Rock musicians of the 70s at home with parents

 Uimages La 112408Rockstars-01
Apartment Therapy found a fantastic LIFE magazine photo series from the 1970s of rock stars at home with their folks. Above is Frank Zappa. Also included are the likes of David Crosby, Grace Slick, Donovan, Jackson 5, Elton John, and Eric Clapton. "Look! 70's Rock Musicians and Their Parent's Homes" (Thanks, Richard Metzger!)

Modern "sightseeing agriculture" in China

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 11 Giantpumpkin
My Institute for the Future colleagues Lyn Jeffery and Jason Li's outstanding Virtual China blog has been reborn as 88 Bar. That's where I spotted this image of what appears to be a photographer taking a shot of a massive pumpkin (but is just an optical illusion), in an ultra high-tech green house in Tianjin, north China. According to a translated article in SINA, the demo greenhouse is "a model of modern sightseeing agriculture."

William Burroughs shoots Amy Winehouse (as art)

Artist Marco Perego sculpted a lifesize scene of Amy Winehouse shot dead in the head. William Burroughs is holding the shotgun. The installation, titled "The Only Good Rock Star Is A Dead Rock Star," is on view at Half Gallery in New York City until January 23, 2009. "Shocking tribute to Amy Winehouse" (, thanks Tara McGinley!)

Pioneering hillbilly/soul label King Records celebrated

My birthplace of Cincinnati, Ohio has a rich musical history centered around King Records, a tremendously influential record label founded in 1943 by Syd Nathan. King Records began as a hillbilly music label and eventually took a soulful turn into "race records." James Brown's career was launched at King. Other artists on the roster included Ralph Stanley, Hank Ballard, The Platters, the Dominoes, Memphis Slim, John Lee Hooker, and The Stanley Brothers. Almost forty years after King shut, the city is finally recognizing the label with, well, a plaque at the abandoned warehouse where the record plant once operated. Eventually though, a local group hopes to build a King Records Center complete with a working recording studio. My old friend John Curley, former Afghan Whigs bassist and music producer, has signed on to run the studio. Let's hope they can raise the dough to make it happen! The city's alt.weekly, CityBeat, has a feature on the label and the efforts to celebrate its importance. From Cincinnati CityBeat:
 Cincinnati Imgs Hed Art16602Widea What we'd want to do with the recording studio is provide opportunities for internships and workshops and do more community outreach to get kids interested in learning about recording, performance and all aspects of the music business," Curley says...

Nathan died in 1968 and the label was sold, moving out of town as many studio musicians faded into clubs and other cities. A couple generations thus grew up with little local awareness of the studio.

Actually, the mainstream (white) media didn't do much at the time to tout the studio's work. Little attention was paid in the local media to King's artistry, especially the R&B acts....

While Nathan was catering to niche audiences, he created a musical stew rarely replicated in the recording world. Black and white session players worked together in what was likely the only truly integrated business in Cincinnati of the '50s. They often recorded a song with a Country artist, then did it again for the R&B market.

As (Cincinnatian) Bootsy Collins remembers, "He never had a neon sign out front. If you didn't know it was King Records, you wouldn't know it. He just wanted to get the music done and get it out. He wasn't trying to be a star. He was like the man behind the camera. He just wanted to make the movie and make it happen.
King Records celebrated in Cincinnati

Toddlepuff Game

Ilan Schifter, a recent graduate of NYU's ITP, came up with a inflatable game-space for toddlers called ToddlePuff. Here's how Ilan describes it:
ToddlePuff is an inflated interface that incorporates 16 proximity sensors and acts as a game controller for toddlers. It surrounds the child and encourages full body motion. It blocks the toddler's eye sight to create an immersive experience and is wider than a toddler's arm span to encourage movement. An animated children's story is displayed on a screen and told through the speakers. Images of characters from the story are placed on different locations inside the interface. When a character blinks on the screen, the child needs to find the matching image on the surrounding inflated walls and touch it to resume the story. The interaction inside ToddlePuff develops orientation, coordination and speed.

ToddlePuff sketch.jpg Here's a link to a video of two young sisters playing ToddlePuff. Even without the inflatable environment, kids may enjoy the "Flat for Rent" story, available,

BBtv: Friday recap + Unicorn Chaser - Joel of Boing Boing Gadgets in "UHHHHHH."

As is our newly minted tradition, Boing Boing tv ends the holiday week with a Unicorn Chaser.

In today's edition, Boing Boing Gadgets' Joel Johnson, who trekked out into the wilderness for this previous episode, returns there to perform the nerdcore anthem embedded above -- UHHHH. (MP4 Link).

Not a single one of these grunts was repeated. All were taped in the order they appear in this remix, the morning after Joel was nearly bitten by a snake, doing a gadget review out in the wilds.

Perhaps you were too busy stuffing yourself with turkey this week to catch all of this week's BBtv goodness. I'll embed a recap below.

BBtv/Offworld: Status Report Edition, Brandon's Still a Death Gnome

Boing Boing Gadgets: Joel Reviews T-Mobile Cameo Picture Frame

Boing Boing tv Update: Virgin WiFi, Obfuscated Code, Comment Poetry, Downfall Housing Remix

web zen: shopping zen 2008

shopsin's general store
baby leo
demeter fragrance
mudpuppy magnet monsters
butter ny
green chair press
field notes: the kit
bird song organ
chicken bag
gun rack organizer
global home

previously on web zen:
shopping zen 2007

Permalink for this edition. Web Zen is created and curated by Frank Davis, and re-posted here on Boing Boing with his kind permission. Web Zen Home and Archives, Store (Thanks Frank!)

Cute turkey cupcakes

Now these are some cute turkey cupcakes, as seen in Bridgett Lee's Flickr stream.

turkey cupcakes (Thanks, Marilyn!)

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part three: Gadgets and stuff

Here's part three of the ongoing BB holiday giving guide, where I round up the bestselling items from this year's reviews on Boing Boing. Today it's gadgets and stuff (basically, anything that's not a book or a DVD or CD) and Boing Boing Gadgets's Joel Johnson's kicked in some of his faves, too!

Don't miss part one: kids' books and books and media about kids and part two: fiction!

Uranium Ore

Uranium ore for sale on Amazon
Original Boing Boing post


Gothy card-game challenges your ability to create misery
Original Boing Boing post


Nomic card game
Original Boing Boing post

Alice in Wonderland Tattoos

Alice in Wonderland temporary tatts
Original Boing Boing post

Gerber 22-41770 Artifact Pocket Keychain Tool

Adorable Gerber pocket multitool
Original Boing Boing post

Leatherman 830850 Skeletool CX Multitool

A full-featured Leatherman tool whose every non-essential surface has been swiss-cheesed with holes to lighten its weight to a mere five ounces.
Original Boing Boing post

Nexcare Duct Tape Bandage

Nothing butches up your wounds like an official duct tape band-aid.
Original Boing Boing post

686 Original Snow Toolbelt

Belt buckle with integrated toolkit
Original Boing Boing post

MSI Wind U100 Netbook Most netbooks have about the same specs, but the Wind is a favorite for how easily it can be hackintoshed into running OS X. Original BBG coverage
Lippi Selk' Bag 1 It's a sleeping bag you can wear around the house, footie PJs for adults. Original BBG review
Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Camcorder More functions than a Flip Mino, with replaceable flash memory and a real optical zoom. Original BBG Coverage

Little Brother UK launch at Forbidden Planet tomorrow

A reminder that tomorrow is the UK launch and signing for Little Brother at Forbidden Planet in London -- 1PM! You can also pre-order signed copies through the Forbidden Planet site. Hope to see you there!
Saturday 29, November, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Forbidden Planet London Megastore,
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Our Price: £6.99

Little Brother UK launch/signing at Forbidden Planet London, Nov 29

NYT on Guantánamo "Nothing has been more damaging to the United States than the violation of the legal principles at the heart of the American idea."

Today's NYT has an op-ed by Roger Cohen giving thanks that our next president is a constitutional lawyer.
Of the 770 detainees grabbed here and there and flown to Guantánamo, only 23 have ever been charged with a crime. Of the more than 500 so far released, many traumatized by those “enhanced” techniques, not one has received an apology or compensation for their season in hell.

What they got on release was a single piece of paper from the American government. A U.S. official met one of the dozens of Afghans now released from Guantánamo and was so appalled by this document that he forwarded me a copy.

Dated Oct. 7, 2006, it reads as follows:

“An Administrative Review Board has reviewed the information about you that was talked about at the meeting on 02 December 2005 and the deciding official in the United States has made a decision about what will happen to you. You will be sent to the country of Afghanistan. Your departure will occur as soon as possible.”

That’s it, the one and only record on paper of protracted U.S. incarceration: three sentences for four years of a young Afghan’s life, written in language Orwell would have recognized.

We have “the deciding official,” not an officer, general or judge. We have “the information about you,” not allegations, or accusations, let alone charges. We have “a decision about what will happen to you,” not a judgment, ruling or verdict. This is the lexicon of totalitarianism. It is acutely embarrassing to the United States.

That is why I am thankful above all that the next U.S. commander in chief is a constitutional lawyer. Nothing has been more damaging to the United States than the violation of the legal principles at the heart of the American idea.

Roger Cohen on Guantánamo

Freakin' Friday's Silver Lining

Mark posted on Boing-Boing last year this article on Fake News that I wrote, which examined the retail numbers cited by the National Retail Federation about sales over Thanksgiving, and so-called Black Friday. I made the point that this news is fake news, coming from a press release generated by a retail trade organization and then spoon-fed to us by uncritical reporters. While the stories credit the source, the headlines give the impression that the retail industry wants, using numbers they provide. (Reporters like a story with specific numbers, no matter how contrived they are. Independent backup for the numbers is never provided.) There's every reason for NRF to present numbers that favor their view that consumers will be buying more. It's like asking the fox to count the eggs in the hen house and report on the health of the chickens.

This is the post-Thanksgiving weekend story last year, written almost whole-cloth from the NRF press release.

Blockbuster Black Friday Weekend Sees Sales Near $28 Billion
145 Million Shoppers Hit Stores and Internet, Up From 133 Million in '04

Washington, DC, November 27, 2005--The ceremonial kickoff to the holiday season began with a great deal of fanfare as 145 million shoppers flooded stores and the Internet hunting for popular electronics, clothing, and books. An NRF survey conducted by BIGresearch found that the average shopper spent $302.81 this weekend, bringing total weekend spending to $27.8 billion, an incredible 21.9 percent increase over last year's $22.8 billion.

A year later, the retail outlook is a little different with a little less fanfare. I wondered what the NRF website was saying in advance of Black Friday. Do they still want you to believe more people are going to come out and buy? The answer is "yes, but." Instead of "more than last year," the idea is "more than you think."

Here's the pre-Thanksgiving press release, which prepares us for a "big surprise", saying the Black Friday will have a silver lining.

Preliminary Black Friday Survey Suggests Lower Gas Prices, Pent-Up Demand Offer Silver Lining for Weekend Shopping

Washington, November 25, 2008 – As retailers prepare to open their doors at the crack of dawn this Friday, many could be in for a welcome surprise. According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, up to 128 million people will shop this Friday, Saturday or Sunday. According to the survey, 49 million people will definitely hit the stores while another 79 million are waiting to see the weekend deals before making any decisions. This number is down slightly from the 135 million people who said they would or may shop over Black Friday weekend last year.

I went to Google News, typed in "Black Friday Silver Lining" and a CNNMoney story popped up. A cut-and-paste specialist, I mean, reporter, Julianne Pepitone made this story for CNN:

Black Friday retailers hope for silver lining

NEW YORK ( -- Black Friday shopping is expected to decline slightly, but pent-up demand and lower gas prices may provide a small silver lining for the suffering retail industry, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Up to 128 million people said they will shop on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday after Thanksgiving, down from 135 million the previous year, according to a survey by National Retail Federation (NRF).

Seriously, CNN should just cite NRF as the author of the story.

Now, look at last year's story which cited 145 million shoppers. This year the number for last year is down to 135 million, which means they overestimated last year by ten million or this revised number allowed them to say that numbers would be "down slightly" when comparing it their equally fictional 128 million for this year.

Here's my favorite part of the fairly literal PR-to-news translation:

In fact, a full 49 million people said they would "definitely" head to stores, while 79 million said they would decide after seeing the weekend deals.
Imagine asking that many "full" people, "in fact", people full from Thanksgiving, saying "definitely." If this were an election story, and you had this kind of poll data, you wouldn't write that "up to 128 million" had made up their mind to vote. You'd write that two-thirds were undecided.

Happy Thanksgiving from BBtv: "Hazy Day" music video fave

Today, the Boing Boing tv crew takes the day off for time with family, friends, and food. We revisit one of our favorite good-vibe animation episodes, a lovely video from Bill Barminski. Perhaps you missed it? Do watch now.

Butterflies, wah-wah pedals, and one-eyed yeti, ahoy! The Boing Boing tv crew is proud to return to the work of one of our favorite multi-media savants, Bill Barminski of Walter Robot Studios. The filmmaker, composer, illustrator and animator shares this new video work, a hypnotic flight of fancy for his music project, the Subatomic Nixons. Enjoy the "Hazy Day," and happy weekend, everyone. Special thanks to Barminski and Christopher Louie, and all of the Walter Robot team. Here are previous BBtv episodes featuring their work.

India: Mumbai Attacks, Day Two; tech speculation

This post is an open thread for folks who'd like to share coverage, insight, or first-person accounts of the attacks in Mumbai. Some Boing Boing readers in yesterday's comment thread had friends or loved ones in the area at the time -- I hope all are well.

Global Voices has special coverage of the ongoing events -- a very comprehensive feature with links is here, and Sameer has an update here.

Looking through coverage last night, I noticed some speculation about an email said to have been sent to news organizations in India identifying the attackers as "Deccan Mujahideen" -- specifically, there are reports that this email was traced back to an IP address in Russia. Apparently, some state officials in India are saying that this is one of the pieces of evidence that suggests foreign involvement, but I don't know enough to judge whether that's likely (and I haven't seen the email). The fact that email evidence and IP analysis are now part of the story is an interesting new development, though. 24 hours after the first attack, the identity of those responsible has not been confirmed, and the crisis is ongoing.

Who knows, though -- the whole "Deccan Mujahideen" thing may be smoke. This Foreign Policy article is worth a read, on that note.

One must always be suspicious when a "new" terrorist organization crops up. Today's horrific attacks in Mumbai were claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen. But one India journalist claims the pattern of the attacks suggests that Lashkar-e-Taiba, a nasty Islamist organization based in Lahore, Pakistan, and with a significant presence in Kashmir and links to al Qaeda, may be to blame.

Here's where it gets interesting -- and I stress here that I am just speculating. Lashkar-e-Taiba's main goal is to expel India from Kashmir. In the past, some have accused elements of the Pakistani military and intelligence services of having ties to the group. Pakistan's government has always hotly denied such accusations.

(thanks, Oxblood)

Previously on Boing Boing: India: 80+ Reported Dead, 200+ injured in Bombay Terror Attacks

Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition

Boing Boing buddy Danielle Spencer points us to the winners of the "Turkey-shaped Jell-O® Mold: 2008 Competition," which we've posted here on Boing Boing for several years. My favorite is the S'Mores Turkey, above, because I can imagine myself eating it and rather enjoying it. Danielle's lofty writeups make the list even more fun. Behold, her appreciation of "Bubby's Matzoh Turkey."

In this stunning mis-en-matzoh-ball-soup, we are brought back to the original site of sustenance: the womb. Floating, trussed, lulled in a warm bath of chicken broth, we experience the original state of undifferentiated oneness, of satiety. Grand Prize Winner [by popular election] for "Best Overall Turkey" By Satya K. & Frank H.
Below, another outstanding entry, showcased in video: Turkey Festorama From Nepal!, by Michael Daube and William Purcell.