November 14, 2014
I've been slightly under the weather for the last week, which means, of course, soup, self-pity and comfort reads. Rather than my traditional winter-sniffles re-re-re-read of the Belgariad, I thought I'd go wandering around the historical romance category. That is: duchess porn.At Pornokitsch, Jared Shurin expresses appreciation for "5 things in historical romance I wantonly desire to see in epic fantasy," and commenters suggest where to find them. At the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, similarly meta yet more searching questions arise. [more inside]
I was pretty good with this (previously), as I'd had the vegetarian version in Japan before and quite enjoyed it. But this will require a bit of side-eye before I'll get it in my piehole, I think. Still, nothing ventured, nothing (weight) gained.
“So You Want to Pick Up and Lift a Man Overhead”: A Fitness Roundtable: The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t any more ridiculous or unlikely than any headline or superlative you catch on a mainstream fitness magazine, like “Get Amazing Abs in 16 Minutes!” I figured any program written to help a woman pick up a man and lift him overhead was going to lead to better overall health and fitness than any program written to “reveal your abs” in short period of time. [more inside]
The Washington Post breaks down what Diplo's "skinny shaming" of Taylor Swift has, is, and will continue to do to the body image war being waged on women.
Energy giant Kinder Morgan subsidiary Trans Mountain filed a Facilities Application for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in December 2013. This would twin an existing pipeline for diluted bitumen from northern Alberta (previously) to the Pacific, increasing its nominal capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. Protesters under the banner Caretakers of Burnaby Mountain are obstructing surveying in a conservation area in metro Vancouver, and Trans Mountain (represented by lawyer and author William Kaplan) has been granted an injunction against the group as a warmup to a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit over claims of trespass, assault and intimidation. The assault? Making funny faces. [more inside]
Writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Alice O'Connor shares her favorite excerpts from her collection of the readme files included in game mods.
Grantland: "This is the Animated Movie Sadness Index. It’s very simple, though perhaps easy to get confused by. This is not a ranking of sad moments from animated movies. For example: Charlotte dying in Charlotte’s Web was a sad moment. But Charlotte wasn’t a sad character, nor was Wilbur, so they aren’t here. Because this Sadness Index charts characters with sad backstories — tragic figures with dark histories, who endure the most awful of circumstances."
"And what they’re really asking me: is your first memory different from my own? Tell me, they are asking, under their breaths, tell me a story that shows how you and I are different."- a fictional story exploring conformity in sexual relations in a future society, by Debbie Urbanski.
We knew Universal Studios was rebooting the classic monster movies into a new cinematic universe. So who's writing them? The "Monster Men," a collective of writers inspired by both the Pixar "brain trust" and the traditional tv writer's room. Among the writers on board: screenwriter/director Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Fringe); longtime Fast & Furious writer Chris Morgan; the creator and writer of the Fargo tv series, Noah Hawley; Prisoners screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski; and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Men In Black screenwriter Ed Solomon. [more inside]
Tabletop Audio - a new site with sixty ambient sound and music files for science fiction, horror, fantasy, modern and historical tabletop games. Plus a nifty queue manager and the option to download the tracks for play offline.
The majority of deaf people in sub-Saharan Africa have never been taught sign language. "Patrick Otema, 15, was born profoundly deaf. In the remote area of Uganda where he lives there are no schools for deaf children, and he has never had a conversation. Raymond Okkelo, a sign language teacher, hopes to change all this and offer Patrick a way out of the fearful silence he has known his whole life." [more inside]
Taking Canadian Highway 63 straight north from Fort McMurray, during the half-lit hours of the morning commute, I moved past the old downtown, with its bars and weekly-rate hotels, past the sprawling suburbs and high-speed ring road, into expanses of peat-rich muskeg and forests of tamarack and spruce. As the sun climbed, cars became scarce and the road seemed to stretch endlessly toward the horizon. Traveling from McMurray to McKay doesn’t take long—it’s less than 40 miles—but the transformation you see in that short distance is astounding.
If you feel "stuck," "isolated," and "unable to see the future," then a giant, publicly subsidized machine is hungry to prey on your dreams. Politically connected executives suck up billions in taxpayer grants and saddle tens of thousands of already poor students with a lifetime of debt for worthless degrees. Despite lawsuits, the scam continues.
Cab Calloway's song "Minnie the Moocher" is familiar to many people, due to its status a one of Cab's swinging classics, which was used for the title and inspiration for a spookly little Bettie Boop short cartoon, complete with a spectral walrus whose dance moves were rotoscoped from Cab himself. Flash forward to 1980 with Calloway in his 70s, Cab returned to belt out the tune in The Blues Brothers in classic Cab Calloway swinging style, returning the song to broad prominence. But do you know how the song came to be? You've probably heard the somber "Saint James Infirmary," but have you heard of "Willie the Weeper" or "Willie the Chimney Sweeper"? Mix the two, and you have a few pieces of the story behind Cab Calloway's big hit (Google books preview). [more inside]
A landmark study indicates that seven pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. [more inside]
"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
The Aaron Sorkin sketch to end all Aaron Sorkin sketches (previous and previouser and previouserer).
A short documentary from VICE News provides an inside look into the birth Donetsk People's Republic earlier this year. [more inside]
Magnetotactic bacteria linedancing to music through the use of a superimposed magnetic field. Basically exactly what it says on the tin.
UK supermarket Sainsbury's is pulling heartstrings with its 2014 Christmas ad "Christmas is for Sharing," which draws from the true story of the 1914 Christmas truce and football match between British and German troops in World War I. Sales of chocolate bars featured in the ad will benefit the Royal British Legion. The ad has garnered some glowing feedback, including positive comparisons to another popular 2014 Christmas ad with a charity tie-in, John Lewis' "Monty the Penguin." But others are less impressed.
Burnley FC's mascot has a way with the fans. Now find out everything that goes on behind the scenes "as we follow a day in the life of the hardest working mascot in football".
R.A. Montgomery, the original publisher and author of the Chose Your Own Adventure series for childen, passed away on Sunday, November 9th, at the age of 78. (previously and previously)
After releasing the two best
mash-up albums of the year, Neil Cicierega's got a new song out, based on Lenny Kravitz's Fly Away. It's called Lenny Kravitz — Fly Away, and it is pretty dragonfly. (Brings to mind Wndrwll and Piss especially.)
ON MONDAY: You are on your way to the fruit market, because you want to buy five oranges. Someone you’ve never met before accosts you on your way and says “Hey, you! Could you buy me five oranges please? I’ll give you the money when you come back and pay you ten pence for doing it”. You think what the hell, and say yes.Daniel Davies tries to explain the FX scandal using the analogy of a fruit market.
Seth Roberts passed away on April 26th, 2014, after suffering a heart attack while hiking near his home in Berkeley, California. A self-experimenter and author of The Shangri-La Diet, Roberts described his attempts to combat his own insomnia in Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight, writing that "Before science was a profession, it was a hobby, which means some people enjoy it for its own sake . . . If a hobby has tangible benefits, such as lower blood pressure or reduced risk of relapse, so much stronger the motivation to do it." He was brilliant, obsessive and always challenging assumptions. His extensive blog is still online.