The Portable February grabs the reader like an LSD-dosed college professor who hijacked a tourist bus

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With 100 frames of incongruously playful observation connected only by authorship, wit, and uncanny brilliance, The Portable February is a Cliff’s Notes thesis on existence, told in line drawings and one-liners by author, poet, and musician David Berman. Randomly exposing the vaudevillian arc of history, Berman extracts the extraordinary from the ordinary. He brings a furied ennui to every moment, grabbing the reader like an LSD-dosed and recently-ousted college professor who hijacked a tourist bus, calmly calling out the sights and overlooked absurdities of American life armed with a keen wit, a soft spot for pop culture, and the occasional ax to grind.

Just flipping through this book, one might say, “This guy can’t even fucking draw,” but the crudeness of his visual accompaniment is intentional.

From "The Portable February" by David Berman

In this visual follow-up to his critically-acclaimed book of poetry, Actual Air, David Berman tasks himself with contemplating the missing socks in the laundry load of life. Able to portray human futility in one frame, as in “The Soul and its Shtick,” the book’s visual simplicity belies the complexity of thought, as in “Humbled by the Void,” while a casual humor defines another, like “Daytime Television.” In frames like “Irrational 15th Century Battle Scenes,” and “'We' stands for 'warn everybody,'” his playful love for humanity emerges, and in the sweet “All culture strives, folks,” you can take his beneficent observations to heart.

Berman’s inner and outer battles seep into the pages and the juxtaposition of impossibly insightful and wicked smart ideas hung on spare, but potent, frames is pure Berman. Read the rest

Man attempts illegal soak in Yellowstone acidic hot pool, is reduced to wallet and flip-flops

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Via a Freedom of Information Act request, Yellowstone National Park recently reported the tragic details of an accident last summer, where a 23 year old man dissolved after an illegal attempt to bathe in Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. He had gone 200 yards past the legal tourism area with his sister, who was recording on her cell phone when the incident happened. Luckily, that video has not been released.

Though search and rescue was attempted, Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress remarked, "in a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving" due to the churning, acidic water. The man was reaching down to test the temperature, with the intent to "hot pot," aka bathe in the steaming water, when he slipped and fell in.

Reports Wyoming's KURL news:

Search and rescue rangers who arrived later did find the victim's body in the pool, along with his wallet, and flip flops.  But, a lightning storm stopped the recovery efforts.  The next day, workers could not find any remains.  Veress says the water was churning, and acidic.

He remarked, "In a very short order, there  was a significant amount of dissolving"

Veress said the park posts warning signs for important reasons,  "… because it is wild and it hasn't been overly altered by people to make things a whole lot safer,  it's got dangers.  And a place like Yellowstone which is set aside because of the incredible geothermal resources that are here, all the more so."

Yellowstone is meant to be wild and preserved as such, so the park posts warning signs for this very reason. Read the rest

Yes, humans are capable of creating a happy and successful liberal society: The Netherlands

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As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.

It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works. 

We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:

The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest

Disney’s "Doc McStuffins" renewed after Twitter campaign: female African-American is its rare protagonist

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Disney just announced that Doc McStuffins, an animated show starring an African-American girl who fixes broken toys and wants to be a doctor, is renewed for its fifth season. Described as “Cheers for preschoolers,” its fans took to Twitter this summer wanting to know the show’s fate. The social media campaign was led by W. Kamau Bell, a self-described socio-political comedian and dad who hosts CNN’s United Shades of America. Bell tweeted today, "Doc McStuffins is one of the most important shows in the history of television.” Reports Variety:

Since the series debuted in 2012, it has won much admiration, particularly because it is difficult to find a female African-American protagonist who aspires to be a doctor in many mainstream cartoons.  A group of African-American female physicians, inspired by the program, formed the Artemis Medical Society, an organization which has a membership of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. First Lady Michelle Obama guest-starred as herself in an episode.

“Doc McStuffins” won a Peabody Award in 2015 and NAACP Image Awards in 2015 and 2016 in the  “Outstanding Children’s Program” category. Disney says the series averages 16 million views on the Disney Junior app, VOD and Hulu, and reaches 150 million viewers worldwide each quarter, and in the past year was ordered over 20 million times via set-top-box VOD.
Read the rest

Michael Moore’s to do list for a revolution: an intervention for liberals

Photo by David Shankbone

We have a new leader in America. Known for his distinct regional accent and often seen wearing a baseball cap at rallies, he starred in a show on NBC, and holds strong opinions about guns and the NRA. He may not be the leader you saw coming, but you're going to see a lot more of him: Michael Moore. The documentary filmmaker shuns the activist label he is often given. In a recent LA Times interview Moore asserted, "I'm not an activist, I'm a citizen. It's redundant to say I'm an activist. We all should be active." Moore has been very active, and has made films that take on some of America's most complex and controversial topics -- globalization, gun violence, 9/11, our healthcare system, the economy, war, and most recently, Donald Trump, someone he did see coming. Unlike the Democrats.

Moore tried to warn the left in July, when he wrote a piece titled simply "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. In it, he did not mince words: "Go ahead and say the words, 'cause you'll be saying them for the next four years: 'PRESIDENT TRUMP.' Never in my life have I wanted to be proven wrong more than I do right now." With his midwestern directness and efficiency, Moore then proceeded to list how and why Donald Trump was going to win.

Liberals feel aimless and powerless, falling all over each other trying to figure out what happened. Like teenagers at a party that went off the rails, some are locked in the bathroom crying, some are fighting amongst themselves, others are telling everyone it's going to be fine, and some are standing on the kitchen table yelling, trying to restore order in futility. Read the rest

Letter to my black daughter under a Trump presidency

Image: Carla Sinclair

Hi Kid,

On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn't fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your country. I said it was going to be OK. I explained that, "politics goes back and forth, and this year it just wasn't our turn. Remember when I was for Obama and you were for Hillary, and she lost the primary, but you ended up liking Obama?" Your thirteen year-old defiance broke through your tears, as you declared, "No, this is different!"

You then spouted off a litany of things I didn't know you thought much about:

"It's different because Donald Trump doesn't have the basic morals of everything our country stands for. He doesn't even have the morals of a normal Republican. It's not that the other side won. It's that the person who won is literally against half of the people in the country. He doesn't like Muslims, Mexicans, anyone who is LGBT, he definitely doesn't like women, or people of color. He doesn't like ME. It seems like he only likes people like himself -- white males. How can he be our president?"

He's our president because people voted for him and he won the election. I will be raising you under a Donald Trump presidency until you go to college in four years. Read the rest

Curses, superstition, and slaughtered billy goats: why the Cubs World Series win means your vote matters

Yes, Cubs fans are superstitious and butchery, but they're very patient.

Oh, just the 7th largest gathering of humans in history happened last week.

Five million of the most patient humans in the world -- Cubs fans -- descended on Chicago's lakefront last week to celebrate a victory that was against all odds. But win they did, ending the longest World Series drought in baseball history -- 108 years -- and the lifting of the Billy Goat Curse. Friday's event was the 7th largest get-together in human history, about a million shy of the 2015 papal visit to the Philippines. The rest of us can keep it simple and get a glimpse of the Cubs on The Tonight Show Monday. The event in Grant Park turned out to be a pretty tame party for Chicago, when you consider the things fans have done over the years to try to lift the curse.

Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis' pet goat Murphy was lacking in hygiene and was thusly ejected from Wrigley Field in 1945.

But first, what is the Billy Goat Curse? In 1945, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis and his goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the Cubs first World Series since 1908. Apparently the goat's odor was offensive, Sianis was offended and enraged, and legend has it that he declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs lost the game that day and haven't even been a contender in another World Series, let alone champions, in the 108 years since. Until last week. Read the rest

Sinatra’s bastard son covers "California Über Alles" by The Dead Kennedys - while suiting up

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In keeping with Boing Boing’s mission of being a “directory of mostly wonderful things,” here’s a new video by Frank Sinatra’s bastard son, performing an updated version of The Dead Kennedys’ song "California Über Alles" while changing backstage. OK, it’s not the actual bastard son of Sinatra. It’s Toby Huss of TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, playing his alter ego Rudy Casoni, (who does claim to be the lounge singer's illegitimate son). Huss-as-Casoni references the current political circus before throwing some 2016 shade at Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown with some updated lyrics. The video offers us a brief respite from the 24-hour Trump-centric Republican bashing (deserving as it may be), using casual visual wit, some cameos by comedic actors like Kate Flannery and James Urbaniak of The Office, Boing Boing pal Mark Fite, and some pretty stunning Frank-channeling vocal work--especially on the breakneck-speed chorus mid-song.

When I asked Huss why he made the video, he answered as Casoni, saying, "This shitbird parade of a presidential election has been trying to murder me for months now. So I fought back the only way I know how: with booze. Plenty of booze. But then a song. And then some drunken singing. Then I got sick all over a good suit and fell asleep in a warm dumpster behind a nightclub humming a punk rock tune. That's the Casoni way, so shove it. I know that bum Jerry Brown is behind this turdshow anyway, so I'm voting for Liquor. Read the rest

Halt and Catch Fire: The Most Relevant Show on Television is Set in the 80s

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With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it's drama you crave, but the Hillary v. Trump show is driving you to near-suicide, then the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire is your new best friend. Returning for its third season on Tuesday, August 23rd with a two-hour premiere, you'll still get your fix of intriguing plot twists, flawed personalities, and high stakes, but without the partisan tantrums and pre-apocalyptic anxiety.

What the Hell is this Show About?

The show's title refers to the computing term (HCF), "Halt and Catch Fire," an early technical command that sends a computer into race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained. The namesake series takes place in the personal computing boom of the 80s, when IBM was dictator, and before "website" was a word. Though HCF is categorized as a "workplace drama," you could say the same thing about Breaking Bad, and you'd be completely missing the point--and the thrill--of both shows.

To "break bad" is a colloquialism used in the American South meaning to challenge authority. Breaking Bad and HCF have three important things in common: obscure, nondescript titles that run the risk of losing potential viewers who need their plot summaries spoon-fed and hashtagged, a committed, forward-thinking home on AMC Networks, and the consistently visionary TV producer Melissa Bernstein. Read the rest

Prophets of Rage play Cleveland RNC, kick off 'Make America Rage Again' tour in 35 U.S. cities

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The Republican National Convention will have an unwelcome soundtrack this week from activist supergroup Prophets of Rage.

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Police arrest man with guns headed to L.A. Pride

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On Sunday, June 12, Santa Monica Police arrested James Wesley Howell, 20, of Indiana. His car was found with long rifles, magazine clips, boxes of bullets, a rifle scope, and "chemicals capable of forming an improvised explosive device."

Read the rest

Prince: death by ignorance and fear

Image: Nicolas Genin / Flickr

There it was on my Facebook feed this week: Trending: Prince. Why was Prince a trending topic when he’d been found dead a month ago? Then I learned his official cause of death had just been released: “Accidental Fentanyl toxicity.” In other words, he unintentionally overdosed on a drug he was taking to treat chronic pain. After reading the comments on the various new Prince articles, it hit me: though Prince’s body died of opioid overdose, the autopsy report may as well have said “death by ignorance and fear,” both his own, and the public’s.

If “death by ignorance and fear” sounds inflammatory and sensational, stop and think about it. Why on earth would anyone wait to get medical help for something that could kill them? Would you furtively seek treatment if you realized you had something potentially fatal? Would you wait until things were so bad that your life was literally falling apart and you were afraid you might die? No. You’d rightly engage in proactive self-care and get professional medical treatment, with no fear that anyone would proclaim you as weak-willed and morally bankrupt. You would do it with no fear that it might permanently damage your reputation, your career, or negatively affect your family. But that’s not the case with addiction and mental health.

Because of his fear of what had become his “secret” getting out to the public, Prince passed off an emergency plane landing due to overdose as “the flu.” The public’s eyes were on him, and treatment that would have saved his life was delayed. Read the rest

Babes in Toyland's Maureen Herman's most memorable Christmases

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[My friend Maureen Herman, former bassist of Babes in Toyland is currently writing her first book, It's a Memoir, Motherfucker, due out 2017. Maureen posted this to Facebook, and she kindly gave me permission to run it on Boing Boing. - Mark]

We got our Christmas decorations out tonight. To me, Christmas is an annual milestone that makes me look around at where I am in my life. It makes me want to do better. Next year, I want to soar. I want to dissolve every hurt and injury in a flurry of words and wit and hard-won wisdom, then hand it into my publisher in triumph. I want to skip around and say, “I did it! I did it!” I want to thank everyone who said I could do it, and I want to thank the ones who said I never would, because that was inspiring, too.

Merry Christmas, my sweet motherfuckers! I hope yours is truly merry and bright -- and if it’s not, I hope you know that every Christmas will be different, and in our memories, the hard ones end up serving as a contrast to appreciate the easier ones to come. That is how it’s been for me from the very beginning.

My very first memory is from one Christmas Eve in 1970, where I was at a big family party where everyone was laughing and happy. It was amidst the reverie that an older relative sexually assaulted me. Shocked and embarrassed, I said nothing. Read the rest

We are all just two or three crises away from the street

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I live in an apartment which is part of a motel. Some residents live permanently in the regular guest rooms. There are about five of us "regulars." We all get along -- a screenwriter, a family, two bachelor brothers, the nice single lady, and me with my daughter. They recently raised everyone's rent by the highest percentage possible.

So today I was walking by Manhattan Bagel, and there's the nice single lady -- she dresses well and always shopped at Trader Joe's. But she's on the street now. Homeless. She couldn't afford the price jump and can't find anywhere safe that is as cheap. She cried at seeing me, embarrassed. I gave her $20 and said she could come over and use my shower any time until she gets things figured out.

I've had some troubles on my mind this week. Severe, complex troubles in all areas of my life. But I am so grateful that at least I have a place to live today. The money scene is challenging now with losing the band job so suddenly [Maureen was the bassist in Babes in Toyland -- Mark]. It is an adjustment, but I'll get through.

I've been homeless in New York. I know how quickly it can happen, and seeing my neighbor reminded me that we are all just two or three crises away from the street. This is how it happens. One last bad break, and the neat and organized woman in #125 now lives in the alley behind the bagel shop. Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

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Yesterday, President Obama defined rape in a news conference. Last week the Cosby rapes and disclosure by The Runaways' Jackie Fox were in the news. As if on cue, a surprisingly entertaining and critically-acclaimed documentary dealing with the childhood rapes of comedian and political satirist Barry Crimmins will be released in theaters across the country early next month. Call Me Lucky is directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and initially funded by the late Robin Williams, it received three standing ovations at its premiere at Sundance. It is a gripping, complex, enlightening, poignant and witty film. Watch the trailer to see what I mean, and then buy your tickets in the town near you.

RELATED: Barry Crimmins interviewed on Boing Boing about Call Me Lucky.

Rape disclosure and the need to talk about it openly is finally reaching critical mass -- and Barry Crimmins, who says, "tell somebody, tell everybody" in the film, is a hero. Wait til you discover what he did to stop child predators on a national scale. #tellsomebodytelleverybody

AUG 07 New York NY - IFC Center

AUG 07 Washington DC - Angelika Pop-Up Union Market

AUG 07 Beverly Hills CA - Laemmle Music Hall

AUG 07 Santa Ana CA - The Frida Cinema

AUG 07 Austin TX - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar

AUG 14 San Francisco CA - Landmark Opera Plaza

AUG 15 Las Vegas NV - Las Vegas Film Festival

AUG 21 Cleveland OH - Capitol Theater

AUG 28 Seattle WA - SIFF Cinema

SEP 04 Columbus OH - Gateway Film Center

SEP 16 Winchester VA - Alamo Drafthouse Winchester

SEP 25 Auburn NY - Auburn Public Theater

SEP 26 Auburn NY - Auburn Public Theater Read the rest

The Jackie Fox rape disclosure shows we still have a lot to learn

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Ignorance about rape can tragically mute any instinct to protect or tell

The Jesus Lizard Book – The story of the ’90s influential and iconic indie-rock band

You don’t need to be a fan of The Jesus Lizard or even the indie-rock genre to appreciate what this iconic band accomplished. They recorded seven albums in eight years, created dynamic and inimitable music, and played 1000+ legendary live shows. Their superhuman touring schedule is captured perfectly on the first page in a photo of the band’s tour van odometer, turning over from 99,999 to 00000. The story of this influential '90s band transcends rock memorabilia or memoir, and unfolds an instructive tale of artistic triumph in the delicate balance between commerce and art.

It’s the victory of the underdog, it’s David vs. the Goliath of the major label record industry. It’s an inside look at the creative and business choices artists in any field must face as they work toward that elusive stage that defines success.

Steve Albini, famous for his work recording Nirvana’s last album, In Utero, said this of the band: “When I think of The Jesus Lizard, I think of them as the greatest band I’ve ever seen, as the best musicians I’ve ever worked with, and as the purest melding of the sublime and the profane.”

The Jesus Lizard Book was designed by vocalist and artist David Yow, with most of the content painstakingly recorded by the band’s exacting bassist, David Wm. Sims. All four band members contribute their perspective and experiences, in a loose structure starting with the band members’ backgrounds, how the band formed, each studio recording, and their astounding performance chronology. Read the rest

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