Author Archive | moezilla

The Day Frank Zappa Confronted Davy Jones

HeadDavy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, died on Tuesday. Remembering his strange life, this article resurrects a bizarre list of “forgotten classics” where Jones tried to escape his “teen idol” prison — including his theme to the campy 2006 indie film “Sexina”, and a Harry Nilsson song that ends with a Frank Zappa cameo from the movie Head. (Zappa actually walks on camera escorting a live cow, then tells Davy that “That song was pretty white.”)

There’s also a video of the grunge version of “Girl” that Davy performed in The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995…… Read the rest

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eBook Readers Live in a Different Universe of Books

Bezos Kindle TouchAmazon’s released their list of 2011′s best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn’t even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books!

The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren’t even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn’t make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. “It couldn’t be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,” notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon’s best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only “Singles,” including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he’d released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde” was Amazon’s #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn’t even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year.… Read the rest

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The LSD Portraits: Marc Franklin Spends 25 Years Photographing ‘Psychedelic Pioneers’

BurroughsRemember the Reagan administration’s “This is your brain on drugs” ads? In response a photographer started a lifelong project of photographing all the living “psychedelic pioneers,” including Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia, William S. Burroughs, and Ken Kesey.

“I thought, ‘You know, that’s such a load of horseshit … I’m going to dismantle that poisonous propaganda lie visually… I’m going to portray these people how they are.” He started with the man who invented LSD — Albert Hoffman — on its 50th anniversary in 1988, and at one point drove over 11,000 miles in just 7 weeks (including a 26-hour drive to drink beer with William S. Burroughs).

He’s interviewed by the former editor of High Frontiers magazine (“the official psychedelic magazine of the 1984 Summer Olympics.)”, and the article includes three of his best photos. (He’s exhibiting them this month in Los Angeles). But the strangest fact of all?

He started his career taking photographs for the annual report of Mobil Oil!… Read the rest

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Is Lisbeth Salander a Cyberpunk Hero?

Lisbeth SalanderAuthor Sasha Mitchell compares how cyberpunk is defined by Stieg Larsson, by Hollywood, and by Google. Mitchell compares Lisbeth Salander to William Gibson’s heroines (arguing that she’s a combination of Gibson’s female and male protagonists), but saying the ultimate message of her archetype is “screw labels”. (“Does she really need to be sexualized to the extent … Hollywood illustrators would have her be?”)

In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth “spreads resistant messages despite powerful mechanisms of top-down control,” which is ultimately a more empowering message than what you get from searching “cyberpunk” on Google Images. (“Note, if you will, how many topless, pantsless, or pigtailed schoolgirls you see here.”) But even Gibson himself once argued the cutting-edge of cyberpunk is too unfamiliar to be defined.… Read the rest

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The Five Worst Thanksgivings in History

PilgrimIf you’re dreading your family Thanksgiving, it could be worse! John Marr identifies the five worst Thanksgivings in history, which included the day the Ku Klux Klan was founded, and Reno’s “Thanksgiving Day Massacre” in 1980. (“Priscilla Ford had a long history of psychiatric problems and bizarre behavior…”)

Also included? The day 22 people were killed in 1900 at the Big Game between football rivals Stanford and Berkeley, and a story which concludes “The gunmen immediately started blasting away with shotguns and assault rifles…”

Usually on Thanksgiving, “Good old all-American chaos is down,” writes Marr sardonically. “But not entirely out.”… Read the rest

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Dead Man’s Twitter Feed Keeps Updating

Dead TwitterLast week John Pospisil, the editor of Blorge.com, passed away, but his Twitter feed continued updating, since he’d configured it to re-tweet all the headlines from his group technology blog.

“Eventually I figured it out,” reports one technology blogger, “but it was a big shock to see more messages appearing from John himself on the day after he’d died.” They also dedicated their first ebook to Pospisil, a Thanksgiving children’s story, because “I’d always thought we’d watch the world changing together…”… Read the rest

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Congress Starts Pushing an Online Sales Tax

Tax FreeTen U.S. Senators are now proposing a “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which creates a new system letting states collect sales taxes from purchases made online. “It’s about closing a tax loophole,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, part of a bipartisan coalition which has already introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

Strangely, Amazon has just issued a press release saying they support the bill, calling it “a win-win resolution,” according to one Kindle blog, though they may just be hoping to lobby for exemptions from each individual state.

“Instead of a national sales tax, these new taxes will only be imposed at the individual discretion of each separate state legislature, and that’s an area where multi-billion dollar companies like Amazon can still exert a lot of pressure.… Read the rest

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How The Family Circus Confronted the Web

Dysfunctional Family CircusTuesday cartoonist Bil Keane died at the age of 89 — and one webmaster fondly remembers how Keane gracefully confronted unauthorized parodies on the internet.

Keane was a good sport about fake Amazon reviews that gushed about supposedly hidden literary themes in collections of his newspaper comic strips, and he once even drew his own characters into a “guest appearance” in a Zippy the Pinhead strip. But in 1999, Keane’s syndicate threatened legal action against the “Dysfunctional Family Circus” site, which had been re-captioning Keane’s cartoons for over four years.

Heading off a “free speech” showdown, Keane resolved the situation with a friendly phone call to the webmaster, who ultimately decided to voluntarily remove the images just because “He’s actually a nice guy.”… Read the rest

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WikiLeaks: the Novel?

The Panama LaughAuthor Thomas S. Roche has written a new zombie novel which incorporates WikiLeaks, conspiracy forums, and viral YouTube videos, studying the new wasteland where military violence intersects corporate disinformation.

“I think WikiLeaks represents a very important impulse and the start of a strong movement toward anti-corporate sentiment and the demand for government transparency,” he explains in this new interview, “As ineffectual as that movement may end up being – because it started so late in the process of corporate control being consolidated…”

He moves from discussing fictional zombie-fighting to the brutal real-world military violence in neo-colonial nations around the world. And he ultimately wonders if our wireless technology-enhanced future will also include the potential for massive global disinformation.… Read the rest

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Homeland Security Office Stages a Mock Zombie Invasion

Night of the Living DeadAn Ohio office of the Emergency Management Agency — part of the Department of Homeland Security —
will stage a mock zombie attack on Halloween using more than 225 volunteers dressed as zombies at an Ohio college.

“Organizers hoped the theme would attract more volunteers than previous simulations of industrial accidents or train crashes,” the AP reports, quoting a spokesman for the agency as saying that “People got zombie fever here in Delaware.” The exercise included decontamination procedures for hazardous materials, and was inspired by an “emergency preparedness” post on the CDC web site citing the popular fascination with zombies. (The number of zombie ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle store has increased by 13.9% in just the last two months.)

Now, “Dozens of agencies have embraced the idea,” the AP reports, “spreading the message that if you’re prepared for a zombie attack, you’re prepared for just about anything.”… Read the rest

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