December 17, 2020
[space] A Rocket From 1966 Has Found Its Way Back to Earth’s Orbit … ‘Chodas sent out an email alert to his fellow astronomers around the world so everyone could help track 2020 SO’s progress over the next few months as it moved closer and closer to Earth. Follow-up spectroscopy observations yielded insight into the object’s composition, and the spectrum data was consistent with the stainless steel used to manufacture Centaur rocket boosters in the 1960s. But the hypothesis wasn’t yet a slam dunk, although the small discrepancies in the data could be explained by the weathering of the steel after 54 years of exposure to harsh space weather…’
December 16, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s unpublished Gen13 script… Go read two pages from an unfinished Gen 13 script from Alan Moore.
December 14, 2020
[xmas] Christmas Links 2020 … Stuart over at Feeling Listless is collecting seasonal links as he did in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. He does a better job than I ever have!
December 11, 2020
[movies] Full Metal Jacket to Rocky IV: the least festive Christmas movies ever … ‘At one point Gunnery Sergeant Hartman tells his troops: “Today is Christmas. There will be a magic show at zero nine thirty. Chaplain Charlie will tell you about how the free world will conquer communism with the aid of God and a few marines. God has a hard-on for marines, because we kill everything we see.” Is this the only reference to Christmas in an otherwise bleak and dread-soaked war movie? Yes.’
December 10, 2020
[comics] The Fourth Dimension is a Many-Splattered Thing … a really oddball comic from 1957 by Jack Kirby.
December 9, 2020
[retrogaming] The Making of Donkey Kong on the Atari 2600 … ‘In the summer of 1982, I spent about three months creating a list of 4,096 numbers, meticulously ensuring that every single number was the right value, and in the correct place in the list. When I finished, the only tangible evidence of my work was that long list of numbers. When the list was complete, after nearly 1,000 hours of work, the former Connecticut Leather Company¹ put the numbers (in order) into a computer memory chip and plastic case and sold it at stores throughout the country. And people actually bought it…’
December 7, 2020
[comics] Wondermark – In which a Visitor proves a Nuisance … ‘You ever get the feeling you’re on the cusp of doing something either really great or really terrible?’
December 3, 2020
[movies] Misery at 30: a terrifying look at the toxicity of fandom … A look back at one of the best adaptions of a Stephen King novel. ‘Misery was different. In placing a bizarrely childish, mad spinster in the spotlight, it had more in common with the campy Grande Dame Guignol movies of the 60s and 70s than it did with the sleek, sleazy chillers popular at the time. Grandmothers aren’t supposed to be killers, yet the knife-wielding biddies of hagsploitation cinema proved otherwise. Likewise Annie, a virginal nerd who refuses to swear, shoots a bullet through a sheriff’s belly and smashes Paul’s ankles with two strokes of a hammer without ever blinking an eye. Thirty years on, Misery’s gleefully demented union of innocence and brutality still captivates…’
December 2, 2020
[herzog] Five of the best documentaries, as chosen by Werner Herzog … ‘Vernon, Florida – This was his second documentary, after Gates of Heaven, and I pushed Errol [Morris] into doing it at the time, when he was very young. He spent some time in a small town in the Florida Panhandle, just engaging with and talking to local people. And it’s a completely incredible world of fantasies and strangeness. You have to see it. How can I describe it? I’m not a reviewer. It’s a great, great film.’
December 1, 2020
[comics] Writer Al Ewing Discusses The Horror Influences Hiding Beneath The Surface of Marvel Comics Series Immortal Hulk … If you’re not reading Immortal Hulk you should be. ‘The horror of the modern world – Hulk, as Marvel’s most anti-establishment character and an avatar of human anger, was bound to get into the unique horrors of capitalism. We manage to take in both the dark 3A.M. nightmares as the brain digests the day’s news, and slightly more lurid business-level horrors – think Society or The Stuff. Not to mention we get into some Lovecraftian cosmic horror and even take a ringside seat for the death of a couple of universes… there’s a lot there for a horror fan.’
November 30, 2020
[tv] Rediscovering “Columbo” in 2020 … Great comic on the pleasures of watching Columbo right now.
November 26, 2020
[movies] Every Movie Cough … A collection of coughs and sneezes captured in movies. I’m particularly fond of this one.
November 25, 2020
[retrogaming] The boy behind the biggest coin-op conversion of the 80s … A look at how a british teenager converted the arcade game Outrun to the Commodore 64 in 1987. ‘It seemed that the 17-year-old in the room had a prototype of just what US Gold needed – and this was around Eastertime, giving them months to get the game ready for Christmas 1987. “Geoff took me into a side room where there sat an OutRun arcade machine. He said ‘Martin you can do this right? You can convert this to the C64?’ I was gobsmacked. Within an hour the lawyers and my dad had made a contract and that’s how I landed my first conversion. The upfront fee was about £20k. That was a lot of cash back in 1987.”‘
November 23, 2020
[trump] How long till Trump Leaves Office? … ‘It is 57 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes, 31 seconds until Wednesday, 20 January 2021’
November 20, 2020
[funny] Diana twats the Queen with a corgi: how accurate is The Crown? … ‘Mrs Thatcher chucks an unflushable turd out of a Balmoral window – In a socially awkward visit by the Thatchers to Balmoral, the panicked prime minister blocks the cludgie and has to remove the offending log with her bare hands before throwing it from a window. In reality, Balmoral is equipped with extra-powerful toilets to cope with the Royals’ habit of eating half a stag for lunch.’
November 18, 2020
[food] Map of European Culinary Horrors … ‘Europe is littered with disturbing domestic meals. There’s a vast selection of fermented fish in Scandinavia, offal stews on the Balkans, deep fried pizzas in Scotland, sadistically squashed birds cooked under pressure in France, and a variety of dishes made from animal blood across the entire continent. The top spot is reserved for Sardinia, where a special type of sheep cheese, infested with semi-transparent insect larvae, will tickle all your senses in a way you won’t forget.’
November 17, 2020
[gaming] Retro games – How I fixed the Atari 2600 awful music … How one Atari programmer managed to work around the 2600’s musical limitations. ‘I knew that a ton of the frequencies were out of tune, so what technical trick could I come up with to coax the Atari 2600 into playing beautiful, melodious in-tune music? The answer was, none. I couldn’t come up with any technical trick that worked, so I went to Plan B. Rather than forcing the Atari to do something it couldn’t do, I took the opposite approach, putting some effort into figuring out exactly what it could do.’
November 16, 2020
[corona] Pfizer Announces First Batch Of Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Collector’s Edition Limited To 2,000 Doses … ‘The Covid-19 Platinum Edition Vaccine is a must-have for vaccinophiles and sure to quickly increase in value. Act now, and you’ll also receive a leather-bound volume filled with freehand ink drawings of the novel coronavirus’s genome sequence, as well as historic early sketches of our life-saving vaccine’s chemical structure. This legendary piece of inoculative history can be yours for only $4,999.’
November 13, 2020
[moore] La Frontera (2011) by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie … A charming, little-seen short story from Moore and Gebbie originally published in Spain.
November 12, 2020
[trump] Trump Files Lawsuit In Pennsylvania Alleging Election Officials Totally Disregarding His Feelings … ‘A lot of these ballots clearly contain information that makes me sad and scared, and it’s just not right…’
November 10, 2020
[funny] Hitler learns he can’t stop vote counting … The Trump Downfall meme we were all waiting for. ‘We built a diverse coalition of white people in militias and white people NOT in militias.’
November 9, 2020
[comics] Herb Trimpe, We Love You! … fascinating documentary about comic artist Herb Trimpe with scenes shot in the Marvel Bullpen during 1970 and 1971.
November 4, 2020
[trump] Do we know who the next president is yet? … ‘No. It’s 1 day since Election Day.’
November 3, 2020
[heat] Live tweeting the movie Heat – One minute per day… ‘HEAT, min 079: this is it: Pacino yells GREAT ASS. iconic (dare i say historic) cinéma. here’s a theory on why it plays: it’s not only his eruption, but how he almost says BIG, switches last-second to GREAT, and nearly defaults to GREAT BIG, then catches himself short. that’s art’
October 30, 2020
[rats] ‘He couldn’t move’: New York City man falls into sinkhole full of rats … ‘He couldn’t move, and the rats were crawling all over him. He didn’t scream, because he didn’t want the rats going into his mouth.’
October 29, 2020
[halloween] Pentagram Lacing … Lace Your Shoes in a Pentagram – Handy for Halloween…
October 27, 2020
[covid-19] Donald Trump’s COVID-19 plan … ‘Not Found’
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 22, 2020
[books] Alan Moore’s Book Recommendations … A wide-ranging book list compiled from a number of interviews over the years.