Rachel McInnis is pretty serious about CrossFit. She's dedicated. She's strong. She's 14 years old.
Let me tell you about my favorite spot in all Korea. I won't name it, since I don't want to take the blame when, for other reasons, it inevitably gets too popular.
But I will say that you'll find it near a major Seoul art school. You have to go down some stairs to get to it, but once you enter, you'll find that you've gone not just underground, but back in time. There you can eat a mean plate of tofu kimchi, drink a stiff Long Beach iced tea, and spend the evening listening to the DJ of the night's selections from their wall of Korean vinyl records from the 60s, 70s, and 80s — and only those.
This might sound unremarkable if you engage in the West's, or even Japan's, thriving retro culture, but this place's singular focus on the music of thirty, forty, fifty years ago — and on the domestic music of thirty, forty, fifty years ago at that — makes it a true oddity in Korea. The Korean historical consciousness has long fascinated me: they'll tell you all sorts of stories from way back in the country's "5,000 years of unbroken history," but if you mention a ten-year-old song, they'll wonder what could ever interest you about such an irrelevant artifact.
I've heard of this conflict, or at least misunderstanding, erupting with some frequency and in various domains between Koreans and Korea-resident foreigners, especially Westerners, from music to style to architecture: many of the latter came to enjoy the very same elements of the culture many of the former would prefer to leave behind. It only exacerbates the situation when Koreans assume the Westerners got interested in Korea because of modern "K-pop." Trust me on this one: they did not get interested because of modern K-pop.
But they may have got interested because of old K-pop, or whatever came before K-pop proper. Here you can listen to three extended — and I mean extended — mixes of just that: pure Korean pop hits from the 70s and 80s, each clocking in around six hours. I can fire up any one of them and feel transported straight back into that favorite Seoul bar of mine, though I have to do without their decor of meticulously curated vintage electronics, fake palm trees, and — bizarrely, for a Los Angeles resident such as myself — posters of California.
So what draws me to this ever-more-distant time in a foreign land that I never could have even come close to experiencing first-hand? Many aspects do, but I find that one comes first to mind, something for which Korea has more recently grown quite famous indeed: plastic surgery. That is to say, they did a lot less of it in the 70s and 80s. Why do I consider that a good thing? Let's just say the proof is in the pop star.
Queen Elizabeth I’s court advisor was the foremost scientific genius of the 16th century, laying the foundation of modern science. Then teamed up with a disreputable, criminal psychic and things really got rolling.Read the rest
Attorney General Holder raised some eyebrows yesterday when answering a question about his Justice Department’s notorious crackdown on leaks, and by extension the press, most notably saying this about its notorious pursuit of New York Times reporter James Risen, while claiming the DOJ did nothing wrong:
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My kids are in the habit of using a new glass every time they get a drink of water. As a result, the top rack of our dishwasher fills up much faster than the bottom rack.
I bought a set of 13 squishy rubber Creepy Creatures suction-cup glass markers ($4) so everyone in the family can claim a water glass for the day. These markers were meant for halloween party wineglasses, but they stick to water glasses any time of the years. We keep them on the tile backsplash under the glass cabinet.
Zach Norris of Phoenix entered a Goodwill to buy a golf equipment carrier. On his way out, he rummaged through the used watch bin and found a watch with "LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm" on the dial, priced at $5.99.
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Net neutrality advocates StopTheSlowDown want your messages to put on a jumbotron outside the FCC, which will issue a historic ruling on February 26 concerning how the internet works.
This is urgent: Telecom lobbyists are swarming Washington to insert legal loopholes so they can slow your favorite websites to a crawl. With so many websites based in the U.S., the future of the entire Internet itself is at stake. We’re parking an “Internet Voice” JUMBOTRON right in front of the FCC to make sure your voice is heard. Add your message now and we’ll make sure they see it
"'She was having trouble adjusting her bra holster, couldn't get it to fit the way she wanted it to. She was looking down at it and accidentally discharged the weapon,' said St. Joseph Public Safety Director Mark Clapp." (via MLive)
Saul Bass (1920-1996) was the inventor and master of modern movie title designs. Read the rest
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If the anti-consumerist ethos of Fight Club were translated into a Minecraft game, it might look a little like Keep Working, an "interactive music video" by a developer known as Bean Chon.
As you navigate your blocky, repetitive life, you're bombarded by pop-up advertisements that turn the world into a sort of walking catalog, admonishing you to stop being a loser and start living the good life."A HARD WORKER WILL BE A SUCCESS," insists the poster over your bed. As your daily grind grows old, and fails to offer these promised rewards, things take a darker turn. Try it out at Game Jolt or Itch.io. (You'll need Unity Web Player to play it.)
We've already seen, in the pages of Boing Boing, several unions of technology and the aesthetics of Dutch neoplasticist painter Piet Mondrian. We've seen a Mondrian PC, a kinda-sorta Mondrian Creative Zen MP3 player (remember those?), and a Mondrian cake. (I don't know about you, but I consider cakes one of the noblest forms of technology.)
But now we've got the lowdown on perhaps the earliest Mondrian-tech collaboration: Japanese philosopher-programmer Hiroshi Kawano's 1964 algorithmic Mondrians. Overhead Compartment's Claudio Rivera has the story:
Why an artificial Mondrian? Perhaps there’s an obvious and immediate affinity between his iconic compositions and such computer-generated figures as those that appeared in Japan’s IBM Review in 1964. But Hiroshi Kawano did not simply digitize Piet Mondrian; it could be stated inversely that he was among the first to Mondrianize digital art. The visualization of color and form for Kawano follows from an apparently vital aesthetic process in which analysis bears the same “artificial” relation to programming as reduction might bear to painting. One is inclined to ask — What other kind of Mondrian could there possibly be?
Kawama spoke of his work in precise and programmatic terms, seemingly adopting a physics of predictive lab experimentation at the exclusion of messy empirical studies undertaken en plein air. The syntax and logical operators of the OKI symbolic input programming language, which served as his medium, constitute an experimental “style” in the artisanal, perhaps even botanical sense—a meaning retained in the Dutch “De Stijl”—and thereby invoke a rodlike connection, jamb, joint, or post. If algorithmic art hinges along such vertices, Kawano’s fascination is with its pivotal motion.
The piece's prose may take you a bit longer than usual to process, granted, but I think the appeal of Kawano's hyper-pixelated yet bleeding-edge midcentury take on Mondrian speaks for itself — just as do "real" Mondrians themselves.
Here’s a very brief history of humorist Harvey Kurtzman’s career: He created the comic book MAD for EC comics in 1952. EC’s publisher, William Gaines, owned MAD outright, and refused to give Kurtzman a percentage. Kurtzman’s new friend, Hugh Hefner (a MAD fan who created Playboy) lured Kurtzman away from MAD by letting Kurtzman launch an expensive color humor magazine for Playboy called Trump. But Hefner shut it down after two issues and Kurtzman was out of a job.
Kurtzman couldn’t go back to MAD, and he never regained his footing. He tried publishing his own magazine, Humbug. It failed. He tried again with a magazine called HELP! It, too, suffered a similar end.
It’s a sad fate for this brilliant humorist and cartoonist, who nurtured the careers of many successful creators, including Robert Crumb, Terry Gilliam, and Art Spiegelman. Crumb, who contributed to Kurtzman’s HELP!, called Kurtzman a “tragic hero.”
Jungle Book was Kurtzman’s attempt to produce an ongoing series of long-form satirical comic stories over which he retained creative control. in 1959 he proposed the idea to paperback publisher Ian Ballantine, who had made a great deal of money publishing MAD paperbacks consisting of reprints of MAD magazine articles (almost all of which were written by Kurtzman). Based on the past success of the MAD paperbacks, Jungle Book would surely be a success, figured Kurtzman and Ballantine. As Denis Kitchen, producer of this new edition of Jungle Book, writes in his essay, “Both men would be very disappointed.”
The original Jungle Book paperback was a commercial flop. Kurtzman, who had a wife and three kids (one of them severely autistic) to support, never earned out his puny $1,500 advance. To add insult to injury, the Ballantine edition was poorly printed on cheap pulp paper, making Kurtzman’s delicate line art and sumptuously varied ink washes look crude and blotchy. He never did another Jungle Book again.
This 2014 edition, edited and designed by John Lind, is how Jungle Book should have been presented. Kurtzman’s four satirical stories (lampooning popular TV show genres of the era) are a treat to behold. This edition includes great new material, including the aforementioned article by Kitchen, an introduction by Kurtzman protégé Gilbert Shelton (creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), another introduction by another protégé, Art Spiegelman, and an interview with cartoonists Peter Poplaski and Robert Crumb about the book. It’s a fitting tribute to a talented, unlucky creative genius.
Jungle Book is the first volume published in the “Essential Kurtzman” series that cartoonist and underground comic book publisher Denis Kitchen launched at Dark Horse.
In this new episode of Sword and Laser podcast, we have a whole Wheel of Time pilot mystery to solve, and then on top of it, George RR Martin says any character in the Game of Thrones series could be killed even if they’re safe in the book. WHAT?! Hands off the Imp!
Also, we explore the mystery of why Tom didn’t like Annihilation more, even though he wanted to.
The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!
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From following their grandchildren around at kindergarten to hanging slanderous banners outside their homes to hacking their email to sending funeral wreaths to their doors, the leaders of Hong Kong's anticorruption Occupy Central movement face persistent, ongoing reprisals for their political activity.
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Salesperson: Would you like your bag monogrammed?
Salesperson: Yes. You can have three letters mon—"
Salesperson: No, ma'am, I mean y—
Heather: BAG. B-A-G.
Heather: Thank you.
Telegraph's lead political writer resigns because of censorship of criticism of advertisers, especially HSBC
Peter Osborne was the head political writer at the Telegraph, a rock-ribbed conservative paper owned by the shadowy Barclay brothers; he quit after seeing the paper soft-pedal and downplay scandals involving its major advertisers, and broke his silence once he learned that the paper had squashed stories of illegal tax-avoidance schemes run by HSBC.
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Classic Movie Themes claims this show is a cult classic. I just somehow remember it as being really good. Here is the pilot episode.
Winter is drawing to a close in California, and that means shedding time. I use a combination of brushes to keep my home, and my Great Pyrenees, manageable.