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November 14, 2016
[comics] Midlands metaphysics … The Financial Times reviews Alan Moore’s Jerusalem … ‘Unquestionably Jerusalem is Moore’s most ambitious statement yet — his War and Peace, his Ulysses. The prose scintillates throughout, a traffic jam of hooting dialect and vernacular trundling nose-to-tail with pantechnicons of pop culture allusion. Exploring a single town’s psychogeography with a passionate forensic intensity, Moore makes the parochial universal, the mundane sublime and the temporal never-ending.’
November 10, 2016
[comics] 95-year-old Mad cartoonist Al Jaffee: ‘The world is full of bloviators’‘I noticed that what was becoming popular – and it might have been the Playboy magazine started it – but even household magazines like Life magazine and National Geographic started to have these elaborate full-color fold-outs, and it immediately clicked in my mind that if they’re doing all of these sumptuous fold-outs, Mad ought to do a cheap, black-and-white fold-in. I walked into the editor and I said to him, “Al, you’re not going to buy this because it would mutilate the magazine but I just thought I’d show it to you for the fun of it.” He grabbed it and ran in to the publisher’s office, came bouncing back in about five minutes, and said: “Bill loves the idea. Do it, and if it mutilates the magazine, the kid’ll buy a second one for his collection.” Ever the money man.’
November 9, 2016
[life] Current Status…

November 8, 2016
[aircrash] What Happened to Eastern Airlines Flight 980 … fascinating aircrash cold case – about a 1985 crash into a Bolivian mountain … ‘We see an astonishing number of contraband crocodile and snakeskins, which were probably being smuggled to Miami to be made into black-market goods like shoes and handbags. Dan gets on the radio to tell us that he found a roll of magnetic tape. “This is either from one of the black boxes,” he says, “or it has a great 1985 movie on it.” Isaac and Dan also both find a few chunks of orange metal, which is exciting because—despite the name—flight recorders are painted international orange to help investigators locate them. But the pieces seem too trashed to have come from supposedly indestructible boxes…’
November 7, 2016
[funny] WWJB?… Who Would Jesus Block?

Who Would Jesus Block?

November 4, 2016
[curtis] HyperNormalisation … go watch this long, new, iPlayer documentary from Adam Curtis … ‘Our world is strange and often fake and corrupt. But we think it’s normal because we can’t see anything else. HyperNormalisation – the story of how we got here.’
November 2, 2016
[tect] The Oral History Of The Poop Emoji (Or, How Google Brought Poop To America) … the story of how the 💩 emoji came to be on your mobile phone … ‘I wrote the code and sent it to one of my colleagues who I had told before. I said, “I’m sneaking an animated poop into Gchat. I want you to review it. The title of the review is going be something really boring so no one will want to look at it.” The poop was submitted. I decided to wait until it went live all across the world before telling my manager. I watched and waited for it to reach 100%, praying that I didn’t break Gmail. If I broke Gmail for animated poop, people would be super mad. There were no problems!’
November 1, 2016
[moore] A Working Class Mythology: Alan Moore's Jerusalem Reviewed‘Actually, I think there’s every chance that for future generations Moore will be remembered primarily as the author of Jerusalem; as a genuine working-class genius and world-class writer who just happened to get his start in comics because there were no other avenues open to him.’
October 31, 2016
[space] How NASA Fights to Keep Dying Spacecraft Alive … a look at how the working lives of space probes end … ‘Maybe there’s another way of looking at the “deaths” of NASA’s deep space probes. After all, even after we lose contact with all five, they will still be speeding away from the solar system toward distant stars. In the vacuum of space, there’s nothing to corrode or degrade the spacecraft other than the occasional stray particle, meaning there’s every possibility that these probes will still be out there somewhere millions of years from now. By then, it’s entirely possible that the last humans in existence will be the couple carved onto the Pioneer plaque, those photographed for Voyager’s Golden Record, and Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh, an ounce of whose ashes are aboard New Horizons.’
October 28, 2016
[books] In ‘Hitler,’ an Ascent From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue … Nicely done book review on the rise of Donald Trump Adolf Hitler … ‘Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”’
October 27, 2016
[comics] 13 Essential Horror Comics‘How does one combine classic crime noir, period drama, and Lovecraftian terror into an ongoing comic that not only scares, it fascinates? Read Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fatale to find out. For years, Brubaker and Phillips crafted some of the greatest crime fiction in comics with their seminal Criminal, but in Fatale, the creative duo proved they can do high octane horror with the same panache they did cops and robbers.’
October 26, 2016
[comics] Remembering Jack Chick: how the Christian cartoonist changed comics … The Evangelical Christian cartoonist Jack Chick died on Sunday …

Many underground and alternative comic artists admired him. In an interview last year, the cartoonist Daniel Clowes said that, as far as he was concerned, Chick deserved a place in the comics pantheon. “As a comics aficionado you don’t really think of those as being part of the official canon of effective comics,” he said. “And one day I sort of changed my mind on that. I thought, ‘These are really compelling and interesting and I’d rather read these than pretty much anything else published in 1985.’”

The revelation came after a Chick tracts bender, Clowes said: “[O]ne day I made a long trek out to a Christian bookstore in Queens where they had a rack where they sold them, and I bought every single one, which totaled I think $3. I think they were each 10 cents. And I went home and read them all in one sitting, and it was maybe the most devastating comics-reading experience I’ve ever had. I really felt like he’d almost won me over by the end. There’s really something to be said for that.”

October 21, 2016
[trump] ‘I think he’s a very dangerous man for the next three or four weeks’ … An “emergency meeting” of Trumpologists discuss Trump’s final weeks in the US Election … ‘The parallels between the period of time leading up to his downfall in 1990 and the campaign now are striking. And what he did last night in standing up in this moment of crisis and being a victim — he thought of himself as a victim in the downfall of 1990 and playing the victim card and being as angry at others as he was in the ’90s in the way in which he dealt with the bankers. It was very strikingly similar to that period of time. But when you’ve dealt with the bankers in 1990, you could figure out a way where both of you came out with something and lost something. But in this case, there’s going to be a winner and a loser. And so there’s some similarities, but ultimately, he’s going to be a loser. He managed to survive in almost an unbelievable way when his empire collapsed, but managed to survive with the aid of the bankers. But this time, it’s going to be a straight-out loss on the biggest stage he’s ever been on, and how he handles that — I don’t think we’ve got any precedent for that.’
October 20, 2016
[moore] Alan Moore’s Script for Batman: The Killing Joke … posted complete on Tumblr … ‘WELL, I’VE CHECKED THE LANDING GEAR, FASTENED MY SEATBELT, SWALLOWED MY CIGAR IN A SINGLE GULP AND GROUND MY SCOTCH AND SODA OUT IN THE ASTRAY PROVIDED, SO I SUPPOSE WE’RE ALL SET FOR TAKE OFF. BEFORE WE GO SCREECHING OFF INTO THOSE ANGRY CREATIVE SKIES FROM WHICH WE MAY BOTH WELL RETURN AS BLACKENED CINDERS, I SUPPOSE A FEW PRELIMINARY NOTES ARE IN ORDER, SO SIT BACK WHILE I RUN THROUGH THEM WITH ACCOMPANYING HAND MOVEMENTS FROM OUT CHARMING STEWARDESS IN THE CENTRE AISLE.’
October 19, 2016
[wikileaks] Want to know WikiLeaks’ endgame? Julian Assange told you a decade ago‘In “Conspiracy as Governance,” which Assange posted to his blog in December 2006, the leader of then-new WikiLeaks describes what he considered to be the most effective way to attack a conspiracy—including, as he puts it, that particular form of conspiracy known as a political party. “Consider what would happen if one of these parties gave up their mobile phones, fax and email correspondence—let alone the computer systems which manage their [subscribers], donors, budgets, polling, call centres and direct mail campaigns. They would immediately fall into an organisational stupor and lose to the other.” And how to induce that “organisational stupor?” Foment the fear that any correspondence could leak at any time.’
October 17, 2016
[games] How to Win at Monopoly and Lose All Your Friends … interesting analysis of how play Monopoly effectively … ‘Because Monopoly is one of the best-selling games of all time, most of us learned to play it as children. As such, most of us know the basics of going through a turn, such as rolling, moving, buying and improving properties, collecting rent and so on. However, few people know all the rules (more on this later) or how to form a cohesive strategy. This results in games were people more or less roll the dice and go through the motions until somebody wins. Because of the way the game is designed, this inevitably results in one person acquiring a majority of the assets on the board, and beginning the slow, painful, friendship-destroying process of grinding the other players out of the game, turn by turn. This is why Monopoly starts as a fun exciting romp, only to turn into a bitter cesspool of despair…’
October 14, 2016
[tv] Charlie Brooker: ‘The more horrible an idea, the funnier I find it’ … Charlie Brooker on the various subjects covered in the new series of Black Mirror‘I’ve scaled back my involvement with Twitter; it’s too easy to get dragged into an argument. It’s also completely futile. Is it helpful for trolls, is it cathartic? Does it prevent them from going out on a shooting rampage? It’s tricky. One person’s troll is another person trying to make a point. They’re trying to get you to listen to an argument. I don’t make sweeping statements on social media, mainly because I can’t be fucking arsed with the argument that follows.’
October 13, 2016
[docu] Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi … Adam Curtis interviewed by Andrew Orlowski about his new documentary

Rather than deal with something complicated, Western powers found that Gadaffi who had until then been isolated and ignored by the Arab world, fitted the bill of a cartoon villain.

“Gadaffi illustrates, like a flash of lightening on a dark night, just how corrupt, how hypocritical, and how empty of values our middles class elites have become,” Curtis told us. “It was quite shocking to me. It’s just rubbish that he had WMDs. There were no biological weapons and he’d got a a centrifuge but none of his people knew how to put it together – it was in boxes.”

But after being demonised in the 1980s and 1990s, Gadaffi finds himself rehabilitated.

“After the Gulf War all these people go out and make him into a modern thinker: David Frost, Anthony Giddens, even Lionel Ritchie went out there, and said Gadaffi was good. Then, after they Arabs Spring he was a villain again, so they just dropped him.”

“I was thinking of making a sort of comedy…

October 11, 2016
[comics] DC in the 80s: An Interview with Rick Veitch … Mark Belkin interviews Rick Veitch about his truncated run on Swamp Thing … ‘So, based on Alan’s scripts, I became more interested in Swamp Thing and regular comic books as well. There was a great potential future for the art form in Alan’s breakthrough and I wanted to learn as much as I could from it. Steve started to draw Anatomy Lesson, but was running up against the deadline and I helped him out with that first issue. I did about a third of the Anatomy Lesson. And then each subsequent issue Steve would call me in when he needed me to help. Then later, when DC needed someone to do a fill in issue to give Steve a breather, I was one of the guys they would call. My involvement was really a secondary career, I had a really great thing going at Marvel, writing and drawing a creator owned series at Epic. So I didn’t think of it as my money-making career, I really wanted to learn more about this… magic… Alan was conjuring.’
October 10, 2016
October 6, 2016
[savile] Louis Theroux: Looking back on Jimmy Savile … Louis Theroux reflects on his relationship with Jimmy Savile … ‘With all the victims, there was the slightly uncomfortable moment of soliciting their opinions on my original documentary. It was oddly bracing to feel the force of their unvarnished feedback. “I remember thinking ‘Poor Louis’,” said one. She said she felt I’d been “hoodwinked” by him. Another remarked on how “silly” I seemed, being pushed around by a puffed-up celebrity. It is fair comment. At the time, I’d done my best to be tough with him. I knew he was weird and, with all his mannerisms, rather irritating – I had no interest in making a soft piece about Jimmy the Charity Fundraiser. The dark rumours – of sexual deviance, of being unemotional, of having a morbid interest in corpses – were one of the reasons I’d taken him on as a subject. I wanted to get the goods on Savile. The trouble was, I had no clear sense of what those goods were.’
October 5, 2016
[moore] The Alan Moore Jerusalem tapes, #7: the lost language of Northampton … AM on language and consciousness … ‘It’s this whole thing of perception, and our perception is made of words. Language precedes consciousness, we are told, and also you can see it even in the present day. Say, for example, before we had the word ‘paedophile’. Or before we had that word in common clearly understood usage. Isn’t it funny how all the paedophiles appeared after that word? You’ll sometimes talk to old people, and they’ll say, ‘well, we never had those paedophiles when I was a girl or I was a boy’, and I’m ‘yeah you did, you just didn’t have a word for it’. So it was worse then, because you couldn’t even conceive of them.’
October 3, 2016
[london] 300 Things Diamond Geezer Loves About London … … ‘Whatever I want, anything I need, the anonymity of not knowing my neighbours, being one in nine million, collective consciousness…’
September 30, 2016
[tweets] Following On Twitter: @WernerTwertzog‘In the future, everyone will be dead for an infinite number of minutes.’
September 29, 2016
[trump] Psychiatric hospitals filling up with time travellers sent back to kill Donald Trump‘They all say the same thing, they come from a future of riots, war, famine, the collapse of civilised society, and then being sent back to ‘make it all right’. I mean, it’s almost like they’re telling the truth and for some unknown reason the future is getting increasingly desperate to stop the rise of Donald Trump and the end of the world he will inevitably bring about. He can’t be that bad, can he?’
September 28, 2016
[tv] Netflix Original Series, Ranked (Again) … Vulture rates all 36 of Netflix’s current original TV productions … ‘House of Cards – One of Netflix’s first tentpoles, House of Cards is better at a prestige-y veneer than it is at actual prestige-quality narrative. While Kevin Spacey plays his character with embarrassingly visible excess, Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood is a stunning, implacable pillar of hard surfaces and internal machinations. Everything else veers rapidly between way-too-complicated plotting and underdeveloped surprise twists. Though initially absorbing, it feels increasingly unnecessary given the drama of real-life politics.’
September 27, 2016
[ww2] High Hitler: How Nazi Drug Abuse Steered the Course of History … an interesting examination of Adolf Hitler’s drug addictions …

For Hitler, though, a crisis was coming. When the factories where Pervitin and Eukodal were made were bombed by the allies, supplies of his favourite drugs began to run out, and by February 1945 he was suffering withdrawal. Bowed and drooling and stabbing at his skin with a pair of golden tweezers, he cut a pitiful sight. “Everyone describes the bad health of Hitler in those final days [in the Führerbunker in Berlin],” says Ohler. “But there’s no clear explanation for it. It has been suggested that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. To me, though, it’s pretty clear that it was partly withdrawal.” He grins. “Yeah, it must have been pretty awful. He’s losing a world war, and he’s coming off drugs.”

September 26, 2016
[tv] Eastenders to show Ian Beale discovering old episodes of Eastenders on UK Gold‘Forthcoming episodes see Ian Beale taking time off work with a chest infection and watching daytime TV, during which he discovers old Eastenders episodes showing the exploits of his younger self, friends and family. A BBC spokesman said: “It’s going to trip him the fuck out.”’
September 24, 2016
[life] ‘…It Goes On.’

life-it-goes-on

September 23, 2016
[moore] If you read only one Alan Moore Jerusalem interview, make it this one … extensive must-read profile/interview with Moore on Jerusalem and Northampton …

It’s a strange experience, walking the streets with this bearded compendium of knowledge. Every corner provokes a reminiscence, such as the graffiti which he recognises as the work of Bill Drummond of art-pop group the KLF, who came round to his house to show him the film of them burning a million pounds. Do they regret it now, I ask?

“It’s not so much that they regret it, but I think it haunts them. I heard a brilliant definition of haunting: ‘That which haunts us is that which we do not or do not completely understand.’ And I thought, that makes sense. Often we don’t understand our own actions. And certainly, if we’d gone to the Isle of Jura and burned a million quid, we would have a lot of questions!”


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