"Cannibal! The Musical," Matt and Trey's musical before "Book of Mormon" (video)

Pesco blogged earlier about the news that weirdo indie film purveyors Troma are releasing 150 full-length movies on YouTube, for free.

One of them is Cannibal! The Musical (1993), an awesomely awful film about the pioneering raw foodist Alferd Packer, directed by (and starring) Trey Parker, also starring Matt Stone. You can scroll down to watch it in entirety right here.

Trey and Matt, of course, are the same guys behind South Park and the hit Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. They've come a long way in the 20 years since "Cannibal," and for me, that's part of what makes it so fun to re-watch now—it's so very, "Hey guys, let's put on a show!" Snip from the Troma tease:

"Cannibal" is the true story of the only person convicted of cannibalism in America -- Alferd Packer. The sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, he tells his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Prye as he awaits his execution. And his story goes like this: While searching for gold and love in the Colorado Territory, he and his companions lost their way and resorted to unthinkable horrors, including toe-tapping songs! Packer and his five wacky mining buddies sing and dance their ways into your heart...and then take a bite out of it! Cannibal! The Musical is Oklahoma meets Bloodsucking Freaks. Brought to you by the Troma Team and Trey Parker -- the Rogers and Hammerstein of Horror!

"Cannibal" later became a live stage play, starting in New York, and moving on to a number of other cities. Read the rest

Economix: terrific cartoon history of economics

One of my favorite books is Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. With simple comic art, McCloud presents the history of sequential comics, and how they work. It's as much about psychology as it is about the way comics use standard structural elements that work on a subconscious level to tell a story. McCloud appears in the book as a cartoon narrator, speaking directly to the reader, which is a very effective way to share information.

I'm also a big fan of Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe, a series of comic books that, as the title suggests, presents the history of the universe from the big bang up to the present era. It combines factual history with a bit of humor.

Both McCloud and Gonick came to mind when I read Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), by Michael Goodwin and illustrated by Dan E. Burr. Told as a history, it ties important world events (wars, revolutions, technological progress, resource depletion, pollution, etc.) to their economic consequences, and explains the far-reaching (and often unintended effects) of economic policy decisions on people and the planet. Dan E. Burr's appealing illustrations add punch, humor, and clarity to Goodwin's already-excellent storytelling skills.

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Comics Rack: Boing Boing's comics picks for September

It’s September, and what better way to mark back to school season than with a little bit of mind-rotting comic bookery? We’ll try to keep the grey matter melting to a minimum with the following selection. We’ve got two bits of autobiographical excitement, some cardboard-come-to-life for the kids and something for the omnipotent cosmic deity in your life. Also: calendars!

Gabrielle Bell: The Voyeurs (Uncivilized Books)

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Gabrielle Bell without a sketchbook in her hand. Such things are, naturally, common accessories for indie cartoonists, but Bell seem to don hers like a pair of eyeglasses, as though the world might be headache-inducing and blurry without them. Her autobio strip “Lucky” is the fruit of those sketches, and The Voyeur is the bunching of those fruits, as ever with Bell, at its best when the lines between mundane realities and magical realisms become ever more entangled, the further one ventures into a story.

No better when the cartoonist relates an attempt to adapt Valerie Solanas' infamous SCUM Manifesto into sequential form, unraveling into a tail of adult movie theaters and Japanese assassins, related by Bell’s infinitely interesting mother. Not that the realities themselves are entirely mundane, of course -- particularly in the wake of the artist’s rise to an indie comics celebrity of sorts. There’s the stormy relationship with filmmaker Michel Gondry, the mind-numbing trip to San Diego Comic Con (as highlighted in the first iteration of this nascent column) and the mattress-on-the-floor living that comes with living on an artist’s paycheck in the Big Apple. Read the rest

Caturday: kitten is hogging the TV remote

Boing Boing reader Benjamin G. Levy, a Mac computing consultant based in Los Angeles, shot and shared this photo in the Boing Boing Flickr pool. Happy Caturday. Read the rest

Late '60s ad for space jobs at NASA JPL

A late-1960s ad that ran in Scientific American, scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool by fdecomite.

The look is true to Mad Men, and the copy is true to life: I bet the Mars Curiosity team say stuff like that to each other all the time.

Give that dude a mohawk—oh, and increase NASA's budget so JPL can hire, instead of lay off?—and the ad could run today.

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Drugs: Without the Hot Air, now in the USA!

I wrote last June about Drugs: Without the Hot Air, the best book on drug policy I've read, written by David Nutt, the UK drug czar who was fired because he refused to bow to political pressure to repudiate his own research on the relative harms from illegal drugs and legal activities. Nutt's book has now been published in the USA. As I said in June, this is a book that everyone should read. From my review:

Like the other writers in the series, Nutt is both committed to rigorous, evidence-based policy and to clear, no-nonsense prose that makes complex subjects comprehensible. He begins and ends the book with a look at the irrationality of our present drug policy, recounting a call he had with then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who was furious that he'd compared horseback riding harms to the harms from taking MDMA. Smith says that "you can't compare harms from a legal activity with an illegal activity." When Nutt asks why not, she says, "because one is illegal." When he asks why it is illegal, she says, "Because it is harmful." So he asks, "Don't we need to compare harms to determine if it should be illegal?" And Smith reiterates, "you can't compare harms from a legal activity with an illegal activity." Lather, rinse, repeat, and you'll get our current drugs-policy disaster.

Nutt has been talking about harm reduction and evidence-based policy for drugs policy for years, and he often frames the question by pointing out that alcohol is a terrible killer of addicts and the people around them, and a disaster for society.

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