Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Edgard Varése

In my experience, Edgard Varése is one of the handful of experimental composers whose music is consistently listenable, even pleasing. Despite the fact that his existing body of work amounts to only seventeen pieces, he is truly one of the great composers of the 20th Century. His pioneering work in "organized sound" and his desire to move beyond existing instrumentation and format - along with the prophetic works and words of John Cage - helped lead to the development of the synthesizer and ultimately, the sampler - a progression that we have touched on before.

(related) (see also)

a few items of interest:

Ordinary finds:

Edgard Varése (Dec. 22, 1883 - 1965) was one of the more photogenic composers of the 20th century. Henry Miller described him as “The stratospheric Colossus of Sound”.

He knew Picabia, Duchamp and Diego Rivera - among many others - during his time in France and later when he moved to the US and lived in Greenwich Village. Later he pioneered the use of electronic instruments in classical music and his work influenced musicians as diverse as Charlie Parker and Frank Zappa.


Pierre Boulez conducts the Ensemble InterContemporain

(video link)

Edgard Varese: The Idol of My Youth
By Frank Zappa

Stereo Review, June 1971. pp61-62

I have been asked to write about Edgard Varese. I am in no way qualified to. I can't even pronounce his name right. The only reason I have agreed to is because I love his music very much, and if by some chance this article can influence more people to hear his works, it will have been worthwhile.

I was about thirteen when I read an article in Look about Sam Goody's Record Store in New York. My memory is not too clear on the details, but I recall it was praising the store's exceptional record merchandising ability. One example of brilliant salesmanship described how, through some mysterious trickery, the store actually managed to sell an album called "Ionization" (the real name of the album was "The Complete Works of Edgard Varese, Volume One"). The article described the record as a weird jumble of drums and other unpleasant sounds.

I dashed off to my local record store and asked for it. Nobody ever heard of it. I told the guy in the store what it was like. He turned away, repulsed, and mumbled solemnly, "I probably wouldn't stock it anyway... nobody here in San Diego would buy it."

I didn't give up. I was so hot to get that record I couldn't even believe it. In those days I was a rhythm-and-blues fanatic. I saved any money I could get (sometimes as much as $2 a week) so that every Friday and Saturday I could rummage through piles of old records at the Juke Box Used Record Dump (or whatever they called it) in the Maryland Hotel or the dusty corners of little record stores where they'd keep the crappy records nobody wanted to buy.

One day I was passing a hi-fi store in La M
esa. A little sign in the window announced a sale on 45's. After shuffling through their singles rack and finding a couple of Joe Houston records, I walked toward the cash register. On my way, I happened to glance into the LP bin. Sitting in the front, just a little bent at the corners, was a strange-looking black-and-white album cover. On it there was a picture of a man with gray frizzy hair. He looked like a mad scientist. I thought it was great that somebody had finally made a record of a mad scientist. I picked it up. I nearly (this is true, ladies and gentlemen) peed in my pants... THERE IT WAS! EMS 401, The Complete Works of Edgard Varese Volume I... Integrales, Density 21.5, Ionization, Octandre... Rene Le Roy, the N. Y. Wind Ensemble, the Juilliard Percussion Orchestra, Frederic Waidman Conducting... liner notes by Sidney Finkelstein! WOW!

I ran over to the singles box and stuffed the Joe Houston records back in it. I fumbled around in my pocket to see how much money I had (about $3.80). I knew I had to have a lot of money to buy an album. Only old people had enough money to buy albums. I'd never bought an album before. I sneaked over to the guy at the cash register and asked him how much EMS 401 cost. "That gray one in the box? $5.95 -"

I had searched for that album for over a year, and now... disaster. I told the guy I only had $3.80. He scratched his neck. "We use that record to demonstrate the hi-fi's with, but nobody ever buys one when we use it... you can have it for $3.80 if you want it that bad. "

I couldn't imagine what he meant by "demonstrating hi-fi's with it." I'd never heard a hi-fi. I only knew that old people bought them. I had a genuine lo-fi... it was a little box about 4 inches deep with imitation wrought-iron legs at each corner (sort of brass-plated) which elevated it from the table top because the speaker was in the bottom. My mother kept it near the ironing board. She used to listen to a 78 of The Little Shoemaker on it. I took off the 78 of The Little Shoemaker and, carefully moving the speed lever to 33 1/3 (it had never been there before), turned the volume all the way up and placed the all-purpose Osmium-tip needle in the lead-in spiral to Ionization. I have a nice Catholic mother who likes Roller Derby. Edgard Varese does not get her off, even to this very day. I was forbidden to play that record in the living room ever again.

In order to listen to The Album, I had to stay in my room. I would sit there every night and play it two or three times and read the liner notes over and over. I didn't understand them at all. I didn't know what timbre was. I never heard of polyphony. I just liked the music because it sounded good to me. I would force anybody who came over to listen to it. (I had heard someplace that in radio stations the guys would make chalk marks on records so they could find an exact spot, so I did the same thing to EMS 401... marked all the hot items so my friends wouldn't get bored in the quiet parts.)

I went to the library and tried to find a book about Mr. Varese. There wasn't any. The librarian told me he probably wasn't a Major Composer. She suggested I look in books about new or unpopular composers. I found a book that had a little blurb in it (with a picture of Mr. Varese as a young man, staring into the camera very seriously) saying that he would be just as happy growing grapes as being a composer.

On my fifteenth birthday my mother said she'd give me $5. I told her I would rather make a long-distance phone call. I figured Mr. Varese lived in New York because the record was made in New York (and because he was so weird, he would live in Greenwich Village). I got New York Information, and sure enough, he was in the phone book.

His wife answered. She was very nice and told me he was in Europe and to call back in a few weeks. I did. I don't remember what I said to him exactly, but it was something like: "I really dig your music." He told me he was working on a new piece called Deserts. This thrilled me quite a bit since I was living in Lancaster, California then. When you're fifteen and living in the Mojave Desert and find out that the world's greatest composer, somewhere in a secret Greenwich Village laboratory, is working on a song about your "home town" you can get pretty excited. It seemed a great tragedy that nobody in-Palmdale or Rosamond would care if they ever heard it. I still think Deserts is about Lancaster, even if the liner notes on the Columbia LP say it's something more philosophical.

All through high school I searched for information about Varese and his music. One of the most exciting discoveries was in the school library in Lancaster. I found an orchestration book that had score examples in the back, and included was an excerpt from Offrandes with a lot of harp notes (and you know how groovy harp notes look). I remember fetishing the book for several weeks.

When I was eight
een I got a chance to go to the East Coast to visit my Aunt Mary in Baltimore. I had been composing for about four years then but had not heard any of it played. Aunt Mary was going to introduce me to some friend of hers (an Italian gentleman) who was connected with the symphony there. I had planned on making a side trip to mysterious Greenwich Village. During my birthday telephone conversation, Mr. Varese had casually mentioned the possibility of a visit if I was ever in the area. I wrote him a letter when I got to Baltimore, just to let him know I was in the area.

I waited. My aunt introduced me to the symphony guy. She said, "This is Frankie. He writes orchestra music." The guy said, "Really? Tell me, sonny boy, what's the lowest note on a bassoon?" I said, "B flat... and also it says in the book you can get 'em up to a C or something in the treble clef." He said, "Really? You know about violin harmonics?" I said, "What's that?" He said, "See me again in a few years."

I waited some more. The letter came. I couldn't believe it. A real handwritten letter from Edgard Varese! I still have it in a little frame. In very tiny scientific-looking script it says:

VII 12th/57

Dear Mr. Zappa

I am sorry not to be able to grant your request. I am leaving
for Europe next week and will be gone until next spring. I am
hoping however to see you on my return. With best wishes.

Edgard Varese

I never got to meet Mr. Varese. But I kept looking for records of his music. When he got to be about eighty I guess a few companies gave in and recorded some of his stuff. Sort of a gesture, I imagine. I always wondered who bought them besides me. It was about seven years from the time I first heard his music till I met someone else who even knew he existed. That person was a film student at USC. He had the Columbia LP with Poeme Electronique on it. He thought it would make groovy sound effects.

I can't give you any structural insights or academic suppositions about how his music works or why I think it sounds so good. His music is completely unique. If you haven't heard it yet, go hear it. If you've already heard it and think it might make groovy sound effects, listen again. I would recommend the Chicago Symphony recording of Arcana on RCA (at full volume) or the Utah Symphony recording of Ameriques on Vanguard. Also, there is a biography by Fernand Oulette, and miniature scores are available for most of his works, published by G. Ricordi.

Poème Électronique - Live Program Notes Presented at the Concert:

Poème Électronique is unique among the pieces you are about to hear tonight in that it was composed to be a part of a multi-media work of the same title. This spectacle of film, light, and sound was created for the Brussels's World's Fair of 1958, taking place in the Philips Pavilion.

The project was conceived by architect Le Corbusier, here shown in front of the Pavilion with Varèse and Philips director Louis Kalff. The pavilion was designed primarily by Iannis Xenakis, whose work Bohor will close this evening's concert

The technology available to Varèse at the time he created
Poème Électronique was out of reach for most of his life, forcing him to realize his unique vision through conventional instruments. When early electroni
c instruments became available, Varèse was quick to use it towards his goal of "organized sound." These works from the twenties and thirties often anticipated methodologies and aesthetics that would be idiomatic to tape music, when the latter's arrival was still three decades away. The excerpts you will hear now illustrate a typical Varèse-ian gesture--an accumulation of single tones ending with a great crescendo--taken first from 1925's Intégrales, followed by a similar fragment from Poème Électronique. Though by no means identical, the two heard side by side illustrates Varèse's consistency across different media and how truly ahead of their time his early pieces were.

The version of Poème Électronique that you will h
ear shortly is the original three-channel version created at the Philips Lab in Eindhoven.

When performed at the Philips Pavilion, the work was spatialized through four hundred speakers and an elaborate switching mechanism, an environment that is unfortunately gone with the destruction of the pavilion in 1959. Despite this compromise, Poème Électronique as it exists today still stands as one of the early masterpieces of electronic music. It is also the realization of a life-long pursuit for Varèse, who was already 75 when the work was completed.

The score

...I decided to call my music "organized sound" and myself, not a musician, but a "worker in rhythms, frequencies and intensities." Indeed, to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise. But after all what is music but organized noises? And a composer, like all artists, is an organizer of disparate elements. Subjectively, noise is any sound one doesn't like

Edgard Varêse and Le Corbusier - Poême électronique (1958)

(video link)

The Columbia University Computer Music Center
The book on Varèse (drool)
comments from Professor Chou Wen-chung (composer, literary and musical executor of the Varèse estate)
Olivia Mattis on Varése and the Theremin Cello
Edgard Varèse et Léon Theremin (
en Français)

Pannonian sea

The Pannonian Plain is a large plain in Central Europe that remained when the Pliocene Pannonian Sea dried out. It is a geomorphological subsystem of the Alps-Himalaya system.

Serbia, Belgrade by Katarina 2353

via @random

Monday, December 29, 2008

Andy Warhol interviews Steven Spielberg (clip)

Andy Warhol interviews a young, chatty Steven Spielberg in a hotel bedroom, while Bianca Jagger watches. Courtesy of the Warhol Museum. (in case you hadn't figured that out)

telling: I can't invent... I'm terrible, I can't invent anything.

via Hannes's Art and Culture Blog

Dance Marathons

Dance marathon couple, ca. 1925
Library of Congress


Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money. Dance marathons originated as part of an early-1920s, giddy, jazz-age fad for human endurance competitions such as flagpole sitting and six-day bicycle races. Dance marathons persisted throughout the 1930s as partially staged performance events, mirroring the marathon of desperation Americans endured during the Great Depression. In these dance endurance contests, a mix of local hopefuls and seasoned professional marathoners danced, walked, shuffled, sprinted, and sometimes cracked under the pressure and exhaustion of round-the-clock motion. A 25-cent admission price entitled audience members to watch as long as they pleased.

I remember watching They Shoot Horses, Don't They? when I was a kid and being considerably weirded out by the whole idea.

via Blue Siren

A Skin Too Few - The Days Of Nick Drake

(video link)

the rest

Nick Drake

via Kill Ugly Radio

Farida Batool

Farida Batool - Nai Reesan shehr Lahore diyan 2006

via Art Knowledge News

Saturday, December 27, 2008

season's freaking greetings....

I had it in mind to do a little blogging Saturday morning, however, after being held up at gunpoint last night, with every sip of beer my resolve dwindles. I thought I could work through it but I need to disengage for a while longer.

I was surprised at how calm I was at the moment, but as the adrenaline wears off and the thoughts and emotions start swirling, it all gets to be a bit disorienting.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday. I'll see you, in force, on Monday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I hope you all had a wonderful Festivus! Around the Uncertain Times household, Grievances were Aired in good form, but I threw my back out during the Feats of Strength, so I'm going back to bed... after I check on my payments to The Human Fund.

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Season's Greetings!

Square America - Season's Greetings!

As if it wasn't already obvious, posting will be light-to-nonexistent over the Christmas holiday. There will be more lightness throughout the last few days of December and then business as usual after the New Year. I'll also be dropping the odd item on the UT Tumblr, so feel free to stop by over there.

In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy whatever else it is you celebrate, and I look forward to enjoying your company in the Uncertain Times of 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Air Bush

‘Bush Shoe’ flies off the shelves:

One week later, Zaidi-mania shows no sign of slowing down. The Turkish company that makes the shoe Muntadar al-Zaidi threw at President Bush has seen demand for the think-soled model explode:

Baydan has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999. The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said.

“Model 271” is exported to markets including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Customers in Iraq ordered 120,000 pairs this week and some Iraqis offered to set up distribution companies for the shoe, Baydan said.

They also claim to be in talks with a U.S. distributor.

photo: Ilker Akgungor/Getty Images

Daedelus - Fair Weather Friends


Directed by Jordan Kim

Daedelus - Fair Weather Friends

via Comfort Music (one of my favorite music blogs)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball

photographer unknown

Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball

Dock Ellis (1945-2008)

Colorful ex-Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis dies at 63

Ellis, D. - The Dock Ellis Experience

thanks to Molly Lambert

Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on acid (redux)

In memory of Dock, I re-present:

Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on acid

Image: The Baseball Reliquary

On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis took the mound against the San Diego Padres and threw a no-hitter.

For those of you not hip to baseball, a no-hitter is a relatively rare event; in the days of performance enhancing drugs and pitch counts, even more so.

What most people didn't realize was that on that night in 1970, Dock Ellis was tripping his balls off.

He didn't admit to it publicly until the 1980s. I recall reading the story; it was just a blurb, actually. After that, I never heard too much about it.

Dock Ellis is a somewhat forgotten American character.

I remember being at a game in Three Rivers Stadium, back in the early '70s, and he was sent in to pinch-run. He wasn't wearing a hat and he had curlers on. He was also wearing a Steelers jacket. The ump told him to take it off, so he did. He didn't have anything on underneath. The crowd roared.

About that night in 1970:

"I didn't pay no attention to the score, you know. I'm trying to get the batters out. And I'm throwin' a crazy game. I'm hittin' people, walkin' people, throwin' balls in the dirt. They going everywhere!

"It was easier to pitch with the LSD because I was so used to medicating myself. That's the way I was dealing with the fear of failure, the fear of losing, the fear of winning."

He remembers the experience:

Dock Ellis retired from baseball in 1979. According to his agent, he spent his last years working for the California Department of Corrections to guide released inmates’ transition back into community life, along with helping administer a Los Angeles drug counseling center.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

stocking stuffer

This, and other fine products available from BlueQ

via trendbeheer
by way of placeboKats

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Martin Ramirez

Untitled (Gallion on Water)
Martin Ramirez (1895-1963), DeWitt State Hospital, Auburn, Calif., circa 1960-1963

Art and Mental Illness:

Martin Ramirez (1895-1963) created hundreds of drawings and collages while institutionalized at the DeWitt State Hospital In Auburn, California, where he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is considered one of the self-taught masters of 20th century art...

more here

Chris Jordan

Crushed Cars #3, Tacoma 2004

Chris Jordan Photographic Arts

(be sure to check out the Intolerable Beauty series)

via drbeeper

Richard Beymer's Twin Peaks Photos

Richard Beymer’s Twin Peaks Photos

Richard Beymer was Benjamin Horne in Twin Peaks and Tony in the 1961 film, West Side Story.

I tried to get at these pictures a couple of months ago, but they were inaccessible. Hopefully, he'll put up more - he's a good photographer.

video: Richard Beymer discusses David Lynch’s directing style

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fridge over troubled waters

Simon Drew

via On An Overgrown Path

Life on the edge for Syrian artists

Poetry night at a Damascus hotel, part of a thriving bohemian scene in Syria

Life on the edge for Syrian artists:

“It’s become like a game between us and the authorities,” he told me. “We write what we want and they say what they want. True, my latest novel is ‘not allowed’ here, but you know what they say, books have wings and can fly over any frontier.”

also: At home with avant-garde Syrian artist

The World of Trench Warfare in Color

A scene over Hartmannsweilerkopf, in the Vosge mountain range


Although color photography has existed since at least 1879, it didn't become popular until many decades later. The overwhelming majority of photos taken during World War I were black and white, lending the conflict a stark aesthetic which dominates our visual memory of the war.

Hans Hildenbrand, one of nineteen photographers employed by the Kaiser to document the war, was the only German to take photos of the war in color.

via Retro Thing

homemade guitars

(what is a jimbay?)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tyson Grumm

The Last Exploration of John Ainsworth Horrocks

Tyson Grumm

via bright stupid confetti

the Melvins visit Pancake Mountain


Love it.

Pancake Mountain

via LedgerGermane

white raccoon


The pale-furred mutant likes to munch on grapes and cat food, said a woman who feeds and photographs the elusive animal.

Fearful for the albino creature's safety, the woman asked Brevard Zoo officials to trap it and put it on public display. She asked FLORIDA TODAY to withhold her identity so hunters would not converge on the raccoon's territory.

"I'd hate to see him get shot as a trophy," she said. "This is something kids would love to see. He is so unique."

Michelle Smurl, Brevard Zoo's director of animal programs, said the zoo is not at liberty to trap an adult animal that is thriving in the wild.

via Mrs. Kitten

ice storm

Trees bent by the weight of ice from a winter storm line railroad tracks in Hinsdale, Mass., Friday, Dec. 12. The Berkshire Eagle / Ben Garver

70 degrees here in Savannah.

via The Frame

Some Monday morning silliness...


via ESPVisuals

Sunday, December 14, 2008

James Burke - Connections, ep.1 (clip)

See what your answers would be to these questions. I didn't like the answers I had.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lick Observatory Moonrise

photo: Rick Baldridge

APOD: As viewed from a well chosen location at sunset, October's gorgeous Full Moon rose behind Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California. Captured in this lovely telescopic view, historic Lick Observatory is perched on the mountain's 4,200 foot summit, observatory and rising Moon momentarily sharing the warm color of filtered sunlight. Of course, tonight those blessed with clear skies can also enjoy a glorious Full Moon. In fact, tonight's Moon reaches its full phase at 1637 UT, within only a few hours of perigee, the closest point in its elliptical orbit. The close approach really will make December's Full Moon the largest Full Moon of 2008, even when it rises high above the horizon.

Why does the moon seem bigger near the horizon?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scared of Santa

250+ photos of kids scared of Santa

via 11111001111

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Lobby (Live)

(video link)

Very nice.

Live footage : 23-03-2007 : Budapest, Hungary

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

via Drive-by Blogging

cycles of history?

Elizabeth Olds - A Sacred Profession Is Open to College Graduates, 1936

via Ordinary finds, a far from ordinary weblog

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Places We Live

This year, for the first time in history, more people will live in cities than in rural areas. One-third of these urban dwellers - more than 1 billion people - live in slums. It is predicted that this number will double in the next 25 years.

Magnum Photos presents the work of Jonas Bendiksen in this interactive slideshow of The Places We Live, where you can visit selected households from around the world. The panoramic photos are amazing.

via Nag on the Lake

Monk's Advice (1960)

Some have claimed that this was written in Thelonious Monk's hand, but I did some digging about and found this:


In the past couple of days, an extraordinary number of thoughtful people have forwarded the following document to me, often with the suggestion that Thelonious Monk penned it himself...

I have confirmed with expert jazz historians; this is Steve Lacy's work, who played with Monk in 1960. Lacy's introduction to Thelonious Monk: His Life and Music uses the above material explicitly.

You can click the image to embiggen or read it here:

- Just because you’re not a drummer, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep time.

- Pat your foot and sing the melody in your head when you play.

- Stop playing all that bullshit, those weird notes, play the melody!

- Make the drummer sound good.

- Discrimination is important.

- You’ve got to dig it to dig it, you dig?

- All reet!

- Always know… (Monk)

- It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.

- Let’s lift the band stand!!

- I want to avoid the hecklers.

- Don’t play the piano part, I am playing that. Don’t listen to me, I am supposed to be accompaning (sic) you!

- The inside of the tune (the bridge) is the part that makes the outside sound good.

- Don’t play everything (or everytime); let some things go by. Some music just imagined.

- What you don’t play can be more important than what you do play.

- A note can be small as a pin or as big as the world, it depends on your imagination.

- Stay in shape! Sometimes a musician waits for a gig & when it comes, he’s out of shape & can’t make it.

- When you are swinging, swing some more!

- (What should we wear tonight?) Sharp as possible!

- Always leave them wanting more.

- Don’t sound anybody for a gig, just be on the scene.

- Those pieces were written so as to have something to play & to get cats interested enough to come to rehearsal!

- You've got it! If you don’t want to play, tell a joke or dance, but in any case, you got it! (to a drummer who didn’t want to solo).

- Whatever you think can’t be done, somebody will come along & do it. A genius is the one most like himself.

- They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it.

found via Robot Wisdom X2

M. Mararian's Inky Dreadfuls

The Phobias

Arctophobia (Fear of Bears)

Carnophobia (Fear of Meat)

Pupaphobia (Fear of Puppets)

Dementophobia (Fear of Insanity)

Pogonophobia (Fear of Beards)

M. Mararian's Inky Dreadfuls

Michael Mararian interview

via Juxtapoz

philosophy through the ages

via Drive-by Blogging

Planet of the Abes

Lincoln playing poker with wumpuses

Planet of the Abes

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mutant Spud

Lebanese farmer Khalil Semhat holds a giant potato in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre on December 6, 2008. The farmer couldn't believe his peeled eyes when he discovered he had grown a massive potato weighing 11.3 kilos (24.9 pounds), he said today, adding that he now hopes to enter the Guinness World Records book. AFP/Getty Images

This one is ripe for a caption contest.

I'll start it off: FEED ME!!!

via FP Passport

stray bullets

With the greatest possible respect to Joe Satriani, we have now unfortunately found it necessary to respond publicly to his allegations. If there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental, and just as surprising to us as to him. Joe Satriani is a great musician, but he did not write or have any influence on the song Viva La Vida. We respectfully ask him to accept our assurances of this and wish him well with all future endeavours. Coldplay.

On “The Death of Blogging” A sensible and accurate analysis. (via)

Seth Godin: Warning: The internet is almost full (short and resonant)

Confessions of a Bootlegger “At one point, I was probably responsible for starting up more record labels than David Geffin, Berry Gordy and Suge Knight combined!” (excellent) (via)

Beethoven and the Illuminati How the secret order influenced the great composer.

Shipwreck clues could clear Blackbeard of sinking his ship to swindle his crew For almost 300 years, the British pirate captain has stood accused of deliberately sinking his flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, so he could swindle his crew out of their share of loot they had plundered. But marine archaeologists, who are conducting a diving expedition on the vessel's presumed wreck, now believe it may have run aground by accident. They have even found evidence suggesting that Blackbeard made repeated attempts to rescue the stricken craft.

So you've been buried alive You may think you're exempt from this horror, but live burial doesn't discriminate. It happens to rich and poor, black and white, young and old. The more you prepare for this event, the greater your chances will be of surviving until that magical day when you're buried appropriately.

William Eggleston interview WE: There's plenty of film out there, and quadrillions of cameras that use film-I don't think it makes much sense not to use it. The thing that's going out is the manufacturing of the paper. Incidentally, all these years my wife has told me that I'm color-blind. (via)

George S. Morrison, Admiral and Singer’s Father, Dies at 89
Interesting list of tourist scams (good to know) (via)
Insane Home Office Set-ups (via)
History of Hookah Smoking
antipodr (Find the other side of the world!) (via)
blört's new 404 (creepy)

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein (via)

Marilyn Manson - Food Pyramid

(video link)

Marilyn Manson explains the food pyramid in this delightful romp. Helpful and edifying.

via We know who we are and what we want to say.

Sam Bassett

Bettina Bashyi

Sam Bassett

hat tip: breezy

Postcard Propaganda

“Balloon with Japanese Flag in the Sky”
(with hand-written message)

Asia Rising: Japanese postcards of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05)

via Dadanoias