The Gaslamp Killer considered their album one of his top picks for 2009, and here's a nice interview with Alfred and Laura. But we're really here for the music, so here's their self-titled album, streaming on Grooveshark. [more inside]
Later this year will mark the 45th anniversary of Bill Cosby's first self-titled sitcom, The Bill Cosby Show. Ten years ago, the original jam sessions were released, which are notable for the "various collection of notables who steal the show with contributions at various points." Pianist Les McCann, sax man Ernie Watts, and guitarist Arthur Adams get things going on "Groovy Gravy," Tom Scott shows some legit chops on "Toe Jam," while Jimmy Smith offers sampling of his Hammond B3 on the interlude "Jimmy Cookin' On Top." If seeing Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby get top billing confused you, the album credits reference their roles, which are not front-and-center, except for some vocal improv by Cosby on "Hikky-Burr." You can hear more tracks on Grooveshark, and if you're into more of that modern dance remixery, you might (also) enjoy The New Mixes, Vol. 1, which can also be sampled on Grooveshark.
"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
In a twist worthy of a bestseller or blockbuster, the remains of the shipwrecked Terra Nova have been identified just off the coast of Greenland, just in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scott's ill-fated attempt to become the first man to reach the south pole. On 6 June 1911 Robert Falcon Scott, who was born in Plymouth, celebrated his 43rd birthday at the south pole expedition base camp at Cape Evans. On 29 March 1912 he and his companions finally starved and froze to death in their tent, 11 miles from a supply cache, on the march back from discovering that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the pole.
To whet the appetite for the forthcoming collection of essays No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker, longtime UK music magazine The Wire presents a 70-minute lecture on Scott [Engel] Walker from Electric Eden author, Wire contributor and No Regrets editor Rob Young.
As the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker draws near, the governor has quietly signed "dozens" of bills into Wisconsin law, including anti-abortion, pro abstinence education only laws, the repeal of the Equal Pay law,, a bill prohibiting insurance plans from covering some abortions, and a bill banning damages in employment discrimination suits.
Scott Harrison, the founder of charitywater.org, was in many ways "uniquely qualified" [his words] to set a life goal for global clean water with 100% of the donations to this charity transparently and deliberately accounted for via GPS photos and the random live stream of a well-digging! Interview [Warning: Kevin Rose inside] [more inside]
In 1973 a struggling America was still dealing with the watergate scandal. The than 24 year old Gill Scott-Heron wrote a topical song that still applies today. It is called H20 Gate Blues.
Confused in Catan? Conflicted about Carcassonne? Puzzled in Puerto Rico? You've heard about all these awesome new board games that are out these days, but don't know where to begin? Help is here! Scott Nicholson knows all about 'em, and will explain them in great detail in his video series Board Games With Scott! [more inside]
The sixth and final Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, subtitled 'Finest Hour' is being released tonight. There is a block party in Toronto to celebrate this fact. While waiting for your copy to arrive or the party to start, why don't you... [more inside]
In an exclusive interview with MTV, Ridley Scott releases further details on his latest project: two 3D Alien prequels, which will have a non-Ripley female lead and focus on the story behind the first movie's "Space Jockey." [more inside]
Scott Stapp sings "Marlins Will Soar."
How we lost the cure for scurvy. "Now, I had been taught in school that scurvy had been conquered in 1747...but here was a Royal Navy surgeon in 1911 apparently ignorant of what caused the disease, or how to cure it. Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times."
Five imaginary movies about your favorite childhood games. In reaction to Ridley Scott's Monopoly and Peter Berg's Battleship (each a real-life film in development), io9 posits about the as-yet-imaginary movies-to-come, once the "board game movie" craze takes off, of Darren Aronofsky's Pac-Man, J.J. Abrams' Candy Land, Werner Herzog's Tic-Tac-Toe, Paul Verhoeven's Snakes and Ladders, and Joss Whedon's POGs. [more inside]
Cool Antarctica is a site dedicated to all things Antarctic. There are pictures (penguins), videos (including, among much else, an old documentary about Edmund Hillary's and Vivian Fuchs' Transantarctic Expedition), a history section focusing on the famous explorers (e.g. Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, Charcot and de Gerlache) and a fact file, which includes what may be my favorite section, an Antarctic slang dictionary (degomble: removing snow that's stuck to clothing before going inside - monk-on: a term for being in a bad, usually introspective mood, "he's got a monk-on" - poppy: alcoholic beverage that is chilled with natural Antarctic ice). All this is but a taster of what's on the website.
Freeze Frame a new collection of over 20,000 photographs of British and international polar explorations from 1845-1960, from the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. [more inside]
One of the most beautiful and disturbing places in Denver. It a quiet place and quite the place to see. A movie was made about a house and the fellow who rented it one day...adjacent to the park. Scared me to death as a little kid.
In July of 1961, the bass genius Scott LaFaro, perished in a fiery car crash after visiting family and friends in upstate NY, just ten days after doing the last gigs he would ever do with the great Bill Evans's trio (which became the legendary live recordings from the Vanguard) . He was only 24 years old. But he was also developing as a fine writer as well, as this Evans trio track - a mystical ballad in 9/4, shows. [more inside]
Show me a PR person who is "accurate" and "truthful," and I'll show you a PR person who is unemployed. In The Wake Of Scott McClellan's New Book, CBS Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen Says PR People Are Aghast At The Truth. Includes a follow-up to the mountain of reactions he received.
Bandhu Scott Dunham makes kinetic sculptures out of glass, including the steam engines that power some of them. He discusses how they are made in this podcast. For videos of these sculptures in action, you can view the collection in his gallery or watch some home videos.
A Brief Biography of William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879) - keen horseman and 'peculiar to many - but certainly not mad' owner of Welbeck Abbey.
A little known white guy made at least $6.4m out of hip-hop last year [NYTimes]. Scott Storch has produced 50 Cent, Beyonce and Lil Kim; in fact he made eighty tracks in 2005 and is working on Paris Hilton's new album. He thinks it's because of his low profile that he didn't get a grammy nomination and he's upset.
Find a Death reports a double whammy, as June sees the deaths of Imogen Claire (a Transylvanian) and Jonathan Adams (Dr. Von Scott), both known for their appearances in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If miss them that badly, you still have a chance to see them on screen at midnight, once and a while. They've been immortalized on screen, and maybe will be in screams, too.
Orson Scott Card on The Riots of The Faithful: So Newsweek prints an uncorroborated allegation about American interrogators flushing Qurans down the toilet in order to get fanatical Muslim prisoners to talk, and there's rioting and death all over the Muslim world. There are several lessons to be learned from this incident, some trivial, some quite important...
We're all to blame. In January 2002, Scott Ritter called Iraq a "phantom threat" and warned us of Ahmed Chalabi's "dubious motivations" for fomenting a war based on phony intel. Now Ritter is saying that we're all responsible for Iraq, because we, as a public, bought into the unproven argument that Iraq had WMDs. In that light, how should we view the Iranian situation? Is it fair for the US to use its power to insist upon arguably hypocritical terms for a fellow signatary to the Non Proliferation Treaty? Doesn't Iran have legitimate rights for nuclear development? Shouldn't we demand proof of a nuclear weapons program before we even consider starting a conflict our military believes would most certainly escalate? The Bush administration says that "there's NO DOUBT that Iran continues a nuclear program"... an obvious lie. There is no proof of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Period.
"The story of Scott's last expedition to the south pole will, I feel sure, be already known to many of you ... it is one which for courage, endeavour, endurance and unselfishness even in the face of death, will, I feel, never be surpassed.... I feel you will understand the difficulties met with when I tell you that the negatives from which these slides were made and the slides themselves were developed and washed with the aid of melted ice."
These guys are running across the United States from New Jersey to Oregon and they're looking for a place to stay. Check to see if they're coming to your town or read their blog. It's not as hard as walking around the world or running for 1000 miles in 1000 hours, but it's still ambitious.