A bleakly touching webcomic compares our apocalyptic fantasies to the real experience of coronavirus quarantine

Nate Powell is the writer and artist behind About Face, a brilliant webcomic about America's obsession with fascist fashion. His latest comic, Hide Out, is less of a macro-scale political analysis, and more of a quiet, reflective, internal piece about life in apocalyptic scenarios — but it's just as powerful, and just as much worth reading.

 

This Isn’t My Fantasy Apocalypse [Nate Powell / The Nib] Read the rest

A touring Bolivian orchestra is stranded in a German castle surrounded by 23 packs of wolves

Earlier this spring, more than 20 members of Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos pan flute orchestra left their homes in Bolivia and embarked on a European tour. They arrived in Germany on March 10, right as that country's government imposed a ban on large gatherings to fight the spread of coronavirus. Within days, their bus had broken down, and all of their performances had been cancelled, and their own government back home in Bolivia announced that it would close its own borders, leaving the orchestra stranded. Read the rest

'How I built my dowel table'

This is an awesome woodworking project gallery -- making a table out of dowel rods. You can follow the creator Make Things on YouTube and IMGUR. Read the rest

'My Isolation Station,' home-built bar and spirits library with 4,000 bottles

Some people take their libations and isolations very seriously. Read the rest

How a children's book about a mouse is keeping me motivated in quarantine

When I was a teenager, I worked at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut — which, as far as teenage work went, was pretty formative and fantastic. While the campus is based in Eli Whitney's original factory, the museum itself is more of an experimental learning workshop that uses alternative teaching methods to celebrate and explore the intersections of engineering, design, and innovation. And yes, that man above was my boss, who hopes to enjoy his well-deserved retirement soon, depending on how this pandemic plays out.

On the weekends, we'd host birthday parties at the museum for younger kids, where they'd get to do some hands-on woodworking projects that also introduced them to simple machines or electricity (like a single Christmas light and a battery; we weren't monsters). We had a series of projects loosely based on the books of Leo Lionni, including one very simple project for 5-year olds that was based on the story of Frederick the Mouse. The basic idea of the story is that all the other mice accuse Frederick of being lazy while the rest of them are busy getting ready for the winter. They're all gathering wood and straw and nuts and stone so they can hide away in comfort when it gets cold out — and Frederick just sits there, insisting that he, too, is collecting things like colors and stories and sounds.

This, understandably, irritates all the other hard-working mice. But when the winter finally comes, and they're all trapped in the cave together, going out of their little mouse minds, that's when Frederick finally pulls his weight. Read the rest

Updating Hemingway's saddest shortest story for the pandemic age

Top image: JD Hancock / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Here are some songs about unions and workers' rights, to raise money for COVID-19 relief funds

I've had a busy few weeks of moving and renovating my home in the middle of a pandemic while also trying to work a full-time. So naturally, I decided to relax by … making a 4-song live EP of protest songs about unions and workers, to raise money for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund for essential workers. Today in particular is not only International Worker's Day, but the music site BandCamp is also waiving their fees their day — so 100% of money you send my way for this pay-what-you-want album will go directly to workers in need.

There are worse ways to celebrate May Day, in my humble opinion.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=324574231 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Essential Songs for Essential Workers — Live From Quarantine [Thom Dunn / BandCamp]

Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund

  Read the rest

Quarantine food fun: 'I made all the serving suggestions on the Ritz box'

“So how were they? Not bad. Some of them were kind of dry, but for the most part they tasted how you'd expect.” Read the rest

‘I’m not going to be ruled by commonsense precautions’ — comedian Brent Terhune spoofs MAGA 'rona ralliers

“They want us to where a face mask??? I DONT THANK SO.”

“I'm not gonna be ruled by common sense precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy!”

Brent Terhune does a very good Southern Redneck Guy Who Watches Fox News, and he's recently taken on the MAGA/White Nationalist/???? types gathering in weird astroturfy rallies around the U.S., which may or may not be funded by some political group or something. Read the rest

This Zoidberg 'Futurama' quarantine cosplay is pretty great

Hey, when life hands you virii, make cosplay. Zoidberg cosplay. Read the rest

Husband builds 'accessible' Nintendo Switch battle station for wife with aggressive MS

All for the love of Animal Crossing in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

Quarantined family re-creates 1981 Journey video shot by shot

Zero reason to be "bored" out there, people. Take inspiration from the Heller family who made --in their "spare time" -- a shot-by-shot recreation of Journey's "Separate Ways" music video! It's SO GOOD. Read the rest

'How to build a Nintendo Switch' for coronavirus #StayAtHome gaming

Wow, man. Some of us take on more extreme projects during the Great Coronavirus Quarantine than others. Read the rest

Pot use was super high in March, as were many coronavirus stay-at-homes

Cannabis use in America reportedly reached an all-time high in March, 2020, as lockdown measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus went into effect in many communities throughout the country. Read the rest

Radiohead to stream concerts for shut-ins

I'm a lifelong fan of Radiohead, and I feel like so much of their music foresaw the emotional tone of the moment we're in now. Read the rest

The oldest written record of "fuck" has been discovered — and it comes from a plague quarantine

The new BBC documentary Scotland — Contains Strong Language explores the Bannatyne Manuscript from 1568. Written by Edinburgh Merchant George Bannatyne while he was quarantined during — appropriately enough — a plague, the collection includes a poem titled "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy," an account of a duel between two poets said to have been conducted before the court of King James IV.

As Ars Technica explains:

Flyting is a poetic genre in Scotland—essentially a poetry slam or rap battle, in which participants exchange creative insults with as much verbal pyrotechnics (doubling and tripling of rhymes, lots of alliteration) as they can muster. (It's a safe bet Shakespeare excelled at this art form.)

And it is in that poem that these words were found, amidst the barbs shot back-and-forth between these poets: "wan fukkit funling."

According to Dr Joanna Kopaczyk, a historical linguistics expert from Glasgow University, that makes it the first recorded use of the word "fuck."

To me, that looks more like Scots than Middle English, although both languages were derived from Olde English. There are also some people who insist that Scots is merely a dialect of English, rather than its own language. Scots should also not be confused with Scottish Gaelic. That being said: is anyone surprised that Scotland would be home to the first "fuck?"

Scotland's claim to fame as birthplace of the F-word revealed [Brian Ferguson / The Scotsman]

500-year-old manuscript contains earliest known use of the “F-word” [Jennifer Ouelette / Ars Technica]

Image: Gareth E. Read the rest

Canadian firefighters offering drive-by birthday greetings

The world is full of sad, maddening horseshit, right now. So, it's important that we latch on to any rays of light that can be found.

In Calgary, Canada, firefighters are doing what they can to ensure that kids and elderly folks who are forced to celebrate their birthdays in a time of turmoil, have something to brighten what would otherwise be a shelter at home, friends-at-a-distance affair.

From The CBC:

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth says firefighters have already been delivering some birthday greetings outside homes with sirens and lights blaring.

But he says the fire department has now formalized the practice through a new program called Drive-By Birthdays.

The program is open to children between the ages of four and 12 or anyone 75 and older who has a birthday... Drive-By Birthdays can be booked online until the end of May.

Of course, if an emergency call is received while the firefighters are serenading you outside of your home, you shouldn't be surprised to see them take off faster than shit through a goose. Officials speaking on behalf of the Calgary Fire Department mentioned that if social distancing measures were still in effect beyond the end of May, they'd be cool with extending the program.

It's a small gesture, but times being what they are, small gestures are really all that most of us have to offer.

Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

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