I'm loving the Scarfolk site, where "Dr R Littler" chronicles the mysteries of an English town stuck in a Wyndham-esque loop betwen 1969 and 1979. It's full of the most lovely horrors. It's all so perfectly wrought and so grisly and freaked out and perfectly aged. If only we could all retire to Scarfolk and never grow old!
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." For more information please reread.
Three ads for tailfinned Lincoln Continentals are a reminder that one of the best ways to make something amazingly beautiful is to make a million mediocre and terrible things and wait half a century (or more) until the good ones have risen to the top. The suicide door was incredibly dumb, but it sure looked nice, at least when designers lucked into (or were canny enough to create) a pleasing form for them.
A monster photo-post from Imagineering Disney compares vintage shots of the Disney parks with contemporary shots. The only thing more remarkable than the dramatic shifts in some of these shots is the total lack of change in others. I'm particularly relieved by the restraint showed in modding the Tiki Room, which was born in a state of near-total grace and has remained thus ever since.
Brian sez, "Fasten your seatbelts for a trip back in time, to 1992, when a tiny little startup called Coconut heard, in August 1992, that a new magazine was brewing, something called WIRED. We contacted them, they sent us a media kit. I kept it. Enjoy."
You have to remember that the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Not everybody had email. If you wanted to contact somebody you used the phone or wrote a letter for the most part. Unless they were on The WELL or worked at one of the few companies that had Internet and email. And most didn't.
So I made a few inquiries and found out WIRED's phone number in August 1992 and gave 'em a call. I spoke with Coco Jones, an ad sales rep who was just starting out on long media career. She sent me a WIRED Media Kit, which for some crazy reason I've kept for 21 years. I doubt anyone's seen this thing in 21 years, including me.
Skit-B Pinball built this custom Duck Hunt pinball machine by modding a 1962 'Williams Valiant' table and hybridizing it with a PC to provide sound effects and other nifties. The project was a little break from Skit-B's main undertaking, a gonzo-awesome pinball adaptation of Predator.
Redditor Royally_eft's friends dressed up as monochrome people for a 1920s theme party. The effect's very good, especially shot against a colorful snack-aisle. Here's the inspiration for their costumes.
Dr. Tom Murphy VII gave a research paper called "The First Level of Super Mario Bros. is Easy with Lexicographic Orderings and Time Travel . . . after that it gets a little tricky," (PDF) (source code) at SIGBOVIK 2013, in which he sets out a computational method for solving classic NES games. He devised two libraries for this: learnfun (learning fuction) and playfun (playing function). In this accompanying video, he chronicles the steps and missteps he took getting to a pretty clever destination.
In this video, Sidney Cohen (author of The Beyond Within: The L.S.D. Story, administers LSD under clinical conditions to an unnamed "normal person" (her description), some time in the 1950s. Her description of her experience is really wonderful -- you can tell she's going through something profound and amazing. As Reason's Jacob Sullum wrote in 2011,
The experience she describes includes familiar themes such as gorgeous colors, geometric patterns, microscopic particles suddenly visible, and a sense of transcendence, oneness, and ineffability:
"I can see everything in color. You have to see the air. You can't believe it....I've never seen such infinite beauty in my life....Everything is so beautiful and lovely and alive....This is reality...I wish I could talk in Technicolor....I can't tell you about it. If you can't see it, then you'll just never know it. I feel sorry for you."
Today all this may sound hackneyed, but what's striking about this woman's account is that her expectations were not shaped by the huge surge of publicity that LSD attracted in the next two decades. Although she had not heard what an LSD trip was supposed to be like, her experience included several of the features that later came to be seen as typical—a reminder that, as important as "set and setting" are, "drug" matters too.
Despite the similarity between this woman's description of her experience and testimonials from acid aficionados of the '60s and '70s, her presentation is so calm and nonthreatening that it is hard to imagine how anyone could perceive this drug as an intolerable danger to society.
I posted this in March 2011, but as Kottke says, "it's so good, here it is again." "How a differential gear works" is a short industrial film that does a better job of explaining how differentials work than any other materials I've seen -- a real "a-ha" generator.
I recently finished a biography of Disney animator and director Ward Kimball, which the Disney Company's lawyers have gone to great lengths to keep from being published, but that's another story. In the process, I uncovered lots of interesting materials in Ward's personal collection, including this unseen home movie footage of his boss, Walt Disney.
Tomorrow, it will be exactly 65 years since this film was recorded (April 4, 1948). In it, Ward and Walt Disney visit the home of Dick Jackson, a wealthy businessman who operated a scale-railroad in the backyard of his Beverly Hills home. I believe this to be the first time that Walt Disney personally operated a scale-railroad. It's amazing that the footage still exists.
The rather dreadful 1970s sitcom Three's Company adapted the UK sitcom Man About the House for American TV; it ran for eight seasons and was heavily syndicated through my whole childhood, and as with many people of my age, it lurks in my subconscious.
It turns out there was an unaired pilot that used some of the same cast, but a different writing team and a somewhat smarter brand of comedy, and it's surfaced on YouTube. Here's Wikipedia's description of that pilot:
This undated bodybuilding ad is a spectacular example of the form -- the busy, unbridled, exuberant machismo, the fonts, the repetition. I think the world would be a better place if all printed literature took this form.