Groening and Barry Take New York (Sarah Larson, The New Yorker)
"In the early eighties, discovering non-mainstream culture (independent cinema, post-punk rock, comic strips that weren’t 'Beetle Bailey') was much like being a detective, and local alternative newsweeklies were valuable providers of clues. They reviewed art and music that was hard to find; most important, they printed Groening’s 'Life in Hell' and Barry’s 'Ernie Pook’s Comeek.' Both were electrifyingly good. You wondered who these people were, where they came from, why they did what they did. I remember the jolt I felt when looking at the copyright page of Groening’s book 'Love Is Hell' and seeing an odd message, like a note left in a knothole: LYNDA BARRY IS FUNK QUEEN OF THE GALAXY. Groening and Barry were friends!"
Channel C WISC is a YouTube channel where UW-Madison undergrads from China talk about the experience of being Chinese at a big public American university, with the aim of both helping newly arrived international students understand what's going on around them, and helping American students have some sense of what's going on with their Chinese classmates. Videos include "Why Chinese Students Don't Party,", "Chinese Names,", "Pretty Chinese Women", "Who are the Chinese Second Generation Rich?", "Why Chinese Students Don't Speak English," and many more.
150 U.S. city flags, ranked from best to worst. Top-rated flags are typically tasteful and abstract, like that of Washington D.C. (#1) or subtly representational, like Madison, Wisconsin's flag(#11), which is more or less a glyph of Madison seen from above. The bottom of the list has some that seem stuck in a briefly popular graphic style, like Provo (#143), but most are timelessly ongepotch like the flag of Milwaukee (#147), which features a boat, a skyline, some smokestacks, some grain, County Stadium, a Native American,and a church. And then there is Pocatello (#150), whose flag was memorably profiled on badflags. (Vexillology previously on MetaFilter.)
Advocate.com has compiled a list of the gayest cities in America. Their eclectic criteria and point system is explained in the article. [more inside]
"...whatever job you take, you're going to spend a lot of time there. You should try to make it fun."
In 2007, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
70 games in 75 days in the Northwoods League. Andrew Barna, a varsity baseball player at Davidson College during the school year, is spending the summer playing first base for the Madison Mallards. The Mallards are currently a half game back of the Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League, a summer developmental league where NCAA athletes play for room, board, the adulation of devoted Upper Midwest fans, and the slim hope of making it to the bigs. (Northwoods alums in the majors include Ian Kinsler (Mallards), Ben Zobrist (Wisconsin Woodchucks), and Juan Pierre (Manitowoc Skunks.) Barna's blog offers a look inside the real life of very-minor-league baseball: The best way to sleep on the team bus. Getting caught picking your nose on the field. Welcome back Jumpy Garcia. Signing your first breast.
Protests have erupted in Madison, Wisconsin where the Republican-controlled state legislature seems poised to pass a bill championed by the newly elected Governor Scott Walker that would strip collective bargaining rights (that is, unions) from public employees in order to combat the state's 137 million dollar budget deficit. [more inside]
“No, no. Academia is now part of the real world. Everything goes.” Just before dawn, on August 24, 1970, Dwight and Karl Armstrong, Leo Burt, and David Fine parked a van outside Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin. The van was filled with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, and when it blew, it killed Robert Fassnacht, a young physicist working through the night. The Army Mathematics Research Center, the bombing's target, was untouched. The bombers, known as the "New Year's Gang," went underground, and enthusiasm for the radical movement in Madison was permanently dampened. The University of Wisconsin collection of transcribed interviews about the Sterling Hall Bombing. [more inside]
What's a Coastie? Two University of Wisconsin undergrads record and post to YouTube an ode to "Coasties," out-of-state students who live in expensive off-campus apartments, wear Spandex tights with Uggs, spend their parents' money on designer handbags and Starbucks, and -- oh yeah, like 15% of their classmates but only 1 in 200 Wisconsin natives, are Jews. Controversy ensues.
Eminem's "Lose Yourself" re-envisioned as a high school math course. The math and film departments of Madison East High School collaborate on a video, starring math teacher Philip Galarowicz. Not to be confused with The Rappin' Mathematician (hear "The Number Line Dance" here), or these high school math rappers, or the rap battle of TI-83 and Fitty Slope. The quadratic formula, rapped. The quadratic formula, rapped again. The quadratic formula, rapped, strangely compellingly, by a teacher in a tie.
Death and Life: Madison New Life Band bid farewell to Bishop Daddy Madison in Washington, D.C. Stooges Brass Band plays in New Orleans [second line].
"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.
A State Street Family Album - State Street in Madison, Wisconsin is a half mile link between the Capitol dome and the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Tree lined, traffic restricted, shops of all manner, State Street represents an almost picture postcard ideal. It is also home to the Family. In the 30's they might have ridden the rails, now they are hanging out in the Peace Park. Glenn Austin has documented their community.
Visit Madison, Indiana. Why? We're not New York City! Sure you can be opportunistic about selling gas masks if you're an internet entrepreneur, but what if you're a small town in Indiana and you want to cash in on fear of terrorism. Why, tout what you don't have, of course. "A safe place to visit...When you visit Madison you will discover that we have no tall buildings to fear, no nuclear power plants, airports or anything anyone would want to blow up."
Caley Meals, is a sex columnist. What seperates her from the crowd of them, is that she is published in a college school newspaper. Jokingly, in her first column she states that, "I will try to keep the students of Madison with their heads in the right place: the gutter." She then goes on to cover imortant topics such as, how to work the college sex life around a roomie, the drunken bootie call, fornication with food, female domination and many others. Is it real journalism or only riding on pure shock value? "Writing about sex is about as interesting as talking about sex, which is to say it's not interesting at all compared to the real thing. But at least it can be a little naughty."
What's 95 inches tall, purple, and stinks like rotten meat? Why, it's Amorphophallus titanum, the world's largest flower. One of them is about to bloom at the University of Wisconsin - Madison Department of Botany, and the link will take you to a webcam waiting for it to bloom. One bloomed at Kew Gardens in the UK a couple of years ago to much fanfare, and there are only a dozen or so "in captivity".