Listen to the soldiers' musical soundtrack of the Vietnam War


We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers' musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam experience and our understanding of it.

At KQED's Next Avenue, Bradley shared the "Top 10 Songs of Vietnam" mentioned by the hundreds soldiers they interviewed for the book. Here are the top three with Bradley's comments on them:

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals

No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!

2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The Fish

Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its politics.

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On Sale Today: A Visual Guide to Drink, an imbiber’s delight from the minds of Pop Chart Lab

Visual Guide jacket image

Pop Chart Lab was founded in 2010 by a book editor and a designer, with the modest goal of rendering all of human experience in chart form. Since then they’ve charted a wide array of cultural touchstones. A Visual Guide to Drink is Pop Chart Lab’s comprehensive volume of its most important topics in graphical form: beer, wine, and spirits.

Containing everything from the many varieties of beer and the vessels from which to drink them, to cocktails of choice in film and literature, A Visual Guide to Drink maps, graphs, and charts the history, geography, and culture of the world’s very favorite pastime. The domestic beer-drinking novice and whisk(e)y aficionado alike will relish this perfectly practical primer awash in essentials like charted cocktail recipes, a breakdown of brewing processes, and extensive maps of the world’s wine region in Pop Chart Lab’s trademark clean and elegant design.

The definitive guide to informative imbibing, A Visual Guide to Drink is a fun, functional, and beautiful concoction of data and design that is sure to inspire delight in readers (and drinkers) everywhere. Read the rest

A Book of Surrealist Games

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Hilarious and silly, A Book of Surrealist Games is a fantastic introduction to the surrealist mind-set. In addition to just being fun to peruse, this collection of written, visual and verbal games is great for exercising your mind, and staying creative.

In addition to the games, this oddly organized book is packed with poems, illustrations and stories. While a bit dated, it is a wonderfully nostalgic tour of the spirit of surrealism.

Some of the game directions are vague, and the images may not be the best, but I've had a lot of fun with this book over the years. Exquisite Corpse is one I'd expect to see our Boing Boing forums make good use of.

A Book of Surrealist Games by Alastair Brotchie Read the rest

Meet the most popular straight woman on OKCupid


Lauren Urasek, 25, "the most popular heterosexual on OKCupid" according to the dating site, has a new book out, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City. As you might imagine, Urasek's got lot of fun, funny, and horrifying stories to tell, of guys who went for a kiss ten minutes into the first date, outright offered her cash for sex, and interviewed her as if being girlfriend was a job she had applied for. From an interview in The Daily Dot:

Let's talk strategy: What makes you most likely to respond to a guy from an online dating site?

As long as you’re not writing a really horrible message, it’s really about your pictures and your profile, whatever you say. If I’m attracted to you and you don’t come across like an idiot, then I’ll respond to you. It seems so simple, but it’s really not.

I always find it very weird that you can always tell a lot about someone from one picture, or the type of hat that they’re wearing, or the way their facial hair is—if it’s messy or really clean cut, what does that say? And I don't care how attractive you are, shirtless pictures are an automatic turn-off.

I keep hearing this thing about guys posing for pictures with tigers. Is that a thing that you’ve seen?

Yeah. Girls do it, too. Posing for pictures with, like, exotic animals, and in front of national landmarks and wonders of the world.

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New "rare and lovely" short stories from the "wickedest man in the world"

Infamous occultist, drug addict, and mountaineer Aleister Crowley also wrote more than 70 dark, and darkly comedic, short stories, including five that have never been published until now. Wordsworth Editions have released a new edition of The Drug and Other Stories expanded to include these unseen works, titled Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum, The Murder in X. Street, The Electric Silence, The Professor and the Plutocrat, and The Ideal Idol. From The Guardian:

British poet and artist David Tibet, in a foreword to the new edition, says that Crowley’s stories are overdue a reassessment. “It is time to reassess these witty, strange and occasionally very dark works as the rare and lovely jewels they are,” he writes, comparing Crowley’s story The Stratagem to Ray Bradbury and Jorge Luis Borges.

“The difficulty of accessing the pieces collected here for the first time – scattered as they were through obscure journals such as the Equinox or the International or appearing in extremely rare first editions – has prevented their author from being reassessed as a remarkable and idiosyncratic short-story writer of the highest order,” according to Tibet. “If Crowley’s wit is not quite as consistently barbed as that of Saki … it certainly covers a wider range of social (and sexual!) situations.”

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The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1


Originally written as a web serial, this novel about a gamer transported into the world of MMORPGs is hilarious! I read The Bathroom Knight as a novel, and so I can only review it as such. I think it'd have been even more fun as a serial, a format I greatly enjoy.

Charles Dean rapidly sets up a fantastic fantasy world! Darwin, our extremely unique protagonist, really loves to play MMORPGs. So much so, he even plans to spend Christmas immersed! After beating up a burglar who interrupts his holiday fun, Darwin is magically transported into a game, and must quest to save the realm and figure himself out.

I liked Dean's take on gaming. He both shows the fun and camaraderie of gamers, and the terrible aspects of a "trapped-in-a-game, must level-up" mentality. Character development is pretty good for a freshman novel, and while the use of RPG vernacular occasionally baffled me, mostly it was easy to understand. I think Dean has done a fantastic job having fun with a genre, and not taking it seriously, at all.

This is a fun read. I bought it for my Kindle as Dean has apparently spent time, energy and money working with editors. In web serial format the novel is available here free.

The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1 Read the rest

Beginner Watchmaking by Tim Swike


I thought it would be impossible for an eBook to inspire me to get me working on a watch. Read the rest

How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Officer


In 1954, the National Association for Mental Health first issued the book "How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Officer." Included were techniques on dealing with all kinds of "abnormal persons," from psychopaths, drug addicts, and the "mentally retarded" to civil protestors and those involved in family disturbances.

A selection of scans is below. And if you're not satisfied, you can purchase a copy of the 1975 edition on Amazon for the low price of $103.

(Print via Weird Universe)

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The Dungeoneers, a playful and hilarious adventure

The Dungeoneers

A case of mistaken identity lands Durham, a going no-place palace guard, a job with a troop of dwarvish treasure hunters. Seeing his big chance to make something of himself, our hero joins the Dungeoneers.

Durham is a pretty boring guy, but a common spelling mistake sends him, a lowly guard who rarely needs a vocabulary, on an adventure in place of the Keeper of the Vault! Added to a crack team of dwavish treasure seekers, Durham would be completely out of his element, if he had one. Seeing his opportunity to finally be the hero, Durham is positive he'll make something of himself. No one else shares his optimism. The gang of dwarves he is sent to aid see him as a bad luck charm, the only human woman around thinks he is comic relief, and he doesn't know a damn thing about recovering treasure.

This indie fantasy is a lot of fun. The novel has some light editing errors and isn't perfect, but author Jeffrey Russell has written a fantastic example of the fantasy quest/adventure. I'll be hoping for more!

The Dungeoneers by Jeffrey Russell via amazon Read the rest

Look at how this artist turns a dumb "doodle pad" into amazing illustrations


Several years ago, artist David Jablow came across a doodle pad printed with a partially completed drawing of a naked woman. It looks like this:

He proceeded to create wonderfully creative illustrations that put the woman in a number of exciting scenarios. I've posted David's work in 2014 and 2013. I also bought his Do It Yourself Doodler Book from his Etsy store. David just posted a new batch of doodles. Check them out on his website. Here are a few samples:

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Step Aside, Pops: a new Hark! A Vagrant! collection that delights and dazzles

Canadian historian turned webcomics god Kate Beaton is back with her second Hark! A Vagrant! collection: Step Aside, Pops. Never before has history been so bitterly funny.

Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases


At first I was adverse to posting this fulsome list of 58 commonly misused words and phrases, due to its sheer enormity, but I decided to proscribe it anyway because it is pretty bemusing. They are from Harvard linguist Steven Pinker's book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

Adverse means detrimental and does not mean averse or disinclined.

Fulsome means unctuous or excessively or insincerely complimentary and does not mean full or copious.

Enormity means extreme evil and does not mean enormousness. [Note: It is acceptable to use it to mean a deplorable enormousness.]

Proscribe means to condemn, to forbid and does not mean to prescribe, to recommend, to direct.

Bemused means bewildered and does not mean amused.

Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases Read the rest

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Liberty Annual, 2015 edition

The indispensable Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced the 2015 edition of its always-brilliant Liberty Annual ("ridiculous adult humor for adults"), featuring an all-star comix cast from Art Spiegelman to Vanesa Del Rey. Read the rest

Inept copyright bot sends 2600 a legal threat over ink blotches

Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "2600 Magazine is being threatened with legal action for using bits of ink splatter on the Spring 2012 cover that Trunk Archive Images claims it has the rights to. That's right, ink splatter. The sophistication of the tracking software in actually being able to detect specific splotches of ink throughout the entire Internet is as astounding as it is scary. But it also happens to be dead wrong as the ink splatter in question actually belongs to an artist in Finland." Read the rest

Little Brother optioned by Paramount

My bestselling 2008 novel YA novel Little Brother has been optioned by Paramount, with Don Murphy (Natural Born Killers, Transformers) as the producer. Read the rest

NZ bans award-winning YA novel after complaints from conservative Christian group

Ted Dawe's Into the River won the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book prize; businesses that sell, lend or gift it face fines of up to NZD10,000. Read the rest

'Flash Kids' elementary school workbooks my daughter and I can agree on

Additional repetition and practice of skills my daughter learns at school really helps to cement them. Flash Kids workbooks are fun for her, and show me she has learned whatever we're working on.

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