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Great moments in ‘Star Trek’: Captain Kirk and the stalagmite dildo weapon
10.14.2014
11:10 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Star Trek


 
In a classic scene from the Star Trek episode titled “What are Little Girls Made Of” (season one, episode seven, which aired on October 20th, 1966) we are treated to a skirmish involving Captain Kirk, a stalactite strongly resembling a huge dildo and a giant alien named “Ruk,” played by actor Ted Cassidy (who portrayed “Lurch” on the The Addams Family). Thirty-five minutes into the episode, Kirk is chased by Ruk into the caves of the alien planet he teleported to. To defend himself, Kirk pulls a huge piece of stalactite from the ceiling of the cave and after a quick edit, we get to see Captain Kirk holding what looks inexplicably like a gigantic marital aid. Kirk smacks Ruk around with it and you get to wonder how hard the production crew was laughing when this one slipped by the censors over at NBC.

In case you are short on time, someone has kindly put together a 25-second video summary of the episode that is posted below for your perusal. The full episode is currently streaming on Vimeo
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Three DVD box set pays tribute to Lou Reed, Velvets, Iggy, Bowie and punk


 
Seemingly just as Lou Reed left this earth, I noticed this box set on Amazon called Lou Reed Tribute from Chrome Dreams, a UK company that has put out some cool DVDs (this one, Frank Zappa, Keith Richards, etc.) and some stuff that puzzles me (Springsteen, Prince, Britney Spears?).

I wasn’t sure about it but it had three DVDs in a nicely designed box and it was so inexpensive that I had to get it. I had just learned about another product of theirs that looked great, a double DVD documentary about Zappa and Beefheart called When Don Met Frank: Beefheart Vs. Zappa, only to read in the reviews that it was a total ripoff and that it was two old documentaries repackaged in one set without any mention of this anywhere on the product. I was prepared for the worst.
 
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Surprisingly, these were actually pretty good! First up is The Velvet Underground Under Review—yes, the awful title sounds like a science project, but inside is a concise and interesting documentary featuring interviews with at least one person I’d never seen interviewed before (Norman Dolph, who did their first demo acetate that’s been floating around the last few years and is, in fact, on eBay now for $65,000). I really liked the Billy Name segments as he was actually there on the inside in those early days, which they go into pretty deeply, including the pre-Velvets Pickwick Records budget-goofy rock ‘n’ roll recordings Lou was doing, which I love (and which were not all goofy as there was some true garage greatness in there as well). Also great are the Moe Tucker and Doug Yule interviews.

It had a good approach and really, I can watch stuff like this all day.
 
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The second DVD is The Sacred Triangle: Bowie Iggy & Lou 1971-1973. I really enjoyed this one, though as I started to realize, Chrome Dreams is a bit of a “quickie” company and similar people were overlapped in this and the other DVDs making me realize that these were probably not originally intended to be watched back to back. This also has some amazing interviews, and again really delves into the early days of Bowie’s more whimsical period in the sixties when he was already obsessed and ripping off (and covering) The Velvet Underground, having been given one of the first and only pre first album demo acetates in 1965 or ‘66.

It goes into great detail about Bowie’s “cool beginnings” when the cast of Andy Warhol’s play Pork were in London and looking for bands to see and decided to go see an unknown David Bowie because he was wearing a dress on his then-current album cover. These people (Tony Zanetta, Cherry Vanilla, Wayne County and Leee Black Childers) all became Mainman Ltd., the bizarre company that ran most of Bowie’s affairs and mutated him into Ziggy Stardust in no time. Seeing Leee Black Childers (R.I.P.) interviewed, with him in his rockabilly best and with a big Band-aid® on his forehead said it all as far as who he was and how much he gave a fuck, one of the first true punk rockers, ever.

Similarly but multiplied by a hundred is Wayne, now Jayne County (“now” meaning for the last 35 years or so!) who is amazing in a huge red chair with a wild matching red outfit, makeup and her trademark fishnet stockings over her arms like long gloves, talking matter of factly about what really went down. Everyone knows Jayne County as a glam and then punk rock innovator, but we forget (or some don’t know) that Jayne was a real Warhol Superstar along with Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis. And Jayne starred in Warhol’s Pork (as Vulva, a characterization of Viva). The interviews with Angie Bowie, as always, are insane and classic. This DVD was really great and informative about my favorite small moment in rock n roll. The only annoyance is that they didn’t know who Cherry Vanilla is, and they talk about her a lot as she starred in Pork but kept showing a photo of someone else every time they referred to her!
 
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The last DVD, Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls and the CBGB Set 1966-1974 is also really great, surprisingly. Believe me, with a title like this, where I come from this should be a real groaner, but it wasn’t. Not to discredit some of the interviewees, but I think that a lot of bigger names wouldn’t talk to Chrome Dreams, or couldn’t, so they had to dig deeper and get some people that did not become famous, but certainly are people I know that most definitely deserve to be interviewed and put a new spin on a now pretty tired subject. So it actually worked in their favor.

A good “for instance” is Elda Stiletto (Gentile), someone I knew and someone who is the perfect bridge to the exact time frame of this documentary. Elda was married to Warhol Superstar Eric Emerson. Emerson started pretty much the first glitter band in NYC, The Magic Tramps, only to be steamrolled by the New York Dolls and all that came in their path. Eric Emerson was also the upside down figure on The Velvet Underground and Nico LP’s back cover, who sued hoping to get some quick dough, but was foiled when he just caused the LP to be delayed, first with a big sticker covering him, then with his image being airbrushed out of the photo entirely. (Why none of this was mentioned is beyond me.) Elda Stiletto then went on to form The Stilettos with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, a sort of “glitter doo wop” group that morphed into Blondie after all the other girls were gotten rid of. Two of the other gals in The Stilettos were Tish and Snooky who would go on to sing in The Sic Fucks and founded Manic Panic, a small punk store (that is now a large corporation—I was their first employee!) on St. Marks Place (just a few doors down from where The Dom was, where The Velvets played, later to become The Electric Circus where The Stooges and many others played).

Also interviewed are Suicide’s Alan Vega, Richard Lloyd from Television, Leee Black Childers and Jayne County, this time in the most insane outfit ever! She’s on a big black couch, reclining on her back, facing the camera completely covered in a ton of black fabric so she looks like a demented floating disembodied head! Ha ha!! To top it all off she’s wearing a black witchy wig and crazy electric blue makeup that is just insane looking. She never fails to blow my mind! They also talked to Richard Hell, Ivan Julian from The Voidoids, photographer Roberta Bayley, Danny Fields and more. There was oddly, no mention of The Ramones!

Ultimately all three DVDs come off like extremely dry BBC docs and there is a lot of overlap, but it doesn’t totally take away from the experience. The punk DVD just suddenly says “End of Part One” and stops, which is annoying because it actually was good. Where is part two? Sprinkled throughout these documentaries are critics like Robert Christgau and Simon Reynolds, biographer Victor Bockris and other experts.

Below, here’s the lead doc, The Velvet Underground Under Review. The quality is “eh” so you might want to get the DVDs. The Lou Reed Tribute DVD box set sells for less than $20 on Amazon. Used it’s under $10.
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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‘Murderous-death clown’ not as scary as originally reported
10.14.2014
08:50 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Wasco Clown

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Who doesn’t like clowns? Well, apparently most of you don’t. They’re scary, unappealing and downright eerie. When clowns were used to help calm sick kids in Sheffield, England, researcher Dr. Penny Curtis found they had exactly the opposite effect:

“As adults we make assumptions about what works for children.

“We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable.”

They’re unknowable because the fuckers are always smiling no matter what they’re thinking or feeling inside, and many imagine that red-lipped painted-on smile hides a nasty set of razor sharp teeth ready to chow down on your face.

Though probably not.

The appearance of a clown in Wasco, California has been inspiring the worst kind of fear stories about manic clowns terrorizing the neighborhood, leading to headlines such as:

Sinister clowns frighten residents in Central California towns

(That’s from TIME magazine, no less…)

Murderous-death clowns stalk southern California

(And that’s from Slate, which really should know better…)

And there’s also:

Hair-raising! Clowns wandering streets at night creep out small town

Menacing clowns continue to creep out Bakersfield over the weekend

Creepy clowns carrying firearms, knives spook California city

But the truth behind such lurid headlines, as local news outlet Bakersfield Now points out, is rather different once you take time to find it.

So far there have not been any machete-wielding or gun-toting clowns roaming the dark night streets:

“It would be nice if they would gather their facts regarding their story,” said Bakersfield police Public Information Officer Sgt. Joe Grubbs.  “We haven’t had any clowns committing any types of murders, far from it,” said Grubbs.

The same sentiment is echoed by Ray Pruitt, spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

“We have not been able to, in any of the cases, substantiate that anybody has been a victim of a crime,” said Pruitt.

Grubbs and Pruitt said they have been fielding calls from media across the country and doing interviews for national media outlets regarding reports about people dressed as clowns engaged in criminal activity.

The whole thing started as an art project by a husband and wife team taking photos of Bobo the clown at various locations across the county. People started to notice this strange night visitor and soon a non-affiliated Facebook page was started to document people’s sightings. The Wasco Clown FB page explains some of the background to the story:

Do you even know what our clown is doing??? Well, surely you must if you are following his page! Wait, maybe some of you do not know because you’re too busy running your mouths to know what he is doing. So let me enlighten you. He is his wife’s subject for the month of October for a photography project of hers that is a year-long deal. Until one particular new station hunted him down without his permission they probably just thought that this was going to be shared amongst their friends and maybe a few Wasconians. Well then it went viral. Right before the news story first appeared last week I created this page. I was curious about him as well. I created this page for people to be able to report sightings and share pictures. Eventually Bobo and his wife contacted me. I asked if they wanted me to delete the page and they did not they approved of it. Then came about an idea to sell souvenir T-shirts. It was decided that the profit from the shirts would be divided up between autism and pediatric cancer research and the Wasco fireworks fund. Our clown and his wife only go out and take their nightly photo and go home. He does not chase anyone he does not threaten anyone and he does not make public appearances at this time. I don’t know if he ever will. So to come on here and talk crap or threaten anyone is just plain ignorance. Especially if you are a parent. You would want a friend like the Wasco Clown if your baby was to fall ill because he would do whatever he could to raise money to help your baby. If you don’t like him just go away. You won’t be missed.

Sightings of a clown inspired others to get in on the act and only one incident involved the police:

Police did arrest a 14-year-old boy last week on the 800 block of Pacheco Road for dressing as a clown, chasing and scaring kids.  The boy did not have any weapons and police say the boy told them he did it to perpetuate the clown hoax he had seen online.

Law enforcement is obligated to check out the reports.  “We’re receiving these reports, we believe that they’re pranks, but we can’t assume that they’re pranks,” said Pruitt.

Meanwhile, the Real Wasco Clown posts updates on his Twitter feed, where he describes himself:

I am the creepy, evil-looking clown that is roaming the streets of Wasco, California at night. Come Find Me I will give you a balloon.

Perhaps the words “creepy” and “evil-looking” may not be too helpful in stopping the fear rumors, but the offer of a free balloon does suggest it’s all meant in fun. There’s also an Instagram page where you check out the latest Wasco Clown photographs.

Some of you may recall a similar story last year involving another Pennywise-lookalike in Northampton, England, where the clown eventually told his local newspaper:

“I just wanted to amuse people. Most people enjoy being a bit freaked out and then they can laugh about it afterwards. It’s like watching a horror movie, when people get scared they usually start laughing. Naturally, some people would have been extremely frightened by what they saw, but I hope many are starting to see it as a bit of harmless fun.”

All good fun…see?

And if you do see Bobo the Wasco Clown, say “Hello” and get a balloon.
 
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Via Bakersfield Now and The Wasco Clown
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Berlin slated to lose two graffiti masterpieces
10.14.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Berlin
graffiti
Blu


 

Anyone who works in the medium of graffiti can’t be too enamored of the possibility of permanence for his or her work. The destruction or evanescence of the works is kind of built in, whether the antagonist is the cops, the weather, or rapacious developers. But as graffiti becomes a more accepted part of the art world, the hopes for longer durations rises. A year ago, in October 2013, the incredible exterior of the legendary 5 Pointz space in Long Island City in Queens, New York, was painted over in stark white, a sobering reminder that the exigencies of commerce will generally trump a technically illegal grassroots art movement.

It looks like something of the sort will happen to the remarkable murals of the Italian street artist Blu in Berlin—murals that Artnet earlier this year named one of the five most important murals in the city. The Blu murals are located on Curvystraße, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, and were painted in 2007 and 2008. One mural shows the torso of a man straightening his tie and wearing gold watches on both wrists which are connected by a chain. The second one shows two figures trying to unmask each other, with the one holding his fingers into a W (for West) and the other into an E (East).

Graffiti art has a special status in Berlin. Since 1989 the city has been defined by squatter culture, after the unused living spaces of the then-squalid Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg neighborhoods in East Berlin were occupied by young people—that tone has come to define the famously “poor but sexy” world capital. I visited the city in the summer of 2013, and the preponderance of graffiti was a little bit mind-blowing, it’s clearly semi-legal there and a source of scruffy, anti-establishment local pride. I was strolling in Kreuzberg when I happened upon a tour group that was on the theme of urban art and local left-wing activism—you’d be hard-pressed to find such a tour in New York City, let me tell you. I followed the group for the second half of the tour, and in fact the guide showed us the number three entry on Artnet’s list, the “Cosmonaut Mural” by Victor Ash on Mariannenstrasse.

It was reported last week that real estate investor Artur Süsskind and the architectural firm Langhof plan to tear down the buildings and replace them with 250 apartments, a kindergarten, a supermarket, and an open air terrace facing the Spree River. Not to be deterred, Berliner Jascha Herr has launched an online petition calling for the artworks to be protected under Germany’s monument protection statute. As Herr writes, “The city of Berlin loves to promote its alternative scene—and more precisely the cultural value of its artists—but it simultaneously discards them. It is simply about selling to investors who only see personal profit in the alternative landmarks of the city. But the cultural identity of the city belongs to all of us.” Unfortunately, it would be unprecedented for the landmark protections to be extended to artworks as young as seven years old.
 

 

 
Two nifty time-lapse videos documenting the creation of the two murals after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Satanic panic! ‘El-Diablo’ handblown glass bong mask
10.14.2014
08:06 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
Satan
Bong mask

El Diablo bong mask by Etai Rahmil
“El Diablo” glass bong mask by Etai Rahmil
 
Portland, Oregon-based glassblower, Etai Rahmil is the man behind a new line of handblown glass bong masks. Each fully-functional mask (to all you stoners this means you can toke up while wearing it) comes with an LED light stand, two-hole perc (or “percolator” for you non-stoner types) in the nose, and is decorated with an ounce of moldavite glass. Moldavite is a naturally occurring kind of glass that is formed following interplanetary collisions. The glass is only found in Czechoslovakia and most of the science community believes that it was formed around 14.8 million years ago following the crash of a large meteorite. And while just typing that gave me a contact high, it’s obviously a huge selling point when it comes to the masks hefty price tag of $6,500.

Serious stoners may inquire about the mask by contact Rahmil directly at etaiglass@gmail.com. You can also find the “El Diablo” model at The Cave in San Mateo, and the large and mini-sized “Mask of Moldauthein” (pictured below) at the Peace Pipe Smoke in Santa Rosa, California. More images of the masks follow as well as a video that shows the mask in use.
 
El Diablo glass bong mask by Etri Rahmill
El Diablo glass bong mask
 
The Mask of Moldauthein by Etri Rahmill
The “Mask of Moldauthein” glass bong mask
 
The mini glass bong mask Etai Rahmil
The “Mini” 10mm glass bong mask
 

 
Via the Weedist.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Never before seen photos of Sleater-Kinney


 
The turn-of-the-‘90s rock underground underwent an intense and desperately overdue conversation about the paucity of women on that scene, and the not-so-hot treatment of those who were there. Despite the inarguably crucial contributions of Siouxsie, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Exene Cervenka, the Slits, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon, and on and on and on, that scene was still largely the tribal domain of amped-up dudebros and snobby, kissless record collector boys, so women in bands got catcalled, and women who dared to brave the mosh pits were typically “rewarded” by being groped or worse.

Of course, the obvious rejoinder to the complaint that there weren’t enough women on the scene was “so start a band.” And holy shit, did young women ever do so in droves. The early ‘90s saw an explosion in female-led, female-dominated, and entirely female bands, most notably in the Riot Grrrl movement, which grafted then-nascent third wave feminism and queer theory onto punk’s who-needs-virtuosity ethos, resulting in some of the era’s most politically charged and musically potent rock. That outburst had a bland mainstream counterpart in the whole Lilith Fair trip, but Joan Osborne and her fake-ass nose ring never delivered anything like the visceral and cerebral thrills of Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and the Riot Grrrl band that found the widest audience, Sleater-Kinney.
 

 
Sleater-Kinney was formed in Olympia, WA by Corin Tucker of the ur-Riot Grrrl band Heavens to Betsey, and Excuse 17 guitarist Carrie Brownstein, now surely much better known for IFC’s hipster-poking sketch comedy series Portlandia. Their first three albums made them critical darlings, but 1997’s Dig Me Out is an undisputed classic, and was their first with drummer Janet Weiss, of the excellent and still active band Quasi. Four more albums followed, all of high quality—for what it’s worth, I’m most partial to One Beat—and in 2001, no less a monster of crit than Greil Marcus called S-K “America’s best rock band” in Time Magazine. Sleater-Kinney went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2006. Two and a half years ago, Brownstein told DIY Mag that Sleater-Kinney would play together again, but that again was two and a half years ago. In the meantime, the band’s members have played in Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sleater-Kinney’s formation, Sub-Pop is releasing a posh, limited box set called Start Together, containing all seven Sleater-Kinney LPs on colored vinyl (they’ll also be available separately on CD and plain old unspectacular non-showoffy puritanical black vinyl). Unfortunately there’s no rarities disc, but the set will come with a hardcover book containing scads of never before seen photos culled from the band members’ personal archives. Dangerous Minds was given a few of them to share with you.
 

 

 

 

 
Here’s something not enough people have seen—it’s Sleater-Kinney’s segment in Justin Mitchell’s 2001 documentary on D.I.Y. bands Songs For Cassavetes. The footage was shot in the Dig Me Out era, and includes live performances of the songs “Words & Guitar” and “Stay Where You Are,” plus some terrific interview footage.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Man admits to having sex with over 700 cars
10.14.2014
06:20 am

Topics:
Amusing
Sex

Tags:
Edward Smith
car sex

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Edward Smith, a 63-year-old man from Yelm, Thurston County, Washington, told a live morning TV show that he had made love to over 700 vehicles, including Mustangs, luxury Jaguars and even an attack helicopter.

Smith made the admission on the British family television show This Morning, telling hosts Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden that he was a mechaphile—someone who is sexually attracted to machines—and prefers making love to motors than women. Smith said he had sex with vehicles since first being attracted to his neighbor’s Volkswagon Beetle when he was fourteen, when he was tempted to give the vehicle a “gentle caress.”:

“It has to do with the body itself. I’ve not been attached to any sort of penetration, but petting and hugging and feeling the body. I like feeling the satisfaction—masturbation—that’s done with the car, next to it.

“When I hold them in my arms, I feel an energy that comes from them. There’s a very deep love.”

Smith admitted he had difficulties in forming relationships with women and had only ever had one girlfriend “by some chance” in San Francisco in the early 1970s. However, he found the relationship unsatisfying.

Edward now has a long term sex partner that’s still… er… driving him wild, “Vanilla”—another VW Beetle that he bought in 1982.

“I first met her before I got her and then had the local Jehovah’s Witness driving around in one. There was something about that white ‘74 Beetle, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her,” he said.

“On my own private property is where we get mostly intimate. I’m very respectful not to be seen in public. I greet her every morning along with my truck Ginger.”

 
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Smith’s obsession of pulling up to the bumper (baby), and driving it in between tickles the Brits as he has previously appeared in the Daily Mirror last October, where he ‘fessed up to having sex with thousands of cars:

“Some guys look at boobs and bums on beautiful women. I look at the front and rear on beautiful cars.”

Then he claimed he was in an “open relationship” with his VW Vanilla and makes “love to his 1973 Opal GT called Cinnamon and a 1193 Ford Ranger called Splash.”
 
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But Vanilla is ‘the one’ and Edward likes to woo the white-coloured hatchback with picnics and wine-fuelled dates.

He added: “When I hold Vanilla in my arms there’s a powerful energy that comes from her. I would say it is extremely satisfying but at times a little melancholy because I know she cannot talk to me. But overall I know she feels what I feel and its intense.”

He added: “If anything was to happen to her I would be more than heartbroken.”

Smith also admitted in October 2013 that he was occasionally tempted to stray but added:

“I know better now than to pursue other people’s private property without permission. I will not deny that I look at other cars on TV or at shows and still get those old impulses and desires - but those were the early days. Now I want to settle down with Vanilla.”

He added: “There’s something about her that I can’t fully express on an emotional level except it’s very powerful and very sincere. I’m never ashamed or awkward in my heart. I have never questioned myself - I just love her.”

Well, that’s okay then….
 

 
Via This Morning, Daily Star and the Daily Mirror

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Crabzilla!: Giant crab spotted off English coast?
10.13.2014
04:20 pm

Topics:
Animals
Idiocracy

Tags:
Crabzilla
crabs

bjmb
 
A giant 50ft crab has allegedly been photographed lurking in the shallow sea waters along Whistable harbor in Kent, England.

The undated image appeared on Weird Whistable, a website dedicated to “phantoms, mysteries, tall tales and artifacts” with the following byline:

Giant Crab

Crabbing is a popular activity for children during the summer. Does this satellite photo of the harbour reveal a giant crab or unusual sand formation?

The picture of “Crabzilla” is curated alongside other “photographic evidence” of the “unnormal,” such as a giant eyeball washed-up on a beach (or maybe a Kraken?), a sea serpent apparently splashing about on the water, an ice mountain created by the frozen sea in 1940, and the paw print of a winged monkey.

All of which looks like the curious invention of an excitable imagination.

Kent Online has a slightly different quote taken from the site, which has (sadly) apparently been taken down:

The website reads: “This shocking image of a giant crab under a popular crabbing spot in Whitstable was taken last weekend.

“The boys were unaware of the danger, but as several passersby shouted to them, the crab slipped silently away under the water, into the dark, sideways.”

Like a Boy’s Own story, it’s always more thrilling when there are people at risk of a hidden, deadly danger.

The online paper is (rightly) skeptical quoting graphic artist Ashley Austen, who said:

“The image of the giant crab can be quite easily recreated in Photoshop.

“All the ‘artist’ had to do is find a suitable image of a crab, overlay it on to the satellite picture of the harbour and apply a few filters to it to get the realistic look.”

The fact Weird Whistable is selling prints of its “unnormal” curiosities says it all…

Crabzilla is already making headlines across Britain’s TV news channels and tabloid newspapers including the front cover of the Daily Star….
 

 
The Star also has a report on the number of Brits scared of zombie attack:

Being attacked by zombies is scaring us to death.

Research by company One Poll, has revealed that fear of the undead is on the rise in the UK.

The poll, which was commissioned by makers of The Evil Within, showed that 27% of the population admitted that they’ve considered what to do if there was a zombie attack.

And 11% of bonkers Brits have even taken the extreme steps of working out an actual survival plan.

One terrified resident, Matthew Hall-Turner, 29, from Cheshire admitted: “I’ve thought long and hard about what I’d do in light of a zombie attack, I think my best bet would be pretending to be one of them, walking really slowly, then escaping when the opportunity arises.”

Who said journalism is dead…?
 
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Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ gets hilariously soothing makeover
10.13.2014
02:33 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Nicki Minaj


 
Redditor johnluckpickerd noticed his 12-year-old niece and her friends were constantly singing Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” without actually understanding its lyrics or meaning of the song.

Boy toy named Troy used to live in Detroit
Big dope dealer money, he was getting some coins
Was in shootouts with the law, but he live in a palace
Bought me Alexander McQueen, he was keeping me stylish
Now that’s real, real, real,
Gun in my purse, bitch I came dressed to kill
Who wanna go first? I had them pushing daffodils
I’m high as hell, I only took a half of pill
I’m on some dumb shit

Johnluckpickerd then decided to create this “Pop Music Poetry” for his niece’s mother so perhaps she would get a better idea of what her daughter and the rest of the kiddie gang were singing.

The original idea for this bit belongs to Steve Allen. But I think it’s no less culturally relevant.

Erik Satie meets Nicki Minaj? It all turned out rather… zen? I could totally see myself doing yoga to this. In fact, I just might give it to my yoga instructor. It works.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Social Schizophrenia, Social Depression: What does TV tell us about America?
10.13.2014
02:02 pm

Topics:
Politics
Pop Culture

Tags:
Charles Hugh Smith
R.D. Laing


 
This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. Read his essays daily at his Of Two Minds. Smith’s latest book is Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

The difference between what we experience and what we’re told we experience creates a social schizophrenia that leads to self-destructive attitudes and behaviors.

What can popular television programs tell us about the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) of our culture and economy?

It’s an interesting question, as all mass media both responds to and shapes our interpretations and explanations of changing times. It’s also an important question, as mass media trends crystallize and express new ways of understanding our era.

Those who shape our interpretation of events also shape our responses.  This of course is the goal of propaganda: Shape the interpretation, and the response predictably follows.

As a corporate enterprise, mass media’s goal is to make money—the more the better—and that requires finding entertainment products that attract and engage large audiences.  The products that change popular culture are typically new enough to fulfill our innate attraction to novelty—but this isn’t enough. The product must express an interpretation of our time that was nascent but that had not yet found expression.

We can understand this complex process of crystallizing and giving expression to new contexts as one facet of the politics of experience.
 

 
The Politics of Experience

It is not coincidental that the phrase politics of experience was coined by a psychiatrist, R.D. Laing, for the phrase unpacks the way our internalized interpretation of experience can be shaped to create uniform beliefs about our society and economy that then lead to norms of behavior that support the political/economic status quo.

Here’s how Laing described the social ramifications in Chapter Four of his 1967 book, The Politics of Experience:

“All those people who seek to control the behavior of large numbers of other people work on the experiences of those other people. Once people can be induced to experience a situation in a similar way, they can be expected to behave in similar ways. Induce people all to want the same thing, hate the same things, feel the same threat, then their behavior is already captive - you have acquired your consumers or your cannon-fodder.”

For Laing, the politics of experience is not just about influencing social behavior – it has an individual, inner consequence as well:

“Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves.”

How the media shapes our interpretation affects not just our beliefs and responses, but our perceptions of self and our role in society. If the media’s interpretation no longer aligns with our experience, the conflict can generate self-destructive behaviors.

In other words, mass media interpretations can create a social schizophrenia that can lead to self-destructive attitudes and behaviors.

Social Analysis of TV

By its very nature as a mass shared experience, popular entertainment is fertile ground for social analysis.

Here’s a common example: what does a child learn about conflict resolution if he’s seen a thousand TV programs in which the “hero” is compelled to kill the “bad guy” in a showdown? What does that pattern suggest, not just about the structure of drama, but about the society that creates that drama?

Analyzing entertainment has been popular in America since the 1950s, if not earlier.  The film noir of the 1950s, for example, was widely deemed to express the angst of the Cold War era.  Others held that the rising prosperity of the 1950s enabled the populace to explore its darker demons—something the hardships and anxieties of the Depression did not encourage.

Many believe the Depression gave rise to screwball comedies and light-hearted entertainment featuring the casually wealthy precisely because these were escapist antidotes to the grinding realities of the era.

Even television shows that were denigrated as superficial in their own time (for example, Bewitched in the 1960s) can be seen as politically inert but subconsciously potent expressions of profound social changes: the “witch” in Bewitched is a powerful young female who is constantly implored by her conventional husband to conform to all the bland niceties of a suburban housewife, but she finds ways to rebel against these strictures.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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