Friday finds

Flowing Data digs up a 1927 map, prepared by Paramount Studios for potential investors, showing all the places in the world that could be faked by using easily accessible California locations. Which is how Holland winds up on the shore of Long Island Sound, and South Africa is a short drive from both Sherwood Forest and the Red Sea.

Do you write like Vladimir Nabokov? John Updike? Stephen King? H.P. Lovecraft? Find out here.

Eulogizing the one-of-a-kind Harvey Pekar. Jeet Heer identifies his roots in the same working-class Jewish radicalism that nourished Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. Scott McLemee salutes his influence on other curmudgeons.

iPod therefore I am: Christopher Lydon interviews Harvey Cohen, author of the great new biography of Duke Ellington.

Why 2004 is the year four of America’s largest newspapers lost their moral bearings.

The Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow is coming to my area next month. Two of the screening locations are a little too obvious — the first three Rocky flicks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, On the Waterfront on the Hoboken waterfront — but seeing The Godfather Part II in what remains of Little Italy sounds cool. What I’d really like to see is There Will Be Blood in the Kern County Museum, right under the oil derrick that inspired some key scenes in the movie.

Caffeine doesn’t do what you think it does.

“When I look back at the science-fiction magazines of the twenties and the early thirties, the ones that hooked me on sf, I sometimes wonder just what it was we all found in them to shape our lives around. I think there were two things. One is that science fiction was a way out of a bad place; the other, that it was a window on a better one.”

A solar eclipse over Easter Island. All that’s missing is a Pink Floyd soundtrack. An underwater forest in a frozen Kazakhstan lake. Soundtrack by Popol Vuh, perhaps?

Robert Silverberg on the financial realities of the full-time novelist.

During its three decades as a prison, Alcatraz Island saw 14 attempts to escape involving a total of 36 prisoners. One attempt in June 1962 (the basis for a pretty good Clint Eastwood movie) may have succeeded, but the few inmates who reached the water probably drowned in the icy waters of San Francisco Bay.  Try your luck on the Alcatraz Swim-O-Meter.

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