Category Archives: Friday finds

Friday finds

In 1957, five men stood in the Nevada desert while a nuclear missile detonated 18,500 feet above their heads. Here’s what happened to them.

What to expect when you’re expecting to die after being sucked out an airlock into the vacuum of space.

How to get around Arkham, Massachusetts, with help from H.P. Lovecraft.

You can make anything with Legos — including The Wire.

Now Zimmerman says it was all God’s plan. Which God was not specified.

Wanna be the Dark Knight? Better have some serious batbucks.

This isn’t going to be a great year for Scientology. First the Tom Cruise divorce, and now this movie, which promises to do for L. Ron Hubbard what There Will Be Blood did for oil tycoons.

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Links, Inc.

Henry Hill — American schnook.

Pablo Neruda — my neighbor.

Nora Barnacle — so that’s why Bloomsday happens on June 16.

Travers loathed the movie’s animated sequences and was perturbed that Mary Poppins’ strict side was downplayed. After some heated meetings, Travers reluctantly approved. She would have been shunned from the star-studded premiere had she not shamed a Disney exec into an invite. The 65-year-old Travers spent most of the movie crying and ultimately refused to let Disney touch the rest of the series.”

So I thought I would have a go at exploring this world, setting it in a time and a place I knew and could evoke very well – my Norfolk teenage years. I happened to turn 16 in 1984, the year of the Miner’s Strike and the most recent Civil War in Britain, the workers versus Margaret Thatcher. Although the landscape I lived in was very different to the besieged North – all around the coast, like the flickering candles of a black mass were the flames of the oil rigs drilling North Sea Oil, which enabled the Witch Queen to keep herself in power. Because of the echoes of the past Civil War of 1642-1651 – when Norfolk was staunchly Parliamentarian, and riding on the coattails of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army came the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, who was said to have tortured and murdered 300 women in the Eastern Counties, including many in my hometown Gt Yarmouth – the year of 1984 had that resonance. In that year, one of my favourite records was Vengeance by New Model Army, which still seems to cast the clearest and most prophetic eye over what was happening then and what would come next…

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Friday finds

New York City a century ago, as chronicled in photos from the city Department of Records. The images range from disturbing (two would-be robbers who met their end at the bottom of an elevator shaft) to beautiful (an unidentified man looking at Manhattan from the George Washington Bridge). Most have never before been publicly available.

The hidden rooftops of New York City. One in the Financial District sports a model of a World War I fighter plane.

What do women want? Author Beverly Akerman reads 50 Shades of Grey to find out.

Lock Neil Young into a listening booth with an ocelot? I am so there!

How to make medieval illuminated letter cookies.

Because it had to happen — The Wire: The Musical. With some of the original cast members, yo. So much awesome in one place.

While you’re waiting for next April and the start of the Game of Thrones third season, cool your heels on this replica of the Iron Throne. While you’re at it, you can ponder these scientifically plausible explanations for those highly variable seasons.

Planning to visit Germany? Be sure to spend some quality time at Ferropolis.

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Friday finds

My homies find the perfect way to tell Anders Breivik to go fuck himself.

A new translation of Theodor Fontane, with great pictures of Stirling Castle.

The list of the covers of the e-books of the knockoffs of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Saul Bass was a genius. What, you don’t believe me? How about some more examples?

Ward-heeling with incense.” Genius. Just genius.

Racing stats? Racing stats?

Douglas Trumbull, the visual effects pioneer behind Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey, talks about the cinema of the future. What will it be like to watch The Hobbit in its higher-resolution version?

I left my hardanger in San Francisco.

Tales from a radio obsessive.

Mining the sky — a few links, a few thoughts.

Want a free Monster? Of course you do. And here it is.

“I defy any writer to move to Paris and not be posing like Hemingway in a café within the first few months. I had that kind of Lost Generation love when I first moved to Paris. Actually, I wrote about this in an essay for the Huffington Post years ago, about the way that hanging out in cafés and pretending to be a writer like Hemingway actually did make me a writer. I wouldn’t necessarily have self-identified as a writer before I studied abroad in Paris. I was more of a reader than a writer. But I guess if you pretend to do something for a while, you realize that, oh, wow, that was just a way to do get to something that I guess I secretly wanted to do.”

That is one deserted highway.

Having fun with a feeb.

Don’t steal art.

Is watching this video really worth three minutes of your life? Once you know, it will be too late.

“Eric Danville, author of The Complete Linda Lovelace, and a technical adviser on the Amanda Seyfried film, once asked Lovelace: ‘Why did you join up with feminists trying to ban porn instead of feminists trying to fight domestic abuse?’ Lovelace’s response? ‘The people fighting domestic abuse never approached me. Catherine [MacKinnon] was the first person to really approach me’ says much about how she led her life. Dance with the one that brought you.”

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Friday finds

In which the pioneering rapper talks up a Los Angeles architectural landmark. Learn more about the Eames House here. Some of Ice Cube’s best raps here, here, here, and here. NSFW, unless you work at Death Row Records.

You know you want to hear Flannery O’Connor reading “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” So what are you waiting for?

Ace thriller writer J.D. Rhoades talks about why he decided to go indie and start publishing new books (and out-of-print backlist titles) as e-books.  His new one, Gallows Pole, will scare the snot out of you.

Madam Mayo, author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, interviews Solveig Eggerz, author of Seal Woman.

When you’re introduced to a fencer, don’t do the squiggly arm thing. Just don’t.

In which Frederik Pohl reminisces about the Battle of the Douchebag, the Battle of the 4-Color Border, and the night spent with Harlan Ellison on Long John Nebel’s talk show.

From Psycho to Casino, from The Man with the Golden Arm to Anatomy of a Murder, it’s a tribute to the title sequences directed by Saul Bass.

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Friday finds

I couldn’t care less about the Emmy awards, but the nominees for “Outstanding Main Title Design” were pretty amazing. The design for Game of Thrones is my personal fave, but The Art of the Title has a rundown on them all. Beware: This beguiling site is one of the most fiendishly irresistible time-sucks on the Internets.

A handy guide to the characters of Charles Dickens.

Lectures by well-known writers, now available online.

No, Mr. G, no! I’ll be good, I promise! Just don’t play that country music again!

A set of Spotify playlists for writers, including Thomas Pynchon, Ann Patchett, and Haruki Murakami.

Have you visited the High Line yet? You really owe it to yourself.

Looking for Proust and finding Verlaine.

What All My Children has in common with the Icelandic sagas.

“I don’t recall all the particulars of my first [science fiction and fantasy convention], but it was held in Baltimore at some point in the early 80s, I believe, and coincided with Poe’s birthday. I attended with a friend of mine. One high point was watching Fritz Leiber read ‘The Raven’ at Poe’s grave. One expected him, when finished, to open up a casket and crawl inside. Another was attending a panel that featured Stephen King, among others. He sat down with a brown paper bag, opened it, and pulled out a six pack of beer, which he proceeded to drink from as the panel progressed. I’ve often thought in the years since, when I’ve been trapped on hijacked or just plain boring panels, that I should have followed his example.”

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Friday finds

So far this summer has been regrettably short on stories about killer sharks or giant squid. Fortunately, this 18-foot saltwater crocodile will suffice for the time being.

Moomins versus Totoros. Only this intrepid blogger dares to compare.

Zen monks fighting a wildfire in Big Sur? Tell me more.

Gloucester, Mass., as an inspiration to Edward Hopper. Via Lance.

“The relationship between fathers and sons is always very competitive. I’m jealous of my kids too. As you get tired and get older, you see these kids having a great life, you think: fuck them. You’re furious. This is part of the difficulty of the relationship. Thinking about how much you hate your own children as much as you love them, and how much they hate you sometimes, and why all these things are intertwined is a crucial part of parenting. My Dad was very annoyed at my success, which he thought was undeserved compared to his own genius and brilliance. It was very smart of me to not take any notice of that and carry on working and allow him to live with his own failure, which was very difficult for him.”

The rise and fall of Limburger cheese in America.

Ambrose Bierce has joined the Black Jacket Club! It’s long overdue, as I could have told you years ago. It just so happens I have a few other suggestions.

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Friday finds

When people say they don’t like Ernest Hemingway’s work, they usually mean they don’t like his carefully cultivated man’s man image. That’s understandable, but it’s not exactly fair to Hemingway’s work — or, for that matter, to Hemingway himself, as Clancy Sigal reminds us.

I want my Wire lunchbox!

The most collectible book in the Harlan Ellison catalogue doesn’t even have Harlan Ellison’s name on it.

“The real problem is the dickishness of our mainstream political analysis, especially from the ‘savviest’ practitioners. Back during my days as media critic, I argued in Breaking the News and a related Atlantic cover story that the laziest and ultimately most destructive form of political coverage came when journalists seemed to imagine that they were theater critics or figure-skating judges. The what of public affairs didn’t interest them. All they cared about was the how.

I’ve known some administrators like this.

When I heard the premise of the new “children’s book,” Go the F*ck to Sleep, I laughed long and loud, which was appropriate — the book is a steam-release valve, as anyone who’s raised children will recognize. Unfortunately, the book is out in the world now, and as such becomes fodder for columns by the humor-impaired.

All of Ray Harryhausen stop-motion creatures in one video clip. And while we’re we’re at it, here’s another tribute to the man, because before the special-effects revolutions that began in the late Seventies, Ray Harryhausen was a good as it got. I mean, the first encounter with Talos in Jason and the Argonauts still looks pretty damned cool, doesn’t it?

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Friday finds

Paying last respects to Gil Scott-Heron. And again. And again. And again. A list of his essential recordings.

A great day at Harper’s Ferry.

Jump cut or match cut? All I know is, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Call me a geek, call me a nerd, but I really am looking forward to seeing these.

“I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth, opening it up, an initial violence and pain that in time would heal. The grass would grow back, but the initial cut would remain a pure flat surface in the earth with a polished, mirrored surface, much like the surface on a geode when you cut it  and polish the edge. The need for the names to be on the memorial would become the memorial; there was no need to embellish the design further. The people and their names would allow everyone to respond and remember.”

Paul Theroux and VS Naipaul are buds again. Here is video proof. Take the Naipaul-inspired authorial gender test.

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Friday finds

How about this one-woman band?

Cloud formations over the Canary Islands. Hypnotically beautiful.

The Battle of Point Judith, a U-boat engagement that happened after Germany surrendered. Makes me want to re-read Shadow Divers.

Has the incidence of swearing in John Sandford’s hard-boiled Prey series gone up or down? The numbers don’t lie.

How much would you bid for H.L. Mencken’s beer stein collection?

“Imagine a man who buys a chicken from the grocery store, manages to bring himself to orgasm by penetrating it, then cooks and eats the chicken.” No, dude, how about you imagine it and leave the rest of us out of your sexual fantasies. That sentence, penned by NYT winger columnist David “Babbling” Brooks, is only one of a selection of genuinely weird observations taken from Brooks’ new book, The Social Animal.

Westies playing tag, singing along with Maria Callas, discovering snow, and taking a lap nap.

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