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June 26, 2019
[comics] The story of Mad Love’s AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) anthology comic‘Alan Moore half-jokingly told a college classroom in Northampton that because he “had access to a lot of famous comic book people [he] could . . . morally blackmail most of them” into contributing something to an anthology. The artists and writers who contributed were myriad, including, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Art Spiegelman, Harvey Pekar, Howard Cruse, Dave Sim, Robert Crumb, Mark Buckingham, Dave McKean, David Lloyd, Dave Gibbons, and many, many more. The pieces range from comic strips to bizarre dreams illustrated, from poetry to rhyming couplets of verse mimicking the cautionary tales for children popular in the late 19th century, and countless more forms of art and prose.’
June 25, 2019
[tv] The Max Headroom TV Series was really on point about the future back in 1987… ‘Adults, kids, everyone addicted to their screens.’

June 24, 2019
[comics] Wallace Wood’s Official Shit List … File under Ancient Comics Gossip. ‘Rick Stoner, who visited Wood’s home in Derby, Connecticut, on the 14th and 15th of April 1978 then went with him to Niagara Falls on the 16th, would give no clues. “I won’t name any names from this list of about twenty or so,” he wrote in his article Remembering Wally Wood, printed in issue 11 of The Journal of Madness in June 2001, “I’m just glad I wasn’t on that one”. Thankfully for us, Stoner took plenty of photographs of Wood’s home on Saturday the 15th April 1978, some of which were reprinted in that same issue of The Journal of Madness, and one of them features a very clear shot of Wood’s Official Shit List. Twenty-one names of important and well-respected members of the comics industry…’
June 21, 2019
[distractions] How to reduce digital distractions: advice from medieval monks‘Sometimes they accused demons of making their minds wander. Sometimes they blamed the body’s base instincts. But the mind was the root problem: it is an inherently jumpy thing. John Cassian, whose thoughts about thinking influenced centuries of monks, knew this problem all too well. He complained that the mind ‘seems driven by random incursions’. It ‘wanders around like it were drunk’. It would think about something else while it prayed and sang. It would meander into its future plans or past regrets in the middle of its reading. It couldn’t even stay focused on its own entertainment – let alone the difficult ideas that called for serious concentration. That was in the late 420s…’
June 20, 2019
[aircrash] Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Where Is It? … William Langewiesche on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. ‘By the time the airplane dropped from the view of secondary—transponder-enhanced—radar, it is likely, given the implausibility of two pilots acting in concert, that one of them was incapacitated or dead, or had been locked out of the cockpit. Primary-radar records—both military and civilian—later indicated that whoever was flying MH370 must have switched off the autopilot, because the turn the airplane then made to the southwest was so tight that it had to have been flown by hand. Circumstances suggest that whoever was at the controls deliberately depressurized the airplane. At about the same time, much if not all of the electrical system was deliberately shut down. The reasons for that shutdown are not known. But one of its effects was to temporarily sever the satellite link.’
June 19, 2019
[twitter] Cold War Steve: satire is my antidote to a scary world… Profile of the Twitter artist and satirist. ‘Over the years, depression and alcoholism took a hold, and in 2016 he had a “complete breakdown” and attempted suicide. After a period in hospital, he began to make collages on his phone and sharing them on Twitter. “It was a coping mechanism. If I was creating things, I could focus my mind on that rather than crashing anxiety attacks.” Cold War Steve – a series of images of Phil Mitchell/Steve McFadden superimposed into cold war scenes – “definitely helped my recovery”. He has not touched alcohol for more than three years.’
June 18, 2019
[comics] The Bristol Board’s Forgotten Comics Masterpieces … The Bristol Board has a huge list of brilliant over-looked comics. Below, Harvey Kurtzman’s Big If from 1952.

June 17, 2019
[lost] What Lost Treasure Would You Most Like to Find?‘The original high-resolution recordings of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The footage of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the lunar surface is effectively a kinescope recording—made via a camera pointed at a video screen. NASA’s tapes of the original transmissions were likely erased and reused in the 1980s. Only a few people in July 1969 have ever seen the historic moonwalk in its full resolution.’
June 14, 2019
[tech] What It’s Like to Work on a 30-Year-Old Macintosh … Ian Bogost on the joy of using old Tech. ‘On my modern MacBook Pro, a million things are happening at once. Mail retrieves email, sounding regular dings as it arrives. Dispatches fire off, too, in Messages, in Skype, in Slack. Attention-seeking ads flash in the background of web pages, while nagging reminders of Microsoft Office updates bounce in the dock. News notifications spurt out from the screen’s edge, along with every other manner of notices about what’s happening on and off the machine. Computing is a Times Square of urge and stimulus. By contrast, the Macintosh SE just can’t do much. It boots to a simple file manager, where I face but a few windows and menu options. I can manage files, configure the interface, or run programs. It feels quiet here, despite the whirring noise.’
June 13, 2019
[truecrime] The Queasy Verdict of ‘The Staircase’ … A spoiler filled analysis of the true-crime series The Staircase. ‘The series is clear about how much of a problem the eccentric, bisexual, erudite Peterson is for the jurors. The Staircase isn’t interested in theorizing who actually killed Kathleen (and includes only one offhand reference to the actually quite credible theory that an owl did) because its focus isn’t solving a mystery. It’s illuminating how flawed and naïve the concept of blind justice is. The jurors in Peterson’s case can no more put away their own preconceptions than they can realistically isolate themselves from TV news and the firestorm surrounding the case.’
June 12, 2019
[web] Screenshots of Despair … a amusing Tumblr capturing some Herzogian computer messages.

June 11, 2019
[crime] The bizarre world of the true crime YouTube influencers‘It’s hard to explain the current trend towards lifestyle/true crime crossovers without acknowledging a disconcerting fact; that what seems at surface level to be a wild mismatch, has a perfectly sound internal logic lurking under the surface. Both rely on the marketing of a product in a wildly oversaturated marketplace. The required skills are readily interchangeable: a ‘relatable’ manner, the ability to spin a compelling yarn and an on-the-nose sincerity. And, most importantly, the savviness to seize an opportunity. And while the traditional avenues of online lifestyle revenue begin to shift and change, crime remains conventionally big traffic business. ‘
June 7, 2019
[comics] Gaiman & Buckingham Have Worked On New Miracleman Stories … Neil Gaiman updates on progress with publishing the final books of his Miracleman stories. ‘CBR spoke with Gaiman as part of the writer’s press tour for his new Amazon TV series Good Omens, and when asked about the status of the groundbreaking superhero series he and Buckingham inherited from Alan Moore nearly 20 years ago, Gaiman cautiously explained that all hurdles seem to be clear. In fact, the pair have in fact begun creating new Miracleman stories.’
June 6, 2019
[tv] Toast star Matt Berry: ‘Nobody wants to hear about my psychic wound’ … Profiling Matt Berry and his new TV show Year of the Rabbit. ‘One lovely moment has Rabbit explaining his beat. “This city is a rat eating its own babies, babies made of shit, and once it eats its own shit babies, it shits them out again, and then it noshes them, and that goes on and on until the sun turns cold and the sea goes back into the sky.” Which is of course exactly the sort of briefing Met boss Cressida Dick wishes she could make. Year of the Rabbit could be the unexpected comedy delight of 2019. Equally welcome news is the fact that Berry is planning a fourth series of Toast of London…’
June 5, 2019
[books] Since so many of you asked, I’m the guy who’s spent the last 6 years reading NOTHING but science fiction. Here’s my top 15 list‘The Forever War (Joe Haldeman) – I believe this was the first military sci-fi book I read. I didn’t know much about military sci-fi and was doubtful that I would like it, especially since it sounded like a parallel of the Vietnam War. Again, dead wrong. This book has a lot to say, and it says it extremely eloquently. Humanity is in an interstellar war against the Taurens, and the soldiers who visit home (because of time dilation) visit after huge periods of time, so it’s a good take on where humanity will be in 500, 1000, and 10000 years from now. Again, this one was hard to put down.’
June 4, 2019
[tech] Science less than a decade away from fully operational printer‘Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “If printer design continues to advance at the current rate, it’s likely we’ll see a machine that isn’t fundamentally incompatible with plain white A4 paper by the year 2029. “Then we’re just a few years away from something that isn’t a shit-sucking bastard fucker with the sheer brass balls to describe itself as a printer.”’
June 3, 2019
[books] James Ellroy says film adaptation of LA Confidential was ‘as deep as a tortilla’“Whether you like it or not, I live in the past,” he said. As far as he was concerned, history ended – as did his 2009 book Blood’s a Rover – in May 1972. He was only interested in what came before. “That is the period of my emotional and intellectual curiosity. Nothing after May of 72 vibrates my vindaloo.” He said he had always been the same. “In 1956, when I was eight years old, I alerted my mother to the fact that I believed that world war two was still going on.” It ended before he was born, she replied. “I didn’t believe her then, I don’t believe her now.”
May 31, 2019
[pizza] I Staked Out My Local Domino’s to See Just How Accurate Its Pizza Tracker Is … Some quality journalism on an important issue. ‘7:08 p.m. — “PERFECTION CHECK COMPLETE” No, there’s no perfection check. You just put it in the oven ONE MINUTE AGO!!! 7:12 p.m. — The Domino’s Employees Grow Suspicious of Me…’
May 30, 2019
[tech] What I Learned Trying To Secure Congressional Campaigns … Maciej Cegłowski looks at how to improve tech security on high-risk political campaigns. ‘We told people to use Signal, iPhones/iPads, Google docs, and to buy the blue Yubikey. If any of that posed a problem, we found other products to recommend. The goal was not to score those sweet affilliate sales, but to remove decision points and cognitive overhead by standardizing on a known good set of products.’
May 29, 2019
[comics] Universe B – The Unpublished Grant Morrison … a comprehensive list of Grant Morrison’s unstarted and unfinished projects. ‘SICK BUILDINGS (1989) – A forthcoming graphic novel mentioned in the author bio in Arkham Asylum, Sick Buldings was a Situationist prank, a story that not only was never published but never existed, and was never intended to exist, in the first place.’
May 28, 2019
[last] Experience: I manage the last Blockbuster in the world… A poignent check-in with the last Blockbuster video rental store in the world. ‘The final store closures happened so fast. At the end of 2017, there were seven Blockbusters left in the US, but by early 2019 it was just us and one other store in Perth, Australia, in the world. When they closed in March it was bittersweet. We were happy to be the last store, but sad that we were one step closer to Blockbuster ceasing to exist. They called us from Australia on their last night and wished us all the best. That was very sweet. Since then, things have been crazy. The local community has been incredibly supportive, and people have come from all over the world to rent movies: we’ve set up close to 5,000 new memberships…’
May 24, 2019
[internet] Why People Fake Cancer Online … A look at why people fake illness on the Internet. ‘This condition of faking illness online has a name: “Munchausen by internet,” or MBI. It’s a form of factitious disorder, the mental disorder formerly known as Munchausen syndrome, in which people feign illness or actually make themselves sick for sympathy and attention. According to Marc Feldman, the psychiatrist at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa who coined the term MBI back in 2000, people with the condition are often motivated to lie by a need to control the reactions of others, particularly if they feel out of control in their own lives. He believes that the veil of the internet makes MBI much more common among Americans than the 1 percent in hospitals who are estimated to have factitious disorder.’
May 23, 2019
[movies] Burning desire: John Wick and the undying appeal of the revenge thriller‘Though John Wick primarily attracts audiences for its simplicity of gun-fu action ecstasy, the film-makers clearly have more universal existential ideas on their mind. Sure, John Wick as played by Keanu Reeves is an ex-assassin left broken by his wife’s death and only capable of exorcising his pain through mass murder and vengeance. But he’s also an individual trapped in the system that created him, desperate to live freely and “retired” on his own terms, without the need to kill again.’
May 22, 2019
[people] It’s Still Roy Cohn’s World, And You’re Living in It … A great comic profile from Levi Hastings and Josh Trujillo.

Ray Cohn comic profile panel

May 21, 2019
[truecrime] Who killed the prime minister? The unsolved murder that still haunts Sweden … Fascinating long-read about the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986 and the botched investigation and conspiracy theories that followed. ‘By the start of the 1990s, so much time and money had been spent fruitlessly pursuing Pettersson and the PKK that basic questions about the night of the murder remained unanswered. Where was the murder weapon, which was believed to be a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver? Why were witness reports of men with walkie talkies near the site of the killing not taken seriously? Was the police incompetence too extreme to be accidental?’
May 20, 2019
[newsletter] Recs … Another newsletter I’ve been enjoying – lots of media recommendations from Rex Sorgatz. ‘…Media, tv, podcasts, film, games, apps, music, books, tech, art, and design; also, a super dumb pun on my name’
May 17, 2019
[comics] 5 Modern Day Treasures That Got Saved In The Craziest Ways … Amongst other things this article looks at how Moore and Sienkiewicz’s unpublished Big Numbers #3 found it’s way to the Internet. ‘Padraig O Mealoid saw an item on eBay that claimed to include not just Big Numbers #1 and #2, but also a “rare unpublished xerox” of #3 for the low, low price of $49.99. As it turned out, a friend of the seller had worked with Moore on the series, and had been smart enough to hang onto his preview copy of the third chapter. And since there was no legal way for anyone to own a copy anymore, they did the ’90s equivalent of putting it on a torrenting site — they xeroxed a bunch of copies and passed them out to diehard fans, one of whom eventually put his copy up on eBay.’
May 16, 2019
[truecrime] The real story behind Harper Lee’s lost true crime book … An interesting look at one of Harper Lee’s unfinished books. ‘“He might not have believed in what he preached, he might not have believed in voodoo,” she once wrote, “but he had a profound and abiding belief in insurance.” In the course of her reporting, she turned up dozens upon dozens of insurance policies, all taken out by Maxwell, seemingly without the knowledge of the insured, with his home address as the correspondence address and naming himself as the beneficiary. The more she learned about the earlier deaths, the more convinced she became that at least five of them were murders, even though he had never been convicted of any of them.’
May 15, 2019
[books] A supposedly great article I’ll never read the same way again … A look at inaccuracies in the journalism of David Foster Wallace. ‘One accusation was made in 2011 by Wallace’s good friend Jonathan Franzen, who offhandedly accused Wallace of making up dialogue in his famous “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” piece. “Those things didn’t actually happen,” he told New Yorker editor David Remnick. “You notice he never published any nonfiction in your magazine.” Franzen seemed salty about it at the time, leading plenty of people to accuse him of levying a cheap shot, but probably not as salty as he should’ve been, knowing how famous his (admittedly dead) friend had gotten as a dogged truthteller by sort of making some of it up.’
May 14, 2019
[comics] Katsuhiro Otomo’s Sleeping Beauty … the creator of Akira’s version of the fairy tale.

Panels from Katsuhiro Otomo's Sleeping Beauty