Sunday, November 29, 2015

Japanese Department Store
May Want to Look Up the Word 'Fucking'

from Gawkwer:

If only we could have sat in on the meeting where the marketing team for this Osaka department store came up with the idea for their "Fuckin' Sale," spotted early this month by a reader of Jake Adelstein's Japan Subculture blog.

-There should be some cool English words on these signs.
-How about "Fuckin' Sale?"
-What's that mean?
-Fuckin' means, like, really good. So it's a really good sale.
-And there's no other meaning to "fuckin'? Nothing at all that might embarrass us on the internet? Remember what happened with our Save-a-Shit-Ton promotion…


Mortified Japanese Department Store Cleans Up 'Fuckin Sale'

Saturday, November 28, 2015

He gave his unforgettable work for nothing. Shouldn't the designer of the peace symbol be commemorated?

from the Guardian:
The logo that Gerard Holtom created without copyright for an anti-nuclear war protest group in the 1950s has been perennially adopted and adapted around the world ‑ perhaps most memorably in the wake of the Paris attacks..

In the early evening of 21 February 1958, a middle-aged man travelled right across London from his home in suburban Twickenham to a shabby Victorian building in Finsbury Park. Among the press of commuters Gerald Holtom stood out as someone slightly different – “arty-looking”, as they used to say – with a portfolio under his arm and disorderly hair that hadn’t been smoothed with Brylcreem or trapped by a hat. Eventually, after a journey by green suburban train and then a change of tube, he reached the top of Blackstock Road and a dark doorway next to a familiar landmark: Fish & Cook, printers and stationers. Holtom walked up the stairs to an office where several people who would soon be of interest to the Special Branch had already gathered. “So, Gerry, let’s see what you have for us,” one of them said. Holtom untied his portfolio and took out some sheets. “I’ve tried a simple approach,” he began …

The film script at this point would call for puzzlement and a gathering sense of outrage among Holtom’s small audience. “But we wanted a dove,” somebody says. “Or an olive branch,” says another. “Or a cheek in the act of turning,” says a third. “This business of the three lines inside a circle won’t do at all.” These sunflowers will never sell, Monsieur van Gogh. Conventional narrative calls for rejection and dejection before the artist gathers his strength, tries again, and this time triumphs. In fact, the meeting of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) seems to have liked Holtom’s design without any equivocation. According to Peace News’s honorary archivist, Bill Hetherington, it was “immediately accepted” as the symbol for the demonstration that the committee had planned for Easter. On Good Friday, which that year fell on 4 April, it made its first public appearance when it was carried aloft on the 52-mile march from Trafalgar Square to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

This was the first of the big Aldermaston marches, and the last one to have Aldermaston as its finishing point. All future marches went the other way, reflecting the difference between DAC and its successor as the march’s loudest voice, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. DAC wanted to draw attention to the unobtrusive manufacture of nuclear bombs in the home counties: to protest at the thing itself. CND favoured the more traditional pattern of British dissent – a march on London – and the publicity that came with a climactic moment only a few hundred yards from Fleet Street and Westminster, the twin centres of media and political power. But whatever the sectarian differences that existed inside the anti-nuclear movement, Holtom’s symbol remained common to all.

Nobody had rights to it. Holtom himself had never claimed copyright; he wanted the design to be freely available to any group who fought the same cause. It success was almost immediate. By 1964, the writer Christopher Driver (a pacifist, later to edit the Good Food Guide) could justifiably describe it as “probably the most powerful, memorable and adaptable image ever designed for a secular cause”. The rest of the world adopted it for other movements – in the US, it stood for feminism and civil rights as well as opposition to the Vietnam war – so that it slowly lost its strict association with the phrase “ban the bomb” and came instead to represent peace and justice more generally, especially when those ideas conflicted with the establishment view. It has had several enemies – in 1973, South Africa’s apartheid government tried to ban it – but rather more adaptors. The encircled A of anarchism may have its roots in the 19th century; the A may stand for anarchism and the O for the order that A is the mother of (Proudhon said that, apparently); but it’s hard not to suspect that its popular form as a punk monogram took Holtom’s design as its inspiration.

Earlier this month a French graphic designer, Jean Jullien, turned the internal lines into an instantly recognisable Eiffel Tower by adding three short brush strokes – a couple of horizontals at the base and an extension of the vertical so that it broke the circle. It may be the most memorable adaptation in the symbol’s 60-year history, and according to Jullien it sprang from “an instinctive, human reaction [rather than] an illustrator’s reaction”. Within 24 hours of the attacks, it had been printed on T-shirts, posters and flags. An unwatched child might have drawn it, but (or and) it managed to convey both sorrow and hope. Jullien said that in his opinion “the strongest images are the ones that don’t require any deep background in culture or art history to decipher … It needs to be something that people from different backgrounds can recognise automatically … You understand before you decipher the image, and I think with words, sometimes, the barrier is higher.”

But Jullien had the Eiffel Tower. Why Holtom drew what he did is harder to explain. According to one school of thought, the lines inside the circle form a composite of the semaphore for the letters N and D, standing for Nuclear and Disarmament. Holtom himself, writing in 1973, believed his design to be a kind of self-portrait: “I was in … deep despair. I drew myself … with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.”

Both explanations seem after the fact and too literal. Drawings, like sentences, can come out of an unknowable elsewhere. And who in any case needs an explanation? I remember my first sight of what I thought of as a CND badge: how taken I was with the elegance of its white-on-black design, how pure it looked and yet how rebellious and mysterious. It was 1961. I travelled by train to collect more badges, and literature too, from a friendly doctor’s wife in the next to nearest town. I was a sincere unilateralist, not simply a badge-lover, but I noticed that among the one or two of my school friends who agreed to take a badge there was an aesthetic appreciation of the tin buttonhole itself. Logos are commonplace now – rarer then. There was the circle and straight line of London Transport, of course, and the RAF roundel, but otherwise the tendency in the 1950s still ran towards heraldry and initial letters made illegible through compression or entanglement. What Holtom’s badge was, above all, was new.

He died aged 71 in 1985. He was a graduate of the Royal College of Art, a conscientious objector in the second world war, and an early anti-nuclear activist. So far as I can tell, he never made a penny from his design or wanted to. Should he not have a memorial or plaque? This week I discovered that in the 1960s an office block had replaced his house at 2 Holly Road, Twickenham; there seems little point in remembering him somewhere so changed. On the other hand, the Finsbury Park building that he visited with his portfolio in February 1958 still exists. The meeting that adopted his design was held in room then occupied by Peace News, which long ago left for King’s Cross. Today the offices belong to a solicitor. Down below, miraculously, Fish & Cook is still selling stationery, though via a Mr Raj rather than a Fish or a Cook. The shop sits among Algerian cake shops, halal butchers, Ethiopian delicatessens and Chinese noodle bars. Here surely is a fitting place to remember the man who drew for peace.

click on the source link above for my images and stories.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Employer will pay employees to stay home on Black Friday and urges Black Friday shoppers to go outside instead

from Think Progress:

This Store Just Canceled Black Friday
Outdoor goods retailer REI announced that on top of being closed on Thanksgiving Day it will also keep its doors closed on Black Friday this year.

On Tuesday, the company announced that its 12,000 employees will get a paid day off on November 27 in an effort to get more people to go outdoors, and its website will feature a black screen.

“We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks,” CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a statement.

REI isn’t the first to come up with the idea of discouraging people from shopping on Black Friday, a day when most stores feature special sales and promotions to get people in the door. For the past two years, REI competitor Patagonia has urged customers to swap items and re-wear old ones rather than buy new gear.

Many stores have gone in the opposite direction and extended Black Friday into Thanksgiving, forcing employees to come to work on the national holiday. REI was among the 18 that allowed all employees to stay home on Thanksgiving and confirmed to ThinkProgress it will do the same this year.

It’s not alone in the decision to close on Thanksgiving this year. So far, Staples, GameStop, and Mattress Firm have all said they won’t open so as to let employees celebrate with family and friends. Last year Staples had been counted among the 12 brands with shopping hours on Thanksgiving, collectively requiring thousands of workers to come in. While many claimed those workers volunteered, employees at Kmart and Target said they had no say over whether they were scheduled then and risked getting fired if they refused.

The tide may be turning against the early hours. Sales numbers from last year showed that while people shopped on Thanksgiving, they didn’t increase overall holiday purchases, simply shifting what they would have spent on Black Friday to the holiday itself. There was also a strong consumer and legislative backlash against the idea of stores opening on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday thoughts...

(click on the image below to read full size)

previous Thanksgiving post:
Celebrate Thanksgiving with a little reality check

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Scientists name "muscular" fossil fireworm
after Henry Rollins

from Dangerous Minds:

In the never ending mashup of cool nerds and music enthusiasts, a group of scientists from the University of Bristol in the UK and the Natural History Museum in London have named a newly discovered species of particularly muscular fossil fireworms after D.C. hardcore punk rocker (who has worn many creative hats throughout the decades), Henry Rollins.

During a study of the fossilized remains of the Rollinschaeta myoplena (fossilization is a rare event in nature when it comes to worms) the team was able to determine the species was a close relative of earthworms and leeches as well as a member of the “fireworm” (or “Amphinomidae”) family. All of which (unlike Mr. Rollins), have soft bodies. Comparatively speaking, this worm’s got a six-pack, in worm terms.

Rollinschaeta myoplena

The fossilized remains of Rollinschaeta myoplena

According to Greg Edgecombe of the Natural History Museum, (the co-author of the study) this was the first time that “any fossil has been identified by its muscle anatomy.” Sadly, the Rollinschaeta is extinct so we can’t all run out and start a new hardcore punk rock worm colony in our basements.

No word on what Rollins thinks of all this, but he joins a growing list of musicians who have had animals speciesnamed after them like Lou Reed, whose name is now synonomous with a species of velvet spider known as Loureedia, David Bowie provided the namesake for a rare type of Malaysia spider, Heteropoda davidbowie, and Frank Zappa who had the distinct honor to have a jellyfish named after him, the Phialella zappai

Zappa has an even stranger claim to scientific immortality: a type of bacteria that causes pimples was dubbed Propionibacterium zappae:

Loureedia annulipes, an underground-dwelling genus of velvet spider discovered in Israel

‘Spider from Mars’: Heteropoda davidbowie, discovered in Malaysia in 2009.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Henry Rollins

from Henry's LA Weekly column:
Give me a minute before I explain to you that our invasion and occupation of Canada is a mission that cannot wait. Operation Maple Dawn Cobra Thunder must go hot ASAP.

Last month, I spent two weekends in Canada. Edmonton and Toronto, respectively. Both trips were to service and promote a film I am still involved with years after its completion, called He Never Died.

The visit to Edmonton was to be on hand for DEDfest, where I presented the film and answered questions afterward. This is the third of these screenings I have done this year.

Horror-film fans are a blast. They cheer at violence and laugh at the misfortune of others. I felt right at home.

That being said, whenever I arrive in Canada, it always takes me a few hours to adjust to all the politeness and lack of cynicism. As an American, you might very well believe the Canadians are soft, and their borders will no doubt be breached at any moment by hordes of dangerous brown people, bringing with them all manner of vampiric sloth and extremist rationalizations.

Our neighbors to the north are a problem, aren’t they? Drowning in decency and socialist Kool-Aid, these squishy sacks are going to bring the entire continent to its knees with health care for all and an emphasis on education.

As if you really want to live in a country with a low homicide rate, full of kind-minded intellectuals. A life without the constant sound of gunfire. Without never-ending wars, both domestic and abroad. Ugh!

I agree, it would be super-boring. But hey, it’s their country (for now) and these flouncing nellies can use their illusion until their quasi-commie unicorn dream runs out of rose-colored steam. When they emerge from the euphoric ether of goodwill, they hopefully will have learned their lesson and understand that the world is an awful place, full of bad guys with guns. Maybe at that point they will wipe those anarchy-inspired smirks off their faces and get to work.

You see the clear and present danger, don’t you? You’re absolutely right, patriot: The illegals (amigos de Obama) will be using the US of A as a ramp to vault themselves into Canada, the new promised land.

Why, those bastards will be running to our northern border so fast, they won’t have time to clip your hedges, clean your house, take care of your kids and repair your roof at amazingly low wages. All they’ll want is to get to sweet home Vancouver.

If things get any better in Communada, we’ll have no more illegals. Finally, real Americans will be doing the jobs that just a few years before they swore they didn’t want to do. Good thing we’re damned adaptable.

You realize that Donny Trump wants to build the retaining wall along the southern border to keep people from leaving, right? I see grim days of manual labor at low wages ahead.

You probably won’t believe this but, more than once, when walking the streets of Toronto a few days ago, I saw several people doing cartwheels! No, really. I witnessed elderly citizens rolling by, frisky like dogs in the park on the first day of snow.

I asked them what the hell compelled them to such visible displays of seemingly limitless joy. “Justin Trudeau! Wheee!”

Yeah, the DPRC just elected a 43-year-old hipster as its 23rd prime minister. Ooooh! Justin (and I bet it’s “cool” to call him that) was born on Christmas Day. He’s the son of Pierre Trudeau, the country’s 15th prime minister.

Justin’s into … peace! I can smell the patchouli and failure from here. Wait until this handsome, smart, energetic young man, who won by a landslide over Stephen Harper (who I wish would hurry the hell up and become an American citizen and hurl himself into the 2016 elections, because the GOP needs more go-getters on those debate stages), finds out that the only thing that ensures peace is capitalism, drone strikes and boots on the ground.

A year from now, the skyline of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, will be corrupted by mosques. Then it will be Justin Bin al Trudeau, surrounded by his phalanx of Islamic thugs. You will think of Canada as the Mecca of the north. You watch, they’ll even have their own hajj — where of course, no one will get hurt and there will be plenty of water and restrooms. But it will be a hajj just the same!

All the great work we have done over decades to improve the lives of Canadians by bringing them McDonald’s, Home Depot and Starbucks will be left thanklessly behind for solar panels and wind farms. This dictator wants to reduce Canada’s emissions! A nation will be deprived! Jihad, eh?

And this is why, for the love of all things good, we must conquer and neutralize the other Red Menace: Canada.

It is time for Operation Maple Dawn Cobra Thunder! A great man once asked, “Is our children learning?” but he also said, “Borders no longer protect us.” It is time to flip the script and make these eco-freaks on the north side understand that borders no longer protect them.

You know what they call getting them before they get you? That’s right, winning. Under Imam Trudeau, Canada’s progressive policies will become a virus that will empower women, gays and other fringe-element actors to become part of the new mainstream.

We have got to strike before equality takes an even firmer foothold in Canada. Because when that happens, you think they’re just going to sit still?

It is go time in America. Canada has been unleashed. Wake up and smell the thunder.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"All I Wanted Was a Pepsi"
The Decline of ‘Big Soda’

from The New York Times:

The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade.
Five years ago, Mayor Michael A. Nutter proposed a tax on soda in Philadelphia, and the industry rose up to beat it back.

Soda lobbyists made campaign contributions to local politicians and staged rallies, with help from allies like the Teamsters union and local bottling companies. To burnish its image, the industry donated $10 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

It worked: The soda tax proposal never got out of a City Council committee.

It’s a familiar story. Soda taxes have also flopped in New York State and San Francisco. So far, only superliberal Berkeley, Calif., has succeeded in adopting such a measure over industry objections.

The obvious lesson from Philadelphia is that the soda industry is winning the policy battles over the future of its product. But the bigger picture is that soda companies are losing the war.

Even as anti-obesity campaigners like Mr. Nutter have failed to pass taxes, they have accomplished something larger. In the course of the fight, they have reminded people that soda is not a very healthy product. They have echoed similar messages coming from public health researchers and others — and fundamentally changed the way Americans think about soda.

Over the last 20 years, sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent. Soda consumption, which rocketed from the 1960s through 1990s, is now experiencing a serious and sustained decline.

Sales are stagnating as a growing number of Americans say they are actively trying to avoid the drinks that have been a mainstay of American culture. Sales of bottled water have shot up, and bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years, according to at least one industry projection.

The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade and is responsible for a substantial reduction in the number of daily calories consumed by the average American child. From 2004 to 2012, children consumed 79 fewer sugar-sweetened beverage calories a day, according to a large government survey, representing a 4 percent cut in calories over all. As total calorie intake has declined, obesity rates among school-age children appear to have leveled off.

The change is happening faster in Philadelphia than in the country as a whole. Daily soda consumption among teenagers, a group closely tracked by federal researchers, dropped sharply — by 24 percent — from 2007 to 2013, compared with about 20 percent for the country. Last month, the city Department of Public Health reported a sustained decline in childhood obesity over the last seven years.

Those reductions are not accidents. The soda tax didn’t pass. But the debate about it, along with a series of related city policies, helped discourage people from drinking soda.

The Philadelphia school district forbids the sale of sugary beverages in schools and limits their availability in public vending machines. The city provides financial incentives for corner stores to highlight healthy foods. And it sends educators into public school classrooms to teach children about nutrition.

Philadelphia, which also has one of the country’s strictest menu-labeling laws, for two years ran radio and television ads encouraging parents to think twice about serving sugary drinks to their children.

“It’s a fight every day, and you just have to stick with it,” said Mayor Nutter, who will leave office in January. “You can’t give up, because it’s just really important.”

But while Philadelphia’s enthusiastic attention has led to outsize results, soda consumption is declining even in cities and towns that have not made big local investments in obesity prevention and public health. The public health community has coalesced around an anti-soda message, and health officials and industry experts agree that public attitudes about soda and consumer tastes are shifting in ways that may be permanent.

The beverage industry continues to fight these shifts — and especially to fight taxes on its products. But it is also aware that after decades of selling a handful of popular, iconic products, changing public attitudes are leading to a profound change in the nature of the business.
The New Tobacco

This summer, executives from the beverage industry gathered at the Harvard Club in New York City. The annual event, hosted by the trade magazine Beverage Digest, featured speakers from the three largest soda makers — Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group — along with smaller upstarts, like SodaStream, the home seltzer maker company, and Talking Rain, which makes no-calorie carbonated fruit drinks called Sparkling Ice.

Along the wood-paneled walls, croissants, fruit and silver urns of coffee were laid out. But the hot drinks were largely ignored. The industry’s rapidly expanding bounty was displayed in the center of the room. In an array of ice buckets were Snapple Sorta Sweet, Squirt, Tropicana Farmstand juices, Lipton Sparkling Iced Tea. In a back corner, attendees could make their own lime-basil and coriander apple blossom sodas with a SodaStream machine.

Such events give companies a chance to show their stuff and brag about their successes, but there was nothing bubbly about the atmosphere. This is an industry grasping to master the shifting market.

As John Sicher, Beverage Digest’s publisher, put it in his blunt opening remarks: “It’s been a really challenging decade. It would have been a lot rougher if not for bottled water.”

As sales of the companies’ mainstay products have declined in the United States, the companies have scrambled to offer new products better suited to consumer tastes. Iced teas, sports drinks and flavored waters are smaller but fast-growing segments of the beverage industry. Coca-Cola, for example, has nearly doubled the number of individual products it offers, to 700 this year from 400 in 2004. And companies are increasingly experimenting with smaller packages for sodas, for which customers will pay a higher price per ounce. At the Harvard Club, there was a 7.5-ounce Pepsi minican, which promised “real sugar” instead of high-fructose corn syrup, and a diminutive eight-ounce bottle of Sprite.

“There’s consumers out there that don’t want to consume too much,” said Regan Ebert, the senior vice president for marketing at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, in her presentation on how the company markets its products to Hispanic audiences. The small cans, she said, “do a good job of solving that need for consumers.”


Thursday, November 19, 2015

There's Method To The Mad Satire Of 'Censorship Now!!'
(the new book from Ian Svenonius)

from NPR books

Ian Svenonius is a strange man. Anyone who's followed his career over the past 25 years knows he has a knack for incendiary sloganeering that often borders on the surreal, first as the singer in the legendary Washington, D.C. punk band The Nation of Ulysses (he currently leads the "crime rock" group Chain and the Gang) then as the author of the nonfiction books The Psychic Soviet and Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group. In his stylish, suit-and-tie persona as a pop-culture gadfly and revolutionary rhetorician — which may or may not be a self-caricature; part of his appeal is his Andy Kaufman-like commitment to character — he's put forth ideas as bizarre as comparing Fidel Castro to The Velvet Underground. Favorably, of course.

Svenonius' new book is Censorship Now!!, and the title alone shows just how provocative the author can be. A collection of essays previously published by Vice, Jacobin, and others, it sets up numerous enemies — both real and straw — for Svenonius to knock down. "The Historic Role of Sugar in Empire Building" comes across as a mini-parody of Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History; "The Documentary Crisis," which decries the truthiness of today's documentarians, is an uneven mix of undergrad opinion paper and Old-Man-Yells-At-Cloud rant. It's all couched in a style that's part anarchist tirade, part postmodern critique, and part punk-rock snottiness — yet it's addictively ridiculous.

Svenonius has many targets, but he saves most of his wit, grace, and savagery for mass media and pop culture. In "The Artist and Immortality," he sends up the entire pseudo-intellectual discourse surrounding rock culture (cutely citing his own former band The Nation of Ulysses as if he were a detached observer); in "The Rise and Fall of College Rock," he rails against the media outlets he feels have helped gentrify the radio dial (including, ahem NPR).

He slips earnestness inside the cartooniness, even when Censorship Now!!'s title essay lays out his most modest proposal — a universal censorship that will free humanity from all oppression. Swiftian and Stalinist in equal measure, it's a piece of logic-twisting polemic that serves what may be Svenonius' ultimate purpose: To jar us, like some Zen riddler, from our accepted ways of thinking.

The crazy talk just keeps on coming — except when it isn't. Here's his conspiracy theory behind the hard-to-read instruction manuals that come with cheap furniture, which he says sow discord between otherwise happy romantic partners: "Ikea wants couples to break up. Each breakup results in more bachelors and bachelorettes, which results in more Ikea products sold." And his reasons why people shouldn't tip service industry workers: Gratuity is "an exploitative business model," "an act of dominance," and "a guilt fee." The Ikea idea is gleefully ridiculous; the anti-tipping sentiment, on the other hand, is one that's actually gaining ground in places like New York City, where there's a trend of restaurateurs abolishing gratuity in favor of raising the hourly wages of their employees.

This is why it's difficult to tag Censorship Now!! as a wholesale work of satire — and why the book, for all its entertaining lunacy, sometimes muddles its own voice. For every burst of inspired argumentum ad absurdum such as "Music and the Struggle Against Sanity," there are maddeningly reflexive statements such as "For many poor souls, there is no alternative to the alternative."

It's as though the front and back covers of Censorship Now!! are two mirrors placed on either side of Svenonius, infinitely reflecting his prankish screeds and paradoxical theories. The greatest paradox of all, of course, is that Censorship Now!! itself would be banned under the outlandish plan proposed in its title, a clear shot at the arbitrary way we view and apply the ideals we hold most dear. It's Svenonius' strangest punch line — and his most playfully profound message.

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

GET THE BOOK directly from the publisher HERE.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Before Google, There Was the Patient, Long-Suffering Staff of the New York Public Library


Once upon a time—midcentury America, to be precise—you couldn’t turn to the Google search bar with all your most deeply personal and/or random questions. Instead, there was the New York Public Library and its very patient librarians.

As NPR explained back in December (and our compatriots at io9 reported), the NYPL’s Reference and Research Services has fielded all manner of questions for decades. They stumbled across a box of queries from the 1940s through the 1980s, and they’ve been sharing them on their Instagram every since. Unless you’re following the account, you’ve been missing some gems. For instance:

Surely this came not from somebody with a very poor understanding of lunar cycles, but rather a pre-Internet troll.

If you have any questions for which Google just isn’t getting the job done, you can still turn to the NYPL. In the meantime, here’s a free prompt for a mystery novel.

Contact the author at

Photos via the NYPL’s Instagram.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Smartphone Suck:
Photos depict evil screens that are stealing your soul!

from Dangerous Minds:

Perhaps the disparaging “Smartphones and IPhones are ruining our society and slowly turning us into zombies” fad is getting a bit stale. I do understand why many people see phones as a brainsuck (and if you text while you drive, you’re a supreme asshole who might as well be drunk driving). But as I’ve said before, I love my iPhone. I just use it in moderation. That’s the key. It’s not rocket science. If I’m having dinner with someone, I put my damn phone away and concentrate on the person or people I’m sitting with. I don’t check my phone. Not even once. (My husband refuses to carry one to begin with, which is taking it to an extreme probably…).

Now on to the “SUR-FACE”  the photo series by French photographer, Antoine Geiger. What you see are seemly casual photos of people using their smartphones that turn somewhat sinister once the face is stretched and pulled into the phone. Like our phones own us, not the other way around.

“It [places] the screen as an object of ‘mass subculture,’ alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world,” Geiger writes in his description of the series.








Via Nerdcore and The Creators Project

Monday, November 16, 2015

"School of Life" Monday's Watch and Listen This Week: HISTORY OF IDEAS - Religion

Religion was an ingenious solution to many of mankind's earliest fears and needs. Religion is now implausible to many, but the needs remain. That is the challenge of our times. Please subscribe here:
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