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December 7, 2021
[xmas] How to make your own Die Hard Christmas tree ornament‘ If you really want to go for it, you’ll probably need to go find one of these foil gift boxes to cut up. Otherwise, you can do what I did and use tin foil and a cereal box. You’ll also need scissors, tape, a cereal box, a color printer, and a toilet paper or paper towel tube.’
December 6, 2021
December 3, 2021
[tv] ‘We were two tortured idiots trying to make TV’: The Adam and Joe Show, 25 years on‘One of the most striking things about rewatching The Adam and Joe Show is how well most of it has aged (there are notable exceptions, including a debate about the relative merits of vinyl versus CDs). That’s partly because – comfortingly or depressingly, depending on how you look at it – mainstream entertainment hasn’t actually changed that much. The subjects of their parodies – Star Wars, Friends, Loose Women – remain ubiquitous. People Place, their very funny pastiche of daytime TV programmes that “take on these really massive subjects but do them in a huge hurry, and involve members of the public and just rush them all the time”, as Cornish puts it, remains painfully spot-on.’
December 2, 2021
[books] The Origins of Raoul Duke… How Hunter S. Thompson created his alter-ego. ‘Although Duke played no real part in this breakthrough book about the infamous motorcycle gang, his name was casually included in a list of outlaws near the end. Readers at the time must have been baffled, as this was the first time Thompson had ever used that name. However, it was not the first time that the words “Raoul Duke” had appeared next to each other in print. The improbable appellation had popped up in a series of articles in December 1965—a month when Thompson was furiously scouring newspapers from across North America in search of material for his book, which he considered a meditation on the media as much as the biker gang. In the midst of his press binge, he more than likely stumbled upon a series of stories about an unassuming businessman from Calgary by the name of Raoul “Duke” Duquette…’
December 1, 2021
November 30, 2021
[comics] Neil Gaiman on Desert Island Discs … On Books: ‘My dad, always my dad… would literally pat me down because I had been known to hide books under my jumper and he would lock them in the car. And it never really worked, because wherever we were, I could normally find something to read. It just wouldn’t have been what I wanted to read, but suddenly… I’d be off in the corner reading The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten or something, because it was the book that I found.’
November 29, 2021
[comics] Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era … A deep dive into the life of Stan Lee via two recent biographies. ‘Lee’s final years were a strange mixture of global fame and outlandish hustling. He enjoyed filming his Hitchcock-like cameos for the MCU movies, but got only token fees for them and avoided sitting through the premieres: ‘Stan hated superhero films,’ his business manager told Riesman. A parade of unreliable associates – including a memorabilia mogul who claimed to be Michael Jackson’s best friend – tried to persuade him they’d found a way to turn his celebrity into cash.’
November 26, 2021
November 25, 2021
[socialmedia] I Made the World’s Blandest Facebook Profile, Just to See What Happens … A look at the toxicity of Facebook. ‘After just two weeks on the platform, consuming only content that Facebook’s recommendation systems selected for me, I found myself at the bottom of a rabbit hole not of extremism but of utter trash—bad advice, stolen memes, shady businesses, and sophomoric jokes repeated over and over. Facebook isn’t just dangerous, I learned. It doesn’t merely have the ability to shape offline reality for its billions of users. No, Facebook is also—and perhaps for most people—senseless and demoralizing.’
November 24, 2021
[life] The Misconception About Baby Boomers and the Sixties‘The boomers get tied to the sixties because they are assumed to have created a culture of liberal permissiveness, and because they were utopians—political idealists, social activists, counterculturalists. In fact, it is almost impossible to name a single person born after 1945 who played any kind of role in the civil-rights movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the New Left, the antiwar movement, or the Black Panthers during the nineteen-sixties. Those movements were all started by older, usually much older, people. The baby boomers obviously played no substantive role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act, or in the decisions of the Warren Court, which are the most important political accomplishments of the decade. Nor were they responsible for the women’s movement or gay liberation.’ [Thanks Feeling Listless]
November 23, 2021
[movies] Dune / Terry and June Mashup …

Dune / Terry and June Mashup

November 22, 2021
[books] Why Stephen King keeps coming back … A look at the longevity of Stephen King. ‘Even though I’ve been thinking about him and reading him for years, it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago, reading the 2003 foreword to The Drawing of the Three, the second book in his Dark Tower fantasy epic, that I think I finally got Stephen King. There, King writes about what led him to create the series, which at that point was five books in, and would rapidly conclude with two more a year later. He’s trying to figure out why he wanted to write these books. He chalks it up to the American in him: the urge to “build the tallest, dig the deepest, write the longest.” This, I think, is King’s lasting influence, and why generation after generation comes back to him. It’s his Americanness — not the lived reality of America, which many have claimed is what perennially draws people to his work, but its fiction, made flesh.’
November 19, 2021
[people] What lies beneath: the secrets of France’s top serial killer expert … The fascinating story of a fraudulent French expert on serial killers. ‘Bourgoin’s friends withdrew from him, and began to await, with a fair amount of dread, his unmasking. But his star continued to rise. “What astounded me was not so much that he told tall tales, because I knew he was that way, but rather that everyone swallowed them whole,” the other friend said. “It was the unseriousness, not to say the sheer idiocy, of the media.” The indulgence of the publishers, the newspapers, the television stations and even the police might have been more forgivable if Bourgoin’s work had been more insightful, offered more than morbid titillation, the first friend said. “But there was never, ever, ever the slightest beginning of a hint of a shadow of analysis, of reflection,” he said.’
November 18, 2021
[tv] The Real C.E.O. of “Succession” … Profiling Jesse Armstrong and Succession. ‘At first glance, it might seem surprising that “Succession”—a show saturated in knowing detail about Manhattan, even if it is concerned with a global corporate business—was conceived by a British showrunner and is the product of a writers’ room in London. The Roys, though, have British roots: Logan is from a working-class Scottish background, and the mother of the younger Roy children, Caroline, is a frosty English aristocrat. Armstrong told me that in considering Caroline’s class background he had in mind someone like Lady Caroline Blackwood, the author and the daughter of the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, who was married to both Robert Lowell and Lucian Freud. The barb-trading discourse of the family, and also its aversion to the expression of emotion, are recognizable as culturally inherited traits. When Kendall visits his mother and tries to confide in her late one night, she recommends that they wait until morning, so they can talk “over an egg,” then scarpers before he rises.’
November 17, 2021
[comics] Jack Kirby Runs Into the MCU Buzzsaw … A look at how the The Marvel Cinematic Universe (and it’s fans) deals with the Eternals and it’s creator Jack Kirby. ‘There’s something deeply depressing about the whole spectacle that has nothing to do with art. Jack Kirby spent his life fighting corporate behemoths and championing the rights of creators, as individuals, a war he didn’t win until after his death. But time and again, the fans have made it abundantly clear they care more about corporations than creators.’
November 16, 2021
[funny] Zizek / Spice Girls Mashed Up… via Twitter

November 15, 2021
[ronson] Jon Ronson and Adam Curtis on the culture wars: ‘How has this happened? Where is the escape hatch?’ … Curtis and Ronson in discussion promoting Ronson’s new podcast. ‘The series did make me think: how has this happened? Not just the culture wars but their ferocity. And where is the escape hatch? Because I think all sides now feel that there’s something not quite right. If you examine the years since Trump and Brexit, there has been this enormous hysteria in newspapers and on television about it. But actually the politicians have done nothing to change society. It’s almost been like a frozen world.’
November 12, 2021
[moore] ‘There is nothing in celebrity that I want’ … Recent interview with Alan Moore focusing on Northampton. ‘“You have to understand,” he says “that I have a probably psychotic belief that I am the town of Northampton. This has been ever since I noticed that Richard the Lionheart granted the town its charter on November 18, my birthday. So I am the town of Northampton, its living embodiment.”’
November 11, 2021
[comics] A rare interview with Robert Crumb on America, PC culture and Trump‘It was Aline who hung, at the entrance to their home, a Donald Trump voodoo doll, complete with pins. “She’s really obsessed with Trump,” he says. “I’m no friend of Trump. I think he’s a bad man, but he’s a symptom of things that have been happening in the States for decades, it’s the decline of the Roman Empire. She suggested we make a comic about Trump together. I said, Okay, I can get into that, and then I spent an entire day just drawing Trump’s hair. I studied his hair with a magnifying glass. When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off.”’
November 10, 2021
[comics] Why Bruce Wayne Should Never Give Any Money To Charity‘Amongst Batman’s wider enemies are therapists, teachers, postal workers, and ventriloquists. If you support the arts: you’re probably funding an origin story. If you support public services: origin story. There’s no industry which won’t pivot into a villain production line. One time a policeman got shot and was reborn as an immortal Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead. Every single person in Gotham City is one bad day away from turning into a criminal, and Bruce Wayne’s best bet is to hoard all his money and make sure that nobody else gets their hands on it.’
November 9, 2021
[books] On the Trail of a Mysterious, Pseudonymous Author … The fascinating story of a piecemeal novel sent in the post by an unknown author. ‘Why not get it published? Why send it to a seemingly random and relatively small group of recipients? (Prickett has sent copies to five or six hundred people.) “The worst thing about writing,” he told me, “is how long you spend working on something before you get to show it to people. It’s a very lonely way to work. You spend three or four years on a book and then it takes months to find an agent, months for the agent to find a publisher, and then it’s another year or more before the book comes out . . . The literary industry is just not much fun.”’
November 8, 2021
[space] Unwrapped: Five Decade Old Lunar Selfie … A 1969 selfie of Neil Armstrong captured from the reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s helmet. ‘ The original image captured not only the magnificent desolation of an unfamiliar world, but Armstrong himself reflected in Aldrin’s curved visor. Enter modern digital technology. In the featured image, the spherical distortion from Aldrin’s helmet has been reversed. The result is the famous picture — but now featuring Armstrong himself from Aldrin’s perspective.’

Neil Armstrong Lunar Selfie

November 5, 2021
[funny] Gunpowder plotte was ye false flagge, says 17th century conspiracy theorist‘A 17th-century conspiracy theorist is convinced the gunpowder plot was a government scheme to justify taking people’s gunpowder away, as it is impossible for mere powder to undo stone and stout oak beams. Simon Williams, esq, Gentleman of the parish of Kettering, has written a hard-hitting pamphlet pointing out that it is not credible that a small group of religious fundamentalists could smuggle thirty-six barrels of gunpowder into Parliament without the government being complicit in some way…’
November 4, 2021
[art] Jacksonpollock.org … Waste some time creating your own Jackson Pollock painting within your web browser.
November 3, 2021
>> The 100 greatest TV series of the 21st Century‘It felt like the right time to survey the television landscape because arguably it has been the defining art form of the past 21 years: where once, rightly or wrongly, it was largely patronised as cinema’s younger, more rough-and-ready sibling, today its artistic credibility is unassailable, while the advent of streaming platforms has also given shows the ability to reach unprecedented global audiences all at once. And so, in order to mark TV’s ascendancy, we have decided to ask the question: what are the greatest TV series of the 21st Century?’
November 2, 2021
[apple] A Prototype Original iPod … A very yellow testing prototype of the original iPod. ‘Clearly, this revision of the prototype was very close to the internals of the finished iPod. In fact, the date there — September 3rd, 2001 — tells us this one was made barely two months before it was introduced…’
November 1, 2021
October 28, 2021
[books] How to Get Your Mind Blown by H.P. Lovecraft and Alan Moore in 7 Epic Steps‘If you get this far and you still haven’t had enough, go even deeper down the rabbit hole. (This is where I’m currently at) Read S.T. Joshi’s biography of Lovecraft, I Am Providence. It’s over 1600 pages long. It’s IN-DEPTH. Realize that you didn’t actually know anything about the life and works of Lovecraft. Read each Lovecraft story again as you go through the biography and now you will understand the context of each story as you fully digest them. Then read the Moore books again. Get lost in the abyss. It was never a rabbit hole, it was a portal through time and space where your mind and reality melt and warp.’
October 22, 2021
[london] The unsolved mystery of the Putney Pusher … A look at why a random crime seen on CCTV in 2017 remains unsolved. ‘The woman’s fall was no accident. The bus’s dashboard footage revealed, frame by frame, what had happened. A jogger can be seen running in the opposite direction. Though his face is obscured, there’s a decent enough outline to work with: he’s a stocky white male, with short brown hair and brown eyes – wearing dark blue shorts and a grey t-shirt. As he runs towards the woman, he seems to make a decision. In one stride, he’s next to her, arms outstretched. After shoving her into the path of the bus, he carries on running without a backwards glance.’
October 21, 2021
[quacks] James Morrison: The Doctor Who Made His Patients Poop Themselves To Death‘The doctor, you’ll be shocked to learn, wasn’t too fussed about figuring out things like dosage, and here’s where things got dangerous. As far as he was concerned, if you fancied ramming down dozens of the laxatives that was fine. He even recommended that you take laxatives for the diarrhea, “so as effectually to carry off the morbid humours”, as well as dysentery. Needless to say, but this is like someone trying to treat your ball pain with successive blows to the testicles. He advised that you were likely to feel worse before you get better, and to not let that stop you from taking his extremely profitable medicine. Of course, the pills began to kill people, including one 15-year-old girl who died “in horrible distress” as a consequence of taking his medicine, as well as a little apprentice boy, among others.’