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14 October 2021
[comics] “Are You Glad You Did It?”: An Interview with Douglas Wolk …An interview with Douglas Wolk on his quest to read every Marvel comic and the book he wrote about it. ‘There were also a few unexpected “wow” moments. [J.M.] DeMatteis and Liam Sharp did a Man-Thing series in 1998 that’s never been reprinted and it’s freaking gorgeous. How did I not know about this? And honestly, going back and reading Master of Kung Fu. There were a few weekends I spent reading that series and thinking, “This is so gooood. This is so problematic. This is so good.”’
6 October 2021
[comics] Ditko Con 2021 … The Comics Journal visits a fan convention celebrating Steve Ditko. ‘Javier Hernandez recommended everyone read Ditko’s later works and also ran into memorable fans at his table, including a couple from the local Rusyn Byzantine Catholic group. He reported that they felt Steve Ditko likely based his illustrated Spider-Man and Doctor Strange hands after one of the Saints in the Byzantine Catholic religion. After some research, it became apparent to me that the paintings of St. Nicholas’ right hand follow this same very distinct pattern.’
5 October 2021
[movies] Superman III, and childhood nightmares … A look-back at the movie Superman III. ‘But right throughout Superman III, I found myself more uneasy around the character of Vera than the de facto villain of the piece, Ross. No slight on the hugely entertaining Robert Vaughn there, rather I just think Annie Ross is really quite brilliant. There’s an argument I strongly subscribe to that if you want to get under someone’s skin, then a human in a suit tends to make a far more compelling monster than even the most wonderfully-created purely-CG effect.’
4 October 2021
[books] The deep state… they thought the could get away with it. But they never prepared for the…

Boomer with a Computer

1 October 2021
[spy] ‘Havana syndrome”¯’ and the mystery of the microwaves … A beginners Guide to the mystery of Havana Syndrome. ‘One theory is that Havana involved a much more targeted method to carry out some kind of surveillance with higher-power, directed microwaves. One former UK intelligence official told the BBC that microwaves could be used to “illuminate” electronic devices to extract signals or identify and track them. Others speculate that a device (even perhaps an American one) might have been poorly engineered or malfunctioned and caused a physical reaction in some people. However, US officials tell the BBC no device has been identified or recovered.’
30 September 2021
[comics] 2000 AD Covers Uncovered – A legend returns: it’s Mick McMahon on Prog 2250 … Some comics process – how Mick McMahon creates a Judge Dredd cover for 2000AD. ‘The brief is Dredd in action, so pretty open-ended. My first move is to draw some Dredds and hope that one of them feels ‘right’. As I sketch on these first sheets I gradually start leaning towards the idea of a big Dredd filling the cover with a white background.’
27 September 2021
[moore] How Alan Moore ripped James Bond to shreds … A deep dive into Alan Moore’s loathing for James Bond. ‘I admire how completely Moore vivisects the iconography of 007. The Craig films tend to get discussed as darker or more humane variations on the James Bond theme, but he’s still a guy who saves the world, leaving a trail of weird foreigners and attractive corpses behind him. I’ve noticed a general growing tendency in film criticism to give every reboot several benefits of doubt, with a baked-in assumption that any three-decade-later legacy sequel or recast reboot is obviously expressing something thoughtful about a franchise’s troubled legacy. With Jimmy, Moore seems to say: Cut the crap. This stuff is rotten, and making it look young and cool again won’t make it any less rotten.’
24 September 2021
20 September 2021
[columbo] Celebrating Murder by the Book’s 50th anniversary … A look back at the first episode of Columbo. ‘However, what most makes Murder by the Book sing is the presence of Jack Cassidy as the ultimate foil to the scruffy Columbo. His Ken Franklin is urbane, stylish, arrogant, extroverted – and utterly heartless. Yet being a double murderer never seemed such fun given Cassidy’s gleeful wickedness that makes him one of the series’ most cherished guest stars. Cassidy is my favourite Columbo guest star killer of all. I rate many others extremely highly, but Cassidy had the X-factor and was the absolutely perfect choice to play Franklin. Just as Donald Pleasence was born to play Adrian Carsini in Any Old Port in a Storm, no one could have embodied Franklin better than Cassidy. His contrast to the earthy Falk makes their every encounter absolutely zing.’
15 September 2021
[comics] Jonathan Ross in conversation with Alan Moore … a long forgotten interview from 2002.

MOORE: Swamp Thing is probably more of a template for the Vertigo books than Watchmen was, but with Swamp Thing, you’ve got all these stories which are really horrible, really grim and really depressing… but then you’ll have these little stories like the Swamp Sex Issue, a love poem more or less.

ROSS: Yeah, some of them were quite light.

MOORE: In a way it’s crueler, if you give people a love poem they’ll numb out and switch off… it keeps the horror fresh if you…

ROSS: … give a little taste of sorbet in between the death and desolation.

MOORE: You feel the pain much greater…

14 September 2021
[wikipedia] One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia … A fascinating look at how lots of Nazi history on Wikipedia is essentially fanfiction and the difficulties in clearing it up. ‘In the spring of 2016, Coffman goes through hundreds of articles about the winners of various Nazi medals, including one called the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. She removes biased sources and any information based on those sources. When she is done, typically, there is nothing left to the article-nothing to say about the person-other than the fact that he won an award. She then insists that an award isn’t reason enough for a stand-alone Wikipedia article. Without a reliable source telling your life story, you can’t be notable. Poof. Another Nazi legend bites the dust.’
13 September 2021
[comics] Ten Days of Steve Ditko … Arlen Schumer’s collection of ten key comic images from Steve Ditko.

9 September 2021
[web] Why are hyperlinks blue? … a deep-dive into the history of web browser user interfaces. ‘We’ve now been able to narrow down the time frame for the blue hyperlink’s origin. WWW, the first browser, was created in 1987 and was black and white. We know that Mosaic was released on January 23, 1993 and was credited as being the first browser with blue hyperlinks. So far, we have been unable to find blue being used for hyperlinks in any interface before 1987, but as color monitors become more available and interfaces start to support color, things change quickly…’
6 September 2021
[covid-19] Oh My Fucking God, Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks‘Oh, you’re afraid of fucking side effects? Fuck you. You know what has fucking side effects? Fucking aspirin, fucking Tylenol. You could be fucking allergic to pineapple, you fucking fuckwit. Everything has side effects. You’re being a big fucking baby with a huge diaper full of fucking diarrhea, complaining about maybe feeling slightly tired for a day or two while your asymptomatic COVID case you get and pass to some innocent fucking kid could wind up killing them or someone else. Fuck you, you fucking selfish fucking shit-banana, you unredeemable ass-caterpillar, you fucking fuck-knob with two fucks for eyes and a literal poop where your heart should be. ‘
2 September 2021
[people] Michael Gove is Raving … from Mitch Benn.

31 August 2021
[retro] Behind the scenes at Atari … A look back at the wild, early days of Atari. ‘It was during the birthday celebration of a VP who shall remain nameless, but it might have been the one who used to keep a canister of nitrous oxide and another of pure oxygen in his office. The nitrous oxide was for getting high and laughing some time away, while the oxygen was used for rapid sobering up in the event a spontaneous meeting was called (which happened regularly at Atari). As the party raged on, a small crew of revellers migrated to the small but accommodating hot tub room…’
24 August 2021
[movies] 31 Things We Learned from Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ Commentary‘Paranoid schizophrenics often look for messages in between the lines of signals, so that’s why Dollarhyde’s TV has the vertical hold out of sync. “It may be a completely meaningless detail to discover.”’
23 August 2021
[netflix] Self-Learning Netflix Algorithm Produces Jeffrey Dahmer Stand-Up Special‘“Our proprietary algorithm has always served our viewers the most engaging content possible, and we’re thrilled to announce its latest creation, Jeffrey Dahmer: Losing It!” said Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who shared his hopes that the infamous serial killer’s “incisive and unapologetic takes on relationships, cannibalism, the working life, drinking, necrophilia, and human dissection” would have viewers “unable to turn away” from their screens. ‘
20 August 2021
[food] Meat-rich diet of 14th-century monks caused digestive issues, research finds … Important historical research into medieval monks laxtative recipes. ‘There is a laxative recipe featuring various fruit extracts. Or a monk can perhaps feel better if they “take a pese of soepe, make hit smale and putt it yn youre fundamewnt and then rest upon your bed”. Carter said he had no intention of trying out the recipes, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were highly effective”.’
19 August 2021
[movies] Nestflix … A pretend streaming website showing fake TV shows and movies shown within real TV shows and movies. So well done!

17 August 2021
[lego] How Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick … A look at the progress Lego are making in creating recycled plastic bricks. ‘The key here is, out of the 3,500 or so different shapes Lego produces, the 2 x 4 brick is one of the most popular it. If the company can replace such a component with a recycled plastic version, it will have a significant impact of the environmental goal of Lego to be using fully sustainable materials in its products by 2030. “We have what we call ‘high runners,’” says Brooks. For example, we know that most sets will have a 2 x 4, certainly we know pretty much every set will have a 1 x 1 dot. That is by far the most common brick that we make.”‘
13 August 2021
[movies] RoboCop (1987) Is an Almost Perfectly Symmetrical Film … A deep dive into the structure of the original Robocop movie. ‘I have no idea if the makers of RoboCop intended for it to be so symmetrical. The fact that they accomplished this feat while still making a fast-paced action film that never feels like it’s repeating itself is simply amazing.’
12 August 2021
[windows] What are the cool tools to install for windows? … Reddit discuss Windows apps. Mine are: Notepad++, 7zip and Irfanview.
11 August 2021
[tech] Why CAPTCHA Pictures Are So Unbearably Depressing‘Here’s the thing, ultimately, about Google’s CAPTCHA images: They weren’t taken by humans, and they weren’t taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google’s CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.’
10 August 2021
[comics] Comics Laureate Recommended Reading List … Great list of recommended comics from Stephen L. Holland. ‘To reach new people accessibility is all, so this isn’t a guide to the cleverest comics ever created (although they are all exceptionally clever); it’s a selection of the very finest and most beguiling which have proved to be perfect introductions to those curious about comics during my 25+ years as curator of Page 45, so often kick-starting a lifetime’s newfound adoration and exploration of our beloved medium.’
9 August 2021
[life] Fake iceberg injures guests at Titanic museum‘In the most compelling evidence to date that the universe is controlled by a malevolent overlord who takes sick joy in our species’ misfortunes, visitors at a Titanic museum in Tennessee have been injured after a fake iceberg fell on them…’
5 August 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

4 August 2021
[music] New Order’s 30 greatest tracks – ranked!‘Fine Time (1989) – A baffling choice for a first single from Technique – largely instrumental, not much of a melody – Fine Time is still impossibly exciting: an urgent, clattering rhythm track, acid house squelches, sampled voices. Steve “Silk” Hurley’s remix turned it into streamlined, straightforward house music, but the idiosyncrasies of New Order’s approach to the genre are part of the appeal.’
2 August 2021
[apollo] Here’s an unprecedented look at Apollo 13’s damaged service module / Apollo 13: Enhanced images reveal life on stricken spacecraft … Ars Technica and BBC News takes a look at a collection of digitally remastered photos from the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. ‘While working on Apollo 13 images, Saunders said he was struck by how calm Lovell and the other two crew members, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, appear. Much of the film he worked on was shot in the lunar module, after the oxygen tank exploded. The crew was exhausted, it was cold, and the astronauts found themselves in the gravest of situations. And yet they appeared to be in good spirits.’
30 July 2021
[tv] Columbo: an origin story … A look at the early origins of the TV detective series and the three versions of Columbo. ‘It became a case of third time lucky for Levinson and Link (and the Lieutenant) when they heard Universal were on the lookout for good mystery scripts in 1967. The Prescription: Murder teleplay was duly picked up by the studio, but who to cast as Columbo – a character more pivotal to the story than originally intended? Lee J. Cobb, then in his 50s, is said to have been the first choice, but his schedule was too full to allow it. Bing Crosby was famously offered the role but turned it down as he was enjoying retirement (and the lure of the golf links) too much. Instead, and despite reservations about him being ‘too young’, Levinson and Link turned to Peter Falk, who had just turned 40. Filming wrapped up in late 1967. The rest, as they say, is history.’