Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lesser-known Failed Assassination Attempts: Mick Jagger

In 2008, it was revealed that members of the Hells Angels had plotted to murder Jagger in 1975. They were angered by Jagger's public blaming of the Hells Angels, who had been hired to provide "security" at the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969, for much of the crowd violence at the event. The conspirators reportedly used a boat to approach a residence where Jagger was staying on Long Island, New York; the plot failed when the boat was nearly sunk by a storm."

Guys, you're Hells Angels! You shouldn't leave your bikes, period, especially if you're gonna try to kill somebody. And, decided to take to the seven seas? It's hard enough for you to use your own legs more than 100 yards, much less having 120 MPH winds and The Perfect Storm to deal with. 

You could've lost somebody if the boat sunk, you understand me? What then? You wanna ride your in your tandem bike without somebody in it with ya? Get laughed at?

<- Hells Angels France jacket. Masterfully stitched, I'm sure. Source: Wikipedia

Monday, May 17, 2010

Film Short: In The Green - (48 Hour Film Project 2010)

I co-wrote and performed in this film short we (In The Car Media) made for the 48 Hour Film Project in Boston, this year. All writing, shooting, and editing had to take place within 48 hours, and required including the following criteria:
Line: "You win some, you lose some."
Prop: a scale
Character: Winston Weatherby, a gardener
Genre: Film de Femme  


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

List: Forthcoming Sermons at Dorchester Methodist, Next Door to That Gym That Just Moved in

Forthcoming Sermons at Dorchester Methodist, Next Door to That Gym That Just Moved in

One More Step Class Towards Eternal Damnation

John 6: Jesus Walks on Water, Should We Be Swimming in it?

Idolatry of the Bicep: Free Weights as the Devil's Tools

Exorcising Boxercise from our Community

Christ Didn't Run: Selflessness and Treadmills

Yoga as Sacrilege

Stretching the Truth: Pontius Pilates

Spinners in the Hands of an Angry God


The morning I finished this for submitting to McSweeney's Lists, I happened to check the lists recently posted - only to come across a 'Diet & Fitness Books of the Bible' list that bore some eerie resemblances to the list of my own. The unfortunate timing of this scrapped any expectations of the list being accepted. Duly posted above.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lincoln Automobiles' New Vehicle: The Incontinentental

writ up in '08
You know, with science and technology increasing our life spans longer than we ever thought possible, we have to be ready to make changes to our lifestyles to keep up. The world’s leading companies are aware of this, and have been keeping themselves on the cutting edge of this growing market: the ultra-elderly.

That’s what led Lincoln Automobiles to create their newest vehicle: The Lincoln Incontinental. Equipped with a driver's side built-in IV drip hook & insulin injector, the Incontinental goes above and beyond the normal expectations of comfort. While other companies may be content providing their vehicles with an OnStar
security system, Lincoln exceeds expectations by including a live, in-car nurse: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

With leather bedpan bucket seats and a forty horsepower engine (capable of accelerating to top speeds of 35 miles per hour), the Incontinental provides both a smooth ride and the dependability you expect.

When my grandfather turns 104 next year I’ll know what to get him. The Lincoln Incontinental.

Lincoln. Caring for the medicared. securing the socially secured.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Simplicity = Complexity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Leonardo da Vinci 
Simplicity equals complexity because simpler clarity of expression opens something up to a vast amount more associations and connections.
The simpler, purer the prism is, the broader the spectrum that shows through it.

P.S. Ever heard of a grism? Me neith.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Soviet Warsaw in Upstate New York

Came across two pictures taken in Warsaw, Poland and Zagreb, Croatia on Nasty, Brutalist, and Short that resemble buildings in Albany, NY where I spent several of my v impressionable years.

Set 1- Warsaw: The actually kind of amazing looking Palace of Culture and Science
...conceived by Stalin as a "gift of the Soviet people to the Polish nation."

The Alfred E Smith building

Guess it's the Art Deco that these two have in common? In Communist Warsaw, Deco arts you, etc)

Set 2- Zagreb: Apartment building, I think:

Albany: the 'Agency Buildings' on the Empire State Plaza

also here's the two Here's the two Albany buildings from the sky, left side.

Bonus Albany fun fact
  • The city's first name when settled by the Dutch was "The Fuyck," then "Beversfuyck."  fuycked up.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why do we comprehend anything as "all at once" ?

Scientists, testing the reason we sometimes perceive the rotation of a tire (on a car, when its spinning at a certain speed) as going the opposite direction - known as the Wagon-wheel effect - found that "The continuity of our perception is an illusion...The experiment even put a number on our visual frame rate - around 13 frames per second." As there was a specific visual frame rate , the implication was...
...that there is not a single "film roll" in the brain, but many separate streams, each recording a separate piece of information. [In a separate experiment to further examine this] VanRullen examined another neural function, called near-threshold luminance detection. He exposed his subjects to flashes of light barely bright enough to see, and found that the likelihood of them noticing the light depended on the phase of another wave in the front of the brain, which rises and falls about 7 times per second. It turned out that subjects were more likely to detect the flash when the wave was near its trough, and miss it when the wave was near its peak.

So it seems that each separate neural process that governs our perception might be recorded in its own stream of discrete frames. But how might all these streams fit together to give us a consistent picture of the world? Ernst Pöppel, a neuroscientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, suggests all of the separate snapshots from the senses may feed into blocks of information in a higher processing stream. He calls these the "building blocks of consciousness" and reckons they underlie our perception of time (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol 364, p 1887).

It's an appealing idea, since patching together a chronological order of events hitting our senses is no mean feat. Sounds tend to be processed faster than images, so without some sort of grouping system we might, say, hear a vase smashing before we see it happen. Pöppel's building blocks of consciousness would neatly solve this problem: if two events fall into the same building block, they are perceived as simultaneous; if they fall into consecutive buildings blocks, they seem successive. "Perception cannot be continuous because of [the limits of] neural processing," says Pöppel. "A space of 30 to 50 milliseconds is necessary to bring together in one time-window the distributed activity in the neural system."
Pöppel's theory is an interesting one to tie together the discoveries about our processing. Before we had the capability to examine these sorts of questions of cognition (the past few decades?), the historical language used to explore them had been more purely theoretical and philosophical. This shift complicates the responses one can make to a theory such as Pöppel's.

Flash-Flooded Desert in Sinai, Egypt - Click image for LARGE - source: This Fab Trek

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Seventy-Eight Year Old Has a Good Idea About the Internet

From Interview with Umberto Eco (who inspired this previous post on conversation and comedy):
SPIEGEL: Are you saying that teachers should instruct students on the difference between good and bad? If so, how should they do that?

Eco: Education should return to the way it was in the workshops of the Renaissance. There, the masters may not necessarily have been able to explain to their students why a painting was good in theoretical terms, but they did so in more practical ways. Look, this is what your finger can look like, and this is what it has to look like. Look, this is a good mixing of colors. The same approach should be used in school when dealing with the Internet. The teacher should say: "Choose any old subject, whether it be German history or the life of ants. Search 25 different Web pages and, by comparing them, try to figure out which one has good information." If 10 pages describe the same thing, it can be a sign that the information printed there is correct. But it can also be a sign that some sites merely copied the others' mistakes.

not bad

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Non-Zero Correlations, or, Robert Wright Rips Me Off

Robert Wright's Non-Zero is a very readable non-fiction book that uses game theory to look at our history (social and biological). He traces a through-line in these fields that seems to show a positive direction to our development, defined by (Wright's term) "non-zero-sumness": meaning essentially, both parties in an exchange benefit (a win-win situation). As social and biological complexity grows, non-zero-sumness grows with it - enlarging our "circle of empathy" (first family, then friends- expanding globally).
Below is an excerpt from one of the final chapters, reflecting on the effects (and future possibilities) that the internet could play in this area of non-zero-sumness:
"...But it is evidence that, as global interdependence thickens, long-distance amity can in principle grow even in the absence of external enmity. And it's something to build on. There is no telling what it could mean as technology keeps advancing; as the World Wide Web goes broad bandwidth, so that two people anywhere can meet and chat virtually, visually (perhaps someday assisted, where necessary, by accurate automated translation). One can well imagine, as the Internet nurtures more and more communities of interest, true friendships more and more crossing the most dangerous fault lines - boundaries of religion, of nationality, of ethnicity, of culture.

The common interests that support these friendships needn't be high in gravitas. They can range from stopping ozone depletion to preserving Gaelic folklore to stamp collecting to playing online chess. The main thing is that they be far-flung and cross-cutting. Maybe this is the most ambitious realistic hope for the future expansion of amity - a world in which just about everyone holds allegiance to enough different groups, with enough different kinds of people, so that plain old-fashioned bigotry would entail discomfiting cognitive dissonance. It isn't that everyone will love everyone, but rather that everyone will like enough different kinds of people to make hating any given type problematic...Maybe the world of tomorrow will be a collage of noospheres with enough overlap to vastly complicate the geography of hatred. It wouldn't be 'Point Omega', but it would be progress." pg. 328
If this isn't basically the same argument I put out in part three of this post, regarding the bayonet-loving, vengeful bigot on a houseboat in the Atlantic, I don't know what is. Just kiddin' about the ripping-off part. Wrights got brains like I've got ill-advised purchases. Just kiddin' about the just kiddin part. Just kiddin' about the just kiddin about the just kiddin part.