Super-rare Disney theme-park merch on auction

Haunted Mansion superfan Jeff "Chef Mayhem" Baham sent me a link to the Van Eaton Galleries Disneyland auction, which closes on June 25 -- as with other Van Eaton auctions, this one is a trove of super-rare, drool-inspiring old merch, props and handicrafts. Read the rest

Lynda Barry gets a guest-appearance in The Family Circus

Lynda Barry blogs about the amazing feels she got when she discovered that she'd been given a guest-appearance in The Family Circus by Jeff Keane, Bill Keane's son and successor. Read the rest

Happy Mutants travel happy with this travel bidet

Don't you just hate finding that the toilet paper in your exotic luxury hotel is like sandpaper? Now you can travel with the comforts of a Happy Mutant home by bringing along your travel bidet!

It literally chaps my ass to find the TP in a really expensive luxury place is going to make a lot of walking unpleasant. To make matters worse, I've been following Mark's advice regarding personal hygiene and I no longer like to wipe my hiney, I prefer to spray it clean! Luckily, I found this amazing, hand pumped bidet! Now I can feel my best regardless the torturous papel supplied in most Central American bathrooms.

Remember, fill this with warm but not blazing hot water! You'll know via the temperature of the squeeze bulb if the h2o is too hot. You may also want to get a hand exerciser, to help up your power.

Portable Bidet Travel Cleaner with Collapsible Nozzle for use Anywhere-At Home, Hotel, Vacation, or Office! via Amazon Read the rest

A taxonomy of algorithmic accountability

Eminent computer scientist Ed Felten has posted a short, extremely useful taxonomy of four ways that an algorithm can fail to be accountable to the people whose lives it affects: it can be protected by claims of confidentiality ("how it works is a trade secret"); by complexity ("you wouldn't understand how it works"); unreasonableness ("we consider factors supported by data, even when you there's no obvious correlation"); and injustice ("it seems impossible to explain how the algorithm is consistent with law or ethics"). Read the rest

Tabletop Audio: ambient loops for your RPGs

"Role-players, boardgamers, writers, coders, artists, graphic designers, teachers, house-cleaners, lucid dreamers, gym-rats, distance runners, commuters" can enjoy over 100 ambient atmospheric loops with names like "Orbital Promenade," "Lunar Outpost," "Testing Chamber" and so on. Read the rest

One bourbon, one Scotch, one tequila

Over the past year, I've bought a lot of extraordinary bottles of spirits -- a move from London to the wide-open spaces and warm climes of Burbank have afforded many more opportunities to entertain and thus to sample the output of the world's distilleries. Read the rest

Voice of Baceprot: Indonesia's all-woman, hijab-wearing heavy metal band

Voice of Baceprot is a hard-driving heavy metal band made up of three hijab-wearing Muslim teenaged women who met at school in West Java, Indonesia, and whose rocking out is designed to "combat the stereotype of Muslim women as submissive or voiceless." Read the rest

Spielberg is contemplating an Animaniacs reboot

Animaniacs was part of a lineage that includes the best animation of the 1990s (including Freakazoid and Pinky and the Brain), and now creator Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment are reportedly mooting a reboot, which would be a most welcome development! Read the rest

Notes on curating an open access collection of political stickers

Catherine Tedford is curator of the Street Art Graphics collection, an open access collection of 2,700+ political stickers from the 1910s to today. Read the rest

My guest-appearance on Hello From the Magic Tavern

I'm a huge fan of the fantastically rude improv/current affairs/high fantasy podcast Hello From the Magic Tavern, I've enjoyed it ever since I binge-listened to the first season halfway through. Read the rest

Chess set made from car parts

It started when an anonymous Imgur user found an "old Integra cylinder head laying around the shop, collecting dust," which they "dis-assembled and decided to put it to use again." Read the rest

Kickstarting gorgeous, illustrated slipcased classics with art from Pope, Shimuzu and Sienkiewicz

Zachary Zmith writes, "A Kickstarter is funding beautifully-designed and illustrated editions of classic stories, with illustrations from Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu and Bill Sienkiewicz. They have already met their initial goal to fund a version of Algernon Blackwood's 'The Willows' with art by Paul Pope. If they reach $100k, Bill Sienkiewicz will illustrate H.G. Wells' vivisection classic." Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

A multitool that's also a belt-buckle

SOG's $60 Sync II "wearable belt buckle" multitool isn't the only multitool/buckle on the market, but it does add a couple very sensible innovations, like a clip-on/clip-off base that lets you use your tool without taking off your belt, and a squared-off form factor (like a pair of folding travel sewing scissors) that adapts the folded tool for the buckle form-factor. Read the rest

With Briggs Land, Brian Wood gets inside the scariest terror threat in America: white nationalists

Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.

Neil Gaiman will read the Cheesecake Factory menu if we raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees

The campaign to raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees started with author/comedian Sara Benincasa daring Neil Gaiman to do a dramatic reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu; Gaiman responded that if she raised the half-mil, he'd not only read the Cheesecake Factory's (notoriously florid) menu, he'd follow up with a reading of Dr Seuss's Fox in Socks if the funds hit $1m (I hasten to point out that this activity involves some risk to Gaiman, given the Seuss estate's penchant for bullying acts of copyfraud). Read the rest

Liverpool, I'll see you tonight on the Walkaway tour! (then Birmingham, Hay-on-Wye, San Francisco...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out for last night's final London event on the UK Walkaway tour, at Pages of Hackney with Olivia Sudjic; today I'm heading to Waterstones Liverpool One for an event with Dr Chris Pak, followed by a stop tomorrow at Waterstones in Birmingham and then wrapping up in the UK with an event with Adam Rutherford at the Hay Festival. Read the rest

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