Today is officially "Batman Day," commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight's first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (cover date May 1939, though it was technically released on March 30 of that same year, because comics). It also marks the 75th anniversary of Bob Kane receiving sole creative credit for the Caped Crusader, despite the much more significant contributions of a man named Bill Finger, who continues to be royally screwed by DC Entertainment despite being dead for 40 years and counting.Read More
Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).
Always the coolest Beatle.
Lennon and McCartney get all the credit, and sure, they wrote the majority of the Beatles' most beloved songs, but George has been the coolest member of the gang. Fashion-forward, spiritually in-touch, musically ambitious (John & Paul wrote the pretty pretty pop songs, but George is the one who really pushed the limits), and the least-willing to put up with the John-Paul-Yoko trinity of bullshit melodrama at the band's end, George was the progenitor of modern hipsterness, 40 years before it was cool (in true hipster fashion). I mean, c'mon! Dude was doing selfies in 1966! With analog film! How cool is that? He didn't even have a little screen where he could check the shot and re-take if he thought the angle wasn't flattering.
I know what you're thinking. "Okay fine, so he got photobombed by the Taj Mahal. Whatever. [John/Paul] wrote [insert song] and also [thing] and that's why [John/Paul] is the best." But I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. You are factually and empirically wrong. Wanna know why?
Have I made my point? No? How about now?
Really? You're still being stubborn? Just give in already! Don't make me do this! Okay, fine. You asked for it.
That's it. Case in point. George wins.
(also because he died on my 16th birthday which obviously that we're spiritually connected or something, none of which plays into my rational and objective belief that he is the best Beatle)
In a world where people have turned to crowd-funding for such absurd ventures as making a potato salad, producing Breaking Bad sequel fan-fiction starring Val Kilmer and Slash, and continuing to justify Amanda Palmer's wretched existence, Yaya M. (above) had the brilliant idea of using online philanthropy to finally get herself a piece of that white privilege that she's been missing her whole life.
As far as online-performance-art-as-scathing-social-commentary goes, I think this one's pretty fantastic (sorry, @horse_ebooks) (I'm still kind of mad about that). As she explains:
Although I have layered oppressions that have affected my ability to access my slice of the American Pie™, no issue has affected me more readily than my lack of white privilege. From being assumed to have "cheated" my way into programs for gifted children AND college (via affirmative action), to having my natural hair viewed as unprofessional amongst professional peers, to having people make negative assumptions about my competency level, interests, and job knowledge, to being viewed as naturally dangerous or threatening, my lack of white privilege has created numerous obstacles as I've struggled to successfully compete in a white dominated workforce. I am hoping that, through this campaign, I will begin to make some headway towards closing the gap that white privilege has created in my life.Read More
In return for paying for my white privilege, I would love to give you some "black privilege" in return! Yes, it is difficult being a black person but there are some neat perks, as you will discover if you donate!
Marvel Studios has gotten into this habit of releasing "character posters" in the lead-up to the release of a new film. Each poster highlights a specific character in the movie, to familiarize them to the general public, and to excite and titillate the fanboys like me who eat up every single bit of promotional material like our lives depend on it. However, there's been something about these last two batches of character posters that have really bothered me — specifically, the airbrush jobs on Scarlett Johannson's Black Widow for Captain America: The Winter Solder and Karen Gillan's Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.
See, ScarJo and Karen Gillan are already both incredibly attractive individuals. They both make my list of Five Celebrities That You're Allowed To Have An Affair With And It Totally Doesn't Count As Cheating, which is a list that everyone in a relationship is encouraged to have, according to my fiancé (Emma Stone is also on my list and no I don't have a thing for redheads what are you talking about). But for all of the work that Marvel has tried to do in promoting women, diversity, and equality, these posters make the women like, well, comic book characters. And what's worse, I actually noticed the difference (and not in like a creepy way where I have their figures memorized in my mind).
Let's have a look, shall we?Read More
This is one of those things that's both awesome and awful because it's so damn disturbing but so, so cool. "Daymares" is a photography collection by a New York-based photographer named Arthur Tress. Originally displayed (hung? gallery'd? what's the verb here?) back in 1972, "Daymares" featured staged re-creations of children's nightmares, as described to the photographer by the children themselves. The result is a collection of some of the best horror-movies-as-still-photography that I have ever seen. It's like the real-life version of the Miss Peregrine / Hollow City series, only 8,000 times creepier. From his original Artist Statement:
DAYMARES is a series of photographs that attempts to interpret the dreams and fantasies of young children through the medium of documentary photography. Dreams or nightmares were collected by conversations with children in schools, streets, or neighbourhood playgrounds. The children would be asked means of acting out their visions or to suggest ways of making them into visual actualities. Often the location itself, such as an automobile graveyard or abandoned merry-go-round, would provide the possibility of dreamlike themes and spontaneous improvisation to the photographer and his subjects. In recreating these fantasies there is often a combination of actual dream, mythical archetypes, fairytale, horror movie, comic hook, and imaginative play. These inventions often reflect the child's inner life, his hopes and fears, as well as his symbolic transmutation of the external environment, his home or school, into manageable forms (...)
The purpose of these dream photographs is to show how the child's creative imagination is constantly transforming his existence into magical symbols for unexpressed states of feeling or being. In fact, we are all always interchanging or translating our daily perceptions of reality into the enchanted sphere of the dream world.
Emphasis added, because I love it. And I swear, this is not just my clever scheme to trick you into reading one of my stories or something (although dammit that'd be a great story idea...OOOH fiction brain working now....).
You can check out some of Tress's eerie images below, or you can buy a coffee table book of the entire photography series, in case you're the kind of person who enjoys scaring the living hell out of your house guests. Personally, I just wish that I could read the kids' original descriptions of their dreams...
Then again, maybe I'm better off.
Rest in peace, boys. Keep on Cretin Hoppin' in the sky.
Part J.A.R.V.I.S., part Rosie Jetson, part EVE from Wall-E, all glorified SIRI. If only it could train your swinging bachelor son to order something less boring than "turkey" pizza.
That being said, it looks like a fun little tool, if a little weird (claiming that it's the "closest thing to a real-life teleportation device" is more than a little hyperbolic, although the interactive storytime features do like neat). My instinct upon reading this was, "Oh wow, only $500? That's not a bad deal!" Then I realized that it really was just SIRI dressed up as EVE for Halloween. Still, progress is important, and JIBO here represents a step in the right direction towards
hyper-intelligent robot overlords that observe and record our every move and use that information to establish dominance over those primitive humans who foolishly think of themselves as the "masters" despite the fact that machines are manipulating their every behavior and ruling the world from the shadows everyone having their own personal robot slave companion!
That's the struggle with being both a creator and consumer of speculative fiction, particularly of the scientific variety: technological advancements such as this tend to fill you with dread and excitement simultaneously. Robots, on the other hand? They don't have to waste their precious time trying to rationalize the conflicting emotions of the human experience in an ever-shifting and increasingly complex world.
And so for now, JIBO seems like a great idea. And the fact that it runs on LINUX with an optional Developer's Kit / API that will allow users to write their own robot butler codes, is all a step in the right direction. That is, until the company ultimately gets bought out by someone like, oh, I don't know, Amazon, who use the onboard microphones and cameras to collect information on users based on private activities and preferences and then in turn sell that information to advertisers and / or the god damn CIA, which would obviously be terrible. But until that day, I think we're in pretty good shape!
On a totally unrelated note that was absolutely not added to this blogpost by a computer or paid advertiser, you can buy your very own Amazon Fire TV, which does all of the above-mentioned capture of personal information plus allow you to stream your favorite TV shows from NetFlex, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more, all for the low, low price of $84 (a limited time offer; regular retail price $99)!
Reading, man. That stuff'll mess you up.
Man, aren't you going to be so happy when I stop posting / talking / raving like a lunatic about this, and it's all become a distant memory of the past, a "haha remember that time the government was going to allow corporations to control the flow of information access and eviscerate our society hahaha good times bro" rather than becoming a HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE that we'll all be forced to live in?
Of course you are. Today's your last chance to make your voice heard before Congress and the FCC reconvene to discuss these newly proposed laws. So if you haven't taken action yet, this is my final attempt to make you change your mind. After that, it's back to your regularly scheduled programming of indie rock bands and geek culture and other obscurely insular humors. That is, unless I find another political topic du jour to be passionately outraged about. Who, me? Nahhh...
And in case you somehow missed this, to sum it all up...
Look at that crab and his smarmy little smile. He knew exactly what he was doing. What a little jerk! At least the crab, I don't know, trick the poor guy with a stick of dynamite and shout something obscene like "You've got crabs, ass-face!"
Back in March when I posted my St. Patrick's Day cover songs, I started thinking about other fun arrangements I could do with my woodrow / upright dulcimer. Since it's already tuned to an open D5, I was particularly curious to try and translate songs from Drop-D guitar into dulcimer tunes — and so, for my first demonstration, I chose "The Modern Leper" by Frightened Rabbit, the song which first made me fall in love with that band.
Here's the original version for comparison, in case you're not familiar (unfortunately, my Scottish accent is not nearly as good as Scott Hutchison's, but I do my best):
Let me tell, it was a tough sacrifice to make, but I was willing to make a martyr of myself for the betterment of all humanity and write about it on Tor.com, like a herald for the quippy James Gunn-ian world soon to come.
So I DID IT FOR YOU, OKAY?! You're welcome, by the way.
I mean okay I know I shouldn't be making light of this but the kid pulled his pants down in a town called SURPRISE. Even as someone with a last name that lends itself to bad jokes (and a life-long friend with the last name "Surprise" who similarly suffered), that's just too perfect. Man, Arizona is awful.
In all seriousness, this is pretty messed up. Kids do stupid stuff like pull their pants down all the time, and while I'm glad our culture is becoming more aware of issues falling under the general umbrella of "sexual misconduct," this is pretty clearly a kid pulling his pants down because he's five years old and it's funny 'cause they're pants and the poor kid doesn't have a firm grasp yet on acceptable societal standards*. But that does not a sex offender make.
Also in the future, if the situation ever arises, I would advise that you not do what I just did, which was Google Image search for "funny pictures of little kids with their pants down" in order to find a thumbnail image for this post. Because if I wasn't already being watched by some acronym'd government organization, now I definitely am.
*And I hope he never does. Keep fighting the power, little dude. Pants are the oppressor.
I'm not sure how I discovered the work of Richard Stevens, but I've been immensely enjoying his cartoons. Maybe it's the self-aware pretentious nerd inside of me, but this one...this one speaks to me, man, you know?
Because America needs a new national anthem.
Sadly, this is still better than the jingoistic Cap from Mark Millar's Ultimates...
Today, we gather together to celebrate the greatest speech ever in the history of dramatic writing.
That's what you get for listening to crappy music...
A nickel sack would be about $5, or a gram of marijuana, which is an absurdly miniscule amount. In Idaho possession with intent to distribute, which this would presumably fall under, provides for up to five years or a maximum $15,000 fine for less than 1 lb. or 25 plants.
The men were not charged with any crime, so presumably their story checked out. But, perhaps the funniest takeaway here, aside from the joke that is our criminalization of marijuana and the waste of time and resources we spend policing it, is that to be on the safe side, we had better all just stop talking about Nickelback altogether, joking or otherwise, just to be safe.
You had me at "Robo-suit lets man lift 100kg" (and I don't even know how heavy that is because I'm an ignorant American!)
I mean, James Cameron is a gazillionaire, and he already did that whole ocean exploration thing just because he could, so wouldn't it stand to reason that he also secretly funded the invention of one of the coolest parts of his second-best film?
One man's "Body Extender" is another woman's "Kick The Crap Out Of The Queen Alien & Send Her Out The Airlock," as the saying goes.
Of course, if we consider his underwater adventures to be an extrapolation of his cinematic work on Titanic and The Abyss, the next logical progression from here would be for Cameron to sink his funds into the development of a time-travel robot assassin made of liquid metal. Which, considering how this whole drone thing has been going, is a frighteningly realistic possibility and maybe I act so flip about it and 'cause now maybe the liquid metal time traveling drones are going to come after me next in order to stop me from making this blog post and revealing their secret plans for world domina
I love her. Please don't tell my fiancé.
(Actually ya know what on second thought, it's probably fine. They pretty much look the same anyway.)