Sin Luz: A multimedia essay on the state of Puerto Rico from the Washington Post. Puerto Rico’s apagón, or “super blackout,” is the longest and largest major power outage in modern U.S. history. Without electricity, there is no reliable source of clean water. School is out, indefinitely. Health care is fraught. Small businesses are faltering. The tasks of daily life are both exhausting and dangerous. There is nothing to do but wait, and no one can say when the lights will come back on.
African-American mayor in Georgia can't get the keys to get into his own office [auto-playing video] [more inside]
52 years ago today, the joint NASA mission of Gemini 6A and Gemini 7 marked a milestone: the first time that two orbiting objects successfully rendezvoused with one another in space. The Gemini 6 command pilot and Mercury Seven astronaut Wally Schirra (and onboard computers) brought the capsule within 1 foot of Gemini 7 and the two spaceships stayed in close orbit for four-and-a-half hours. Shortly after their separation, they gleefully marked another milestone: the first song transmitted from space. [more inside]
Same-Sex Native American Couple Hopes to Break Barriers Through Dance A same-sex couple who fell in love while performing on the pow wow dance circuit is hoping they can bring confidence to other young Native Americans grappling with their sexual identities.
The Roots' Black Thought unleashes a blistering freestyle on Funkmaster Flex's show on Hot 97 (NSFW language) for 10 minutes straight, doing everything from flipping words to talking about his position on late night television, to referencing a multitude of rappers from Rakim, the D.O.C., Kanye and Dr. Dre, to Kendrick Lamar, to talking about his mother and his upbringing and the current crop of rappers.
Welcome to the nest! Streaming live from the National Aviary's Penguin Point, we are pleased to bring you the soon-to-be newest members of our African Penguin colony. Watch the penguin parents care for their eggs, and then their chicks, as they hatch and grow. [more inside]
Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression. Reality for many people in this country is the inability to afford rent, buy a home, pay for healthcare, and get a steady job. Why is this often the rule rather than the exception, and what effects does it have on millennials and the future?
Shirley Jackson was born on this day in 1916. In 1960 Folkways Records issued an LP of her reading The Lottery. Listen here.
Last month Jame's O'Keefe, the conservative backed agent provocateur who had just failed in an attempt to discredit accusers of Roy Moore, spoke at Middlebury College to a crowd of around 50 people. His largely unwanted presence at the Vermont liberal arts college (or at least in its vicinity) would be a standard piece of Culture Wars agitation except for one thing: Nobody at the college seemed to know who had invited him. And the more they delved into it, the weirder it got.
The Journal of African American Studies devoted its September 2017 issue to Prince. You can read and/or download all the articles at the journal's site.
When Phil came back in November, he wanted so badly to stay sober, and for the next three months he did. But it was a struggle, heartbreaking to watch. For the first time I realized that his addiction was bigger than either of us. I bowed my head and thought, I can’t fix this. It was the moment that I let go. I told him, “I can’t monitor you all the time. I love you, I’m here for you, and I’ll always be here for you. But I can’t save you.” — Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction
“Heavyweight,” the Podcast That Contends with Our Regrets "When the writer, radio producer, and humorist Jonathan Goldstein set out to create his Gimlet podcast, “Heavyweight,” whose second season concluded on Thursday, he considered introducing each episode with a subway P.A. system that would talk to him like the voice of God. On the podcast, Goldstein—a longtime producer at “This American Life” whose radio show “Wiretap” aired on the CBC for more than a decade—acts as a kind of social instigator and meddling therapist. With gumption, empathy, and comic awkwardness, he ventures into people’s lives and tries to help them resolve things from the past: an unsolved human mystery, lingering guilt, a falling-out, hurt that’s turned to grievance." (slNewYorker)
Are you having a bad day? Would you like to see some videos of people having a GREAT day and share in their excitement? How about some kids getting into college? Warning: there is screaming. Lots of it. Big article with many examples of the genre. More below the fold, if your eardrums can handle it. [more inside]
The most sacred of all the Navajo ceremonies, the Yébîchai cheremony, aka the Night Chant , is a healing ritual that takes place over many days. Masked figures chant and perform ritual dances around the ill person in a sweat lodge, to restore "order, harmonize and re-establish and situate social relations." Sandpaintings (2) and Ye’b’tsai-tsa’pas, circle kethawns, are also employed to help heal the sick. [more inside]
In November, the artist and writer Molly Crabapple spent a week in Puerto Rico documenting grassroots efforts by communities to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. Here are excerpts from her sketchbook
Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the Smithereens, has passed away at the age of 62. [more inside]
Buzzfeed's Eugene Lee Yang and Kelsey Darragh drink every state's most iconic alcohol, although the definitions of "most" and "iconic" are frequently stretched to breaking (video; contains strong language). [more inside]
Time once again for our holiday tradition: The Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog by Drew Magary. [more inside]
Earlier this year a film curator at the Internet Archive digitized a 16mm color film reel shot by an unknown cameraperson which captured 17 minutes of footage from a concentration camp for Japanese-American citizens in Jerome, Arkansas in June 1944, showing the daily lives of detainees and camp personnel and their families. [more inside]
“Pistol” Pete Maravich vs. George “Iceman” Gervin — H-O-R-S-E
In 2011, former 7 Action News Reporter Julie Banovic did a story about a car smashing through an Arby's in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Then in March 2016, the story circulated again, this time with a much more entertaining interview. "I thought perhaps the end of days was upon us. But it turned out it was just a disoriented old lady in a champagne-colored Toyota Avalon, crashing into my world like DNB circa 1996," said the fake Arby's employee. That "weird Arby's guy" is Andrew Bowser, who also edited himself as "weird satanist guy" in a WDIV story on the satanic statue unveiling in Detroit. [more inside]
A 13-year-old girl managed to become a writer for on-line sports publications. She pretended to be a man and kept up the masquerade for eight years. [more inside]
Jon Bois, author of MeFi-celebrated multimedia narrative 17776 and creator of Breaking Madden, Chart Party, and Pretty Good, has written dozens of pieces (fictional and nonfictional) about class, feminism, aging, sports, politics, wonder, education, and art. Following the jump, a collection of links. (previously) [more inside]
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a beloved holiday classic, but many may not be as familiar with A Muppet Family Christmas, a television special broadcast in 1987 and 1989, but never released on home media in its original and complete version due to various rights issues. It's noteworthy as one of the few Muppet vehicles with appearances and references to characters from the four major franchises (The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock) and for featuring a cameo by Jim Henson as himself. You can watch John Lagomarsino explain why the special is extremely his shit. You can watch a version of the special via YouTube.
"Forever Professor" is a 30-minute documentary about Mark McKinley, a psychology professor at Lorain County Community College in Ohio who collects talking clocks and watches. In fact, he holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of talking clocks. He has also attempted to be recognized for the largest collection of talking watches, an endeavour that has yet to bear fruit. His Youtube channel contains close to 200 short videos of some of the clocks in his collection. He also maintains the online International Society of Talking Clock Collectors Museum. [more inside]
The largest living thing on Earth is a humongous fungus. via BBC Earth [more inside]
At the end of the Southern Plains or "Red River" wars in 1875, the U.S. War Department shipped seventy-two Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Caddo Nations prisoners of war held without formal charges or trial from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. In 1878, the Smithsonian commissioned “life masks” — faces molded from clay — to be made of the Fort Marion prisoners. An American war trophy, the masks would become part of the United States' nationalistic propaganda effort to "depict indigenous peoples as vanishing, as nearly 'extinct,' and thus worthy of museum dioramas, not political rights." The masks are now stored in the Peabody Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology's collection at Harvard University. But to whom do they really belong? [more inside]
Tuned Up in the Spirit: Lined out hymnody with the Old Regular Baptists "the oldest English-language religious-music oral tradition in North America, a tradition with roots stretching back to parish churches in England in the early 1600s and perhaps further still. Some people find it a strange sound. One researcher who went hunting for descriptions of lined-out singing from turn-of-the-century travelers in Appalachia told me that a few words kept popping up: mournful, wailing, confusion."
"Perfect Crime" is the longest-running play in New York, and its star, Catherine Russell, is in the Guinness Book of World records for playing the same lead part since its premiere in 1987. And by many, many accounts, it's awful. [more inside]
Interested in historical curiosities from Hawaii, but prefer New England's climate? You're in luck! The American Antiquarian Society, located in Worcester, Mass., is "a hotbed of Hawaiiana," with archives housing and preserving an extensive collection of early Hawaiian engravings, newspapers, "laws, brochures, broadsheets, hymnals, almanacs, cookbooks, primers and spelling books." The Honolulu Civil Beat brings us the story behind the collection. [more inside]
PUT YOUR TIN FOIL HATS ON, we are about to go on a VERY wild ride.Let Robyn Pennacchia tell you about the conspiracy to make square dancing the national dance of the US and how it originated as part of an even madder ploy by Henry Ford to destroy Black, Jewish jazz with folk music. Quicksand porn briefly discussed here.
I haven't been this excited since I first found out about the incredibly strange world of quicksand porn.
Sedona, AZ has been infiltrated by a polyamorous tech bro cult leader with a massive following. His devotees are everywhere. They believe he can control the weather with his mind. He talks about aliens & government conspiracies, sleeps with and verbally abuses students and believes he is an awakened God not responsible for his actions. He loves expensive scotch and has a sweet spot for cigars, but not Cubans. I spent one month embedded in his group under the alias “Shakti Hunter.” This is my report.
Tech Bro Guru: Inside the Sedona Cult of Bentinho Massaro
Tech Bro Guru: Inside the Sedona Cult of Bentinho Massaro
50 years ago, the hot new TV show was "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". Many of the people involved (Tom, Dick, the producers, writers Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Mason 'Classical Gas' Williams, Bob Einstein before Super Dave, and a host of others) have contributed to an 'oral history' of the show, most famous for being cancelled after 3 seasons for being "too controversial". [more inside]
Dissect is a musical podcast "created by Cole Cuchna, "one person, working in his spare time, in a garage in Sacramento." It is also a moving and illuminating deep look into the music and genius of Kanye West, via a deep dive into his album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Even if - Especially if you are a music fan who has found Kanye to be insufferable and unpleasant, it is worth your attention, because there is a good chance that the experience will be relevatory, and you might find yourself encountering some surprising moments of grace (at 26:20). [more inside]
Charles Ingalls must have heard of the grasshoppers; newspaper columns were full of them. Yet when the Ingallses settled on Plum Creek in 1874, the land was cloaked in spring green. They may have believed, as others did, that the grasshoppers had moved on. In fact, the previous year’s swarm had laid their eggs before departing. While Charles Ingalls plowed his fields, grasshoppers flew and marched in columns again, leaving destitute farmers in their wake with no seed to plant the next season.
My favorite thing discovered on the internet research rabbithole is how Cyndi Lauper is widely-regarded by Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer enthusiasts as one of the finest straight-up performers on the obscure instrument.Says @JMMcDermott. Proof: True Colors, Time after Time, Fearless.
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]
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)
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]