This is an update.

     It was just pointed out to me that by clicking this link and turning up the volume on your speakers, you can hear Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish fame singing the theme song to a show called ‘Marcel’s Animal Friends’ on the Disney channel. Or you can just download an MP3 of it here. BWANG!

     Also: last time I saw Spoon at the Magic Stick – 20 to 30 people TOPS. Last night: a KADJILLION of them. Four dudes next to me: VIOLENTLY MOSHING to ‘PAPER TIGER.’ Performance: good. Crowd: MOSHING.

     Additionally: It appears that the ‘Acme Novelty Sketchbook’ and the ‘Acme Novelty Date Book’ mentioned below are one and the same. The book appears to be the collected sketchbook entries of Chris Ware during the time he was working on his ‘Jimmy Corrigan’ project. The best part, it’s in COLOR. Five sample pages have been posted by Drawn & Quarterly (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Pages 2, 4, and 5 are the best.

     Finally, a really interesting Interview with an on-strike symphony orchestra tuba player is here.

Big fucking essay about book / band no one gives a damn about

     The best book I’ve read in a long time is Banvard’s Folly: Thirteen Tales of People Who Didn’t Change the World by Paul Collins. Sure, two of the 13 chapters have previously been published in McSweeney’s (one each in issues three and four), but all thirteen chapters are engrossing historical non-fiction. The whole thing is meticulously researched and filled with bizarre true stories of scientists, tinkerers, and authors; and Collins spends the extra time to contextualize everything with concurrent issues of the day. I can’t recommend this book enough — You can get remaindered copies of the (out of print) hardcover here (~ $4 – $6), or the newer paperback edition here (New, $11.20) or here (Used, ~ $3 – $18[?]). And no, I’m not getting any kind of kickback from Amazon on any of this — primarily because I’m too lazy to set that up right now — I just think it’s a great book.

     One of the chapters focuses on the accomplishments of Alfred Beach – the editor of Scientific American magazine. Beach’s (forgotten) claim to fame is that he built a pneumatic subway that ran under city hall in Manhattan, long before work on the subway system as it now exists was begun. The most interesting part of this story — to me at least — is that he SECRETLY accomplished all this work (he knew the rail companies would want to stop him from pioneering pneumatic travel and beating them to NYC mass transit contracts) – so he bought a storefront nearby, swore his crew to secrecy, and began digging from the basement, removing the dirt under cover of night. The existence of Beach’s tunnel was only made known to the public once it was completed and operational. Despite a gala opening and rave reviews in the press it was eventually sealed off and forgotten (Due in large part to the financial concerns of a crooked mayor and a subsequent market crash). It had remained sealed for half a century when workers digging the tunnels for the beginnings of the current subway system re-discovered it. Looking for pictures of Beach’s lost tunnel?

     “Finally, there is one very simple way to see what Beach’s railway looked like, and blown up far larger than any plate in this book could manage. Go to a Subway shop–
the fast food chain, you know, where you can buy a six-inch Cold Cut Trio?–and lo! Pasted upon the walls are pictures of Beach’s invention. Whoever was designing the chain wide decor for Subway simply clipped out a bunch of old public-domain illustrations of subways, including three that originally ran in Scientific American
in the 1870’s. Look for pictures that depict an almost perfectly round (Save for a slight groove in the bottom) brick-lined subway tunnel, and a rounded subway car interior. These are Beach’s own handpicked illustrations for what was to be an ultra-million-dollar venture.
     Graze pensively on your Baked Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion chips. Ponder the vagaries of ambition.”

     I’m really not doing the story much justice by summarizing here, so do yourself a favor and buy the book.

     I first heard of this whole ordeal in a song by a Canadian band called Klaatu — whom I am absolutely obsessed with (The casual reader beware – this book recommendation was merely an excuse to segue into an entirely ridiculous discussion of Klaatu). The song — ‘Sub Rosa Subway’ from their debut album (Titled “3:47 EST,” though this title appears nowhere on the sleeve) discusses the situation in detail, and apparently even alludes to it in Morse code. You can download an MP3 of ‘Sub Rosa Subway’ here.

The Lyrics to Sub-Rosa Subway:

“Back in 1870 just beneath the Great White Way / Alfred Beach worked secretly / Risking all to ride a dream / His wind-machine

New York City and the morning sun / Were awoken by the strangest sound / Reportedly as far as Washington / The tremors shook the earth as Alfie / Blew underground

All aboard sub-rosa subway / Had you wondered who’s been digging under Broadway? / It’s Alfred / It’s Alfred / It’s Alfred / Poor Al, woh no Al

As for America’s first subway / The public scoffed, “It’s far too rude” / One station filled with Victoria’s age / From frescoed walls and goldfish fountains…. / To Brahmsian tunes

     The goldfish fountains and Brahmsian tunes referenced in the final chorus actually existed – Beach had lavishly furnished the terminal of his subway, even including a player piano. The song also includes a ridiculously intricate message in Morse code over the last chorus, as described in this quotation from Klaatu.org:

     “At this point there is some Morse Code in the recording which several interviews over the years have not been able to uncover the meaning of. I have also heard of people who have tried to decipher it themselves without any luck.

     Well, you are in luck! Steve Radley has pointed out that one of the editions of their fan club newsletter, The Morning Sun, gave the answer to this great question! Here’s what it says the Morse Code translates into:

‘From Alfred, heed thy sharpened ear, A message we do bring, Starship appears upon our sphere, Through London’s sky come spring.’

The mystery is solved….. or is it?”

     This Morse Code message seems to be a reference to both beach and ‘Calling Occupants’ – a sprawling call to the ‘Occupants of interplanetary craft,’ assuring them of our friendliness – from the same album. ‘Calling Occupants mentions ‘World Contact Day,’ which occurred on March 15th, 1953 – perhaps the ‘Early spring’ of the morse code message.

     Are there any other obscure and slightly interesting facts about this Klaatu band? Glad you asked!

  • People were once convinced that they were the Beatles reformed. The most complete source for all the particulars and the “proof” that was cited can be found here. A more concise newsgroup post on the matter is reproduced here.

  • The Carpenters had a Billboard hit with the Klaatu-penned “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” The Langley schools project LP’s that everyone was shitting theselves over last year also feature a cover of the same song. Chalk it up to Canadian loyalty.
  • Any band worth their salt should have a webpage wholly devoted to interpreting their lyrics as played backwards on a turntable. Klaatu’s are here and here.
  • 3:47 EST is the time that the character ‘Klaatu’ arrives on Earth in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
  • At one time an animation company was busily working on a half-hour long animated Klaatu special, entitled “Happy New Year Planet Earth.” This project was apparently never completed, though an extremely grainy excerpt of the roughs for the song ‘Routine Day’ from their third album, “Sir Army Suit,” is available for download here.
  • The song “Calling Occupants” references a ‘World Contact Day,’ which did in fact exist. It occurred on March 15, 1953
    and you can find a history here. Pretty insane in that “Men in Black before Will Smith Hi-jacked the term” sort of way. The gist of it was that everyone should attempt to telepathically contact ‘Saucermen’ with a pre-memorized message on March 15th. The first line of the message? “Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!”

  • From their FAQ: The overall style of Klaatu’s 4th album, “Endangered Species” is decidedly different from the others. Why is that? Klaatu had virtually no artistic control over this album. It was more a project of Capitol Records. An outside producer was brought in, most of the instruments were played by Los Angeles based session musicians, and the band members were asked to add their voices and (usually) one lead instrument per song. The band was sent home before the album was even mixed.
  • The only Klaatu Album I have been unable to locate an original vinyl copy of is “Magentalane.” If you can help me out with that, I’d owe ya.

     If all the preceding ridiculousness hasn’t weirded you out yet, here are my ‘Essential Klaatu’ recommendations:

3:47 EST

     This is the album to get – not only because it was the cause of the Beatles rumors – but also because it’s probably their ‘best (completely subjective)’ work. I’ll do a little description of all the songs so you can get an idea of just how ridiculous and schizophrenic this album was (Be warned that it’s well-produced ‘California-sounding’ 70’s rock. Just so you know).

Calling Ocupants Of Interplanetary Craft

     The big single – a slow orchestral pop song alternating between the perspective of a wise human alerting the listener of their telepathic abilities, and encouraging them to use these abilities to contact extraterrestrials and establish peaceful relations; and the (collective?) perspective of the Occupants of Interplanetary Craft. How could it NOT be a hit?

California Jam

     Pretty mindless pop song about surf, sun, sand, etc. with a female vocal on the bridge. Accessibility of the song as a whole and Cringe-worthiness of the lyrics on par with each other. The McCartney vocal comparisons are most audible to me on this song.

Anus Of Uranus

     Bizarre song about being abducted by the Anus of Uranus. No, I’m not kidding. This whole song has a pretty ‘gated’ sound and employs the timeless “Sound and vocal effects echo the descriptive lyrics” technique. The REALLY interesting aspect of this song is that they flipped the verse around backwards and used the unchanged result as the CHORUS of a song roughly four years later (Silly Boys).

Sub Rosa Speedway

     Already discussed above. Most tasteful use of handclaps in a drumroll ever.

True Life Hero

     Just pretend this song isn’t on the album… Just bad in every sense.

Doctor Marvello

     Weird pop song with a first half that sort of predicts the reverb and phrasing that Death Cab for Cutie was going for in a weird sort of way (Maybe it’s just me?). They pull the “Voice of a new character” trick again about half-way through, this time it’s a wavery, off-putting whine.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III

     Almost showtune-ish dirge about the title character – the only man to go to Hell and come back alive. I suspect some sort of vocal pitch shifting to achive the voice of Rugglesby.

Little Neutrino

     Bizzarely prog-rockian song, heavy on the instrumental interludes, xylophone and talkbox effects. Really ‘big’ sounding chorus, and EXTREMELY protracted endtro, including several “Explosions.” Lasts 8.5 minutes and fills up the end of the record. Of all the songs and sounds and weirdness on this particular album, THIS is the song that is most predictive of their next album:

Hope

A quotation from Yesterdayland:

     “In the middle of this [Beatles] brouhaha, Klaatu released a new album, Hope. Although it contained catchy, concise pop songs like “We’re Off You Know,” it also contained complex, orchestrated songs like “Long Live Politzania” and “The Loneliest Of Creatures.” Hope also took their already-ambitious sound to a new level by linking the songs on the second side into one symphonic suite and using the London Symphony Orchestra to flesh out the sound.

     Yeah: The second side. INSANE. The whole Beatles rumor thing hit while they were in the middle of recording “Hope.” Their increased profile (and sales) enabled them to talk the label into extending their studio time and getting the London Symphony Orchestra involved.

     Anyway, the second side is comprised of four songs. It begins with “The Loneliest of Creatures.” One voice reflects on loneliness. This voice is soon interrupted by a Bohemian Rhapsod-ian chorus of “OH NO! You’re not the loneliest of all creatures in the YOUUUUU-niverse!” Great harmonies etc. Ends in a round, which segues into “Prelude” which is an instrumental consisting of some ridiculously complicated orchestration.

     This segues into “So Said the Lighthouse Keeper,” a song explaining that the ACTUAL loneliest creature in the universe is a GALACTIC lighthouse keeper, who keeps a silent vigil over his home planet, whose race consumed themselves. This lighthouse keeper resolves to compose a prayer for the entire universe. Again – I AM NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP. You can actually buy 3:47 EST and Hope on one CD, here. Moving on, in the lyric sheet to this song, a narrator explains the fate of the lighthouse keeper:

“When to his end the old man came / Death told him “You’ll not die in vain” / And on his lips the fatal kiss was placed / But from within his falling chest / The old man uttered one last breath / And had we heard his parting word / We’d know that he’d said….”

     At first I thought this was a LYRICAL CLIFFHANGER, which would have been very, very great. Unfortunately those words are not sung on the actual album. The second side concludes with the title track – A decidedly less orchestrated and more straight ahead pop song (Watch for the reverby overdubbed 2nd drum kit in the chorus). This of course is to be assumed by the listener to be the result of the lighthouse keeper’s thinking and writing.

     Summarrizing: Yes, this is insane. The music is actually very well done and the scope is obviously fairly ambitious. As my enthusiasm for things is often directly related to their ambitiousness, you should see why I felt it necessary to write WAY too much about Klaatu. A few other Klaatu songs worth tracking down, for a variety of reasons:

Blue smoke

     A bizarre environmentalist-propaganda song that shifts style and instrumentation pretty frequently. You can skip the intro verse, just skip to about 47 seconds in. Like a green-party science lesson delivered by smug studio musicians. Contains the immortal line: “Weeping like an alligator, and leaping like a hot potater.”

December dream

     Written about the death of John Lennon, to whom they obviously owe quite a bit. A pretty nice piano-driven 70’s ballad, similar in sentiment to The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?.”

I Don’t Wanna Go Home

     Pretty catchy (and sappy), distinctly 70’s pop song. All of these ‘Worth tracking down’ songs are from Magentalane – Which is a pretty good recovery from the disaster that was “Endangered Species.”

     Update: I added a not very high quality MP3 of Klaatu’s ‘Sub Rosa Subway’ here. Good times.

A pair of pairs of things about candy and financial statements (That means
there are four things.)

Candy:

1.) In the past three weeks, I’ve attempted to buy a Twix from three seperate
vending machines. Each of these three times, the
Twix has become stuck in the twirly ring mechanism (Part # TWRLYRNG14-A). This always occurred when I was out of money, so I couldn’t just buy another one. Perhaps Twix is boycotting me.

2.) About five years ago (Holy fuck, that’s scary), I compiled an audio tape of rarities performed by the Canadian pop group Sloan, and offered it up on sloannet – their mailing list. The deal was that the Tape wanter would mail me a Blank tape, Stamps or cash for return postage, and the most obscure candy they could find.

     This arrangement worked out quite nicely, and I ended up receiving between 20 and 25 weird Candy items all told, including some great lego-like hard candy made from the same substance as candy necklaces (And not those new bullshit coated candy necklaces – I’m talkin’ the powdery stuff).

     Getting to the point – the BEST candy I recieved was a candy bar called Zero. It wasn’t the domestically available Zero – which if I’m not mistaken doesn’t even have chocolate in it – but rather some sort of import. Two people, both from Canada, sent me Zero bars, so they MAY be of Canadian origin – though I’ve never seen one in my fairly frequent endeavers to Canada. As I recall, (Again – I’m thinking back five years to the experience of eating a single candy bar) they were divided into four sections and
basically consisted of a rich fudgish innard, coated in chocolate. If you have any information on this particular Candy bar, please contact me, because I wanna EAT ‘EM UP.

Financial Statements:

1.) When I pay my car payment, the only way I can tell that they got my check is to check that it clears. They’ve never sent out statements. The other day, I recieved an envelope from the company that handles my car payment, which never happens, so I’m thinking they fucked up and are accusing me of being delinquent in my payments or something. So I have to open it. Oh – also – (I forgot to mention) the envelope is covered in dried human blood and sealed inside a protective postal service plastic bag noting that it was ‘damaged’ in transit. So I put on some latex gloves (My mom is a nurse, you see) and opened it, and it turns out they decided to start sending out statements, and this was the very first one. I wonder if they’ll ALL come with free blood?

2.) Several months ago I noticed some weird bank-initiated charges in my checking account to the tune of twenty bucks a month, which to me is not an insignificant amount of money. So I go in to the bank and ask what the charges are for. The teller and I have approximately the following exchange:

Me: … so I was wondering what these charges are for?

Her: Oh, we changed it two months ago, so there are charges for your kind of account now.

Me: Ooooo-kay…

Her: Do you not want the charges on your account?

Me: … Sure?

Her: Clickity clackity Click. Ok, you’re all set. I’ve retroactively removed one of the charges, but I can’t do the other one because it’s been two months.

Me: Thanks?

     So basically they just started charging everyone twenty bucks a month, and if you go in and tell them that you do not, in fact, want to be charged twenty bucks a month, they will stop.

ENTITLED!

     An isolated highlight from my new job – working at Wayne State University. Guy comes in wanting to enroll in classes. He’s not a student. We explain that you have to be a student to enroll in classes. Guy becomes FURIOUS that he should have to be enrolled in college to take the classes. Yells at us, leaves. Ahhhhh, AMERICA.

Spike Lee’s 25th Hour:

     Philip Seymour Hoffman. Edward Norton. Such high hopes. DASHED.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Hi Spike.

Spike Lee: Ok, remember how you played two characters whose entire performances led up to one awkward and ill-fated kiss? I want you to do it again EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Er. Can I…

Spike Lee: BREAK NO NEW GROUND. You’re Scotty from Boogie Nights in a different outfit. And also straight.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Um, wait. Spike…

Edward Norton: Hey Guys.

Spike Lee: Edward! My man! Okay – we’re gonna do the Fight Club thing again – BUT HERE’S THE TWIST – save it for the END!

Edward Norton: I’m not sure I’m comfortable being the guy who always invites people to savagely beat him.

Spike Lee: Fuck you, you were in Death to Smoochy and if that’s not inviting a beating I don’t know what is. Besides – this is a Spike Lee Joint. Now — Edward — Phil — GENTLEMEN. Your repetitive performances, coupled with my absolute inability to shoot or edit to continuity and two completely inexplicable montages at key junctures in the film will clinch this motherfucker.

Anna Paquin: HEY GUYS!

All: (Walk away pretending not to have heard her).

     Additional disillusion regarding 25th hour that I couldn’t work into my dramatic reconstruction of the pre-read-through conversation above:

  • “Hi we’re the champagne glasses in the ‘going away party’ scene. We might be magical because we keep emptying and refilling ourselves.”

  • “Hi I’m the ‘Fuck You’ montage. I don’t advance the film at all, and the quality of the voice-over recording is all over the map. I’m big, ugly, and don’t belong in this movie.”
  • “Hi, I’m the ending sequence. I come 20 minutes too late and am RIDICULOUS.”

Mya is in it

     I saw “Chicago” a few days ago. It’s weird to me that the last two movie musicals I’ve seen (Dancer In the Dark and Chicago) have both been about women on death row for murder with the musical action all taking place in their imaginations (There ya go, write a paper).

     At any rate – I actually really liked Chicago, and I didn’t think I was going to. John C. Reilly did a great job with his small singing (!) role – so if Paul Thomas Anderson ever decides to go through with the musical he’s been threatening to make, I trust that Mr. Reilly will be put to good use.

     Also – someone needs to make a musical without the excuse of it all occurring in the imagination. I want INEXPLICABLE SINGING AND DANCING and I want it NOW.

     The only thing that bugged me about “Chicago” is in the scene right before the ‘uh uh’ woman is executed – there’s a guy in the radio news crew wearing what appear to be black plastic SONY headphones. WHOOPS.

Rolling Stones

     I watched that Rolling Stones HBO concert (Well, some of it). They opened with ‘Street Fightin’ Man,’ and boy, was that ending ALL OVER THE PLACE. Seriously — sloppiest rock n’ roll ending ever. It was as though each player willfully chose a stopping point in time wholly separate from the point chosen by the other musicians.

     Beyond that, it was kind of fun to watch the guitars change in and out, sort of like an expensive guitar show with three minute observation periods.

Two more gripes:

  • Did we really need some idiot to grab a still of the last frame of each song and run it through a Photoshop filter to protect the audience from seeing the stones swap out guitars and get ready for the next song? Christ. Just the fact that someone A.) got paid to push a capture and filter button once every three minutes and B.) got to do it while watching a Rolling Stones concert is ludicrous.

  • (Opening notes of ‘Honky-Tonk Woman’) Please welcome to the stage — Sheryl Crow! CLICK. And really, why IS Sheryl Crow the go-to girl for rock vocal duets? Can’t anybody tell that she’s ORANGE?

Talking about the Lilys

     I’ve been obsessed with the Lilys’ ‘3 Way’ ever since my friend Trevor introduced me to it — it’s slowly becoming my idea of perfect production. Because of this, seeing them live would inevitably be a letdown. When I had the opportunity to do just that, they had just finished recording an album and Kurt Heasley’s voice was shot. This coupled with the fact that he is INSANE made it an eventful show. I’m undecided on whether this insanity is cultivated or not – but if it is he’s doing a good job. The insanity included, but was not limited to:

  • Staring at fixed points slightly above and behind the crowd or directly above the stage for the entire set.
  • Truly bizarre between song ‘banter’ – not in content but in delivery and emphasis. Examples:
    • “(After breaking a string during the previous song and holding the offending guitar disinterestedly at arm’s length until the sound man could work another one through the crowd, deadpan, eyes bulging, staring straight ahead — without a hint of humor) EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. (Beat.) EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. (Song begins)”

    • “(Protracted and often unintelligibly mumbled tangent about the price of vegetables in foreign countries)”
  • General weirdness. You could just tell.

A few more things about the Lilys:

  • To be a Lily, you must be at LEAST 6’5″. 6’7″ is preferred.
  • Sarah, girlfriend extraordinaire observes: A youthful Kevin Spacey is their tambourinist / backup singer.

Filling up a lot of space by posting all the email that my last post generated.

     …but before we get into that, a quick guide to e-mail relations with me.

  1. You send me an e-mail

  2. I get it, read it, and place it in an outlook folder called update.
  3. It sits there for anywhere from 1 to 6 months.
  4. You decide I’m a fucking asshole (true) and move on.
  5. You forget you ever even emailed me, but maintain a lingering hatred.
  6. I open up your original e-mail and copy and paste it into notepad.
  7. I consider emailing you back.
  8. I (correctly) assume that by now you hate me.
  9. I post update.

Pizza Nazis

     Demian writes in regarding the sign outside a Canadian pizza place that I posted about in January:

     “Someone has probably translated this for you already, but here you go: I was forced to learn Korean in the army 10 years ago, and can read it, but can’t understand it, if that makes sense. (But I still know how to say “Take me to the American embassy.”) The pizza characters read: Han Sem. Han essentially means Korean. (For example, Korean Language is: Han Guk Mal. Korean cuisine: Han Sik.) I am working on what “Sem” means and will let you know. Later,
Demian”

It’s the Cows

     There is a farm (Kemps farm) whose website just happens to be kemps.com (Slogan: “It’s the cows”). Noting the proximity of the ‘a’ and ‘s’ keys on your keyboard, you will probably not be surprised to learn that I receive internal farm mail at least once a month. Many are of the bland interoffice mechanics variety:

“Stacy,
     I received an addition for the above listed group for Jerry Perkins. The
right side of his app was cut off. This means the birthday is missing. Can
you please fax the application again to my attention.
Thank You,
Stephanie”

     Occasionally, however, I’ll get a really technical (and probably important) one like this:

     “Today I put additional XY12 sticker label on drum tops (8 total) of XY12 chlorine drumed off from bulk tanks last fall. There are only 8 full drums left from the bulk tanks. I placed return / pickup order#8427903 with CS to have Roseville pic-up the 8 labeled XY12 drums and deliver them to Farmington plant. Anita was also contacted regarding the transfer of bulk $ for the XY12 product from Mpls plant to Farmington plant. There was one OLD drum of XY12 not apart of the bulk drum-off. Lets keep it for usage in lab per Lance and/or drain sanitizing ect… as it may be weak depending on how old it is?? its label is barely legible.

     I also placed pic-up order of the other un-opened products not in use
anymore for return to Ecolab warehouse and credit to Mpls plant location. 4-drums of Brite Case, 1-drum Paradigm 2010 and 1-drum Paradigm 2030. The partial drums of both products will have to used up at the Mpls. plant.

     Discussed with Steve D. moving the HC10 boxes and EcoCare boxes from truck wash area into the plant asap as the boxes are getting wet and will soon fall apart.

     Discussed with Dave K. the leak at hose junction to spray device for truck
wash. Safety concern + pressure and flow are effected to point that trucks may not be getting adequatly rinsed & washed & sanitized!! Lance and I are planning on observing H90 cleanup this coming monday night.
regards,
jim paul”

I REALLY need reds!

An anonymous tip regarding my never-ending bottlecap quest:

     “I used to work at a bar and all we did was catch the bottlecaps into tins (under the bottle opener) and then throw them into the garbage, and into the dumpster behind the place. If I ever see a guy hanging out in a bar’s dumpster rumaging through the garbage I’ll know it’s you, right? Or a bum I guess.”

MD up to the PACU

     Some medical advice received care of Mary Caldwell:

     “Adam, I stumbled on to your site and read your medical entries and just wanted to say 2 things. I should first mention I am a nurse with 27 years of emergency room and surgery experience however not an expert on all things. But that said I think while what happened after your migraine is a side effect you should make sure you have some type of brain scan ie CT or mri done with your follow up neuro eval.

     Next: I am surprised your food impaction problem took so long to resolve. I assist with this procedure at least once a week. At my hospital it plays out like this. Pt presents to ew with food impaction consult with gastro MD up to the PACU {or endoscopy dept depends on the time} we start IV give some sedatives {demerol and versed} numb the back of your throat with a gargle spray pass the scope and push the offending bolus into your tummy. over in about 15 minutes from start to finish. You might have a stricture in your esophagus which could cause this to happen again so some form of gi followup is a good idea. I hope you don’t think I am some nosy busy body I felt so bad for you when I read your stories!!!”

     I got me an MRI the other day. If you’ve never had an MRI, imagine those big tubes like in movies but when your head gets all the way in it becomes a TINY tube, so you go insane and freak out and close your eyes and pretend you’re playing very intricate songs on an imaginary, invisible bass guitar, but without moving your arms (One of which has a tube sticking out of it leading to some substance called contrast); all to take your mind off the fact that your head is in a tiny humming bucket for a half hour. GOOD TIMES. Also I didn’t follow up on that whole bolus incident because I am a big wimp and I ain’t havin’ any probes down my throat.

Longest E-mail ever

     An epic email from Amanda McClintock, dealing with much of what was discussed in my last update:

     “Pertinent background information: My name is Amanda McClintock. I am 24 years old, and sister to Scott McClintock who is the bassist A2 based band The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love (TOBASOL). I grew up in Brighton Michigan, where I went to high school, and went to Michigan State. In Okemos I worked for B&N for approximately 1 year (with previous bookselling experience at Little Professor on the Mill Pond in Brighton) Now I live in Japan (Shizuoka-ken which is in the smack dab middle of the main island) and teach English. Life is good, but there are times I miss home, especially the humor from home and reading your web site made my day.

     First I wanted to share with you a short but perfectly insane B&N tale of my own – okay well maybe just two, there are too many to report in a single email – as your web page suggests. One favorite being the time me and one other petite female bookseller had to help a 300 pound woman out of one of the “too comfy for anyone’s good” chairs. Why was it that the two smallest booksellers who, when combined, still weighed only half of what this woman did were the ones to pry her loose of the chair? Well this woman was two embarrassed to have any of the men help her. Why having it take OVER 15 minutes to get her out, while she is crying saying how embarrassed and of course the fine B&N clientele just standing and staring at what is happening – no one even attempting to lend a hand!

     The second involves NPR. And although I haven’t gone through your entire site to see back logs of all the B&N stories I am SURE you must have stories involving NPR. I have nothing against NPR, I am just not a religious listener of it, and I was unaware that to be a bookseller at the B&N in Okemos it is a requirement that you listen at all times.

ME: (I am standing at the information booth at the front of the store.) Hi can I help you?

Customer: Yes I need to find a book that was on NPR last night.

ME: Okay, do you know the title or author?

Customer: (Very matter-of-factly) No, it was on NPR.

awkward silence

ME: Okay, do you have any other information about the book.

Customer: Yes, I think the cover is blue, or the main color on the cover is blue.

ME: (blink blink)

Customer: Don’t you listen to NPR? They were talking about the book last night at about 7:15pm.

ME: Do you remember what the book was about, or if it is a new book?

Customer: So you didn’t listen to NPR last night?

ME: No, I like listening to music on my radio.

(MISTAKE)

Customer: (With one eye shut and head slightly shaking – looking much like that guy in scanners before his head explodes) Well find me someone who is cultured enough to listen to NPR to help me find this book.

I proceeded to go to the on-duty manager (he was a slight gay man of asian decent). After watching their interaction from the registers I soon saw the man storming out of the store. When I asked the manager what happened he said, “I just told him that we can’t help him without more information. And suggested that he pay more attention to the title and author of the books he is interested in o NPR instead of the color of the cover.” At this point I hugged my manager.

     Next, I want the Danny Elfman tape. You could mail it to my house in Brighton and then when my mom sends me my next care box she can throw it in there. Now as far as what Elfman means to me…

     My fondest memories of Elfman was the theme music for Pee Wee’s Playhouse that would echo through my family room every Saturday. It was one of the last bits of programming before it turned into a Saturday of WWF, Gladiators, and bad horror movies. It was the one program that upon hearing the opening theme would make my Dad leave the kitchen table sighing, “You’ll waste your day away in front of that thing!” as he stomped off to clean his already spotless garage, thus sparring my and my brothers from his relentless complaining of how we weren’t dressed and ready for our day for at least an hour. There is also the brilliance of every soundtrack that Elfman has laid his hand to, none more amazing to me than The Nightmare Before Christmas. So in conclusion the tape would make me happy, and I would play it during lunch at my high school here in Japan and make all 900 Japanese high school kids listen to it! And I think that is something no one else can promise you.

     On the subject of Kit-Kat: Here in Japan there is Kit-Kat which in itself is not right. There is something different in the making of it and it tastes wrong on so many levels. BUT the wrongest of them is the banana flavored Kit-Kat. Need I say more. I mean orange is not right, but there are times at which orange and chocolate marry nicely. But Bananas and chocolate only work when it is an actual banana dipped in chocolate. This tasted more like banana runts in the form of a wafer covered in a not right chocolate. VERY VERY WRONG. But there are some great snacks here in Japan that rival anything we have in the states. One thing you would like would be the Men’s Poky which is a cracker-stick covered in bittersweet chocolate, and being that it is not as sweet as regular chocolate Men are more likely to like it thus the name. There is new Poky G which I guess is seriously crispy. The guy who eats it in the commercial takes like 10 seconds to bite into it – and then shards of poky fly all across the screen. Of course there are the potato chips with flavors like kimchee and mayonnaise, and don’t gag those babies are good!

     If you haven’t already been there, go to www.engrish.com and experience the joy I live everyday. Of course there are times when crying in the grocery store from laughing – while I am shopping alone – must disturb many of the Japanese around me, but I can’t help it.

     Finally, Ernest Masks. My older brother used to work at Brighton Cinemas and before he quit he stole a giant box of those Ernest masks. I believe we still have several hundred in the basement of my family home, but several hundred were used throughout my years in High School. One of the more famous uses was when I broke into the school early with a few of my friends and we plastered every senior locker, the bathrooms, doors, any and every possibly odd place we could think of. If wasn’t really for the vandalism of it, but the confusion. I mean Ernest looking at you is very unnerving. He’s not frightening, not funny, more like just wrong. We enjoyed the unsettling it caused throughout the school that day and for weeks to come. ALSO the mask is a great way to shut up noisy neighbors.

     There were a couple who lived next to me in an apartment in Lansing who had unreasonably loud sex OFTEN. I understand the moment can take you at times. But I swear it was like these people would mic themselves for every session. BUT being the closet bitch that I am I couldn’t bring myself to ask them in the hall ask them to tone it down a notch, or to pound on the wall (which I actually did do, but the force at which I would have needed to do it in order for it to be heard over their activity would have put a hole in the wall). SO I decided to enlist Ernest into the fight. Over his mouth I would post-it a note reading one of the following, “Try Fucking her gently” “S&M gagging is worth a try!” “Sound proofing. It’s a good thing.” etc. I would leave these on their door, mail box, car, and even got some up onto their balcony after attaching them to rocks. After about two weeks of doing this every time they got it on, the volume was cut in half. This means it was possible for them to fuck and for me to watch a movie at slightly above normal volume to drown out any moans

     Today is hair spray painting day at my school. I am not joking. There is some assembly this afternoon so after lunch I and all the other teachers go into the old gym with black hair paint and large pieces of cardboard with holes cut into the top. I am usually a cardboard holder, so I help the student who has dyed their hair against school rules hold the card over their uniform and another teacher does the spraying. The first few times I did it I found it surreal, now it’s just part of my day. Hope your day involves less hair paint!”

Limitless Potential

     Kevin Mauro writes in with his entry into the Danny Elfman fray:

     “I know we haven’t spoken in some time. This is your fault. Entirely. Anyway, I like to have parties, put on porno videos/dvds, turn off the sound and play various Danny Elfman songs through the Stereo. The PeeWee Big Adventure theme seems to work best. If you gave me that tape, there’s no limit as to what I could do. Everyone seems to enjoy it.”

     So I decided since they are the only two people to enter, they both win (Surprisingly, more people were willing to go to the trouble of mailing stamps to a P.O. box for an anti-me pin then were willing to send an email for a danny elfman tape. Wait maybe that’s not so surprising). I will send BOTH copies of the danny elfman tape I acquired at a garage sale out as prizes. Seriously — the selflessness never ceases.

AIM-POSSIBLE!

     Someone registered the AIM name adamkempa. I’ve never seen it show up online, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t me. Um, let me know if you spot it – I’m curious to know if this is in fact another Adam Kempa, or just an AIM-POSTER.

Absentee B&N anecdote, courtesy of Jenny:

     “I had something happen at work the other day that you might appreciate: this guy wanted to fill out a readers advantage application, so he did. And I’m like, ringing up his stuff and bagging it and not paying close attention to him but i see him writing an “after-thought” in the form of a small paragraph at the top of the application. So he hands me the application and starts telling me how he’s sick of corporations lying to him and how every application for anything he’s ever signed up for has sold his name to another business and how he gets all this junk mail. So to “combat” this he started putting fake names down on applications to see what corporations are legit. And he’s like ” I’ll be watching Barnes and Noble.” So I look in his bag to double check what he bought, and naturally it’s all gun magazines and political books, particularly that one horrible book by Michael Savage, I think it’s called the Savage Nation, its like the most racist, sexist, misguided political book ever written. ANYWAY…so after he’s gone I read what he wrote on the application and it read “do not sell my name, phone number or address to anyone. If you do I will hunt you down and shoot you.” I was like ‘uh, who exactly is this statement directed at?’ so naturally, I copied down his name and address and will be sending him random things in the mail and signing him up for subscriptions to magazines and political mailing lists and such. He was paranoid and crazy.”

Say tuna fish

     A friend of mine went away to France for a semester. On her going away card, I wrote something to the effect of:

Remember: ‘It is a poster’ in French (Cette une affiche) sounds like ‘Say tuna fish’ in English. Useful!

A few weeks after she arrived there, we had this conversation:

Her: Hey adam just a little story… for my workstudy the other day we had to hang posters for an event coming up at the abbey, so your tip came in handy, I went around saying “un affiche?” to the shopkeepers.

Me: ha! best thing ever

Me: useful!

Her: it really was, so thanks for increasing my vocab, since my french is extremely limited — the other girl and I started to hand the poster blankly to the shopkeepers when I rememberered I knew the word for poster!

That rules.

Additional suckage

     “Something I just found out: jon brion and roger manning are on the okgo album, listed as “additional musicians.” too bad that band sucks.” – Dave L.

Moustache Mugs

     I found this mug at a resale shop for fifty cents. I’ve since seen another one so they might be pretty common for all I know – but I was pretty enamored with it. It protects your moustache from liquid when you drink, just in case you couldn’t figure it out.



The text reads:

“DYKES’ BEARD ELIXER did it, and will do it on the smoothest face. More than 20,000 young men ALREADY WEAR HEAVY MOUSTACHE AND BEARD, having used from 1 to 3 pack’gs. Noinjury. Easilyapplied. Certain in effect. Package with directions post-paid 25cts. 3 for 50cts. L. L. SMITH & CO. Sole AG’ts, palatine, Ill. The public will use due caution and Address as above.”

Mail from Aaron Brown:

Re: Double Contractions:

     “…it looks like you unintentionally doubled the “have.” You could have written four examples, with the middle two being alternative middle steps between the first and last:

“You have not”
“You haven’t”
“You’ve not”
“You’ven’t”

     I would never use “you’ven’t” except in jest, but I use “couldn’t’ve” quite often — not just in speech, but also in writing.

In case nobody’s claimed the Danny Elfman tape yet:

     Mi ne havas iun ajn registrajxon de Danny Elfman, sed mi sxatas lian muzikon kiam ajn mi auxdas gxin en kinofilmo. Kiel vi scias, mi estas fojfoja komponisto, kaj antaux preskaux jardeko mi komencis ankoraux nefinitan muzikajxon pri kiu mia frato Mason (kiu ankaux
estas muzikisto) diris, ke gxi sonas kiel la muziko en “The Nightmare before Christmas”.

     I used to work with Aaron at B&N, so I’m fairly certain his Danny Elfman entry is written in Esperonto. This is a language I don’t know, but his entry arrived roughly two months after I already decided to give both copies away to other people, anyway. I reproduce it here for posterity only.

Hey Hey Hey!

     For several years now, I’ve been ‘Tivo-ing’ a Japanese show called ‘Hey! Hey! Hey!’ When I first started watching it, it was a live performance vehicle for the top Japanese bands of the day. It was often quite hilarious, as EVERY act would infallibly include a chorus or bridge in near-English. Recently, the program has become some weird sort of game show.

     This past week’s episode appears to have been taped around Christmas time, and features the show’s two hosts going up against what looks to be the Japanese equivalent of the Rockettes in a game of “Feel around in a box with your feet and guess what / who it is you’re feeling.” Photographs appear below. They must have told the contestants that the thing in the box was alive or something because for the first five minutes or so, all they did was tentatively poke their feet in and then scream and recoil in horror at the slightest contact with anything.


Photos from a Transformers Convention

     In the summer of 2000, a friend of mine who has an unhealthy obsession with Transformers asked If I would accompany him and one other friend to a Transformers convention. Naturally I said yes. I had some really great stories about how bizarre the whole experience was but then three years passed and I forgot most of them. What I do remember is:

  • Everyone there was INSANE.
  • If you bought a pre-convention ticket, you also got tickets to a black tie dinner at the hotel, which was served on a commemorative transformers plate. This dinner was followed by a screening of the Transformers movie. We didn’t have this kind of ticket.

  • There were many, many panel discussions. This is where I found myself during most of the convention proper – taking it all in. The composer of the score for the transformers movie set up, explained the inspiration for many of the pieces in the film, and then played them. The voice talent for several of the transformers television series spoke about their experiences and took questions. Many requests to have obscure sentences spoken in a ‘Transformer voice’ were filled. An auction was held and people paid absolutely OBSCENE amounts of money for toys that they all new would be released in the U.S. a month later. A bespectacled young man with an impressive pony tail hosted a screening of extremely rare transformers footage, before which he was very careful to ensure that no recording devices of any kind could possibly diminish the scarcity of his finds.
  • The previously mentioned voice talent sat at card tables for HOURS signing the packaging of toy robots with sharpies, and posing for pictures with grown men.

Here are some choice photos from that trip that I recently unearthed (mouse over for description):

The sales tables were loaded with still-boxed circa 1985 transformers, going for the paltry sum of about $300 each.
The fan art section featured the finest oil paintings of transformers sitting in landscapes that one could possibly ask for.
Glenn Danzig was there and he brought his home-made cardboard transformer costume.

Another photo I recently found

     My chin and Elvis Costello outside the State Theatre in Detroit, 2000ish:

And I TOUCHED him too!

Returned to dance, that laughter!!!!!!!!!!!!

     This is an E-mail sent to esteban@kempa.com, despite the fact that the intended recipient’s name is Esteban Campo:

Hola guapo!!!

     Siento que al final todo haya acabado así. Cada vez estoy más convencida que esto es una mafia y quien gana quien gana. Todo aquel que tiene opiniones distintas a ellos molesta. Yo cuando no estaba de acuerdo con las decisiones de la junta, pues lo mejor que me fuera y ahora más de lo mismo. Lo que sí tengo claro es que nadie va a hacer que cambie unas convicciones que tengo. Al final es lo único que tenemos y eso si que no nos lo pueden quitar. El domingo Ernesto tuvo una reunión con el grupo y dijo que estaba harto de que cada año tuvieramos una crisis y que esto no podia ser. Al final Manolo Botana vuelve a dar clases, estaba más que cantado y yo me he quedado fuera. Molestaba y lo ha conseguido. Le dijo a la Mar que me dijera que volviera a bailar, que risa!!!!!!!!!!!!! Después de todo lo que ha pasado!!! Ya he tomado una decisión y no voy a dar marcha atrás, por mucho que me duela dejarlo así además sabiendo lo q
ue me gusta. Bueno, cambiemos de tema. El sábado estaba hecha polvo, estuve estudiando todo el dia porque el miércoles tengo un examen y a Manolo le dolía mucho la cabeza. Quisimos despedirnos pero en un momento te rodearon y no hubo forma. Le dije a tu hermana que te dijera adiós. Hacia tiempo que no os escuchaba en directo y me gustasteis mucho, como siempre, vaya!!! Haber si teneis suerte y lo ganeis todo, os lo mereceis!! Manolo va iendo, la verdad es que tiene algun que otro bajoncillo pero lo lleva bastante bien. Él es fuerte y además tiene que estar bien porque su familia lo necesita bien. Bueno guapo nos vemos el domingo. Por cierto que le compramos a tu hermana????? Si se te ocurre algo dimelo, vale??? Un besazo. PILI

A (Very) loose translation can be found below. Can anyone who speaks spanish even tell if it’s worth trying to understand?

Hello handsome!

     I feel that in the end everything has finished thus. Every time more I am convinced than this is a Mafia and that wins who wins. All that that has opinions different from them bothers. I when it was not in agreement with the decisions of the meeting, because the best thing than was to me and now more of the same. What yes I know clearly is that nobody is going to cause that changes convictions that I have. In the end he is the unique thing that we have and that if that us cannot clear. Ernesto Sunday had a meeting with the tuvieramos group and said that it was very that every year a crisis and that this podia not to be. In the end Manolo Cocktail snack returns to give classes, was more than sung and I have remained outside. He bothered and he has obtained it. He said to him to the Sea that said to me that it returned to dance, that laughter!!!!!!!!!!!!! After all what he has happened! I have already made a decision and I am not
going to give reverse gear, no matter how much it hurts to me to leave it thus in addition knowing what I like. Good, we change of subject. Saturday was made dust, I was studying all the day because Wednesday I have an examination and to Manolo the head hurt much to him. We wanted to take leave but in a while they surrounded to you and there was no form. I said to him to your sister who said good bye to you. Towards time that did not listen to you in direct and I liked much, like always, it goes! To have if teneis luck and ganeis everything, you mereceis! Manolo is iendo, the truth is that it has algun that another one bajoncillo but takes enough good to it. It is strong and in addition he must be or because her family needs it or. Good lady’s man we see Sunday. By the way that to him we bought to your sister????? If something is happened to you dimelo, is worth? Besazo. PILI

Get a room.

     A few weekends ago, I went to our local library’s book sale. There, amongst the gently used hardcovers, I spotted the spine of a book bearing some hand-lettering that looked very similar to the hand-lettering that cartoonist extraordinaire Chris Ware did on the spine of The Comics Journal #200 (I swear to god I am not making that part up – that’s actually how I found it). A comparison:

     I picked it up, and the cover had all sorts of little Ware-ian illustrations and trademark techniques. So I open the back cover and the jacket design is credited to George Wilson! A Mystery! Photos of the jacket artwork are here, here and here. The book is a first edition hardcover copy of ‘Anything Considered’ by Peter Mayle, and my best googling has turned up no reference to this particular mystery on the Internet. I did turn up a George Wilson who appears to be employed in the publishing industry, but anyone who is even mildly familiar with Ware can just TELL it’s his work. If you know Chris Ware, you should tell him that the jig is up: his cover’s blown and I therefore deserve the original artwork for the cover.

  • This site features photographs of original Chris Ware artwork, along with the published results. Apparently this person acquired all these pieces directly from Mr. Ware in the early 90’s, and is now asking a LOT of money for the ones he’s willing to part with (I asked).
  • Another virtual exhibition of Chris Ware art is here.
  • You can still access an insanely detailed flash-based edition of his Jimmy Corrigan Project here – it was released to coincide with the publication of the hardcover Jimmy Corrigan book a few years back. I had never seen it before.
  • Also, an image of a book display Mr. Ware designed for the book. Like most of his work, i
    t looks to be very specific to the task at hand (Selling books), and I’ve never seen one for sale on eBay, so I’ll probably never know what all that text says. TORTURE.
  • There’s a good interview with Chris Ware (Conducted by Chipp Kidd) here. A great quote:

“During a recent 27-minute phone conversation with Chris Ware, I was exposed five times to the phrase “don’t hate me” (probably his second favorite expression), and eight times to “I’m sorry” (his first). This would be maddening, even under the best of circumstances, except for two things. First, he’s quite sincere. In fact, if he’s reading this right now, he’s mortified. I don’t care. Second, and by far most important, is that in my opinion Chris Ware is one of the best artists (fine, graphic, commercial, comic strip — all apply) working today. Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus author and illustrator Art Spiegelman agrees with me: “It’s uncanny that someone so young (Ware is, what, 29?) would have such an apparent recollection of the history of comics, and the talent to expand upon it.”

Flyer I found on Campus

“Ain’t no Party Like A Holy Ghost Party, Cause A Holy Ghost Party don’t stop!

Theme: Holy Ghost Party

On January 31st, 2003, at 7:00pm. Macedonia C.O.G.I.C. cordially invites you to our first annual Holy Ghost Party. It will consist of singing, dancing, and simply praising the Lord. Remember David, and how he dance with all his might for the Lord. We ask that you attend, and be prepared to magnify the lord.”

Text is EXACTLY as it appears on the flyer.

Movie Recommendation

     Rajo Zakic suggested I see a movie called ‘Russian Ark,’ so I watched the trailer online. There’s little to no dialogue in the trailer, just sweeping scenes set to music, punctuated by statistics about the movie. It’s a period piece, which is something I’m not usually terribly fond of (unless the period in question is 30’s-50’s America, in which case I’m GUNG HO) so at first I was skeptical. A brief reenactment:

Trailer: 300 Years of Russian History…

My Brain: Ehhhhhhh…..

Trailer: 2000 Actors

My Brain: Mmmmmmm……

Trailer: 33 Rooms of the Hermitage Museum

My Brain: Errrrrr…….

Trailer: 3 live orchestras

My Brain: hm!

Trailer: One continuous shot.

My Brain: HOLY FUCKING SHIT BEST THING EVER.

Several Photos from Coney Island in 2002 that I never got around to using for anything

  • The Liars were (are) HIDEOUSLY bad. Naturally everyone loves them.

  • Les Savy Fav were entertaining if also fairly gimmicky.
  • The Mooney Suzuki were photogenic.
  • The Shins were low-key (i.e. they and every other band playing were on opposite sides of the ‘Members inexplicably thrashing about’ spectrum).

Menagerie Mix

     I’m making a mix CD featuring bands with animal names. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • The Turtles
  • The Byrds
  • The Monkees
  • The Beatles
  • The Eagles
  • The Eels
  • The Frogs
  • The Crickets
  • The Jellyfish
  • The Iguanas
  • The Wrens
  • The Cranes
  • The Swans
  • The Owls

Got any more?

Another obsessive tangent about an author / subject you won’t care about

     Lately I’ve been obsessed with Nicholson Baker. I should clarify that – primarily his articles for the New Yorker magazine, which are non-fiction. Beyond the Mezzanine, which I loved, none of his other novels have held my interest. There are three articles I whole-heartedly recommend that you read – Baker finds a way to make both the complicated and trivial ridiculously interesting and entertaining. You’ll actually have to go to a library to get copies of these – they’re not online – but I reiterate: They are worth it. Here is a list of the three articles, along with where you can find them and what they’re about.

‘Discards’

The New Yorker, April 4, 1994, 64-70

Also Reprinted in The Size of Thoughts

     Details the vast inefficiency of computer cataloguing vs. card cataloguing – and the great loss of information that comes from eliminating a card catalog (Nearly all conversions are handled by a single company in Ohio that charges by the card. Only the most basic information is transferred, any notes, dates, cross references, etc. are lost. Baker makes several great points about the value of the catalogs not only as informational resources but as sociological artifacts, and interviews several people who are attempting to save the card catalogs of major institutions ‘Until they come to their senses.’) Sounds dry but it’s actually really great.

‘Deadline: A desperate plea to stop the trashing of America’s historic newspapers’

The New Yorker, July 24, 2000, 42-61

Reprinted in part in Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper

     Details the INFURIATING (to me, at least) practice of ALL libraries destroying original paper copies of all historical newspapers, and relying on often illegible black and white negatives of runs that are considered ‘complete’ unless they are missing more than 100 editions from any particular year. Also details the refusal of many libraries to donate these volumes to non-profit organizations who wish to preserve them, but rather sell them off to warehouses who sell individual ‘Birthday’ issues to morons from catalogs.

‘The Projector’

The New Yorker, March 21, 1994, 148-153.

Also Reprinted in The Size of Thoughts

     Really interesting article about the evolution of the movie projector in the multiplex. Includes some really great historical details pertaining to Edison’s outright theft of some of his ‘inventions,’ and an explanation of the herky-jerky feel of many silent movies (They were meant to be ‘played’ at variable speeds by the projectionist as the on-screen mood dictated – as we see them today they are played at a constant frame rate from start to finish).

Random links with just enough description to get by dept.

  • A more comprehensive site covering the random and infuriating disposal practices of arcade owners can be found
    here. This one’s not limited exclusively to arcade games – old jukeboxes can also be seen rotting in the middle of random fields. Don’t miss the section devoted entirely to photographs of people burning arcade games, either — it’s HOTT.

  • Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey are an incredibly great art duo who shine light through a stencil onto grass seed in soil, and ‘grow’ their works. The differing exposure to light causes the grass to grow in at varying shades of green, thereby producing the image. The best examples of this are probably Photosynthesis and Mother & Child.
  • Marcel Bétrisey makes insane mechanical clocks. The highlight of his site is the video section, where you can watch some mind-blowing clips of his creations in action. I recommend this one and this one if you’re pressed for time.
  • Web site documenting one man’s quest to alter a bicycle to appear as though the rider is actually riding an animated neon horse (But only at night). Insanely good, with video.

  • Vincent Gallo of Buffalo ’66 fame put out an album on Warp records last year. While the album is fairly unremarkable as far as I’m concerned, the studio he built to record it in is ridiculous. Crammed from floor to ceiling with vintage gear.
  • This guy solves Rubik’s Cubes to the patterns he needs to compose big multi-cube mosaics. Awesome.
  • I had never heard about Van Morrison’s contract-breaking sessions before – but apparently he owed Bang records one more release and honored his obligation with a collection of 36 nonsensical songs. You can download an MP3 of three of them here – courtesy of the best site on the internet, the 365 Project. If you are further intrigued, you can order a CD of the complete session here and burn me a copy.
  • The Onion had a really great interview with the correspondents of the Daily show a few weeks back. Read it here. I watch on and off, and I’d heard rumblings that Steve Carrell had returned for a bit, but where did he go in the first place?
  • The best image ever: here.
  • Steve Keene, the guy who painted the cover of Pavement’s Wowee Zowie has a website where you can very cheaply (~ $12) buy some random original artwork.

  • In case you’re one of those freaks who plans your Christmas list WAY in advance and sends total strangers gifts, I will definitely want this. For the click-shy among you – it’s a book called ‘Recording the Beatles’ – chock full of HOTT mic placement trivia and LURID compression / gating details!

     Finally, I’m looking for someone who gets the game show network to tape their first original documentary, “Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal” for me. If someone could do that, it would be just swell.