First photo taken with my new Sidekick II, Mr. Cartoon Special Edition:
Interpretive grafitti on a lightswitching box in Pasadena. Alls I know is I went to see the Passenger, came out in a daze, and came across this message. Sounds like the motto of a guy I used to know a guy in Santa Cruz.
As usual: paleoanthropology is on the freaking move. Just as the latest issue of Yeti Researcher hit the shelves comes a flurry of related news. First off, all them playa-hatin' Indonesian anthropoligists need to recognize: there was little tiny hobbits, OK, contemporaneous with modern humans, on the Isle of Flores. Homo Floresiensis is no microcephalic modern pygmy, and you know what's the proof? Because they found more of them.
Next up: Gigantopithecus Blackiis the 12-foot prehistoric ape that is 100% real, and which, say some, accounts for the Sasquatch story (or maybe even Sasquatch himself).
There's Giganto, as the big feller is lovingly called by his admirers, fending off some enterprising Home erectuses, the only human predecessors the ape would have known had he gone extinct by a million years ago as previously thought. But wait: new spadework reveals that Giganto was around as recently 100,000 years ago, i.e. alongside Homo sapiens sapiens, perhaps even like so:
Cryptozoologists will surely take heart. And so will the dino-creationists, who have become the latest monster-hunsters, driven by the belief that discovering Nessie and the Mokele-mbembe and the rest of In Search Of list somehow helps to prove biblical literalism. It's true.
My bro sent me this pleasingly bizaare video. Do wait for it to load. I promise full fun. Note the guy in the back playing Half-Life or whatever. And the precious, but brief moment when the guy on the left reveals his love for the guy on the right with a longing look. Don't miss it! This video is out there already (an early dubloon unearthed by Google's treasture-finding algorithm applied to video) but no one seems to have picked up on the obvious geopolitical implications: this, of course, is how we will beat China, with our avalanche of irresistably lowbrow culture. Guess the world is flat afer all. Sure, China may seem scary with their economy surpassing ours in 2050, and 2 billion plus people by then, but not if those 2 billion people are obsessed with the Back Street Boys and the Houston Rockets and spending all their new capital on equipment to record home videos in their dorms. That Atlantic cover story from a few months back needs to be revised. As usual, Robert "epic struggles" Kaplan misses the trees for the forest. Navies, Pacific Theater -- feh! The battles of the future will be fought on TRL. Talk about soft power -- kill 'em with culture, the generals should be saying. Get on it, DARPA. Sadly, this is our one ace up the sleeve: cheap sports wear and Justin Timberlake.
The Zombie Zeitgeist A full scale movement is on the lurch. But why the best zombie movie ever made a video game?
Believer interview with Mark Allen Digital artist and awesome gallerist Mark Allen talks about Tekken Torture Tournament and other projects where people were wired to machines and did strange things in public.
Believer interview with Marjane Satrapi Enlightening Q & A with the Persian cartoonist, memoirist, quick conversationalist in which she declares: “THE WORLD IS NOT ABOUT BATMAN AND ROBIN FIGHTING THE JOKER; THINGS ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
Yeti Researcher Yet another 100-page issue of the world's top academic journal devoted scholarship about the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasqatch, and other mystery primates worldwide. For researchers and lay audiences alike, the latest YR features a history of Sasquatch sightings in southern California, an update on the wily orang pendek of Sumatra, and a new look into Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with bagging a Bigfoot. As Editor-in-Chief, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Panda PowerPoint! I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006 For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
Jest Fest at Skylight Books Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006 Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006 The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.