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An X-rated doodle from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
09:00 am


Leonardo Da Vinci

Well, well, a pornographic doodle buried in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s a description (emphasis added):

Casual reminder that in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many notebooks containing innumerable artistic and scientific sketches and notes of incomprehensible important, there is a sketch of two penises with legs and tails walking towards a crudely drawn anus. The sketch was most likely done by Leonardo’s apprentice Salai, who was not only very likely one of Leonardo’s lovers, but who was also infamously mischievous. Better yet, the anus is literally labeled “Salai.” So either Salai drew these while Leonardo wasn’t looking just to annoy his boyfriend, or Leonardo himself put actual time and energy into drawing these. Either way, the human race is truly blessed to have made such a discovery. There are dick drawings like the ones you see on desks in school in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Please cherish this information.

For some background on Leonardo’s sexuality in general and his relationship with Salai in particular, there are few better sources than Ross King’s Leonardo and the Last Supper:

According to Lomazzo’s account, Leonardo’s passion for the beautiful Salai therefore reached its peak at about the time work began on The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie.

In the fifteenth century, Florentines were so well-known for homosexuality that the German word for sodomite was Florenzer. By 1415 the sexual behavior of young Florentine men had caused the city fathers such concern that “desiring to eliminate a worse evil by means of a lesser one” they licensed two more public brothels to go with the one they had opened with similar aspirations a dozen years earlier. When these establishments failed to produce the desired results, and still “desiring to extirpate that vice of Sodom and Gomorrah, so contrary to nature,” the city fathers took further action. In 1432, a special authority, the Ufficiali di Notte e Conservatori dei Monasteri, or Officers of the Night and Preservers of Morality in the Monasteries, was formed to catch and prosecute sodomites. Over the next seven decades, more than ten thousand men were apprehended by this night watch.


According to Vasari, Salai was “a very attractive youth of unusual grace and looks, with very beautiful hair which he wore curled in ringlets and which delighted his master.” Giacomo seems to have served as a model for Leonardo. No definitive image of him exists, but art historians refer to a distinctive face that appears repeatedly in his drawings—that of a beautiful youth with a Greek nose, a mass of curls and a dreamy pout—as a “Salai-type profile.”


Leonardo was almost certainly homosexual by the standards of later centuries. Freud was no doubt correct when he stated that it was doubtful whether Leonardo ever embraced a woman in passion. Two years after the Saltarelli affair, Leonardo wrote a partially legible declaration in his notebook: “Fioravante di Domenico at Florence is my most beloved friend, as though he were my….” A nineteenth-century editor of Leonardo’s writings hopefully filled in “brother,” but the relationship may well have been more intimate.


Here’s a brief video of King discussing Leonardo’s homosexuality:

via Tumbling down tumbling down…; quoted text seems to have originated here

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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LEGO recreation of the ‘You killed the car’ scene from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
08:38 am

Pop Culture

John Hughes

As immensely enjoyable as the 1986 John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is, it is my belief that viewers needed some assurance that Ferris and Cameron weren’t just predestined to live out their lives as carefree, materialistic sociopath and suicidal scion with daddy issues, respectively. The necessary turn comes in the late scene in the Fryes’ garage, where the much-fetishized Ferrari belonging to Cameron’s dad normally resides. Cameron has his sorely needed emotional breakthrough and…. well, you probably know it.

Some genius or geniuses from Sweden going by the name Etzel decided to make a LEGO diorama of the most kinetic moment of that scene. There’s a slight cheat in temporality—check out chapter 4 from Scott McCloud’s brilliant 1993 primer Understanding Comics to see what I mean. McCloud establishes that a single comic frame, far from capturing a single moment, can easily encompass a span of time of as high as thirty seconds. Similarly, here, the car is flying backwards through the air (not stuck in a tree, as you might guess), while Cameron, Ferris, and Sloane gather near the destroyed plate glass window to admire the destruction. In the movie, of course, the car plummets to the surface of the forest, and the teens become a formalized audience a few seconds later.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love it, just as it is.





For the forgetful, here’s the scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

via Chicagoist

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Philip K. Dick on sex between humans and androids
08:22 am


Philip K. Dick
Blade Runner

In 1981, Philip K. Dick discussed the ideas and themes behind his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in an interview with author Paul M. Sammon. Dick’s novel about a hired assassin (Rick Deckard) paid to eliminate escaped androids formed the basis for Ridley Scott’s classic science-fiction film Blade Runner. The story had its genesis in research for his novel The Man in the High Castle. Dick studied psychological studies on the mentality of the Germans who became Nazis and read how these Germans were often highly intelligent but emotionally “so defective that the word human could not properly be applied” to them.

This led Dick to a philosophical investigation into “the problem of differentiating the authentic human being from the reflex machine I call an android.” 

For me the word ‘android’ is a metaphor for people who are physiologically human but psychologically behaving in a non-human way.

This was a subject Dick discussed in a lecture on “The Android and the Human” in 1972: android means, as I said, to allow oneself to become a means, or to be pounded down, manipulated, made into a means without one’s consent—the results are the same. But you cannot turn a human into an android if that human is going to break laws every chance he gets. Androidization requires obedience. And, most of all, predictability. It is precisely when a given person’s response to any given situation can be predicted with scientific accuracy that the gates are open for the wholesale production of the android life form.

Philip K. Dick.
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick developed the idea of “androidization” further when he considered what would happen in a war between humans and androids—would humans become more android-like if they won?

This emotional interplay between humans and androids was also examined in the relationship between Deckard and the android Rachael Rosen, which Dick discussed in “Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (1968):

And this brings up the whole underlying subject: sexual relations between humans and androids. What is it like? What does it mean? Is it, for instance, like going to bed with a real woman? Or is it an awful, nightmarish, bad trip, where what is dead and inert seems alive and warm and capable of the most acute intimacy known to living creatures? Isn’t this, this sexual union between Rick Deckard and Rachael Rosen—isn’t it the summa of falsity and mechanical motions carried out minus any real feeling, as we understand the word? Feeling on each of their parts. Does in fact her mental—and physical—coldness numb the male, the human man, into an echo of it?

...[Deckard’s] relationship, by having intercourse with her, has melded him to—not an individual, human or android—but to a whole type or model, of which theoretically, there could be tens of thousands. To whom, then, has he really given his erotic libido?

...Here, I think, the crucial questions of What is reality? and What is illusion? come up strongly….The more Rick strives to force her to become a woman—or, more accurately, to play the role of a woman—the more he encounters the core of the unlife within her…his attempt to make love to her as a woman for him is defeated by the tireless core of her electronic being.

Dick postulates that the failure of their lovemaking “may be vital in his determination—and success—in destroying the last of these andys.”

In this interview, Dick discusses some of these key questions about what is reality? what is human?

Thomas M. Disch once said that his friend Philip K. Dick liked to play-up the image of the hard-done-to artist, struggling in the garret, living off ground-up horse meat (which supposedly led Dick to translate his name into “Horselover Fat”—Philip Greek for horse lover, Dick German for fat), but things were never really that bad. However, he agreed America gave short-shrift to speculative science-fiction writers, and was grateful for the adulation and serious critical appraisal both received in Europe.

In 1977, Philip K. Dick was interviewed for French television where he discussed the problems of being a speculative science-fiction writer in America, as well as many of the philosophical ideas behind his works.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Edgar Allan Poe sweater
08:09 am


Edgar Allen Poe

This limited-edition Edgar Allan Poe sweater by online shop Archie McPhee is being marketed for Halloween, but honestly it just seems like a fun Autumn / Winter sweater to me.

I couldn’t find the fiber content on the Archie McPhee website. It’s selling for the reasonable price of $42.50, so I’m going to assume it’s not wool or cashmere but made of acrylic or some other type of synthetic fiber.

Below, Poe on Poe:

via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Clash’s forgotten years, 1984-1986
07:35 am


The Clash

The Clash busking in York, 1985
In its official version, the story of The Clash ends with the firing of lead guitarist Mick Jones in 1983. Though founding members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon subsequently led a five-piece version of the group until the first months of 1986, it is not a polite thing to mention at parties. The 384-page coffee-table book The Clash
devotes less than a single page to the final two and a half years of the band’s career, and the 1985 album Cut The Crap has been left out of every Clash box set to date. In the words of Rolling Stone, “It doesn’t count, and the whole thing has basically been erased from history. The Clash as we know them ended at the 1983 US Festival.” The new Clash met the same fate as the new Coke.

While no one would dispute that it was a poor choice to fire Mick Jones, the Clash did a few things worth remembering between 1984 and 1986. Determined to make a radical break with stardom, they went on a busking tour of the U.K. that included a stop in the parking lot of an Alarm show, where the headliners reportedly came out to watch. Strummer never sounded so fired up in interviews as he did in 1984, and rock critic Greil Marcus reported that, despite the new Clash’s shortcomings, he’d “never seen Strummer more exhilarated, or more convincing” than at a January 1984 show in California.

Strummer and Simonon interview, 1984 (part two)
Danny Garcia’s documentary The Rise and Fall Of The Clash, a whodunit about the breakup, is the first movie to shed light on this bizarre period. Based on interviews with original members Mick Jones and Terry Chimes, late-period members Pete Howard, Nick Sheppard, and Vince White, comrades Pearl Harbor, Viv Albertine, and Vic Godard, and others from the band’s circle, the movie largely focuses on the role of manager Bernie Rhodes.

The Rise and Fall of The Clash trailer
Evaluations of Rhodes’ actual contribution to the band vary widely, but most parties agree that Strummer trusted the manager while Jones did not. The Clash fired Rhodes in 1978—they were managed by big-timers Blackhill Enterprises during the recording of London Calling and Sandinista!—but they hired Rhodes back in 1981. “Joe wanted Bernie back because there was no excitement in the situation with Blackhill and Joe needed to have someone like Bernie around to give him confidence,” Simonon says in the coffee-table book.

The documentary makes it clear that Rhodes exploited Strummer and Simonon’s resentment of Jones’s “rock star” behavior (dating models, showing up late, etc.) to force Jones out and seize control of the band. This part of the story reveals unfathomable dimensions of weirdness. For instance, according to Jones, in the days before he was fired, the band gathered in Rehearsal Rehearsals to write new material. There, Jones says, ruthless manager Rhodes had the Clash working on the follow-up to the platinum-selling Combat Rock, an album of. . . New Orleans jazz?

More ‘Crap’ Clash after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Charles and Ray Eames introduce their legendary lounge chair on daytime TV, 1956
02:32 pm


Ray Eames
Charles Eames

If Charles and Ray Eames weren’t the greatest figures in American design in their era, they may have been the ones that most encapsulated the American twentieth century. Their careers flourished after World War II, and they made important contributions to the areas of architecture, design, industrial design, photography, and film. Their lounge chair is an undisputed icon of American design. After already having introduced a series of fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and wire mesh chairs for Herman Miller, the Eames introduced the lounge chair in 1956 on the Home Show, hosted by Arlene Francis. (It’s common to refer to this appearance as having happened on the Today Show, but I don’t see any justification for that.) 

Charles and Ray Eames sitting on their creation
In the interview, Charles mentions a movie about their home, known to all architecture lovers (including Ice Cube) as “Case Study House No. 8.” That movie is linked below in addition to the Today Show clip. Impressively, the music was composed by Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein.

In that vein, Charles discusses a project he’s doing with the great director Billy Wilder, almost certainly a reference to the montage Charles did for The Spirit of St. Louis, but it’s worth pointing out that the connections between Wilder and the Eameses are extensive.


Towards the end of the clip Charles plays a cute little movie of a man constructing an Eames lounge chair on his own. Using time-lapse photography, the man skids and slides around with unnatural speed and the chair begins to take form. Once he is done, he sits in the chair and enjoys a brief reverie, during which the image of a woman materializes on his freshly built ottoman and then vanishes, after which the man begins to disassemble the furniture.

Not to be too unkind about this, but that movie cries out for a psychological reading, methinks. I mean, that woman may as well be Ray Eames, right? Ray shows up briefly on the Today Show set but then vanishes too, and at the time Charles was given the lion’s share of credit for the couple’s creations. Arlene Francis even repeatedly emphasizes that Ray is “standing behind”/“supporting” Charles. After stating that her role is too look for the “big idea” and to “look critically at the work”—core elements of an artistic persona, both—Francis inanely says that it’s important to have “a critical viewpoint of your husband’s work, so that he can improve along with it—otherwise he might be stagnant or stand still.” 


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Goths and metalheads, is your heart black enough for the Indonesian Ayam Cemani Chicken?
11:24 am



The Ayam Cemani Chicken is notable for a couple of things. First of all, partially due to its rarity, especially outside of its native Indonesia, one Ayam Cemani will run you about $2,500. Second, it is clearly the chicken of Our Dark Lord and Savior Satan! The birds exhibit the genetic condition “fibromelanosis,” which renders them totally black—we’re talking feathers, skin, organs, bones, the works. Only their blood is red, albeit a very dark shade.

Frankly, I think such a cool-looking evil luxury animal could be a perfect mascot for some underwordly music subculture. Sure, chickens are not usually associated with the darkness, but stranger pairings have been made—Leather Nun doing ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” for example, is pretty delicious! And if you’re vegetarian, it could make a very suitable avian familiar. Check out the video below for some decidedly unholy clucking—I assume if you play the video backwards you can hear the voice of Beezlebub.


Hail Satan.

Gaze into the blackness of its soul

Via Geekologie

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Before Harry Potter there was ‘How to Make Magic’ a children’s guide to practicing the occult
11:22 am



Blogging under the name cavalorn on LiveJournal, Adrian Bott has unearthed an absolute beaut from his childhood—a 1974 guide to the occult, written expressly for children, masquerading as a more innocuous manual on performing magic. The book was called How to Make Magic and was written by Sharon Finmark and David Wickers. It was part of a larger series of how-to books for children published by Studio Vista in the 1970s that covered a wide range; other titles included How to Make and Fly Kites, How to Build with Old Boxes, How to Make Flowery Things, How to Make Mobiles, How to Make Robots, How to Make Simple Boats. Fun for children! Who could object?

Obviously, the entire category of magic can’t help but straddle the categories of possible/impossible. That’s the whole point, isn’t it, to emulate the impossible? So to teach a child magic can always mean two things at once, to provide instruction about various sleight-of-hand maneuvers that will emulate the impossibilities of vanishing animals and so forth, or it can mean teaching a group of practices that are generally known as “black magic”: supernatural powers, ESP, divination, levitation, rituals, witchcraft…..

A nervous-looking tot tries his hand at divination….
Bott’s account of his childhood interactions with Finmark and Wickers’ book and of recently getting to know it again as an adult, is hilarious. He has a keen eye for the unsettling detail that gives the whole game away. As Bott points out, the friendly and innocuous-seeming cover features both a goat’s skull and a dagger—surely a sign that this book might be darker than parents realize….. As Bott writes, “The front cover of what’s supposed to be a children’s book features an altar setup that puts the likes of ‘Teen Witch’ to shame.” In the introduction, the book asks its readers, “Do you believe in magic? Perhaps you are one of those rare people gifted with real magical powers, as well as having a few baffling tricks up your sleeve” (emphasis added). Later the book suggests writing “a special chant to help create the right sort of atmosphere.” There are sections on making a magic wand, making a ouija board, and creating “ye olde magikal remedys.”

Here are a few pages from this awesome guide to the occult for children:

A rare color plate from the book—a homemade ouija board

Guide to crafting a “wiggleograph” to find ghosts

Making a black cat out of paper. Nothing amiss here, until you get to that corker of a final line: “Of course this is no ordinary cat but a ‘familiar’ sent by the Devil himself to lend a helping hand.”

Cast a spell on someone you would like to fall in love with you—yeah, a typical magic trick suitable for birthday parties…..
via {feuilleton}

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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French Fry Pizza
11:12 am


French Fry Pizza

I’d be a damned liar if I said I wouldn’t eat the hell out of this “French Fry Pizza” concocted by Endo over at Foodinese. I’d hate myself after eating it, for sure, and my arteries will probably hate me, but still, c’mon it’s… French Fry Pizza! You gotta at least try it once, right?

Using cheese as a glue to hold the fries together I was able to create a crust and build a pizza on top of it.  As an added bonus for those of you who want to be health conscience while eating a pizza on top of your french fries, it’s gluten free!

Throughout the article Endo stresses it’s “GLUTEN FREE!” So all you gluten-free folks out there have no excuses to not partake in this artery-clogging mess.

Here’s the recipe as follows:


2lb Bag of Frozen French Fries


2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – Divided

¾ Cup Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce:

Makes about 4 ½ cups.


1 (15 oz) Can Tomato Sauce

1 (6 oz ) Can Tomato Paste

1 ½ Teaspoons Basil

1 ½ Teaspoons Oregano

2 Teaspoons Garlic

Pinch Red Chili Flakes

Salt and Pepper

Toppings – Optional

15 Slices Pepperoni (1 inch)

The rest of the detailed instructions and procedures can be read at Foodinese.

h/t Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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She’s got Betty Davis Eyes: Rare interview of funk goddess giving demure interview to flirty DJ
10:25 am


Betty Davis

Betty Davis cares not for your notions of respectability
It really is an injustice that Betty Davis (born Betty Mabry) is perceived primarily as Miles Davis’ “muse”—that’s her photo on his Filles De Kilimanjaro album and that record’s “Mademoiselle Mabry” is a tribute to Betty, obviously—rather than an artist in her own right. This is not to say she didn’t have a huge hand in the trajectory of his work. Bitches Brew would not have been Bitches Brew had she not introduced Miles to the music of JImi Hendrix and Sly Stone, and she says that she convinced him to change the original title from “Witches Brew.”

After her divorce from Miles, Betty recorded two albums in the early 70s with crack backing musicians like Larry Graham, Merl Saunders (Grateful Dead, Bonnie Raitt), Neal Schon (Santana/Journey) and members of Graham Central Station, Tower of Power, even the young Pointer Sisters singing back-up. Davis was the original “nasty gal” creating the blueprint for suggestive “outrageousness” well-trod by today’s female chart toppers.

Her 1973 self-titled debut, for example, featured “Your Man My Man,” a wholesome little ditty about… sharing:

He’s your man, my man
it’s all the same ‘cause you need him
you please him when he’s there
I free him, I release him, when he’s here.


The follow-up, 1974’s They Say I’m Different, featured her as a gorgeous afro’d Ziggy Stardust-type on the album cover and the trademark slinky funk sound and lascivious lyrical content does not disappoint. Her third album, aptly named Nasty Gal, is also amazing, but none of Betty’s records ever really got the credit they deserved, and her fourth record, Is It Love or Desire? was shelved until 2009 (although this material was bootlegged twice.)

In his autobiography, her ex-husband wrote:

“If Betty were singing today she would be something like Madonna, something like Prince only as a woman.”


There’s very little press record of Betty’s career floating around—her highly sexual music and live shows earned her boycotts and radio censorship from the NAACP and church leaders. She didn’t get a lot of public relations opportunities, and I highly recommend you listen to the below track, “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” to understand why—it makes “Your Man My Man” sound downright subtle:

I said if I’m in luck I just might get picked up
I said I’m vampin’ trampin’ you can call it what you wanna
I said I’m wigglin’ my fanny (“Ooooh”)
I want you dancing I’m a movin’ it movin’ it (“Man, I’ma take her home, man”)
Try not to pass out

The parentheticals are the voices of her very appreciative male counterparts, by the way.

In stark contrast to her delightfully dirty persona is the audio below, from a 1974 radio interview promoting They Say I’m Different, one of the rare documents of her career you can find on the Internet. Davis is warm and charming, but… modest here. As the DJ attempts to draw out a little bit of her infamous sexual persona, she’s not having it, keeping decorous manners right up until she drops a coy, “I love to be loved… by a lot of people.” (There is a more recent interview with Betty Davis from The Sound of Young America podcast in 2009)

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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