August 5, 2013
[people] Steve Coogan: ‘There is an overlap between me and Alan Partridge’
… fascinating profile of Steve Coogan / Alan Partridge …
I follow Coogan’s fast-moving white Dunlops up the cliff and back to the hotel. “It started out not being like me at all. It’s probably got more like me,” puffs Coogan, as the wind buffets his impeccable Partridge hairpiece. “It’s recognising your own vanities and insecurities and turning the volume up on them. Anyone who is creative puts something of themselves in what they do, and I’ve put lots in, but it’s the warped, prejudicial side of myself. It’s not just a mocking caricature. It has to have some degree of humanity. On one level, Alan is very likable because he makes mistakes and vocalises a lot of the insecurities that people feel. He’s also a contemptuous Little Englander, the kind of person who I see as my life to rail against. Part of him is everything I hate about Britain. It’s a bit complicated.”
August 6, 2013
[comics] I Am NOT the Beastmaster: Morrison in Glasgow
… notes from a keynote lecture Grant Morrison gave at the University of Glasgow last month … ‘Morrison argued that shared-universe, corporate-owned superhero stories ought to be generational, circular, and repetitive—since they cannot be brought to an end, writers might as well play up the mythic angle and retell stories for each new generation of readers. One young guest wanted to know what Morrison’s favorite comics from his own catalogue were. (His answers: The Filth, Doom Patrol, and Superman Beyond 3D.)’
August 7, 2013
[watchmen] Five More Notes About Before Watchmen
… more from Tom Spurgeon on Before Watchmen … ‘I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Before Watchmen was an awesome project. I don’t think it was evil; I think it was sad. That was a lot of talent aimed at books whose nature allowed only the tiniest chance that remarkable art would result; talent that probably could have gone to bolstering the new superhero comics line or that could have been pushed in the direction of their own, similar achievement. So much of it smacked of parody — they really did a Dollar Bill comic book! With Steve Rude art! — that the whole thing was hard to fathom.’
August 8, 2013
[wikipedia] Wikipedia:Terminal Event Management Policy
… Wikipedia’s amusing protocol for saving the encyclopedia’s data in the event of an apocalypse … ‘Following the implementation of the level 2 warning, editors are expected to commence the transfer of the encyclopedia to other media. As an immediate measure, it is suggested that editors print as many articles as possible, with due regard to any personal safety concerns that may be faced in these extraordinary events.’
[history] The Great Train Robbery
… Diamond Geezer visits the site of the Great Train Robbery.
August 9, 2013
[books] Stephen King’s Family Business
… a warm profile of Stephen King and his family … ‘At times in his life, [Joe] Hill actually contemplated hiring an actor to do readings of his work, to conceal that unmistakable resemblance to his father. By the time “Heart-Shaped Box” was published and he had forged ahead with some readings, his alias had been blown. In the end, in light of the book’s success, that did not seem to matter; now he’s comfortable writing in a genre his father dominates. “Sometimes I think the kid who’s like, ‘I’m never going to be like my dad in any way whatsoever,’ is less his own person,” he said.’
August 12, 2013
[drugs] Breaking Bad: Why doesn’t the UK have a crystal meth problem?
… ‘One of the reasons for its unpopularity may be that British drug users have plenty of other stimulants available to them. “The UK is a relatively small drug market overall and it’s a market that has been well served,” says [Harry] Shapiro.’
August 13, 2013
[life] 27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand
… ‘That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you’re not mentally prepared to chat.’
August 14, 2013
[space] 13 Little Things NASA Did to Get Alan Shepard Ready for Space
… ‘Even the flight surgeon had a little bit of a man crush on the astronauts: “The physiological bradycardia (pulse rate 60 to 70) and normotensive (blood pressure 110/70) state both give some indication of the calm reserved air of confidence which typifies both of these pilots.” I bet they smelled good, too.’
August 16, 2013
[books] Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences
… Stephen King discusses the opening sentences of books … ‘When I’m starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep. I will lie there in the dark and think. I’ll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph. And over a period of weeks and months and even years, I’ll word and reword it until I’m happy with what I’ve got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book. Because of this, I think, my first sentences stick with me. They were a doorway I went through.’
August 19, 2013
[batman] The Killing Joke Ending Revealed?
… Grant Morrison has an interesting theory about the conclusion of The Killing Joke … ‘That’s what I love about it- Batman kills the Joker…that’s why it’s called The Killing Joke…The Joker tells the ‘killing joke’ at the end and Batman reaches out and breaks his neck… and that’s why the laughter stops…the light goes out because that was the last chance of crossing that bridge. Alan wrote the ultimate Batman Joker story… because he finished it… the laughter stops, it abruptly stops, it’s quite obvious.’
August 20, 2013
[comics] Chris Ware Q&A
… a live chat with Guardian readers …
Q: Did you base Jimmy Corrigan’s looks on Piers Morgan? Come on, you can tell us.
Chris Ware: Honestly, I don’t know Piers Morgan, though I suppose I could google-image-search him. Jimmy Corrigan has my grandfather’s hair, Charlie Brown’s eyes, Tintin’s pants and my self-doubt and that’s about it, I’m afraid.
August 21, 2013
[funny] Father Teaches Son How To Fly Into Rage Over Completely Inconsequential Bullshit
… The Onion on a heart-warming father/son relationship … ‘In an effort to help guide his son’s development, Dalton explained that he consistently tries to embody the qualities of irritability, hostility, and bitterness in his daily life, emphasizing to his fourth-grade son the importance of letting his annoyance over an inconsequential matter develop into a lingering, biting resentment that makes others feel uncomfortable to be near him. In addition, the 42-year-old market researcher said that he has been making a concerted effort of late to show his boy how to obsess over such ultimately trifling things as a driver going too slow in the left lane or a person who is slightly holding up a line, and to interpret these incidents as if they were significant, deliberate personal slights.’
August 22, 2013
[comics] Grant Morrison on bringing back Wonder Woman
… Morrison also discusses Rebellion’s reprinting of Zenith.
…one particular title from the late 1980s made headlines earlier this year. Rebellion, the publisher of 2000AD, announced it was planning to reprint Zenith, Morrison’s subversive superhero strip. Shallow, sarcastic and frequently used as a way for Morrison to criticise the Conservative party, the hero’s five-year run in 2000AD ended in 1992. Zenith has been out of print ever since, due to a legal dispute over who owns the rights. So Rebellion’s announcement of a £100 preorder-only hardback complete collection raised rather a lot of eyebrows, with Morrison unable to comment. But, choosing his words carefully, the writer is now able to talk a little about what’s happening.
“Well, it’s very simple,” he begins with a wince. “We, uh, we spent five grand on lawyers’ fees. They sent [Rebellion] letters. We were very keen to discuss it and we’ve never heard back from them. All I can say is that we tried to get into a discussion with them and they just didn’t reply. I don’t know what to do at this stage.”
[funny] BREAKING NEWS: Guardian ordered to destroy bourgeois lifestyle articles
… ‘The Guardian has destroyed nauseatingly middle-class articles about garden furniture and teenagers failing to get a place at Oxford. Ministers said it was in the national interest to destroy the articles as they make the UK a target for radical anti-narcissism groups.’
August 23, 2013
[batman] Wondermark: A Knight is Technically an Aristocrat
… ‘I want to dress in a bat costume and punch individual muggers.’
August 27, 2013
[wikipedia] Updating a Printed Wikipedia
… How many printers would you need to print out the English version of Wikipedia? … ‘Six printers isn’t that many, but they’d be running all the time. And that gets expensive. The electricity to run them would be cheap—a few dollars a day. The paper would be about one cent per sheet, which means you’ll be spending about a thousand dollars a day. You’d want to hire people to manage the printers 24/7, but that would actually cost less than the paper. Even the printers themselves wouldn’t be too expensive, despite the terrifying replacement cycle. But the ink cartridges would be a nightmare.’
August 28, 2013
[space] Astronaut Recounts His Near-Drowning On Spacewalk
… Who knew you could drown in Space? ‘…he pondered what he would do if the water reached his mouth. The only idea he had, he said, was to open the safety valve on his helmet and let out some of the water. “But making a ‘hole’ in my spacesuit really would be a last resort,” he wrote.’
August 29, 2013
[people] Ask Ayn Rand
… John Hodgman rediscovers long-lost Ayn Rand magazine columns from 1980 …
My moral philosophy is founded on the idea that there is an objective reality, and that man’s senses can perceive this objective reality. This faculty, which is man’s reason, is paramount above all else. He takes for evidence only his own experience, his own judgment, and that is why I do not hesitate to say, objectively, definitively, that “Caddyshack” is the year’s best movie.
Rodney Dangerfield plays a self-made man who is not ashamed of his ambition, who does not apologize for his success, and who gets excitement from the joyful reality that we are all going to get laid if we are willing to be productively selfish and to stop coddling the weak. In other movie news, I did not like how easily the boy escaped Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I have solved all the hedge mazes in the United States and Europe, and I can tell you they are not that complicated.
August 30, 2013
[bbc] How Biased Is The BBC?
… Apparently it’s not biased in the ways you might think… ‘Conservative politicians were featured more than 50% more often than Labour ones (24 vs 15) across the two time periods on the BBC News at Six. So the evidence is clear that BBC does not lean to the left it actually provides more space for Conservative voices.’