Interesting findings in art, technology, culture, and the ever-astonishing strangeness of the human condition. Updated (mostly) daily.
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:: Friday, May 31, 2002 ::
Idiosyncratic and Esoteric programming languages. Quines, Automata, and Brainf*ck. Found on Mike's Weblog.
[Nigerian Scam] I've gotten two Nigerian Scam emails in the last week. Somebody replied to one of the the con artists who sends these things for the sole purpose of seeing how much time and effort they could waste, and they published the entire correspondence. He's a persistent huckster, even when the baiting passes the point of absurdity.
Now that PS2, GameCube, and X-box have slashed their pricetags by a hundred bucks, how will their competitor, the Super MegaSon IV respond? Found this gem through a Bifurcated Rivets link.
Godawful Fan Fiction delivers true to its name.
[What to do about that pesky office hacker] A must-see employee training video about how to 'handle' the hacker you've just hired, from a production company that probably would otherwise be doing dog training videos for public library distribution. Some of the most overt playing to stereotypes since F-Troop.
[Stair Diving] Here's an intellectual movement with some moxie. For those times when a good, old-fashioned slap-fight just won't block out the angst and ennui of modern existence, these guys intentionally throw themselves down flights of stairs for the Zen-like focusing effect... motive, yet transfixed in the tempo-spatial present. Existential drift or Jackass?: You be the judge.:: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 ::
I got a kick out of this site by 'Mental Patient' who is attempting to sell things via a crudely fashioned online auction, and you will too. He's currently offering a flag-adorned piece of tofu he claims to be a Polynesian sovereign island/state, the worldwide rights to 12:17 PM, a fly named Mr. Bojangles, and the whining cockrock band Metallica. "If you are looking for a Monarch that will crack your teeth when chewed, then I'd nudge you in the direction of acquiring King Louis the Tooth Cracker from me" (referring to a king chess piece).
The wit and wisdom of the singin' King of Sausage, Jimmy Dean. Even your grouchy Vegan pals will have to admit, he looks damned good for 73.
Religious Cults Reviewed. Smart-Alecky crank-mailers ask the tough questions to representatives of various cults to see which one's the best. Regrettably, none of the cults interviewed took time to brag about their respective compounds, which begs the question, 'Can it really be considered a cult if they don't even have a compound to showcase?' Like, am I supposed to stockpile doomsday provisions in my bathroom closet or something? For my money, nothing says 'cult' like communal stockpiling capabilities.:: Monday, May 27, 2002 ::
Ha! Wouldn't it be funny if you went to a label showcase and tried to subtly pass some slimy A&R rep an Edison Wax Cylinder demo of your band instead of the predictably dull CD? No? It wouldn't? Yeah... maybe you're right. It isn't really that funny.
[Filthy Puppet Mouth] I was going to devote a whole day's posts to 'Puppets Who Tell You How to Live Your Life', but I thought better of it. Davy and Goliath got co-opted by Mountain Dew, and the creepy religious puppet/human duos who rain blow upon blow of Divine Word upon unsuspecting children for a more angry, ultra-right God have been covered elsewhere. I couldn't even find any evil puppet material to balance out the mix in the interest of fairness, which would have been great. But hey, don't let that get you down! Instead, laugh it up with a wacky outtake clip from the 70's kid show, "New Zoo Review" (Realplayer format)that has two of its stars (the frog and the owl) talking some scandalously outrageous junk. Wowee!! These way-out puppeteers are going bananas! Will they ever learn?!
[Malarkey? or Effective Way?] Fantastic new-agey homeo-quackery from the Orient. The author, Mr. Nishigaki, didn't even bother to grammar-check the title of the book he's selling on Amazon. Apparently, the printer wasn't about to help him out either. From the Amazon site, a quote directly from its pages: "Besides shooting out a big blank from your buttock, you can feel as if your root chakra leaked sweet hot mucus." Before you holler out 'Sign me up!', check into whether the sweet mucus leaking is a good thing, or an involuntary event caused by some kind of mysterious, ancient curse.:: Saturday, May 25, 2002 ::
[Blast Off- Crusades Style!] Get the kit to build yourself a trebuchet. They're not just for medieval offensives anymore. You can have a party that'll entertain both your redneck and Euro-history friends while you launch 'em all sky high! Land safely in the body of water next to which you hopefully had the forethought to build the deadly contraption, and hop back in for another ride!
Vending Machine-O-Rama. You can much better stuff than soda and underwear (Japan), including raw eggs, emu jerky, art, and condoms designed to match your blood type. Japan's roboshop even sells coin-op sushi.:: Friday, May 24, 2002 ::
[Space is the Place] Some good Sun Ra links. early history, some reviews, a bio, another bio, and an article that discusses the anti-philosophy of his space/afro-futurist/mythology which is heavy on the book-lernin'. I always liked how his band yelled out 'Rocket Number 9 takin' off for the planet Venus!'
[Sabbath, priest, wasp… we already speak the same language] The pranksters who brought you Hessian Love did it again with Hessian Love II, a fake personal ad ostensibly placed by a Bored Metal Housewife who lists her Religion as "Rock N' Roll". You'd think her warning ("p.s. you should be warned... i party HARD.") would be enough to keep the metal dudes away but strangely, they seemed not to heed it and responded in droves. I'm sure you'll be as disappointed as I was to see that only three would-be suitors listed Judas Priest as influences/activies, which is just further proof that metal isn't what it used to be. If she actually existed, I'd steer Hessian Girl toward Hessian #21 ("I have a lot of money. Do you need help beautiful girl? ... We are meant for one another. Don't forget to talk to me.") although his power tie lacks devil-horn headbanger cred. Then there's #22 who... aw, read it yourself.
[Rights Power Grab II] On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the new surveillance powers by a 327 to 101 vote. The bill, titled the Customs Border Security Act, says that incoming or outgoing mail can be searched at the border "without a search warrant." "this would be the first time since Ben Franklin created the Postal Service that seizure and searches, without warrants, of outbound international mail would be allowed." Thank you, Congress, for your continued mockery of our 4th amendment rights.
[A new low in DRM] The MPAA and RIAA have never been known for making intelligent, insightful, or for that matter, realistic recommendations regarding digital copyright, but this has got to be the most backward stunt they've ever attempted to pull: The MPAA is asking the Senate to require that "all devices that perform analog to digital conversions" be required to contain digital copyright hardware. If this steaming pile of ill-conceived tripe ever gets passed, it'll accomplish 3 things:
[Worm me up] Now you can tell all of those funny people from the west coast that your negative energy is useful for more just than harshing their scene. Scientists now believe that people can travel through quantum wormholes. How? "Ghost radiation", of freakin' course. "It would be a delicate operation, however. Add too much negative energy, the scientists discovered, and the wormhole will briefly explode into a new universe that expands at the speed of light, much as astrophysicists say ours did immediately after the big bang." What the hey- I say we give it a shot anyway. If we end up starting a new universe, I've got a whole list of idiots who shouldn't be allowed in this time. In the new universe, I want a nicer car.:: Thursday, May 23, 2002 ::
[Alas! The onion you are eating is someone else's water lily] Unusual fortune cookie collection.
[I'm dreadful of Dragon!] From magnetbox, the Bad Engrish worst video game verbiage collected.
Scrape together some change and pick up a copy of Weird N.J magazine. Dedicated to midgetvilles (actual, photographed and documented ones - not the urban legend ones you looked for but could never find), mythical creatures, roadside wavers, egg-o-mats, hauntings, underground tunnels, and old-man bars. On their 18th printed issue, they don't seem to be running out of any weird stuff to report on.
[J-Flash Alert!] Hyakugojyuuichi, Indeed. Gotta hand it to those wacky Japanese for throwing American pop culture references into a blender, setting it on puree, and pouring out inscrutable, random, infantilism/media worship that has nothing whatsoever to do with the sum of its parts. The soundtrack is pretty catchy in a baby-music, Hello Kitty! kind of way, like most J-kitsch.
I found another page called Daily Jive. This one hosts jive in the more literal sense.
[Evel II] Several years ago I saw some paintings that Evel did in an issue of Grand Royal magazine. They were mainly of him and his trusty AMF Harley flying around in the sky, cape a-blowin', presumably mid-jump (but who knows- they could be dream sequences in which his moto-flight requires no ramp, and he's free to cruise the clouds unencumbered by gravity). Sadly, I can't find links to his paintings anywhere online. If you know of any, please email me, or post them, and I'll linky-linky. He painted them mainly in the 70's. One can only hope that these days he's not painting himself flying around in a mobility scooter. Meanwhile, read this fantastic article if you havn't already. He calls it like he sees it, and he calls it often (""Someday I'll run into Joe Eszterhas, and I'm gonna knock his fuckin' head off his shoulders. He's a worm. He represents the rectum of the world in his chosen profession; he's at the bottom of the list at what he does. And that's not my feeling, that's the feeling of everybody in the country....") . Sheesh Eve! Take another painkiller and shift that recliner into horizontal position! Joe Eszterhas can't fade you!:: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 ::
[Evel I] Yeah!!! Evel Knievel!! Remember when he had that special rocket bike made so he could jump Snake River Canyon? Then he wimped out or something... Now, he just jumps bones. Probably those belonging to these vampire chicks he's kicking it with. He's got tons of books about his bad-ass self, and even a pinball machine, and a record too. How many of you punks can say that? I'm extra-down with The Ballad of Evel Knievel. "He knows some day he's gonna have to face that canyon in the sky". If I ever find one of those Evel crank motorcycle toys again, that shit is as good as bought. Evel... you truly are an American Legend! Wait... What's that you say?!! Evel is now endorsing old-folks mobility scooters?!! Aw, Evel. Why'd you have to go out like that?
This has to be the worst art on earth. Thomas Kinkaid paints those hobbit-like fairy tale houses with multi-chimneys stoking full blast in the middle of summer, every light on during daytime including the front walkway lamp, and flowers vomited up all over the place. Just a print (poster) is 940 bucks! This has to be some kind of strange cult thing.
[Weird Americana] The Wildlife art of Radar O'Reilly
Walking through Bryant Park today I saw a huge crowd looking at something on the 5th ave. end. It turned out to be David Blaine who was standing on a pole about a hundred feet up. He looked like he was talking on his cell phone the whole time. More interesting was the crazy who was yelling to the crowd that "he has a mechanical arm! That's a mechanical arm he's wiggling around up there!!!" I couldn't figure out why a guy on a giant pole would need a mechanical arm. He's going to jump into some cardboard boxes at 10:00pm tonight after 36 hours up there. Maybe the arm will help somehow.:: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 ::
"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it."
"I came here to kick ass and chew gum... and I'm all out of gum"
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.":: Monday, May 20, 2002 ::
[Ashcroft-Watch] Isn't it about time we started putting the fanatical antics of this right-wing extremist under a microscope before he shreds the entire Constitution? The bizarre no-dancing thing isn't his only un-American activity. For more madcap laughs, take the deceptively difficult Ashcroft/McCarthy test.
A friend of mine just called me from his car in Lewes, DE looking for the Futuro flying saucer house. I hooked him up.
A robot constructor site that I found on a very nicely organized Artificial Life page.
The Mondrian Machine
[Stirling Engine] These guys have an engine that runs off of the heat of your hand.:: Friday, May 17, 2002 ::
Bigfoot. This is embarrassing to admit, but I actually know some people who refuse to believe that an eastern strain of the Bigfoot species lives in New Jersey. The truth is out there. 2000 was a bumper year for sightings, as this horribly formatted page tells us.
I found this cool inverse kinematics animator through a link at sharpeworld.
Silophone is a very nice mix of performance art and interactive technology. Its basically a microphone and a set of speakers in a huge grain warehouse in Montreal. Upload sounds, play them, and hear them with the enormous natural reverb that the grain silos add to your sounds/voices/music. The site also contains a database of sounds that other people have uploaded that you can play. Some of them are pretty strange.:: Thursday, May 16, 2002 ::
Dan Rather addresses the jingoism that prevents U.S. journalists from critically analyzing Bush. You'll have to fast forward about 2/3 through the stream to get the Rather interview. The Hollywoodization of the war "has gone too far." It should be online until Friday.
I designed a t-shirt for Atomic Books in Baltimore which you can get on their site (its the relaxing femme-fatale with the brain-in-the-bowl). I called it "Relaxing Couple". They call it "Atomic Lady", thus totally marginalizing the brain.
Fantagraphics just released the first volume of Krazy Kat comics from 1925-26 Sunday newspaper runs. Nice cover by Chris Ware, whose Acme #15 you've gotta see.
A great collection of vintage broadcast microphone photographs.:: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 ::
[Animation] If you've got a fast connection, check out the short animated films at the Figures of Speech site, by Flat Black Films. Flat Black's Bob Sabiston designed the layering vector animation software that made Waking Life possible.
[Digital Rights Management]: Artists' Rights or Corporate Special Interests? You decide. Wait- I'll give you a hint: It's Corporate Special Interests. At the same the RIAA spins draw-droppingly bad copy like "'The artist creates the music that jolts you back in your chair, whisks you across the dance floor, or freezes you in reverie." they don't accept individual artists memberships. They even have pages titled "Its all about the music". For all of their artist-centric sloganeering, I have yet to see a viable DRM proposal that takes independent artists' rights into account.
[Is there a phrenologist in the house?] Head bump science from historical to the modern. The latter site claims, amazingly, "Extensive experimental verification of the Phrenological localisations have proven their practical value. The Phrenological analysis of personality remains of incomparable value to assess the character." Yet another phrenology page features a nice picture of an incredibly lumpy-headed guy getting his exam. My claim is that I can accurately assess the character of anyone willing to have their character assessed by a head-rubber.
[TV assault!] In a flagrant violation of short-term fame expiration statutes, Kato Kaelin is out hyping a new show in which he goes door to door inviting himself to be your houseguest for the weekend. Somebody please get me a meeting with some of these desperate ABC network execs. I don't have anything actually written yet, but I could ad lib a better idea than this. Honest. In an even more serious violation, he's still hitting us with that busted haircut that he appears to be somehow trapped under.:: Monday, May 13, 2002 ::
[Stickers] This is a nice page featuring vintage travel stickers for rail, ocean, hotels, and airlines. The graphics are clear, zoomable, and nicely organized. Its interesting to see how corporations let their logo designs go from striking to bland over time. Courtesy of Coudal.
[Soda] Soda Constructor is one of the coolest uses of Java I've seen. Now you can save the models you build, so its even better. Soon, you'll be able to race your online robots against eachother. I'll bet anything that the one programmed by the twitchy kid with glasses beats yours.
[Record Art] This guy's got a great collection of strange record album covers. My favorite might be the Banana Monkeys. Then again, it might be Pray to Booty. When I can't make up my mind, I go visit the misshapen little moppets on the front page of Show and Tell Music, then go inside to marvel at The Addicts Sing. Is this what Voodoo is like? I'm convertin'!:: Sunday, May 12, 2002 ::
[Homeownin'... Tennessee-style!] A pal hipped me to a good special purpose weblog- this one dedicated to the ongoing antics of the author's redneck neighbors. The pictures alone are worth it. Property values within a square mile of this poor guy are nosediving, but at least he's having fun with his website.
[Princesses beware] I'm not sure if the Asian Prince is a hoax or not. It's pretty great either way. I'd hang with the Prince. Maybe. Photoshoppers will notice some skin blending going on. They could be vanity blurs, or the results of a complete digital hair transplant to get him looking more... um... Diana Ross-like. From sharpeworld, another lover available, this one with printed affirmations that the lucky female respondent will someday probably be using as evidence in court.:: Friday, May 10, 2002 ::
[I scream, you scream, we all scream for ... Judas Priest] I wish I was in a band with fans like these. Hell, I wish I was one of these fans. Heavy Metal Parking Lot - 1986 (Quicktime/RealPlayer)
[Like a Surgeon] Anyone can be a Star Wars or Spiderman fan. This cat got himself inked up not only with Weird Al's likeness and autograph, but threw in Al's backup touring band for good measure. Long may you rock, Dave.
[Attack!!!] I love early 60's sci-fi/horror graphics. The Tim Burton movie wasn't so hot, don't let that stop you from digging the pulp paintings featured on this collection of 1962 original Mars Attacks cards, along with the text that appeared on the backs. Topp's reissued them in 1992, adding some new ones with horrible superhero figure drawing. Attacking Martians should be lean and mean.
[Wi-Fi: Going, Going...] Cheap, Fast, and Wireless... Who wouldn't like that? The FCC, for one. The Wi-Fi 802.11b spec has been getting a lot of press lately, with the government trying to crush it and all... Here's what they're trying to get you not to try at home, from the always-great O'Reilly site, and a more general article on Business2's site
[Gotta represent] A new Milkowski & Murray song is being produced by Chris DelOlio. It should be out sometime in June 2002 and will eventually get posted on our mp3 site here.