America is Not Broke: Michael Moore vs the Forbes 400

Michael Moore hits on some salient points regarding whether or not we should screw the working class to eke out some money to fill budget gaps. In short, he’s against it. Watch the whole thing, though. It’s better than whatever else you could spend a half hour watching on E! or whatever. Moore was also kind enough to post the text of his speech on his site, if you’re in a hurry. What resonated with me was the statistic Moore cites about 400 Americans having more wealth than 50% of the rest of the country. Just so you don’t have to do that math, that’s .000001% versus 50%. If you’re into analogies, that’s one guy getting half the pizza, and 50,000,000 people splitting the rest. And it’s not like this is secret knowledge. These 400 people aren’t hiding underground in caverns filled with jewels and gold coins, drinking platinum smoothies. […]

Alternative 3: Lost SciFi Fake Documentary Gem

In 1977 the Anglica Network canceled a weekly science program utilitarianly called Science Report. The series presented topical science coverage in a familiar format to those who have seen educational programs of the 1970’s (or parody Look Around You). Knowing the last episode would debut April 1, the production crew went out with a bang rather than a whimper. Using the same format and host, the program presented a fantastic tale of conspiracies, shadow governments, kidnapped scientists, secret space colonies, and eminent ecological apocalypse. If that sounds familiar, its because Roland Emmerich and others have ripped this off numerous times however Science Report does this masterfully. It even has a soundtrack by Brian Eno! If you enjoyed this you may like Get Your Secret Space Colony Fix in SciFi Video Form.

Lithuania: Now Smaller

DID YOU KNOW…? Lithuania used to be a lot bigger. And more important. As in, other countries used to ask to be ruled by Lithuania. True story. In review: Small and obscure now, previously was a great big deal, calling all the shots for a few centuries. There was also something with the Grateful Dead and their Olympic basketball team. And they built the basketball equivalent of Stonehenge. That’s all I’ve got. Except this.

Do You Need a Tote Bag? I’d Like to Meet You

I know there is someone out there, somewhere, who needs another tote bag. Raise your hand, I know you’re out there. The universe doesn’t make any sense without you in it, Mr. Unknown Quotient, because they are seriously making a goddamn metric hump-ton of tote bags these days and I have no freakin’ idea who needs another one. Seriously. I like artists and crafty people. I live in Brooklyn. I get all lathered up when I hear someone I’m talking to screen prints things.  That is awesome! Way to create, friend! But if you ask me to buy one of your screenprinted creations on a tote bag I’m going to say no because I’ve got 462 of the things stacked up like extremely ineffective cord wood in my closet and hanging from hooks in my hall where I should have jackets. The furthest I can stretch my concept of multiple […]

Yes, You Can Just Throw Money at the National Debt

While there’s not an app for that (not yet), there’s a convenient website where you can go and give extra money to the government to pay down the national debt. Yes, people use it. And you have options! The Bureau of the Public Debt may accept gifts donated to the United States Government to reduce debt held by the public. Acting for the Secretary of the Treasury, Public Debt may accept a gift of: Money, made only on the condition that it be used to reduce debt held by the public. An outstanding government obligation, made only on the condition that the obligation be retired and the redemption proceeds used to reduce debt held by the public. Other intangible personal property made only on the condition that the property is sold and the proceeds from the sale used to reduce the public debt. And people actually use it! Last year […]

1981 Post-Punk Boxed Set For Free Download

We all know it and we all complain about it: the internet tends to privilege the up-to-the-second cult of newness in it’s music delivery methods. Blogs killed albums, everything’s a badly ripped leak, and kids these days are all listening to MP3s compressed to shit. Grumble grumble grumble, get off my lawn, etc. But it’s not all gone to hell. The same gifts of compression, free storage, and sharing have enabled the quiet obsessives, the crate diggers, the mix makers. Case in point: Musicophilia’s 1981 Boxed Set. 10 discs and over 400 bands from that year, documenting the energy and variety of what is very loosely termed ‘post-punk’. Why 1981? 1981 probably wasn’t the peak year for any sort of “pure” cultural or musical strain of what defined “post-punk” as an ethos or as a sound (I’d give that title to 1979).  But I chose to focus on 1981 in […]

The Road Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of the Leatherman

The Leatherman was a 19th century itinerant who walked a circuit through New York and Connecticut at a precise pace and timing, appearing in the same towns (and at the same porches for supper) on his route every 34 days, year round. Named for his apparently self-made suit of patched leather clothes, the Leatherman was a mysterious figure who rarely spoke and resisted close contact or medical treatment throughout his life of wandering.  The caves where he once bedded down have since become popular for geocaching and a book–The Old Leatherman by Dan DeLuca–written about the various accounts of his travels have made the Leatherman something of a local legend. His grave, though, is a public hazard: The cemetery, owned by the Ossining Historical Society, is within 16 feet of a highway, Route 9. That proximity is already a safety issue, Historical Society President Norm MacDonald said, and potential expansion […]

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. […]

Our Oceans, Ourselves

While I’m sure Africa is a little tired of being everyone else’s metaphor for the Grim Meathook Future, it’s a big place so there’s plenty of little vignettes like this to go around.  Just multiply by a few million or so, transpose to the oceans, and you’ve got your future where your grandchildren ask you what a tuna looked like and all you can think of is a little flat can. For all my brethren bailing water on the Titanic, here’s some lists of scaly beasts that it’s more OK to make into sushi: Seafood Watch. video via Pie Heaven and the BBC