Russell Brand explains to Guardian readers the circumstances under which he was ejected from the GQ fashion awards after giving a speech about sponsor Hugo Boss's connection to the Nazis. It's a pretty much perfect example of gonzo writing: over the top, acerbic, witty, and funny -- but with a serious point that's made all the better for the loony style. Read the rest
Ben Marks say: "When Collectors Weekly writer and producer Hunter Oatman-Stanford was growing up in Austin, Texas, one of his favorite places to go as a kid was Aquarena Springs in nearby San Marcos. Though the attraction boasted an alligator pit, Ralph the Swimming Pig (famous, of course, for his 'swine dive'), and an aerial gondola ride, the biggest lure was the mermaid show, in which swimmers would perform dance moves and tricks, like eating or drinking underwater, while viewers watched through thick glass windows.
"Turns out, Hunter's great-aunt, Sue Cregg, had been an aquamaid, as the performers were called, in the 1960s. So, for his article on Aquarena Springs, Hunter spoke to Cregg, as well as Peggy Sparks, who got her start at the amusement park in the 1950s. Cregg and Sparks explain what it was really like to be a mermaid, from the cold temperatures they endured in the water to the balls of frozen dog food they'd prepare to feed to the fish they swam with as part of the act." Read the rest
Remember last week's post about NSA boss General Keith Alexander's stage-trick for selling surveillance to Congress? The General realized that if he made his "Information Dominance Center" look like the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and let Congresscritters come over to "play Picard," that they'd be so excited that they'd greenlight his plan for spying on everything and everyone. After all, Alexander's motto is the Stasi-like "Collect it all!"
Glenn Greenwald dug up a brochure describing the Information Dominance bridge, courtesy of the architects who designed it. Read the rest
One year ago today
Army "Civil Disturbances" training manual from 1975: You too can master the "butt stroke."
Five years ago today
Ten years ago today
Public-domain Pinnochio lives again in a beautiful Tor edition: A beautiful new edition of the public-domain text of the novel, deisgned by Chesley-Award-winning art director Irene Gallo, illustrated by Gris Grimly, in sepia-toned macabre ink drawings that are as angular and jocularly grim as the text itself. Read the rest
A multilingual petition to Bob Iger asks for Disney's CEO and top management to do something about the (frankly, pretty terrible) condition of Disneyland Paris, a park I've stopped visiting (though it's closest to me), due to the poor staffing, poor maintenance, bad (and expensive) food and hotels, and large number of out-of-service attractions and shows. Read the rest
I bought this USB charging unit because I have a lousy sense of direction. I get lost in buildings and in cities, even ones I’m familiar with. My iPhone’s GPS map is a godsend. I use it when I’m driving, walking, and taking public transportation.
When I was in Tokyo in June, I brought along a small Android phone installed with a local data SIM card. I used the phone as a wireless hotspot for my iPhone, and appreciated having access to the online map to guide me from my hotel to the subway station, and to attractions like the Tsukiji fish market and Kabuki-Cho. It was also nice to call home using Skype, and to post Instagram photos. The only problem was that the batteries on the Android phone and iPhone drained after a few hours, forcing me to ask people, chikatetsu wa doko desu ka? in badly-accented Japanese, to find the nearest subway station. Read the rest