Al Franken Does Mick Jagger

This made my night. As news is coming out of Minnesota that the state Canvassing Board is ready to certify Al Franken as the winner of the very close senate race there, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo was ready and waiting with this oh-so-excellent vintage Franken and Davis clip from Solid Gold.

--Bruce (via TPM)

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

Traditions That Make You Feel Good

As 40somethings raising kids, we seem to have finally outgrown celebrating the start of the new year by getting real drunk and staying up late. We still stay up past midnight as a matter of pride, but we’ve slowly shifted the emphasis to New Year’s Day festivities, which include eating traditional meals, plus discussing the highlights of the previous year and hopes for the new one. In other words, we focus on traditions that make us feel good, not hungover.

Growing up in New Mexico, it was instilled in me that it's absolutely necessary to eat posole on January 1. And since my ancestors moved to New Mexico from Arkansas and other southern locales, it's also imperative that everyone in my family eat at least one bite of black-eyed peas on Jan. 1 to secure good luck for the new year. A few years I made a cheesecake or lemon tart for New Year's Day, hiding one almond in the pie. This is another good luck token, which I must have read about somewhere along the line. I find these traditions, almost always related to food and celebrations, to be fascinating, and I hope lots of you readers will share your traditions in the comments.

Along those lines, The New York Times put up a fun slideshow about new year's traditions from around the globe.

The highlights of 2008 for all of us were the outcome of the election and various family trips we took. Bruce loved NYC, Kindy enjoyed a couple of overnights in San Francisco, and Arlo loved spending a week hiking and swimming on the Eel River. Read the rest


Heather Moore, the talented proprietor and blogger of Skinny Laminx, recently wrote a couple of CAPTCHA security code poems that speak to the wordsmith inside me. The comments about them are pretty interesting and creative as well. Here’s one of Heather’s poems:

Aingee Chedge criestme orstsper! Shanesto... Foref, myrac, munmanc, Torse? Hanim equin padwo? Picar! Mingin! Corses aingee...

Skinny Laminx Security Poetry

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest


Our friend Brookelynn, who btw is a terrific crafter and all-around amazing human being, says she's made up a new word, cephalerotica. She writes:
"It describes the amazing art that combines the erotic with the octopus. I have been collecting images for a few years now, and have a Flickr set of them."

Most of the images in the set are NSFW, and a couple of them actually make me feel downright Victorian in my sensibilities. At the same time, it's a fascinating collection of old and new representations of an obscure variant in human sexuality, which seems to be popular here on Boing Boing.


Cephalerotica Flickr Set

Previously: 1980s Japanese commercial for anti-itch remedy Tentacle arms for squishy fun Rune Olsen's twisting sculptures Fight for your right to tentacle porn Octopussy

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

Benefits for S. Clay Wilson

Underground comic icon S. Clay Wilson suffered a severe injury in November. He will need extensive rehabilitation, and friends and family are putting on some benefits to help with the massive medical costs. If the incredibly troublesome and twisted art of this man has entertained or helped you in any way, please consider helping out if you can.

Here's some info and links:

S. Clay Wilson Noise Benefit Jan 11 at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, starting at 6 p.m.

Mojo Lounge Benefit Jan 24th at the Mojo Lounge in Fremont, CA. The Dave Walker Band will play from 3 to 7 and there will be a raffle afterward with CDs, artwork, amp repair coupons and other donations, as well as comic books and art for sale during the performance. All proceeds will directly help pay for S. Clay's medical expenses.

Steve Duin's Oregonian columns covering the story.

There's also an address where donations can be sent: P.O. Box 14854 San Francisco, CA 94114

--Bruce (Thanks, Howard!)

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

Resources for Sustainable Living

My brother, Abe, and his wife, Josie, built an amazing house down in Terlingua, Texas, basically out of mud and empty bottles. OK, that’s oversimplifying it, but they built the dwelling with their own hands, mostly out of adobe, rocks they collected from their property, and other scrounged materials. It’s a beautiful, self-sufficient abode that includes a rainwater catchment system, solar and wind power, and a groovy Tolkienesque fireplace. They’ve now moved to the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, and are working on another house while raising a new baby.

During it all, they’ve been chronicling their work and documenting their research, so that others can benefit from their mistakes (just a few) and hard-earned knowledge (lots and lots). For anyone considering a life off the grid, or just interested in what it takes, their Vela Creations website is a great resource, full of practical information and in-depth how-tos.


Vela Creations

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

Free High Res Images of Earth

If you desire high-resolution images of the Earth, the good folks at Unearthed Outdoors have made available the 250m True Marble image set for a free download with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. It's a map of the Earth made up of 32 tiles, where each tile is a 21,000 pixel square, available in png and tif formats. There's also a series of smaller files that may be more useful -- in case you don't need a map of the Earth that ends up being 84,000 pixels tall and 168,000 pixels across. Printed at 600 dpi, that's about 12 feet by 24 feet!

Happy New Year! (Thanks, Mikael!)

Unearthed Outdoors True Marble Imagery

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

Billie Holiday Sings "Strange Fruit"

We often listen to Billie Holiday albums on slow-moving Sunday mornings. This version of "Strange Fruit" is remarkable and haunting to watch.

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

The One Man Living Cartoon Factory

This isn't new, but a quick search finds no prior mentions of Ennio Marchetto on Boing Boing and I'm sure many of you will appreciate the One Man Living Cartoon Factory. This clip is from a show in Amsterdam in 2004.

Thanks, Susan!

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

The Octonauts Are Where It’s At

As promised, here’s a post about kids’ books, and specifically Meomi’s fabulous The Octonauts series.

We’ve tried to give Mark F. credit for turning us on to The Octonauts, but he refuses to take it, going so far to insist that he’s never seen these books. OK, fine. The books in question are The Only Lonely Monster, The Sea of Shade, and the new release, The Frown Fish. All hold the attention of the grownups, the teenager, and the school-age tike in the house. Seriously, everyone should run out and get these.

But how to describe the books? They’re cute and creative. There’s a hip Japanese influence and engaging storylines. The 6-year-old says, “They live under the sea in a big Octopod. They’re cool. They have adventures.” Nuff said.

The Octonauts

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

More Resistance to Free Range Kids

I know Lenore Skenazy’s terrific blog, Free-Range Kids, has been mentioned on BB before, but IMHO it’s relevant, especially when our kids are home from school for two weeks and we as parents have to choose between letting them zone out for hours with the new videogame Santa brought them, or giving them the opportunity to explore the world around them and perhaps push their abilities with a difficult project.

For Skenazy, Christmas Day included a call from the police about her son because he was trying to ride a commuter train by himself to visit a friend. The friend’s parents were waiting on the other end, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for the train conductor. She describes their experience:

He – Izzy – has ridden this route solo a dozen times before. It’s a straight shot on a commuter train and, as always, he was being met at the other end by his friend’s family. But today’s conductor was appalled to see a boy riding alone.

For some reason, the conductor wouldn’t talk to me, even though Izzy called from the train when the ordeal began. The man had no interest in hearing me state what Izzy had already been telling him: We believe a child of 10 is perfectly capable of taking a half hour journey by himself.

So instead the conductor and his superior got off at Izzy’s stop and then, as the train just sat there (I’m sure no one was a rush to get to their families on Christmas day), they awaited the police.

Read the rest

Another Tuvan Throat-singing Bluesman

Since Tuvan throat-singing seems to be a popular topic around here, I wanted to shine a little light on another throat-singing bluesman from the Bay Area, Seth Augustus. That's Seth on the right in the photo above, way out in the Tiaga in Tuva. Seth studied under Tuvan throat-singing master Paul Pena, and you can check out music from his latest CD on his music site (warning, flash-based interface ahead). From Seth's bio:

Soon after hearing Tuvan music, Augustus met the legendary Bluesman and self-taught throatsinger, Paul Pena (Ghenghis Blues), who mentored him in throatsinging, as well as vocals and Blues guitar. The two became close friends during the last 6 years of Paul's life. In 2000, Seth traveled to Tuva, began to study with throatsinging masters from the group Chirgilchin, and learned to play the Igil (Tuvan 2-stringed fiddle). All of this has colored and lodged itself into his sound.

Seth is playing a free gig this Friday in San Francisco, so if you live in the Bay Area and like this kind of music, head over to the Mission this Friday night. Here's the details from Seth:

I'm doing a free show in San Francisco this Friday, January 2nd at the Socha Cafe, 3225 Mission Street (@ Valencia), from 8 - 11 pm. It's usually pretty quiet there so we'd love it if you come out and help us fill up the place. They have great food/beer/wine and joining me will be Ricky Garrett on drums and possibly Lemon Degeorge on harmonica.
Read the rest

Best Astronomy Images of 2008 Talk in NYC

Dr. Robert J. Nemiroff, the editor of the wonderful Astronomy Picture of the Day site, will be giving a free talk in NYC this Friday, showing off his picks for the best astronomy images of 2008. From the announcement:

As happens every year around this time, an editor of APOD will be reviewing the Best Astronomy Images of 2008 in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History. This year the lecture occurs on Friday, January 2. The lecture begins at 6:15 pm and runs roughly one hour. The lecture will be held in the Kaufmann Auditorium and will be free for all to attend.

Of course, you can pick your own favorites from their massive archive of the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the Internet. The picture here is an x-ray image of the Crab Pulsar wind nebula. (Thanks, Howard!)


(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest

A Michael Franti Christmas

Music, film, kids' books, and yoga. It must be a Michael Franti Christmas. At least that's how it felt around our house this year, and it was all my fault. I bought the limited edition boxed set release of Franti's latest CD, All Rebel Rockers, for our 13-year-old (and myself), his beautifully illustrated children's book, What I Be, for our 6-year-old, and his Yoga DVD for Shawn.

I admit right off the bat that I'm a huge Michael Franti and Spearhead fan, and I'm sure many readers of Boing Boing are at least familiar with some of their music. But I couldn't pass up this opportunity to turn on some others to this inspiring man and offer up a few links. Franti's music is hard to categorize, but if you like reggae, hip-hop, and funky beats with intelligent and positive lyrics, I highly recommend checking him out. For me, grooving to the Sly and Robbie-powered dub versions from All Rebel Rockers was a highlight of my holiday.

As I read about the latest news of more violence in Gaza, I also can’t recommend enough Franti’s 2005 documentary film about the Iraq war and the Middle East, I Know I’m Not Alone. I had the fortunate opportunity to take my son to a screening of I Know I’m Not Alone that Franti presented at a local high school, and we both found it to be a deeply moving film and experience. I was a little concerned about taking my young son to a documentary about war, but Franti has an amazing ability to take on the most serious, heavy, and depressing topics and still offer an uplifting message. Read the rest

Best Present We Saw this Year

Hi Boingers!

We’re excited to be doing this and are honored to be included with such esteemed bloggers, both the regulars and the guests! We’ll be posting on a diversity of topics, with less sex and hip culture, and more kids’ books, dub music, skulls, jellyfish, and working toward sustainable living (or at least raising chickens and growing lettuce). Bruce is a political blog junkie and techno-gadget geek, while Shawn leans toward crafty blogs and irreverent humor, so be prepared for something like The Huffington Post meets Postcards From Yo Momma and Cool Tools paired with Design Sponge.

To start things off, we’d like to share the best Christmas present we’ve seen this year. Our friends Dave and Jen Sims got stuck in Thailand for an extra week after Thanksgiving due to the protests that closed the Bangkok airport. They finally made it home and just got these T-shirts as a gift:

The background image is a real photo of the protesters who took over the airport in Bangkok. You can read more about their experience here and here. Did you get any special gifts or see any that struck your fancy? Tell us about them in the Comments.

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers) Read the rest