Mad Libs creator Leonard B. Stern dies at 88

Mad Libs creator Leonard B. Stern died this week. Obituary writers seized the opportunity to insert blank spaces and [adverb] [noun] [adjective]s in their homages, to mimic the format of Mr. Stern's famous creation in cheap pursuit of lulz. Mr. Stern was also a prolific, Emmy-winning television writer who would have come up with more original material.

Around the web: New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, NPR, Variety, LA Times.

Scanned vintage Mad Libs cover from the Flickr stream of Dan Goodsell. A very politically incorrect early page found at this blog, along with a nice collection of other vintage covers. Read the rest

Alaska releases more than 24,000 printed pages of Sarah Palin's emails

Officials in the state of Alaska today released about 13,000 of Sarah Palin's emails from the former governor's first 21 months in office. During that period, her fame grew and she became a GOP vice presidential nominee. In the video below, you can see 24,199 pages of those emails boxed up and hand-carted on dollies (note that the boxes show they're printed on "Cougar" brand paper, heh). The process of preparing the documents for release took some two years, involved 55 current and former state employees, and required a legal review that concluded on May 31. Ms. Palin used a Yahoo email account, rather than an official Alaska government email account, presumably to avoid state archiving and recordkeeping requirements.

Washington Post:

Among the 14,482 emails that were sent or received by then-Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Alaska officials released just over 11,000 without altering them. But they also redacted some information from more than 2,300. And they held back 953 entirely.

The content may not all be heavy (we are talking about Sarah Palin here), but the documents are. And unlike Palin, they're not cheap. From the New York Times:

[H]er old e-mails are being released by the pound, not the pixel, in six boxes, a total of about 250 pounds at a printing cost of $725 per set.
Reading these early news accounts, it's not yet clear to me why the state chose to release the emails in printed form, as opposed to scanned images or in some native text-based digital form with full headers and such. Read the rest

"Wikiwars," CNN documentary on Wikileaks, debuts

This weekend, CNN will air "Wikiwars," the network's much-promoted documentary on Wikileaks hosted by a former Navy SEAL. The one-hour program premieres Sunday, June 12, 8:00pm ET & PT, and will repeat at other times after that.

I haven't seen it yet, but Greg Mitchell, who has been blogging tirelessly about Wikileaks over at the Nation for nearly half a year now, has. The short version: "Like [the PBS] Frontline epic," he says, the CNN documentary contains "no new news."

Snip from Mitchell's preview:

This is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks critics interviewed (and quoted more than once): David Leigh, Nick Davies, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Adrian Lamo, Brigadier Gen. Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.). Here is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks supporters interviewed: one unnamed and masked allegedly activist from Anonymous. Other critics who get face time: Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, even Newt Gingrich.

Not a surprise: The official Wikileaks Twitter account, presumably Julian Assange himself, describes the documentary as "full of the usual slanders."

 Frontline on Wikileaks PBS hacked in retribution for Frontline Wikileaks episode PBS Hack and LulzSec: Xeni on The Madeleine Brand Radio Show ... Read the rest

Very bad late '90s hip-hop cover art

An academic appreciation of very bad late '90s Hip-Hop cover art. (thanks, David) Read the rest

Thierry "Mr. Brainwash" Guetta loses copyright case with photographer Glen E. Friedman

(Above Left: Photo of Run D.M.C., taken by Glen E. Friedman Above Right: The invitation which Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, used for his debut exhibition 'Life Is Beautiful'.)

Thierry Guetta, the figure at the center of the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, just lost a court case which could result in significant damages.

Sean Bonner broke the initial news of the legal dispute here on Boing Boing, in a guest blog post this January.

From the Melrose and Fairfax art blog:

A judge just ruled against Mr. Brainwash in a lawsuit from photographer Glen E. Friedman claiming that MBW used his iconic photo of Run D.M.C. without permission. Mr. Brainwash had argued that the photo had been altered sufficiently and could be used under the 'fair use act'. But the judge disagreed, and, MBW's haters will be excited to hear that the judge "ruled that Guetta can't defend his work as transformative fair use."

The Hollywood Reporter has the full story, and covered earlier news of the dispute here.

More at the UK Guardian, and Thomas Hawk's photography blog, and at

Some will ask how this case is different from that of the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey, over Fairey's iconic Obama poster. Some context: Fairey is a creative collaborator and friend of Friedman, and Bonner, and crossed paths with Guetta, as those of you who saw "Gift Shop" will recall. Sean Bonner covered that question here in detail, in a previous Boing Boing guest blog post. Read the rest

Yelp review for $8 billion Kansas Abortionplex (after the viral Onion article on same)

Remember the (fictitious, funny) Onion article "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex"? Now the famed Abortionplex is on Yelp. Free nachos and mojitos after your partial birth abortion, with a Yelp discount code! As noted in a previous Boing Boing post, many people believe the Abortionplex (and other Onion coverage) is real. I can't wait for the credulous Fox News coverage to kick in.

Here's one recent review:

Everyone loves Abortionplex, but true fans know that the real magic is found in the secret menu. A 2x3 lets you sandwich in movie screenings at the theater before, between and after ridding yourself of potential twins. An 8x8? Spend your day easily breezing from Octomom to Oscars noms. Hold the butter on that popcorn though - you're not eating for 9 anymore!

Tell your doc you want The Flying Dutchman if you want to squeeze your abortion appointment in between two pieces of meat, if you know what I mean, and let's face it, you always know what I mean.

But real pros know that nothing satisfies your hunger for an empty uterus quite as much as well as Animal Style. In this iteration of the classic abortion, after the doctor perfectly vacuums the contents of your uterus, she then fills it with a secret sauce filled with tiny unicorns which will trot around poking holes in your uterine lining and preventing zygotes from taking hold for at least 6 months. But let's face it, even if you're already filled to the brim with tiny unicorns and think you won't be abortion-hungry again for a while, you know you'll be poking around Abortionplex tomorrow on your lunch break.

Read the rest

Nyan Cat (aka Pop Tart Cat) 101

For some, a defacement page from the PBS LulzSec hack will be the first introduction to Nyan Cat. For others, the animated pop-tart rainbow feline is already a familiar form of internet meme happies, despite having originated just two months ago.

This Know Your Meme feature is a good place overview of its origins. The attention-deficit-version is this: PRguitarman created it. Everything began on April 2, 2011, at LOL-COMICS, then hit Tumblr, and from there, mutated and spread rapidly like so many strains of gleeful, 8-bit ebola.

Below, one of the early videos to surface; and following that, a dubstep remix of the same, both via Laughing Squid.

Read the rest

Ultimate troll smackdown: KKK vs. Westboro Baptist at Arlington National Cemetery

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church today "were met with an unlikely group of counter-protesters Monday at Arlington Cemetery"—the KKK. Problem solved for media unsure of whether to give more attention to racists or homophobes.

Not that the presence of either group is new. File photo above, via Reuters: Westboro Baptist Church trolls holding anti-gay signs at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, November 11, 2010.

God hates faps. Read the rest

Did Urban Outfitters rip off an indie designer, yet again?

The similarity between the work of Chicago-based designer Stevie Koerner, aka imakeshinythings, and a recently-launched line of jewelry from Urban Outfitters, appears too close to be an accident. This is not the first time the fashion chain has been accused of ripping off indie designers.

Above: Urban Outfitters' line at left, Stevie Koerner's at right. More on Stevie's blog.

(via Submitterator, thanks Jack Crosby) Read the rest

ColecoVision 1983 TV ad for George Plimpton's "Video Falconry" game

[Video Link, from NewGrounds via Jesse Thorn] Read the rest

Judgment Day Open Thread: How are you planning to celebrate The Rapture on May 21?

[Video Link]

Judgment Day is upon us: tomorrow, Saturday May 21, at 6pm local time, according to this gentleman. Are you planning to leave this earthly plane and join The Lord, or are you planning to observe the day in some other fashion? Read the rest

Lady Gaga demands photographers hand over copyright of all photos from her concerts

Photographers are pissed that Lady Gaga is now demanding they surrender the copyright of any and all photos taken at her concerts. (Rolling Stone)

Image: Lady Gaga performs during the 64th Cannes Film Festival (Reuters/Yves Herman) Read the rest

"Reality 86'd," David Markey's film on the final tour of Black Flag

Twitter newbie Henry Rollins says, "In 1986, Dave Markey made a documentary of Black Flag's final tour. He just posted it for free viewing. Brutal!" Read the rest

On eve of Endeavour's last launch, "Shuttle Ennui" (Xeni on The Madeleine Brand show)

MP3 Download audio (MP3), or listen to the show here.

I joined The Madeleine Brand Show on the radio today for a chat around what some jokingly refer to as "shuttle ennui," felt by many at NASA (and others whose livelihoods depend on NASA) as the space shuttle program ends.

We so often think of things as large as America's space program as abstractions, and for good reason. Billions of dollars, thousands of people, huge human-made machines that shoot fire and climb toward the stars. But NASA is made of people. And along with all of the NASA employees and contractors whose work relates to the shuttle program, everyone from the Cape Canaveral donut shop owner to the journalists who cover space are affected by the program's end. Right now, to put it simply: everyone's bummin'.

Today, the countdown began for the final launch of shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to lift off Monday morning 8:56:26 a.m. EDT. She'll head to the International Space Station to deliver an array of supplies, including spare parts for the robot DEXTRE ("The Canada Hand"). This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the ISS, STS-134. Last month's launch attempt was scrubbed when problems were discovered in fuel line heaters. One more shuttle launch is scheduled for June, the STS-135 mission with shuttle Atlantis. But that's it: the end of the shuttle era—and the end of tens of thousands of skilled American technology workers' jobs.

I've spent much of the last few weeks wandering around Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center, with Miles O'Brien and the SpaceFlightNow crew, talking to people about how the end of the program impacts their lives. Read the rest

Lebanese '90s television emulator:

Watch it: It's like Nam Jun Paik on vacation in Beirut after dropping acid with a falafel chaser. Created by Nadim Kobeissi, aka @kaepora. He tells Boing Boing how the project came about, below.

Read the rest

The Fracking Song: "My Water's On Fire Tonight"

Video Link, more about the project here. And read the investigative report that inspired this video "explainer" at ProPublica (* warning, major bummer alert).

A snip from the lyrics:

Fracking is a form of natural gas drilling An alternative to oil cause the oil kept spilling Bringing jobs to small towns so everybody's willing People turn on their lights and the drillers make a killing

Water goes into the pipe, the pipe into the ground The pressure creates fissures 7,000 feet down The cracks release the gas that powers your town That well is fracked..... Yeah totally fracked

But there's more in the water than just H2O

Read the rest

Star Wars-Osama Bin Laden-New York Times parody/mashup

Galactic Empire Times.

(Via Dave Itzkoff) Read the rest

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