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April 27, 2017
[war] U.S. Funneling Arms To Dissident Angel Group In Effort To Topple God‘According to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, a CIA-orchestrated operation has provided firearms, ammunition, and financial support to the insurgent angels of the New Dawn Front, with the goal of deposing the longtime Heavenly Father and replacing Him with someone who will advance American interests in the region.’
April 26, 2017
[comics] Required Reading: 50 of the Best Kids Comics‘Jeff Smith’s Bone is the true definition of an “all-ages” comic, of the sort that is equally likely to resonate with kids and adults. Younger readers will be drawn immediately to the vibrant, but contrasting, art styles, as the Bone Brothers’ own depiction, seemingly inspired by silent-era cartoons and animation, is symbolically opposed by the high-fantasy monsters of the realm they find themselves thrown into. It’s a story with the set dressings and complicated political ties typified by the likes of The Lord of the Rings, but the series is funnier than nearly any child-friendly peer you could possibly name. Perhaps the only true comparison would be the likes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, with its deft blend of fantasy and comedy, but Bone tells its tale with significantly more earnestness. With an enthralling story that starts off quick and only gets faster from there, Bone hooks an imaginative mind and then keeps readers on their toes by veering from comedy to dire adventure, and even occasionally horror, at the drop of a hat. In many series, wearing so many different inspirations on one’s sleeve would muddy the proceedings, but Bone is enriched by every one of Smith’s unique idiosyncrasies.’ [via Brad]
April 24, 2017
[trump] Fairytale Prisoner by Choice: The Photographic Eye of Melania Trump … What Melania Trump’s stream of Twitter photos tells us about her life … ‘Melania posted her last photo to Twitter on Thursday, June 11, 2015, five days before her husband announced his candidacy for president. It is an old photograph, of a then six-year-old Barron, taken on the beach. He is looking down at the ground ahead and waving goodbye to a professionally built sandcastle in the background. That day Melania knew, of course, that the campaign was coming. In retrospect her choice of a Throwback Thursday post reads as prophecy: a goodbye to her golden towers, to the home destined to crumble. To this day she’s still up there, in the golden Tower, holding onto it for as long as she can.’
April 20, 2017
April 7, 2017
[twitter] Chuck Wood Twitter feed‘How many johns could John Peel peel if John Peel could peel johns?’
April 6, 2017
[moore] Howard Philip Lovecraft – Utopia/Valhalla #1, April 1970 … As Providence #12 arrives – here’s Alan Moore on H.P. Lovecraft from 47 years ago … ‘Then apparently, another race drifted in from space. The star-headed CTHULHU, who came to Earth and waged war for a time on the Old Ones. But peace was made, and the children of Cthulhu were allowed to live in their frozen city at antarctica with their servants, the proto-plasmic Shoggoths. Eventually, they were defeated, and either imprisoned or banished by the elder-gods,. The basic theme for the Cthulhu mythology, is that it occurs when a mortal breaks the restraints placed upon him, upon which, the Old ones can operate both freely and terribly.’
April 5, 2017
[comics] Brian K. Vaughan Recommends 10 Comics You Need to Read—Because They're Awesomely Unadaptable‘I like adaptations just fine, but my favorite comics are those that feel like they’re not desperate to become a movie or television series or whatever. So here are ten of my favorite recent graphic novels that take advantage of comics’ unique ability to explore the world and ourselves in ways that no other visual medium can.’
April 4, 2017
[tv] A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61 … the slow death of Broadcast TV … ‘According to recent research by Enders Analysis, ITV’s average viewer is now 60; Channel 5’s is 58 and Channel 4’s is 55. Even at E4, birthplace of such yoof-targeting shows as Made in Chelsea and Hollyoaks, the average age is 42. The reason, of course, is simple: the internet…’
April 3, 2017
[politics] Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’ … King analyses Trump with fictional characters …

These stories were written years ago, but Stillson and Rennie bear enough of a resemblance to the current resident of the White House for me to flatter myself I have a country-fair understanding of how such men rise: first as a joke, then as a viable alternative to the status quo, and finally as elected officials who are headstrong, self-centered and inexperienced. Such men do not succeed to high office often, but when they do, the times are always troubled, the candidates in question charismatic, their proposed solutions to complex problems simple, straightforward and impractical. The baggage that should weigh these hucksters down becomes magically light, lifting them over the competition like Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar film Up. Trump’s negatives didn’t drag him down; on the contrary, they helped get him elected.

April 1, 2017
[tv] BBC Grandstand Fight … on this day in 1989 – a live fight broadcast on BBC Grandstand.

March 31, 2017
[web] This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account … Impressive web-Stalking – finding the the Director of the FBI’s Twitter and Instagram accounts … ‘Of course, none of this is definitive proof @projectexile7 is FBI Director James Comey, but it would take a nearly impossible confluence of coincidences for it to be anyone else. Take what you will from the fact that the director of the FBI appears to have liked a tweet from the New York Times about Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner meeting a Russian envoy in December.’
March 30, 2017
[life] My Fully Optimized Life Allows Me Ample Time to Optimize Yours… a very funny “Day in the Life” column … ‘For breakfast, I always enjoy a half liter of organic, fair-trade, bulletproof coffee (I use a ghee, coconut oil, and yak butter blend instead of MCT oil), which keeps me in ketosis until I break my intermittent fast. By the way, if you haven’t tried it, nothing does the trick like intermittent fasting for maintaining less than 17% body fat. (For my full fasting protocol, see my e-book.) Before I leave for work, I make sure to pack my award-winning green smoothie. This recipe is designed to heal the thyroid, calm the spleen, support liver detoxification, reverse and prevent tumor growth, whiten teeth, boost fertility, balance chakras, stabilize circadian rhythms, ease constipation, regulate the menstrual cycle, prevent rabies, and make your skin glow!’
March 29, 2017
[comics] How Dilbert’s Scott Adams Got Hypnotized by Trump … a glimpse into Scott Adams’ world and odd ideas … ‘Getting a comic strip, even one as occasionally edgy as Dilbert, into family newspapers requires observing a certain set of norms. Adams’s viral analyses of Trump introduced many people, including me, to his more unusual fixations. Between political ponderings, he blogged about fitness and seduction, posting photos of his abs and writing a series of essays on how to deploy hypnosis and persuasion for better orgasms. “My language skills activate your sex drive, and you know it,” he wrote at one point. So-called men’s rights activists became vocal fans. I was just baffled. As Trump and Clinton entered the home stretch of the campaign, I wondered if Dilbert’s success had made Scott Adams eccentric—or if this had always been the mind behind the strip.’
March 28, 2017
[lovecraft] Countdown apologises after letters round accidentally summons Cthulhu‘Broadcaster Channel Four defended itself from criticism and said that the letters drawn were ‘purest chance’. Concerns were first raised by viewers after contestants were challenged to twist the numbers 2, 2, 5, 6, 9, 25 and 75 through unholy geometries and cause the stars to be right. This was followed by a contestant winning a letters round with the ten-letter word “Yog-Sothoth” which regular dictionary corner guest Gyles Brandreth accepted was key and the gate and the opener of the way, and praised the contestant for managing to make a ten letter word out of only nine letters.’
March 27, 2017
[comics] Daniel Clowes: Trump’s America is like the cynical comics I drew back in the 90s … Daniel Clowes is not fond of Trump. ‘With a normal fiasco like George W Bush, I would just let it seep in and see what comes out. But this feels so different. It feels like an opportunity to do something at least personally cathartic, if not, you know, meaningful or that has some kind of density to it based on the craziness of what’s going on. I almost feel like I created the world we live in, back in my early comics. It really feels like the dopiest, most cynical comics I drew back in 1991 have just come to fruition. I don’t know where that leaves me.’
March 23, 2017
[brexit] EU chiefs mock May’s Brexit plan with Tintin cartoon‘While we’re on metaphors for Brexit, we can think of a few more fitting Tintin comic titles: The(resa May’s) Broken Ear, Prisoners of the Sun, and Black Island. As Captain Haddock would say, it’s Blistering Brexit Balderdash!’

March 22, 2017
[movies] The Purity of John Wick … a look at what make John Wick so good … ‘John Wick is the purest and most joyful action movie I’ve ever seen. And given its full embrace of the genre, it may very well be one of the purest movies, full stop.’
March 21, 2017
[crime] Steve Bannon’s Sad, Desperate Crusade … a nicely written analysis of Steve Bannon … ‘Even pieces of ostensible criticism reach, almost unfailingly, a passage of barely hidden astonishment, writers gazing at his references to the ancient Roman working class or Thomas Cromwell like they just peeked inside the Matrix. He is, in a way, a journalist’s dream prompt: His mysterious biography invites investigation; his mongrel-like appearance a paradise for vivid similes; his appetite for literature just like theirs. So what should be an attack on an irredeemable charlatan instead becomes something closer to fascination. Writing about Bannon tends to be studiously impartial, analytical, even as his worldview is dismissed as an absurdity. This is wrong. Bannon can be a disheveled maniac and only that—there doesn’t need to be a revelation or nuance or anything beyond a bloodshot sack of demented ambition, no matter how high he ascends. He is not a Svengali, he’s a shipwrecked banker who washed ashore and wound up the president’s ventriloquist. Hate is still just hate, no matter how intricately ornamented it is with Ronald Reagan idolatry.’
March 20, 2017
[life] Up and Then Down … A look into the complicated world of lifts … ‘Fortune carries a “probable stop” table, which applies probability to the vexation that boils up when each passenger presses a button for a different floor. If there are ten people in an elevator that serves ten floors, it will likely make 6.5 stops. Ten people, thirty floors: 9.5 stops. (The table does not account for the exasperating phantom stop, when no one gets on or off.) Other factors are door open and close time, loading and unloading time, acceleration rate, and deceleration rate, which must be swift but gentle. You hear that interfloor traffic kills—something to mutter, perhaps, when a co-worker boards the elevator to travel one flight, especially if that co-worker is planning, at day’s end, to spend half an hour on a StairMaster. It’s also disastrous to have a cafeteria on anything but the ground floor, or one floor above or below it, accessible via escalator.’
March 17, 2017
[royalty] Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death … a must-read look at what happens when the Queen dies – the big picture and the odd details …

The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the minute. It involves matters of major public importance, will be paid for by us, and is definitely going to happen. According to the Office of National Statistics, a British woman who reaches the age of 91 – as the Queen will in April – has an average life expectancy of four years and three months. The Queen is approaching the end of her reign at a time of maximum disquiet about Britain’s place in the world, at a moment when internal political tensions are close to breaking her kingdom apart. Her death will also release its own destabilising forces: in the accession of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new king who is already an old man; and in the future of the Commonwealth, an invention largely of her making. (The Queen’s title of “Head of the Commonwealth” is not hereditary.) Australia’s prime minister and leader of the opposition both want the country to become a republic.

Coping with the way these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to practise coronations and to persist – with the complicity of a willing public – in the magic of the whole enterprise. That is why the planning for the Queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extensive. Succession is part of the job. It is an opportunity for order to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the contents of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mother’s funeral was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, prepared a winter and a summer menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queen’s exit plan. “It’s history,” as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 days of sorrow and spectacle in which, rather like the dazzling mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.

March 16, 2017
[books] The Complicated Friendship of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Barlow, One of His Biggest Fans‘Barlow didn’t invent Cthulhu. He lived in Lovecraft’s great dream, but he never became a great dreamer himself. Until he got to Mexico, he was a serial abandoner of projects, who set out to do everything but left most of it unfinished. He was also too interested in reality: where Lovecraft had sublimated his fears and desires, Barlow had sex and saw the world. Rather than imagining dreadful Others, he took note of what other people were actually like.’
March 15, 2017
[twitter] Detective Fin … my current favourite Twitter … ‘Coroner says he was high on somethin’ called Barnyard Paste. It’s a fertility drug for cocker spaniels.’

March 14, 2017
[politics] I am The Crap Thatcher, confirms Theresa May‘Thatcher could push through a radical agenda because she won overwhelming majorities in three general elections. I only even became leader because everyone else quit. “I am a pale imitation of the Iron Lady, an authoritarian despot who isn’t even any good at it, which ironically means I’ll end up doing much more damage.”‘
March 13, 2017
[books] A Glorious Mythology of Loss: Alan Moore’s “Jerusalem” … The L.A. Review of Books on Moore’s recent novel … ‘In the novel’s final pages, Moore reveals the magnitude of what he has set out to accomplish — his novel is a metatextual ritual that aspires to overturn the fundamental economic mythology built into the social fabric of late capitalism — yet the author displays a wistful humility concerning his project’s ultimate efficacy.’
March 10, 2017
[comics] How the 20,699-word iTunes T&Cs became this year’s hottest graphic novel‘Sikoryak has been praised by some for making T&Cs more accessible, which he finds baffling. He just enjoys the challenge of making something dismissed as unreadable readable. In his eyes, convincing someone to read terms and conditions is just like getting someone to read “worthy” classics they feel guilty about skipping, from Camus to Beckett and beyond. “I like using texts that are perceived as important,” he says, “and that includes iTunes T&Cs. All my work is an attempt to bridge the gap between what we call high art and low art, what we think is important or serious, and what we see as frivolous and meaningless. Often, that boundary doesn’t exist.”’
March 9, 2017
[space] Io over Jupiter from Voyager 1 … Looking at this stunning picture of Io over Jupiter is about as close as I get to religious awe …

March 8, 2017
[space] Heat and Ashes: The Untold Story of the Apollo 1 Fire … Remembering Apollo 1 – 50 years later … ‘The legacy of the Apollo fire of 1967 is preserved in history books and lengthy documentaries. But the sheer horror and emotional intensity of having three colleagues—for many in the program, three close friends—suffocate in a burning capsule while scrambling to save them, hasn’t been as well preserved. The severity of that moment has become a footnote in the public consciousness, faded by the decades that have passed and overshadowed by the incredible achievements of the Apollo program that followed. But for those like Henry Rogers who experienced the tragedy firsthand, the trauma of January 27, 1967 left scars, and a deep sense of regret that’s difficult to capture all these years later…’
March 7, 2017
[books] Three days with The Dice Man: ‘I never wrote for money or fame’ … Tanya Gold interviews Luke Rhinehart (aka George Cockcroft) author of The Dice Man … ‘He says he has no idea why he began writing. He read outsiders, and men who railed against belonging: Tolstoy, Kafka, Hemingway. His first attempt at fiction was about a young boy who is locked up in a psychiatric institution because he thinks he is Jesus Christ. He abandoned it after 80 pages, but one chapter featured a psychiatrist called Dr Luke Rhinehart. “He was a minor character,” Cockcroft says, “but there he was.”’
March 6, 2017
[bullshit] Why bullshit is no laughing matter … some analysis of bullshit … ‘In his book, On Bullshit (2005), Frankfurt noted that ‘most people are rather confident of their ability to recognise bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it’. However, more than 98 per cent of our participants rated at least one item in our bullshit receptivity scales to be at least somewhat profound. We are not nearly as good at detecting bullshit as we think.’
March 3, 2017
[politics] Big Brother adds fourth line to manifesto‘In a series of tweets this morning, the beloved leader reiterated that War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, and Freedom is Slavery, but added that News is Fake – an admonishment immediately seized on by the faithful as always having been true. The expansion to the party message is designed to help loyal citizens better bellyfeel Party messages without bothering themselves with difficult and worrying contradictory reports. “Failing news media is enemy of the people! Doubleplus Sad!”, he announced at 2:37am this morning.’

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