November 1, 2017
[books] Famous Authors Reply to Your Unsolicited Dick Pic
… Mary Shelley: ‘I behold the wretch — the miserable monster whom I had help create. He takes up the entire screen; and this dick pic, if dick pic it might be called, is fixed on me. The veins throb, and it lurches forward disturbingly, while a single tear weeps from the tip. Your one hand is stretched out, seemingly to grip him, but I avert my eyes and delete the image. I take refuge in my Candy Crush challenges, where I remain during the rest of the night…’
November 2, 2017
[kubrick] Danny Lloyd – the kid in The Shining: ‘I was promised that tricycle after filming but it never came’
… Whatever happened to the child who played Danny Torrance in the The Shining?
Kubrick and his team protected him from the scary stuff, Lloyd says. In one scene, where Wendy runs screaming through the hotel with Danny in her arms, Duvall carried a lifesize doll. “I specifically remember I was banned from the set for the entire time Scatman Crothers was being axed,” he says laughing. There is something nice and Tom Hanks-y about his measured tone and efforts not to say anything mean or controversial.
I read that he accidentally walked in on Jack Nicholson filming “Here’s Johnny!” (voted the scariest scene movie history a few years ago). Is that true? “Yes, but not the actual ‘Here’s Johnny’ bit. Jack was out in the hallway with the axe. He was having fun and goofing off. I think it was a plastic axe he had. Both my parents were there and we were laughing. That wasn’t scary.”
November 3, 2017
[movies] 42 Facts Every “Ghost World” Fan Should Know
… ’18. The studio wanted someone like Russell Crowe or Harrison Ford to play Seymour. 19. They also considered Nathan Lane for the role. 20. But Zwigoff always knew he wanted to cast Steve Buscemi in that role. “I had to call him and threaten to hang myself if he wouldn’t take the part,” he said.’
November 6, 2017
[life] The laws of stupidity according to economist Carlo M. Cipolla
… The Five Laws of Human Stupidity seems very relevant to our times … ‘Law 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses. Cipolla called this one the Golden Law of stupidity. A stupid person, according to the economist, is one who causes problems for others without any clear benefit to himself. The uncle unable to stop himself from posting fake news articles to Facebook? Stupid. The customer service representative who keeps you on the phone for an hour, hangs up on you twice, and somehow still manages to screw up your account? Stupid.’
November 7, 2017
[prison] Insane Prisoner Inventions: 24 DIY Prison Tools & Weapons
… a fascinating look at what prisoners build inside prison. Below is picture of a knuckleduster…
November 8, 2017
[comics] From Zadie Smith to Ethan Hawke: why we love graphic novels
… Celebrities discuss their favourite comics. Sam Bain: ‘The four artists I’ve followed with the most devotion are Chester Brown, Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes and Joe Matt. Peter Bagge’s Hate was a favourite of mine and Jesse [Armstrong]’s when we started writing sitcoms in the late 90s. The first 12 issues in particular are a perfect sitcom and so much fresher and more contemporary than what was on TV at the time. Joe Matt’s Peepshow was also an influence, unsurprisingly! I had the opportunity to take Joe out for lunch in Los Angeles recently to thank him for his incredible body of work and to encourage him to produce more comics.’
November 9, 2017
[mac] The Twiggy Mac Lives! The Quest To Resurrect The World’s Oldest Macintosh
… ‘How did this Mac survive? Was this the only one? The owner of the mysterious machine, posting as “mactwiggy” and known publicly only as Jay, said at the time that he bought the system after seeing it advertised online. “The elderly gentleman I purchased it off of is a retired engraver,” Jay wrote on Applefritter’s forums. “The company he worked for was hired to make some award medallions for a ceremony at Apple. It would have been some point in 1983 I personally think, but he really couldn’t recall. They sent over this Mac to use as a model for him to work off of. When the job was done, they tried to make arrangements to send it back. Apparently after several attempts, Apple just told them to keep it.” The seller knew he had a highly collectible computer, but was willing to sell the piece at a less-than-maximum price to avoid dealing with potential buyers. “He was really just happy it was going to someone who knew what it was and would appreciate it,” Jay wrote. It was major find — truly a Mac collector’s dream.’
November 10, 2017
[truecrime] Outside the Manson Pinkberry
… a long, thoughful dive into the world of Manson Family bloggers
… ‘I found the Manson Bloggers so intent on each other that my arrival barely registered. They were talking shop with the eagerness of model-train enthusiasts. I grabbed a beer and tried to follow the rapid-fire discussion about unsolved Northern California murders and Roman Polanski’s sexual preferences. It was tricky—like all subcultures, when the Manson Bloggers feel safe, they speak in a kind of in-group argot, full of nicknames, acronyms, and arcane references. There were hardly any mentions of husbands, wives, children, jobs, any of the infrastructure of daily life. Instead, they gossiped about minor Manson Family characters as if they were mutual friends.’
November 13, 2017
[politics]What Facebook Did to American Democracy
… Alexis Madrigal on Facebook’s impact on the 2016 US election.
A few days before the election Silverman and fellow BuzzFeed contributor Lawrence Alexander traced 100 pro–Donald Trump sites to a town of 45,000 in Macedonia. Some teens there realized they could make money off the election, and just like that, became a node in the information network that helped Trump beat Clinton.
Whatever weird thing you imagine might happen, something weirder probably did happen. Reporters tried to keep up, but it was too strange. As Max Read put it in New York Magazine, Facebook is “like a four-dimensional object, we catch slices of it when it passes through the three-dimensional world we recognize.” No one can quite wrap their heads around what this thing has become, or all the things this thing has become.
“Not even President-Pope-Viceroy Zuckerberg himself seemed prepared for the role Facebook has played in global politics this past year,” Read wrote.
And we haven’t even gotten to the Russians.
November 14, 2017
[netflix] How Netflix works: the (hugely simplified) complex stuff that happens every time you hit Play
… ‘Netflix works on thousands of devices, and each of them play a different format of video and sound files. Another set of AWS servers take this original film file, and convert it into hundreds of files, each meant to play the entire show or film on a particular type of device and a particular screen size or video quality. One file will work exclusively on the iPad, one on a full HD Android phone, one on a Sony TV that can play 4K video and Dolby sound, one on a Windows computer, and so on. Even more of these files can be made with varying video qualities so that they are easier to load on a poor network connection. This is a process known as transcoding. A special piece of code is also added to these files to lock them with what is called digital rights management or DRM — a technological measure which prevents piracy of films.’
November 15, 2017
[tv] Remembering Magnum P.I.’s John Hillerman, the World’s Best Phony Englishman
… very sad to hear about the death of John Hillerman
Higgins was set up to be Magnum’s stooge—the short, supercilious prig who Magnum repeatedly outsmarted, and in whose reflection our hero could shine still brighter. But as played by John Hillerman with a genuine sense of dignity and steely righteousness, Higgins was no joke; you loved him because he truly believed in a classical world of order and rules-following, and he wasn’t about to cede all of that tradition to a handsome young firecracker in a Hawaiian shirt. And every so often, Higgins would a deliver a barb that succeeded in cutting Magnum down to size. The smirk from Hillerman that would invariably follow was a thing of beauty and triumph—and a gentle exhortation to those of us suffering through grade school that the golden boys weren’t always going to be the ones who glowed.
Until he died last Thursday at the age of 84 in Houston, I confess that I had no idea that Hillerman—who was born in Denison, majored in journalism at UT Austin, and then retired back to Texas in 1999—wasn’t actually British. That’s one definition of a great performance, when an actor so wholly inhabits a part that viewers assume he must just be playing a variation of himself. (In real life, Hillerman reportedly spoke with a faint Texas drawl—akin to his character Howard Johnson in Blazing Saddles.)
November 16, 2017
[web] What every Browser knows about you
… a webpage which shows all the information a web browser leaks about you.
November 20, 2017
[politics] Nixon, Trump, and How a Presidency Ends
… An interesting analysis of why Richard Nixon’s Presidency collapsed and comparisons with Trump. ‘Nixon was genuinely tough, a self-made man who’d climbed out of what may have been the most Dickensian childhood of any American president. He’d served as a Navy officer in the Pacific theater during World War II. He entered the White House at a younger age than Trump — 56, not 70 — hardened by decades of political combat as a savage knife-fighter during the McCarthy witch hunts and the explosive American divisions of the 1960s. Nixon actually knew American history, read books, and, unencumbered by ADD, played the long game in life (his courtship of his wife, Pat) as well as in politics. He was a lawyer who repeatedly (and presciently) advised his staff that the cover-up, not the crime, posed the greater legal threat, a lesson he had learned during his star-making turn on the House Un-American Activities Committee; his prey, the State Department official Alger Hiss, was convicted of perjury, not for being a Soviet spy. Nixon was also a far more strategic liar than Trump, crafting sanctimonious and legalistic falsehoods to paper over wrongdoing rather than spewing self-incriminating lies indiscriminately about everything.’