"I want so much for that newborn baby crying alone in a plastic bin. I want to pick her up and make her feel welcome and wanted. I want to soothe her and gently rub her little head of ginger hair and tell her everything’s okay. I want to tell her stories about the life she is about to live. I want to warn her. I want to share what I know now with her. I want to tell her never to be ashamed of who she is, to be loud and proud of her red hair, to know that she will someday love the beautiful color she’s been blessed with." Journalist and essayist Shelby Vittek reflects on the bittersweet experience of watching herself be born — and her now-divorced mom and dad become parents — again and again.
Every evening around 6 p.m., before retiring for the night, Mrs. Ito closed the paper screen in the window. Then in the morning, after her alarm woke her at 5:40 a.m., she slid the screen back open. “If it’s closed,” Mrs. Ito told her neighbor, “it means I’ve died.”
In 1956, tired of being hassled by his Irish friends about why the Finns in town didn't have a patron saint to celebrate, Richard Mattson invented one on the spot: St. Urho, whose legend evolved to claim he drove the grasshoppers out of Finland and saved the wine crop, and whose saint's day was celebrated by drinking on March 16 -- right before St. Patrick's Day. His legend has grown and spread across Finnish-American and Finnish-Canadian communities in the upper midwest. [more inside]
Recent controversies in New Zealand have brought the threatened state of the Māori language back into the spotlight - New Zealand broadcasters refuse to stop using Māori words (Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian) [more inside]
Antigonick, a "comic book" of Sophocles' tragedy, is one of dramatises its own eccentricity, evoking a portrait of the author in a state of distraction; the words of the translation are printed in handwriting (Carson's own), almost entirely without punctuation, in tiny capital letters that are both neat and a little frantic. The illustrations (by the artist Bianca Stone) are a surreal assortment of icy landscapes, domestic interiors, gothic houses, unravelling spools of thread, precarious staircases and drowning horses, which are printed on transparent vellum that overlay the text, and which relate only occasionally to what is happening in the play.Anne Carson's take on Antigone is impressively powerful [more inside]
"In an era of tight budgets, why don’t we just drag deer off to the side of the road—far enough away so that scavengers don’t become roadkill themselves—and then let the scavengers and decomposers provide their clean-up services for free? Why do we dedicate so much time, money, and sheer physical exertion to transforming carrion into trash?" Jonathan L. Clark, for Discard Studies: Consider the Vulture: An Ethical Approach to Roadkill. (Includes photos of roadkill). [more inside]
Neil Young Archives (registration, but no credit card/payment method, required) is a high-quality archive of Neil's entire back catalog, accessible for free until June 30 (via OpenCulture) [more inside]
Crusader Kings 2 player records 700-year NPC game to find who gets “most kills” and “most children”. [Rock Paper Shotgun] “Royal incompetence simulator Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best games ever. Over hundreds of years, sultans and kings create new empires and murder their families. Today a data science man gets in touch to say he recorded a 700-year game in ‘observation’ mode, pulled out all the data like a big reel of cassette tape, shoved it through some kind of magical process I won’t pretend to understand, and came up with statistics on several rulers. This also resulted in detailed “networks” of kills and marriages. The important thing is: this lets us see who had the most babies. James Nagle is a data scientist. He’s previously mapped relationships between figureheads of the Easter Rising in Ireland using documents from the National Archive. This time, he dived into CK II, writing a script to pull out all personal data about the thousands of in-game characters – births, deaths, marital status, etc. Basically it was like doing a giant census for 691 years in a row. He’s since done a write-up of his project and produced various visualisations of the data.”
It's that time of year of top-10 lists, and if you're behind on reading, you might want to catch up with this list by Darran Anderson writing for literary website 3:AM Magazine, which includes such titles as Reclaimed Territory: A post-Brexit Britain Household Companion, The Situationist Guide to Parenting, and The Russian Bot’s Wife, and other books you will never have to worry about not having time to read because they don't actually exist.
Hot Ones is a Youtube series where people eat sequentially hotter wings while doing interviews. See Neil deGrasse Tyson get his comeuppance. Watch Terry Crews cry. There is something for everyone (all previous links are to Youtube). (Wikipedia about show for those who don't want to/can't watch videos)
Thomas the Tank Engine Train Stunts. The first couple stunts are a little ho-hum, but then it...*sunglasses*...goes off the rails.
The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper. “The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,” Chief Executive Todd Vasos said in an interview. [Alternate link] [more inside]
In the 20th century, Japanese anthropologists and officials tried to hide the existence of the Indigenous Ainu. Then the Ainu fought back like their cousins, the bears.
The Pontiac Silverdome, once home to the Detroit Lions - and Wrestlemania III (previously) - has been in a state of decay ever since its closure. On Sunday, an attempt to demolish it with explosives failed, prompting a range of hot takes and Detroit Lions-related jokes. The Pontiac Silverdome previously: 1, 2. [more inside]
How bitcoins became worth
Bitcoin Is a Delusion That Could Conquer the World
You Don’t Understand Bitcoin Because You Think Money Is Real [more inside]
Bitcoin Is a Delusion That Could Conquer the World
You Don’t Understand Bitcoin Because You Think Money Is Real [more inside]
Top 25 Films of 2017: a perfectly edited video montage of David Ehrlich's annual favorites (SLVimeo). Via kottke.
Since 1999, Missing Fabrics has offered a free*, crowd-sourced service for locating hard-to-find fabrics for quilters, upholsterers, and other crafters who need just a little more fabric in order to complete a project. It is also a glorious example of early web design and community. [more inside]
In Parc Pie-XII in Montreal there is a natural cavern, the Cavernicole Cave or St.-Léonard Cavern. It was discovered early in the nineteenth century and its most famous moment was as a hiding place for weapons and patriotes during the 1837 Rebellion in Lower Canada. After being largely forgotten for many years, the cave was turned into a historical tourist attraction. some forty years ago. Earlier this year, two cavers from la Société québécoise de spéléologie, Daniel Caron and Luc Le Blanc, sent a small camera through a hole in a limestone wall in the cavern to verify suspicions that there was another section and discovered a far larger cavern hidden below the streets of Montreal. [more inside]
A 10-year-old 60 Minutes story on Finnish tango (terrible sound quality). Fascinating. I remember seeing this and, as a dancer myself, was riveted by the national character versus the dance and its origin. Morley Safer (I think) talks with local Finnish celebrities about insight to local mores. Here is a list of 67 videos of Finnish tango, some classical, some instrumental, all interesting. popular Finn tangos. The first video seems to be about Argentine musicians going to Finland to play tango. And just for fun, I found this video by Frank Zappa: Satumaa performed live in Helsinki 1974.
Glitch Forever Wiki [via mefi projects] I have, with some help, revived the Glitch Strategy Wiki for the long-gone and much-mourned MMO, Glitch. The wiki was rebuilt from an older archive augmented with a lot of copy-pasting from Wayback pages. It will serve as a resource for gamers in Eleven alpha and hopefully Children of Ur revival projects, along with various other spinoff creations, or for those who just want to revel in nostalgia.
When it comes to babies, dogs are quite protective [lots of barking]. Cats (with notable exceptions) are more about the snuggles [h/t Miss Cellania].
Xmas Express was a series of commercials for Japan Rail that ran from 1988-1992, with a reboot in 2000. They featured the Japanese Christmas song "Christmas Eve," recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita in 1983, and a different up-and-coming actress each year. In each, the main character is shown meeting her boyfriend at a train station - because if you didn't know, Christmas is a romantic holiday in Japan, where the traditions include going out to a romantic dinner, seeing the lights, and sharing KFC and a Christmas cake. (Other holidays are outside the scope of this post, but if that piques your interest, you might also want to read about .) [more inside]
The Investigation Into Toad's Head Continues [Kotaku] “In case you didn't know Toad is at the center of a heated, ongoing debate. On one side are the people who think the mushroom on his head sits there like a hat. On the other side are people who think the mushroom is part of his head. Thanks to the latest Boundary Break video [YouTube], we have some new evidence to consider. While the debate has been raging for aeons, it was recently brought back to the fore thanks to Super Mario Odyssey. There are a bunch of toads in the game and some of them are wearing hats. Like, real ones. On top of their mushroom part. This seemed to suggest the pro-head people have been right all along. A post over at Dorkly [Dorkly] that laid out the debate in detail earlier this month also explained that Toad's mushroom can't be a hat because Cappy, Mario's companion in the game, can only possess creatures who aren't already wearing hats. Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat.”
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! It has been another dry and brutal year in the Salinas Valley. In case you do not have our previous holiday letters on hand, I will remind you that the Salinas Valley is a lush depression winding through the mountains west of the San Joaquin Valley. There is enough sunlight and enough rain in the Salinas that just about any crop a man plants should grow and flourish. A man could live off the land, if he put his mind to it. He could sell enough beans or corn or, hell, oranges even, that he could keep his belly tight and his flask full, and he could put a roof over his head, and once in a while, if he got the urge to, he could even go into town and lie with a woman. Of course I (John) am only joking about that last part!!
I recoiled in silence, knowing no amount of explanation would break her stereotypes of autism.
For too many, though, that crucial diagnosis may never come. People who struggle with executive abilities tend to get ignored. The spectrum is labeled through the ability to communicate and socialize; adapting to daily life is not often factored into the diagnostic process. Difficulty with executive function is treated as a byproduct of autism, not a defining feature.[more inside]
Last year, Tate Lovett and his dad built a 4 foot high gingerbread house. This year they went to 15 feet and made the news. [more inside]
20 Authors I Don’t Have to Read Because I’ve Dated Men for 16 Years, or, if you’ve spent enough time around dudes, you’ve basically already read these.
Postmortem: Every Frame a Painting After a year and a half without new content, the film analysis channel, Every Frame a Painting (YouTube, Vimeo) is officially over. Tony Zhou, the narrator and creator of the video essays, along with his now disclosed collaborator, Taylor Ramos, discuss the reasons for shuttering their channel and the process they used to create the essays. (via Medium) Previouslys: 1., 2., 3., 4., 5., 6., 7.
In a now-viral tweet, @xnulz asked twitter to: “Name a badder bitch than Taylor Swift.” Here are just a few of those badder bitches: [more inside]
Two Spirit [yt] - "Two Spirit: A Native American possessing both a male and female spirit. An umbrella term used to describe the fluidity of Native American gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles." [more inside]
Defunctland is a notional amusement park comprised of defunct rides and attractions from actual parks, but more interestingly it's a series of entertaining short videos about the stories of vanished rides- why they were built, what they were like, and why- be it changing tastes, entertainment conglomerate politics, poor quality, or terrible engineering- they became defunct. Episode list inside. [more inside]
You like the Wintergatan Machine (right?) - and you like Minecraft (right?) - then you'll definitely like the Wintergatan song in Minecraft, automated with note blocks and redstone! [more inside]
On the day Emperor Haile Selassie visited Jamaica, a powerful storm broke out. The country, prior to the Emperor’s arrival, had been ravaged by famine and starvation. There had been no rain to water the crops for decades. The first time, in a long time, that it rained was when the Emperor set foot out of his aeroplane in that country. Jamaicans, from that time on, started to see the Emperor in a new light, they started to assume that maybe he was not just a person, but a messiah of some kind. Maybe even the messiah himself.[more inside]
Historian Dr Bob Nicholson complained on twitter about the incorrect use of massive headlines in newspapers in historic dramas such as the recent film The Man Who Invented Christmas, about Dickens writing A Christmas Carol. The tweet went viral and was, ironically featured in a couple of newspaper stories (The Times - firewalled and The Mail) as well as elsewhere. Dr Bob himself recommends this article on Dickens.
These attitude control thrusters perform small but critical adjustments that keep the spacecraft's communication antenna oriented with the Earth. A group of JPL propulsion experts assembled by the Voyager team proposed an "unusual solution" - to test the trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) thrusters Voyager used during planetary and moon encounters as it passed through the solar system. But the last time these thrusters had been used was during the Saturn flyby - in November 1980. [more inside]
Letters from [and to] Santa must be received by the Anchorage, AK, Postmaster no later than December 15. Santa’s helpers in Anchorage, AK, will take care of the rest!
"Please, go die." "No one likes you." "Kindly fuck off." "Stop talking." "We hate your baby." "I could poison you." "You are tedious." "I hope you choke." Oh, and let's not forget "Wretched", "Tedious" and "Loathsome".