August 10, 2008
Roy Shirley has died. Who's Roy Shirley, you ask? He was one of Jamaica's best-kept musical secrets. When Jamaica's summer of 1967 proved too hot to dance to frenetic ska sounds, Shirley came to the rescue with what's widely acknowledged as the first "rocksteady" hit, the Joe Gibbs-produced Hold Them. Despite scant commercial success, he played at the Apollo Theatre and Madison Square Garden in the early 70s, as well as baptizing the legendary King Tubby's studio with his brilliant boxing tribute, Joe Razor. In 1973, Shirley moved to the UK and deeper obscurity, but there's a happy ending. A Trojan Records double CD of his classic work was released a couple of years ago, and a bunch of reggae fanatics arranged for him to play the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival early this summer. Shirley's health was poor, but he put on a fine show and won over a host of new fans. (Scroll down a bit to see his final performance.) Recently, a clip of Shirley at his musical peak started making the rounds. (Scroll to 1:14 to see part of his oddly James Brown-inspired live performances.) Shirley's vocals, lyrics and overall sensibility may be an acquired taste. It's a shame the world mostly missed him in his time. His odd humor, crazy talent and good-nature made him unique.
Saving D'oh: How one blogger learned about "cheap, healthy eating" by watching The Simpsons. The readers' comments are fun too. Via.
Bollywood, the 1960s and 70s: "For years, the favorite setting for the big dance number has been a cabaret, with its atmosphere of forbidden liquor and sexual permissiveness, with its mixed audience of privileged Indians, industrialists, playboys, princes, and its foreign decadence..." And no one was more at home this exotic milieu than an Anglo-Burmese refugee who began dancing in films at 13 to support her family. Her pale skin and vaguely foreign looks, along with a collection of colored contacts and wigs, allowed her to play white women, Asian women, whatever titillating role was called for. She was Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls (part 2, part 3, part 4). [more inside]
80 percent of Americans say global warming is real and poses a threat to humanity. Which is good because if the global temperature raises by 4 degrees we're all dead. However only 44 percent would be willing to face any financial hardship in the name of a solution.
"These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark, with animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action... It's quite unpleasant.... Academics have pretended it did not exist.... Everything [he] wrote, every postcard he ever sent, every page of his diary... is regarded as a potential Ark of the Covenant... Yet no-one has ever shown his readers Kafka's porn."
levelHead is a spacial memory game by artist Julian Oliver, using a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors through which you guide your character. Take a look at a demonstration or build your own levelHead setup.
Known for many musical hits such as Shaft to being the voice of Chef on South Park, Isaac Hayes has died. Let them enjoy his "Chocolate Salty Balls" in Heaven.
BarackRoll'd (SYLT). Sometimes, the simple pleasures are best.
All across Alaska, radio operators tore their earphones from their heads, swore under their breath, and ran out to find help. The telegram in their hands read: "AN EPIDEMIC OF DIPHTHERIA IS ALMOST INEVITABLE HERE STOP I AM IN URGENT NEED OF ONE MILLION UNITS OF DIPHTHERIA ANTITOXIN STOP MAIL IS ONLY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION STOP I HAVE MADE APPLICATION TO COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH OF THE TERRITORIES FOR ANTITOXIN ALREADY STOP THERE ARE ABOUT 3000¢WHITE NATIVES IN THE DISTRICT". [more inside]
"In the US, there are 2,270 prisoners [report, news release, with testimonies] who were sentenced as children to life without parole. They will die behind bars. Ed Pilkington asks five of them - from a 21-year-old to a 70-year-old - how do they cope?" [more inside]
It was a mass protest held outside the halls of Washington. Led, or at least it was supposed to be, by Martin Luther King Jr. (before he was assassinated) it was going to show the world the glaring divide that existed between the Rich and the Poor of America. Black, White, Red, Yellow--they all gathered from all over the US, to stay together for six weeks, outside the Capitol, and inform the public about what life in America could sometimes mean, if you were not considered economically, socially or racially acceptable. Unfortunately, the problem still persists, even today.
A large series of explosions erupted this morning from a welding chemical storage facility in North York (a suburb of Toronto) at approximately 4am EST. The highway 401, North America's busiest, has been closed in sections, and thousands of local residents are still being evacuated, with several of them injured. Police and fire officials are currently not sure of the possibility of further explosions and are taking precautionary measures. The whole situation has produced some apocalyptic-looking pictures.
Andre Gunther Photography ― The galleries of photographs are certainly beautiful, but this site shines also for its technique tutorials and camera reviews.
The history of Chicago's greaser gangs of the 1960s and 70s is an interesting one. Greaser gangs were street gangs made up of young white men who emulated the style of 1950s Fonzie-esque greasers, and existed in opposition to the perceived threat of Latinos and other minorities who were moving into their formerly Irish/Italian/Greek/etc. neighborhoods. Gangs such as the Simon City Royals and the Almighty Gaylords (previously) fought amongst themselves and against Latino gangs such as the Latin Kings and the Vice Lords throughout the late 60s and 70s, even employing racist/extremist logos and imagery to intimidate their enemies. Racial divides became less important with the advent of the drug trade, as formerly bitter enemies untied under the People and Folk nations and graduated from comparatively innocent Outsiders-style street battling to violent warfare. Read all about this real-life version of The Warriors directly from the people who lived it.
Hooray for New York City! They just had their first (of three) car-free days along a long stretch of Manhattan roadway: it's the Summer Streets program. How refreshing! [more inside]
Yang Wei, the 2006 and 2007 mens gymnastics world champion, and number 13 on Time Magazine's 100 Olympic Athletes to Watch in Beijing 2008, is a symbol of absolute power and coordination. He stands 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 121 pounds.
New uses for skips. Skip recipes. Find a skip. Public domain occupation with skips. Guerrilla art skips. Skipcar. [Via]
Millions of women have had abortions and didn't even know it.