MonthSeptember 2002

The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

Interestingly, Weird Al’s “Biggest Ball of Twine” song isn’t exactly fiction: the biggest ball of twine in the world rests in Minnesota. It was created by Francis A. Johnson, and is actually the largest twine ball rolled by one man (there are larger balls of twine that have been made by groups of people).

Roadside America: World’s Largest Twine Ball

A Chronology of Communication from Electricity to Electronics

From the telegraph to NBC’s regular television broadcasts. Also links to: Chronology of Communication after electronics to 1998, Chronology of communication before electricity, and a Convoluted History of Early Telecommunications.

Everything2: A Chronology of Communication from Electricity to Electronics

Still Gonzo After All These Years

In an interview with MarketWatch, Hunter S. Thompson advises Bush to quit. Short interview, with a bit of back story. It says his new book will be published in December and will be called Kingdom of Fear (I can’t remember if the month and title had been announced before).

MarketWatch: Hunter Thompson is still all-Gonzo

(via The Drudge Report)

Japanese Company Introduces Vibrating Condoms

Leading prophylactic company Sagami Industries Co. has released a series of condoms vibrating condoms. According to their PR rep: “Various substances emit vibrating waves. These create an extremely weak energy, which we think is how ki manifests itself. As each of these substances has its own fixed pattern of throbbing, we have learned that throwing them all together creates a variety of influences. These substances quivering together have given the vibrating condom some amazing features. We’ve had some customers tell us how it has given them greater staying power or permitted greater sensation.”

Link

(via Die Puny Humans)

Update: The link above is dead, but here’s a Gizmodo post that I think is about the same product.

vibrating condom

Man and Machine, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Paul Murnaghan runs a gallery of installation art dealing with the emotional intelligence of machines and the relationship between humans and machines:

In one piece, Electric Head by Jeremy Deadman, an old electric razor hangs by its lead from a socket, abandoned in a corner at the end of a long corridor. Its wires are stripped and the razor buzzes weakly every 30 seconds or so.

Soon, however, it becomes clear that the sounds are coming from a person, not the appliance.

“At the end of the sound loop, the sound degenerates suddenly to be exposed as a human — myself — blowing a raspberry,” said Deadman. “The plug socket is fake and the human sound was edited into short bursts to sound more electrical. Hopefully this creates an amusing encounter from one which appeared initially precarious.”

Wired: Man, Machine: Can’t We Get Along?

Bridging Cultural Gaps with Music

Despite restrictions, Daniel Barenboim, a Jewish pianist and conductor, gave a concert for peace at the Palestinian Bir Zeit University near Ramallah.

New York Times: ‘Moonlight’ and Mendelssohn in the West Bank

(via American Samizdat)

From Barenboim’s website:

Only twenty-four hours. To change the world you must stick to this timetable. In my dream, I am Prime Minister of Israel. My baton conducts a magnificent new symphony- a Treaty celebrating the harmonious co-existence of Israel and Palestine. In this work I will accomplish what has been impossible until now – the equal rights of these two peoples in the Middle East. The theme of the overture has Jerusalem as the common capital city. This Holy Town should immediately become a shared home for Christians, Muslims and Jews. For me, Jerusalem is a city that still resonates with a history from beyond the ancient civilizations of Rome and Athens.

Obligatory Sept. 11 Link

Disinfo is running a piece compiling evidence from mainstream news sources indicating that the govenment knew in advance “…that a devastating attack was in the works, that it would involve hijacked airplanes, and that it would occur inside the United States.”

1. Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft in July 2001.
2. The FAA refused to let author Salman Rushdie fly in North America starting the week before 9/11.
3. Four days before the attacks, Florida Governor Jeb Bush activated the National Guard, citing “acts of terrorism.”
4. On September 10, 2001, high-ranking Pentagon officials cancelled travel plans for the morning of September 11.
5. On September 10, 2001, San Francisco’s mayor was warned against flying to New York the next morning.
6. CIA Director George Tenet warned Congressmen of “an imminent attack on the United States of this nature.”

Disinfo: mainstream media on 9/11 foreknowledge: the government knew airplane attacks were going to occur in the us

To me this stuff only indicates that multiple agencies knew something involving commercial planes was going to happen sometime. And let’s not forget this one: one U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings.

Top 10 Counterculture Colleges in America

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which I happen to go to, was selected by High Times as the number one counterculture school in the America. Whoo hoo! The story’s spotty, but it paints a pretty good picture of what life is like here. My biggest complaint is that the reporters were only here during spring, when it rains less and people are less miserable. The local paper did an equally spotty job of reporting on the story. Seems people around here are concerned that the publicity will hurt Evergreen, and the school works hard to deny that marijuana is any more prevalent here than at any other school. They also complain that the story wasn’t based on scientific data. Like what? Counterculture actions per capita? The problem is that the school has been trying hard to “mainstream” Evergreen by emphasizing sports and de-emphasizing culture. The administration seems to want the school to become just another state college. Hopefully this article will attract some bright free-thinkers to the school and keep the counterculture spirit alive.

Demian5 Stripped: An Interview with When I Am King Creator Demian5

When I Am King, the online comic by Swiss artist Demian5, follows a sexually deviant camel and the recently de-pantsed king of Egypt on a quest to find love and trousers. The story is told entirely through pictures and symbols — without a word of text. It’s a wild ride through a desert that includes weird sex, hallucinogenic drugs and dangerous bees.

“About ninety-five percent of [When I am King] I made up as I went along,” Demian5 says. “Some scenes, like the one where the ‘camel’ smokes the cigarette, were in my head before I even started drawing WIAK.”

WIAK reads like a textbook example from Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics. The whole comic was created and published electronically — Demian didn’t take any notes or do any sketches on paper. He used mostly Adobe programs Photoshop, Illustrator and ImageReady to draw the comic and create animation. He freed himself of the restrictions imposed by printed page dimensions and used the web’s “infinite canvas” to convey a sense of space. The reader mostly scrolls left to right, following the characters activity along the landscape, but in a few scenes the reader scrolls down, following falling characters. Animation is used to highlight emotions and convey a sense of motion rather than as a storytelling tool. In fact, WIAK deals more with emotions and experimentation than plot. The story in WIAK is only background — what’s really important is what the characters are feeling and how it’s expressed to the audience.

Demian’s new project, Square Stories, is published weekly in the print version of Zurich Express and will also be published online in America. Demian says he finds Square Stories confining “mostly because of its small, weekly-one-gag form. I’m still trying to find the perfect way to do them. Contrary to WIAK it will also contain words sooner or later, and as it is published in a very widespread official newspaper it is aimed at a larger, more average audience. It is also forbidden for me to offend real people and to offend religious feelings.” He adds, “I wonder if I will ever have trouble with that.”

Although the strips look much like Demian’s other work, hiring Demian to work for a mainstream newspaper is like hiring David Lynch to take over Peanuts. WIAK features a camel performing sexual favors for humans. But Demian, a self-described “poorly disciplined vegetarian” defends his work saying “I don’t want anyone to do anything with animals, just be friends with them. There is also a symbolic aspect to the sodomy parts of WIAK. It is not sodomy because the creatures in WIAK are neither really human nor are they real animals — they all have about the same amount of intelligence, and they don’t really exist. They’re just symbols. Glyphs.” (“I wasn’t planning to do so much symbolism when I started WIAK,” he admits.) He adds, “It’s not about animal rights, though I think we should care about them.”

When Demian5 began serializing the comic on his site in 2000 it was an immediate hit, even without much advertising. “I submitted my link to some search engines and I contacted a few other comic creators like Scott McCloud to find out what they think about my work,” he says. By the time the series reached its conclusion Demian was being mentioned alongside comics legends like Jim Woodring and Chris Ware, and has since been favorably reviewed in Wired and Spin. According to Demian’s “complicated system of counters” nearly 50,000 people have read his comic so far.

Despite the popularity and critical success of his comic, Demian is still not able to live off it. PayPal donations and merchandise sales help him out, but they’re not paying his rent yet. Demian admits he would be content working a day job and continuing to post his comics online if he had a job he enjoyed. “Somehow I like the spirit of free online comics, because money is always a threat for artistic freedom and for diversity. But then, I want to earn a living with something I like to do. Like everyone. So I wouldn’t say no to a virtual dollar. Or to a virtual euro.”

In the meantime Demian continues to freelance in the advertising business and receives part of his income from Square Stories. He describes himself as a normal and boring person who spends his time thinking deep thoughts. Amongst other things he has been enjoying the online comics Pay Your Reality Tax and Nichtlustig. Demian’s influences for his surreal comics range from artists Woodring and Ware to the Great Gianna Sisters and Wipe Out 2097 videogames to the music of Radiohead (WIAK is named after a line in the Radiohead song “Paranoid Android”) to anime to his training as a graphic designer.

Demian is currently working on a new online comic, as time permits, which contains “no dialogue, nice creatures, big emotions.” He says “The style will be a bit more organic and the perspective a bit deeper than in WIAK, but it will be less colorful than Square Stories. It will also contain another form of storytelling, still without words, but… You’ll see.”

(Originally published at Shift Online September, 2002)

MSNBC runs story on Skull and Bones

CNN may have chickened out on their expose, but the Today show is running an interview with Alexandra Robbins on her new book about the Skull and Bones, and MSNBC is running an excerpt from it.

While in Germany, Russell befriended the leader of an insidious German secret society that hailed the death’s head as its logo. Russell soon became caught up in this group, itself a sinister outgrowth of the notorious eighteenth-century society the Illuminati. When Russell returned to the United States, he found an atmosphere so Anti-Masonic that even his beloved Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society, had been unceremoniously stripped of its secrecy. Incensed, Russell rounded up a group of the most promising students in his class-including Alphonso Taft, the future secretary of war, attorney general, minister to Austria, ambassador to Russia, and father of future president William Howard Taft-and out of vengeance constructed the most powerful secret society the United States has ever known.

MSNBC: The Legend Of Skull and Bones Update: MSNBC has taken this down but you can find the excerpt here.

(via The Revolution mailing list).

© 2017 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑