1. First, someone had the bright idea for cuteoverload. It was the dawn of an era.
2. Then, my friend Kay got on a plane from Los Angeles to New York and started talking to the guy next to her. They hit it off. It was like she always knew him, she said. Turns out she did know him. That explains that. Anyhow, they talked the whole time. By the end of the flight, Kay had plans to come back to LA to visit this guy. He lives out here, where one of his former jobs was being Kathy Griffin's assistant. This was when she was on Hollywood Squares, just before that show finally gave up the ghost. This witnessed many things behind the scenes at Hollywood Squares, such as Dom DeLuise and Vicki Lawrence playing Thelma Mae Crowly Harper, aka Momma from from Momma's Family, up close. Another thing: they used to film all five days of Hollywood Squares on one day. To give the illusion of a week's worth of quality programming, all the guests would change their clothes between episodes. All the guests except Vicki Lawrance, who never changed from Momma's outfit and therefore never changed from being Momma. While Dom would be yucking it up with Kathy, Vicki remained the sassy, smart-mouthed, sharp-tongued, and irascible widowed matriarch of the Harper family she'd been since the show first aired twenty one years earlier. Kay is no longer dating the guy who saw all this. But he went on to the wider world of entertainment. I think he works in television. But you may know his work, because he was the one who built on the precedent of cuteoverload and developed the enhanced niche version: cutethingsfallingasleep.
3. Where can you go from there? Here's where. Zooborns uppes the ante! Forget kittens and puppies, Zooborns aggregates the professionally adorable web cams and phot streams from the maternity wards of zoos and acquariums world wide. Whereas cuteoverload thinks that ducks are exotic, Zooborns on a regular old day might have baby red pandas:
Or a flully little infant Tawny Frogmouth:
That's just the beginning. You can also browse by animal. For example: cheetahs!
First there were cyborg rats. Then came electroneural Shark and Awe. All part of DARPA's ongoing effort to weaponize the animal kingdom, which is all part of DARPA's ongoing effort to weaponize everything, including the weather. But for now, let's stick to animals. After all, Operation Acoustic Kitty was such a success, right? That was when the CIA surgically implanted microphones in a cat for a biosurveillance rudimentary cyborg in the 1960s. The idea was release a bunch of these things in the Kremlin, and let the intelligence roll in! Upon release for testing, the prototype was immediately run over by a car. (A clandestince CIA clean-up crew came to get the remains so as to keep this high stakes weapon system out of the hands of those clever, reverse-engineering soviets.) The problem with Operation Acoustic Kitty? Not the idea. The failure was one of imagination and technology: we couldn't control its mind. The Spy Kitty was ahead of its time.
This is always the rub with military planners. So many great ideas just beyond our reach. Well, thankfully the miracle of science has finally brought a whole array of cyborg spy creatures closer to reality. The latest:
Two papers being presented at ISSCC reveal the latest
initiatives in the DARPA-sponsored Hybrid Insect
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (HI-MEMS) project,
which is currently in its third year. The program’s goal
is the creation of moths or other insects that have
electronic controls implanted inside them, allowing them
to be controlled by a remote operator. The
animal-machine hybrid will transmit data from mounted
sensors, which might include low-grade video and
microphones for surveillance or gas sensors...
Beetles and bees have already joined the robot armada, and now moths, making good on what Air Force 2025, a master document composed of
theoretical systems to help the US maintain
"Global Battlespace Dominance," delightfully called Concept No. 900481: Destructo Swarmbots. When they came up with that one, they meant robots that acted like insects. But why build a million insect-like robots when you can just roboticize a million insects? See -- work hard and put your mind to it and dreams can come true! As my brother Ethan pointed out, all they need now is a classic DAPRA acronym, like H.I.V.E. or S.T.I.N.G. Although, I am somewhat tickled by the fact that that one of the reasons the swarmbots might not reliably work is that they 1) may be too sex-crazed to follow orders, and 2) might be unable to resist the desire to fly their integrated system selves into the proverbial flames. How's that for a military metaphor?
This website seems like it must be a parody, in the manner of Ben Greenman's old website. Except that it isn't. Heavy Lifters is a real company of some kind. Of what kind, it's hard to say. There are puzzle pieces. And a globe. So: problem-solving, internationally! Oh, and Heavy Lifters is an "extensive network of experienced staff, sub-contractors and companies that provide business, knowledge and technology solutions." Thanks for clarifying. I wonder how these little translucent three-dimensional bathroom door figurines fit into the whole thing. Also, I'm going to guess that these people don't actually work here:
My friend Brad made me a xmas CD. It included a song called Krispy. It's by a dude named KiaShine, aka KinFolk. If you haven't heard it, peep it forthwith. I'm so krispy, I'm so krispy, me jeans $900, shoes $850! It's a great, if meaningless song. As Brad said, "language can be used in such strange and empty ways." If you can't enough strange meaninglessness, there's way more Kinfolk poetry to be had, starting with his MySpace About Me/artists' statement:
Kia Shine Is The K.U.S.H. (Krispy U.nderestimated S.outhern H.ustler) Kia Shine aka Kinfolk the CEO/Producer turned rapper, has been in the studio putting the finishing touches on his independent release, The K.U.S.H. This album picks up where his debut album, Due Season (2007) left off, but takes everything to a whole new level. Three songs/ounces have been leaked from the forthcoming indie release.. “The K.U.S.H.” (Tennessee’s Finest) and “Co-Pilot,” & "NEW STYLE (1ST48). Each reaching a diffErent demographic and audience and have been well recieved at radio, xm & sirrius, mixshow, & mixtapes in the US, CANADA AND OVERSEAS. A native of Memphis, TN, Shine’s song “The K.U.S.H.” (Tennessee’s Finest) features fellow Tennesseans 8 Ball and Young Buck. Its complex arrangement contains a live 7-piece band, vocal harmonies and expertly captures the soulful sound of the South. “Co-Pilot” is about the good, supportive good woman that every man needs by his side. Both singles and many more songs on the album were executive produced by Shine. The "NEW STYLE(1ST48) is more of the "swag music" kinfolk is so well known for and highlights him as true fashion assasin. “The last album was great and this indie street album is even better because its more raw, I have total creative control so im taking more risk and showing true range I’ve grown as a person, a producer and an artist. People were introduced to my story on the first album and now they have an opportunity to continue to grow with me,” says Shine. “This one showcases my production style more and is a better example of what I have to offer. I am multi-talented, and I know my music,” "this is just my in between music and dvd to make people more familiar with my story and sound, before I release the true sophmore follow "RESPECT DUE" slated to be released in sping of 2009" adds the newly wed and father of 6 week old child prodigy Jackson Dean Coleman Displeased with the promotion of his first album, Shine has returned to his roots as an independent artist and is doing things his way. He’s confident audiences will enjoy his southern vibe and his love of life and the finer things that is displayed in his album. The K.U.S.H. I had to shoot my own videos for Due Season, and break the singles myself with my own budget, Universal Motown was just a logo but it gave me what I needed to get through certain doors, but I had to do 80% of what you saw with Due Season MYSELF!!! “Most people refer to the kush as being the best weed but this go round it has a more positive spin and focuses on me and those like me, the Krispy Underestimated Southern Hustler. I’m letting the world know I’m still here and those who have been sleeping on me, will wake up to find themselves working for me,” laughs Shine. In between writing and producing his album, Shine has made appearances on B.E.T.’s Black Carpet, the runway with men’s fashion designer Karl Kani during L.A. Fashion Week, and have been highlighted on BET's RAP CITY'S CLASSIC BEST OF THE BOOTH" as well as spots dates in clubs across the U.S. and has even been spotted performing in GERMANY late spring. No novice to the rap game, Shine has released numerous underground albums and used his independent label, Rap Hustlaz, to move over 200,000 units before inking a deal with Universal in 2006. That union led to the release of his debut album, Due Season. Although the album wasn’t a commercial success, due to poor promotions, shine managed to sell a Gold ringtone with "krispy" and moved over 100,000 tracks online iHe received critical acclaim and allowed hip hop connoisseurs to become acquainted with the artist whose flare for fashion and love for his hometown is noted in several of his songs.
Like every other eleven-year-old smart ass, I often argued with my father that playing Mario Brothers enhanced hand-eye coordination and was therefore a worthy exercise. As an adult, I'm not so sure. Contrary to Steven Berlin Johnson's commercially successful counter
intuitive catch-all thesis, I don't think Everything Bad is Good For You. Many
things that are bad are bad for you. If playing Mario Brothers had some kind of value, there are probably better paths to, say, dexterity. Especially since the hundreds, or even thousands of hours I spent traipsing through the clouds looking for gold was well past the point of diminishing returns. Like other kids, I played so much that I can still hear it now: the satisfying sound of collecting those beautiful gold coins.
Tetris, too, left a lasting impression. I'd start on level 19 and fend against the falling shapes as long as possible. Then I'd try to sleep and see those shapes when I closed my eyes. Even though my brain was supplying the blocks, I'd still have to line them all up. As it happens, I'm on a video game jag at the moment. Freaking Call of Duty. I thought it was over nine months ago when I successfully kicked CoD IV. Then came World At War, a trip back into the moral clarity of The Big One. Fun, yes, but it's lost time. What might be the legitimate carefree
satisfaction of an year-old is just more procrastination to an adult. Plus, it
feels like some kind of neural invasion. For the past few weeks, I have been good for several rounds of War and Domination online every day, despite that it hurts my eyes, briefly elevates my sensory perception to some kind of weird paranoid state, and for a few minutes makes me scan the upper corners of my real world vision for the map that discloses the location of the Nazis. Doesn't sound good for you.
And now to make my own counterintuitve point, maybe it is! Turns out that this very aspect of video games may be therapeutic for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to a paper by some Oxford researchers, Tetris and other video games may assuage flash backs and other mnemonic trauma. The "visuospatial cognitive tasks" entailed in video games, the study showed, basically funnels brain resources away from remembering the bad stuff. Precisely because those falling shapes burn themselves so effectively into your brain, there's no room for flashbacks. The article doesn't extrapolate further, but it does raise the possibility of treating veterans of real war with virtual war. Replace those Falujah flashbacks with virtual the Siege of Stalingrad! Come to think of it, maybe that's why the latest Call of Duty has been so popular. With the ongoing horrors of our two simmering fronts, a quick trip into the last Just War is a sort of refuge.
Yes, I stillfind these to be fascinating. More search terms that led people to this blog:
chucky cheese technical character i don't know how to fuck
zoltan mauled by lion how do you explain love, marriage relationships, and children in the simian line palmistry how to get rid of poodles a big black thing
I like how the poodles question assumes they are pests, like bed bugs. And I fear that the simian line can not explain all those things, alas.
This video was going around last week. But there have been others. A man named Danny Choo has several hobbies, one of which is dressing up like a storm trooper and dancing around Tokyo intersections. My favorite is this one:
More than the others, this video is a Japan preview. The key is the first fifteen seconds or so, because it looks like the girls who walking by and start dancing along in their gothic french maid outfits are plants, and the whole thing is choreographed, like some kind of a Japanese Improv Everywhere steampunk musical, but they're not plants. The scene is spontaneous. In Japan, you see, if someone starts dancing around in a storm trooper outfit at any random intersection with foot traffic, chances are that within a few seconds a bunch of Beetlejuice-looking gothic lolita girls will wander past you and start dancing along. Because that's just how things are.
So the most shocking detail in this morning's story about GM wasn't that sales were down 23% in 2008, or that they lost $21
billion in just nine months of last year, but that the company has not turned any profit whatsoever since 2004.
Long before the housing market disappeared along with all that paper wealth and the banks stopped functioning, or even before oil reached $140 per barrel, people had realized they didn't way to pay premiums for crappy SUVs. Nor were they interested in the same economy sedan with five different maker marks welded to the back. Case in point for why GM hemorrhages money, according to the article, is the Malibu versus the Impala. First off, can we all just take a moment of silent to reflect on how GM managed to turn the gleaming ride to modernity of the 60s (and later repurposed into gangster chariot for NWA, et al), into a unremarkable budget fleet buggy for rental car agencies. Have you ever seen a real impala? The animal I mean. It is a majestic and arc-horned thing of grace, not a midsize choice at Enterprise. Yet, somehow the new, dull, pointless Impala is GM's big seller. Moreso than the Malibu, a supposedly "sexy" new fangled option that is in fact hideous and has no chance of ever competing with the slick but sensible four doors from Japan. And yet, GM has spent a quarter billion dollars pushing the Malibu. And these are the people asking for yet another $14 billion while also cutting 47,000 jobs. As an expert in the LA Times story says: "Unless they totally restructure from top to bottom, I mean throw out
everything, GM will fail."
If all else does fail, why not try producing the cars from Grand Theft Auto? I think there's even a bunch of shitty Malibus somewhere in Vice City anyhow. Although they're probably boring there too, not even fun to smash into a police car. GTA's 2-doors offer a better chance for Detroit to reinvent itself, with the good old Banshee, or maybe a sporty Turismo, or sportier Super-GT. (It has a virtual V-10!) And then there's the rare Phoenix:
This one may be too fittingly symbolic for GM. Out of the ashes is born an new car -- that looks just like the past. Perfect for the Big Three!
When I was at the LA Weekly, the office was on Sunset and the limited nearby lunch options often meant a quick walk up to Hollywood blvd. There, I spent a fair amount of time in fascinated study of the impersonating buskers always lurking in front of the the Chinese Theater. From Baja Fresh you could see them, harassing passersby and arranging themselves according to their own unspoken pecking order, which seemed to be some combination of seniority and likeness. For his brief tenure, the fairly acrobatic Blade had a good spot, and the three Jack Sparrows all looked pretty good until you got up close. One of them did have appropriately rotten teeth, but in general Bat Man was the most convincing, if for no other reason than his utility belt provided a natural destination for tips, whereas Superman and Spiderman had to wear black fanny packs over their brightly colored spandex. It was impossible not to sense tragedy when Superman would zip up his crumpled dollar bills. Or when he and Wonder Woman would come into Baja Fresh and quietly eat their Dos Manos burritos in the corner. Or when you caught them changing into their costumes in an alley off Yucca, as I did one unfortunate day.
I was especially sorry for the guy dressed up like drunk Homer Simpson. It felt like he got that costume for a hundred bucks off but should have sprung for the regular, sober Homer, because visitors from Nebraska don't want their kids approached by a giant cartoon drunk. He was largely ostracized. Down on the next block, the Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not Museum wanted to get in on the action with it's own dress up movie persona. Their mascot was Rambo, the one man killing machine. There we was, every day, standing in the door way and wearing a canvas sack like he was about to invade Afghanistan -- again! Ripley's required their Rambo to stay at his post. While the many freelance Elmos came and went as they pleased, the itinerant lone wolf soldier was chained to a place with a plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex emerging from the roof. All day long, he would stare longingly towards the Chinese Theater, wishing he could join his colleagues.
That's where the action was, in more ways than one. The first confrontation caught on tape was The Chebacca Incident. Chewie was arrested for headbutting a tourist guide who told his Japanese clients they didn't have to pony up money for pictures with the Wookie. It wasn't the first time something like that had happened. Elmo and Mr. Incredible and the hooded sad-face killer from Scream were arrested together a few months earlier for harassing people with "agressive begging." A little while before that, Freddy Krueger was arrested for stabbing a homeless man with his homemade claw hand. Once, on the Famima patio, I saw two Jack Sparrows once getting into it. They both drew their souvenir cutlasses before cooler heads prevailed. Maybe it's a good thing Rambo never showed up.
Now, the costumed heroes have more to fear than each other. A turf war has erupted between the impersonators and the CD vendors. Nacho Libre was attacked recently. Spiderm`an saw it all. I recommend watching the ABC Eyewitness News report. But be prepared for the emotional difficulty of, as their live reporter calls it, "seeing a superhero get a beat down." Apparently, the CD vendors have attacked the costumed impersonators many times, and police have been slow to help. Where's Chewie and Freddy when you need them? Superman has taken the lead in addressing the problem. He wrote a letter to the Mayor. There's talk of licensing. Something has to be done. If that doesn't work, they might want to consider heading down to Ripley's and unleashing the fury.
Like many people, I have an adorable cat. Thing is, mine is the most adorable. Don't believe me? How about this:
J/K -- that's a baby ground sloth! Named Lily. But still not as cute as this little mofo:
Super kitty is a Scottish Fold. He is a mutant. Like the rest of his mutant species, Super is descended from one animal, named Susie, discovered in Perthshire Scotland in 1961. In addition to the folded ears, those spawn of Susie with the dominant gene like to sit upright, like a human buddha. Super does it all the time. He walks around, thinks to himself, "I guess it's time to ponder being and the universe," and arranges himself into a Buddha pose. And by the way, here he is on Halloween:
Don't worry about that kitty frown. Secretly, the dude is thrilled to be dressing up with the rest of us to gaily celebrate the annual rise of the underworld.
Over the years, many fans of Super Kitty have asked: Was the cutest cat also the cutest kitten ever? To which the answer is: duh? Thing is, there are few pictures extant from that glorious time. Filling the breach, as usual, is the internet, and it's special time travel service, YouTube:
How this internet magic works, I'll never know. Shopping, wikipedia, and now a personal Muppet Babies filter for your pet! Or really for my pet. But if that could be a universal service? Now there's a commercial concept. Maybe that can replace the newspapers?
Disney's Matterhorn portrays him as a cave-dwelling beast. Countless Troll Book order paperbacks spread fear about the "abominable" snowman. And now the straight to DVD market is capitalizing on the world's ignorance:
What disservice to the true, gentle spirit of the Yeti. First off, there is no proof whatsoever that the Yeti even has teeth. And if he does, they're probably designed to eat delicious winter greens.
The bad part: an unidentified 39-year-old man in
Moenchengladbach, Germany, lost his keys. The good part: he was pretty
sure he had accidentally tossed them into a public trash bin with some
papers. The bad part: it had a narrow opening, and the top doesn't come
off easily. The good part: he could fit his head and arm into the
opening. The bad part: he got so stuck he couldn't move. The good part:
a friend happened by, and called the fire brigade to come help. The bad
part: they couldn't get him out either, so they widened the hole and
shoved him the rest of the way in. The bad part: it took another half
hour before they were able to get the top off. The good part: by the
time he finally emerged, he had found his keys. The bad part:
in his pocket.
Oh you know, just checking out the Virunga National Park blog, seeing what they're up to on a rainy Monday afternoon. And wouldn't you know it? That little monkey they found awhile back, the one they had to abandon because of the war -- he found a home. Now he lives with some pigs in a nearby village. A ranger caught it on video:
My friend Steven Kotler thinks you shouldn't be allowed to have any children. So he says in Psychology Today. Also, he thinks no one else should be allowed to have children. For the next five years. To slow down this whole "more people" thing. It's a Malthusian finger-pointing, and we've heard those before. But Steven is a man of science. He has his reasons. I'd like to hear more. I'd like to be scared by an up-to-date description of the state of Malthusian population mechanics. I have a feeling Steven will be making that case in more detail soon.
Aren't pleasant surprises great? Especially when they are a bright spot in the otherwise dark horizon print publishing? Somehow, I had missed entirely that there was a magazine called The Walrus. Moreover, it is a solid, quality, long form magazine. Like a Candian Harpers. And wouldn't you know it, a cursory investigation via my secret research tool, called Wikipedia, revealed that The Walrus is not only all those things, it is new, and meant specifically to be like a Canadian Harper's.
The article that brought me to The Walrus is this one. "The Archipelago of Fear," it's called, and it's about how the security-driven architecture of development and reconstruction in Afghanistan is obstructing the very goals of development and reconstruction. Or, as the subhed asks: Are fortification and foreign aid making Kabul more dangerous?
The writer, Charles Montgomery, goes to Kabul and discovers a schizophrenic landscape: crumbling infrastructure, housing and roads lined with open sewers and sqatter settlements highlighting the country's forty five per cent unemployment are punctuated here and there by high-priced villas, hotels, and security compounds catering to the international military presence and aid community:
We couldn’t afford more than one night at the Serena, so Tilo had found
us another island in Kabul’s archipelago of high-security compounds.
And what an island it was. The guest house (whose name and location I
won’t disclose, due to the security concerns of the international
organization that runs it) inhabited a pair of walled gardens lush with
honeysuckle and rose bushes. There was a badminton court, a gym, and a
party room that shook on its weekly salsa nights. But it was the pool
bar that distinguished the place, especially on Fridays, when
bikini-clad babes and their beaus draped the lawn or frolicked in the
California-blue pool. The beer was cold, and the burgers dripped with
It was hard to believe we were in Afghanistan. And really, we weren’t.
Kalashnikov-armed guards kept Afghans from approaching the compound
gate unless they happened to be employed there as waiters, cleaners, or
the Serena Hotel, our walled country club was a monument to the
failures of reconstruction that could only serve to inflame and
We've heard some of this before: the shocking $10,000 monthly rents in Kabul; the opium-fueled warlord villas side by side with UN agencies where officials who can't visit the sites they're funding; the five layers subcontracting that causes causes a project to lose half its money to skimming. But Montgomery suggests a cause and effect between the mode of development and its failure:
Seven years after the Taliban’s ouster, Kabul was supposed to be a
bastion of stability, from which peace and prosperity would ripple
across Afghanistan. But if Maiwandi was right, then the failures of
reconstruction were actually contributing to a feedback loop of fear,
fortification, and instability. I was fascinated and troubled by the
possibility that foreign aid might be helping remodel Kabul into an
even more dangerous place.
And this isn't just some fun with critical studies! Montgomery has done his homework, and makes the case:
Can the shape of a city really change the psychology of its
inhabitants? It’s not an outrageous thesis. In 1997, the citizens of
Bogotá elected as mayor an adherent of what some call the “economics of
happiness.” Armed with studies suggesting that people could be made
happier and more engaged by boosting feelings of safety, equity, and
trust, Enrique Peñalosa ordered that fences around neighbourhood parks
be ripped down, and handed road space to bikes and pedestrians, among
other measures. Despite Colombia’s ongoing civil war, feelings of
optimism in Bogotá spiked during his three-year term. Traffic accidents
plummeted. So did the murder rate. Peñalosa’s ideas are now being
adopted elsewhere, including in crime-plagued Mexico City.
This was more than an aesthetic critique. Those who look at the
intersection of psychology and urban form suggest that the short-term
gains from fortification might be overshadowed by the hostile response
it fuels. Aggressive architectures — such as high, bare, cement walls —
have been found to produce a backlash of vandalism and incivility in
peaceful cities. Buildings offer cues suggesting how people should act.
They tell us about our relationships with one another. University of
Victoria environmental psychologist Robert Gifford once put it to me
this way: “Buildings are symbols. They communicate to people, even if
it’s not what their architects intend.” Fahim Hakim suggested that in
Kabul, the fortifications around foreign compounds reinforce Afghans’
suspicion that those inside the walls have more in common with their
former Soviet occupiers than they admit. “We just don’t know if they
are here to protect us or themselves,” he said.
But beyond the thesis what makes this story is the flat-footing. And the word count to tell the story of what it means to really see Afghanistan. Long form triumphs again. Montgomery makes some brave forays into Kabul, unaccompanied by security, to provide a unique view at the bizarre reality of Afghanistan. Highlights are his visit to Sherpur, a fancy new neighborhood:
One sunny morning, I convinced Tilo to join me in a common pastime for
internationals in Kabul: the hunt for a Sherpur dream home. The streets
were a mess of broken rock and open sewers clogged with garbage, but
amid this public poverty lay a phantasmagoria of private wealth. The
mansions stood three, four, even five storeys high, with
champagne-tinted windows, candy cane columns, mirrored cupolas, and
gold paint so chaotically collaged that the loops of razor wire
adorning the balconies seemed almost a whimsical flourish. Roman
fountains! Swimming pools! Concrete fauna! Sherpur’s aesthetic roots
were international —there were splashes of Dubai, Peshawar, and Miami —
but fuelled by a local phenomenon: buckets of booty from war,
corruption, and the opium trade. We couldn’t agree on the nomenclature.
Was this narcotecture or warlord kitsch?
Zing! Makes you wish that the photographer, and his stunning special ghostly technique, had gone along that day. Or, if he did, that The Walrus had published his pictures online in an extra photo essay.
Sometimes you just want to come home from your haircut, curl up with Judy, and sit in the last sunshine of the day reading a good short story, a story that starts one way and then goes another, tragically, by way of an insane asylum, the type of asylum the writer of the story lived in herself once. This is that story.
This is a real picture. I encourage clicking to enlarge for full effect. With the little compass and map and everything? The Smoking Gun has discovered that what Google Street View photography has discovered: that we already live in Liberty City.
A giant sculpture of the shoe thrown at George Bush's head was erected in an orphanage and already removed by authorities. My question: how do we know this giant shoe was in fact a replica of those thrown at Bush? Weren't those confistacted, or taken into evidence or something? I'm guessing they would not have been made available to the head of an orphanage in Tikrit to commemorate the occasion. So, the sculpture was a fraud to begin with. Could be anybody's shoe! In which case, they should have billed it as A Sculpture of a Giant Shoe That May Or May Not Be Like The Shoes Thrown at Bush's Head, So Really Just a Giant Shoe. In which case they would have had no problemse!
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.