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Rudy Wurlitzer: Two-Lane Blacktop And Beyond
09.03.2009
03:30 pm
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In reference to Rudy Wurlitzer‘s ‘69 debut, Nog, none other than Thomas Pynchon said: “The novel of bullshit is dead.””  A not bad start for Wurlitzer, the sole member of the piano-making clan who never saw a dime (or not many) from his family name.

Tracing the often-psychedelic wanderlust of its title character who was either insane or drug-addicted (or both), Nog brought Wurlitzer a certain degree of fame as a novelist, but he’s perhaps best known, and celebrated, for his screenwriting.  His collaboration with Sam Peckinpah yielded the Bob Dylan-scored Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.  Two years before that, though, he and Monte Hellman pulled off one of my all-time cinematic favorites, Two-Lane Blacktop.

Starring James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (both looking shockingly boyish) as eternally drifting drivers, Two-Lane featured sparse dialogue and even sparser performances.  Visually, though, it’s pure poetry, and, to me, a still-vital piece of American existentialism—especially in its final moment.  The trailer for Two-Lane follows below.

And just up at Chuck Palahniuk‘s website, an excellent, yet typically elusive, interview with Wurlitzer where he discusses everything from Dylan to Pynchon.  Regarding his new-ish novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder, Wurlitzer also addresses, politely, “l’affaire de Jim Jarmusch.”  Apparently, the director “pillaged” from Wurlitzer the raw material he’d later shape into Dead Man.  You can read the interview here.

 
See also in Arthur Magazine: ON THE DRIFT: Rudy Wurlitzer and the Road to Nowhere

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.03.2009
03:30 pm
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Testing The Spontaneous Human Combustion Beam
09.03.2009
01:50 pm
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More news from the “death from above” front: Boeing just announced the successful testing of their Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL).  Not familiar with the ATL?  Well, according to Wired‘s David Hambling here’s what it can do:

The Advanced Tactical Laser, weighing twelve thousand pounds and mounted in a Hercules transport plane, is intended to give Special Forces Command ‘ultra-precision strike capability’ against a wide range of ground targets.  Its power is somewhere in the hundred-kilowatt range.  According to the developers, the accuracy of this weapon is little short of supernatural.  They claim that the pinpoint precision can make it lethal or non-lethal at will.  For example, they say it can either destroy a vehicle completely, or just damage the tires to immobilize it.

But that’s not even close to what’s got the military so hot and bothered about this baby’s capabilities.  Hambling asserts that Boeing’s ATL “will allow Special Forces to strike with maximum precision, from long distances—without being blamed for the attacks.  ‘Plausible deniability’ is how the presentation put it.”

Or, in simpler terms, the ATL can carry out covert assassinations with zero accountability.  Cause of death, forensically speaking?  Struck by lightning.

From The Register: Secret U.S. Spontaneous Human Combustion Beam Tested

In Wired: Laser Gunship Fires; “Deniable” Strikes Ahead?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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09.03.2009
01:50 pm
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Podiatrist Photographs World’s Most Endangered Flowers
09.03.2009
03:06 am
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Alisa Opar from Audubon Magazine says,

For the first time in nearly 70 years, an Amorphophallus titanum, dubbed the ?

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.03.2009
03:06 am
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Buddha Pears of Japan
09.03.2009
01:36 am
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Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.03.2009
01:36 am
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Captain Kirk with Lucille Ball in “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (Trippy)
09.03.2009
12:51 am
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(via nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.03.2009
12:51 am
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Evolution? I Think It Would Be a Very Good Idea
09.02.2009
10:18 pm
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(Via 4Chan)

Posted by Jason Louv
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09.02.2009
10:18 pm
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Japan’s New First Lady Says Rode in a Spaceship to Venus
09.02.2009
08:28 pm
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Japan’s next prime minister might have been nicknamed “The Alien” (because of his prominent eyes) but he’s got nuthin’ on his wife who claims to have had a close encounter of the third kind! From Reuters:

“While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus,” Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of premier-in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama, wrote in a book published last year.

“It was a very beautiful place and it was really green.”

Yukio Hatoyama is due to be voted in as premier on September 16 following his party’s crushing election victory over the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party Sunday.

Miyuki, 66, described the extraterrestrial experience, which she said took place some 20 years ago, in a book entitled “Very Strange Things I’ve Encountered.”

When she awoke, Japan’s next first lady wrote, she told her now ex-husband that she had just been to Venus. He advised her that it was probably just a dream.

“My current husband has a different way of thinking,” she wrote. “He would surely say ‘Oh, that’s great’.”

Your current husband is obviously a fine politician, Yukio-chan!

Japan’s new first lady says rode in a spaceship

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.02.2009
08:28 pm
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Sarah Palin’s Been Punk’d… Again!
09.02.2009
07:46 pm
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Like a bad case of Republican herpes, Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving…

Hopefully Sarah Palin realizes she’s been invited to Hong Kong almost certainly as a practical joke.

CLSA, the Asia-focused broker who invited Mrs. Palin as keynote speaker for an Asian investment conference, is well known for their cheeky takes on investment research.

In the past, they’ve polled Asian fortune tellers for index targets, hired anime cartoonists to draw Japanese research, and generally love to push the boundaries between entertainment and analysis. They are a real research firm, it’s just that they love to sprinkle in some hilarity every now and then as a smart marketing gimmick.

Sarah Palin is this year’s big laugh for them. Her invitation as keynote speaker in Hong Kong is so ridiculous that its absurdity can’t be accidental.

Hong Kong Broker Pulling A “Borat” On Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin speaks to “Sarkozy”

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.02.2009
07:46 pm
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Tom Petrie of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Admits Peak Oil
09.02.2009
06:25 pm
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I just saw Tom Petrie of Bank of America Merrill Lynch say on Bloomberg TV that we are at Peak Oil, and that in spite of BP’s “giant” oil find, there will be no major change in the oil supply. In other words, the World’s oil supply will continue to terminally decline…

This is a major admission coming from one America’s top banks. I can’t emphasize the importance of Petrie’s statement.

(Via The Intelligence Daily)

Posted by Jason Louv
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09.02.2009
06:25 pm
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Delia Derbyshire: Mother of Electronic Music
09.02.2009
06:08 pm
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Delia Derbyshire is most famous for the Doctor Who theme. Although she did not actually compose the music, it was her arrangement of the piece that has made it one of the most instantly recognizable TV theme tunes of all time:

In 1963, soon after joining the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Delia Derbyshire was asked to to realize one of the first electronic signature tunes ever used on television. It was Ron Grainer’s score for a new science fiction series, Doctor Who.

Grainer had worked his tune to fit in with the graphics. He used expressions for the noises he wanted - such as wind, bubbles, and clouds. It was a world without synthesizers, samplers and multi-track tape recorders; Delia, assisted by her engineer Dick Mills, had to create each sound from scratch.

She used concrete sources and sine- and square-wave oscillators, tuning the results, filtering and treating, cutting so that the joins were seamless, combining sound on individual tape recorders, re-recording the results, and repeating the process, over and over again. When Grainer heard the result, his response was “Did I really write that?”

“Most of it,” Delia replied.

She was also in an avant garde pop group (using electronic sounds long before Kraftwerk) called Unit Delta Plus:

Perhaps the most famous event that Unit Delta Plus participated in was the 1967 Million Volt Light and Sound Rave at London’s Chalk Farm roundhouse, organised by designers Binder, Edwards and Vaughan (who had previously been hired by Paul McCartney to decorate a piano). The event took place over two nights (January 28th and February 4th 1967) and included a performance of tape music by Unit Delta Plus, as well as a playback of the legendary Carnival of Light, a fourteen minute sound collage assembled by McCartney around the the time of the Beatles’ Penny Lane sessions.

She was in later group called White Noise and they recorded an extremely strange, harsh and very futuristic album in 1969 called An Electric Storm—it’s pretty evil sounding—that’s been embraced by today’s electronic music fans. She also contributed music to the classic British 70s sci-fi series, The Tomorrow People, but by the 70s she was starting to show signs of depression and left the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. She worked in a few other soundtrack factories, then a bookstore, then an art gallery but generally drifted away from her musical career, becoming a severe alcoholic. She died in 2001 as her earlier recordings were were beginning to come out on CD and as her influence on modern electronic music was at last being acknowledged.

 

Delia Derbyshire website

Lost tapes of the Dr Who composer includes several audio samples and a proto “dance” track from the 60s

Delia Derbyshire, producer of Doctor Who theme music, has legacy restored

Delia Derbyshire Obituary

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.02.2009
06:08 pm
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