Happy Festivus to all the Christmas curmudgeons of the world!

If you dread decorated trees and Christmas cheer, today is your day! It's Festivus, that is, the anti-commercial holiday that steers clear of the dreaded 25th, beating merrymakers to the punchbowl by celebrating on December 23rd instead.

Festivus, whose origins can be traced back to legendary curmudgeon George Costanza, or rather his father Frank (of Seinfeld mythology), is now a bona-fide holiday to celebrate everything Christmas — dead trees, twinkling lights, good cheer, fancy seven-course meals, and most importantly, an empty bank account — is not. — Read the rest

Max Keiser's curmudgeonly TV economics show: the Oracle

Lovable financial curmudgeon, goldbug, and activist Max Keiser has a new show on BBC Worldwide: The Oracle, in which he predicts the future outcomes of today's financial chaos. You might know Keiser from his startup, the Hollywood Stock Exchange, or from his wooly, profane and hilarious radio programme in London, Karmabanque. — Read the rest

Jack Vance, curmudgeon

Jack Vance interviewed on SciFi.com. He's old, he's blind, he's cranky, but lovable for all that:

I don't read other science fiction. I don't read any at all. I haven't been to a movie since somebody gave me free tickets to Star Wars, which I went to.

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Curmudgeon king P.J. O'Rourke explains

Curmudgeon king P.J. O'Rourke explains celebrity and modern trends to old people. Favorite quote: "Techno being a form of music that sounds like a combination of a skipping record, the chime when you leave the car door open, the microwave telling you it's finished with defrosting and the spin cycle on your washing machine." — Read the rest

Universal Music Group partners with AI voice-cloning company

image: Mopic/Shutterstock

Rolling Stone reports that Universal Music Group has just inked a deal with a new AI music tech startup called SoundLabs. From the article:

UMG's artists and record producers will be able to use SoundLabs' upcoming feature called MicDrop starting later this summer, and as the companies said in their announcement, the platform allows the artists to make voice models of their own using data the artists provide.

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This 1984 TV ad takes us back to a grime-covered Manhattan with Lou Reed and Honda scooters

Those who harbor nostalgia for the soot-smudged, graffiti-covered New York, the one that predates Rudy Giuliani's Marie Kondo writ large act, will delight in this 1984 TV advertisement for Honda scooters featuring Lou Reed. To say Reed stars in the commercial would be a misnomer; his inscrutable visage, obscured by aviator sunglasses with lenses as opaque as a welder's mask, only flashes briefly onto the screen once or twice. — Read the rest

Diamond ring flushed down toilet was found 13 years later at a wastewater plant

In 2010, Mary Strand, of Rogers, Minnesota, accidentally flushed her diamond ring down the toilet. Shitty luck. Her husband snaked the drain and even asked municipal worker to check nearby pipes, to no avail. Recently though, workers at a nearby wastewater plant were repairing a piece of equipment when they noticed a few objects in the, er, "muck" they had cleaned out. — Read the rest

The man in charge of Time on the Internet is retiring

The New Yorker recently published a fascinating article about David Mills, a computer engineer who worked for COMSAT and ARPANET in the early days of Internet development. Mills was one of the first people to realize that networked computers would need to be running on synchronized internal clocks — and has essentially spent the rest of his life as the Internet's very own personal Father Time, making sure the computerized clocks around the globe are ticking at the right time:

Mills called his creation the Network Time Protocol, and N.T.P.

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