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May 12, 2017
[comics] Edgy Comics Bingo… by Cathy Leamy

May 11, 2017
[music] Return of the KLF: ‘They were agents of chaos. Now the world they anticipated is here’ … a look back at the KLF … ‘In a climactic act of public self-destruction, Drummond and Cauty decided to perform a KLF/ENT speed-metal version of 3am Eternal (one that Christmas Top of the Pops had turned down) at the 1992 Brit awards. The performance was brutal enough, with a kilted Drummond stalking the stage, supported by a crutch, barking the lyrics over ENT’s barrage of noise, and finally machine-gunning the audience with blanks. (“They cut our guitars right down,” says Jones, “but at least we made Noel Edmonds cry”.) In the aftermath, they dumped a dead sheep on the red carpet at the Royal Lancaster Gate hotel adorned with the message, “I died for you – bon appetit”. But what they originally planned was even worse. Vegetarians all, Extreme Noise Terror refused to slice up the sheep on stage…’
May 10, 2017
[life] Britain’s ‘moral values’ based on Star Wars, Breakfast Club and The Godfather‘Tom Logan, from Hatfield, said: “Star Wars taught me about the importance of freedom, democracy and courage in the face of tyranny. And about the importance of using your miraculous gifts to benefit the entire galaxy.” Jane Thompson, from Stevenage, added: “Breakfast Club taught me that we are all insecure but that through dialogue we can find our common humanity. It also taught me that teachers are the worst people in the world.”’
May 9, 2017
[crime] What Bullets Do to Bodies … powerful profile of a trauma surgeon in North Philadelphia and what happens to the gunshot victims she treats …

It’s possible for a surgeon to get distracted by the wrong wound. The most dangerous wounds don’t always look the worst. People can get shot in the head and they’re leaking bits of brain from a hole in the skull and that’s not the fatal wound; the fatal wound is from another bullet that ripped through the chest. One patient a few years ago was shot in the face with a shotgun at close range over some money owed. He pulled his coat up over his mangled face and walked to the ER of one of Temple’s sister hospitals, approaching a nurse. She looked at him. He lowered the coat. The nurse thought to herself what you might expect a person to think in such a situation: “Daaaaaamn.” He was stabilized, then transferred to Temple. He lived. The price of survival is often lasting disability. Some patients, often young guys, wind up carrying around colostomy bags for the rest of their lives because they can’t poop normally anymore. They poop through a “stoma,” a hole in the abdomen. “They’re so angry,” Goldberg said. “They should be angry.” Some are paralyzed by bullets that sever the spinal column. Some lose limbs entirely…

May 8, 2017
[weird] The weird poetry Google Translate writes when fed the same characters over and over … Don’t introduce A.I’s to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. It will end badly.

May 5, 2017
[politics] Why the Phrase ‘Late Capitalism’ Is Suddenly Everywhere‘Finally, “late capitalism” gestures to the potential for revolution, whether because the robots end up taking all the jobs or because the proletariat finally rejects all this nonsense. A “late” period always comes at the end of something, after all. “It has the constant referent to revolution,” Roberts said. “‘Late capitalism’ necessarily says, ‘This is a stage we’re going to come out of at some point, whereas ‘neoliberalism’ doesn’t say that, ‘Shit is fucked up and bullshit’ doesn’t say that. It hints at a sort of optimism amongst a post-Bernie left, the young left online. Something of the revolutionary horizon of classical Marxism.” It does all this with a certain concision, erudition, even beauty. It’s ominous and knowing, brainy and pissed-off. “Now is a crazy political time,” Yeselson said…’
May 4, 2017
[books] OrderOfBooks.com – Complete List of all Book Series in Order … useful site to bookmark if you’re looking for the order of a particular series of books or an author.
May 3, 2017
[comics] Leo Baxendale obituary … Steve Bell’s remembers the creator of Minnie the Minx, Little Plum and the Bash Street Kids … ‘Ideas for the strips were literally kicked around the Beano office during games of keepie-uppie, while the chief subeditor took notes. Leo’s task was to synthesise the whole into a design and then pour in even more madcap detail all over the page: words, jokes, battles of wits between “Red Indians” and bears, frogs, machines, explosions and terrible scenes of violent conflict, not to mention wholly unnecessary captions, such as Leo’s favourite “Sudden Gust of Wind”. “You could tell by their facial expression how they were feeling,” he said, “but it was funnier if you put an arrow pointing at someone’s bum saying ‘Throbbing Pain’”. In some ways the name Bash Street Kids was a misnomer, though violence was everywhere: “Teachers, janitors, the world might be trampled underfoot by stampeding bison … the school was shelled, classrooms exploded, battleships were sunk; but there was no bullying. It was another world.”’
May 2, 2017
[kubrick] Forever and Ever and Ever: Uncanny Doubles in ‘The Shining’ … A look at how Kubrick heightened a sense of the Uncanny in the Shining … ‘Robert Kolker writes that the film also features many instances of symmetrical framing. He notes that each side of the frame is doubled and perfectly composed, and therefore any horrific event happening within the frame seems even more out of place and strange. The symmetrical shots are almost too perfect, which can be uncanny and off-putting in itself. Kolker cites the red bathroom as an example of a symmetrically framed scene, with its rows of white urinals and sinks lining either side of the wall and the long mirrors running along the wall. The bathroom is symmetrical, yet Jack and Grady discuss violent, murderous plans in the middle of the room, throwing the symmetry off balance and into uncanny space.’
April 28, 2017
[social] Climbing Out Of Facebook's Reality Hole … Buzzfeed on Facebook’s virtual reality projects … ‘The Facebook CEO took the stage at the company’s annual F8 developers conference a little more than an hour after news broke that the so-called Facebook Killer had killed himself. But if you were expecting a somber mood, it wasn’t happening. Instead, he kicked off his keynote with a series of jokes. It was a stark disconnect with the reality outside, where the story of the hour concerned a man who had used Facebook to publicize a murder, and threaten many more. People used to talk about Steve Jobs and Apple’s reality distortion field. But Facebook, it sometimes feels, exists in a reality hole. The company doesn’t distort reality — but it often seems to lack the ability to recognize it. The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes.’
April 27, 2017
[war] U.S. Funneling Arms To Dissident Angel Group In Effort To Topple God‘According to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, a CIA-orchestrated operation has provided firearms, ammunition, and financial support to the insurgent angels of the New Dawn Front, with the goal of deposing the longtime Heavenly Father and replacing Him with someone who will advance American interests in the region.’
April 26, 2017
[comics] Required Reading: 50 of the Best Kids Comics‘Jeff Smith’s Bone is the true definition of an “all-ages” comic, of the sort that is equally likely to resonate with kids and adults. Younger readers will be drawn immediately to the vibrant, but contrasting, art styles, as the Bone Brothers’ own depiction, seemingly inspired by silent-era cartoons and animation, is symbolically opposed by the high-fantasy monsters of the realm they find themselves thrown into. It’s a story with the set dressings and complicated political ties typified by the likes of The Lord of the Rings, but the series is funnier than nearly any child-friendly peer you could possibly name. Perhaps the only true comparison would be the likes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, with its deft blend of fantasy and comedy, but Bone tells its tale with significantly more earnestness. With an enthralling story that starts off quick and only gets faster from there, Bone hooks an imaginative mind and then keeps readers on their toes by veering from comedy to dire adventure, and even occasionally horror, at the drop of a hat. In many series, wearing so many different inspirations on one’s sleeve would muddy the proceedings, but Bone is enriched by every one of Smith’s unique idiosyncrasies.’ [via Brad]
April 24, 2017
[trump] Fairytale Prisoner by Choice: The Photographic Eye of Melania Trump … What Melania Trump’s stream of Twitter photos tells us about her life … ‘Melania posted her last photo to Twitter on Thursday, June 11, 2015, five days before her husband announced his candidacy for president. It is an old photograph, of a then six-year-old Barron, taken on the beach. He is looking down at the ground ahead and waving goodbye to a professionally built sandcastle in the background. That day Melania knew, of course, that the campaign was coming. In retrospect her choice of a Throwback Thursday post reads as prophecy: a goodbye to her golden towers, to the home destined to crumble. To this day she’s still up there, in the golden Tower, holding onto it for as long as she can.’
April 20, 2017
April 7, 2017
[twitter] Chuck Wood Twitter feed‘How many johns could John Peel peel if John Peel could peel johns?’
April 6, 2017
[moore] Howard Philip Lovecraft – Utopia/Valhalla #1, April 1970 … As Providence #12 arrives – here’s Alan Moore on H.P. Lovecraft from 47 years ago … ‘Then apparently, another race drifted in from space. The star-headed CTHULHU, who came to Earth and waged war for a time on the Old Ones. But peace was made, and the children of Cthulhu were allowed to live in their frozen city at antarctica with their servants, the proto-plasmic Shoggoths. Eventually, they were defeated, and either imprisoned or banished by the elder-gods,. The basic theme for the Cthulhu mythology, is that it occurs when a mortal breaks the restraints placed upon him, upon which, the Old ones can operate both freely and terribly.’
April 5, 2017
[comics] Brian K. Vaughan Recommends 10 Comics You Need to Read—Because They're Awesomely Unadaptable‘I like adaptations just fine, but my favorite comics are those that feel like they’re not desperate to become a movie or television series or whatever. So here are ten of my favorite recent graphic novels that take advantage of comics’ unique ability to explore the world and ourselves in ways that no other visual medium can.’
April 4, 2017
[tv] A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61 … the slow death of Broadcast TV … ‘According to recent research by Enders Analysis, ITV’s average viewer is now 60; Channel 5’s is 58 and Channel 4’s is 55. Even at E4, birthplace of such yoof-targeting shows as Made in Chelsea and Hollyoaks, the average age is 42. The reason, of course, is simple: the internet…’
April 3, 2017
[politics] Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’ … King analyses Trump with fictional characters …

These stories were written years ago, but Stillson and Rennie bear enough of a resemblance to the current resident of the White House for me to flatter myself I have a country-fair understanding of how such men rise: first as a joke, then as a viable alternative to the status quo, and finally as elected officials who are headstrong, self-centered and inexperienced. Such men do not succeed to high office often, but when they do, the times are always troubled, the candidates in question charismatic, their proposed solutions to complex problems simple, straightforward and impractical. The baggage that should weigh these hucksters down becomes magically light, lifting them over the competition like Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar film Up. Trump’s negatives didn’t drag him down; on the contrary, they helped get him elected.

April 1, 2017
[tv] BBC Grandstand Fight … on this day in 1989 – a live fight broadcast on BBC Grandstand.

March 31, 2017
[web] This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account … Impressive web-Stalking – finding the the Director of the FBI’s Twitter and Instagram accounts … ‘Of course, none of this is definitive proof @projectexile7 is FBI Director James Comey, but it would take a nearly impossible confluence of coincidences for it to be anyone else. Take what you will from the fact that the director of the FBI appears to have liked a tweet from the New York Times about Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner meeting a Russian envoy in December.’
March 30, 2017
[life] My Fully Optimized Life Allows Me Ample Time to Optimize Yours… a very funny “Day in the Life” column … ‘For breakfast, I always enjoy a half liter of organic, fair-trade, bulletproof coffee (I use a ghee, coconut oil, and yak butter blend instead of MCT oil), which keeps me in ketosis until I break my intermittent fast. By the way, if you haven’t tried it, nothing does the trick like intermittent fasting for maintaining less than 17% body fat. (For my full fasting protocol, see my e-book.) Before I leave for work, I make sure to pack my award-winning green smoothie. This recipe is designed to heal the thyroid, calm the spleen, support liver detoxification, reverse and prevent tumor growth, whiten teeth, boost fertility, balance chakras, stabilize circadian rhythms, ease constipation, regulate the menstrual cycle, prevent rabies, and make your skin glow!’
March 29, 2017
[comics] How Dilbert’s Scott Adams Got Hypnotized by Trump … a glimpse into Scott Adams’ world and odd ideas … ‘Getting a comic strip, even one as occasionally edgy as Dilbert, into family newspapers requires observing a certain set of norms. Adams’s viral analyses of Trump introduced many people, including me, to his more unusual fixations. Between political ponderings, he blogged about fitness and seduction, posting photos of his abs and writing a series of essays on how to deploy hypnosis and persuasion for better orgasms. “My language skills activate your sex drive, and you know it,” he wrote at one point. So-called men’s rights activists became vocal fans. I was just baffled. As Trump and Clinton entered the home stretch of the campaign, I wondered if Dilbert’s success had made Scott Adams eccentric—or if this had always been the mind behind the strip.’
March 28, 2017
[lovecraft] Countdown apologises after letters round accidentally summons Cthulhu‘Broadcaster Channel Four defended itself from criticism and said that the letters drawn were ‘purest chance’. Concerns were first raised by viewers after contestants were challenged to twist the numbers 2, 2, 5, 6, 9, 25 and 75 through unholy geometries and cause the stars to be right. This was followed by a contestant winning a letters round with the ten-letter word “Yog-Sothoth” which regular dictionary corner guest Gyles Brandreth accepted was key and the gate and the opener of the way, and praised the contestant for managing to make a ten letter word out of only nine letters.’
March 27, 2017
[comics] Daniel Clowes: Trump’s America is like the cynical comics I drew back in the 90s … Daniel Clowes is not fond of Trump. ‘With a normal fiasco like George W Bush, I would just let it seep in and see what comes out. But this feels so different. It feels like an opportunity to do something at least personally cathartic, if not, you know, meaningful or that has some kind of density to it based on the craziness of what’s going on. I almost feel like I created the world we live in, back in my early comics. It really feels like the dopiest, most cynical comics I drew back in 1991 have just come to fruition. I don’t know where that leaves me.’
March 23, 2017
[brexit] EU chiefs mock May’s Brexit plan with Tintin cartoon‘While we’re on metaphors for Brexit, we can think of a few more fitting Tintin comic titles: The(resa May’s) Broken Ear, Prisoners of the Sun, and Black Island. As Captain Haddock would say, it’s Blistering Brexit Balderdash!’

March 22, 2017
[movies] The Purity of John Wick … a look at what make John Wick so good … ‘John Wick is the purest and most joyful action movie I’ve ever seen. And given its full embrace of the genre, it may very well be one of the purest movies, full stop.’
March 21, 2017
[crime] Steve Bannon’s Sad, Desperate Crusade … a nicely written analysis of Steve Bannon … ‘Even pieces of ostensible criticism reach, almost unfailingly, a passage of barely hidden astonishment, writers gazing at his references to the ancient Roman working class or Thomas Cromwell like they just peeked inside the Matrix. He is, in a way, a journalist’s dream prompt: His mysterious biography invites investigation; his mongrel-like appearance a paradise for vivid similes; his appetite for literature just like theirs. So what should be an attack on an irredeemable charlatan instead becomes something closer to fascination. Writing about Bannon tends to be studiously impartial, analytical, even as his worldview is dismissed as an absurdity. This is wrong. Bannon can be a disheveled maniac and only that—there doesn’t need to be a revelation or nuance or anything beyond a bloodshot sack of demented ambition, no matter how high he ascends. He is not a Svengali, he’s a shipwrecked banker who washed ashore and wound up the president’s ventriloquist. Hate is still just hate, no matter how intricately ornamented it is with Ronald Reagan idolatry.’
March 20, 2017
[life] Up and Then Down … A look into the complicated world of lifts … ‘Fortune carries a “probable stop” table, which applies probability to the vexation that boils up when each passenger presses a button for a different floor. If there are ten people in an elevator that serves ten floors, it will likely make 6.5 stops. Ten people, thirty floors: 9.5 stops. (The table does not account for the exasperating phantom stop, when no one gets on or off.) Other factors are door open and close time, loading and unloading time, acceleration rate, and deceleration rate, which must be swift but gentle. You hear that interfloor traffic kills—something to mutter, perhaps, when a co-worker boards the elevator to travel one flight, especially if that co-worker is planning, at day’s end, to spend half an hour on a StairMaster. It’s also disastrous to have a cafeteria on anything but the ground floor, or one floor above or below it, accessible via escalator.’
March 17, 2017
[royalty] Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death … a must-read look at what happens when the Queen dies – the big picture and the odd details …

The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the minute. It involves matters of major public importance, will be paid for by us, and is definitely going to happen. According to the Office of National Statistics, a British woman who reaches the age of 91 – as the Queen will in April – has an average life expectancy of four years and three months. The Queen is approaching the end of her reign at a time of maximum disquiet about Britain’s place in the world, at a moment when internal political tensions are close to breaking her kingdom apart. Her death will also release its own destabilising forces: in the accession of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new king who is already an old man; and in the future of the Commonwealth, an invention largely of her making. (The Queen’s title of “Head of the Commonwealth” is not hereditary.) Australia’s prime minister and leader of the opposition both want the country to become a republic.

Coping with the way these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to practise coronations and to persist – with the complicity of a willing public – in the magic of the whole enterprise. That is why the planning for the Queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extensive. Succession is part of the job. It is an opportunity for order to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the contents of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mother’s funeral was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, prepared a winter and a summer menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queen’s exit plan. “It’s history,” as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 days of sorrow and spectacle in which, rather like the dazzling mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.


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