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January 1, 2001
[politics] Thatcher — started as she meant to go on‘Margaret Thatcher’s first recorded intervention in Edward Heath’s cabinet was to propose the imposition of borrowing charges on library books, and the abolition of free school milk for children over seven, which earned her the nickname Milk Snatcher. The new education secretary told the cabinet in September that “she had been able to offer the chief secretary, Treasury, rather larger savings than he had sought on school meals, school milk, further education and library charges”‘
[comics] Roger Sabin reviews some of the best graphic novels of last year… Talking about Joe Sacco: ‘For example, he is unafraid to put himself at the centre of the story, thus challenging our notions of objectivity. Sometimes, he admits, this could be too much: “I wanted out, out of there… I wanted to put a million miles between me and Bosnia, between me and those horrible disgusting people and their fucking wars and pathetic prospects…”‘
January 2, 2001
[y2k] Interesting profile of Peter de Jager — the man who spent a decade fighting the Y2K computer problem — on how he feels a year after the non-event. Unsurprisingly, he’s not a happy man… ‘On the evening of New Year’s Eve, Mr. de Jager kissed his wife and boarded the transatlantic flight. At 10 seconds to midnight the pilot began his countdown. “Understand, I was living and breathing Y2K,” he says. “I had absolutely no concern.” The New Year hit, the plane stayed aloft. “I’m officially unemployed,” Mr. de Jager proclaimed to a reporter who was on the flight with him. Early on New Year’s morning, Mr. de Jager awoke in a London hotel room to the ringing of a telephone. Another reporter. “So it was all a hoax!” the reporter said. Later, interviewers alleged he was a shyster.’ [via Slashdot]
[travel] One of Philip Greenspun’s Web Travel Reviews — a short city guide for Las Vegas. ‘Personally I never wanted to learn how to win so I don’t gamble. If I were to gamble, I would do it at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. Binion’s has all the grit of old Las Vegas, before so many Disneyland-esque hotels were built on the Strip. The founder, Benny Binion, is a legendary figure. His son Ted was murdered on September 17, 1998 by his girlfriend and her lover. The girlfriend, Sandy Murphy, was an former topless dancer half Binion’s age. The death was arranged to look accidental, with Binion taking an overdose of Xanax, a prescription tranquilizer. Binion’s sister prompted an investigation: “That was not Ted . . . Ted would be the first one to tell you that his drug of choice was heroin.”‘
[weblogs] Interconnected has some interesting thoughts on Google and weblogs: ‘This explains why weblogs rank so high in Google. The integrity of PageRank relies on the fact that you only own your own page, so you can’t force much linking to your ‘site to up your rank. The weblog community has several features that break this model: The tendency for links lists to be on every weblog page (and there are often many pages of archives too), and the large amount of reciprocal linking. The community appears as a very highly connected network, and this effect is magnified because of the large amount of the links on weblog pages compared to other ‘sites on the web.’
January 3, 2001
[underground] Extremely rude alternative map of the London Underground — I apparently live in “Bell End”. :)
[comics] The Mirror of Love — A complete Alan Moore script. He does panel descriptions in caps?! ‘PAGE 1, (PANEL) 1. OKAY, THIS STRIP HAS FIVE PANELS IN EXACTLY THE SAME LAYOUT UPON EACH PAGE: THERE ARE FOUR HORIZONTAL PANELS DOWN THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF EACH PAGE AND A TALL VERTICAL ONE DOWN THE RIGHT. SINCE I’VE HAD TO FIT THE ENTIRE OF KNOWN GAY HISTORY FROM PREHISTORIC TIMES ONWARDS INTO EIGHT PAGES, THERE ARE ABOUT TWO HUNDRED AND TEN WORDS ON EACH PAGE AND SOME RATHER LARGE CAPTIONS. SINCE THERE ARE NO BALLOONS I FIGURE YOU’LL BE ABLE TO LAY OUT THE PANELS TO ACCOMODATE THESE. THE HORIZONTAL PANELS ALL RECOUNT SCENES AND EVENTS FROM GAY HISTORY, WHILE THE VERTICAL PANELS ARE DIFFERENT.’
January 4, 2001
[yawn!] Duvet Days — what I could do with right now… ‘duvet days, n, buzzword; a day when employees have the right to stay in bed instead of going in to work, no prior booking required.’ [via Dutch Bint]
[music] I Hate Music on the Stone Roses‘Attitude apparently consisted of repeating what a good band you are three times in every interview, like Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz saying “There’s no place like home”. Oh, and if you poured paint over your bandmates it would help too, though this aspect of the Roses’ attitude has been low on imitators. Pathetic, really, but a generation of lazy geezers lapped it up – you don’t have to be good at anything as long as you give it a bit of front. And they all formed bands, the fuckers. Cue the 1990s, the grisly low point of five ghastly decades of British rock music, and it was all the Roses’ fault.’
[underground] Transport Plans for the London Area — interesting if you heavily use public transport in the London Area…
January 5, 2001
[film] Guardian Unlimited reviews Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ‘In one scene, the brutal clash of fists and weaponry disturbs the birds in the trees and Lee interrupts our view of the fight briefly, in favour of an epiphanic vision of the birds ascending into the sky: a pleasing moment of inspiration which anticipates the climactic fight between Jen and Li Mu Bai as they float through the treetops themselves: in its exuberance and charm, it has to be one of the most beautiful moments in modern cinema. Crouching Tiger adopts the convention of the wu xia martial arts stories: in formal combat, the rules of gravity are suspended, and with them the rules of narrative and ordinary human possibility – bringing into the action genre a delirious new sort of magic realism.’
[politics] Tory Thinktank comes up with a Back To The Future scenario for the current Labour government… ‘By 2003, with another election looming, Mr Tyrell ponders deepening economic problems with a government “beleaguered and isolated”. The following year sees strikes, consumer boycotts, demonstrations and “mild acts of mass civil disobedience”. The transport networks are frequently targeted – perhaps indicating how last year’s fuel protests were a taste of things to come. Following Mr Blair’s resignation, Mr Tyrell predicts a political landscape which “resembles Italy in the 1970s and people talk of Britain being ungovernable”.’
January 6, 2001
[murder] The Guardian speculates on Harold Shipman’s state of mind‘David Canter, director of the Centre for Investigative Psychology in Liverpool, raised the chilling possibility that it could be a forerunner of cases to come. The theory is that as the human race in the 21st century thinks of itself increasingly as nothing more than a collection of physical bodies in an evermore materialistic society, then there will be individuals on the extremes who come to believe they are dealing not with people but with objects. He said: “This is one of the arguments for the increase of serial killers.” Is it possible Shipman came to see his patients as nothing but objects, no more valuable than his lists?’ [Related Links: The Shipman Murders from BBC News]
[comics] Grant Morrison’s website updates…. Morrison on Lennon (in the Digital Ink section): ‘I was in a band at the time Lennon died and we were all huge Beatles fans (to annoy our raincoat-wearing Joy Division-loving peer-group we had the moptop haircuts, the Chelsea boots, the tight trousers, the psychedelic shirts, the guitars etc – see picture) so I was fairly down when my fave moptop was plugged by a madman but…when all was said and done, I’d been raised a punk on ‘Clockwork Orange’ and David Sherwin so when we went onstage with the band that night we began our set by yelling “THIS ONE’S FOR THE LATE GREAT JOHN LENNON! UP HIS FUCKING ARSE!!!!”. Big? No. Clever? No. Pure Pop Genius? I think so.’
[more weird science] Forbes profiles Stephen Wolfram another of those scientists with brains the size of planets who are trying to figure out exactly what the rules are that make this Universe tick… ‘One rule, whose number he refuses to disclose, is a “universal computer,” apparently capable of creating the complexity found in the universe, not to mention possibly revolutionizing the way computers are built. It sounds clever, but is it right? After all, it’s a long way from something that looks like a crack in a sidewalk to the hundreds of billions of stars and all their accompanying planets, and every molecule on every one of them, in the Milky Way. “Is there any other evidence,” I ask, “that this process takes place in the real world?” Wolfram makes a small smile. He takes me over to a bank of printers and terminals and pulls out a large sheet of paper. On it are the results of a rule that creates great triangles within triangles. “Now,” he says, “look at this.” He pulls open a drawer, takes out one of those odd seashells, and hands it to me. A chill runs down my back. On the cold, shiny surface of the conical shell, in light brown, is etched the exact same pattern as in the printout.’ [via Metafilter]
January 7, 2001
[distractions] Retro-Remakes… old computer games classics like Manic Miner that run on modern computers. Hours of time-wasting basically…
[history] The secret loves of H.G. Wells unmasked — the Observer reports on a new book on H.G. Wells that reveals his secret love life… ‘The bouncy little man whose tiny hands and squeaky voice belied his success as the Don Juan of the intelligentsia, was loved by legions of beautiful women throughout his life, one of whom credited his phenomenal pulling power to the fact that his body smelt irresistably of honey.’
January 8, 2001
[brands] The Guardian looks at the rebranding of Anderson Consulting as Accenture‘Not a decade ago, the amount of money and effort spent on rebranding would have been unanimously dismissed as the most self-indulgent navel-gazing, and it’s not hard to find even senior management consultants who still think it is. But this is the age of the brand: from breathless boosters such as the management guru Tom Peters to the anticorporate writer Naomi Klein, a consensus is emerging that it is brands, not commodities, that are the real centres of economic value. Tommy Hilfiger, the ultra-hip clothing label, manufactures no clothing at all; Virgin is nothing but a logo. This heady environment has spawned its own evangelists, such as Scott Bedbury, marketing chief in his time for both Nike and Starbucks: “A great brand taps into emotions [and] emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions,” he says. “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told. A brand is a metaphorical story that’s evolving all the time, [and] stories create the emotional context people need to locate themselves in a larger experience.”‘
[shipman] The true evil of this killer doctor. Interesting comments from Nicci Gerrard in the Observer on the Shipman Murders… ‘The Wests were murderous sexual sadists, performing unimaginable acts of torture on their young victims. But while there has never been a case quite like it, most of us have some understanding of sex as potentially dark and perverse and scarily powerful. The couple gave us a collective wince of terror, as if their monstrous actions offered a glimpse into a hidden side of our psyche. We called them evil and unnatural to comfort ourselves, because we feared they were human, like us – though it was a humanity taken to extremes and unravelled before our eyes. Harold Shipman does not do this. He offers us no glimpse into ourselves. He will not become a symbol of anything; his story spreads few ripples. His voice is dry, neutral. His face is blank. His eyes are polite and empty. His lips are closed. His heart is a mystery.’
[distractions] “Do you speak English?” in over 190 different languages… ‘Parla inglese?’
January 9, 2001
[books] Friends of Meg’s Shelves. If you have bookcases crammed with books you really want to check this out. From Notsosoft: ‘Apparently, bookshelves are for ornaments and photo frames and candles, while any books that I’m not reading at the moment (and there are many many many), should be packed into boxes and “stored in the airing cupboard or something.” ‘
[old perv] Pass Notes on the Marquis de Sade. The man in his own words: “Go fuck away the livelong day.” Do say: “Had a good day at the orifice, Count?”‘
[weblogs] Never noticed this before — Spike Magazine has it’s own weblog… Splinters.
January 10, 2001
[politics] Are you a Ku Klux Gran? ‘Not old ladies dressed up in white sheets, rather very, very traditional and conservative housewives aged over 55. There are just under 2m of them in the UK and they believe that a woman’s place is in the home, disagree with the euro, buy British wherever possible and dislike foreign food.’
[final request] The final meal requests and last statements of prisoners on death row in Texas. ‘1 jar of dill pickles’Stacey Lawton. [thanks to Micky]
[music] J’Accuse Indie KidsTanya and Tom list why they hate Indie Kids… ‘Indie kids like experimentation, but not too much experimentation. They like extremity, but not too much extremity. They like songs, but they like them to be a bit shy and fuzzed-up and nervous and not too songish. Best of all they like bands which sound comfortingly like the other ones they already know are cool.’
January 11, 2001
[nude] Nudist ‘not a public nuisance’ — BBC News reports on a campaigner for nudism who was cleared of being a public nuisance. ‘As soon as he heard the verdict at Southwark Crown Court Mr Bethell – wearing nothing but a beard – shouted: “Being human is not a crime”. But Judge George Bathurst-Norman warned him: “I would not go away too much with that idea.’
[comics] Piercing — a fine and slightly disturbing online comic about a nipple, a ring and a bit of string… as Pete at BugPowder points out the art is reminiscent of Kyle Baker’s. Well worth the download…
[weblogs] Nobody fucks with the Blogging StorTroopers! [That page is just asking to be Hamster Danced… ]
[moley] BBC News covers the new Adrian Mole TV series — The Cappuccino Years. ‘Adrian Mole is not just a figure of fun or soft comedy target – he is emblematic of the age in which we live. The title, The Cappuccino Years, relates to not just the current craze for coffee shop culture, explained Townsend. “It is a metaphor for the fact that Adrian Mole has a mixed race son whose skin is the colour of cappuccino, it is also a metaphor for the Labour government; a lot of froth – very little coffee. Adrian Mole is a conduit for what the country is like.”‘
January 12, 2001
[books] Interview with Alec Garland just after The Tesseract was published. ‘…Garland has a knack for seeing and expressing things in a very understandable was, and this is no doubt part of his appeal to a generation turned off by so called ‘classic’ yet impenetratable authors. “I know exactly what you mean,” Garland says. “I think if you asked the average literary editor whether they thought my work was equitable with Salman Rushdie’s, they would say no. Well, that’s not something that bothers me very much and I doubt very much that it bothers Salman Rushdie.”‘
January 13, 2001
[comics] Just what you least expect… Ang Lee to direct The Hulk? ‘The story concerns research scientist Bruce Banner, who, after being caught in a nuclear explosion, finds that, when under stress, he transforms into the Hulk, a green-skinned personification of his repressed rage possessing superhuman strength. Banner is pursued by the military for a crime he did not commit. Lee’s version of the film, to be set in Berkeley, will be a big-budgeted, f/x-driven tentpole feature for Universal in 2003. No cast has been attached, nor a start date set.’
January 14, 2001
[weblog avatars] Put some music on and click on this link… StorTrooperdance… any kind of music seems to work! [Find what I was listening to using Napster]
[weird science] Makes me think of Blade Runnera proposal for a standard way to encode ASCII characters in DNA. ‘Once we start editing DNA on a large scale, we will need to keep track of what we do, revision histories, comment the new genes and add copyright notices.’
[weblogs] Not Enough Of Me seems to like UKblogs and Comics… which is enough to get you a link on LMG. ‘…Tobey Maguire in his SPIDER-MAN costume (scroll down to the bottom). Couple this with the news that Ang (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) Lee will be directing HULK, and comics fans are issuing forth tremendous collective orgasms… (Yeah, THAT’s a mental image you needed. Sorry.)’
[weekend highlights] Friday: Blog, Oxford Street, Selfridges, Starbucks, Mark and Spencers, MyHotel, drink, Move on to Soho — more drink, Japanese food, drink, back to MyHotel, drink, cab, home, Try to Blog… too pissed, Sleep. Saturday: Badly hungover, 4 * Nurofen + time = feel better, hungry, read Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Eco, Sexy Beast, Blog, Sleep. Sunday: Blog, More Powers, Cast Away, National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, Baddiel’s Syndrome, Blog…
January 15, 2001
[weird tech] It does not get much weirder than this… Macs in Space. ‘Dennis Wingo is one aerospace researcher who definitely thinks outside the box. A self-proclaimed computer geek, he wants an astronaut to hurl a specially modified G4 MacIntosh Cube computer into orbit in 2001 from the International Space Station.’ [Related Links: Some Apple PR, via Unxmaal]
[tv] MacIntyre uncovered — Guardian Unlimited profiles Donal MacIntyre. ‘So what precisely is Donal MacIntyre’s perspective? A man who fights to close down abusive care homes, yet describes being backstage with Naomi Campbell as a “unique experience” to tell his grandchildren about. A man who protects damaged teenage models, but gets a thrill from nearly being arrested because he “looked like” a hooligan. A man who would rather spend four of the past five years of his life undercover because, I suspect, he’s so alienated from the cynical, worldly tribe of hacks he’s found himself belonging to. A small-town lad, accidentally handsome, accidentally good at his job, accidentally famous.’
[books] The Digested Read covers The Worst Case Scenario Survival HandbookHow to survive a mid-air explosion: 1. Take a deep breath and perform 3,000 somersaults in the pike position. 2. Clench buttock muscles and grab hold of your crotch. Hit the sea feet first and swim 1,000 miles to safety.’
[animation] My flatmate is watching Dougal and the Blue Cat — which is the most deeply fucked up thing I’ve seen recently. He recommends it… ‘Something very unusual is happening in the garden. What are those strange noises coming from the old treacle factory? Why is everything turning blue? Dougal decides to investigate in this classic feature length story from the original Magic Roundabout.’
January 16, 2001
[film] How Ben turns sinner from saint — a profile of Ben Kingsley. ‘With his performance in Sexy Beast, as Don Logan, the psychotic house guest from hell who terrorises Ray Winstone (think about that for a moment), he adds another notch to his thespian bedpost. Logan is truly terrifying; a walking, swearing ball of sick dynamism, a barrel of nitroglycerine waiting to be jolted; a shark in wolf’s clothing.’ [Related Links: Sexy Beast]
[life] How time can fly into a vacuum — Big Blue Dog on Time Suckage… ‘One of the prime culprits of time suckage in the modern work environment is the cappuccino. In the old days, office workers contented themselves with a simple cup of instant Nescafé, made in the office kitchen with a grime-encrusted teaspoon and milk of dubious maturity. Nowadays, with our hifalutin’ continental ways, we want froth on top. We want chocolate. Some of us even want a skinny mocha decaff latte with a twist.’
January 17, 2001
[social magic] Just Don’t Say the R-Word. Naomi Klein talks about bringing on a recession just by writing about it… ‘There’s a name for vesting the repetition of a word or phrase with the power to change real-world events. It’s called magic. And we all know the economy of the 21st century isn’t based on magic. It’s based on carefully calibrated rules of supply and demand. I can’t bring about a recession just by writing about it, can I? Oops, as Britney might say, I did it again.’ [via the Guardian Unlimited Weblog]
[weblogs] Michael Daddino has a few talking points about blogs’29. Embrace the ephemeral, baby. 30. But pop teaches us: “ephemeral” pleasures have a tendency to last. DISCO NEVER DIED.’
[books] An A to Z by Zadie Smith‘The neighbours think I’m a whore. I stay in all day, I wear nothing but a night-slip, sometimes men come bearing brown envelopes. I don’t do any work yet I seem to have money. On the face of it, whore would be my guess too. Actually I’m a scribbler, all day in a room, not seeing anyone, just looking at this screen – I don’t fuck the FedEx boys. I’m not an anchoress, either – though I remember once liking the idea. Cool to be a woman who’s isolation is self-inflicted; a mystic retreating from the world for religious purposes.’ [via Zenith of the Barbelith Collective]
January 18, 2001
[comment] Tea with Dirty Desmond. Francis Wheen does a fantastic hatchet job on Richard Desmond ‘…if the PM studied the porn website fantasy121.com, which is owned by Richard Desmond, he might have truly believed that the Express boss was indeed a New Labour kinda guy. Desmond is, for instance, determined to end the misery of social exclusion. Hence the appearance on his website of nude photos of Grace, a 79-year-old woman who would like to meet men under the age of 20 for sex.’
[film] Popcorn reports that Oliver Stone is planning to quit directing films. ‘The 54-year-old director is currently working on the international aid romance ‘Beyond Borders’, and he’s been telling US film magazine Premiere that he’ll then turn his attention to a major film that will be his “final movie… a funeral oration”.’ [via Ghost in the Machine]
[meme] The storTrooper meme enters stage three: bloging splatTroopers‘spare me, I will link to you…’ [I am top row, third from the right. Feel free to splat me.]
[film] Hollywood dismissed this man as a luckless loser. Now he just might win an Oscar — Guardian Unlimited interviews and profiles Steven Soderbergh. ‘”The prevailing wisdom,” he says, “is that in America you can’t make films with overt political content – that, commercially speaking, it’s an unwise choice. I personally don’t believe that at all. I think people are interested in politics, particularly when they see how they affect their daily lives. I think they’re really tired of politicians, but I don’t think they’re tired of politics, as long as they’re connected to something.”‘ [Related Links: Traffic at IMDB, Quicktime Traffic Trailer]
January 19, 2001
[film] Dammit, Dave — David Mamet writes 2001… Hal: Dave. Look. Bowman: You’re not going to… Hal: What? Open the doors? No. No I am not. Bowman: Well, fuck me, Hal. Hal: Yes. Fuck you. Because I’ll tell you something. Trust. There is a bond of trust between an astronaut and his computer. Is there not? And when that trust is broken… Bowman: Excuse me?’ [via the Warren Ellis Forum]
[politics] Ten American perspectives on Clinton — various Americans discuss ‘history’s verdict’ on Clinton. ‘Clinton is a total mystery in some ways. He’s such a rogue. Yet he’s so intelligent. He’s on top of issues, I think, better than any president I can remember since Lyndon Johnson. My goodness, we’re going to miss him. It’s quite wrong to see him as entertainment, quite wrong. Tell me somebody in the House of Commons who’s as good, as articulate, who’s got a grasp of so many issues in such detail…’Alastair Cooke.
January 20, 2001
[politics] Bill Clinton’s Final Days… The Onion reports — Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’ ‘Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street. During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.’
[books] On second thoughtsDave Eggers has second thoughts about his book A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius‘When a whale surfaces between your kayaks – chooses, among any of 2 or 3 million places in a Bay to breach, chooses a spot between your tiny plastic kayaks – this giant ancient creature, who very well might be some kind of alien, a billion years old and maybe the creator of the whole world and everything in it (why not?), has come from the blue-grey depths to terrify you – that means everything is possible. No one can need more proof than that.’
[weird science] Excellent overview of the underground movement building up around the science of cloning from Wired… ‘All of these activities point to an unmistakable conclusion: Human cloning has become inevitable. “It will be done by someone, somewhere,” Columbia’s Sauer asserts. And when it’s done, say experts, we’ll be in for a major shock. Not because human cloning will be as terrible and disruptive as widely assumed. But because we will realize that most of our ideas about it were all wrong, that the cloning fostered by our imaginations and nightmares doesn’t really exist. We’ll also see that the ethical hand-wringing over the issue is anachronistic compared with other biotech dilemmas waiting just around the bend.’
January 21, 2001
[comics] i bought a lot of comics published by Eclipse in the Eighties… So i was wondering… whatever happened to Eclipse publisher Cat Yronwode? [i’ve noticed Cat’s page on Thai Penis Amulets. Fascinating… i think i’ll be needing four or five of them. :) ‘The Thai name for a penis amulet is palad khik, which means “honorable surrogate penis.” These small charms, averaging less than 2′ in length, are worn by boys and men on a waist-string under the clothes, off-center from the real penis, in the hope that they will attract and absorb any magical injury directed toward the generative organs. It is not uncommon for a man to wear several palad khiks at one time, one to increase gambling luck, for instance, another to attract women, and a third for invulnerability from bullets and knives.’]
[weblogs] My aborted weblogs… NewsBlogUK at Pitas (a pathetic summer 1999 attempt) and Vision Thing at EditThisPage (a brief December 1999 flirtation with Manila). LMG started in March 2000, by the way… Have you got any aborted weblogs? Email Me and share them
January 22, 2001
[net] Row over crackdown on adoption websites. Just how stupid is the British Government? ‘The government is to clamp down on adoption over the internet by warning British-based service providers that they face criminal prosecution for relaying material which infringes British adoption law, it emerged yesterday. The extraordinary move by the Department of Health, which came as the controversy concerning the case of the couple who adopted twins on the net continued to gather pace, was immediately attacked as unworkable.’
[weblogs] Useful information page about Blogger Pro‘Changing post dates and times. Future-dated posts don’t appear until the specified day.’ [via Prolific]
January 23, 2001
[weblogs] The final stage of the 2001 Bloggies… I’ve voted have you? [Related Link: Metafilter on the Bloggies ‘From the seventh circle of hell comes the second-last sign of the apocalypse; the voting form for the bloggies.’]
[history] Guardian Unlimited offers the ‘Inside Story’ behind the Challenger Disaster‘When the clock reached T minus five seconds the two engineers held hands and braced themselves for an explosion. But to their immense relief Challenger cleared the launch pad. “I turned to Bob and said ‘we’ve just dodged a bullet,’ because it was our expectation it would blow up on the pad.” The two men began to relax. But then, at 73 seconds, the heart-stopping plume of white smoke suddenly filled the screen. “There was silence for the longest time,” says Boisjoly. “Then I went to my office, sat facing the wall and tried to hold back my emotions.”‘
[distractions] The most time wasting, addictive game I’ve come across recently: Bejeweled. [via i:am:cal]
January 24, 2001
[automatic blogging] Throat and taste takes me to How To Taste Beer [but it might take you to other places… ] ‘…represents one of the joys of beers and one of the challenges for the beer novice. The intended characteristics will vary from style to style. You expect a pilsner to be bright and golden, while a dopplebock may be a brown amber and still shine as brightly in good light. A hefeweizen, on the other hand, will be cloudy, as is appropriate to style.’ [idea stolen shamelessly from unxmaal]
[comics] Warren Ellis is up to something at OrderingComics.com‘If you want to make comics better, then you need to ensure the good stuff survives, as a foundation for what is to come. It starts here – with you.’
[politics] David Icke on the inauguration of George Bush ‘The Bush inauguration marks the start of the massive push by the Illuminati to further their agenda for a global fascist state. You will see this clearly unfolding in the next 24 months and, as usual, watch what they do, not what they say. The Bush administration will be a cold, calculating, vicious, period of human history. I know people who have met the Shrub during his period as Governor of Texas and cold, calculating, and vicious, as well as staggeringly unintelligent, are words they chose to describe him. But those who will be dictating the actions of his presidency make him look like a puppy dog. Or maybe lapdog would be more appropriate.’ [Related Links: Disinfomation Dossier on Icke]
January 25, 2001
[comics] Steve Bell on Peter Mandelson ‘The Millennium Brown Nose Experience’ and today’s cartoon ‘Dropping the Pilot’
[weblogs] Please vote for LinkMachineGo in the Anti-Bloggies… my suggestion would be to vote for me under ‘Most Banal Content Blog’, ‘Biggest Jerk Blog’ or possibly ‘Bad Hair Day Blog’… thank you. :)
[comics] Gone and Forgotten — One of the best comic fan sites I’ve seen in ages — dedicated to finding the worst, most inane, stupidest comic books out there… for example, Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika. ‘Hansi ends up as some kind of Gestapo Candy Striper, taunting injured German soldiers. “I lost MY ideals when I lost my eyes on the Russian front.” says one poor kid. “We are nothing,” snaps back Hansi, cheerfully, “The Reich is everything!” Anyway, eventually Germany falls (my favorite line in the whole book “Germany surrendered! The dream ended! The nightmare began!” Unless you were a Jew, Communist, gypsy, homosexual or dissident, in which case, the nightmare had ended – the authors of this book, I can’t believe ’em)…’ [via Zenith from the Barbelith Collective]
January 26, 2001
[movies] Ghost World movie site launches… ‘Fuck you bitch… THIS IS MY HAPPENING AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!!’ [via the Warren Ellis Forum]
[history] Is this the voice of Oscar Wilde? [via The world according to Gavin Friday]
January 27, 2001
[questions] Paul Kaye (Dennis Pennis) answers the Guardian Questionnaire. What is your favourite building? Karnak’s Temple, Luxor. Maybe it was the heat, but when I went there I found myself in this little antechamber and was overcome with visions of Egyptian orgies. I masturbated swiftly wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a camera around my neck – which just goes to prove that all tourists are wankers.’
[more wilde] A web page about the recording of Oscar Wilde’s voice which I linked to yesterday‘…Wilde was asked to say something into the horn of the recording mechanism. He responded by reciting part VI of The Ballad Of Reading Gaol, which consists of the last three stanzas of the poem, and identifying it with his name at the end. The recording, which lasted a little more than two minutes, was made on a wax cylinder. Fortunately, it survived along with other Edison memorabilia and to it we owe the preservation of the only recording ever made of Wilde’s voice.’ [thanks to Prolific]
January 28, 2001
[comics] A great online archive of Brendan McCarthy’s Artoons. [Related Links: Excellent NeoMcCarthyism Fan Site, link via BugPowder]
[nasty] What is Botox? ‘Produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum , Botox – or Botulinum toxin, to give it its full name – is a nerve impulse ‘blocker’, a medication used to temporarily paralyse muscle function. This has been useful in the treatment of illnesses such as MS and cerebral palsy, but more recently has been used to cure that plague of affluent Western civilisation: wrinkles.’
[classic gaming] Iain Lee interviews Matthew Smith [creator of Manic Miner and Jet-Set Willy] about his games and the many net rumours about him
January 29, 2001
[comics] Another link from the excellent BugPowder weblog… Neil Gaiman’s 24-hour comic — Being An Account of the Life and Death of the Emperor Heliogabolus.
[tv] Long, interesting profile of Charlie Higson in the Independent… ‘.His favourite sitcom, as a child, was Dad’s Army. “I used to absolutely love it. As a kid, my favourite character was Clive Dunn, and I hated Captain Mainwaring, but now it’s the opposite. It happens to everyone as they grow up, doesn’t it?”‘ [Related Link: Charlie Higson’s Books]
[big numbers] Alan Moore: ‘…with the world political situation as it is at the moment the political radical is put in a difficult position because, hum, how do you rebel against chaos? You know, much as political conspiracy theorists would like to think otherwise, the brutal truth of the thing is nobody’s in control, this is a runaway train. Nobody’s in control, there’s not some big conspiracy in control, whether it’s Jewish bankers or nazis or CIA spooks, the simple truth is that the world is a complex storm of mathematics, basically… Very complicated mathematics that is beyond human comprehension.’
January 30, 2001
[conspiracy] The World According to David Icke — when not dealing with the global illuminati, lizard shapeshifting conspiracy, David Icke is still a football pundit. Icke on Michael Owen: ‘Knowing comes from the subconscious, so the ball is in the net before the conscious mind can think. I am sure that the best goal scorers will tell you how their body often reacts almost by itself when opportunity knocks and they don’t think about taking the chance, they just take it: Chance. Bang. Goal. That’s the subconscious. The cold, calculated computer that doesn’t bother itself with things like emotion or fear of failure. It is a mental version of Star Trek’s Mr Spock. This level is the guvnor when we are in a mental state of knowing rather than thinking.’ [via Disinfomation]
[comics] Warren Ellis’ Guide To Previews (for comics published in April 2001) — I can’t help but admire Ellis’ efforts to warp the purchasing tastes of his army of fans… ‘What follows are my personal recommendations from this month’s PREVIEWS. I’ll give you a write-up on it, the page number it’s on, and its order code. Talk to your retailer and find out what they need from you to place a pre-order — or, hell, just print this thing off. But, you know, once the order’s in, consider the money spent. You’ve entered into a contract with your shop. When the comic comes in, you buy it. That’s how it works. Onward, my winged monkeys… ‘ [Related Links: Previews Picks — Another Excellent Previews Guide, Warren Ellis Website]
[weblogs] Not So Soft is one today. Congratulations Meg… Two entries which sum up Not So Soft: a quiet London mid-summer morning blog and the classic Txt Msg Theatre‘Tube wankstrel unclefuckers. Security alert=no trains. Crunchy arse wank dung bastard. Oh. Feh.’
January 31, 2001
[reading] Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon‘Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo–which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn’t a stupendous badass was dead. As nightmarishly lethal, memetically programmed death-machines went, these were the nicest you could ever hope to meet.’
[comics] Dan from Venusberg on the Superfriends‘Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen Superfriends, but it has filtered so deep into my geek consciousness that I sincerely believe that I remember whole episodes. Most peculiar.’ I’ve never seen it either but I know exactly what he means… [has it ever been broadcast in the UK?]
[meme] Yet another Whassssupppp! parody… Ayuuuupppp! ‘Watching footie, supping some ale.’ [via Frownland]
[plug] The Updated UK Blogs List continues to grow… it’s a quick way to surf around all the UK weblogs which have recently updated…
February 1, 2001
[comics] SFX Magazine interviews Warren Ellis — Part One, Part Two.‘…Marvels trying to make a bit of money, bless ’em. They’re in business and that’s what they are there for, but no-one really needs a Ghost Rider film. It’s not important. Its not going to be a life changing event for anyone and its not going to a life changing event for comics. You are not going to come out of Blade or the X-Men and say “Bugger me, I’ve got to get the Yellow Pages and find a comic shop and buy loads of comics, because this was really good”. It’s more “That was alright, now down the pub.”‘
[weblogs] Tom wins Best European and GLBT weblog at the 2001 Bloggies… Congratulations Tom.
[our reptile rulers] David Icke publishes conclusive proof that Prince Charles is a shape-changing lizard.
February 2, 2001
[blogger] Long, involved post on Metafilter about the breakup of Blogger. Matt Haughey: ‘Thousands of young and old alike, beginner and expert started using their website to communicate their voice, build a brand, feed an ego, and spread their ideas through weblogs. At the center of it all, was Blogger.com, and it showed no signs of stopping. But backstage, things were falling apart…’ [Related Links: Evhead, Haughey, Saturn, Megnut on Blogger]
[nose] For anybody who comes to LMG for pictures of Danniela Westbrooke’s Nose: Gak Attack. ‘It’s class A Entertainment’
February 3, 2001
[comics] Another of those Previews Guides to the comics coming out in April 2001 this time from popImage. What I’ll be purchasing… Ministry Of Space #1 and the following collections: Jar of Fools, Soundtracks by Jessica Abel, and the complete edition of Box Office Poison.
[buffy] The Edible Buffy… you’re probably thinking it’s some nasty fan site dedicated to Buffy Fan Fiction but you could not be more wrong… ‘There are already a bazillion Buffy sites on the Internet, some specifically devoted to episode synopsis and analysis, the stars, the villains, and even the show’s philosophy. I figured I’d make my site slightly less redundant by exploring a heretofore untouched aspect of BtVS: the food.’
[cock] Flame of the week over at the Register: ‘And quit writing the word “cock” on every page of the register! It makes you sound like peanut eating jizz mopers! It’s bad enough that you write about lesbian disabled porn in between mastubatory frenzies, but having cock thrust upon each page is disgusting!’
February 4, 2001
[imitation] The Coffee GroundsAnd now in the style of LinkMachineGo… :)
[comics] Nice Evan Dorkin fan page with lots of scans of his work from Dork!
[norfolk] According to to the Sunday Times Norfolk is new playground of the rich. ‘But the north Norfolk coast is emerging as the rural retreat of choice for the monied classes, providing for London’s elite what the Hamptons of Long Island offers New Yorkers. Drawn to the bracing sea air, quaint villages and fresh seafood, the urban wealthy are colonising the area, sending house prices soaring and spawning a proliferation of designer boutiques and delicatessens. Indeed, the lure of Blakeney, Wells-next-the-Sea and Burnham Market has become so strong that some of America’s glitterati have forsaken the Hamptons for a trip to Norfolk.’
[fraud] A reckoning at the Russia house, SW16. Fascinating look at a massive credit card fraud operation run by a Russian in London… ‘Confident they now had enough information, officers carried out dawn raids on addresses across London, including those of the two main suspects, but even they were surprised by what was found at Tanov’s home. The 33-year-old Russian had turned a small bedroom into a credit card factory, at a cost of no more than 3,000, complete with computers, embossers and hologram making equipment, capable of producing near perfect replicas of Visa, Amex and Master Card.’ [via Beesley]
February 5, 2001
[comics] Long, fascinating behind the scenes expose of the formation of Image comics in the early 90’s from The Comics Journal. ‘The story he wants to tell is, in the final analysis, not the Story of Comics but the Story of Todd McFarlane. “The comic-book world could blow up tomorrow,” he told the Journal. “I’m taken care of. The guy you got to worry about the least is Todd McFarlane. I’m bulletproof. I will make no apologies for anything Image has done. I left Marvel to be free. Eight years later, is Todd free? You’re fucking right he is. I can’t even envision the day when I would go back to the plantation and do Spider-Man or Heroes Reborn. I’m free, goddamn it! I’ve got everything I want!”‘
[infinite fanboys] I have not got the time to investigate this archive of Internet Fan Fiction… but it looks pretty comprehensive. If you find any amusing / sick / insightful fan fiction let me know
February 6, 2001
[rap] Eminem: Courting controversy, Public Eminem No1 — BBC News and the Sunday Times on Eminem. ‘”I would quite genuinely shoot the little bastard,” said Julie Bindel, founder of the action group Justice for Women and a researcher at the child and women abuse department at North London University. “He is misogynist scum who will influence some women and men. Rather than censor him, though, I wish someone who took offence at his lyrics would leave him in a coma.”‘
[morrison] Grant Morrison updates his website and has published good news for sad, lonely, fanboys everywhere: ‘”Sex is out of the question for me” admits once-promising Olympian John with a chuckle. “When you add my spinal injuries and other morbid disabilities to the obesity I’ve suffered since the accident well, you have the chemical combination for loneliness right there in the palm of your hand. That’s mostly why I started putting aside my spare time for poring over lists and charts and I can assure fans that 2001 will be be a hard and horny one for comics enthusiasts worldwide.”‘
[LMG] I’m all blogged out… taking a break for a couple of days. Not taking my laptop with me… just a Rio, a Colour Gameboy… and a few books. :) LMG returns at the weekend.
February 11, 2001
[comics] Brief reviews of London Comic Shops… the top three are the best shops in London… Gosh: ‘Fight through the superheroes on the ground floor and head for the stairs at the back of the shop. The lead to a basement full of alternative & independent stuff. Usually a couple of shelves of self-published bits.’
[LMG] My underpant secrets revealed via Disturbing Search Requests
February 12, 2001
[magic] Guardian Unlimited interviews Paul Daniels (I think there is a Louis Theroux TV interview with him next week)… ‘Daniels’ autobiography, Under No Illusions, published last year, little endeared him to an already wary public. It was thick with bumptious notations (“No, it’s not a trick photograph. I was trading in the Bentley on the left for the one on the right. Now there’s posh!”) and toe-curling sexual detail (“Once I got upstairs, Debbie was lying stark naked on the bed – eat your heart out fellas! She was wearing the sort of sleeping blindfold you get on long-haul flights. Printed on it was Do Not Disturb. But further down her body she had a sign that said Disturb!”) He also alleged that he had slept with more than 300 women.’
[aids] Excellent website with lots of information on the controversial / disturbing theory that AIDS origins lie in a early polio vaccines contaminated with viruses from chimpanzee kidneys. [Related Links: Scientists rule out polio link to Aids]
[comics] Interesting page about an unpublished Vertigo comic from Grant Morrison, Pete Milligan and Jamie Hewlett — Bizarre Boys. ‘BIZARRE BOYS, VERTIGO VOICES’ most irreverent title, is a story within a story within a story. It’s about some fictional characters called the Bizarre Boys, and about the writers who write them, and about the writers who are writing about the writers… There are two voices telling the tale of BIZARRE BOYS, and they don’t agree with each other at all. BIZARRE BOYS is a comic about a comic and about the process of putting together a comic. It’s a sparkling tapestry of post-modernism and a fast- moving breathless chase across time and space.’ [via the Warren Ellis Forum]
[year] Guardian Unlimited explains… Why we hate February. ‘The dullest, wettest, cruellest month is upon us. Oh well, at least it’s short.’
February 13, 2001
[weblogs] A quick runthru of all the Barbelith Underground blogs — Plasticbag, Venusberg, shey.network, Kooky Mojo, Fridge Poet, Ms Woo, The Collective, Zenith, Rosa, Kali, Rollo, Kirk Nice, Haggar, Grant, Jack Fear, Dayglo, Bizmunth and finally LinkMachineGo. ‘I’m not entirely sure what kind of world will exist when I have fininshed, but I know it will be better for everyone. If I have any faith, I have faith in the unexpected, the unpredictable.’— Niles Caulder, just before he gets his head ripped off by the Candlemaker, Doom Patrol #57.
[internet] Disturbing report on the BBC’s Panorama about an internet community of paedophiles called Wonderland… Here’s a transcript of the TV programme. ‘The first thing anyone does when they get online is go looking for the porn, it’s just one of those things. And I found that fairly easily and within 24 hours I’d found the child porn as well. I didn’t expect to find it at first, I thought well it’s an urban myth, it’s just something you hear about on the news and there it was, it was sitting in front of me. I had people I could talk to. I had people that I could trade images with as well. But I had friends. I’d never had so many friends. I had friends all over the world.’ [Related Links: RegisterPaedophile says why he loves the Net, BBC NewsPaedophiles’ vast ‘lending library’]
[morrison] Here is a transcript of Grant Morrison’s DisInfo TV episode‘…Coca-Cola is a sigil, the McDonalds ‘M’ is a sigil, these people are basically turning the world in to themselves using sigils. And if we don’t reverse that process and turn the world in to us using sigils, we’re going to be living in fucking McDonalds! Magic is accessible to everyone, the means of altering reality is accessible to everyone, and when everyone starts doing it we’re going to see our desire manifest on a gigantic scale. Everyone’s desire. What happens when everyone’s desire becomes manifest?’ [via Ms Woo]
February 14, 2001
[comics] Now this is what I call content… the New Yorker has put online it’s archive of cartoons… I’ve searched for the artist Kalo in the database and come up with… nothing. :(
[music] Intriguing interview with Madonna in the Independent. ‘…she knows that it is almost impossible to acquire genuine class without appearing appallingly nouveau riche – and becoming appallingly nouveau riche is what most pop stars do as soon as they become successful. Madonna has wisely opted for old money, the one thing that new money can’t buy. It’s her Big New Thing: the acquisition of class.’
[VD] Digital Trickery presents… WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME THEN? ‘You’ve bitten the bullet and bared your soul to the object of your affections (or carnal lust). And.. well, the response wasn’t quite what you’d hoped it be. A polite text message saying “Thanks but no thanks”? Absolute wall of silence? Don’t they know how hard that was for you??’
February 15, 2001
[comics] Hergé is spinning in his grave… Tintin in Thailand. ‘In another scene that is likely to anger fans of the comic strip, Tintin is pictured in a gay escort bar called “Sexy Boy”, where he is propositioned by two male Thai hosts. The album also contains graphic scenes of sodomy involving Snowy and Tintin’s Chinese friend Chang.’ [Related Links: Official Tintin site, BBC News Report]
[WTF] Ananova covers the important issues of the day… Woman has Nokia surgically removed from bottom. ‘Doctors at Taipei Medical University hospital said she had been playing sex games with her boyfriend. Hospital spokeswoman Elaine Weng said staff were wondering why they had used the mobile as a sex toy. She said: “We guessed it’s because some cellphones have a vibrating function.”‘
[listening] Burning Bridges – The Mike Curb Congregation. Have I mentioned I’m going to miss Napster? [Can anybody explain to me how this song ever got picked to be the theme to Kelly’s Heroes? How does it relate to WWII caper / heist movie staring Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas?]
[more tintin] David’s Favourite Captain Haddock Curses‘Fancy-dress fascist! Ostrogoth! Duck-billed platypus! Phylloxera! Logarithm! Jellied-eel! Macrocephalic baboon!’ [via Vavatch Orbital]
February 16, 2001
[distractions] Not quite as cool as the StorTroopers… Create your own Mr Man or Little Miss Character… [via Kooky Mojo]
[meme] ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!! [Related Links: Metafiler Post]
[morrison] Fantastic interview and in-depth profile of Grant Morrison at PopImage… also includes my index of Morrison’s work. :) ‘Just take a look at MARVEL BOY. I never have to SAY anything, I never have to SHOW anything particularly offensive and yet… the whole book reeks of barely-repressed sodomitic, incestuous lustings. I believe there are many and varied ways to inject a bracing dose of steaming eroticism into a given comic book.’

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