Paul K, songwriter and guitarist, RIP

The Blue Sun (remastered) by Paul K & The Weathermen

Paul Kopasz, the Lexington, Kentucky-based songwriter/guitarist best known as the leader of Paul K. and The Weatherman died this week. During the late 1980s and early 1990s in Cincinnati, Ohio, I had the fortune of catching Paul K's inimitable amplified post-punk blues several times and it was always an emotional punch to the gut.

In an obituary in Lexington's Ace Weekly, Kakie Urch writes, "The music, from early days featuring an acoustic guitar with an electric pickup and effects, draws on influences ranging from The Who, The Velvet Underground, Big Star, Gram Parsons, The Kinks and Townes Van Zandt. The 1995 release, Love is a Gas, was produced by Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground. 1997’s A Wilderness of Mirrors is the rock opera released on Alias and the basis of the “documentary/fairytale” movie. Other titles of note include Blues For Charlie Lucky, and the The Blue Sun, and, as the best place to start, the two-disc collection Stolen Gems."

In 1990, the Afghan Whigs released a searing cover of Paul K's "Amphetamines & Coffee" (above) on their first Sub Pop full-length Up In It (1990). Here's their take on it. Upon hearing of Paul K's death, The Whigs' Greg Dulli wrote the following remembrance:

John Curley and I walked into JR’s in Cincinnati one night back in 1986 and watched a gaunt and possessed singer/ guitarist manhandle a beat up acoustic guitar with a pickup and an overdrive pedal whilst leading his power trio thru an absolutely incendiary set that had our jaws on the floor.

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Douglas Rushkoff on Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (1950-2020)

It was 1993. I was working on my book Media Virus, and about to return home to LA from San Francisco, when Timothy Leary called to ask if I could make room for a “friend in need” who needed a ride. That friend turned out to be Genesis P-Orridge.

I had known of Gen through his music and reputation alone, and was frankly a little afraid to meet him. If the “coyote” boys I knew in the Temple of Psychick Youth were modeling themselves after him, I could only imagine how fierce Gen might be. But when I pulled into the parking garage where we supposed to meet, and saw the diminutive Genesis P-Orridge standing there with his two gorgeous young daughters and all their suitcases, my perception of him changed entirely.

And over the next eight hours, so did my perception of world.

Gen had just been quasi-exiled from England after a video he had made for Channel 4 (in which he carried out a mock abortion and ate the fetus), went viral in the tabloids. While Gen was in Thailand, the authorities ransacked his place, seized his archives, and made it clear he was no longer welcome in the UK. So he flew to California instead, essentially homeless, and was feeling pretty out of sorts as we drove. As his two daughters fought in the back, he told me, “If only people realized I was also a regular dad with two kids fighting in the back seat.”

The rest may as well have been straight from the tweets of QAnon. Read the rest

Collecting semen from an elephant (NSFW)

If you're not already familiar with what it takes to gather semen from an elephant, this video of the process will serve as the ultimate "I'm not sure what I expected" experience. The scene is from the Extinctions documentary released in 2011.

Artificial stimulation of the animal does not produce large quantities of sperm. Each drop must be retrieved quickly. The sample is immediately sent to the neighboring laboratory.

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Boing Boing was hacked

Dear Boing Boing readers --

Around 11:30 EST on January 10th, An unknown party logged into Boing Boing's CMS using the credentials of a member of the Boing Boing team. Read the rest

The 2019 Halloween Candy Hierarchy

A HISTORY

It began, as all things do, with a geology joke. We ranked candy based on their location in various geological strata, both real and imagined. The strata, not the ranking. In 2006, we compiled years of lived experience into a hierarchy of candy preference for Halloween. Not all candy. Not all times. But for trick or treating purposes. 

Let’s talk candy rankings, then, which have become a kind of cottage industry in the last decade’s social-media age of the internet. In fact, candy rankings and arguments over their perceived accuracy might be the perfect distillation of what a certain kind of internet is good for. It lets people argue over opinion; its conclusions thus have to be constantly modified and adjusted; also there are no conclusions, of course, because it is a fickle game of idle speculation; it’s low stakes fun; and reasonable people can disagree with unreasonable arguments. These are great things for hashing out the enjoyment of various shapes of sugar. Good on you, social media. They are not necessarily great things that go beyond idle speculation, for actual democratic society, for governance or policy or the protection of human dignity. 

Candy, though. And Halloween. There will be rankings (immediately below), then deliberations on history (further below) and a beautiful chart (furthest below). There is a hierarchy. We are making our priority claim.

 

The Candy Hierarchy (2019)

Any full-sized candy barReese’s Peanut Butter CupsKit KatTwixSnickersCash, or other forms of legal tenderPeanut M&M’sRegular M&MsNestle CrunchTolberone something or otherMilky WayLindt TruffleRolosThree MusketeersHershey's Dark ChocolateYork Peppermint Patties100 Grand BarSkittlesStarburstHershey’s Milk ChocolateHeath BarJunior MintsCaramellosNerdsMilk DudsHershey's KissesJolly Ranchers (good flavor)Cadbury Creme EggsSwedish FishGummy Bears straight upSmarties (American)LemonHeadsGlow sticksMint JulepsVicodinPixy StixLicorice (not black)LaffyTaffyLollipopsMint KissesMinibags of chipsBottle CapsSmarties (Commonwealth)

Candy Corn

Now'n'LatersDotsKinder Happy HippoGoo Goo ClustersFuzzy PeachesHard CandyGood N' PlentyLicorice (yes black)Reggie Jackson BarChicletsTrail MixHugs (actual physical hugs)Bonkers (the candy)MaynardsSweetums (a friend to diabetes)Healthy FruitBlack JacksPencilsThose odd marshmallow circus peanut thingsJolly Rancher (bad flavor)Spotted DickGeneric Brand AcetaminophenBox'o'RaisinsWhole Wheat anythingAnonymous brown globs that come in black & orange wrappers (Mary Janes)Creepy Religious comics/Chick TractsKale smoothieWhite BreadDental paraphenaliaGum from baseball cardsCandy that is clearly just the stuff given out for free at restaurantsBroken glow stick

 

We revised the original hierarchy each year between 2006 and 2009 to include feedback from readers and onlookers back at our blog The World’s Fair. Read the rest

Review / Control

Remedy Entertainment's Control is a masterpiece of weird architecture and bold design, but a tiring shooter.

Review / Manifold Garden

William Chyr’s abyss stares back. It's a good puzzle game, too.

Watch a 1980s promotional video for a nudist resort (NSFW)

(NSFW)

Enjoy the c.1985 promotional video below for the Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida! It looks like everything you could want from a resort but with, y'know, less clothing. Based on the reminiscing and raving over at r/nudism, The Cove is still a happening scene. You can even live there, but only by purchasing a mobile home from a current resident.

And don't forget the reminder from the cheerful narrator: "Volleyball is popular among nudists, no matter what your level of skill." Read the rest

The Family Acid: California, a far-out photo album from a very unconventional family

For more than 50 years, photographer Roger Steffens has explored the electric arteries of the counterculture, embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. After serving in Vietnam at the end of the 1960s, Steffens immersed himself in California’s vibrant bohemia. With his wife Mary and children Kate and Devon, he sought out the eccentric, the outlandish, and the transcendent. Just as often, it found him, grinning, a camera in one hand and a joint in the other.  

My Ozma Records partner Tim Daly and I are honored to share with you this new collection of Steffens’ spectacular snapshots taken between 1968 and 2015 during the foursome’s freewheeling adventures throughout the visionary state they call home. Think of it as a family album belonging to a very unconventional family. 

This is The Family Acid: California.

Based in Los Angeles, the Steffens family traveled up and down the West Coast, from the wilds of Death Valley and reggae festivals in Humboldt to fiery protests in Berkeley and the ancient redwoods of Big Sur. Along the way, they’d rendezvous with friends like Bob Marley, Timothy Leary, and war photographer Tim Page, the inspiration for Dennis Hopper’s character in Apocalypse Now. They’d take in the wonders of nature and, of course, the adults would occasionally lose their minds in psychoactive celebrations of creativity, freedom, and hope.   

The Family Acid: California is a 192-page, large format book manufactured with the finest materials and attention to design as you've come to expect from Ozma Records, producers of the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition. Read the rest

Infinite Elizabeth Holmes

Last night I saw HBO's The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company/cult, Theranos. It's very good and surprisingly unsettling.

UPDATE: I've looped her intensely unpleasant stare for 10 minutes and set it against a nice slow performance of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Enjoy the embedded video above.

Here's an infinitely looping GIF of it, sans music.

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What porn stars want you to know

Jiz Lee, Stoya, Nikki Darling, and Asa Akira talk about representation, the marketing of white women vs. women of color in adult movies, and how porn is still a very white industry. And unfortunately you have to click much deeper to find real, respectful diversity.

"What Porn Stars Want You To Know: We Don't All Look the Same" (Iris)

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George Nader, witness to 2 secret Trump transition meetings, faced child porn charges in 1985

George Nader, the international businessman of mystery who is now cooperating with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, was indicted in 1985 on obscenity charges involving child pornography.

Nader is a political operative who was seen frequently at the White House during the early days of the administration of President Donald Trump. Read the rest

The original legacy of Wendy and Richard Pini's ElfQuest

In this excerpt from Dark Horse Comics's 40th Anniversary Ashcan issue of ElfQuest, available today in comic stores, Hannah Means-Shannon explains how Wendy and Richard Pini showed indies the way in an age before crowdfunding.

He-Man and Skeletor dance again in ad

But wait, there's more!

Let's trawl the old inspirations, the long-ago internet moments whose memetic descendants are million-dollar TV ad campaigns for loan aggregators. When it comes to Skeletor, there are many to pick from. But one always comes back to CKY ft. Gnarkill's Skeletor vs Beastman, a NSFW wonder that was once part of the Internet's collective subconscious.

I'd chance that for many readers it will be unfamiliar. It's something long-displaced by cleaner and more consumer-friendly regurgitations of 80s trash culture. And perhaps quite repulsive. Is it queer, or homophobic? I always assumed the former, in which context the new ad seems a heteronomalized echo of something subversive. But now, after another 15 years of internet, I'm not sure. Perhaps the commercial is a better subversion.

[via Metafilter] Read the rest

Line of Beauty: stunning biography of fantasy artist Wendy Pini

Wendy Pini is most famous for Elfquest (above), but her artistic career spans fifty years of pop culture history, from weird lowbrow surrealism to yaoi pastiche. Line of Beauty isn't just a stunning art book covering decades in and beyond epic fantasy, but a powerful yet curiously tentative biography, drawing together threads from a childhood in the Californian sticks to the poisoned promises of Hollywood.

That it's so mysterious and unjudgmental (of her, at least) is most remarkable for the fact it was written by her husband, Richard Pini. His book is a crafty invitation to the worlds implied by her work, a mythos that seems misty and intangible even as its details take shape.

Born 1951, Wendy was a talent from early childhood, and we learn of the tensions and inspirations that flowed through her to emerge as a personal Elfame: adoptive parents whose emotional abuses hover on the margins of trauma; childhood obsessions and contrasts; and encounters with what were then rare oddities in rural America—manga, weird cartoons, the deeper magics of European and Japanese folklore—which she consumed voraciously.

Richard's access to private artwork and private fact far exceeds what a researcher might get to, but flags his story right off as both authorized and intimate. But while uncritical, the narrative stops short of hagiography: there's much evidence of unexpected turns and some evidence of friction in its creation. The focus is on Wendy's deep fascination with Hogarthian serpentine structures and sequential art (hence the title), and her artistic motivation and development. Read the rest

Legalize it? We think so!

Boing Boing proudly welcomes our new sponsor, LIWTS!

One of the positive trends sweeping the nation appears to be marijuana legalization! Regardless how you feel about the state of the world, it is nice that marijuana is becoming more and more available to help you cope with whatever ails you.

Marijuana, THC and CBD are fast becoming recognized as very effective in treating pain, appetite, anxiety, insomnia and even cancer, but there is a lot of quackery out there. Where do you look? Who do you trust? Who really knows what is what in the world of weed?

LIWTS is looking to become your source for news, reviews and stories about this budding new world!

Full of reviews of the latest, and greatest, vaporizers, strains, oils, edibles and awesome snacks, Legalize It We Think So has dedicated itself to being the go-to site for your marijuana and THC related content.  There are forums for discussion and advice, a head shop full of toys and tools, and news about legalization efforts around the world. A quick glance at the entertainment sections shows everything from specialty weed to enhance female orgasms, to which cheese grants you a pot-like high. LIWTS covers all the bases.

You can also use their strain database to find out more about that flower you wanted to grow, or if that indication will put you out instead of just make the couch really comfortable.

Unlike myriad other MMJ/THC sites, LIWTS treats their audience as marijuana enthusiasts who want to be informed, rather than raging stoners thrilled every time someone flies a cannabis leaf flag! Read the rest

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2016

Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: more than a hundred great ideas for prezzies: technology, toys, books and more. Scroll down and buy things, mutants! Many of the items use Amazon Affiliate links that help us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine.

Gadgets / Books / Toys and Trivia

Illuminated magnifierI bought this illuminated handheld magnifier on Amazon for $3 (free shipping) last year and I use it a lot. It's a great splinter and lice checker. I've gotten my $3 of value from it just looking at tiny bugs and skin abnormalities. It has two built in LEDs and uses two AA batteries.

BUY

Squatty PottySquatty Potty is a $28 footstool that slides away under your toilet; you use it to bring your knees up to a squatting position while you poop, which makes pooping much, much easier. The product was launched with the best viral ad campaign of all time, which threaded the seemingly impossible needle of making an ad about a poop-assistance product; I bought one and (without getting into detail) I can personally testify to its efficacy.

BUY

Nintendo NES Classic EditionWhat’s Christmas without price gouging on the hottest geek gift of the year! Don’t fret. Soon, the rationing will cease and a $60 NES Classic Edition will be just a click away. And then, Mario my old friend, we will ALL be playing with power.

BUY

Cuisinart 14-Cup Food ProcessorThe latest model of the best food processor for people who are serious about broadening their happy foodie horizons. Read the rest

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