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September 16, 2022
[queen] The short unhappy life of Elizabeth Windsor … Politico sum up the life of Queen Elizabeth. ‘She knew a lot about the things she had inherited and not much about anything else. She drove — fast — about her estates in a beaten-up Land Rover and dedicated her life to fiercely protecting the promulgation of the family firm. But it was almost as if she was absent from her own story — her legend as rigorously curated and spun as that of any autocrat. To provide her United Kingdom with the monarch she felt it needed, she sacrificed an ordinary life and the other things most of us take for granted. But then the curious nature of hereditary monarchy never offered her another path.’
September 9, 2022
[death] [NOTE: Do Not Run Until Fucking Queen Is Dead Or People Will Lose Their Shit] Queen Elizabeth Dead At 96 … The Onion’s top-quality obituary for the Queen. ‘She married Philip Mountbatten in 1947, beginning a [TK ADJECTIVE] royal union that lasted [TK] years until [NOTE: DID HE DIE? CHECK. IF HE DID, WE FORGOT TO RUN AN OBIT], in which they had four children: Prince Charles, the heir apparent, as well as Princess [TK], Prince [TK], and Prince Andrew [NOTE: CHECK ANDREW’S LATEST ROYAL STATUS RE: PEDOPHILIA ALLEGATIONS]. In addition to her children, the queen is survived by [INSERT SOME BULLSHIT HERE ABOUT HER DO-NOTHING PROGENY]. As Britain’s first lady queen [PROBABLY LOOK THIS UP] …’
September 6, 2022
[politics] “He was scum.” … Hunter S. Thompson’s obituary for Richard Nixon.

‘If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern — but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.’

September 5, 2022
[cia] The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge … The astonishing story of how the CIA lost control of it’s arsenal of hacking tools because of an extremely angry, disgruntled employee. ‘Unlike other prominent digital leakers, Schulte did not seem like an ideological whistle-blower. Ayn Rand fanboys are not exactly famous for their doctrinal consistency, and Schulte’s concerns about “Big Brother” don’t appear to have occasioned much soul-searching in the years he spent building surveillance weapons for a spy agency. On an anonymous Twitter account that Schulte maintained, he reportedly expressed the view (in a since-deleted tweet) that Chelsea Manning should be executed. Weber recalled Schulte saying that Snowden deserved the same. Could it be that Schulte had leaked the C.I.A.’s digital arsenal not because of any principled opposition to the policies of the U.S. government but because he was pissed off at his colleagues?’
August 24, 2022
[life] If You Transplant a Human Head, Does Its Consciousness Follow? … The engrossing real life story of a surgeon obsessed with head transplants. ‘One day, her friend, Cleveland neurologist Michael DeGeorgia, called her to his office. He quietly slid a battered shoebox toward her, inviting her to open it. Schillace obliged, half-worried it might contain a brain. She pulled out a notebook—perhaps from the ‘50s or ‘60s, she says—and started to leaf through it. “There’s all these strange little notes and stuff about mice and brains and brain slices, and these little flecks,” Schillace says. “I was like, ‘What … what are all these marks?’” Probably blood, DeGeorgia told her.’
August 16, 2022
[games] Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist … A true-crime story about the robbery of a pristine collection of video games and the emotional cost of losing it. ‘Generations of games had been lost to attics, yard sales, and garbage bins, and enthusiasts like Brassard had become sentimental about finding and possessing them. A culture, and then a market, had bloomed around such wistful longings. It’s fair to assume most humans have played a video game—the emotional capital of playing and loving a game 30 years ago is one of the reasons games that old have become desirable. In the summer of 2021, a sealed copy of the first print of Super Mario Bros. for the NES sold for $2 million at auction. A copy of The Legend of Zelda went for nearly $900,000. A pristine, never-opened copy of Super Mario 64 sold for $1.56 million.’
August 11, 2022
[lovecraft] H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights … TL;DR – Lovecraft was racist. ‘He seemed to filter all his untethered anxiety into the very building at 169 Clinton Street. “I conceived the idea that the great brownstone house was a malignly sentient thing — a dead, vampire creature which sucked something out of those within it and implanted in them the seeds of some horrible and immaterial psychic growth.” Yet Lovecraft saved his greater fantasies for the neighborhood south of here. He eventually funneled all this tortured and deranged hysteria into his horror writing with the publication of “The Horror at Red Hook,” a story that literally depicts the neighborhood as a gateway to Hell.’
July 7, 2022
[books] Eric Clapton’s Bookshelf … An amusing forensic examination of Clapton’s bookshelves and what they say about his character.

June 3, 2022
[brand] Russell Brand’s latest addiction … Tanya Gold on Russell Brand. ‘At the end, when he has hugged everyone who waited, I listen to them praise him. “You can’t have control over what’s going on in the world, but you can have control over yourself,” says one. It’s a doctrine of renewal, but so atomised as to be meaningless. “He’s got that attention to the working class,” says another. “He is like us,” says the third, “a free thinker [who] cares about everyone in the world, not ground down by politicians and big corporate companies. He cares about individual people.” But does he? I think he is using them, and, worse, they let him. Brand is another symptom of our alienation: of the fracturing of the institutions that we need. We will see more, and different Brands in future, as the centre falls away. They will blow in on the wind. His doctrine of disengagement will change nothing for them.’
May 17, 2022
[covid] Michael Lewis: ‘We were incentivised to have a bad pandemic response’ … An update with Michael Lewis from last year about his latest book on Covid-19. ‘Each December, Dean would write her new year resolutions on the back of a photograph of her grandmother. On 20 December 2019, she wrote down two things. “1) Stay sober. 2) It has started.” She had a kind of sixth sense that the viral pandemic she had long been expecting had begun. By coincidence, and rather oddly, at about the same time, Lewis put forward the idea, in a conversation with the Observer, that the only thing that could wake America up to Donald Trump’s governmental negligence was a pandemic. He now plays down his clairvoyance, explaining that he gave that example simply because it was a situation that would affect everybody. “Rich white people would be scared too,” he says. In the event, many Americans followed Trump’s lead in denying the danger of Covid-19 and the virus has remained a highly divisive and contested subject. “If it had killed twice as many people and killed kids,” says Lewis, “you wouldn’t be seeing these revolts in Oklahoma. You’d be seeing the New Deal.”’
April 29, 2022
[herzog] Werner Herzog Has Never Liked Introspection … A long, powerful interview with Werner Herzog. ‘The deepest of catastrophes was the First World War, and then only twenty years later or so you have the Second World War, and the complete destruction of Germany. Almost every single major city in Germany looked like the World Trade Center after its attack. And that sank in—and it’s in me. My first memory is of my mother ripping my brother and me out of bed in the middle of the winter night, wrapping us in blankets, and taking us up on a slope. In the distance, at the end of the valley, the entire night sky was red and orange and very slowly pulsing. She said the city of Rosenheim was burning. I was only two and a half. Normally, memories do not go back that far, but I know this was my very first memory, and it’s embedded in my soul.’
April 25, 2022
[tv] ‘You Don’t Understand What This Is Doing to Me’ … Remembering James Gandolfini and a deep-dive into the impact that playing Tony Soprano had on him. ‘To say that Gandolfini rose to the occasion would be putting it mildly. His complex, nuanced, and inspired performance demonstrated remarkable range, not just over the course of the series, or any one episode, but often within a scene, a confrontation, even a single moment, that seemed to transcend mere “acting.” No matter how despicable Tony’s behavior appeared on the surface, Gandolfini was so persuasive and affecting —whether conveying Tony’s rage, passion, or some fleeting flash of guilt — that the audience never turned its back on him. In a troubling age of anti-heroes, Tony Soprano was royalty. His eyes told a million tales, and his performance elevated him to the upper echelon of American actors. He adapted handily to the series’ widened scope, its growth from intimate portrait to rich, blood-splattered tapestry, and he was enormously instrumental in making The Sopranos an epochal cultural event — unofficially the start of what some would call television’s “second golden age.” Whether that’s true or not, it was a golden age of Gandolfini.’
April 13, 2022
[movies] Hello, I’m Nicolas Cage and welcome to Ask Me Anything … Reddit AMA. ‘A: Who is your favorite character in all of literature and film? Q: That is so hard to answer. I will say that James Dean’s performance as Cal in East of Eden is largely the reason I became a film actor. His role in that is one of my favorite characters in cinema. But then we can go all the way to Rasputin or we can go to Dmitri Karamazov. Dmitri Karamazov is one my favorite characters in literature. I love him so much because he’s so happy and he has no money. He’s just living it up. He spent all his money trying to get the girl. I did the same thing once. I was very Dmitri Karamazov in high school. The most beautiful girl in high school who was a grade older than me invited me to the prom but I had no money. My grandmother gave each of us a little bond. My older brother bought a car. My second oldest brother bought some stereo equipment. And I splashed out on a chauffeur-driven limousine, a tuxedo and a four course meal at Le Dome on Sunset blvd. The car was $2000, the stereo was $2000, and my prom night was $2000 and man, that was money well spent. THAT’s Dmitri Karamazov.’
April 8, 2022
[books] He Was an Ex-FBI Serial Killer Profiler. Then His Lies Caught Up With Him. … Another story (Previously) of a fraudulent serial killer expert this time based in the UK. ‘The relationship between Harrison’s falsehoods and the apparent obliviousness of his audiences and publishers raised a number of still unanswered questions. Why had no one before Robin Perrie bothered to check the claims in such a colourful CV? And what does this web of strange deceit say about the nature of true crime fandom and the cottage industry surrounding it?’
March 29, 2022
[elon] Please Like Me … A small request from Elon Musk. ‘I’m sure it seems like I have it all. And maybe I do. Although I’d like to make one simple request: Please like me. Please, for the love of all that is holy, consider me clever and interesting. Honestly, I don’t get why anyone wouldn’t like me. I do cool stuff. I make cars. People like cars, don’t they? I make stonks go to the moon. Isn’t that cool? Isn’t making stonks go to the moon something people like? Seriously, c’mon. Appreciate me. I was on Rick And Morty. Wubba lubba dub dub, right? People love that show!’
March 18, 2022
[tech] His software sang the words of God. Then it went silent. … A really sad, powerful story about how software can die with it’s creator, teaching Torah, loss and about a million other things. ‘I first heard it played to me over the phone from a copy that hadn’t yet ceased to function. It was a voice unlike any I’d ever heard: not human but made by humans, generated by a piece of computer code dating to the 1980s, singing words of a text from the Bronze Age in a cadence handed down, from one singer to another, over thousands of years. TropeTrainer was software that had been taught to sing the words of God. Then it went silent…’
March 16, 2022
[tv] How tainted is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 25 years on?‘And then there were the show’s gender politics: for while it foregrounded many empowered women, it also featured a problematic male lead in the shape of Xander. There were other examples of toxic and fragile masculinity on the show, like the reprisal of teenage boy villains into The Trio in series six, but the difference was that Xander was positioned as a nice guy – and rewatching the series now, that’s something which leaves a particularly bad taste. A pretty girl couldn’t walk by without Xander oggling or pestering them, and it mostly goes unquestioned, especially where Buffy is concerned. His entitled attitude towards her and animosity towards every guy she dates is nauseating to watch.’
March 2, 2022
[comics] “True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee” Author Interview by Tegan O’Neil … Abraham Riesman discusses his new biography of Stan Lee.

You can try to glean life lessons from Stan’s arc, but I feel like they’re all relatively obvious: thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet, and so on. The harder thing to process is the twofold ambiguity of his life.

There’s the factual ambiguity of who created the Marvel pantheon, which is a dilemma that will probably never be resolved. And then there’s the moral ambiguity of asking whether he was a “good” man or not, which is a similarly unanswerable question, albeit for different reasons. The human mind wants to reject ambiguity; we want to say some things are incontrovertible facts and that the people we like or hate are objectively good or bad. But the reality of existence is uncertainty: constant, chaotic, and infuriating. You can either lie to yourself for certainty—and, to be sure, we all have to do that for certain aspects of life—or you can be honest and confront the answerlessness of the world.

February 11, 2022
[cummings] What Dominic Cummings Gets Wrong … More analysis of Dominic Cummings. ‘Ultimately this is what Cummings gets wrong. Regulation, institutional norms, information transparency, processes, are more important than brilliant people. Because it is only those things that stand in the way of bad actors destroying systems. It is the current absence of these things causing America so many problems because Trump is a really bad actor.’
February 9, 2022
[experts] Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? … A look at why experts find predicting the future correctly difficult. ‘The integrators outperformed their colleagues in pretty much every way, but especially trounced them on long-term predictions. Eventually, Tetlock bestowed nicknames (borrowed from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin) on the experts he’d observed: The highly specialized hedgehogs knew “one big thing,” while the integrator foxes knew “many little things.” Hedgehogs are deeply and tightly focused. Some have spent their career studying one problem. Like Ehrlich and Simon, they fashion tidy theories of how the world works based on observations through the single lens of their specialty. Foxes, meanwhile, “draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradiction,” Tetlock wrote. Where hedgehogs represent narrowness, foxes embody breadth.’
January 17, 2022
[cummings] Intoxicating, insidery and infuriating: everything I learned about Dominic Cummings from his £10-a-month blog … A deep dive into the world of Dominic Cummings.

What’s so interesting about Cummings is that although he seems to share some of this deep scepticism about democratic politics and politicians – too slow, too trivial, too easily spooked – he cannot fully embrace it. After all, tracking public opinion in a clear-eyed, unsentimental way is what he does, perhaps better than anyone. He is a genius at it. In the end, his blog reminds me of the old Woody Allen joke: “The food here is terrible!” “Yes, and such small portions!” Cummings thinks that British politics is broken, that the two main parties are ready for the knacker’s yard, and that most of the political class couldn’t strategise their way out of a paper bag. And yet he can’t resist trying to play their game. He wants to abolish the Labour party. He also wants to teach it how to win the next election. He’d like to put quantum physicists in charge of the government. He’d also like to see Rishi Sunak boot Boris (and Carrie) out of Downing Street. He wants to burn it down. He also wants to make it better.

January 12, 2022
[podcasts] Two podcasts series I’ve listened to recently…

  • Hunting Ghislaine … John Sweeney examines how Ghislaine Maxwell became a convicted sex trafficker.

  • The Coming Storm … An attempt to understand QAnon and it’s history.

December 13, 2021
[xmas] The Christmas Sandwich Reviews … Feeling Listless is reviewing pre-packed Christmas sandwiches and it reads like a much more personal, tougher (and expensive!) blog project than I ever might have imagined. I think how he feels about festive sandwiches at the end of this will be interesting. ‘When I told the check out person that I’d travelled all the way from Liverpool to visit Booths near Burscough (I’m terrible at small talk) and she gave me the requisite bemused interest, I knew it was probably a good thing I didn’t mention it was just to buy a sandwich because that would have been silly. But nevertheless for the purposes of this survey I did indeed travel to Ormskirk then walk for three quarters of an hour to a non-descript retail park just off the A59 in order to taste what this particular supermarket had to offer in the way of a festive butty…’
December 3, 2021
[tv] ‘We were two tortured idiots trying to make TV’: The Adam and Joe Show, 25 years on‘One of the most striking things about rewatching The Adam and Joe Show is how well most of it has aged (there are notable exceptions, including a debate about the relative merits of vinyl versus CDs). That’s partly because – comfortingly or depressingly, depending on how you look at it – mainstream entertainment hasn’t actually changed that much. The subjects of their parodies – Star Wars, Friends, Loose Women – remain ubiquitous. People Place, their very funny pastiche of daytime TV programmes that “take on these really massive subjects but do them in a huge hurry, and involve members of the public and just rush them all the time”, as Cornish puts it, remains painfully spot-on.’
December 1, 2021
>> A Picture of Stan Lee in the 1970s.

Stan Lee in the 1970s

November 29, 2021
[comics] Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era … A deep dive into the life of Stan Lee via two recent biographies. ‘Lee’s final years were a strange mixture of global fame and outlandish hustling. He enjoyed filming his Hitchcock-like cameos for the MCU movies, but got only token fees for them and avoided sitting through the premieres: ‘Stan hated superhero films,’ his business manager told Riesman. A parade of unreliable associates – including a memorabilia mogul who claimed to be Michael Jackson’s best friend – tried to persuade him they’d found a way to turn his celebrity into cash.’
November 19, 2021
[people] What lies beneath: the secrets of France’s top serial killer expert … The fascinating story of a fraudulent French expert on serial killers. ‘Bourgoin’s friends withdrew from him, and began to await, with a fair amount of dread, his unmasking. But his star continued to rise. “What astounded me was not so much that he told tall tales, because I knew he was that way, but rather that everyone swallowed them whole,” the other friend said. “It was the unseriousness, not to say the sheer idiocy, of the media.” The indulgence of the publishers, the newspapers, the television stations and even the police might have been more forgivable if Bourgoin’s work had been more insightful, offered more than morbid titillation, the first friend said. “But there was never, ever, ever the slightest beginning of a hint of a shadow of analysis, of reflection,” he said.’
November 11, 2021
[comics] A rare interview with Robert Crumb on America, PC culture and Trump‘It was Aline who hung, at the entrance to their home, a Donald Trump voodoo doll, complete with pins. “She’s really obsessed with Trump,” he says. “I’m no friend of Trump. I think he’s a bad man, but he’s a symptom of things that have been happening in the States for decades, it’s the decline of the Roman Empire. She suggested we make a comic about Trump together. I said, Okay, I can get into that, and then I spent an entire day just drawing Trump’s hair. I studied his hair with a magnifying glass. When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off.”’
November 9, 2021
[books] On the Trail of a Mysterious, Pseudonymous Author … The fascinating story of a piecemeal novel sent in the post by an unknown author. ‘Why not get it published? Why send it to a seemingly random and relatively small group of recipients? (Prickett has sent copies to five or six hundred people.) “The worst thing about writing,” he told me, “is how long you spend working on something before you get to show it to people. It’s a very lonely way to work. You spend three or four years on a book and then it takes months to find an agent, months for the agent to find a publisher, and then it’s another year or more before the book comes out . . . The literary industry is just not much fun.”’
October 15, 2021
>> I don’t know who needs this today but here’s a YouTube of Paul Giamatti yelling. You’re welcome.

September 2, 2021
[people] Michael Gove is Raving … from Mitch Benn.

August 5, 2021
[movies] The Story Behind That Richard Nixon-RoboCop Photo‘Hopefully for Nixon, his appearance fee for the December event made up for the fact that he didn’t even get to meet the real RoboCop. When asked in a recent email if he ever shook (held?) hands with the president, actor Peter Weller confirmed that he “never met him.”’

When Richard Nixon met Robocopy

July 14, 2021
[horror] Eddie Munster and me: the secret lives of spooky, sinister screen children … A look at how children cope with playing horror roles on TV and film. ‘In another film Kord references in her book – 2008’s horror-thriller The Children – the actor Eva Birthistle remembers the barely contained glee of the obstreperous child actors assigned to murder her on set. “Their confidence just grew, like, in the first week, then they were sort of … delighted they were going to kill us all,” said Birthistle.’
July 7, 2021
[fractals] Benoît Mandelbrot, The Father of Fractals… Shortly before he died in 2010 Benoît Mandelbrot was interviewed by Errol Morris.

July 6, 2021
[retrogaming] In the ’80s, she was a video game pioneer. Today, no one can find her … The search for Vietnamese woman who programmed an Atari 2600 games featuring one of the first female characters in gaming. ‘Firsthand accounts from the few Apollo developers with an online presence don’t even remember who she was, exactly, other than knowing she was Vietnamese and determined to get hired. These developers assume she must be called Ban Tran, because that’s what fan sites say her name was. But they’re not sure; they can’t quite recall. Where did the fan sites get the name in the first place? Like Score before her, Tran’s contribution to video games is hanging by a thread.’
June 24, 2021
[fun] Vincent Price rides some rolly-coasters … Go watch some small clips of Vincent Price having fun riding Roller Coasters. They are taken from a documentary called America Screams about the history of amusement parks and roller coasters in the US.
June 22, 2021
[books] Douglas Coupland on Generation X at 30: ‘Generational trashing is eternal’‘This discussion of brains and generations is important because around 2010 my own brain started feeling truly different. I realised that I was never going to go back to my old, pre-internet brain: I’d been completely rewired. Ten years later I don’t even remember what my pre-internet brain felt like. I find comfort in the fact that brains all over the planet have been rewired similarly to mine. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that our species has never been as neurally homogenised as it is now.’
June 18, 2021
[people] Stewart Lee Interviewed — 1996/2021… Fascinating Stewart Lee interview – He’s asked the same questions 25 years apart. ‘I hope when I’m picking on people or things to laugh at, there’s always an element of me being the twat for bothering to express the wrong/mad/obsessional opinion I am – I hope it works both ways, with me as a kind of ignorant victim of myself, maybe not.’
June 17, 2021
[politics] Vladimir Putin’s most unforgettable quotes. … Vladimir Putin used a Tolstoy quote after meeting Joe Biden yesterday: ‘At the press conference after the meeting, a journalist asked Putin whether the summit had helped build trust between the two men. In response, he turned mysterious. Putin quoted Russian writer Leo Tolstoy: “There’s no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon.” Putin clarified that there is no “family trust” between Biden and him, but he has seen the “mirage” of it.’
March 23, 2021
[moore] 32 Short Lucubrations … John Coulthart shares some memories and thoughts about Alan Moore.

March 18, 2021
[politics] Dominic Cummings plays all his favourite songs at reunion gig … John Crace sketches out the return of Dominic Cummings. ‘Cummings began by explaining the concept of Aria with the help of a Venn diagram he had brought with him. That small pink area? That’s where scientific research was currently concentrated. That vast blue area? That’s where he thought the scientists should be focused. Not so much thinking outside the box as thinking outside the circle. And if the diagram wasn’t sufficiently clear, MPs would be able to find a version in the 100,000-word blog he had altered on his return from Barnard Castle in the spring of last year.’
February 22, 2021
[podcasts] The Battersea Poltergeist … I’ve really been enjoying this BBC Podcast’s deep dive into a paranormal 1950s British haunting.
February 14, 2021
[truecrime] “Lovers make the easiest marks”: Profile of a romance scammer … An engrossing true crime story for Valentines Day. ‘In 2006, Rootenberg found his next victim, an executive from Montreal. (She requested anonymity so her name wouldn’t be linked to Rootenberg’s online.) After dating for a while, and after she’d loaned him more than $200,000, they bought a home next door to where his brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Karyn lived, a five-bedroom house in Lawrence Park. She thought she’d met the father of her future children. He thought he’d discovered a gold mine.’
February 9, 2021
[tv] From Tupac to Dom Cummings: meet the cast of characters in Adam Curtis’s new series … A looks at the personalities behind Can’t Get You Out of My Head. ‘George Boole, who invents Boolean Logic – a way of describing what goes on in people’s minds mathematically. It is the concept behind algorithms. His great-great-grandson – Geoffrey Hinton – now works in artificial intelligence at Google. Another of her relatives in the late 19th century puts forward the idea of being able to see the fourth dimension, which inspires a lot of the work of Alan Moore.’
February 2, 2021
[comics] The Old Gods Died… Michael Chabon discusses Jack Kirby with Abraham Riesman. ‘Darkseid is pure evil. He has no virtues. The world seemed like a dark place to Jack Kirby because of how he grew up, in poverty and fighting a lot and having to be a scrapper, and then serving in World War II. By all accounts, the little I’ve read, it seems like he was … I mean, I can’t make a diagnosis. It would not surprise me if he had some post-traumatic stress consequences, given the little I know about what he saw and did, serving under Patton in World War II. He had this really dark, almost nihilistic vision, and it gets increasingly so as he worked through the ’70s. I think I absorbed some of that.’
October 26, 2020
[religion] The 1990s Cult ‘Heaven’s Gate’ Has Four Remaining Followers – We Spoke to Them … Whatever happened to the Heaven’s Gate cult after the majority of members comitted suicide in 1997? ‘I wondered who, in 2020, would be maintaining the email address for a cult whose members are all famously dead. So I emailed it to find out, asking how many members – if any – are left. “None,” came the reply. “The Group came to an end in 1997. There are no members or anything to join.” So who was I speaking to?’
October 23, 2020
[tv] Curb Your Enthusiasm at 20: The show that made a schmuck the hero … Looking back at twenty years of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. ‘“I was born in the same hospital as Larry, three days apart,” [Richard] Lewis tells me, explaining the strange kismet of their lifelong relationship. “We went to the same sports camp when we were 12, and I hated him and he hated me. I never wanted to see him again. He was just a lanky a**hole, and he considered me a chubby a**hole. So we never saw each other again until 12 years later when we were comedians in New York starting out. “He was a big fan of mine, and there was something about his face that scared me. It was like something out of a Polanski movie…’
October 15, 2020
[crime] I Called Everyone in Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book … What did a journalist learn from calling all the contacts in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book?

This urge to make Epstein’s power sophisticated and complex serves a similar purpose as the elites’ insistence on Epstein’s extraordinary genius–both are ways of squaring the evident smallness of the man himself with the vastness of the world he built and the seemingly outsized influence he possessed. Both of them betray a collective lack of imagination when it comes to just how ludicrously rewarded dumbasses can be in this country. Epstein didn’t have to be anything special to become a key player in an evil conspiracy. He had to be rich, and he had to be useful to people richer and more powerful than he was. The very real possibility is that Epstein was both a rich dumbass and a key player in an evil conspiracy, because evil conspiracies require nothing more.

September 10, 2020
[occult] Christopher Lee on the Occult … Fascinating look at Lee’s views on the occult with video of an interview from 1975. ‘In 1975, during the filming of Dennis Wheatley’s classic occult novel To the Devil a Daughter, Lee gave an interview on his thoughts about Satanism (hey kids, it’s real!), Black Magic (yep, people do practice it every day, esp. in Hollywood), and why occult beliefs were so prevalent in the 1970s (boredom and bad fashion probably….). Lee is a fine man to spend some time with.’

September 2, 2020
[partridge] Alan Partridge on his new podcast: ‘This is the real, raw, be-cardiganed me’ … Funny Alan Partridge profile as he launches a new Podcast. ‘Has Partridge been inspired by any other podcasts? “Less other podcasts, more by the excellence we see all around us: a dog leaping to catch a stick, a ballerina doing a brilliant ballet, a forklift truck driver steering one-handed while smoking.” Having said that, he admits to enjoying the true-crime genre (“Nothing beats settling down with a glass of wine and a plate of sandwiches to be entertained by the ins and outs of a man found battered to death in a hedge”) and is considering using a second series of his podcast to explore the disappearance of a friend who fell from a pier in 2013, never to be found.’