In March DM reported on activists in Germany who, seeking to discourage drunken revelers from urinating in public, had applied special liquid-repelling paint to certain walls which would have the effect of redirecting the stream back towards, say, the malefactor’s own pant legs.
Today the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city of San Francisco is using the identical technique. Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru commented, “We are piloting it to see if we can discourage people from peeing at many of our hot spots. ... Nobody wants to smell urine. We are trying different things to try to make San Francisco smell nice and look beautiful.”
[Nuru] demonstrated a painted wall’s effectiveness at the 16th Street Bart Plaza Thursday. A sign reading, “Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place,” hung above it. It doesn’t explicitly state that the wall will fire back, so some surprises are in store.
“Watch your shoes over there, brother,” Nuru said, spraying water from a plastic bottle against the pee-proof wall. The liquid splashed right back, soaking the bottom of his pants. “The team that did the testing, they were excited because the liquid bounces back more than we thought it would. Anything we can do to deter people is a good thing.”
The experiment in Hamburg’s St. Pauli neighborhood captured the attention of San Francisco officials. “Based on Hamburg, we know this pilot program is going to work,” Nuru said. “It will reduce the number of people using the walls. I really think it will deter them.”
The paint was applied in “nine urine-repellent walls in the Tenderloin, the Mission and South of Market,” with more to come. We can’t tell you where in San Francisco you are safe from the splattery technique, so we advise taking your binge drinking habits to Oakland for the time being.
Here’s a video from San Francisco Public Works demonstrating the paint:
Santorum Walks Away From Porn-Busting Promise: The last time he ran for president, former Sen. Rick Santorum aroused Internet users by promising to take away their access to pornography. ‘I don’t even remember that position, to be very honest,’ he now says. Well, I’m sure he really meant it at the time. (US News and World Report)
Boy George: ‘This Is the World I Was Fighting for in 1984’: I saw that this article was linked off Drudge Report, which would probably explain why they closed the comments down! (Yahoo! Music)
Trump Would Lose Badly In A Third-Party Bid, But He Could Take The Republican Down, Too: What’s not to love about this? This is perhaps the greatest thing in politics to happen in our lifetime! (FiveThirtyEight)
Welfare recipient drug testing brings shocking results: In November 2009, GOP Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona announced that the state would test adults if they felt like there was a “reasonable cause” to believe they were getting high. But while the laws were designed to help save money by keeping people who might use their benefits on illegal drugs instead of bare necessities, they largely proved to be a complete waste of the state’s money. The implementation of the process cost the Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars. Over 87,000 welfare recipients were been tested: One test came up as positive which ended up saving the state only $560, according to USA Today. (AOL)
America’s Top Killing Machine: Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year. (The Atlantic)
Reason #1 to Vote Bernie: Sanders Does ‘Better Than Clinton’ Against GOP in Swing States: According to a July 22, 2015 Quinippiac University Poll, Hillary Clinton’s once overwhelming lead in public opinion has been cut substantially, and it’s still a long way to the February 1, 2016 Iowa Caucus. In states that will decide the 2016 presidential election, Quinippiac reports that “Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker.” Clinton’s lead has eroded in swing states, while Sanders’s surge has spread from Iowa and New Hampshire to other key regions. (Huffington Post)
Life sentence for woman whose hired hit man shot the wrong guy: A South Carolina woman whose teenage lover shot and killed the woman’s brother-in-law instead of her husband who was the intended target, will serve life in prison, and the teenager is expected to plead guilty, the prosecutor in the case said on Friday. (Raw Story)
The Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well Shows Made a Whole Bunch of Money: The surviving members of the Grateful Dead should be able to buy themselves plenty of boxes of rain following their 50th anniversary shows. According to Billboard‘s data, the five concerts raked in an incredible $52.2 million haul while drawing 361,933 people in total. (Ultimate Classic Rock)
Hear Led Zeppelin’s Upbeat ‘When the Levee Breaks’ Rough Mix: “If It Keeps On Raining” will appear on upcoming deluxe reissues of ‘Coda.’ (RollingStone)
Dennis Rodman endorses Donald Trump for president: The five-time NBA champion tweeted that the Donald “has been a great friend for many years” and added “We don’t need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016” Rodman announced his support of Trump only an hour after defending World Wrestling Entertainment legend Hulk Hogan in separate tweets. Special! (Politico)
Virtual reality is the new hope of the porn industry with headsets like Oculus Rift set to go mainstream: Let’s face it, we are a red-blooded, sex-obsessed species. Behind every new technology, pornography has been hot on its heels, and the brave new world of virtual reality is right now climbing its way to a hyper-real climax. (News.com.au)
Poll: Republican Party approval ratings lowest in decades: Only 32% of respondents said they had a favorable opinion on the Republican Party in a new Pew Research Center poll published Thursday — the lowest number Pew has reported at any point since 1992. The party is viewed unfavorably by 60% of respondents, again the party’s worst score. Oddly, the biggest drop in GOP favorability is among actual Republicans, not Democrats or independents. (USA Today)
I was Ronald McDonald: More men have walked on the moon than been Ronald McDonald. Joe Maggard was McDonald’s mascot from 1995 to 2007. He was eighth of nine men to have done the job. But what happens after you step out of the big red shoes? Maggard says you never truly retire from being the fast-food chain’s Chief Happiness Officer. At a carnival in Las Vegas as he dons the costume again, and offers advice on healthy eating and the importance of being Ronald (Guardian Docs)
The world owes Flickr user Kelly Michals a debt of gratitude for saving these marvelous “participation certificates” from oblivion. Michals has put together an extensive Flickr album to house more than 100 of these amazing and weird documents of the Cold War. You might think of nuclear testing as an activity associated with, say, 1954, but these documents cover a startlingly wide time span, from 1951 into the early 1970s, at least that I found.
In a way, these items are a bit like fallout shelters, an optimistic and probably futile gesture in the face of the most hopeless situation you could imagine, nuclear bombs created to wipe out entire continents. The nuclear tests had amusing names like Operation Milkshake and the documents have something of the naive artistic value of the CB radio calling cards we highlighted a couple weeks back.
There are a lot more of these at Michals’ Flickr album, so do go there and have a look. All of the images on this page, you can see a larger image by clicking on it,
I once heard someone refer to Wes Anderson’s films as “expensive dollhouses,” which, while bitingly pointed, I find a little harsh. For one thing, I think Rushmore is a masterpiece, and even if his later films don’t possess whatever intangible quality I loved most about Rushmore, they’re obviously not throwaways. For another, while the uncannily warm, color-corrected tableaux of Anderson’s later work can be a bit twee, they’re undeniably beautiful and intense—and who doesn’t love a good dollhouse? Nonetheless, there is an aesthetic cult around Anderson’s work that goes way past appreciation and borders on corny. You know the crowd; ukuleles, cardigans, deep in pouty ennui, only know the really pretty Velvet Underground songs (and can play them on the ukulele). They’re not hard to pick out of a crowd, and now they’re featuring their Wes Anderson-themed art in serious gallery shows.
The Anderson-inspired art show, titled “Bad Dads”—I presume in reference to his constant theme of disappointing paternal figures—started in San Francisco in 2010, and was originally advertised as an art show/costume party (imagine a million girls dressed as Margot Tenenbaum trying to look sullen, yet beautiful, ugh). The show proved so popular that it’s now going on its sixth run, this time at the Joseph Gross Gallery in NYC. Below you can see art from the upcoming feature, as well as work from previous events, some of which has already sold for a pretty penny.
I’m torn, because not only is it an interesting experiment to take what is essentially fan art out of the DeviantArt ghetto and put it into the “respectable” art world (and don’t kid yourself, it is fan art), but also, some of this stuff looks quite good! (I’m particularly fond of the Kanye West crossover, since a contemporary sense of humor is a nice contrast to Anderson’s out-of-time pastels.) On the other hand, Wes Anderson? Really? Aren’t their directors who could inspire more exciting and varied shows? What about Kubrick? Truffaut? Kurosawa? How about anyone who doesn’t have a favorite Parisian taxidermy shop?
Julia Graham and her husband were driving past the Rosehill Cemetery on Chicago’s North Side at 10pm when they saw something straight out of a David Lynch film (or else a low-budget straight to VHS 80s clown slasher flick, take your pick, either is equally valid here): A man dressed as a clown running towards the historic graveyard before scaling a 7-foot-tall-gate.
It got weirder. When Julia and her husband hung around to get a better look, the clown was not deterred or afraid. He waved slowly at the couple. Incidents like this one aren’t isolated. A video of creepy clowns surprising people on the streets of California went viral last year. In New York, a clown was seen making a daytime excursion last year while holding some balloons.
“Oh, that’s super weird,” says Graham, when shown the New York video. “That is like making light of a cemetery.”
Eventually, the clown caught in the headlights of Graham’s car turns around and, without saying a word, takes off into the darkness of the cemetery. “I just think it’s creepy and wrong,” Graham says.
I don’t know if I would like it if something like this happened to me. I’ve pondered it, but could come to no conclusion. Maybe under the right circumstance and with the right person. A person who is armed, perhaps…
In any case, what did this guy achieve with this “activity”? Maybe it’s his kink? An art prank? He just always dresses like this or is a professional party clown and cutting through the cemetery is his shortcut home from work? None of the above? Who knows? And who can say besides the creepy clown guy himself? Creepy slow-waving Chicago clown guy, if you are reading this, please leave us some clues as to your “motivation” for this in the comments. Thank you in advance!
Several months ago when we showed you Emma Munger‘s wonderful Sailor Jerry-inspired pin up artwork of the women of Twin Peaks, one of our readers posted the comment “Where are all the half naked men covered in logs? We demand equality!” Perhaps the artist heard and heeded that plea, because she’s added the MEN of Twin Peaks to the series.
And there’s a really funny twist: these aren’t beefcake poses. Just like the women, the guys are drawn in the manner of female pin ups. Which is hilarious on Ed Hurley, the Horne brothers, and Pete Martell, but frankly disturbing on Killer Bob and One-armed Mike. And the pin up of Dr. Jacoby? Yeah, that one’s in a class all by itself. Prints of Munger’s work are available from søciety6.
I realize this could come off as the lamest kind of whining, but sometimes, having a job that gets you tons of free music isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, and I’ve had a few of them. It’s not that I dislike people sharing their work with me, to the contrary, that’s a huge plus. But obviously not everyone who reaches out is going to be any goddamn good, and you can’t possibly listen to everything that comes down the pike to sort out what’s what. This was a giant problem in college radio and underground rags in the early ‘90s—once the alterna-goldmine became overrun with prospectors and even indie labels were throwing everything at the wall they could, you had ten times as much music to sift through every week, but the proportion of garbage remained constant. (Sturgeon’s Law says 90%. Kretsch’s Law says 98% if you’re lucky.) So you had to figure out other ways of rooting out the bullshit, and press materials were and still are a surefire step one. After their photo (of course), a band’s influence list is always a great disqualifier—sometimes, with just a glance, you can already hear the bandwagon rounding the corner without even troubling yourself with a single song.
The internet only made things worse, from a certain point of view. On the artist side, yes, it’s absolutely fantastic that you can instantly and inexpensively get your work out to a potentially global audience without having to foot the costs of creating and shipping physical product. But from the listener side, that spells an insurmountable glut of available music, and the gatekeepers of the past, namely labels, radio, and media, remain key filters for a great many music fans who can’t spend all day on the hunt. And when you write about music, or book bands for clubs, you can find yourself submerged in unsolicited material from terrible hopefuls. That hasn’t been a problem in my time at Dangerous Minds; artists and publicists who reach out to us seem to understand what we’re all about, and that we almost never do straight reviews, so it’s extremely rare that I get much that’s wildly off the mark or totally horrid, but we’re kind of lucky here. I have a fair few pals who write for more general-interest music sites, and others who serve as concert venue talent-buyers, and they can get bombarded with musical crimes that would make mere mortals like you or me want to stab a motherfucker with a screwdriver.
And behold, someone on Tumblr gets it. The anonymous smartass behind “Why I Deleted Your Band’s Promo Email” is assembling a collection of the crucial lines in bands’ solicitations that all but force you to stop reading, because nothing that could follow will ever convince you that you’re not about to be enjoined to gargle a sonic cat turd. I’m having trouble putting my finger on what sector of the music industry this collector is involved in—the tone of a lot of these feels like they’re coming from strivers on the prowl for gigs, but some of them sound like they’re angling for record reviews; some feel like they were written by pros, others read like they were written by overconfident eighth-graders. Perhaps someday the person sharing these will reveal his or her identity, but until then, here’s an assortment of big red flags that the associated music is bad enough to make you hate all music.
The last quarter-century of political history is full of celebrity-led “get out the vote” initiatives (Rock the Vote, P. Diddy’s preposterous “VOTE OR DIE” campaign), and celebrities from outside the realm of politics recruited to goose the profiles of long-shot small parties (Howard Stern’s aborted flirtation with the Libertarian Party, Ralph Nader’s total destruction of the Green Party’s U.S. viability for probably a couple of generations), but notwithstanding satirical campaigns, non-politician notables actually attempting to launch new parties are much rarer.
This actually happened.
So I was amused to learn that founding Damned member Raymond “Captain Sensible” Burns attempted in earnest to form a political party in 2006. Calling it “The Blah! Party” (yes, the exclamation point was part of the name), Sensible endeavored to simultaneously galvanize protest votes and energize the disaffected, while taking public stances on matters like the proliferation of obesity, the imprisonment of non-violent offenders, public transport, renewable energy, and U.K. companies being bought out by international conglomerates. It was an ambitious undertaking, but Sensible had the help of a PR firm and—I’m not kidding—a potato chip company.
After all those exasperated rants from the stage during concerts over the years I have finally done the decent thing and started a political party with the aim of shaking up British politics.
My colleagues and I have named it the Blah! Party because this is what goes through your mind when you hear our great leaders spewing out the usual old garbage…. ‘45 minutes’, ‘WMD’, ‘faith schools’, ‘nhs reforms’, education education education’.... it’s enough to make to put a brick through the TV - so have put my money where my mouth is and decided to take on the vile frauds on their own turf.
The Blah! party is ridiculously easy to join via blahparty.org and once you’ve done that you can start firing off policy ideas as we are aiming to be the most representative and democratic party of ALL…... YOU will write our manifesto! Bearing in mind of course that as I am involved it will not tolerate racism, sexism or any other unpleasantness. We aim to be a NICE party, and although we are not adverse to having some fun along the way we ARE deadly serious about holding the current ghastly crop of political clones to account on your behalf for the nonsensical decisions they all too often make.
The more members we get - the harder it will be for them to ignore us…. and the possibilities really start opening up so if YOU TOO have had enough then get over to the Blah! website and let’s shake some action!
While I very much doubt there is such a thing as a bad Captain Beefheart performance—at least, I have yet to hear a tape of Van Vliet and the Magic Band sleeping on the job or “phoning it in”—some recordings are better than others, and boy oh boy does this pro-shot, 30-minute French TV broadcast cream the fucking corn. I would have given my right eye for a VHS of this thing when I was a teen.
Taped during the 24-date European tour behind Doc at the Radar Station, this concert took place just two weeks after Beefheart was, improbably, profiled on local news in L.A. by “journalist” Paul Moyer, who became familiar to the Angeleno TV audience during his subsequent very long career as the Southland’s most blow-dried shithead.
This is an especially formidable Magic Band: guitarists Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard “Midnight Hatsize” Snyder and Gary Lucas wrestle manfully with bassist Eric Drew Feldman (later of Pere Ubu, Frank Black, PJ Harvey et al.) and drummer Robert Williams (fresh off his collaboration with the Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell). Warning: if this version of “Big Eyed Beans from Venus” doesn’t move you, you may already be dead.
The set list:
Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (0:17)
Best Batch Yet (3:44)
Dirty Blue Gene (8:47)
Safe As Milk (12:42)
Flavor Bud Living (16:33)
Bat Chain Puller (17:47)
Big Eyed Beans From Venus (22:58)
What is Socialism?: A Look at its Many Misconceptions: No word may be more used, yet less understood in colloquial political talk in the United States, than “socialism.” (The Jailhouse)
Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture: “Before I moved there for almost a decade, American Reality was all I knew. I was living in a two-bedroom apartment making $30,000 a year in a job where I worked almost seven days a week with no overtime pay and received 10 days of paid time off a year. Now that I’m back, I’m angry that my own country isn’t providing more for its people.” (Vox)
Congressman Trolls Republican Hypocrisy: “Officials have an obligation to uphold rights for all Americans enshrined in the Constitution.” A Democratic congressman is using a Republican-sponsored bill that would withhold federal law enforcement funding to so-called sanctuary cities to draw attention to GOP hypocrisy. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on Wednesday added an amendment that calls for applying the same funding restrictions to states and municipalities refusing to abide by the Supreme Court ruling that legalizes gay marriage. Brilliant! (Huffington Post)
At Wall Street Journal, Government-Enforced Monopolies = ‘Free Market’: The Wall Street Journal ran a column complaining about efforts to pass “transparency” legislation in Massachusetts, New York and a number of other states. This legislation would require drug companies to report their profits on certain expensive drugs, as well as government funding that contributed to their development. Is it any wonder that the WSJ asked a former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome to denounce these bills? (FAIR)
Let’s stop pretending Republicans have a serious critique of the Iran deal: Did you see John Kerry’s face when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee? His expression said it ALL. And while we’re on the subject, exactly how many non-Fox News watchers do you reckon showed up in Times Square to protest the Iran deal. Five? Six, tops? (Washington Post)
Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro: You’re “stupider than a three year old” if you believe trans people should be accepted: Personally, I strongly believe someone should punch Ben Shapiro in his stupid and highly punchable face. What a pathetic, hateful wimpy little man he is. The best part about this whole matter is how clearly he realizes what an asshole he made of himself. DOUBLE DOWN ON THE DUMB, right Ben? (Salon)
Indiana worker fired for opposing same-sex marriage files lawsuit, predictably quotes Leviticus: Summers says she is a Christian with a “sincerely held religious belief” against gay marriage. I hear Walmart is hiring. Maybe they won’t make her handle any shellfish? (WNDU NBC)
Jeb Bush pushes to ‘phase out’ Medicare: C’mon, does this guy REALLY want to be President? I mean does the former Governor of Florida—FLORIDA, people—really think he’ll gain traction by wanting to end Medicare? This is exactly what America’s elderly want! Let’s see how this “compassionate conservatism” stuff works out for ole Jeb! (MSNBC)
Bernie Sanders’ Louisiana supporters may be few, but they’re organizing quickly: Sanders will speak in New Orleans at a town hall-style meeting on July 26th, a rare appearance by a Democrat this early in the election cycle for such a Red state. The comments are kind of interesting, too. (Times-Picayune)
I Spent Thousands to Keep My Sick Cat Alive. I Don’t Think I’d Do It Again: This article isn’t easy to read, I won’t lie, but it should be read by every pet owner. (Science of Us)
GOP establishment’s dumbest idea: Boycott the debates until Trump is kicked out! Banning Donald Trump from the debates would be the absolute best thing the GOP could do… for Trump. For the rest of those losers, the idea STINKS. (Salon)