Assholes dominate, scumbags explode, shitheads level off and douchebags steadily rise

Google release a tool called Ngram Viewer several months ago to evaluate trends of words much in the same way Google Trends displays keyword searching trends. This tool could be used to evaluate changes in the public lexicon, political views, or the ebb and flow of the public zeitgeist. Let’s use it to track something more juvenile:  Specifically  the words asshole, dickhead, shithead, and douchebag. Click below to expand. Assholes, Dickheads, Shitheads, Douchebags Wow, assholes reign supreme. By far there are more assholes than dickheads, shitheads, and douchebags combined.   Dickheads, Shitheads, Douchebags Removing the vast swathes of assholes, we see there are more dickheads now than ever before. Scumbags have soared exponentially above the rest with a boom starting in the 1970’s. Douchebags relatively multiplied in the 1990’s with several bumps in the 1910’s and late 1930’s because of medicinal douchebags rather than the popped collar kind. The number of shitheads leveled off in […]

I Speak Tonight of Mighty Taco

While normally this ain’t that kind of blog and Mr. Veer with certainly give me shit about turning this into some sort of Hey I Ate a Thing and Here’s a Photo blog like he swears every girl in Brooklyn is obligated to have… we gotta talk about Mighty Taco. While it is, yes, a fast food chain, it is also something of a regional oddity, maybe even a mass hallucination. So just fit in in with the kappa, the green flash and every rural Floridian’s tale of their Skunk Ape encounter and listen to me. Mighty Taco serves the sort of food that would result if someone had been told of a food called ‘taco’ without knowing what ‘Mexico’ was. Picture this information passing from some half-stoned stranger who had seen a bit of the world who was  giving a ride to a young man in the middle of […]

90s Media Archaeology: Encino Man

Imagine everything else we know about the period between the LA Riots and Woodstock 99 was deleted in some tragic system backup meltdown. All that is left is a VHS copy of Encino Man that some forward-thinking patriot had in his rumpus room protected in a lead-lined suitcase. Is there any better artifact for recreating the hokey shallow goofiness that is the 90s popular culture aesthetic? Even this, a three and a half minute “behind the scenes” vignette–a quick cut mash of scenes from the movie, 20 seconds worth of cast and crew soundbites and at best, 30 seconds of actual behind the scenes material–is a great example of the sort of pointless bonus of media trash that was pioneered in this era. They usually stuck these on the end of the tape, right after you saw the actual movie. Now it’d be hidden in a Extras submenu on the […]

Hitting That Tablet Sweet Spot: The Atavist

The idea is a such a simple one that it’s no wonder that everyone who has tried it before has made a hash of it: create a ideal format for mid-length storytelling that recalls the better long form magazine journalism while making use of the possibilities of the multimedia age. Much like it took over a decade for people who actually TALK on their cellphones in public to be treated like the social lepers that they are, with the tablet and mid-length writing (more than an article, less than a book) the technology has preceded its appropriate patterns of usage. Enter The Atavist. 15,000 words, give or take. $2 a pop. The writer gets paid a flat fee plus a percentage (likely less than Apple’s 30% cut… ouch!) Stories launch simultaneously for the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, and soon, Android tablets (“We are working very hard on it, we promise…” […]

LIVE! NUDE! RED DWARF!

In another sign of the total destruction of the nerd closet, the word’s out that there’s a new series of Red Dwarf in the pipeline for 2012.  I have nearly fond memories of how my local PBS affiliate would end the night’s programming with an episode or two, long after the totebag-buyers had gone to bed.  I was typically stumbling in from some kind of chemical simulation of putting one’s brain in a rock tumbler (extreme Northeast winter temperatures + the finest high gravity malt liquors + early Rammstein) and trying to piece together what was happening with the cat-man in the smoking jacket and the chubby dreaded British guy from the last five minutes of the show as a good way of bringing my brainwaves back to safe levels of bafflement. While I always assumed it was a laugh track, apparently these were shot before a live studio audience. […]

9 Eyes: Google As Pathos Reservoir

I usually try to avoid straight up reblogging off of Dangerous Minds, seeing as how our tastes align so much that I’d be doing it daily.  But today they sent me off towards 9eyes, a tumblog that collects Google Streetview shots, in all their weirdness, pain and moments of sublime pathos. Beyond how common it is to spy hooligans flipping the bird, streetwalkers streetwalking and people of all ages hitting the pavement, there’s something great about the selections that suggest a grander story.  Stolen moments that would otherwise dissolve into the ether, now immortalized, hinting at a greater depth.  Someone should do an illustrated edition of short stories with one Streetview shot per. Give yourself 10 minutes and browse through it all over at 9eyes.

Free Land: Land Rush Continues, Minus the Rush

Sick of paying rent?  Of course you are.  Every time I write that stupid monthly check I take a moment to reflect on how it seems that every square inch of this earth is owned and occupied by someone or something that had the luck to show up years before I ever got around to trying to live somewhere.  Rare is the place where you can lay down without paying a toll, and… OK, I’ll skip the hobo monologue and get to the juicy bit: FREE FRIGGIN’ LAND!  You heard me.  There are still places in the US that have land for the asking.  Vurbly did a nice little roundup of six places in the U.S.–in Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, and Maine–that are offering free land to people and companies interested in relocating to their town.  While in the back of my mind, I’m thinking that these must be economically […]

Andy Weir’s Short Story “The Egg”

Briliant short story by Andy Weir: “The Egg“. Highly worth checking out. I’ve always been opposed to the Cartesian fueled afterlife that dominates Western society. The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once asked a peasant if he believed it was possible there is a God– but no afterlife. The peasant responded “Then wherefore God?” It’s comforting feeling I suppose that there is somewhere else to go when the engines power down, but a dangerous one. A comforting feeling that brings out the most vile aspects of humanity in fear, war, violence, and domination. So when a story about the afterlife doesn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth, it has to be good. I’m damn impressed. “The Egg” by Andy Weir is just that. I would say its better than any of the short stories in the recent cult-classic Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlife by David Eagleman. Also worth […]

Arcade Fire Frontman’s Grandfather Helped Invent the Electric Guitar

What’s the diminutive of ‘mind-blowing’?  How does one indicate a spot on the continuum of emotions between ‘oh, that’s interesting’ and ‘holy sweet goddamn!’? Among my many areas of interest is that of instrument inventors.  I dabble myself, mostly in making electrical contacts that warp the frequency of a triggered sample, but still, there’s an aspirational admiration for those who have pushed through with their tinkering and made a mode of music that became a standard, that provided the very vocal cord of a whole means of expression.  And of that pantheon, there’s a special place for the tweakers of that universal weapon of the Western music canon, the electric guitar.  Credit due to Les Paul, with his electric log, and credit to George Beauchamp, for guiding this innovation.  Credit to the swamp-pop stylings of Willie Joe Duncan and his unitar. So I found it notable to discover that the […]