What would happen if a wet towel were wrung out in space? Commander Chris Hadfield answers this question with a little demo aboard the International Space Station (where he is currently living).
filed under miscellany
Nine months ago, my wife and I adopted a pit bull from a local Brooklyn rescue organization doing amazing work. The shelter, Sean Casey Animal Rescue places over 100 dogs a month in homes and is widely considered the best operation of it’s type in New York City. They’re a no kill facility and only take-in animals that they believe can be re-homed. When we first went to visit the shelter and look at the available dogs, we were immediately drawn to a rather large pit bull named Judson. He eventually came home with us, and with a quick name change to Jax, he became a member of our family. At just 9 months old, he was already one of the largest dogs there. He looked so big in his crate that I didn’t even realize that he was puppy. While most of the dogs barked in a chorus begging to be chosen for the chance to have a walk and stretch their legs, Jax was calm. He licked our fingers over and over through the metal grid that separated us. But the thing that most attracted us to him was his stunning appearance - all white with brown pinto spots, yellow eyes and a pink nose. Suddenly, our plan to adopt a dog closer to 2 years old was awry. We took him for a walk around the block. He had no idea how to walk on a leash. He bounced around springing high in the air. It was evident that (like all dogs) this was going to be serious work.
We thought that we should take a few dogs out in hopes of discovering some unknown detail that might help us figure out which one to take home. When the decision came down to two dogs (both pit bulls), we were finding it quite hard to decide which one was right for us. Pak was a slightly older, very mellow dog who was all black with a white chest and feet. I went back to the shelter every day for a week and spent an hour with each dog with the hopes that I might learn something about them, that one would give me the signal that I needed. The workers at the shelter could see that I was determined to rescue one of them, but was struggling with how to decide. Without pressuring, they gave their opinion that Pak was the right one. I asked question after question. Did they think Pak would be rescued soon, as he had already been there a few months longer than Jax? The answer - “It’s hard to say. Black dogs are much harder to place.”
My reason for posting this is simple. Even when deciding which dog to rescue, appearance, color of the fur is a major determining factor in which dogs will find a new home. As I mentioned, Sean Casey places over a hundred dogs a month. Nine months later, Pak (a sweet and very well behaved dog) has yet to find a home.
Today, I discovered LaNola Stone’s photo project Least Likely To Be Adopted. The idea was to take “fashionesque images” of the longest running residents of her local shelter. She photographed portraits of the dogs which were believed to be least likely to be adopted. After these images which display a sense of personality were taken, each dog was adopted.
(via Design Observer)
I was humbled and delighted to be included in Creative Review’s piece in their July issue on a new generation of documentary directors making films for the web.
File this under invaluable creative business tools. Designer, Jessica Hische has put together a useful posting for designers on how to put a price tag on their services. Much of the information can be applied to photographers, filmmakers and other creative professionals as well. Related - see also.
I just came across a great resource for filmmakers - a blog that sequentially lays out still frames for every shot in each movie posted. The result is something like a storyboard that allows us to analyze the cinematography of a film at a quick glance. The list of films posted aren’t shabby either.
The Burning House asks if your house was on fire, what few items would you take with you?
It’s been a fantasy of mine for a while now to find a nice little parcel of land on a river or with a pond in upstate New York to build a modern cabin. I’ve just come across these lovely pre-fabs from Form & Forest. I might just have to do a price check.
Marfa, Texas is a notoriously unique artistic stronghold in the middle of a vast Texas desert. I’ve been daydreaming of holing up at The Thunderbird Motel on a creative sabbatical. More on Marfa in a video here.
I’ve long thought that GIFs at best could only be another example of pseudo creative, pseudo humorous web junk that might inspire a chuckle like lol cats or cats that look like hitler. I have to admit that there is something charming and visually poetic about this collection of GIFs.
If you are in creative services and work with clients independently or run your own company, here is the best advice you’ll ever get on how to protect yourself. Fuck you. Pay me. This Creative Mornings talk by the wonderfully talented and amusing Mike Monteiro of Mule Design will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you want to buddy up with a lawyer but most of all, it will inspire you to make good business choices.
Check out this cool how to convert your super 8mm film to a digital format with a DSLR camera.
..taken one minute out of your very busy and important life to donate a few bucks for the victims of the Japan earthquake? They need your help. Don’t be apathetic. Be a good human. Stop what you are doing and donate $10 to the American Red Cross Earthquake Fund for Japan. Text: REDCROSS to 90999
If you really need additional motivation to donate, here are the aerial before and afters from the earthquake. And here is the ground level destruction. The entire country was physically moved 8 feet on the globe. HELP NOW!!! If you don’t, you suck.
I’ve never had the chance to shoot Kodachrome and unfortunately, I never will. For that very reason, I’ve become a bit obsessed with the film stock’s beauty. Here is a gorgeous example of Kodachrome super-8 shot at a motorcycle race in 1974 and another example shot in 1975 in what appears to be the Middle East.
In Ry Russo-Young’s Peepshow project participants are asked to design their own sexual performance and are then filmed with just one roll of super-8 film. (NSFW)
This telling of the alphabet pairs the audio of a classic Richard Pryor Sesame Street appearance with a simple chemistry experiment.
Here is a short video tutorial for building a homemade camera slider. I might need to give it a try.
When the ever prolific Dave Eggers isn’t writing scripts for Where The Wild Things Are or working on a new volume from McSweeney’s, his efforts are dedicated to his 826 literacy program. I’m fortunate enough to live a few blocks away from one of these endeavors, the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. Now Eggers has taken the mission across the pond opening Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.
This is the most clever fund-raising pitch for a film that I’ve ever seen. I’d definitely like to get in bed with them.
Dead Drops is a clever experiment. The project sees USB flash drives to be used for peer to peer file-sharing cemented into nooks and crannies of some very unsuspecting public spaces. Users can deposit files, take files or just look and see what they find.
Despite their disappointing play in the 2010 World Cup tournament, the English national team was denied a goal from Frank Lampard in it’s well publicized 4-1 loss to Germany. While this certainly wasn’t the first time that an official failed to see a ball cross the line, the unawarded goal shed light on the reality that human error is part of the game. So the question is raised; why not introduce some technology into the game? A design company in Mexico called Agent has created a ball with a sensor that could be the solution some fans seek. Here is a glimpse at the process behind the glowing ball’s design. Perhaps the ball should have been called “The Lampard.”
(via Resist Comfort)
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon duel over who does a better Michael Caine impersonation. Brilliant.
Atlas Obscura refers to itself as a compendium of this age’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica. That’s exactly what it is. I’d add that it is also a maze of wonderment that will steal the hours from your day.
I am a satisfied new owner of a classic wool herringbone Pendleton blanket. The amount of work that goes into making one of these iconic American items is impressive. Have a look at the process in a behind-the-scenes tour of their factory.
Yesterday, I happened upon an online video of a few people building a homemade spacecraft and sending it to the edge space with a camera to record the whole experience. The project had been carried out by two dads and their science curious sons. They were basically having some outdoor fun on a relaxing summer weekend in upstate New York. As it turned out, some of these people are my friends and neighbors. And what they’ve accomplished has blown my mind.
NPR has a status update on the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring. Four of the dog’s have rehabilitated so well that they are being used as certified therapy animals.
Here is a cartoon retelling of the true story in which Werner Herzog rescued Joaquin Phoenix from a car accident.
Douglas Trumbull is a film director and special FX pioneer best known for his contributions to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. In addition to being a five time Academy Award nominee and lifetime honoree, he also happens to be an inventor with many patents to his credit. It’s rather fascinating to know that while BP was failing to cap the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that they were responsible for, Trumbull was working on solutions. Here is a film on his fix.
In 2008, Let The Right One In was a critical and box office success. The Swedish film that is something of a coming of age vampire tale gained immediate cult status. Just two years later, the film will get an American makeover complete with a new title, Let Me In. Another recent foreign buzz film is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo from 2009. David Fincher is currently in preproduction on the Hollywood versioning of this Swedish film. It would seem that there is a recent trend taking shape in which films are remade from one language to another, even from English to Chinese. That is precisely what happened with A Woman, A Gun, and a Noodle Shop which hit theaters last week. The film is a retelling of Joel and Ethan Coen’s first film, Blood Simple. and was directed by one of China’s best known directors, Zhang Yimou.
Truth told, revamping foreign films is nothing new. Akira Kurosawa’s classic samurai film Yojimbo was remade twice in Hollywood. Three years after Kurosawa’s film was released, Sergio Leone borrowed the storyline for a stunning spaghetti western remake with A Fistful of Dollars. The plot was again remade in Walter Hill’s 1996 film, Last Man Standing. I can also recall in 2002 when Christopher Nolan remade a Norwegian film from 1997 also called Insomnia. And of course, there is the strange story of the auteur working antithetically to Hollywood, Michael Haneke remaking his own Funny Games shot by shot in 2007 (ten years after the original). Surely there are many more examples.
As much as one may prefer that audiences experience a narrative in it’s native tongue the way it were originally conceived, the truth is that more often than not this would simply mean that many audiences wouldn’t experience the story at all. As a critical audience, we have the choice to simply take a pass on versions that we are not interested in. This is precisely what I did with the aforementioned Haneke film. After experiencing the original and knowing the shot for shot nature of the remake, I couldn’t possibly imagine any new light being shed. However, it’s worth considering that there is a cultural dialogue that happens with each iteration. Just as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo had been adapted from the printed page, surely David Fincher will be influenced in some way by the first screen version.
Here is extraordinary 16mm footage of the Apollo 11 launch on July 16th 1969 (41 years ago yesterday). Shot at the extreme slow motion rates of 500 frames per second, 30 seconds of actual take-off is expanded into an 8 minute highly detailed clip.
I recently heard about a rather interesting service that allows people to share the things that they own with others in their neighborhood. The big idea behind Neighborgoods is to help people behave more like a community and consume less things that they simply don’t need to buy.
As of this week, the Afghan War is the longest in America’s history at eight and a half years. Oddly enough, this fact didn’t seem to draw much attention in the media. Both this war and US operations in Iraq almost seem to be forgotten by the general public and media alike. I wanted to share a few features that I found on NPR that highlight works of two artists who are dedicating their work to the honor of those involved in these wars. Matthew Mitchell is painting 100 portraits of people who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. See the project’s website here. The other story is about an Iraqi born artist named Wafaa Bilal. He staged a 24 hour performance called …And Counting in which he transformed his back into a permanent memorial to casualties of the war in Iraq. Here is more on this project.
Tonight, my hometown Philadelphia Flyers play their first Stanley Cup Championship home-game since my youth. Though the team is down by two games, I have full confidence that they will summon the spirit of the original Cup winning Broad Street Bullies and punish Chicago tonight. Stream the HBO Documentary on the Bullies of the 70s here for a reminder of where tough hockey was invented. Let’s go Flyers!!!
When it’s not a volcano in Iceland, a hurricane in Louisiana, an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or an earthquake in Haiti, disaster strikes in the form of a massive sinkhole in Guatemala.
The quadrotor mini helicopter was designed at the GRASP Lab of University of Pennsylvania. The way that it can maneuver through tight spaces is simply amazing. I can imagine many different applications for this invention and only hope that it’ll one day be used for greater good.
Pinterest is a very clever idea that allows users to create and share web image lists of whatever theme they desire
Some days I just feel slow like Boris.
16 Apr 2010 04:00 pm
Taxes are due this week. Here is the form for the marginally employed.
This motion-graphic shows how Walmart and it’s sister company, Sam’s Club grew like a virus since their inception in 1962.
I’m quite excited about the addition of an iPad to my household. Maybe this will make you want one too. Here you can see the creation of an issue of Popular Science for the device; it’s a good example of where the future of magazine publishing is heading. But it’s this video of a 2.5 year old kid interacting with the device that has me most intrigued about the way the iPad may shape our lives.
When overheard, sometimes banal conversations are the most telling about someone’s character. Here is a choice selection from the White House Tapes. August 19, 1964 1:17PM - LBJ orders some new custom Haggar pants over the phone.
Here is what happened when Winnie the Pooh met Alien.
In 1909, Thomas Edison filmed Mark Twain at his Stormfield, Connecticut estate. The thought of these two cultural geniuses spending a day together for the sake of documentation only makes them both that much more intriguing as historical figures.
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Organisers of a British circus recently put on a workshop to help young audiences to gradually overcome their phobia.
A friend of mine is something of a hardcore conspiracy theorist. He recently shared this list of 33 conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.
The people of Haiti need as much help as possible after an earthquake struck at the heart of their nation. The images of loss and suffering are heart wrenching. Here is a list of reputable NGOs who can immediately put your donation to good use. This is one of those moments in history where the world must do more than just sit back and watch events on a television. Lets be good to one another.
The special FX and animation gurus at London’s Moving Picture Company have created a free data-calculator application for the iphone. This tool is super helpful for filmmakers both in production and post.
This film shows the many steps involved in the construction process of the official Jabulani 2010 FIFA World Cup game ball.
Letters of Note is a site that archives intriguing correspondences of the written and printed variety. In this letter, J.D. Salinger explains why he has no intentions of letting anyone have the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye. And here, Edgar Allan Poe apologizes for drunken behavior and asks his publisher to purchase an article, as he is in desperate need for cash.
Dame Dash and music video directors Coodie & Chike have teamed up to launch Creative Control, a very cool web outlet for inspired content.
The changing landscape of NYC has long been of great interest to me. I came across this piece about the Eagle Clothing factory space which is practically in my backyard. I hope this sign stays exactly where it is for a long time to come.
The American Heart Association has launched an unexpected web based project to inspired people to learn CPR. Based on the notion that hands can do incredible things, the site allows you build and share an orchestra of beats using a selection of hand clap samples.
I recently heard that motorcyclists are eight times more likely than automobile drivers to get injured in an accident and are thirty five times more likely to die. None of that really matters if you are riding something as gorgeous as one of the bikes below. The 1934 BMW R7 makes my heart skip beats. See more handsome bikes here.
Though is was originally published in the early 90s, this is still absolutely relevant. Steve Albini on The Problem With Music.
While there are probably several good reasons not to put ice skates on a bear, a particular one comes to mind first.
Watching the trailer for Mutiny Bikes - Let’s Get Mystical makes me wish I had learned to do just a few BMX tricks. Sadly, I couldn’t because I did a nice thing and lent my brand new Haro to a friend as a kid; he managed to leave it at another kid’s house where it was stolen from the drive way. You still owe me Brian Getz and yes, I’m still salty about it.
I’ve been making my way through Six Feet Under DVDs and it is quite clear to me that there is absolutely nothing about a funeral home that is comforting. Should I cross the street and get hit by a bus tomorrow, let it be known that there should be no casket for me. Just to be a pain in the ass, I might like to be flash-frozen and then blasted with an ultrasound wave into a million pieces. But that doesn’t sound very practical; I guess cremation it is then. Check out this nice little NPR piece on burial.
This chart helps to illustrate the serious differences between Arial and Helvetica. If you think you can tell the difference, try testing your knowledge by guessing which of the iconic logos is the original Helvetica form. I only got one wrong - not bad.
The Golden Age of Soccer is a captivating documentary film on a semi-professional league based out of Corona Park in Queens, New York. Many of the players who are middle aged men have played professionally in their homelands. Some have even competed in the World Cup. They are just as passionate about the game as when they were younger men. Check out the trailer or see the film here.
Incredibox is an online beat box experience where you can make music with silly animated characters.
This morning I was woken by the cacophonous buzz of traffic helicopters buzzing over my head. I asked myself, “why why why?” After a hot shower, I turned to Monty Python for a more philosophical answer to how the world works.
While going through some notes, I came across a quote from Mark Twain that I am quite fond of.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
I’ve always found people who walk on the beach with metal detectors to be amusing to watch. I had no idea that these folks have clubs. One member of a British metal detector club recently uncovered more than 1.345 gold and silver relics hidden on a farm that date back to the 5th century. It is believed that the collection’s value will be well into the millions - half of which the finder will keep. Maybe I should add metal detection to my weekend activities list.
NYC public housing rules are now outlawing people from owning large dogs. The ban goes so far as to name specific unwelcome breeds including rottweilers, doberman pinschers and of course pit bull or pit bull mixes. I find this scenario to be problematic on many levels. Such measures amount to plain old discrimination and propagate misinformed and misguided views about these animals. On the very block where I live, we have several pit bulls that couldn’t be any more loving. I myself owned a rottweiler for fourteen years who earned the love of all of my neighbors. It is clear that these rules were enacted out of fear, but reading between the lines it is not hard to see that the fear stems not from the animals themselves but rather the owners. Some folks are terrified of young people of color and even more when they own a pet that has been unfairly portrayed as a vicious killer. Smells like good old-fashioned racism to me.
If you’ve traveled by plane in the last few years, you’ve most certainly noticed a dramatic shift for the worse in customer service. Airlines are scrambling to find ways to cut costs and increase profits. A company called Design Q has an absolutely abysmal idea on how airlines can make more money on shorter distance flights. They propose that airlines rethink their current seating layout and provide the customer with something more like a jump-seat. My guess is that the first airline to actually put such an offensive and stupid design into practice is the next airline to go out of business.
Alain Robert aka the French Spider Man has an odd hobby/career. He is an urban climber who has made a habbit of scaling skyscrapers without the aid of ropes. He has scaled 85 towering buildings around the world.
What do the first seven notes of Rich Astley’s Never Gonna GIve You Up have to do with students attending MIT?
Particularly because I was born in The City of Brotherly Love, I am with all of my heart absolutely ashamed with Philadelphia today. It is an atrocity and an insult to Ben Franklin’s legacy of founding the first American library in Philly that the cities politicians would allow their public libraries to close. Perhaps I don’t know the political climate in the state of Pennsylvania well enough, but I do know that it is simply unacceptable to allow the greatest record of our culture and past to be treated as though it were so disposable.
The public testing of the HAL robo-exoskeleton suite brings people one step closer to actually being robots. I figure that we may be just a generation away from kids telling parents that when they grow up, they want to be an android. Swell.
The crypt directly above the one in which Marilyn Monroe eternally rests was recently up for auction on ebay and brought in several bids in the millions.
These days, I find that I am consistently having discussions about technology and the semi-permanence of media formats. Will books be replaced by ebooks? I don’t think so. The existence of scrolls dating back thousands of years is a reminder in a digital age that sometimes analogue means longevity. Just before typing this posting, I was chatting with a friend about the best way to backup up my hard drives. And yesterday I had a discussion addressing the concerns of shooting video in a format that is purely digital without a tape medium. This ongoing dialogue will certainly shape what our future looks like and how far into our past we will be able to dig. That said, when I found the the Lost Formats project this morning - it seemed rather timely.
Ever since the internet became intertwined with our daily lives, people have commonly fantasized about creating the next big thing website or service that they could cash in on. Social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace have been sold in the last few years for outrageous sums that truly can’t be rationalized. On the other hand, there have been sites that actually can quantify their success in real numeric terms. Many of these sites like Zappos for example provide a very necessary service. A few months back I posted about a website called Kickstarter. The site which is still in beta speaks to this kind of ingenuity in which common people will be able to find themselves doing something that they simple couldn’t do before. In recent weeks, Kickstarter has been picking up traction and even received two write-ups on the NY Times in one day. One article explains how the concept works and why micro-patronage is the big idea. And this one, the story of how a record label used the service to avoid trashing a large collection of overstock.
The Personas website creates a colorful graphic representation with keywords that shows how your name floats around in cyberspace.
Bobby McFerrin puts a visual face on the power of the pentatonic scale.
NPR has redesigned their site with a beautiful contemporary sense of clarity and readability. Be sure to check out this piece on Lonesome George, the last known living Galapagos tortoise. It is believed that he is about 100 years old which is roughly the point of sexual peak for the species. He has finally been doing a little bit of naughty business lately.
My lady has made it clear to me that she will remove my limbs before she allows me to purchase a scooter. But that shouldn’t stop a guy from wanting. An old-school Vespa would be nice, but probably isn’t the statement that best fits my persona. However, the 2009 Honda Ruckus seems perfect for me - less hipster, more Mad Max.
I’ve been toying around with the idea of opening up an old world nostalgic barber shop in Brooklyn - something of a fantasy project really. There is a perfect tiny storefront located just one block from my apartment and on the walk to the subway. The space which is perfectly sized for a two chair operation has been sitting for many years unused and off the market. I just noticed that there is now a sign indicating that the space is available for lease. I also happened upon two other old world shops in the past week which are both eerily similar to the kind of place I want to open. While Tommy Guns is really more of a hair salon dressed up as a fancy barber shop, Freeman’s Sporting Club is something of a men’s lifestyle company which offers clothing and tailoring in addition to their grooming services. Aesthetically speaking, both shops are absolutely intriguing and would make for a fine film set. However, the shop I’d like to open would not only be quaint and modestly priced, but would also boast the skills of elderly gentlemen who have spent a lifetime perfecting their trade. And of course, they would be uniformed in a proper white collared barber’s coat with their names embroidered. Maybe I’m onto something.
From time to time, I’ve been known to grow a beard and sculpt it into something amusing. A friend just shared an inspiring chart of facial hair options that includes two of my favorites - the Franz Josef and the Sparrow.
As the unemployment rate in the US approaches 10%, Japan is struggling to keep their robots employed. We all know how dangerous an out of work population can be. Could this spell the beginning of the robot -vs- human war that many have said was an inevitable future?
Here is a perfectly good excuse for swearing.
A bleeding reminder to be a cautious driver.
For those creative folks that are concerned with making the world a better place, there is an upcoming conference for you called The Feast (Oct. 1st).
Perhaps you are ambivalent about social media networks. At the annual TED conference, Clay Shirky gave an interesting talk about how twitter and other social platforms have been utilized to overcome censorship and break news.
The clever folks over at The Mill have released a free iphone application that allows for fast image color-grading. This tool would definitely be helpful for quick on the set look references.
Indoor rock climbing is coming to Brooklyn. Seeing that Brooklyn Boulders will be located just down the street from me, I may have a new hobby. Rumor has it that there is also a local class on butchering and another for beer making with the brew master from Six Points Craft Ales. Adult hobbies are so awesome.
Using movie clips arranged in order by content, Matt Zoller has constructed a montage consisting only of tracking shots that follow characters. This clever project made me smile, though I was a bit bummed by the exclusion of Paths of Glory.
Map the Fallen is a web-project that utilizes google earth to pay tribute to the 5700 US soldiers who have been killed in the line of service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each soldier is separately profiled and plotted onto the map.
I woke up this morning thinking about tattoos and how much I’d like to finally start a back piece. Living legend, Horiyoshi III is the artist who I’d truly like to have work on me. He is widely regarded as the greatest living tattoo artist. Here is footage of him working; he tattoos within the Tebori tradition.
The decline of civilization expressed through a simple question.
One of the liberating things about self-publishing or broadcasting sites like youtube is that they inspire unlikely collaborations. Here is a clever experimental music project in which people have submitted video clips of sounds being made in the key of Bb major for the purpose of creating a sort of user generated symphony.
Seed Magazine has designed a very cool interactive piece called The Universe in 09. The project celebrates the kind of creative thinking that makes the human experience a more positive one.
Scientists have proven that chimpanzees who wine and dine their partners are more likely to have sex.
I’ve found the bike I want. The Pashley Guv’nor is a handsome cycle indeed.
Perhaps you’d really like to make a short film, record an album, or travel abroad but are short on the cash. Kickstarter is a cleverly designed website that allows people to start a fund raising project that encourages micro donations. They’ve made it easy on you. All you have to do is create a project and keep it updated.
07 May 2009 04:37 pm
Supreme Court Justice Scalia is notoriously a real piece of work, so a Fordham Univeristy law class put him in his place.
A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE HAS GONE MISSING
As some of you may already know, my very dear friend and an exceptionally talented poet, professor and father, Craig Arnold, has gone missing on the small volcanic island of Kuchino-erabu-shima while on a creative exchange fellowship. An independent expert search and rescue group is on the island looking for Craig until the 9th, but the official search by Japanese authorities has been called off. They believe that military assets would make the search very efficient and effective, and we hope the consulate will move forward with the possibility of engaging local US military/DOD assets in the search at this stage. Please help us contact your local Congressional delegation and encourage them to support the consulate in this effort. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE CONSULATE OR EMBASSY - THEY ARE BUSY WORKING VERY HARD FOR US AND WE NEED THEM TO BE ABLE TO DO SO, WITHOUT DISTRACTION. THEY HAVE BEEN EXCELLENT PARTNERS IN THIS PROCESS. PLEASE CONTACT SENATORS AND CONGRESSPEOPLE.
WE NEED EVERYONE’S HELP contacting their local congressional delegation and asking their assistance in encouraging the Fukuoka consulate to engage local US military/DOD assets on the ground in Japan. They have been thinking about it and we respectfully request them to move forward with that as quickly as possible. (To donate to the fund, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/cofj63)
Right now, what we need most is for everyone to contact your state Senators NOW:
Calls and faxes are most efficient, e-mails are important too.
When contacting your Senators:
Please include a request for US military assistance from the local bases.
An example of a letter and of the kinds of things one might say over the phone are included below. Feel free to edit, but please take care not to give out inaccurate information. Thank you so much for your help.
Dear Senator _______,
I am writing to you to express my concern for an exceptionally talented American poet, Prof. Craig Arnold. He has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan called Kuchino-erabu-shima while representing his country on a U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission’s U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship. Craig, an experienced explorer of volcanoes, never returned to his inn after leaving alone to visit the island’s volcano for the afternoon. As a concerned constituent, I respectfully request that you please contact the U.S. consulate in Fukuoka and the U.S. Embassy in Japan and urgently request that they continue the search for University of Wyoming Professor Craig Arnold using local U.S. military and D.O.D. assets, specifically those on Okinawa.
Prof. Craig Arnold has made a profound, significant contribution to American arts and letters. He is also an inspiring and deeply caring father, brother, son, and much beloved by his family and his partner of six years, Rebecca. He is a generous and devoted friend and teacher to many. We have reason to be hopeful, as the small independent search-and-rescue team on the island has picked up Craig’s trail, and a little bit of rain has given us hope that he might not be too dehydrated. But time is of the essence. The island is small enough that an extended search performed by experienced searchers WILL lead to Craig’s discovery, but we understand that more searchers on the ground are needed immediately.
Will you please keep me informed of action being taken to continue the search? Thank you.
Please join this facebook group to support the search effort.
Here is more on what you can do:
Here you can read Craig’s travel blog that he had maintained until the evening he went missing:
Lack of fresh water in poor nations is to blame for a number of illnesses that result in millions of deaths each year. Charity:Water is a non-profit whose mission is to drill sustainable wells in underdeveloped communities to eliminate these completely preventable deaths. There is truly no acceptable reason that over a billion people are deprived of fresh drinking water each day. The organization put together this moving film for World Water Day.
Casey Anderson is an environmentalist who raised a grizzly bear named Brutus from an infant to an 800 pound adult. Sunday May 5th, National Geographic will air a program that documents their year long expedition together to follow lives of grizzly bears in Yellowstone. Below is a picture of Brutus celebrating Thanksgiving with his family. See more remarkable images of Casey and Brutus here.
Here is a minor chord laden playlist that I’ve named This Is Just a Test, Only a Test. The sonics in most of these tracks evoke emotions that are both sombre and uplifting all at once.
People and robots can be friends. The tweenbots experiment encourages the better side of humankind.
I’ve long suspected that many of the store-front fortune tellers scattered throughout NYC might actually be facades for brothels to those in the know. These ragtag little setups almost always are run by young women whose ages seem to range from their teens to early thirties, but never older. Often, the entrances to the setups require a trip through a seedy stairwell. The ones at street level usually seem to utilize only a fragment of a larger space which is curtained off to the public. Within a few blocks of my brownstone are several of these spots. The first real indication that the palm reader around the corner might be a prostitute was that she would persistently ask me if I wanted my fortune told, day in and day out. Patterns began to emerge. She would only attempt to indulge me in her services if I walked by alone. Then came the pregnancies. Every nine months or so it was clear that she was yet again an expecting mother. She has now been pregnant so many times that I’ve lost count. Last night on my way home from dinner, I noticed the detail that would certainly substantiate my suspicions. Parked in front of the storefront was a glitzy candy-apple red Bentley. Two large goons dressed in suites flanked the entrance to the building. Almost as if I were watching a slow-motion scene in a movie, a large figure also dressed in a suite appeared from the gaudy vehicle and stepped through the doorway.
Kal Penn (aka Kumar from the Harold and Kumar cult films) has traded in White Castle for the White House. The actor has left a regular role on Fox’s House to join the White House staff as an Asscociate Director in the Office of Public Liaison.
It is common knowledge that General Motors is a company in financial trouble and in need of a new business model. They have been slow to the chase with addressing consumer demands for a product that is more fuel efficient and environmentally sound. Yesterday, GM unveiled a rickshaw style concept car intended for urban environments. While there are no immediate plans to release such a vehicle into production, the step may signify a change in thinking at the company. Lets hope they mean what they say…
We were the S.U.V. company, and we accept that. We want to become the U.S.V. company - known for ultra-small vehicles.
- Larry Burn’s (GM VP for research and development and strategic planning)
There has always been an unlimited supply of white men, but there has only been a limited supply of human beings.
- Little Big Man (Film by Arthur Penn)
You just might be hopeless if you need to install software on your computer to make you less distracted.
Skate boarding tricks captured beautifully in slow-motion + explosions + Spike Jonze = title intro to Lakai Fully Flared.
I’ve heard that the successful online shoe and apparel retailer, Zappos has a unique approach to hiring. Regardless of the job position, all employees must start off working on the phones providing customer service. At the end of this introductory training cycle, the candidate is then offered $1,000 to quit. You read that correctly; to quit. The idea here is that the company wants loyal employees, high productivity and low turner over. Google is also known for their rigorous process in which potential employees are asked to take aptitude tests. So with all of this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that Amazon is also concerned with maintaining a strong workforce. Jeff Bezos, the innovative CEO & founder of Amazon spent this week working among other wage earners in a Kentucky based distro-center to learn a thing or two.
Clay Shirky has written a brilliant essay on the future of newspapers, how we have and will get our information.
Thirty year old Melissa Dixson is a self-taught taxidermist living in NYC of all places.
There is a pretty interesting story about the hidden message inscribed on the inside of Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg has introduced plans to turn section’s of Broadway into a pedestrian walkway in the Times Square and Herald Square areas. The idea seems to be solid and has found very little in the way of opposition.
Here is a NY Times piece on the culture of TV commercials in France.
Sometimes truth is much stranger than fiction. Learn about the colonies of wild tropical parrots in Brooklyn and how they got there.
This past summer we saw many images of China’s new shiny architecture proudly on display for the world during the Olympic events. One of the structures that had been frequently seen in newspapers and on TV was the China Central Television Complex. Part of the CCTV complex was the soon to be opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The building has been completely destroyed in a fire accidently set by stray fireworks from the annual Lantern Festival that marks the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. Here are more images of the building ablaze. Remarkably the incident only claimed one life, that of a firefighter.
While in art school, I use to visit Kim’s Video on St. Mark’s Street almost daily at one point. I would watch two to three films a day. The store provided me with an endless library of hard to find selections. So it is fair to say that Kim’s Video has played a huge role in providing me with a film education outside that of my cinema studies in college. Regrettably, St. Mark’s has morphed into something of a typical shopping experience and video rental has become an impossible business forcing Kim’s to close. Even worse, when Mr. Kim offered up to donate his collection upon a few conditions, nobody in the city could make a realistic offer. The good news it that the collection will not go to waste and is being sent to Italy for a rather interesting archival project. It is unfortunate and frustrating that with all of the space in this city, nobody could make an agreeable offer to preserve part of our culture.
I’ve never been one to make best of or favorite lists. However, I’ve always had plenty of recommendations when it comes to cinema. The following is a list of surreal and unusual films that have profoundly influenced me. The films are listed in no particular order.
King of Heats by Philippe de Broca
Dreams by Akira Kurosawa
The mysterious maple syrup smell that took over NYC on several occasions is no longer a mystery. Surprise! It came from New Jersey where so many awful odors originate.
Someone took the time to string together an edit of every single use of a curse word on The Sopranos.
There is an inherent responsibility that comes with directing a documentary film. With each edit, the director is given the choice to show or not show, and ultimately influence an audience with their version of the “truth” on a given subject. In the last year, there were two particularly important documentaries that saw theatrical release. Errol Morris’ Standard Operating Procedure is arguably one of the most important documentaries ever made, simply because of the questions it raises about “truth,” “documentation,” and “responsibility.” This film is not only challenging for the filmmaker, but the viewer as well. It asks us to step outside of a more comfortable place and forgo the idea of film as entertainment entirely.
The other film that I am thinking of which treads in territory that is both treacherous and necessary comes from the controversial filmmaker, Tony Kaye. After conquering the world of advertising with his own genre defining style, Kaye found the spotlight in Hollywood with his heavily criticized film American History X. The story behind the film’s creation had perhaps become more contentious than the movie itself, leaving Kaye on the outside of a studio run system. He returned to commercials and music videos where his career had begun. All the while, Kaye was allocating his profits into a self-financed documentary project that would take well over a decade to complete. With Lake of Fire, Kaye charges head-on towards one of the most difficult topics of social consequence facing this nation, a woman’s right to choose. Throughout the film, Kaye manages to stay unbelievably unswayed and focuses his efforts on trying to understand what is shaping the argument on both sides. The film is exceptionally hard; there is no question about that. It is also exceptionally important. Kaye did an admirable thing and it’s up to us, the viewer to face it.
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! It’s cold out. I’ve got a feeling we are in for an endless winter in NYC. I wish that I were back in Costa Rica right this instant.
Over the years, I’ve heard many stories about how awesome my friend Howie’s grandfather is but never had the pleasure of meeting the man. He is 85 years old and just had surgery last year for clogged arteries. Oddly enough he is a better disco dancer than anyone I know.
This clip of Mr. Rogers learning about breakdancing is just too precious and the kid’s skills are off the hook.
15 Jan 2009 09:05 pm
I’ve been waking up in the early hours of the morning to make it to the gym before the rush. I had been very undisciplined with the frequency that I was using my membership, but I have to say that I am rather elated with how it has boosted my daily work productivity and inspiration. And the other big plus about being an early riser is that the gym tends to be more like a graveyard, thereby avoiding other people’s strange locker-room behavior like clipping toe nails on the bench or waxing their nipples in front of the mirror nude. It’s much more preferable when it looks like the snapshot below.
This is the most amazing extreme sport I have ever seen. These are humans literally flying like eagles at speeds of up to 100mph with nothing but a special suite. Just insane.
It’s the beginning of a new year and a new cycle of sorts. So I figure either yesterday or today are opportune moments to post a secret and start anew.
My barber Kosta is a charming man in his late seventies who originally comes from Greece. I generally stop by the shop once a week for a touchup, but mainly to see that he is okay and to shoot the breeze. Truth told, I often don’t understand everything that he is saying word for word through his thick accent; though I usually catch the jist. Last week, I mentioned that I heard that there was rioting and problems in his homeland. Suddenly I couldn’t grab a word other than “bullshit” repeated over and over. He clearly was angry. Here are some photos of the events currently taking place in Greece.
This story is too pathetic not to share. Some real charming couple from New Jersey named their kid Adolf Hitler, and are wondering why nobody wants to inscribe “Happy Birthday” on his cake.
Japan: Robot Nation is a short expose style short film that explores how the nation may go about dealing with a quickly dwindling population. When people are too exhausted from work to have sex and reproduce, who will run the factories or take care of the elderly? Japan is on track to have too much work and not enough people to do it. Allowing for greater immigration is one approach to solving the problem, but a rather unlikely answer when considering the historical view of outsider’s in a such an ethnically proud country. However, in a culture that is already fascinated with anthropomorphisising so many different kinds of non-human characters, daily interaction and dependence on robots may not be such a huge leap.
Saturday’s freezing weather got me fantasizing about having a fireplace in my apartment. Here is a list of ten unique fireplaces, though they’ve somehow left out my favorite, the Fireorb (pictured below).
For some random reason, I just remembered an odd observation I made a few weeks ago on a subway ride. I was sitting adjacent to two young women in their mid-twenties whose faces I can’t recall. I had taken notice of their fast-paced conversation that was taking place in sign language. As their hands frantically drew words back and forth, I could hear the mouthed echo of the two women conversing over the drowning sound from my headphones. The music from my ipod played like a soundtrack to the scene. I noticed that the women were so involved in whatever it was they were discussing, that a baby belonging to one of them went completely unattended in a stroller. I watched on as the doors to the subway which was parked in a station came to a close. And seemingly in slow-motion the train launched forward with a powerful jerk and the child’s stroller rolled backwards several feet down the aisle. Quicker than I could react, I had envisioned the stroller zipping to the far end of the car and coming to a crash. In one spontaneous swoop, the deaf mother spun around and nabbed her child with arms that appeared to extend several yards. Casually, she placed the stroller back into position locking the breaks on the wheels this time and returned to her conversation.
The winter chill is in the air today. It’s that time of the year when the front yards of my neighborhood are transformed into a carnival of tacky holiday decor. No house is complete without an inflatable something or other. But to prove that I am no Grinch or Scrooge, I’ve decided to share a few short film clips to express my holiday cheer.
Mary Jane older than Jesus was found in China.
A crowd of savage-like shoppers forced their way into a Long Island Walmart store stampeding an employee to death. The lunatic consumers were more intent on finding bargains than helping the trampled people around them. I’m finding it hard to understand how I share the same kind of DNA as monsters like that.
LOST LIFE BY STAB IN FALLING ON INK ERASER, EVADING SIX YOUNG WOMEN TRYING TO GIVE HIM BIRTHDAY KISSES IN OFFICE METROPOLITAN LIFE BUILDING
Further research revealed an article from the February 16, 1909 NY Times that details the bizarre account of how an attempted kiss cost young George Millitt his life.
Chuck Klosterman has reviewed the long awaited Guns N’ Roses album, Chinese Democracy. Klosterman likens the act of reviewing the album, which took over a decade to produce to reviewing a unicorn
In conjunction with Google, Life Magazine has posted an online archive of photos spanning from the 1750’s to present day. Most of these images were never published.
When I die, I want to be cremated and turned into a pencil???
I’ve come to realize that the web can be a very strange outlet for people. For example, take this page that allows you to watch a litter of Shiba Inu puppies grow up in real time.
Yes We Did 11-4-08
I’m kind of lost for words to describe this moment in American history. The joy that came last night when Barack Obama was announced the 44th President of the US was followed by a bit of disbelief as I got out of bed. After voting very early in the morning, I travelled to Chester, Pennsylvania to aid Obama’s ground operations in an effort to get out the vote. I had been to Chester a month earlier to sign up unregistered voters as the deadline drew near. Both of my experiences in this town were moving to say the least. It really isn’t until one engages with the people of a community quite so eonomically different from their own, that one can really even begin to understand what it’s like for them.
The city of Chester has great American history. It was first settled in 1645. The oldest public building still in use in this country is actually in Chester. Obama’s town headquarters is located directly opposite this building. It’s surreal to take a good look around and see what has happened. These structures have all the familiar feel of the colonial buildings that I grew up around in Philadelphia. The difference is that these buildings feel like they belong to the set of a post-apocalyptic sc-fi film in which people have been suddenly evacuated. The vibe is almost like an urban area 51. This was as picturesque as Chester got. Chester seems to be a place that utterly lacks opportunity. The average house hold lives well below what is considered the poverty level. Almost all of the factory doors that once provided jobs have long been closed. There are simply no opportunities. The town has been plagued with understandable drug and violence issues that come as a result of this kind of economic loss.
I went door to door in areas in which only two out of ten houses on a block might be inhabited. The vast majority of the population here is African American. I saw and I heard things that I have only read about or seen in passing. One person shouted out their window, telling me that they weren’t allowed to vote because they had been a recently released felon. My heart sank a little bit when I told him that he absolutely was allowed to vote, and that it was his right in the state of PA. Another person had asked me if they could vote, because they hadn’t participated in the primary. And yet another questioned whether or not they were allowed to vote for a Democrat because they were a registered Republican. This kind of disinformation is hard to understand. I saw children in diapers answering the front door when I knocked. I met children who looked at me with complete suspicion about my being in their neighborhood. I saw several graffiti murals dedicated to the young life of a fallen fellow gang member. I saw boarded up home after home after home. There were stray animals walking around looking for scraps.
And though I had been reminded by a few people that I certainly hadn’t put myself in the safest of positions, I had the power of one word on my side, “Obama.” The goal was to register voters and then get them to the polls. People who would otherwise have no reason to believe in government or even the democratic right to vote often smiled and thanked me for knocking on their door. They came out in record numbers and that is truly worth something. For the most part, I felt that my two days spent in Chester were color blind in how my fellow person interacted with me. I don’t know if tomorrow or the day after would be the same. Perhaps I would be less welcome. The entire experience makes me very aware that we do not have racial equality in this country. There will almost certainly be those who use this great victory to call the playing field equal, I do not believe it is.
Though we did make history. Now we know that we can do more than “hope”. We have reason to believe. Not just for the color of his skin but also for his honorable tireless campaign that has worked to unify us all, I am proud to call Barack Obama our next president. And furthermore, I believe last night was probably the most patriotic evening I’ll ever know; one in which I can proudly say I am glad to be an American. Yes we did.
My laudromat has lost their lease and now I have to start using the old spot again. The down side is that it is a longer walk and the lady who works there is a real grouch; I mean the type that kids are afraid to go near. On the other hand, her husband pictured below is one of those sweeter than sugar people that always has a smile plastered to his face. He once let me do a test shoot there at no charge. Time to go pick up some laundry. I wonder which one I’ll encounter today.
A night of booze and Halloween cheer has rendered me exhausted. I feel just like the guy in this photo I snapped a few years ago.
Parkour is a sort of sport that combines spirituality and the body in a physical challenge to overcome our made environments. Parkour originated in France about 20 years ago and has now grown in popularity in the US, especially among woman. I first had seen the sport on display in the following commercials and music video; I just didn’t know it had a name.
Nike “Angry Chicken”
Nike “Young Love”
Nike “The Scary Cat”
Linked off of the website for the US National Library of Medicine, I found a rather fascinating gallery of text and imagery dedicated to the study of the human anatomy.
If you care about this coming presidential election and own an iPhone, you may want to check out the new Obama iPhone application. It looks like a pretty brilliant way to keep afoot of the race and stay involved. Can you imagine something like this from the campaign of the old angry guy who doesn’t know how to turn on his PC? I guess that’s just me being a “cosmopolitan elitist.” Oh and by the way, if you don’t care about the election and have my phone number, lose it.
Bill Maher has teamed up on a film with the director of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The project, Religulous simply aims to ask people questions about god and religious faith. In promotion of the film that opens this week, Maher went onto the Daily Show with John Stewart and gave an outrageously awesome interview.
I just found out about the Chinatown Soccer Club. The league has been around since 2002 and is comprised of creative people whose passions off the pitch range from careers in design and writing to photography and skateboarding. The squad includes accomplished artist Ryan McGinness and skateboarder Mark Gonzalez. Apparently these guys take their game seriously, playing in the mornings before work and go late into the cold season. I so want in. Where do I sign up?
Comedian Sara Silverman wants to persuade the younger generation of Semitic voters to help Obama win Florida with the help of good old Jewish guilt.
I am very suspicious of the Federal Government’s Wall Street bail out plan. While I admittedly know very little about economics, I know a nasty pattern when I see one. The Bush Administration’s desire to rush towards such a plan seems irresponsible. Imagine that from them. I’d argue that its a classic case of “disaster capitalism.” What they are proposing seems to be so obviously flawed. Policies that ultimately allow the rich to get richer while everyone else is left holding the bag will be rushed through in a time of panic, no questions asked.
If I went to Vegas with a friend and he blew all of his money in the casinos and came to me asking to borrowing cash, I’d expect some sort of reasonable explanation as to how he lost his money before I’d consider giving him mine. So why should the American taxpayer fix these nasty gambling debts without an ounce of oversight or regulation? Certainly something is very wrong with this kind of economy; certainly something is very wrong with this kind of governing. Are we suppose to accept that ethics and trade don’t have to coexist? The one voice I generally trust when looking at issues through the lens of economics is that of Paul Krugman. In his op-ed yesterday, all of my suspicions were confirmed.
For more on disaster capitalism read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.
Sir Ben Kingsley as Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat. Just another reason he deserves that knighthood.
What flavor do you want from the anarchist ice cream truck?
With the advent of the video arcade, the popularity of pinball came to a crash. A friend of mine recently sent me a pretty interesting article that takes a look at the rise and fall of the game, as well the pinball wizards who refuse to let their passion become a faded memory.
Introducing the fully immersive virtual reality cocoon. Wow this really sounds like something you’d find in a video arcade circa 1990. What the article fails to mention is that the whole thing is run by a Commodore 64.
Apparently Cookie Monster has an apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan and is looking for a tenant.
John McCain should stay away from answering machines. This time he has left a not-so-nice message with the NY Times.
Students from Belgium really know how to party. However, they’re like Gremlins after dark. Just don’t give them diet-coke and mentos; thats when they turn from cute and cuddly into something more demonic.
Apparently, Christian Bale and Kermit the Frog have a lot in common.
McCain’s voicemail to Palin leaked to the press. Republican’s will always be a source for great comedy.
A short documentary on the the disappearing honeybees that illustrates the species’ grave importance to our ecology and food supply.
A few guidelines to make for great work:
Temper temper temper! Apparently, an Olympic taekwondo competitor from Cuba was unhappy with a call made by the judge. Shortly after kicking the official in the face, Angel Matos was banned for life from competing by the World Taekwondo Federation.
I came across this photo series of Kenadie Jourdin Bromley, a little girl born with a condition known as primordial dwarfism. Having never heard of the condition, the angelic looking little girl’s beauty reminded me of Ron Mueck’s sculptures in which he redefines human scale.
So there is an unspoken dark side to woman’s gymnastics. Perhaps the Olympic event should be renamed the “young girls and a few women’s gymnastics.”
My friend was telling me about how he was evacuated from his apartment this weekend after manhole covers began to shoot out of the ground on his block. Remarkably nobody was hurt as flames began to roar out from underneath the street. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Toronto on August 10th when an explosion at a propane facility wreaked damage that looked more like something out of a Michael Bay film. In this case, seeing is believing.
Ten people with absurdly bizarre medical conditions.
Scientists have unearthed a large grave site containing remains from two separate Stone Age civilizations dating back to the Sahara Desert’s green period. One particularly moving discovery was the grave of a mother embracing her two small children (see below).
For about two seconds, John McCain’s campaign ad “The One” created a stir. Aimed at the kind of fuck-nuts who actually believe in and look forward to “end times,” the ad uses their crazy evangelical secrete handshake codes and likens Obama to “The Dark One” himself (no pun intended). I find this quite disturbing on Mr. McCain’s behalf. Mind you, what’s more disturbing is the overwhelming number of people who believe these kinds of messages.
Tim LeHaye is a lunatic and the author of the unbelievably popular book series Left Behind, based on the end time prophecies. Terrifyingly over 63 million copies of this garbage have been sold. Not only does LeHaye bare a striking resemblance to many an interpretation of Lucifer himself (see below), but he also has some keen views on whether or not Barack Obama is in indeed the devil.
“I can see by the language he uses why people think he could be the antichrist,” adds LaHaye, “but from my reading of scripture, he doesn’t meet the criteria. There is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American.”
No shit Tim. He couldn’t possibly be the devil because you are.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working on a shoot with Golden Gloves Champion Rena Anakwe. Below is a teaser frame from the dailies.
Errol Morris is curious about how we take in imagery and examines the well documented Iranian missile test image that was doctored from earlier in the summer.
In sponsorship and celebration of the Beijing Olympics, Johnson & Johnson have created a pretty amazing giant marionette performance. My best friend Howie, whom now lives in Shanghai is one of the producers tapped to create the event. Not a bad gig.
Nine Inch Nails have amassed a huge arsenal of free content for their fans to check out in the last few years. The latest is a series of show rehearsals shot by by Trent Reznor’s creative collaborator Rob Sheridan. Seeing that Robin Finck is back in the band and these sessions are flawless, I’m feeling pretty bummed that the tour doesn’t have any NYC stops planned.
A few nights ago, I met a group of other directors at a little summer roof party. One of the directors, Joe Stevens was telling me about a short documentary that he recently finished. The film’s focus is on a group of teens in Queens who have taken to rigging big stereo equipment to their BMX bikes. Coincidentally, yesterday I came across a nice bit of press on the project. Made in Queens looks quite interesting.
07 Aug 2008 08:29 pm
Despite the popularity of boxing as a means to stay in shape, the number of proper boxing gyms in NYC has plummeted over the years. This weekend, I spent a day filming in the world renowned Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO. The environment is simply inspiring. Every angle of the gym provided a visual feast to the camera’s lens; the walls are wrapped with the faces of champions.
This boxing gym is a place of pure inspiration. Though everyone from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson have trained in Gleason’s, a novice can easily see themselves hitting the bag there even if only for a good workout. The sweaty smell of the air is the perfect accompaniment to the worn ropes on the ring and fading paint on the lockers. The gym is clearly a melting pot of race, gender and age. Boxers range from small children to men well into their fifties. And while I was there to shoot one particular female fighter whom had recently won the Golden Gloves Tournament, I was overwhelmed by the number of ladies training tough as nails. Like the boardwalk of Coney Island or the small shops of the Lower East Side, Gleason’s Gym is one of the very special old-world parts of New York that simply can’t be replicated.
Thank you for all of your help and generosity Bruce & Fire.
A 600 person capacity music venue combined with 16 lanes of bowling is coming to Williamsberg this Fall. The venue called Brooklyn Bowl will boast a menu created by Blue Ribbon, a very celebrated series of eateries in the city.
We’ve all heard stories of photographers going to great lengths to capture the perfect photo. But why do this…
At this week’s Critical Mass bike ride, a cyclist was brutally tackled by a rookie 22 year old police officer (seemingly unprovoked). This kind of behavior by a member of the NYPD is simply unacceptable and must be dealt with. The ridiculous targeting of participants with tickets, fines, and arrests at these events has clearly become an attempt by the NYPD to discourage riders.
29 Jul 2008 12:49 pm
Plans for the world’s first rotating skyscraper are under way with the goal of finishing the building in Dubai by 2010.
Back in my college years, I abandoned work on a screenplay that dealt with a peculiar love story that never could be. A socially awkward woman with a penchant for taxidermy was to meet her soul mate who unknowingly had the touch of death, literally. The more I watched the stop-animated films of Jan Svankmajer, the more this unreasonable tale seemed to make sense to me. I even knew who I would cast to play the parts if the film were to come to fruition. The lead would be played by the always bizarre Amanda Plummer; opposite her would be the chameleon Ted Levine.
Now that I have discovered the taxidermy art of Sarina Brewer, I think I just may feel invigorated enough to rekindle this old concept.
Here are 30 amazing satellite images of the earth. Below is an image of a 45,000 square mile desert in Iran known as Dasht-e Kavir.
Outside of urban neighborhoods in the US, people are expected to keep a groomed front lawn. Where did this come from and what’s wrong with it? Elizabeth Kolbert explains in Turf Wars from this weeks New Yorker.
Recently, a NASA-funded study, which used satellite data collected by the Department of Defense, determined that, including golf courses, lawns in the United States cover nearly fifty thousand square miles, an area roughly the size of New York State. The same study concluded that most of this New York State-size lawn was growing in places where turfgrass should never have been planted. In order to keep all the lawns in the country well irrigated, the author of the study calculated, it would take an astonishing two hundred gallons of water per person, per day. According to a separate estimate, by the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly a third of all residential water use in the United States currently goes toward landscaping.
You know the economy is in a bad way when people start stealing manhole covers for scrap metal cash.
23 Jul 2008 11:43 pm
When I came across Alex Sandwell Kliszynski’s human barbie doll photo series, I was instantly reminded of popular new trends in body augmentation. Procedures like “labia conturing” and “pelvic fitness” have become popular in a world in which people are increasingly concerned with a perfect appearance like dolls. This very notion of human perfection makes me think of Leni Riefenstahl and her fascination of people as statues.
Leni Riefenstahl was a controversial filmmaker and one-time Nazi propagandist. She had been commissioned to document the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. An ex-dancer, she was obsessed with the human body and particularly was intrigued with an idolized form. Throughout several of Olympia’s sequences, the most chiseled of humans are likened to Greek gods. Many critics have pointed out that these visual metaphor’s may also be a tribute to fascist ideal’s of a perfect Aryan race.
Until now, I hadn’t heard anything in the way of controversy surrounding Pixar’s latest release WALL-E. I find it ridiculous and sadly germane to the film’s subject matter that there will always be those folks on the bottom of the human evolutionary ladder who consistently look at the world through some sort of backwards-asshole-lens.
The Blur Building was designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro for the 2002 Swiss Expo. I’m not so sure that I really understand the project’s intent, but it sure looks cool.
Salvador Dali was once a guest on a TV game-show in which blindfolded contestants had to guess his identity. This clip is incredibly amusing and in a nutshell explains why I love Dali so much.
So here is a fun little science experiment. The Ruben’s Tube uses fire to make a visual representation of a sound wave.
14 Jul 2008 06:02 pm
In Spain, certain species of primates may be granted a greater set of rights from Parliament.
14 Jul 2008 02:14 pm
In China, anti-terrorism preparation drills have been taking place in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. Now we know who is buying the Segway scooters that were once rumored to be the future of American urban transportation.
Folks! Line up your tractors. We’ve got a record here to beat.
A young man named Matt Harding has created the most uplifting dance in the world. He shot a 4 minute film in which he is seen dancing his little jig in different locations around the globe. Matt dances everywhere from Madrid to Mumbai, from Timbuktu to New Guinea too. The project started out as a little personal fun idea that evolved into a sponsored journey. Truth told, this web film evokes a certain kind of charm that Hollywood could never produce. With the democratization of means and distribution of projects via the web, the most personal of ideas can be conveyed and this is the heart of the magic here. Though the film has currently been viewed on youtube over 5 million times, I didn’t think anybody should miss this. More on the this surreal undertaking from the NY Times.
Hitler’s commercial film production goes sour. They’ll need to fix it in post.
For quite some time now, I have had zero faith in mass media as a place from which to expect truth in journalism. While it is not a surprise that Fox News is a fraudulent source working under the guise of “real news”, the network’s complete lack of ethics never ceases to amaze me. Apparently, the network thinks that it is okay to combat disapproval of their practices by degrading the character of their critics through any means possible. That is just what happened when they aired altered photos of recent professional critics. No surprise here, just disgust.
American swimmer Dara Torres is about to qualify for her fifth Olympics at the age of 41.
Yesterday, I was on the edge of my seat for over 90 minutes awaiting the outcome to the UEFA Euro 08 Tournament. Spain defeated Germany 1-0. Here is the final and the celebration in photos.
In 1965, a shop keeper was rather surprised to find 10,000 of his books missing.
29 Jun 2008 10:59 am
I’m a bit behind I guess, but I never heard of 90 Day Jane and her blog in which she promised to kill herself in the said amount of time.
28 Jun 2008 03:30 pm
I’ve seen pretty much every episode of Law & Order. I was rather bummed to hear that Noth is out and Goldblum is in.
I had to make some updates to the back-end of the site. You may need to re-subscribe to the RSS feed and/or re-bookmark. Sorry for the inconvenience.
28 Jun 2008 01:11 pm
In memorandum of George Carlin, the following seems quite appropriate.
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating…and you finish off as an orgasm.” —George Carlin
Heinz created a socially relevant commercial with a surprise twist. That twist drew complaints from 200 viewers and led to the banning of the commercial. There is nothing like a little self censoring to appease a few bigots. I find it hard to understand how Heinz signs off on the creation and airing of this commercial, and then retracts because of a little heat. Either the corporation wants to be a socially progressive voice or they don’t.
This short motion graphic film works as a big analogy that breaks down the costs of the war in Iraq into digestible figures.
A baby hippopotamus has found a surrogate mother in a 100 year old male tortoise.
24 Jun 2008 09:29 am
Waking up to the news that George Carlin has passed away surely isn’t the start to the week I was looking for. RIP Mr. Carlin and we promise that we won’t forget to “be excellent to each other Rufus.”
When football star, Michael Vick, was arrested for running a dog fighting ring, there was finally a reason to talk about a very real problem in this country. Now that Vick has been locked away, the issue of dog fighting will continue to exist and draw very little attention from the media. This PSA stands as a reminder that it is never the dogs fault; some people are the real beasts.
Many of us will walk through life never really knowing “what we want to do with ourselves.” Others may discover late in life what their great passion is. For some folks dog grooming is where its at. But how does one become a dog groomer? If you live in New York, you go to the New York School of Dog Grooming. Documentary director, Amy Nicholson, made a very surreal short film called Beauty School about this very institution.
With the advent of high-definition technologies, filmmakers have feared the demise of celluloid. Now that studios are attempting to de-grain films for their DVD release, why bother shooting on a film based medium at all? Confusing the film restoration process with the unethical destruction of an intended aesthetic will just speed up the death of a medium and pervert history.
Television graphics have become visually offensive and abusively distracting to viewers. The industry has a slew of applied terms to identify each variation of these graphics. For example, those truly annoying logos that slap on the screen and bounce around during programs are appropriately called bugs. And then there is the lower third, which refers to the lower area of the screen in which text info has classically been placed. These days those lower thirds feel more like lower halves. They often have their own independent sound or picture in picture to take it to the next level of in your face. The new approach by the TBS Network is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. Perhaps the truth is that we all should spend a little less time in front of the TV.
Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons is now an amusement park ride.
Made famous by Jimi Hendrix, the Gibson Flying V has always been a stunning guitar designed to articulate serious attitude. The guitar was originally released in 1957. Sadly though modern guitar design has taken a turn for the worse with regards to both craftsmanship and aesthetic. In a rather lazy attempt to try something new, Gibson reversed the body of the legendary instrument and released a total Frankenstein.
Harrison Ford gets a chest waxing in the name of rain forest conservation.
Many people in Shanghai are wearing pyjamas in public and they aren’t trying to make a fashion statement.
My train ride home last night was miserable. Then I realized it could’ve been worse.
We’ve heard of the notorious rock star tour rider. It is the contract that demands warm fresh towels in every room. It delineates what type of alcohol must be present on the bus and in what quantity. And of course, there is the proclamation that all M&Ms must be sorted into separate bowls by color. Exactly how much bacon does it take to keep the Foo Fighters happy?
Nick Park’s company Aardman has brought us the likes of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and of course Creature Comforts. The animation shop has now teamed with Animal Planet to produce 11 wonderful shorts aimed at teaching us how to be more eco-friendly. The series is called Animals Save the Planet.
Blu is a graffiti artist with a rather unique approach. He has taken to animating his giant wall illustrations. His darkly comedic style in which characters spawn new forms recalls the work of animation guru Bill Plympton. Enjoy Blu’s short film Muto and be sure to click around his site.
I first saw Theo Jansen’s work featured in a BMW commercial. He is a Dutch artist who is obsessed with designing a new kind of nature. For twenty years now, he has been constructing skeletal beasts that are propelled by the wind. With each round there is an evolution to the design; Jansen plans to one day release these creatures/sculptures into the wild to fend for themselves.
Vintner Robert Mondavi passed away this week at the age of 94. Seen below on his 90th Birthday, Bob was looking pretty spectacular for his age. Tip your glasses everyone and lets pour a glass in his honor.
Juneau Alaska is a town going green fast; they have no other choice.
Barnaby Roper is a fashion photographer and music video director. Natasa Vojnovic is a model from Belgrade. They collaborated on this short experimental fashion film in which Natasa bares all. She discusses leaving belgrade and what it means to be here in America.
Might post-war suicides related to post-traumatic stress disorder exceed battlefield casualties?
The New Yorker just did a piece on Pascal Dangin, the world’s foremost image retoucher of fashion photography.
Here is a little foreshadowing of what to expect from Russia’s new president Dmitri A. Medvedev.
This absurd interview takes the piss out of how Charlie Rose does what he does. Rose interviews himself on technologies and the web in a what feels like a short Samuel Beckett play.
Famed director of films including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Science of Sleep, Michel Gondry has fallen in love with cardboard.
In 2004 British animator Simon Robson created What Barry Says, a rather critical short animation on America’s politics of war. The film stands as a reminder that the war in Iraq is still going on and was never a just cause.
Miranda July is a charming offbeat writer, filmmaker and artist. She truly has such a unique voice and way that she sees the world. Last year she released a collection of short stories called No One Belongs Here More Than You. Coinciding with the release of the book, July launched a pretty clever website in which she transforms her stove top into a dry erase board. The site is a great place to start. If you love it; buy the book.
Recently, I posted about Amnesty International’s TV ad depicting the process of waterboarding. The spot was actually the second of three commercials in the organization’s Unsubscribe Campaign. The first spot portrays interrogation techniques known as stress positions. During the filming of both ads, the actual tortuous process displayed was carried out to ensure authenticity.
Illustrator Patrick Moberg has created a series called Animal Pharm in which animals are anthropomorphized as hip hop greats.
An intimate photo-set of young American vagabonds (photographer unknown).
What assumptions do we think a total stranger might make about us? In this split-screen film we observe people as they observe other people.
Holy Bollywood!!! Busby Berkely would be proud. This is too precious.
Since I recently posted about satellite debris currently in orbit, it seems befitting that I would come across a more positive side of space exploration. It has been 18 years since the Hubble Telescope was launched, and to celebrate NASA has posted some brilliant images of merging galaxies.
A deal to purchase $23 billion worth of corn syrup. I sure hope this isn’t what Warren Buffett thinks a sustainable future looks like.
Radiohead was the first musical act to appear on the Late Night with Conan O’brien back in 1993. Last week, the band beamed in an exclusive performance of House of Cards rather than travel by plane and leave a nasty carbon footprint.
The European Space Operations Center has released simulation images that depict the amount of satellite and launch related debris currently in orbit.
29 Apr 2008 06:00 am
A design for safer pedestrian crosswalks in the future.
Abe Kogan performed as a human cannonball from 1946-1980. He still dreams of flying.
NY Magazine asked four architects to design a plan that would utilize an empty lot near Manhattan’s Canal Street. In a perfect world, we would see brilliant sustainable ideas like these come to fruition. Who wouldn’t want to live in an urban farm-apartment building?
Dede Kosawara, 37, has been referred to as the “Tree Man of Java.” Dede is covered in bark-like warts caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This common virus is generally easily cared for. However, in Dede’s case an immune system deficiency has rendered his body unable to fight off the infection. Due to his inability to use his hands, he could no longer make an income and his wife left him. With no other choice, Dede began to make a living as part of a freak show.
The brighter side to this story is that Western doctors have taken an interest in his case and have begun to surgically remove the growths. Already 4 lbs of growth have been removed from his hands. More importantly, his spirits are high.
(Please be aware that the above links lead to rather disturbing images.)
Stephen Colbert schools Larry King on Barack Obama’s hope bong.
Is it possible that in our busy complicated lives, a song can be too long? Are excessive guitar solos wasting our precious time?
Scientists discover a turtle in Vietnam thought to be extinct in the wild.
18 Apr 2008 07:24 am
Nicholas White went for the longest smoke break of his life in 1999. He ended up trapped in his office elevator for 41 hours. As things would have it, this traumatic event eventually left him jobless.
18 Apr 2008 07:17 am
17 Apr 2008 08:19 am
Sit down with your mugger. Buy them dinner and see what is on their mind; see what they want out of life.
The Miniature Earth Project is a website that illustrates statistical data about the world we live in on a small scale model. If our world were actually 100 people, these statics paint a portrait of how we could be defined as people.
Just how well do you know where your food comes from? Before your meal made its way to your plate, how did the ingredients start out? Everyday, it is highly likely that you are ingesting food that can be traced back to a very large and unfriendly corporation called Monsanto.
The company controls a large majority of the seeds that are used in this country for farming. Through the influence of money and intimidation techniques, this company has re-written our laws and claims patents on some of the most fundamental parts of our food chain. Like the use of seeds for planting. Monsanto historically has been a chemical company. In the 60’s they were makers of agent orange, a dangerous cancer causing pesticide. Gradually, the company shifted into the agriculture business consolidating competition under their roof. Now Monsanto is moving in on our dairy supply.
Who is paying the price? American farmers are absolutely suffering and being bullied about. These genetically modified unnatural seeds are ending up in the greater portion of what we eat. What are we to do? First, get to know Monsanto. And secondly, eat less packaged food and purchase more local food from local green markets.
In The Graduate (1967), there is a famous line in which Dustin Hoffman’s character is advised upon his college graduation, “I’ve got one word for you. Plastics… the future is in plastics.” And so it is true that plastic has changed our world, but not always for the better. There is a highly polluted section of the Pacific Ocean estimated to be about twice the size of Texas that has been referred to as “Garbage Island.”
This SNL show opening skit re-envisions General Petraeus’ hearings before the House Armed Services Committee earlier in the week. Perhaps this spoof will help undecided voters choose which candidate deserves their vote for the coming presidential election.
The largest outdoor flea market in New York City has just opened in Brooklyn.
Known for their witty iconic advertising, vodka manufacturer Absolut ruffled a few feathers with their latest print campaign running in Mexico. “In An Absolut World” highlighted in bold, the ad depicts the positioning of the US-Mexican border prior to the Mexican-American War of 1848. Why this should be offensive to Americans, I have no idea.
Apple believes that if another company or organization uses an illustration of the delicious sweet fruit, their trademark has been infringed upon. This one is a stretch.
German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta have created a collection of photos contrasting portraits of the dying with their image just after passing. The series entitled Life Before Death will be on display at London’s Wellcome Collection from April 9 - May 18.
If you don’t know of Michael Pollan, perhaps you have heard of his critically heralded book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. And perhaps this interview will persuade you to pick up the book. Pollan has a fantastic way of articulating the importance of understanding where our food comes from, and how our food affects our society socially, culturally, politically, and economically.
The New York Times has posted an interactive collection of Mad Magazine’s classic fold-ins dating back to the 60s.
05 Apr 2008 12:00 am
Young entrepreneur Mark Ecko has helped to define the look of a generation. Starting with t-shirts, his empire has grown to include: G-Unit, Avirex, ecko unltd., and Zoo York. Recently he has branched into the interactive and entertainment worlds with Mark Ecko Entertainment and Complex Magazine. Last year Ecko pranked the world with his viral advertisement depicting a person sneaking onto a runway and tagging Air Force 1. The story was picked up by just about every major news organization, and apparently the White House actually had to investigate and confirm that the event never happened. Ecko is back at it with a new prank for his Zoo York label.
Just another reason to like Barack Obama, he remembers the days of sweet 80’s smooth jams.
29 Mar 2008 03:34 pm
First the bees and now the bats. Overwhelming numbers of bats are exhibiting very peculiar behavior and are perishing at startling rates. Scientists have yet to solve the mystery of what is killing the animals. Several species are facing potential extinction. Could this be another sign that our planet is dying?
26 Mar 2008 08:09 am
Since today is Easter, it seems like an appropriate day to share this great collection of pop culture recreations of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.