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January 7, 2019
[moore] Alan Moore Interview from June 1988 … A scan of an interview from the British fanzine FA. Moore is interviewed by Martin Skidmore. It’s contains some interesting comments on how he feels about Killing Joke just after it’s release and also why he stopped doing conventions and his dsyfunctional relationship with fandom at the time. ‘It’s a forty-page Batman story, a forty-page Joker story, that I wrote two or three years ago, around the time I was writing the first couple of issues of Watchmen. Sometimes stories work, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not so good. You can put a lot of effort into a thing and it just doesn’t work sometimes. You can’t write perfect stories every time. With that particular one, I worked at it as hard as I could, there was something at the end of it that seemed a bit heavy, a bit depressing, but at the same time there were some bits of it I really did like. In terms of Batman stories it wasn’t as good as the story I wrote about Clayface. It wasn’t as good as the story I did with Batman in Swamp Thing. My feeling on it is that if you came across that in a normal, floppy, forty-page DC Batman Annual, I’m sure it’d seem okay.’
January 4, 2019
[books] Who Are the Forgotten Greats of Science Fiction? … interesting list of overlooked science fiction authors and their books of note. ‘Leigh Brackett (December 7, 1915–March 18, 1978) was lauded for her planetary adventures (she moved her Eric John Stark adventures to the extra-solar world Skaith when space probes rendered her pulp-era Solar System implausible) but that was only one aspect of her work. In addition to writing SF and mysteries, she was a successful script writer. Her credits include The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye, and an obscure little film called The Empire Strikes Back. Her planetary adventures tended to be long on action and short on clear moral boundaries. I am particularly fond of her post-apocalyptic The Long Tomorrow.’
January 3, 2019
January 2, 2019
[retro] Building a Spotify player for my Mac SE/30 … a pretty astounding use for an old Mac!
January 1, 2019
December 31, 2018
[til] 52 things I learned in 2018 … Fifty-two TIL from Tom Whitwell. ‘Unicode, the international standard for letters, characters and emojis, has 137,439 entries. It includes a group of ‘ghost characters’ (妛挧暃椦槞蟐袮閠駲墸壥彁) which have no known meaning. It’s believed they are errors introduced by folds and wrinkles during a paper-based 1978 Japanese government project to standardise the alphabet, but are now locked into the standard forever.’
December 30, 2018
[comics] Alan Moore film aims to ‘dispel Northampton’s anonymity’… BBC News on Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins new film “The Show”. ‘I hope to rescue Northampton with a strenuous application of imaginations…’
December 27, 2018
[comics] Stan Lee’s True Legacy Is a Complicated Cosmic Mystery … Douglas Wolk takes another look at Stan Lee. ‘But of all the characters with whom Lee is associated, his greatest—and the only one he created entirely on his own—was “Stan Lee”: an egomaniac who thought it was funny to pretend he was an egomaniac, a carnival barker who actually does have something great behind the curtain. Artist John Romita, who worked with Lee on Daredevil and Spider-Man, put it nicely in a 1998 interview: “He’s a con man, but he did deliver.”’
December 26, 2018
[doom] Reflections on DOOM’s Development … John Romero on 25 years of Doom. ‘We couldn’t wait to see what players would do with our game, so we made sure it was open and available to modify all the data we had. We had hoped people would change textures, sounds, and make lots of new levels. We were enabling players to let us play their creations finally. It was a major move that would eventually end up with us releasing the source code. Open your game and your fans will own it, and keep it alive after you’re gone.’
December 25, 2018
[xmas] The Ambominable Snowman … by b3ta.com user (a)lexistwit.

December 24, 2018
[movies] 25 Horror Christmas Movies Ranked From Worst To Best According To Rotten Tomatoes‘Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) – Tells the tale of Billy Chapmen, orphaned at 5 after witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a Santa suit-clad madman on Christmas Eve. Now 18 and out of the brutal grip of orphanage nuns, Billy is forced to confront his greatest fear, sending him on a rampage, leaving a crimson trail in the snow behind him.’ [via Feeling Listless]
December 21, 2018
[xmas] How drunk can you get on Christmas food? I breathalysed myself to find out … Stuart Heritage eats himself drunk. ‘With a nice buzz going, I crack open a brandy-loaded Frosty Snowflake iced fruit cake. The report says two slices will get me over the limit – so I hack off a quarter and stuff it into my face as fast as I can. My breathalyser reads 1.2% BAC. Booyah! I am hammered, and it is only 9.47am. You know what? Let’s keep this party going.’ [via Feeling Listless]
December 20, 2018
[movies] Batman Returns, The World’s Greatest Holiday Movie … Amusing list of thoughts on Batman Returns. ‘Oh, Penguin. How preposterous that this gross man with disgusting eating habits, tiny hands, awful hair, repugnant behavior, and no prior political experience could be considered a viable candidate! Oh, wait. Oh GOD.’
December 19, 2018
[xmas] Scarfolk Council’s Christmas Boy … It’s Christmas in Scarfolk. ‘Family members would often take turns standing in the front windows of their homes where they mimed laughter in the desperate hope that the Christmas Boy would pass them by. He rarely did…’

December 18, 2018
[music] Of Course You Hear What I Hear — Christmas Music Season Is Totally Data-Driven … How music-streaming services and Radio work out what songs to play at Christmas and when to start. ‘Any half-decent band will cut a quick holiday track every now and again. It was McDonald’s job to develop an algorithm to find that song and make sure nobody hears it on Spotify radio for most of the year. “We actually have a fairly intricate mechanism to try to identify Christmas music,” McDonald said. First, he builds a list of obvious holiday songs. He then identifies the albums those songs appear on. Then his algorithm looks at all the other songs on those albums to see how often they appear elsewhere, and will try to decide if they’re Christmas songs by iterating the process to figure out which songs only appear on other Christmas albums. The process isn’t infallible, but after enough repetitions, McDonald said, “we have a pretty good idea of a fairly complete universe of Christmas songs.”’
December 17, 2018
[xmas] Christmas Links 2018 … Worth a click – Stuart over at Feeling Listless is collecting seasonal links as he did in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
December 14, 2018
[comics] Spider-Ham Origin: Who Is Spider-Verse’s Peter Porker … The amusing story of how Marvel came to publish a funny animal version of Spider-man in the 1980s.

“After December 14, we will live in a world where everyone knows Peter Porker,” says comics writer Dan Slott. “Laymen on the street. Kids with their lunch boxes and onesies. Everyone is gonna know who Spider-Ham is.” He pauses. He laughs at the ridiculousness of it all. “What a world.”

December 13, 2018
[tv] The Assassination of Gianni Versace review – a grim portrait of gay life‘In following Cunanan’s deadly joyride, the show also takes us from Miami to Minneapolis to Chicago to La Jolla. One moment, we’re at the Versace mansion, as chiseled butlers serve orange juice on silver trays, and the next we’re in seedy motels and lakeside cottages as characters snort heroin and hunt quail. The contrast says as much about class as it does the geographical scope of the murders; Cunanan is both killer and liar, but more than anything he’s a striver, with Versace advertisements thumb-tacked to his wall and an expensive wardrobe mostly gifted to him by the older, rich men whom he dates and, in some cases, slays.’
December 12, 2018
[goop] How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million …A deep, amusing dive into Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. ‘Goop began publishing extended Q. and A.s with doctors and healers like Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist who created an anti-inflammatory regimen and recently talked on Goop’s podcast about frog venom as a psychedelic for healing, which, O.K.! Steven Gundry, a cardiac surgeon, believes that lectins, a protein in some foods, are dangerous for people with autoimmune diseases. (There are a great many people who do not believe this.) Anyone from an acupuncturist to a psychic to an endocrinologist to a psychologist addressed questions that the modern woman couldn’t seem to find answers to: Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so tired? Why am I so fat? Why don’t I want to have sex anymore? There were stories that talked about bee-sting therapy (don’t try it; someone died from it this year) and ashwagandha and adaptogens and autoimmune diseases — an autoimmune disease at every corner, be it thyroid disease, arthritis or celiac disease; trust them, you have one.’
December 11, 2018
December 10, 2018
[curtis] The antidote to civilisational collapse … Another long, interesting interview with Adam Curtis. ‘The problem I have with a lot of investigative journalism, is that they always say: “There should be more investigative journalism” and I think, “When you tell me that a lot of rich people aren’t paying tax, I’m shocked but I’m not surprised because I know that. I don’t want to read another article that tells me that”. What I want is an article that tells me why, when I’m told that, nothing happens and nothing changes. And no one has ever explained that to me. I think it has something to do with this technocratic world because it doesn’t have the capacity to respond to that kind of thing. It has the capacity to manage us very well. It’s benign but it doesn’t have the capacity to challenge the rich and the powerful within that system, who use it badly for their own purposes. That’s the downside and we’re beginning to get fed up with it. And that’s allowed those on the margins of society to come in and start kicking, and we have no idea what to do about them.’
December 7, 2018
[comics] Drunken Baker: Barney Farmer … The writer of the Drunken Bakers in Viz interviewed. ‘Since 2002, Drunken Bakers has been a stalwart of Viz: it has chronicled the demise of traditional services and society as authentically as any economic study of the state of the nation. For Farmer, bakeries were a barometer of British society: “There would be a town full of terraced houses, and at the end of every street there would be a baker. So a town of 50,000 people, it probably had a bakery for every hundred people. “Family-run bakers in Preston have been there for generations. All you need is one poor town, and it gets two Greggs (a national chain), and then that’s four or five bakeries nailed… Supermarket bread on top of that. They’ve come under attack from multiple angles. It was one of the things that dawned on me, that bread was a metaphor.’
December 6, 2018
[funny] Nihilist Dad Jokes‘How does a penguin build a house? Igloos it together. Like all animals, it is an automaton, driven by blind genetic imperative, marching slowly to oblivion.’
December 5, 2018
[comics] Weird Window #1 and Weird Window #2 … Two issues of fanzine containing Alan Moore’s earliest published work – includes a poem, stories and illustrations from AM amongst others.

December 4, 2018
[comics] The year Britain got the Horrors over Horror Comics… Lew Stringer on anti-comics hysteria in the UK during the 1950s. Includes some scans of newspaper articles of the time. ‘On 23rd September 1954 two Glasgow policemen were called out to witness an alarming sight: hundreds of children, some armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling a graveyard hunting a vampire. Thus began the legend of the “Gorbals Vampire” and although, naturally, no vampire was found, a scapegoat for the children’s behaviour was: imported American comic books. After this, the floodgates of paranoia opened and the church and media began attacking comics relentlessly.’
December 3, 2018
[books] The Terrible Occult Detectives of the Victorian Era … Amusing look at fictional Occult Detectives. ‘Plagued by a haunted bladder, a phantom taste, or family suicide? Flaxman Low is there to instantly pin the blame on a bunch of Dianists, dead relatives who meddled with Eastern mysticism, or an African man hiding inside a cabinet and using glowing poisonous mushrooms to kill off the family. Then he explodes your house.’
November 30, 2018
[comics] The Strange Case of Stan Lee … a nicely done look at the problem with Stan Lee. ‘When Lee passed away last week, non-comics world friends reached out to me to express condolences. They knew I loved comics and that I’m interested in the history of the medium… Clearly, this was a loss, right? A melancholy day? When I responded by trying to explain what a strange and confounding figure Lee was, and that he didn’t exactly create the characters the media was saying he did, I found myself at a loss to explain why. Lee wasn’t standard, he didn’t just take credit for something that he had nothing to do with, so it couldn’t be explained in a black and white way. He did have a large role in what Marvel was (and is), much of it positive. Why was he not what he claimed to be? It wasn’t easy to summarize and it felt exhausting, even ridiculous, to try.’
November 29, 2018
[crime] How a Salvador Dalí Painting Was Stolen From Rikers Island Prison … A remarkable true crime story involving a stolen painting and a gang of corrupt prison guards on Rikers Island. ‘At 1 a.m. on March 1, 2003, the squawk of a radio announced a fire drill inside the Eric M. Taylor Center. Two thousand inmates were immediately locked down. Guards rushed from their posts and convened in a remote wing, as they had been trained to do during a drill. After the drill began and the jail’s lobby was deserted, the thieves got to work. One stood watch. Another slipped off the painting case’s locks. The third kept tabs on the fire drill’s progress. Within a few minutes, a replica of the Dalí hung in its place. The substitute was far from a perfect match, and the thief standing guard wasn’t convinced. “That looks ridiculous,” he said.’
November 28, 2018
[books] Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life Digested … a digested read from John Grace. ‘9. Assume the person you are listening to knows something you don’t – Just shut up, quit moaning and listen to me. I know things you don’t. So don’t expect me to listen to you. That’s not the way things work. I’m here to make you feel Better about Yourself by telling you things you already know in a way that makes you feel clever.’
November 27, 2018
[comics] The Evil Scientist’s Notes for the Press Conference‘Say GENERAL PUBLIC not HELPLESS Victims’