Wednesday, April 24, 2013

John Waters, Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton

Just pretend for a second that you're at a party or something and you see these three people standing off in a corner and looking you like this.

these guys look like they timeshare a van.

If it was me, my sneakers would leave skid marks on the floor.

John Waters, Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton:
John Waters Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton | Rare and beautiful celebrity photosJohn Waters, Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton.

(and yes, I agonized over using the phrase "skid marks")

Richest Americans grow richer (and, spoiler alert: poor grow poorer)

File under [no shit]

Richest Americans grow richer (and, spoiler alert: poor grow poorer): A Pew Research Center study out today shows that the modest economic growth following the so-called "Great Recession" has increased wealth inequality in America. The top 7% of American households enjoyed a 28% increase in net worth; the wealth of the other 93 percent declined. [Washington Post]

I am terrible with science. Yes, I am married to a scientist, but tha'ts more one of those things where it's like "I'm glad she knows that stuff, because I sure as hell DON'T."

So when I take this quiz and find that I "scored better than 85% of the public, below 7%, and the same as 8%", I find that to be both insane and pathetic.

Sadly, I bet if this was about NFL stats or the Kardashian family tree or whatever*, those scores would be a lot higher.  But then, what has science done for us lately? Also, what's a bird flu?

Science and Technology quiz

*granted, I can recite plenty of useless things in disturbing detail (music stuff, comic book stuff, NBA lineups, pre-2002 Simpsons, etc...), but come on. At least save room for the fucking basics of SCIENCE.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hot Dog Social Hour Vol. 2

Okay, so work hell is over for 5 or 6 weeks, so I can get back to this. But not today.

Instead, here is volume 2 of my ongoing mix. This is an odd one (less English than any mix yet!), and some of it has been sitting around onmy computer for some time, waiting to be put on a mix. Not because  they're not good songs, but because I lost most of them for awhile. Anyway, enjoy?

or, listen to it here.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Retrobituaries: Chuck Jones, animator of Looney Tunes

I got to meet Chuck Jones once as a kid, and he was exactly as awesome as you would expect. That the creators of Looney Tunes only expected these shorts to run 5 or 6 times and then be "retired" is astounding, especially since they hold up so well.

I still watch them a few times a week, and I still laugh as hard at them as I ever did. Chuck Jones's name in the front is as good of a sign of quality as I've ever seen.

Not sure I'd pick "What's Opera, Doc?" as the best, though...
Retrobituaries: Chuck Jones, animator of Looney Tunes:

Few animated series have aged as gracefully as Looney Tunes, and that’s in large measure because of director Chuck Jones. He drew relentlessly as a child, a result of a nearly unlimited access to pencils and stationery because of his father’s business ventures. (Each time one of his dad’s companies closed, Chuck and his siblings were given the remainder office supplies.) He never stopped drawing, and would go on to elevate animated shorts as an art form. Here are a few things you might not have known about the man behind Bugs Bunny.

He worked for Walt. 
After Warner Brothers closed its animation studio, Chuck Jones worked for Walt Disney. “In animation,” he said in an interview, “asking ‘Walt who?’ would be a very strange thing. It would be like saying ‘Jesus,’ and saying ‘Jesus who?’—he was that important.” (Jones added that poor Walt Lantz, director and producer of Woody Woodpecker, was always overshadowed as the other Walt. “There were no Chucks, which is just as well.”)
He didn’t last long at Disney, though. 
“The reason I stopped working [at Disney] was because I saw that nothing happened unless Walt okayed it, and you might have to wait three weeks to get an appointment with Walt to come in and see this sequence you were working on. And it was old stuff to these guys, but not to me. I was used to working at a pace.”  
Dr. Seuss was an old war buddy.
During World War II, Jones served with Theodor Geisel in a unit that produced training films for soldiers. They worked on such series as Situation Snafu and Fubar. Army training shorts could be pretty boring, he noted. “The pictures were made by some Army colonel who thought he was a director.” Jones and Geisel made it a point to keep their films interesting and entertaining. As if it’s not weird enough that the guy behind Bugs Bunny and the guy behind the Cat in the Hat were war buddies, they later collaborated with the Navy on other films. The Navy liaison? Hank Ketcham, the cartoonist behind Dennis the Menace.  
He didn’t make Saturday morning cartoons...
This might sound weird to anyone under 30, but for a very long time, if you wanted to watch cartoons, you had to wake up early on Saturday mornings. Looney Tunes, of course, was a mainstay. But none of Chuck Jones’s work was made for children on Saturday mornings. “They were always made for theatrical release right up to ’63. None of them were made for television. There’s a perfectly logical reason for it, and it was that there wasn’t any television.” In the 1930s and 40s, he and his team figured the work that they were doing had a total lifespan of three years—first run through fifth run—until finally the films would be worn and retired. Accordingly, they were unafraid to take risks with what they were doing. This often drove their producers crazy. “We got a double pleasure, and that was to make pictures that we enjoyed making, plus making someone else uncomfortable by doing it.
“Because we were so young and had recently left our parents, or teachers, we had very little respect for adults. So we ended up where every creative person is, and that is where you paint or draw for yourself. And we figured if we made each other laugh, hopefully the audience would as well. And it turns out they did.”
...and yet he helped invent Saturday morning cartoons. 
In the mid-1950s, KTLA in Los Angeles and WNEW in New York starting running old Warner Brothers cartoons from the archives on Saturday mornings, thus beginning the tradition of programming for children. Animated features at the cinema didn’t last long after that. “We used to kid about it when television was being done... We figured TV might put us out of work, which eventually it did.” 
He said of his work at Warners, which was never meant to survive, let alone endure, “We kind of lived in a paradise and we didn’t know it.” 
He reportedly considered "What’s Opera, Doc?" to be his greatest work. 
If the words “Kill the wabbit!” mean anything to you, then you’re familiar with arguably the greatest cartoon of all time. The 1957 animated short features Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, and parodies Wagner’s operas. (The cartoon’s most famous line is sung to "Ride of the Valkyries.") This wasn’t his only take on opera. He took on Rossini in 1949’s Rabbit of Seville.
He had to persuade his old friend that How the Grinch Stole Christmas would make a great show. 
“I had known Ted during the war, but it had been 15 years... I had really wanted to do something of his, and Charlie Brown was one of the only works I knew doing a Christmas special.” Jones thought that Dr. Seuss was the natural person for such an annual tradition. “So I called up Ted, so I ask him would he be willing to think about doing it? He was anti-Hollywood, very much, because when he left after the war they pirated a lot of his stuff and took his credits off of his features... He did some documentaries—one of which won the Academy Award and someone else took it. So he was pretty sour about that.” How did he persuade Geisel? “I told him this was another field—this was television!—and he didn't know much about televisions either.”  
Ironically, a banking consortium agreed to sponsor the show, which helped Jones sell the Christmas special to the networks. Jones later noted that Dr. Seuss’s publisher should have sponsored the show, because the cartoon doubled sales of the book that year, and they haven’t slowed since. 
He was once, under protest, the vice president in charge of children’s programming at ABC. 
In 1972, he was hired by ABC TV to be its vice president of children’s programming. “I’m guilty of a lot of sins,” he said, “but that is one I’d just as soon forget.” How did he get the job? “I complained so much about children’s programming that these guys called my bluff. They said come over and do something... well that was a very good idea except nobody listened to me.” He didn’t last long. “I didn’t want to be vice president. I wanted to go back to doing drawings.”
April 3, 2013 - 12:00pm

Chart Of The Day

Obviously, a lot of this has to do with the amount of attention the issue has received in the past 20 years, but this is crazy. I honestly don't know whether to be proud of the reaction to public outcry or dismayed that there had to be public outcry. Still, very interesting...
Chart Of The Day:
by Patrick Appel
Senate_MarriageDylan Matthews charted the Senate’s support for marriage equality over time:
It’s basically an exponential increase.

Informational Posters and Books from a Fictional 1970s British Town

Informational Posters and Books from a Fictional 1970s British Town:

Informational Posters and Books from a Fictional 1970s British Town

Scarfolk is a town stuck in the 1970s and a blog slowly releasing pieces of the town's municipal history. The reworked book covers, posters, and public information ads are humorous and uncannily realistic. 'Certain themes resurface: the municipal, the occult, childhood and school days, totalitarianism and dystopia, memory and nostalgia, societal paranoia and fear of disease, television and radio.'

Butterfly in a Human Skull

Butterfly in a Human Skull:
Photographer Marko Popadic took this marvelous photo of a butterfly inside
the eye socket of a human skull. Titled Oki ("eye" in Croatian),
the butterfly's wing looks eerily like an eye staring out of the lifeless
void. Link
- via Mighty
Optical Illusions