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Gone Dead Gone, a new CD by SLT

SLT600.jpg Someone is dragging a shovel and pick/Someone is playing an old blues riff/An old melody from a dead man's grave/I can feel it baby, feel everything rip

--From "Say Goodbye" off of Gone Dead Done by SLT.

Gone Dead Gone , the new CD released by SLT on Earring Records is the best old school Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds meets Iggy Pop and they get even quirkier-about-dealing-in-bloody-pop-mayhem collection of music by a Rochester N.Y. band since... well, since The Tumors released that secret tribute album to Aileen Wournos back in 1964.

Really though, in a better world and in a time when you actually had top forty singles and CDs worth speaking of -- Gone Dead Gone would be the Nirvana-like bust out album for a new subculture of the aging burned and still enraged -- Generation F.U. -- a small but growing demographic slice of late boomer aliens.

But why should you listen to me? After all, I've contributed 3 song lyrics to my old friends from Rochester's effort.

Yep. For those of you who haven't stopped reading, the story is... I email an mp3 of "I Should've Been A Guru" to Mark Frauenfelder... and what does he do? He emails me back and says, "I like Guru a lot. Why don't you review the album yourself on Boing Boing?" So now I've got to be the fuckin' Houdini of words and wriggle out of this contretemps -- this situation tailor-made for the ever-popular summary dismissal that my words are just hype.

The thing is... these guys actually deserve your attention. So never mind my three quirky topical contributions and let me call your attention to the rest of the work, as described on CD Baby as, "Love, sex, death and the decline of civilization. With a good beat."

Oh hell. You're not going to believe a word I say now. So let me try this. To the first five people to email me at rusirius@well.com and who can tell me honestly that they actually like Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits... and miss The Sopranos -- in other words, that you don't only listen to techno and aren't easily harmed by music -- I'll send you a selection of 5 songs off of this CD... and you can post your own reviews in comments right here...

Gone Dead Gone on Earring Records (Free download of "I Should've Been A Guru")

Gone Dead Gone on CD Baby | Amazon

Gone Dead Gone is also available on iTunes

Due Date

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(Image via Wikipedia: Views of a Foetus in the Womb, c. 1510 - 1512, a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.)

I will admit to occasional single-minded ranting. You might think that, as an astronomer who studies the outer part of the solar system, my rants are restricted to issues like classification of planets, bad weather at telescopes, and the possible effects of secular perturbation on the perihelion evolution of detached Kuiper belt objects. But my other main job, being a parent to a now-5-year-old daughter, provides me a plethora of new things to rant about, also.

My daughter provided me the very first opportunity before she was even born. Back then, she was code-named Petunia, and all I really wanted was some way to understand what Petunia's July 11th due date actually meant. The ranting really didn't begin until sometime in the third trimester. Here is an excerpt from How I Killed Pluto and How It Had It Coming from the moment when simmering frustration turns into full-scale rant.

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The incredible art of R.S. Connett

I recently came across the striking work of an artist named R.S. Connett, whose work brought to mind Ernst Haeckel and H.R. Giger. I contacted him and asked if we could run some of his work on Boing Boing along with his comments. Here's what he had to say:

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ZOOIDS, 12" x 12", acrylic on canvas.

I'm inspired by my imagination. (And the imaginations of others) I have hundreds of ideas which I want to make materialize. The best way for me, is to draw them. The process of drawing stimulates my imagination. I draw almost every day. These drawings are affected by my moods. These are very basic drawings put out in a sort of "shorthand."

Of the hundreds of my shorthand ideas there will be a few that grab my attention, and inspire me. These will get a secondary treatment. If the second drawing pleases me, I will do another, and perhaps another and another. Every time I draw this picture, it changes and evolves. In fact, the third or forth generation drawing may look nothing at all like the original.

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The Boing Boing Formula

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I got a cool package in the mail from Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er of Die Antwoord. I knew they'd found something important and special on the road, but had no idea how important and special until I opened it. Inside, THE BOING BOING FORMULA, and fittingly, it's "WOMAN." Contains Horny Goat Weed, Broomrape, and other herbs that purportedly enhance sexytime. From the label:

A daily booster designed to help you revive the X factor of feeling good, feeling attractive and confident, being desirable, and creating a mood for intimacy and adventure. Users report new vitality, friskiness, clarity of mind, and rediscover that wonderful naughty spark, which threatens to become a flame at any moment, restoring the confidence our stressful lifestyles rob us of.

Was there ever a more perfect description of BoingBoing.net?

Maybe we should market a Boing Boing brand of herbal supplements. Or, just little pill-shaped candies. THE BOING BOING FORMULA. Your thoughts welcomed in the comments. Thanks, Yo-Landi and Ninja, you guys are the best.

SF Street Artist Sandwich Mashes Up Halo/Wikileaks

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Via UpTown Almanac, word of a new artist hitting the streets—well, the walls of SF: Sandwich, who's making bold statements with this Halo + Collateral Murder mashup. This is the second WikiLeaks-inspired piece he's taken credit for recently. Interesting stuff for sure. [Thanks Dylan]

Map collages by Matthew Cusick: portraits, seascapes & more

matthew-cusick-thumb-800x450-36735.jpg Matthew Cusick's Map Works series repurposes printed maps into new works of art. Check out the seascapes and highways, too. He also has an interesting series called Passages which combine Bible passages with other works in a similar manner.

Matthew Cusick (via Green Chair Press [h/t])

Eulogy for Mark Pescovitz, by Maxa Pescovitz

Mark
by Maxa Pescovitz
December 16, 2010

The loss that our family feels is immeasurable. Mark was not only the foundation of his immediate family, but of all of us that were proud to call him brother, uncle, nephew cousin, friend, co-worker or patient. He touched the families of those he saved, as well as those whom he could not. He put everyone first before himself. He loved the obtuse, as well as the mundane. His sense of humor puzzled those who did not get it right away, and caused belly laughs galore for those who did.

One of his greatest enjoyments in the summer was the Indy State Fair. I had the honor of being with him and Ora this past summer as we commented on the photo exhibits, took our own picture of the world largest boor (with Mark's ensuing humor about it -of course). We laughed at the bizarre food options. Nothing was omitted- from the huge to farm equipment to the tractor pull. We laughed as we all crossed this last event off our "bucket list"--not even knowing it was on it!

Although I was older, I always wanted to be like him- minus the mustache of course.

When our youngest brother was two Mark and I took him to a house in Cincinnati that had a huge display of trains. Walking to the house holding David's hands an older couple commented on what a nice young family we were. We laughed about this mistake for years.

Once, our parents had taken the older kids to Israel. While on Masada, Mark was wearing an Arab headdress -- partly because it was so sunny, and partly as a souvenir -- he was only 15 at the time. He had stepped away from my parents and we noticed others tourists taking his pictures- thinking he was an Arab tourist. Just when Mark had their attention, he called MOM! Dad! in English--throwing of the tourists and we were of course rolling on the ground laughing--here was Mark honing his sharp wit and quick response!

Mark was an enigma -- like a Rubik's Cube. Some knew one block, some a row, and still others a whole side. As my brothers and I have read the comments of so many people, only now are we able to see the entire cube. He was so much like our parents. The compassionate physician and excellent clinician like our dad, the amazing artist like our mom, and the ultimate philanthropist and volunteer like them both.

His commitment to his community- whether it be Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Michigan or places he visited, or to his medical community was unending. There was way more he intended to do in this life. We have all lost a great man.

As Mark Twain once said, "Endeavor to live your life so that when you die even the undertaker will be sad."

This is how my brother lived his life. Our hearts are broken- our wonderful memories of him must live on! Go with peace and love my brother! Say hi to Mom and Dad.

Mark Pescovitz (1955-2010)

Rocket to Russia: official hymn of the conquerors

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Joe feels the (slightly scary & very vocal) love (Moscow Arena)

Our second and final show in Russia happens in Moscow, at a large black box called The Moscow Arena. Inside of the building walls, floors, ducting, integral support beams and even lighting and plumbing have an unfinished feel, as if the the venue is meant to be temporary. Pieces of tile are glued haphazardly onto cinderblock walls assembled without enough mortar. Light shines through the separation between the concrete and air moves through, too, mostly reeking of cigarette smoke.

Forty minutes before showtime the rapidly growing crowd in front of the stage is clearly audible from the dressing room, loud enough that it becomes challenging to hear myself speak or hear the notes on my unplugged bass as I warm up my fingers.

When we arrive on the stage the crowd howls with one demonic voice as Jeff counts us in to the opener: Ice 9. The audience claps, jumps, waves their arms, sits on each other's shoulders, even cries. I am drenched in sweat in four minutes and stay that way for the entire two and a half hour set, the drops moving continually from my head to my shoes. Elegant and surely expensive flower bouquets are passed hand to hand from the back of the hall to the people on the wall eight feet in front of us who then attempt to throw them on to the stage. They invariably miss, which is sad.

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Elf Cam app for iPhone


My seven-year-old daughter Jane has been having fun with the Elf Cam iPhone Christmas app. It's got several nifty features, including a compass that, when pointed at the North Pole, will play the sounds of the elves busy at work in the toyshop, and a series of videos called "Ask an Elf?" where a snarky and rather large elf gossips about goings-on at the North Pole.

It also has a feature that allows you to set up your camera on Christmas Eve to record Santa coming out of your fireplace (or walking into room if you don't have a fireplace), so you can show it to your child in order to prove that Santa Claus is real.

The graphics and music are cute, and $1.99, the price is right. Elf Cam for iPhone

Lori Nix's stunning, tiny dioramas depict an abandoned world

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Cliff Kuang, the editor of Co.Design, Fast Company's design blog, pointed me to the work of Lori Nix, who designs detailed miniature dioramas of a post-apocalyptic world.
The twist is that Nix's photos aren't Photoshop manipulations -- they're real images of tiny, painstakingly detailed dioramas that Nix has designed just for this project. Nix built the 3-D scenes in her living room on nights and weekends with the help of an assistant, with each one taking anywhere from two to fifteen months to complete. Nix shot the dioramas on normal 8x10 film, making her minuscule creations -- about 20 x 24 x 72 inches small -- appear nearly indistinguishable from full-size scenes.
There is a slideshow Lori Nix's work at the link.

Lori Nix's Stunning, Tiny Dioramas Depict an Abandoned World

Roy Doty's 2010 Christmas card

Xmas-card-2010.gif I am very thankful to have gotten to know Roy Doty, who has been illustrating for Make magazine for the last six years. I first became familiar with Roy's work in the late 1960s, when I saw his pleasing and deceptively simple illustrations in Popular Science magazine.

For many years Roy drew a comic strip called "Wordless Workshop," which featured a pipe smoking suburban dad who wandered around his house and neighborhood observing the minor irritations that his family and neighbors experienced, and then coming up with an elegant solution to those problems that involved making a nifty contraption out of easily obtained materials. Roy is not only a very gifted cartoonist, he's a wonderfully resourceful inventor!

Roy is 88 years old, and he still works full time for a wide variety of publications. He can turn around a drawing in a matter of hours, and I admit I have occasionally taken advantage of his ability to do this.

Every year Roy sends out a Christmas card, and they are always very inventive and delightful. This one, titled "A Holiday Alphabet," features a number of Santa's elves contorting themselves into positions that resemble the letters of the alphabet.

76 Synthesizer: Stupidly cool iPad app interface

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Swedish designer Jonas Eriksson designed this incredibly amazing interface for an iPad app called "76 Synthesizer" which may or may not even exist (the internet isn't giving me a straight answer, stupid internet). I can't find it in the app store anyway, which is a shame because I'd buy it just to show off the great design more than I'd actually use it.

Note to other iPad and iPhone designers: THIS!

The past year's 12 editions of Vogue covers, overlaid

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This is the shroud of Vogue, made from the last 12 editions of the magazine, overlaid.

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(Via Book of Joe)

Salvia smoking safety tips PSA

salvia.jpg The recent footage of Miley Cyrus' epic bong rip has the mainstream media dredging up various doofi to tut-tut her actions. You can find those clips if inclined all over the web. According to various head shop owners, a lot of people are suddenly looking into Salvia divinorum as a possible recreational drug. As a public service announcement, I want to point out that Salvia, while currently legal and frequently fun, is no joke. It should only be done with an experienced trip sitter under safe and relaxed conditions. Various YouTube videos of morons screwing with people who are under the influence of Salvia make me cringe, because they are messing up a potentially transcendent moment for the taker, and possibly causing the person some significant trauma. Here are the warnings inside one commercially-available brand sold in a lot of head shops.
Warning: Salvia Divinorum is a very, very powerful plant. Research the history of Salvia divinorum online before burning. Please burn responsibly! Common sense guidelines
  • • Always have someone there with you when burning.
  • • Never burn in a public place.
  • • Never burn on a balcony.
  • • Never burn near dangerous objects such as glass, knives, guns, etc.
  • • Do not burn when drinking alcohol.
  • • Do not burn with any other substances.
  • • Turn off your phone.
  • • Lie down and relax.
Those are all good rules. I'd also recommend putting on a playlist of songs that make you relax and have personal significance for you. Make sure any pets are calm and not making noise. Find a place where sudden noises will be at a minimum (traffic, honking horns, other people's music, yelling or screaming). Ask your trip sitter to keep everything quiet and relaxed the first time you try it, then you can move on to experimenting. I have supported Erowid over the years as a member, and I encourage you to read their excellent salvia divinorum vault. Have a nice trip! (image: Andrea James for Boing Boing)

Silver Swan automaton of 1773


(video link) On one of my favorite blogs, The Futility Closet, I found this video of the Silver Swan, made in 1773 by a London silver work dealer named James Cox and an inventor named John Joseph Merlin. The automated swan is on permanent exhibition at the Bowes Museum in England.
When the mechanism of the silver swan is wound up, the glass rods rotate, the music begins, and the swan twists its head to the left and right and appears to preen its back. It then appears to see a fish in the water below and bends back to catch it. It swallows the fish as the music stops and returns to its start position. The piece contains 8 different tunes. Cams control the actions of the swan and fish and one in the form of a track on the rim of a drum, travels through the neck. A chain passing upwards through the rings, which form the neck, controls the elevation and depression of the neck. A spring and a 'lazy tong' mechanism eject the concealed fish from its beak. The silver swan was described in Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad. John Bowes purchased it for 5000 francs (£200) in 1872. Other pieces by James Cox do exist. Perhaps the most famous of these is the gold Peacock Clock, which can be found in the Hermitage Museum, Russia.

Atlas Obscura has additional information about the history of the Silver Swan. I'd never heard of John Joseph Merlin before. He sounds like an interesting person. He designed a "perpetual motion" clock, and other kinds of automata, and may have been the inventor of the rollerskate.

The Silver Swan automaton

Eulogy for Mark Pescovitz, by Ari Pescovitz

Dad's Eulogy
by Ari Pescovitz
December 16, 2010

"UFB" my dad would say if he were the one giving this talk. With such a huge turn out he would have insisted on turning this into a fundraiser and charging twenty dollars a head for one of his many passions. Unfortunately... I have to try to give it.

From the day of my birth (my dad's 30th birthday) I have shared a special bond with my father. Beyond the usual requisites of a father, my dad was my best friend, my inspiration, and my strength. Growing up, my memories are filled with minor league baseball games, trips to the shooting range (against my mom's best judgment), afternoons at the opera, state fair, and art festivals, as well as a shared passion for travel and exotic food.

But no matter what activity, what will always stay with me are the conversations. Some knew my dad as a man of few but powerful, and often humorous, words, but the man I knew could talk for hours about everything. He taught me about science, always knowing the answer to a young child's questions. He taught me about what it means to observe the world around me and to think about everything, and he taught me, most importantly, how to make. To explore science, art, religion, not simply by observing and thinking but by creating and inventing.

I make art (and in particular Jewish art) as the highest manifestations of his gifts to me. I have never before made a work that I did not consult with him on. He was my truest critic. Always providing me with a helpful push while never doing any of it for me. A trait he learned from his own father. As I got older our conversations stayed diverse and as my knowledge grew they became deeper and richer.

Over Thanksgiving, Ramzy, my dad, and I took a walk through the foothills of Tucson, working on dad's final photo project for his class at Heron. Along the way, we discussed the evolutionary and developmental history of cacti and tried to understand their growth cycle and what caused a new appendage to bud. This conversation soon digressed into a witty mixture of quantum mechanics, anthropology, and art, often with pauses to consider how a particular photo shot may or may not work for his final assignment. This walk was not a rare occurrence. Every time we were together I could expect a similarly intellectual and inspiring discussion.

I want to be him, I want to think like him, I want to imagine like him, and I want to love life and everything in it as much as he did. From now on, however, I will have to use the imagination he instilled in me to complete the other side of these discussions, to act as my critic and supporter, and to approach the world the way he innately saw it.

I feel like the boy in the Princess Bride, our family's, and in particular our dad's, favorite movie, when the grandfather reads about the princess marrying the villain. The kid stops the grandfather in mid-sentence and says "That's not right, you're read it wrong." The grandfather immediately apologizes and says "that's what it says, do you want to stop reading?" To which the boy responds, "no its ok, please read on." And that is what I must be able to do. I must be able to go on with the book with the same conviction, strength, and imagination that have been fostered in me from the beginning. At the end of the Princess Bride, when the hero finally gets the girl, the hero remarks "Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it for a little while." I will always love you dad.

Mark Pescovitz (1955-2010)

Eulogy for Mark Pescovitz, by Aliza Pescovitz

Dad's Eulogy
by Aliza Pescovitz
December 16, 2010

We used to tease my dad that he was the least social person in the family and that talking to people was basically torture. But looking out at all of you, I can see that we clearly underestimated our father's threshold for pain.

I have so many wonderful memories of my dad. In fact, standing before you now, I have at least several dozen stories that I could tell just off the top of my head. Although, I'm extremely heart broken at the loss of my father, I feel extremely blessed to have had the sweetest, most caring, and, frankly, the best father in the whole world. I want to share just a few memories of my father with you today.

My parents always urged me to work as hard as I could in school. In fact, in 8th grade, even though I only tested into pre-algebra, my dad sat with me every night for two months trying to teach me algebra so that I could transfer to the higher class. What I didn't know at the time, was that my dad was teaching me algebra using calculus. It wasn't until after I finally managed to switch into the algebra class that I realized that algebra really wasn't as hard as I thought.

When I was 13 years old, I was determined to wear my talit, or prayer shawl, to prayers at school. Although I could have fought with the principal for days on end without rest, I was unable to articulate my arguments for why I should be allowed to wear it, in a coherent and persuasive manner. My dad saw my fledgling legal skills and bought me a book about Women in Jewish Law. He then worked with me for hours; reading through the book and helping me to structure my very first legal argument. Actually, my only legal argument to date. I'm proud to say that thanks to my dad, I won my first case. I don't know if either of us knew it at the time, but my dad is responsible for setting me on my path towards becoming a lawyer.

When I was 17, I decided to go visit my old summer camp, which was only 15 minutes from the house. I forgot how to get there, and was too embarrassed to ask for directions. Before I knew it, I was about an hour away from home and half-way to Lebanon, IN. I finally called my dad for help. Even though I had no idea where I was, my dad somehow found me and came to my rescue. I later found out that he was really mad at me, but at the time, he gave me a hug, handed me a map of Indiana (which I couldn't read), and led me home, going not more that 40 mph on the expressway so he could make sure I was following him.

My dad was always there for us. There was nothing more important to him. He even left the operating room in the middle of surgery to come sit on top of me while the dentist pulled a tooth. He never missed an important event in our lives. He was our great motivator, our source of strength, and our nurturer. He taught me how to remain (somewhat) calm in a crisis. He didn't talk much, but when he did we all stopped to listen. The truth is, words cannot express the amazing way he has affected my life and the affect he will continue to have on me. Even though he's gone he'll still be with me always; guiding me, helping me, and making me laugh. I love you dad.

Mark Pescovitz (1955-2010)