linkmachinego.com
June 11, 2020
[bignumbers] The Meaning of Big Numbers … Some interesting analysis of Big Numbers plot and what it might have meant. ‘If there’s mathematical order in the apparently chaos of these divinely beautiful fractal images, and we buy the theory that there must then be mathematical order and divine beauty to life, too, just an order too grand for us to comprehend (sure enough, the chaotic soup of unconnected human interactions in this story seem to end up giving the good people what they want, and punishing the bad people)… then perhaps letting a numerical system take over our life isn’t so different to our present existence. Perhaps there’s a divine beauty in that that’s beyond our comprehension, too. Perhaps the story is an optimistic one.’
June 9, 2020
[comics] Alan Moore’s Big Numbers Outline Chart… The script outline for AM’s unfinished comic Big Numbers typed out and handily converted to an HTML page with annotations.

Big Numbers Outline Chart

June 8, 2020
[tv] Forget Friends! The 25 greatest overlooked sitcoms – from Lovesick to Younger … List compiled by Stuart Heritage. ‘Loudermilk – In some ways, Loudermilk is the archetypal comedy of the decade, in that it’s a) a sad and vaguely redemptive show about an alcoholic and b) maybe a fraction of 1% of people have heard of it. However, it was created by Peter Farrelly and features a brilliant central performance by Ron Livingston, so while it isn’t going to make you fall out of your chair laughing, it is at least capable of being compelling.’
June 5, 2020
[books] H.P Lovecraft on 1918’s pandemic – Spanish Flu … Some interesting snippets on Lovecraft’s view on the big pandemic of his time. ‘H. P. Lovecraft to Lillian D. Clark, 2 December 1925 – Influenza has not yet struck the east this winter, though it probably will before long. With freely accessible railways, one can’t segregate maladies of this sort nowadays. It’s odd, but despite all the repeated epidemics of the past decade, I’ve never had influenza. No doubt the gods are saving a deal of picturesque suffering for my very last days!’
June 4, 2020
[comics] Why I Hate Christians. … I love a rant from Dan Clowes – here’s a complete set of original art pages from Eighball #11.

Dan Clowes - Panels from Why I hate Christians

June 3, 2020
[truecrime] Murder in the Aquarian Age … Engrossing, early true crime story from tech reporter Steven Levy. ‘Chitwood put on the clear rubber gloves and went back to the open trunk. On top were some newspapers, dated in the late summer of 1977. Underneath was a layer of packing material and compressed plastic bags from Sears. Chitwood began scooping the Styrofoam aside. After three scoops, he saw something. At first he could not make out what it was, because it was so wrinkled and tough. But then he saw the shape of it—wrist, palm, and five fingers, curled and frozen. It was a human hand, and now there was no doubt in Chitwood’s mind about the contents of this trunk. He dug just a little deeper, following the shriveled, rawhidelike hand down the wrist. He saw an arm, still clothed in a plaid flannel shirt. He had seen enough. He turned to Einhorn, who was maintaining his studied nonchalance. “We found the body. It looks like Holly’s body,” he said. “You found what you found,” said the Unicorn.’
June 2, 2020
[movies] How We Made: Airplane! … The Zucker Brothers and Robert Hays on making Airplane! ‘The film is not about a particular time. It’s a satire on a style of acting and that makes it timeless. Robert Stack, who played Captain Rex Kramer, used to say: “I get it – we’re the joke!”’
June 1, 2020
[movies] The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987 … Interviewed by Tim Cahill – a two-hour recording of the interview is on YouTube.

Cahill: People always look at directors, and you in particular, in the context of a body of work. I couldn’t help but notice some resonance with Paths of Glory at the end of Full Metal Jacket: a woman surrounded by enemy soldiers, the odd, ambiguous gesture that ties these people together…

Kubrick: That resonance is an accident. The scene comes straight out of Gustav Hasford’s book.

Cahill: So your purpose wasn’t to poke the viewer in the ribs, point out certain similarities…

Kubrick: Oh, God, no. I’m trying to be true to the material. You know, there’s another extraordinary accident. Cowboy is dying, and in the background there’s something that looks very much like the monolith in 2001. And it just happened to be there.

May 28, 2020
[qanon] The Prophecies of Q … Understanding QAnon. ‘The power of the internet was understood early on, but the full nature of that power—its ability to shatter any semblance of shared reality, undermining civil society and democratic governance in the process—was not. The internet also enabled unknown individuals to reach masses of people, at a scale Marshall McLuhan never dreamed of. The warping of shared reality leads a man with an AR-15 rifle to invade a pizza shop. It brings online forums into being where people colorfully imagine the assassination of a former secretary of state. It offers the promise of a Great Awakening, in which the elites will be routed and the truth will be revealed. It causes chat sites to come alive with commentary speculating that the coronavirus pandemic may be the moment QAnon has been waiting for. None of this could have been imagined as recently as the turn of the century.’
May 27, 2020
[politics] Rasputin Goes To Barnard Castle … Comparing Dominic Cummings and Rasputin. ‘Both Cummings and Rasputin are weird finger sniffing outcasts who turned up in the middle of an outdated corrupt regime and made the elite feel better about themselves while completely taking the piss and not giving even the slightest of fucks about the uproar they caused. Rasputin wandered about the palace wearing ill-fitting stinking old rags telling everyone to fuck off, so does Cummings. Rasputin had a massive cock, Cummings is a massive cock.’
May 26, 2020
[politics] Has Dominic Cummings Resigned Yet?‘No.’
May 22, 2020
[moore] This Is For When… Alan Moore’s poem for the 1981 Bauhaus album Masks. ‘This is for all the mathematicians who got mixed up in the dream gang.’

This is for When...

May 20, 2020
[movies] Michael Mann’s Quarantine Diary: What’s Next for Directors? … Director Michael Mann on his L.A. quarantine. ‘No matter how things go back together, life is not going to be the same. When was the last time the entire globe was living spontaneously? Where everybody was conscious of the circumstances affecting everybody on the planet, more or less at the same time? The answer is never. The closest you get is 1968, with the massive upheavals going on — whether they were in Prague, or Mexico City, Chicago at the Democratic Convention, Paris in May and June, London on October 27 outside the U.S. Embassy — because of global politics, the youth revolution, the anti-war movement. There was a sense of unified awareness. The difference right now is that it’s all happening in real time. It’s like a science-fiction movie, you know, where there’s a threat to the Planet Vega! You get to Planet Vega, and everybody there is all tuned in to the same channel simultaneously. Well, that’s us now; we’re all on the same channel simultaneously.’
May 18, 2020
[books] BusinessTown … Richard Scarry’s BusyTown updated for the 2020s.

BusinessTown - Frontline Medical Worker

May 14, 2020
[comics] An Interview with Rick Veitch… Dicussing his run on Swamp Thing. ‘My involvement was really a secondary career, I had a really great thing going at Marvel, writing and drawing a creator owned series at Epic. So I didn’t think of it as my money-making career, I really wanted to learn more about this… magic… Alan was conjuring. In the process I got to know the editor, Karen Berger, so it seemed natural that when Steve and John left, that I would become the regular penciller on the book.’
May 13, 2020
[books] Best 250 Adventures of the 20th Century … Great list of Adventure books and comics. ‘Neil Gaiman’s occult fantasy comic The Sandman (1989–1996) …As he searches for his lost objects of power, Morpheus genre-hops — from myth to pulp fiction, and everywhere in-between. Also, Gaiman inserts pop culture and literary references and jokes into nearly every panel. It’s a dazzling display of high-lowbrow literary fandom… one leaving even the most well-read fan wishing for extensive, Chester Brown-esque footnotes… which, thankfully, are now available via annotated editions. Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, and others contributed appropriately eerie and amusing art, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean.’
May 12, 2020
[comics] ‘Morning Of The Magician’: Swamp Thing meets Jesus Christ – The Lost Swamp Thing … Full script and pencils for Rick Veitch’s unpublished Swamp Thing #88. ‘In his first major storyline, Veitch had Swamp Thing going backwards in time, meeting up with historical DC characters, and historical characters in history. The storyline had been mapped out in advance, and editors had been notified, and there was some concern as Veitch wanted to end the story with Swamp Thing meeting none other than Jesus Christ…’
May 11, 2020
[music] Vaporwave/Synthwave Playlist [Youtube / Spotify] … I’ve been listening to this relaxing playlist a lot recently. [via Kottke]
May 8, 2020
[covid-19] Sure, the Velociraptors Are Still On the Loose, But That’s No Reason Not to Reopen Jurassic Park‘The fact of the matter is, velociraptors are intelligent, shifty creatures that are not going to be contained any time soon, so we might as well just start getting used to them killing a few people every now and then. Some might argue that we should follow the example of other parks that have successfully dealt with velociraptor escapes. But here at Jurassic Park, we’ve never been ones to listen to the recommendations of scientists, or safety experts, or bioethicists, so why would we start now?’
May 7, 2020
[fun] This Website Will Self-destruct … A website that will delete itself unless you send it a message. ‘I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay.’
May 6, 2020
[covid-19] Not the Onion: World Will Be Same But Worse After ‘Banal’ Virus, Says Houellebecq‘He described COVID-19 as a “banal virus” with “no redeeming qualities… It’s not even sexually transmitted.”‘
May 5, 2020
[advice] 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice … Some condensed wisdom from Kevin Kelly. ‘I’m positive that in 100 years much of what I take to be true today will be proved to be wrong, maybe even embarrassingly wrong, and I try really hard to identify what it is that I am wrong about today.’
May 4, 2020
[movies] Mother of all sci-fi: which is the best Alien movie? … There is only one answer to this question. :) ‘I’m placing Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection (1997) next. It’s a flawed movie in terms of its inception (would a clone Ripley retain the personality and memories of her “parent”?) but Sigourney Weaver delivers an eye-poppingly nutty performance as the part-human, part xenomorph Ripley 8, and there are some enjoyably sickly moments to compete with anything in the previous three movies. The scene when Ripley meets earlier failed versions of herself that have been pickled for posterity, and Brad Dourif’s fondness for the murderous extra-terrestrials, even as he is about to become a vehicle for their reproduction process, particularly stick in the memory.’
May 1, 2020
[movies] I’m Taking Six Months to Rewatch ‘Heat,’ the Holy Grail of Guy Movies‘Aside from the sheer force of the marquee names, you’ve got an impressive and often surprising ensemble of committed weirdos — Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and even Hank Azaria, plus cult favorites Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins and Tom Noonan. The film elevates the classic cop-and-robbers dynamic into rich and atmospheric opera, achieving the polished legitimacy of “serious” art. There’s pulse-pounding action, but also great attention paid to how men abandon or fail the women in their lives because of an obsessive approach to work and personal masculine ethic. It’s based on a real-life burglar and detective; its mood is immersive, lush, almost dreamy. Heat captures the city of Los Angeles in unforgettable frames, for an epic runtime of 170 minutes.’
April 30, 2020
[comics] You are so fucked! … By Evan Dorkin.

Evan Dorkin's You are so fucked!

April 29, 2020
[covid-19] The Rise of COVID-19 Influencers and Armchair Epidemiologists … David Dunning on Covid-19 and the Dunning-Kruger effect. ‘The genius of the human brain — which is usually a good thing — is that we’re very good at coming up with ways of addressing new situations. So from our past knowledge, we know how to MacGyver, if you will, a response. The problem is that some people can take things they know and misapply it to this new situation. A lot of people think, “Oh, this is a flu,” so they use what is common knowledge of the flu to guide them. But this virus is not the flu. Knowledge is a good thing, but they don’t realize it’s a misapplication.’
April 28, 2020
[lockdown] Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive‘Ayers […] added that he had no idea what he was thinking when he told himself that being furloughed from his job and enduring a sustained period of emotional isolation would be just what he needed to start eating better, acquaint himself with world cinema, and get a jumpstart on the novel he had always wanted write.’
April 27, 2020
[lockdown] Saint Ripley by Genevieve Kent-Bethley. ‘Listen to me, if we break quarantine, we could all die.’

Saint Ripley

April 24, 2020
[comics] A Holy Grail in the Library of Congress: Visiting Steve Ditko’s Amazing Fantasy #15 Original Artwork … A look at the original art for the first Spider-man comic. ‘The pages look like they were drawn yesterday. The ink is dark, the pages are crisp and you can still read the phantoms of Stan Lee’s erased pencil notes to artist Steve Ditko (“Steve, remove spider—change position of hand.”). You can also see, very clearly, when Ditko ignores Lee’s edits in Spider-Man’s origin story.’
April 22, 2020
[lockdown] Crazed, Quarantined Mental Health Experts Recommend Scrawling ‘Everything Will Be Okay’ In Feces On Wall‘While it might not be for everyone, many of my patients find it extremely helpful to walk around their homes and see several giant hearts and cute smiley faces drawn on the wall with nothing but their own vomit. For me, personally, I like to wake up each morning with all 32 of my teeth hammered into the ceiling, arranged to spell ‘you are enough’—it really keeps me grounded.’