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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

Darth Vader announces Ukraine presidency bid

Photo: Reuters

Promising to restore the former soviet republic's downtrodden fortunes, Darth Vader announced his plans to run for election as its president. AFP:

The Sith lord, or at least an unnamed costumed protester often seen on Kiev's Independence Square flanked by his loyal stormtroopers during the winter protests, has been chosen as the official candidate of the Ukrainian Internet party (UIP) which has become known for its theatrical public stunts.

"After winning intra-party primaries by a landslide, comrade Vader will be our party's candidate," said the UIP leader, Dmitry Golubov, who spent time in prison after being convicted of using the internet to run a credit card fraud scheme.

Man swept to sea in beach baptism

The search for a 43-year old man, swept out to sea during a baptism on a south California beach, was called off this weekend: "A wave pulled three people into the ocean about 10 a.m. off Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve and only two managed to return to shore on their own." [AP] Rob 23

Job-hunting tip of the day: don't include dick picks with resume

A man who sent a potential employer a photograph of his penis along with his curriculum vitae remained unemployed as of Monday, reports the Dallas Observer. Rob 20

Cat facts with Ann Childers

Do you find that people have a strange reaction to your cat? Do you ever wonder who taste-tests cat food? Ann Childers answers these questions and more in the VHS edition of Kittens to Cats. [Video Link]

Fewer, but better clothes

Wardrobe minimalism, personal minimalism, fashion minimalism—it represents concern at the amount of trash we generate and the money we waste, but also a continued fixation on defining ourselves through things. Europeans, writes Keila Tyner, have the balance right: "we should consider how all the cheap clothing we buy may be indirectly costing us much more than we realize." Rob 36

How a Pepsi consultant burned a "$400k game jam" down

Just imagine being invited to a televised game development jam, reportedly sponsored by Pepsi to the tune of $400k, where you'd be among a dozen contestants organized into teams to compete for prizes. Imagine accommodating oneself to what GAME_JAM turned out to be, with demanding legal waivers and a pressurized Kitchen Nightmares-style format. Then imagine that the guy in charge--a consultant named Matti Leshem--asks you “Do you think you’re at an advantage because you have a pretty girl on your team?”

"He got a rise out of me," reports participant Adriel Wallick. "He got me to, with an embarrassed and flushed red face launch into a statement about how his question is indicative of everything that is wrong in our industry in terms of sexism. That no, we weren’t at an advantage because we had a woman on our team – we were at an advantage because I’m a damn fine programmer and game developer. We were at an advantage because my skills allowed us to be at an advantage – not my 'pretty face'."

Read the rest

Elfquest Gallery Edition

Dark Horse is releasing a "Gallery Edition" of the first five issues of Elfquest (previously), my favorite fantasy comic book of all time.

These are high-quality reproductions of the original art boards, right down to corrections, construction lines, pencil smudges and the grain of the paper: "Each page is carefully scanned from Wendy Pini’s original art to capture every stroke and detail. At 12 1/8" by 17", it’s as close to holding Pini’s original art as a fan can get."

The first two issues of the new Elfquest series are available in comic stores, or online on DH's website/iOS/Android app.

Elfquest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition [Amazon]

The first paragraph of the screenplay for Miami Vice (2006)

We are at the delicate interface between ocean and air...liquid and gas...the event horizon where molecules evaporate. This interchange is ethereal. Then, low frequencies rumble through depths...louder...closer, now... And the ocean surface is torn by a 46-foot catamaran and the ROAR of 2,700 horsepower, rocketing at us at 140 knots...

I was hoping to see the word "liminal", but you can't have everything.

Miami Vice, by Michael Mann [Daily Script via Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Same-sex weddings begin in England and Wales


The UK government's cabinet office flies the rainbow flag in London, March 29.

England passed laws extending marriage to same-sex couples some time ago, but legislation proceeds at a positively tantric pace in the mother country. The first same-sex weddings finally took place this weekend, with Sir Elton eager to get in on the action.

Though the Church of England is ostensibly "banned" from officiating gay weddings--a peculiarly British accommodation to its state religion--the church itself is already wavering in the face of its members' desire to wed in the nation's beautiful churches. And that's not to mention its own priests' desire to wed their same-sex lovers...

Reader's Digest a "stooge" of China

Readers Digest was once a staunch anticommunist publication. As recently as 2012, its editors spoke of its churchy conservatism in response to claims of ideological decline. Today, however, its website is a bland BuzzFeed clone and it agrees to censor international publications at the behest of its Chinese printers. If the irony is only as deep as Beijing's vestigial socialist pretenses, perhaps a new maxim is needed to embody the power of the printing press—one less about who buys ink by the barrel and more about who sells it. Rob 7

Why a charity changed its name

UK charity Scope serves the disabled. Twenty years ago, it was known as The Spastics Society. The decision to change its name came as a medical term shifted to become a childish term of mockery.

“In the build-up to making the decision to change the name at all, a defining moment was when we saw the research that showed that young parents of disabled children were not associating with The Spastics Society," said Richard Brewster, who was then the charity's communications director. "What the research said was that our future was walking away from us.”

The new name was selected because of the linguistic difficulty of turning it into an insult, a pattern followed by various other UK charities. The cost, reports the BBC, is weak branding that "haunts the charities because of their earnest positivity," though I suspect that this is a problem that only able-bodied Britons worry themselves with.

Scope's research shows that disabled people are far less subject to abuse than they were 20 years ago, but still deal with significant discrimination in services and employment.

Ferrari improved

Kickboxing world champion Riyadh Al-Azzawi improved his $300,000 Ferrari 458 Spider by coating the tasteless factory paint job with a subtle vinyl gold coating. One may even touch it free of charge.

Death penalty still popular among whites, but support declining

Nearly two thirds of white people support the death penalty, with evangelical protestants bloodthirstiest of all. Black Americans favor it the least, with only 36 percent in favor of executing murderers. The findings are part of the 2013 Pew survey, in which 55% of Americans say they favor the ultimate punishment for murderers. It's falling fast, though, down from 78% twenty years ago. But it is because of changing beliefs about the morality of killing people, or because there are simply too many appalling mistakes? Rob 57

Does Diablo 3's expansion pack make loot lovable again?

After a decade in development, Diablo 3 was a let-down. Can it be fixed? The first expansion pack admits the mistakes, killing the real-money auction house, improving loot in general, and adding a new act and character class. Alas, it's not enough. Rich Stanton soon grew bored again:
Diablo 3 is not a long-term game – that bedrock concept of what loot is, and why it’s valuable to players, is flawed. Look: I love loot. You’re reading about Diablo 3, so I bet you love loot too. But this is Excel loot, stat loot, loot where the only difference you’ll ever see is visual and the feel never changes. Scrooge McDuck doesn’t sit there looking at his gold, does he? That old duck dives right in. You need to feel treasure for it to be real, and it’s bizarre that creating a sense of virtual weight is one of Blizzard’s specialities – yet Loot 2.0, despite the claims of ‘playstyle-altering’ properties, doesn’t deliver.

Lettuce attack leads to charges

A New Zealand man was sentenced Monday after admitting to attacking his mother with a lettuce. He threw the leafy vegetable at her during a domestic argument, and will spend nine months on probation and receive treatment for alcohol, drug and anger management issues. [via] Rob 39