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Jason at Epcot, 1989-2005, hero's journey to sysadminhood

Jason sez, "Six photos of me, Jason, under the 'Jason' sign at Epcot's The Living Seas attraction taken over the years 1989-2005. See me start as a gorky 15 year old in short shorts, pass through the fanny pack years of the 90s, and move on to become the grizzled, bearded sysadmin I am today." There is a well-brought-up man indeed! I have a similar series of pics of me with the Haunted Mansion sign that I keep meaning to post.

Jason at The Living Seas (Thanks, Jason!)

Alice in Wonderland movie from 1933 with Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, WC Fields, which Alice herself endorsed

Steve Silberman sez, "Holy Terry Gilliam prototype: The original, trippy 1933 film version of Alice in Wonderland by Norman 'Monkey Business' McLeod, starring Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and W.C. Fields, now on DVD with a rave from Alice: 'A revolution in cinema history!'"

But only one can boast the endorsement of the original Alice: the 1933 Paramount "Alice in Wonderland," being released to DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment ($19.98, not rated), the current rights holder. In a Jan. 7, 1934, article in The New York Times, Alice Liddell, quoted under her married name, Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves, expressed admiration for the film that Hollywood had wrought from the story Carroll had invented for her some seven decades before.

"I am delighted with the film and am now convinced that only through the medium of the talking picture art could this delicious fantasy be faithfully interpreted," she declared, her words possibly burnished by a Paramount publicist. " 'Alice' is a picture which represents a revolution in cinema history!"

Another Trippy Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland (1933)

(Thanks, Steve!)

Pirates of the Caribbean IV will be based on Tim Powers's "On Stranger Tides"

Oh, this is very good news: the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie will be based on Tim Powers's kick-ass, World-Fantasy-Award-winning novel On Stranger Tides, the greatest undead pirate story of all time. Go, Tim! Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. (Thanks, Rob!)

Los Angeles: play about government/corporate conspiracy


A few weeks ago, the Pasadena Playhouse, a historic theater just outside of Los Angeles, announced that it's totally out of cash and shutting its doors. The news was a blow to the L.A. theater world, as the Playhouse has nearly a 100-year history of great performances and arts education. It was especially bad news for the Furious Theatre Company, the Pasadena Playhouse's current company-in-residence, known for its challenging, intense, controversial, and critically-acclaimed productions. It was also bad news personally, as my brother Robert Pescovitz had been deep in rehearsals with the rest of the Furious ensemble for their latest production, a contemporary black comedy about government/corporate conspiracy titled Men of Tortuga, by Jason Wells. The show was supposed to open last weekend, and suddenly Furious found itself scrambling for a new space. At the eleventh hour though, Furious managed to secure the Pasadena Playhouse for one more month to stage this play. The rescheduled opening night is tomorrow, Saturday, February 26. I haven't seen Men of Tortuga yet, but it sounds like a terrific piss take on corporate politics and shady power brokers. The show runs until March 28.

Mentortuggggg Three power-brokers scheme with a weapons specialist to assassinate a despised opponent... Too bad they’re all such incompetents. The bungling only gets worse as Maxwell, the senior power-broker, takes a young idealist under his wing. Suddenly his long-dormant conscience begins to reawaken. This comedic thriller discloses a sharp parable that takes a crack at the nastiness of covert governmental and corporate operations.
Furious Theatre Company: Men of Tortuga

UPDATE: Furious Theatre Company has kindly offered Boing Boing readers a $10 discount on tickets. When purchasing tickets online, just enter the code: boingboing

Sublime Stitching's Sexy Librarians embroidery patterns

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Sexy Librarians is just one of several fantastic embroidery patterns made by Sublime ♥ Stitching and for sale in the Boing Boing Bazaar. There's also Meaty Treats, Vital Organs, and Lucha Libre. Check them all out here. And check out the rest of the Makers Market for more maker-made marvelousness.

Sublime ♥ Stitching

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

birdemicth.jpg I'll be attending a screening of the much-tweeted horrorschlock instaclassic Birdemic tomorrow night in LA, hosted by Tim & Eric ("Season Cinco" of their show debuts Sunday night, and also promises to be great).

Directed by James Nguyen, Birdemic is sort of The Birds meets The Room. Richard Metzger has a comprehensive post about Birdemic over at the LA Times "Brand X" blog. LA folks: The Saturday night Cinefamily screening of Birdemic is sold out, but they've added a second one for March 5. And LOL and behold: Birdemic's on Twitter.

Tofu wrestling in Brooklyn

Tofu Wrestling. Feel free to be outraged, disgusted, or turned on. (NSFW, via Brooklyn Vegan.)

Mid-70s Giorgio Moroder synth video: awesomest thing of all time

moroderth.jpg Holy crap, this video truly is the most awesome thing ever!!11one!11. I know nothing about this, other than what's on the YouTube description: "Promo for Giorgio Moroder taken from a Casablanca Records promo tape." I was talking with Joel Johnson about how creepy Moroder seemed in this video, with the pervo-stache and the cocaine shades. "But he mades the trains boogie on time," says Joel. Mr. Moroder is still very much with us, btw: he is 69 years old, and actively composing. Here's his website.

When you're done watching, go listen to this (or buy it). I think it's my favorite Moroder track.

(via Q-Burns Abstract Message via DailySwarm via Mixhell)

Economist Dan Ariely finds a new placebo


Predictably Irrational author Dan Ariely used to enjoy taking Airborne, until he read reports that it didn't prevent colds. Before he read the reports, he was "97.5% sure" Airborne didn't work, but that tiny bit of doubt was enough for the placebo effect kick in. The news reports killed the placebo effect. He was sad that he didn't have a cold placebo to depend on, but his mother recently sent him a new nostrum and he is happy again. (I think it is Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic "medicine.").

Dan Ariely: Got My Placebo Back

Curmudgeonly essay on "Why the Internet Will Fail" from 1995

In 1995, astronomer, amateur hacker tracker and Klein-bottle maker Clifford Stoll wrote an essay (and a book, too, but I haven't read that) explaining why this Internet thing will never work. His main argument seems to be, "Hardware and software will all top out in the mid-90s and, thus, the Internet will never ever get any more user friendly or portable. Also, it is different and scary." Hilarity ensues.

The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works ...

What the Internet hucksters won't tell you is that the Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don't know what to ignore and what's worth reading. Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them—one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later." ....

Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet-which there isn't-the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

Why the Internet Will Fail, essay reprinted from Newsweek

Via Unlikely Words

A flat-out high speed burn through Baker and Barstow and Berdoo, into frantic oblivion

One favorite quote from Hunter S. Thompson, who died exactly five years ago (give or take a few days) ago, is this one, the opening lines from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like: I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive. Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals?

Duke_and_gonzo_Small.jpgThompson and his lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta visited Las Vegas in 1971 to cover the Mint 400 race for Sports Illustrated. But the article they wrote was about far more than that.

Las Vegas Review reporter Corey Levitan writes an article in which he tries to figure out what was real and what wasn't, which as might be imagined when dealing with Thompson seems like a tough thing to figure.

Wikipedia list of every landing mankind has ever made on other planetary bodies

A concise list of every landing mankind has ever made on other planetary bodies. Have to say, I did not know that the USSR had sent that many probes to Venus. (Via Betsy Mason)

Persuasive games: ends vs. means

Ford Fusion Dashboard
At Institute for the Future, we've started a project looking at the future of persuasion and how technology affects behavior. The researchers are blogging on the subject here, mostly as a way for us to share examples, initial thoughts, and essays-in-progress with each other (and anyone else interested in the subject). Today, my friend Mathias Crawford wrote a very thoughtful and provocative post about persuasive game designed to, say, persuade you to eat less, exercise more, or increase your productivity. In his essay, Mathias suggests that the real potential for persuasive games isn't just to change behavior but also to help us understand why we behave a certain way. From the essay, titled "Ends vs. Means and Persuasive Games" on IFTF's Persuasion blog:
As (Carnegie Mellon professor Jesse) Schell points out (in a videotaped speech making the rounds this week), persuasive technologies like the Ford Fusion dashboard, are already being designed with game-like feedback in mind. To him these technologies fall short, however, because they are being engineered by people who are not game designers. If game designers would start to design reward systems that aimed to improve behaviors, we'd have feedback mechanisms that are much more enjoyable, and as a corollary that are much more effective.

Though I agree with his conclusion - that there is a clear need for people with game design expertise to design things that can help people improve behaviors - by focusing on creating technologies that aim to achieving measurable ends, Schell misses a much more important use of persuasive technologies: namely, technology that aims to influence means.

"Ends vs. Means and Persuasive Games"

Octopus cam: Your key to a happier day

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The Smithsonian National Zoo just got a Pacific Giant Octopus. (Weeeelll, sort of. It's a baby, and currently only about three pounds. But it'll be giant someday, promise.) The little critter doesn't have a name yet, but he (they think it's probably a he, maybe) does have a web cam. The camera is set up to capture the octopus at feeding times—11 and 3 Eastern, daily. Which is, coincidentally, right about the time I could use a good cephalopod fix in my day.

Even better, this announcement led me to discover that the National Zoo has a ton of different animal web cams. Seriously, they're set up like a bunch of teenage emo girls over there. Lions, naked mole rats (!!), single-celled organisms, sloth bears (?!): You can watch 'em all live.

USA PATRIOT Act renewed, no new civil liberties protections

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Kevin Bankston at the EFF blogs,

Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to renew three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, after the Senate abandoned the PATRIOT reform effort and approved the extension by a voice vote on Wednesday night.

Disappointingly, the government's dangerously broad authority to conduct roving wiretaps of unspecified or "John Doe" targets, to secretly wiretap of persons without any connection to terrorists or spies under the so-called "lone wolf" provision, and to secretly access a wide range of private business records without warrants under PATRIOT Section 215 were all renewed without any new checks and balances to prevent abuse.

EFF: Epic Fail in Congress: USA PATRIOT Act Renewed Without Any New Civil Liberties Protections

[Image: Patriot Act, a Creative Commons-licensed illustration by Wiretap Studios, large version here.]