In 1980, David Bowie did a series of Japanese TV commercials for Crystal Jun Rock, a Japanese liquor. See below. “The money is a useful thing,” Bowie later said about doing the ads.
The soundtrack was the gorgeous track "Crystal Japan" that Bowie released first on a couple 7-inch singles and then as a bonus track on the CD reissue of "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)." Bowie fan Nacho Video recut the three TV commercials into the lovely music video above for "Crystal Japan."
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Angel Nene created this montage showing how the Rolling Stones' faces and music evolved over the years. I got sad about one minute in (1969) when Brian Jones died.
Below, my favorite of Nene's morphing animations of aging rock stars, "The Beatles Aging Together (1960-2017):
(via Laughing Squid)
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LEDs are diodes (that's what the D stands for) and diodes are sensitive to voltage drops: when you blow on an LED, you make it ever so slightly cooler, and that causes an infinitesimal, but detectable voltage drop.
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It takes a certain amount of alcohol, nihilism and trust in the steady nature of your buddy's hand to make having a bottle shot off your head feel OK.
Don't ask me how I know this. Read the rest
The New York Times interviewed Stephen Colbert on stage. Among other things, he describes his typical working day, and what goes into producing The Late Show. I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but what I've seen so far is really good.
I had the privilege of being on the Colbert Report twice. Each time, Colbert came into the green room and spent about 20 minutes chatting with me. He was really nice. I also noticed that the crew adored him and had a great relationship with him. Read the rest
Squirrel Monkey makes excellent videos that imagine what popular online sites and services would have looked like if they'd been around in the 1980s or 1990s. Squirrel Monkey uses actual vintage computer equipment in the videos, which look like 5th generation VHS cassette duplicates. Even though the videos are funny, they are also spot on. In this one, Squirrel Monkey shows us Uber in the 1980s. The final step involves printing a voucher on a very slow dot matrix printer. Read the rest
Newt Gingrich's 1995 Republican Revolution dismantled all the expert departmentsand bureaus that Congress depended on to make sense of the world, making lawmakers dependent on corporate lobbyists to advise them on everything from pollution to food safety to military technology to mass surveillance -- nearly 25 years later, Washington DC is a literal and figurative swamp, and only 18% of Americans say they trust Congress.
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From one of my favorite blogs, Nag on the Lake, a post about how workers in Tokyo moved section of train line underground in the course of an evening in 2013.
When the Shibuya Station Toyoko Line above-ground train shut down for good it was replaced with a new section of subway track connecting Shibuya Station and the nearby Daikanyama Station. The conversion of the line from above-ground to underground required 1,200 engineers and countless man-hours.
But this mammoth construction was virtually unnoticeable, because it all occurred during the train line’s off-hours… over the course of one single night.
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Randy Rainbow is on point again. In his latest song, he asks Omarosa (who has a new book, Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House), "Could you be the hero we've been waiting for?" Read the rest
And if Bruce Dickinson wants more cowbell, we should probably give him more cowbell!
Fortnite has added a new dance. I had to have it. Epic may want to organize these as part of the "Dad dance series" because my 11 year-old star player doesn't get the joke.
Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more cowbell! Read the rest
Do It Again is one of my favorite songs, not least because of the distinctive delay effect applied to the drums by sound engineer Stephen Desper, giving it its weird blend of electronic fuzz and nostalgia ("like something from another planet"). Here it is with the delay effect removed. Being honest with myself, I have to say it's better this way. But then, I wasn't there in '68. Read the rest
Zookeepers are tricking a new panda mom of twins into thinking she's got only one cub, so both will survive. Read the rest
Shockingly good work by Banjo Guy Ollie.
Hey Folks. Here's a cover of the Knight Rider theme for a change from video game music covers. I want to do more series too in the future, so expect more like these, like Magnum PI ...AirWolf , A Team... yeah tons more
It's usually classic game tunes that get banjoed up by Ollie: OutRun (demonstrating that Splashwave is a superior composition to Magical Sound Shower), Speedball 2, Golden Axe, and Monkey Island.
Here's his cover of Bomb the Bass's Megablast (as remixed for the Amiga game Xenon 2, itself being hip-hop cover of John Carpenter's theme from Assault on Precinct 13)
Previously: Alternate version of the Knight Rider theme tune Read the rest
"Enjoying your classes, Harry?"
It's the 2009 work of Thewlis Rox, gone viral a decade later in its incarnation as a 2011 swipe posted by another YouTube user, after being reposted to Reddit hundreds (if not thousands) of times, before lightning struck again. Read the rest
As a fan of Donald Westlake's (aka Richard Stark's) Parker heist novels, I enjoyed this video about one of the biggest unsolved art heists in history, in which two men broke into a museum and made off with $500 million worth of art. They still haven't been caught and a $10 million reward is still on the table.
Around midnight on March 18, 1990 two men in fake police uniforms knocked on the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Only two guards were in the museum. One guard came to the door and the fake cops told him they were responding to a disturbance in the museum courtyard. The guard buzzed them in. The cops then told the guard that there was a warrant out for his arrest and handcuffed him. When the second guard arrived the robbers "arrested" him, too. They took both guards to the basement and locked them in a room. The thieves went back upstairs and started cutting paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and other masters out of their frames. This triggered alarms, but the alarms went to the unattended guard's desk, not the police. One of the paintings, Vermeer's The Concert, is thought to be the most valuable stolen object in the world, worth over $200 million. The men loaded the loot into their car and drove off, and no one has heard from them since.
These crooks did wrong, but I can't help admiring this magnificent heist. Read the rest
Museum of Modern Art film curator La Frances Hui narrates this fascinating introduction to the genre of Kung Fu films:
Many directors and actors have been associated with the kung fu genre, Hong Kong cinema’s most unique creation, but no one compares to Lau Kar-leung (1937–2013) as a purist of the genre and the kung fu form.
Associate curator La Frances Hui explores the history of the kung fu films, the actors and filmmakers associated with the genre like Bruce Lee, Gordon Liu, and Jackie Chan, and why Lau Kar-leung has been hailed as the grandmaster of kung fu films.
(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
James Mickens (previously) has a well-deserved reputation for being the information security world's funniest speaker, and if that were all he did, he would still be worth listening to.
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