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Log Book: The man who kept a diary of every shit he took in 2014
10:22 am



Intrepid reddit user captainmercedes kept a diary of every poop he had during 2014. He noted down every bowel movement in his captain’s “log book”—at what time he had one, its size, consistency, duration and many other relevant details. The information was kept in accordance with the Bristol Stool Chart—an academic shit comparison guide which experts use to classify the quality of turds from “nuts” and “liquid” to something that resembles “a sausage or snake.”
Poo are you? Distribution of bowel movement on Bristol Stool Scale. It would appear the captain mainly fired “a number two torpedo.” There is evidence of some late night binges throughout the year.
A Week of Poo: This chart shows how many fudge brownies our poo expert baked per day. Thursday was the day our man preferred to “drop the kids off at the pool,” while Monday and Tuesday seemed to produce the least number of brown fishies.
Log Dropping Time: 10am in the morning was the optimum time for pebble-dashing the porcelain—though note the very occasional night shift.
Toilet Punishments per day: Or, how many many fudge bombs dropped—which appears to be one on average, though there was that time he fired off five in one day—now that’s impressive. Still, what about the ranking for incomplete turds? What qualifies them as less than one?
Distance from optimal corndog condition.—a kind of sliding scale…
What our chocolate fingered maestro will do with all this information I dunno, but I certainly won’t be holding on with bated breathed…. maybe just holding my breath.
Via reddit.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The real reason the BBC wanted to keep George Orwell off the radio
07:27 am



When George Orwell died at the age of forty-six on January 21st 1950, he was considered by some of London’s fashionable literary critics as a marginal figure—“no good as a novelist”—who was best known for his essays rather than his fiction.

This quickly changed in the years after his death when his reputation and popularity as a writer grew exponentially. Over the past seven decades he has come to be considered one of the most influential English writers of the twentieth century.

This massive change in opinion was largely down to Orwell’s last two books Animal Farm first published in 1945, and Nineteen Eighty-Four published the year before he died. The importance of these two novels has enshrined Orwell’s surname, like Dickens, Kafka and more recently J. G. Ballard, into the English language as a descriptive term—“Orwellian”—for nightmarish political oppression, while many of his fictional ideas or terms contained within Nineteen Eighty-Four have become part of our everyday language—“Big Brother,” “Room 101,” “newspeak,” “doublethink,” “thoughtcrime” and so on.

Both of these books have become essential texts for radicals and conservatives in their individual campaigns against perceived invasive and totalitarian governments. After the Second World War Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were considered damning critiques of Stalinist Russia, and their subject matter limned the growing paranoia between East and West during the Cold War. When Edward Snowden exposed the covert surveillance by US intelligence agencies on millions of Americans, copies of the book were sold by the thousands. Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s flexibility of interpretation has meant the book has been used to condemn almost everything from the rise of CCTV and wind farms, to the George W. Bush/Tony Blair war against “the axis of evil,” the rise of jihadist Islam, the spread of capitalist globalization, Vladimir Putin’s political “grand vision”, and (rather laughably) “Obamacare.” 

But it wasn’t the meaning of Orwell’s writing that caused the BBC to sniff condescendingly about their employee during the 1940s, rather it was his actual voice which was considered by Overseas Services Controller, JB Clark as “un-attractive” as this secret internal BBC memo reveals:

Controller (Overseas Services)      19th January, 1943

GEORGE ORWELL                                 STAFF PRIVATE

1. A.C. (OS) 2. E.S.D.

I listened rather carefully to one of George Orwell’s English talks in the Eastern Service on, I think, Saturday last. I found the talk itself interesting, and I am not critical of its content, but I was struck by the basic unsuitability of Orwell’s voice. I realise, of course, that his name is of some value in quite important Indian circles, but his voice struck me as both un-attractive and really unsuited to the microphone to such an extent that (a) it would not attract any listeners who were outside the circle of Orwell’s admirers as a writer and might even repel some of these, and (b) would make the talks themselves vulnerable at the hands of people who would have reason to see Orwell denied the microphone, or of those who felt critical of the B.B.C. for being so ignorant of the essential needs of the microphone and of the audience as to put on so wholly unsuitable a voice.

I am quite seriously worried about the situation and about the wisdom of our keeping Orwell personally on the air.

JBC/GMG (J.B. Clark)

The reason Old Etonian Orwell’s voice may not have sounded attractive was that he had been shot in the neck during the Spanish Civil War. However, Orwell got his own back on the BBC by naming Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s infamous torture room after “Room 101” in Broadcasting House, where he had to sit through long, tedious meetings about political vetting.
The only known footage of George Orwell (or Eric Blair as he was then) can be seen in this clip of him playing the “Wall Game” with fellow pupils at Eton—he’s fourth on the left and in the clip between a very young Melanie Griffiths and Grace Kelly.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Grisly rites of Hitler’s monster flesh stripper’: Vintage Naziploitation magazine covers
09:22 am

Pop Culture


For some Americans, the Second World War didn’t end in 1945 but continued in their imaginations through the pages of lurid Naziploitation magazines published during the fifties and sixties. Why so many mid-century male Baby Boomers enjoyed ogling scantily clad women being tortured by Nazi pigs raises serious questions about the mindset of an entire generation. Indeed, it may explain why so many former hippies voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, preferring the whip of capitalist exploitation and the jack boot of a dominant male to any kind of real fairness and equality.

It’s a theory…

The damsel in distress has long been a cultural trope and such magazines as Man’s Daring, Man’s Story, All Man and Real Men (imaginative titles, eh?) catered to this and permitted readers to indulge taboo fantasies under the guise of fighting a common evil enemy. It made weak men feel masculine and protective at the same time, while indulging their arousal over the antics of some wicked, pervy Nazis. Of course these magazines didn’t just focus on Nazis but picked on Communist Russians and the KGB (NKVD), Japanese geishas and Chinese Red Army generals.

Eventually these exploitation magazines lost out to the rise of “skin mags” like Playboy and Mayfair, where nothing was left to the imagination. As for Naziploitation, well it moved into movies during the 1970s with the likes of SS Experiment Love Camp, Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. and even arthouse fare by directors such as Luchino Visconti (The Damned, 1969), Liliana Caviani (The Night Porter, 1974) and Tinto Brass (the notorious Salon Kitty, 1976). 
More questionable exploitation mags after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ sung by Cookie Monster
05:30 am



Catman Cohen is an obscure but tenacious vocalist with an improbable, gravelly bass voice and a catalog of four self released CDs that feature absurdly portentious song titles like “If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers,” “How I Want to Die,” “Metaphorical Dreams of a Broken Soul”... you get the picture. He’s very much a destitute man’s Leonard Cohen attempting to sing like Albert Kuvezhin, and on his 2009 opus How I Want to Dream: The Catman Chronicles 3 he covered Mazzy Star’s unforgettable 1993 single “Fade Into You.” Terribly. He also made a terrible video for it. Watch it here if you like, but I much prefer the version below, mashed-up by an internet smartass with footage of Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster.

Many thanks to Valerie Johnson for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
J Mascis singing Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’
Cookie Monster sings Tom Waits’ ‘Hell Broke Luce’
Tuvan throat singer takes on Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Joy Division & more

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Can mice throw up?’: Before there was Google, there was the New York Public Library
09:06 am



A few days ago, the New York Public Library uploaded an intriguing picture to its Instagram account. The picture was of a torn and tattered index card with a plaintive and yet hopeful message typed on it: “Is this the place where I ask questions I can’t get answers to?” It turns out that before the Internet significantly improved the process of resolving heretofore elusive questions of whether it was Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman who was the star of Spaceballs (answer: Pullman), a significant chunk of the job description of librarians, at least at the New York Public Library (NYPL), was slaking the well-nigh random curiosity of the public at large. They fielded questions in person but also over the telephone, and some of the questions that came up were recorded on index cards.

The purpose of NYPL’s Instagram post was to announce the inauguration of a new series of photos, to be posted every Monday, using the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou:

We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled “Interesting Reference Questions,” the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations. People came to the library for reference, but also for info on buying and selling, looking for inspiration, crafty project ideas, and even to find photos. In a world pre-Google, librarians weren’t just Wikipedia, they were people’s Craiglist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram all rolled into one.

The series’ second installment was yesterday, and the card they chose was incredibly beguiling, so much so that I am forced to entertain the notion that someone was pranking the NYPL, way back in 1967:

Telephone call mid-afternoon New Year’s Day, 1967: Somewhat uncertain female voice: “I have two questions. The first is sort of an etiquette one. I went to a New Year’s Eve party and unexpectedly stayed over. I don’t really know the hosts. Ought I to send a thank-you note? Second. When you meet a fellow and you know he’s worth twenty-seven million dollars—because that’s what they told me, twenty-seven million, and you know his nationality, how do you find out his name?” CS 1/2/67


Shrewdly, the NYPL released a couple dozen questions to Gothamist—not the cards, just the questions—and they’re well worth a look. We’ve included the few pics of the index cards that have been released so far. Gothamist reports that “People still use an updated version of this, called Ask NYPL, and the library says they receive about 1,700 reference questions a month via chat, email, and phone.” (I have used “Ask NYPL” myself via chat, but to resolve a thorny research question about the NYPL’s holdings, not to find out about the cast of Spaceballs.) Reading the questions is a little like seeing what the Autocomplete function spits out when you type in “why is there a” on Google, only a bit more refined:

Are black widow spiders more harmful dead or alive?

Are Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates the same person?

Can NYPL recommend a good forger?

Can you tell me the thickness of a US Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We cannot get this answer quickly. Perhaps try the Postal Service. Response: This is the Postal Service.

Does the Bible have a copyright?

What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the US?

What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?

What’s the difference between pig and pork?

Can mice throw up?




And, finally, one the Manhattanites especially will enjoy:

via Messy Nessy Chic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Five merry & macabre Ralph Steadman Christmas cartoons from way back in 1957
02:12 pm



Ralph Steadman‘s path to the splattered and hyperbolic cartoons that went so well with the gonzo journalism of Hunter Thompson was neither short nor straightforward. Steadman’s first published comic (about Egypt) appeared in the Manchester Evening Chronicle in 1956. As he said in an interview in 1989, “It was done in sort of quasi-David Low style, because that was the sort of thing that was expected: if you did a political cartoon, it had to look like David Low. Nothing had come on the horizon yet for me. I hadn’t yet found George Grosz. I hadn’t even found Picasso. I had not really found anybody at that time.”

A year later, for Christmas, the same newspaper ran five single-paneled cartoons on the theme of Christmas by Steadman; the date was December 21, 1957. He was all of 21 years old.

The Evening Chronicle was trying to make Steadman into a local and beloved figure with a nickname to match his signature of that time—“STEAD.” The title of the Christmas gallery of cartoons is “STEAD Looks at Christmas.” It’s interesting to see signs of the scathing and acidic negativity that would come later in Steadman’s career here, when his style was relatively anonymous—“quasi-David Low,” as he said. His concept of a cute punchline was pretty negative, whether it’s a Santa in the Sahara or Santa having to buy an unfathomable number of stamps or, in the most Steadman-esque of the bunch by far, a frenzied paterfamilias exasperated with “Aunt Agatha” while he cuts the Christmas goose.





Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
High as shit journalist giggles helplessly in front of a big pile of burning drugs
08:37 am



Here’s something they don’t teach in journalism school: How to report on the impromptu disposal of high-grade narcotics while you have the biggest contact high on the planet Zartron-9. This exact situation happened to respected BBC reporter Quentin Sommerville four years ago while taping a report in front of a burning pile of “eight and a half tons of heroin, opium, hashish, and other narcotics.” As you’ll see in the video, his conduct was as professional as one could possibly expect under the circumstances.

On Monday he tweeted the clip with the following message: “Dear tweeps, it’s been a year of bullets & bloodshed. You’ve earned a xmas laugh, at my expense.” In the video Sommerville repeatedly tries to tape a news report on the burning drugs but can’t keep a straight face. He later took the video down, probably due to copyright issues, but the video has since surfaced elsewhere.

According to a BBC spokesperson, “The video of Quentin corpsing, which has now been deleted, was posted in the spirit of a blooper. ... It was filmed four years ago—it hasn’t been seen before and was never broadcast.”

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
MAD Magazine gives America the finger (40¢, Cheap), 1974
06:23 am



As a lowbrow, take-on-all-comers venue for satire, MAD Magazine has trafficked in shock on a regular basis. Only on one occasion did MAD cross the line to the point that the publisher himself, the great William Gaines, decided to issue an apology to the magazine’s subscribers. The April 1974 issue dispensed with the usual iconic face of Alfred E. Neuman (who wasn’t on every cover in any case) in favor of a realistic painting of the unmistakable hand gesture denoting, in aviary fashion, “Wyncha go fuck yourself?” The headline read, “The Number One Ecch Magazine.” (“Disgusting” in MAD parlance, see also “blecch” and “yecch”.)

In any case, confronted with the option of placing an upraised middle finger on their shelves, many newsstands refused. Gaines decided that the newsstands and the many, many offended readers had a point and sent out “hundreds and hundreds” of apology letters. (Does anyone out there reading this have one of those letters?) For some readers it was a watershed moment, and they would never return to reading the magazine. MAD obviously survived, but it was a tough moment for the magazine.

MAD publisher William Gaines
Maybe they were looking to offend some people—just three issues earlier, in MAD 163, the cover declared, graffiti-style, “MAD Is a Four-Letter Word!” Gaines would later imply that the “usual gang of idiots” had come up with the idea of the cover and that he wasn’t that into it, but it seems like a quintessentially Gainesian move from the man who successfully defended First Amendment issues when he withstood the withering scrutiny of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 and insisted that the definition of “bad taste” for a horror comic might be a cover in which “a man with a bloody axe holding a woman’s head up” was holding the head “a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.” (See here for more of his testimony, including the images he discusses in detail.)

According to, “The magazine itself was pulled and returned/destroyed from many newsstands and is now a hard-to-find collector’s item.” (True enough, it’s available for $50 on Amazon as I write this, although on eBay you can pay for less for one, it looks like. Awesomely, an uncut cover sheet for that issue sold for $40 just a couple of weeks ago.) As a user on the Collectors Society forum put it, “Many parents were P.O.‘ed and either complained or just canceled their subscriptions. William Gaines ended up sending out a letter to all subscribers in which he apologized for the breach of good taste—probably the first time Gaines has ever done such a thing.”

In an interview in the May 1983 edition of The Comics Journal, Gaines discussed the incident:

Dwight Decker: Do you feel you might have been isolated in New York, putting out the comic books [meaning the “Vault of Horror”-style comics in the 1950s], that you couldn’t really judge the reactions of the people in Oshkosh?
William Gaines: Definitely. And this is still true with MAD. We put out an issue, oh, maybe 89 years ago now, which is what we called “the finger issue,” which was, “MAD is number one,” [giving the finger] and holy Moses! The guys called me into a cover conference to look at the thing, and I said, “That’s okay. It’s not too funny, but it’s all right.” And we put it out and the roof fell in. And I was sitting here sending out apology letters by the hundreds and hundreds to people all over the country—from Oshkosh. ...
Decker: A friend of mine just told me the other day—he lives in Connecticut—he hasn’t read an issue of MAD since that issue.
Gaines: That issue so offended him?
Decker: Yes.
Gaines: Incredible. To me it’s incredible but there’s no question that a lot of people felt that way.

Here’s Gaines on Canadian TV in 1977 discussing another occasion when MAD got some flak from a very different corner of the world:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
YES. There’s a mashup of the Notorious B.I.G. and the ‘Serial’ theme song
11:17 am



The success of the This American Life spinoff podcast Serial, which in Season 1 has been looking at the facts surrounding the incarceration of Adnan Masud Syed for the murder of a former girlfriend named Hae-Min Lee, has been a major story in the world of podcasting. It’s been a #1 in the iTunes store for weeks, and if you’re a loyal This American Life listener, you’ve probably been gushing about the case with your friends since the podcast’s inception. As viewers of HBO and AMC have learned of late, the pleasures of the serial form of story-telling can be profound, something the consumers of The Perils of Pauline, Fantômas, and the death of Little Nell decades or centuries ago didn’t need to be told.

To honor a show obsessed with murder, New York-based producer Fafu decided that the thing to do was to mash up the tinkly Serial theme song (composed by Nicholas Thorburn, available here) with something a bit heavier—the Notorious B.I.G. track “Somebody Gotta Die.”

Face it—listening to a murder case week after week has made you feel like a gangsta—now you have a soundtrack to match.

via Huh.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Art Spiegelman: The Playboy Years
03:23 pm



January 1982
Art Spiegelman is about as close as you can come to an eminence grise in the comix game. As the co-editor of Raw in the 1980s (his wife Françoise Mouly was the other co-editor), Spiegelman injected the U.S. underground comix scene with a healthy dose of intellectual experimentation, introducing such talents to the country as Chris Ware, Joost Swarte, Mark Newgarden, and Charles Burns. In 1991 Spiegelman completed his autobiographical years-long project Maus—if you haven’t read it you really should. Not for nothing did it become the first “graphic novel,” as the terminology had it and fitfully still has it, to win the Pulitzer Prize. Since that time Spiegelman spent several years as art director for the New Yorker and published several high-quality works like In the Shadow of No Towers, Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, and Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! He has the credibility that only roots in the underground scene can give you, he’s blended high art and low art (he was also involved with the creation of Garbage Pail Kids, for instance), and he’s generally a walking encyclopedia of comix history and lore. In 2008 I saw Spiegelman give a presentation on “Comics 101” as part of the New Yorker Festival, and it was a delight.

Raw existed from 1980 through 1991, and it must have been quite a challenge for Spiegelman and Mouly to pull off the publication of such an ambitious and infamously large-format book in Soho, one that surely had a host of printing issues most magazines don’t have to worry about (having their own dedicated printing press surely helped with that). Fortunately, to help pay the bills, Spiegelman was doing freelance work for Playboy from 1978 to 1982. I’ll bet those checks with the little rabbit in the corner (??) sure came in handy. 

His first cartoon for Playboy was a wordless 12-panel item called “Shaggy Dog Story” in the January 1979 issue about a woman having sex with a dog. Maybe not content-wise, but visually at least it wouldn’t look out of place in Raw, which isn’t necessarily true of his other work for Playboy—it has a jagged look that evokes ... something earlier and continental, not art nouveau but something similar. Most of Spiegelman’s cartoons for Playboy came in the form of a running series called “Edhead,” which depicted the adventures of a poor fellow who consists of a head but no body—that ran through most of 1979, then stopped until two further strips in 1981. In the January 1982 issue Spiegelman and Lou Brooks did a large panel of “Teasers” full of sophomoric jokes. My favorite thing he did for Playboy was a one-off four- (or eight-)panel strip called “Jack ‘n’ Jane/Rod ‘n’ Randy,” which is so elegantly complex that you can practically see the germ for Chris Ware’s entire future career in it. The idea is that every frame is divided into two; in the top frame a man and a woman converse, and in the bottom frame you get a parallel dialogue between the man’s penis and the woman’s vagina. OK, so maybe it isn’t exactly Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary—it’s still pretty impressive for a few square inches of real estate in the back of a nudie magazine…..

(Click on the images for a larger version.)

October 1979

December 1978

February 1979

March 1979

April 1979
Several more “Edheads” and a rejected Playboy parody for Wacky Packages, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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