2 April 2002
[books] White Frights — extracts from Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men‘Yet as I look back on my life, a strange but unmistakable pattern seems to emerge. Every person who has ever harmed me in my lifetime – the boss who fired me, the teacher who flunked me, the principal who punished me, the kid who hit me in the eye with a rock, the executive who didn’t renew TV Nation, the guy who was stalking me for three years, the accountant who double-paid my taxes, the drunk who smashed into me, the burglar who stole my stereo, the contractor who overcharged me, the girlfriend who left me, the next girlfriend who left even sooner, the person in the office who stole cheques from my chequebook and wrote them out to himself for a total of $16,000 – every one of these individuals has been a white person. Coincidence? I think not.’
[dead] Mourning Will Be Brief — Christopher Hitchens on the Queen Mother … ‘The flags that now dip are also standards that have fallen. Much of the emotion of the leavetaking will be genuine (in spite of the yellow-press effort to make it seem bogus by hysterical overstatement). It will be genuine because it is a tribute to longevity confused with a tribute to history. And it will also be genuine because it is a farewell to something that is irretrievably lost – the authority of monarchy in Britain. We are left alone with our day, and the time is short for the elderly Queen and for her arrogant consort and self-pitying son.’ [via Parallax View]
6 April 2002
[tv] We are Family — profile of the Slater Sisters from Eastenders‘This is a trial we’re talking about; there’ll be tears before, during and after summing-up. Alex Ferns, who plays Trevor (enemy of the Slaters and, indeed, all womankind), watches them with pure admiration. “Look at them,” he says in the extremely quiet voice that telly people are so good at. “They look like Reservoir Dogs.” He thinks for a bit, and then looks sad as he says, “I’d be Mr Dead.”‘
[media] Publish and be Damned — profile of Felix Dennis‘It was not an act of stupidity when, two years out of prison, when Oz folded and an underground comics venture was facing bankruptcy, he talked to some kids in the street in 1974 and discovered they were queueing (at 9am) to see “the Chink who beats people up”. The Chink turned out to be Bruce Lee; Dennis started up Kung Fu Monthly and never looked back. He has proved to be an astute backer of hunches and chooser of markets and personnel, and clings to his counter-culture roots by publishing an “anti-corporate brochure” and claiming: “I’m not a real businessman.” So what is he? He considered for a while. “I guess I’m the fat bastard in the glasses with the money, aren’t I?”‘
7 April 2002
[web] Christopher Walken’s LiveJournal‘have you ever wanted to punch someone square in the teeth, just to see how many fall out? i met ben affleck today.’March 24th Entry. [via Grammarporn]
8 April 2002
[comics] Long interview with Brian Michael Bendis [Part 1 | Part 2] … ‘I have always admired and respected the work of people who produced a lot of work like Jack Kirby and John Romita. I think that them producing a lot of work made the work a lot better. I think that when they were using all of their steam, it wasn?t the volume of the work that mattered it was the quality that mattered. I always aspired to be that kind of comic creator. On the same note, I don?t want to be ?Oh look he can write 50 titles?. I have no interest in being that guy. It?s just I can. So, I don?t drink and I don?t play video games, which is the more horrible thing to happen to mainstream comics ? the creation of Playstation. If they would take them away from comic creators you wouldn?t even hear about a late book.’ [Related: Jinxworld]
[tv] The Complete Tapehead Columns — all Jim Shelley’s Tapehead articles are archived on the web … Tapehead on Sex Addicts: ‘Sex Addiction is all the rage these days, and no wonder. Where better to meet dozens of horny men or women than a Sex Addicts therapy session? Fine Cut: I Am A Sex Addict illustrates how sex addiction can lead to devastating debilities for S&M, pornography and violence, and the sort of massive self-loathing that causes one addict to describe herself as “a hopeless romantic in a vibrator life.” Phew. “What sex addicts have in common,” Fine Cut states, “is their compulsion and the fact that they are people, just like you and me.” It looks as if you and me have lot of problems then.’ [thanks Vaughan :) ]
[blogs] Feeling Listless Logo Archive — I really like these logos… my favorite‘the best option was to combine the name of the site with it’s subject matter, my life and how I feel about the latest cultural events. And so I struck upon the idea of cultural artifacts which mean something to me (to a greater or lesser extent) also expressing the name of the site. The picture at the top would be as much a part of the weblog and the writing. This is an ongoing record of these logos …’ [Related: Feeling Listless]
9 April 2002
[books] The full text to Neal Stephenson’s The Big U online — it’s probably illegal so if you feel guilty you can buy yourself a copy here. ‘This is a history, in that it intends to describe what happened and suggest why. It is a work of the imagination in that by writing it I hope to purge the Big U from my system, and with it all my bitterness and contempt. I may have fooled around with a few facts. But I served as witness until as close to the end as anyone could have, and I knew enough of the major actors to learn about what I didn’t witness, and so there is not so much art in this as to make it irrelevant. What you are about to read is not an aberration: it can happen in your local university too. The Big U, simply, was a few years ahead of the rest. ‘ [via Jerry Kindall]
[funk] The Periodic Table of FunkAi: ‘For the rare occasions you may be required to entertain your woman’s shortie: behold the Atari 2600 VCS. Nothin’ is gonna beat the multiple-bit power of the almighty 2600. Yar’s Revenge, River Raid, Combat, Q*Bert, Super Breakout… ‘ [via I Love Everything]
10 April 2002
[dead] Farewell to a mother, a queen and a symbol of a bygone age — Jonathan Freeland on the Queen Mother’s Funeral … ‘The cars around Westminster Abbey were banished; only horses remained. The clatter of traffic was gone, replaced by the music of marching feet, pipes and drums. For one morning only, the 21st century was held at bay.’
[blogs] They Have Blogs!‘He’s a punk goggle-eyed performance artist who has the hots for Angelina Jolie. She’s an overweight ambidexterous graphic design artist who writes about her amazing, talented and deeply-loved spouse more often than she writes about herself. They have blogs.’ [via kookymojo]
[comics] Jonathan Ross interviews Alan Moore … [via Bugpowder]

‘ROSS: Let me tap back into some more Alan Moore mythology. Are you married? Or are you living with Melinda?

MOORE: I was married when I was about twenty, and me and me wife split up in about 1989. I met Melinda a year later. Me and Melinda don’t live together because she’s an artist and I’m a writer, both of which are far too mental. But we see each other a lot. I met up wth her mainly because I wanted to do an erotic, a pornographic comic book, and the idea of doing it with guys?

ROSS: Ha ha.’

[blogs] Graybo’s infamous Passport Gallery‘and it was only ever meant to be a bit of innocent fun. that’ll teach me.’Graybo
11 April 2002
[wtf?] ‘X-Files’ star takes ‘Confidential’ Role — David Duchovny as James Ellroy? … ‘Ellroy, a burly, eccentric man was 46 at the time he began investigating his mother’s murder, and on the surface, Duchovny makes for an odd match. “It’s odd to see someone who doesn’t resemble me physically in the least playing me,” Ellroy acknowledged to Variety.’ [Related: Brief extract from My Dark Places, Buy My Dark Places at Amazon, link via WEF]
[food] Meat is murder — Nick Lezard reviews Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser‘The principles of uniformity turn out to be not only bad for the soul, a seedy Orwellian nightmare, but bad for people. Ray Kroc, one of the founders of McDonald’s, once memorably said of independent-minded franchisees: “We will make conformists out of them in a hurry…The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization.”‘
12 April 2002
[brain] The Fully Immersive Mind of Oliver Sacks — great profile from Wired Magazine … ‘The periodic grid of the elements first appeared in a dream to the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Before falling asleep at his desk, the white-bearded chemist played several rounds of solitaire, and his ordering scheme may have been influenced by the arrangement of suits in the game. The table in South Kensington was an unusual one, containing not only the atomic weight, number, and symbol for each element but also samples of the elements themselves sealed in jars, bequeathed to the museum by one of Napoléon’s heirs. To the young chemist and neurologist-to-be, this grand display was an irrefutable confirmation that there was order underlying the apparent chaos of the universe, and that the human mind had been keen enough to perceive it.’ [via Follow Me Here]
[comics] Comics Turn a New Page — BBC News looks at on-line comics and interviews Scott McCloud‘McCloud knows that he is known as something of a maverick. “Among my peers, I am known mainly as the kooky guy who talks about the internet a lot. I don’t mind being associated with my books about comics, especially Understanding Comics, which I still rather like.” There will be more comics about comics, he says, but not for a while yet.’
13 April 2002
[cartoon] Yet another amazing Steve Bell cartoon — this time on US efforts to promote peace in the Middle East. ‘Peace… in your own time, Man!’
[politics] Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher — a Digested Read‘First and foremost, you cannot trust any foreigners apart from the Americans. Take Communism away from the Russians and the Eastern Bloc countries and you’re left with a bunch of gangsters and freeloaders. The Chinese think they’re superior and the Middle East is full of people who dress oddly and don’t go to church. Only the Americans have moral right. This is because they speak English, are devout Christians and are very, very big.’
[quote] Albert Einstein: ‘You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.’ [via Sore Eyes]
14 April 2002
[uk] Call Me Middle-Class And I’ll Punch You — Julie Burchill writing about class in the UK … ‘And a special set of questions just for me, because I’m in charge of this page. Do you persist in believing that there is something intrinsically and non-specifically sad about anyone over the age of 16 who remains in full-time education? Would you rather eat your own head than mix your own salad dressing? Do you keep the TV on at all times between rising and retiring? Is the only thing you have put away for a rainy day a stylish raincoat? Yes, yes, yes, yes! – so, culturally, that means I’m working-class, too.’ [Related: Earl steps into ‘working class’ dispute]
[distraction] Queen Mum We Love You!! … great Flash animation in a South Park style. [via]
15 April 2002
[politics] Look Who’s Talking — Christopher Hitchens interviewed by Lynne Barber … ‘…recently he has amazed everyone – left, right, centre – by coming out firmly in support of Bush’s war on terrorism. This means that for the first time in his life he is in the unfamiliar position of swimming with the tide. But on the other hand it hasn’t made him revise his first impression of Dubya – ‘Eyes so close together he could use a monocle, abnormally unintelligent, could barely read at all, “rescued from the booze by Jesus” – and if there’s one sentence that would piss me off more than any other, that’s it. But one can look on the bright side and say it proves that anyone can be president.’ Is this a sign that he’s moving rightwards?’
[food] The Bitter Truth about Fast Food — edited extacts from Fast Food Nation‘Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was made, what it is doing to the community around them. I think people should know what lies behind the shiny, happy surface of every fast food transaction. They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat.’ [thanks Phil]
16 April 2002
[blogs] Weblog Bookwatch — it searches recently updated weblogs for links to books on Amazon and compiles a list… ‘For recreational use only — please, no wagering.’ [via Scripting News]
[quote] Texting‘…and I wonder about my fellow citizens. I wonder if there isn’t some collective human core drive toward conservatism. I mean conservatism on its most basic level: fear of change. These familiar white men — familiar both because they’re clones of what we’ve been acculturated to perceive as power, and familiar literally, it’s the exact same people, the same handful, the plutocracy — are they somehow reassuring big daddies, distant and tight-lipped, security conscious and faintly disapproving, a little out of touch, a little authoritarian and secretive, deals out of earshot and quiet phone calls, a potential for real anger, but usually genial and a little hokey; they want what’s best for us, they know what’s best, because they’re father? We don’t need to know the details. They’re in charge, and that’s as it should be.’ [via Wood s Lot]
17 April 2002
[media] Saving Face — profile of Neil Stevenson the new editor of ‘The Face’ and one of the people behind Popbitch … Stevenson: ‘[The Face] has lost touch. The world has changed a lot in recent years. The amount of pop culture has increased, television channels have gone from four to 200, there’s the web and email and mobile phones ? people are overwhelmed by pop culture. And The Face has got to deal with the fact that people have a lot more choice and a lot less time.’
[science] The Time Lord — profile of Stephen Jay Gould‘…in 1974, Gould – now with Harvard University – began writing a monthly column on ‘This View of Life’ (a phrase borrowed from Darwin’s The Origin of Species) for the US journal Natural History. It became a Western publishing phenomenon. For the next 26 years – he always vowed he would stop writing them in 2001 – Gould produced a stream of 10,000-word essays, uninterrupted even when he needed intense treatment for abdominal cancer, on subjects that have ranged from snails to the evolution of typewriters, from dinosaurs to Antoine Lavoisier, and from space travel to, of course, baseball. All were written with authority and verve, and very often an engaging dry wit. One, on the evolution of human sexual organs, he even tried to call ‘Clits and Tits’ but was blocked by his publishers.’
18 April 2002
[911] Jerry Pournelle’s reaction to 911 The Black September War

Kinda Biblical: ‘There shall be monuments, perpetual, large enough to be seen from the air, from space: monuments of desolation in each of those cities. A million square feet; let the company commanders measure each building before flattening it. Let it be recorded. And let salt be sown where those places stood. Let their refugees go where they will. And if that requires the Army fight its way into those places, then the devil take the hindmost. We have no lack of volunteers.’

Then Sci-Fi: ‘…build our monuments, but then put solar power receiving stations on them, and give about 800 megawatts of power to each of the cities in which we built those. The more I think on it, the more it grows on me. Of course I have been for building space solar power satellites without this incentive: to build SSPS will required a fleet of reusable space ships, and if we have those we automatically have Thor (non-nuclear orbital precision bombardment: tungsten telephone poles that can hit any target at about 15,000 fps velocity with an accuracy of about 10 feet CEP)’
[comics] Neilalien — comicblog concentrating on Marvel, the mainstream and Doc Strange … ‘Neilalien of course does not aspire to rise above the noise and crap. Not until he gets interviews with Brian Michael Bendis, anyway. He tries to keep things honest though! For example, he always discloses that he doesn’t own Marvel stock before criticizing President Jemas! ‘
19 April 2002
[blogs] Douglas Rushkoff has a blog‘I’ve always resisted the polarity of a dialectic – those heated, two-sided debates. The process itself seems to entrench us further in specific reality tunnels. Academics and committed politicos hate me for it, but I really am committed, for the timebeing, to avoid getting too stuck in a singular, absolute way of seeing the world. Polar argumentation and the duality it promotes make this harder to do. And this is why fundamentalists enjoy things like the Middle East crisis so much. It throws even formerly “moderate” people back into the more extreme corners of their reality tunnels.’
[clones] Tears of a Clone — update on Dolly the Sheep and cloning in general … ‘Like most stars, she isn’t the size you expect from her pictures. In Dolly’s case, she’s a lot bulkier than she looks on the page or the screen, although the weight problem that dogged the early days of her celebrity status is behind her. Habituated to human attention, she is friendly and gentle, and convincingly feigns interest in the affairs of strangers. These are star qualities. Most stars don’t have bits of dung and straw in their hair, of course. Nor do they break off in the middle of a photoshoot and, with an expression of utter serenity, pee on the grass.’
[tv] Ben Elton — another you ask the questions … ‘Q:What would Rik, Mike, Neil and Vyv each be doing now, 20 years after The Young Ones? A: Rik would be President of the Michael Portillo Fan Club. Vyv would be a special advisor to Stephen Byers on transport policy. Neil would have moved to Brixton in the hope of being allowed to cultivate his dope plants in peace ? unfortunately, he would have been ripped off when he bought the seeds and be getting a headache trying to smoke fennel. Mike was an enigma then, and remains so.’
20 April 2002
[books] McVicar’s crime against Jill Dando — review of John McVicar’s new book about the murder of Jill Dando‘[McVicar] believes that George did commit the murder – under, according to the theory he and Pell construct, the combined influence of Queen lyrics, Zoroastrianism, Ninjutsu, born-again Baptism and Highlander.’
21 April 2002
[tv] The Double Life of Johnny Vegas — great profile / interview … ‘He pinched the name from the rock ‘n’ roll singer in Grease, Johnny Casino, adopting it originally to give him the courage to get up on stage and sing in pubs. But pouring all his disappointments into him proved to be a stroke of genius, because sunny-natured Michael Pennington could never, I suspect, have got up on stage and been so bilious and pathetic and bitter. “It sounds simple, if you say you’re accepting, but I was never one to resent anything. From a certain age, I sort of accepted myself for what I was. And although to other people it was like nothing ever goes right, I had a really nice attitude that I’d inherited from my parents, and especially from my dad.”‘
[comics] The 2001 Squiddies — comic awards from rec.arts.comic.* on Usenet. [Related: Postings on Usenet — PR and Results | Analysis of Results]
22 April 2002
[lmg] New feature — Check out the new mini-blog on the left in the sidebar underneath the LMG Search Button…
[redrum] A Rough Guide to The Shining

‘Have you ever had a single moment’s thought about my responsibilities? Have you ever thought for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers? Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the Overlook Hotel until May the first? Does it matter to you at all that the owners have placed their complete confidence and trust in me, and that I have signed a letter of agreement, a contract, in which I have accepted that responsibility? Do you have the slightest idea what a moral and ethical principle is, do you? Has it ever occurred to you what would happen to my future if I were to fail to live up to my responsibilities? Has it ever occurred to you? Has it?!’
23 April 2002
[p2p] Would You Download Music From This Man? — Wired profiles a “master of the file sharing universe” … ‘What motivates someone to collect more music than he could ever possibly listen to, more movies than he can watch, more games than he could ever play – and so actively spread the wealth? It’s no stretch to say Verner’s responsible for millions of dollars in lost revenue for the record labels and movie studios. And while he considers those industries “damn greedy,” it’s not malice that drives him. “A lot of people out there don’t have any idea what their computer really is for and how much they can enjoy it,” he says. “I think I’m doing a public service.”‘
[politics] A French Movement — another Steve Bell cartoon on Jean-Marie Le Pen and the French Presidential Elections.
24 April 2002
[books] The master of all he surveys — interview with Alexi Sayle. ‘…he reads “whatever my wife’s reading group is doing that month. I read it first and she never gets round to reading it.” He recently finished Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and is currently trying his best to get through Dickens’s Great Expectations . It’s a safe bet that he doesn’t read much by his fellow comedians. “I was the first alternative comic to write a novel,” he says with a sigh. “Fucking hell, it’s a terrible legacy . . .”‘
25 April 2002
[comics] Interesting thread on Warren Ellis on the Barbelith Underground‘Someone alleged the other week that Warren Ellis is perhaps the world’s most successful writer of slash fiction, and I thought that was an interesting point, if essentially not true.’ [More]
[comics] Evan Dorkin’s Fisher-Price Theatre — Catcher In The Rye [Part 1 | Part 2] …

Evan Dorkin's Fisher-Price Theatre -- Catcher In The Rye

26 April 2002
[politics] ‘The veil? It protects us from ugly women’ — Guardian interview with Jean-Marie Le Pen. ‘…[Le Pen is] someone who loves a fight, who stirs up strife and contention; a despised and dangerous man who went looking for a violent dust-up and lost his eye as a consequence. His contrasting version of events fits in well with his regular complaints of being politically slandered, of deep-rooted misunderstandings and systematic abuse from the establishment. Even the more jocular aspect that he seeks to ascribe to the whole episode perfectly suits his personality: “On one occasion, a female political rival claimed that I was looking at her with a ‘hard stare’. I replied: ‘But of course, madam. You are looking at my glass eye,'” he says with a boisterous laugh. An encounter with Le Pen can be a bit of a culture shock. The man is blessed with a rare, intoxicating charisma.’
29 April 2002
[tv] Club 24 — a profile of 24‘How could anyone still be thinking of going into the Big Brother house next month when they know they won’t be allowed to watch 24?’
[post-it] Postmodernism, Writ Small — a look at the Post-It Note‘Unlike its predecessor, the memo, which functions as a self-contained message, the Post-it Note is an analog forebear to hypertext; it acknowledges in its very construction that what’s most important is context — and that context is where you make it, achievable with glue as much as any organic cohesion of ideas. Whereas a memo generally includes such information as who it’s from, to whom it’s directed, what its purpose is, and what sort of response it expects to generate, a Post-it Note is usually spontaneous, associative, and fragmentary. Its message often has meaning only in relation to the object or document to which it?s been attached; detach it and it becomes a mystery.’ [via]
30 April 2002
[comics] Spider-Man’s Long-Lost Parent — great article on the reclusive Steve Ditko‘The first rule of Steve Ditko is you don’t talk about Steve Ditko. Not to the press, not even to friends or peers. Intensely private, Ditko is an enigmatic figure — the J.D. Salinger of comics. He avoids publicity and hasn’t given an interview in more than 35 years. Only a few published photographs of him are known to exist, and good luck finding them. “He’s the exact opposite of me,” says Lee, who has spent the last 40 years as the public face of Spider-Man and the rest of Marvel Comics’ superhero pantheon. Those who know Ditko say he prefers to let his work speak for itself.’ [via Neilalien]
[distractions] “I’m bored. Entertain me linky-boy!”