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Courtesy of WIRED:

Sculptor Michael Rea has a knack for building. But unlike most architects, he draws on an encyclopedic knowledge of geek culture and an eccentric sense of humor for his unique sculptures.

Rea’s movie-influenced menagerie includes electronic consoles, time machines and holy artifacts — all fashioned from wood. He even built an eight-foot-tall prosthetic suit, equipped with swords, for physicist Stephen Hawking after seeing Quentin Tarantino’skung fu-inspired Kill Bill.

A Google search for “woodpunk” unWebbed these Japanese wooden robots that remind me of a simpler time.

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The lil’ lady and I watched Hot Fuzz the other night, and then, totally by accident, Mission Impossible III a few days later. British actor Simon Pegg is in both of them, and, I might add, the only redeeming performance in MI:III. Then, someone at work reminded me of Simon Pegg’s faux trailer for the Grindhouse project. And now today, I read a post from the City Desk @ Washington City Paper (my soon-to-be journalistic residence) about a Britcom in which Pegg starred during the late ’90s, called Spaced. All these Pegg discoveries warrant a rewatching of Shaun of the Dead and a first-time viewing of Run, Fatboy, Run.

Here’s a sample of Pegg’s directorial panache–the trailer for Don’t, which ran in between the two Grindhouse flicks:

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Paul is skeptical of the Alicia Keys, Jack White duet for the new James Bond Movie, Quantum of Solace, and that got me thinking about the quality of the last several Bond theme songs. Check out each one below (in reverse chronological order), and then ask yourself: Could Jack White be any worse?

Note: I stopped with 1995’s GoldenEye, under the assumption that anything between 1995, and say, 1970, would be cheesy and suckish. Let me know if I’m wrong.

From Casino Royale, “You Know My Name,” by Chris Cornell (I actually like this one):

From Die Another Day, “Die Another Day,” by Madonna:

From The World Is Not Enough, “The World is Not Enough,” by Garbage:

From Tomorrow Never Dies, “Tomorrow Never Dies,” by Sheryl Crow:

From Golden Eye, “Golden Eye,” by Tina Turner:

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Ryan’s recent anti-Steampunk post revived my interest in SP culture, so I thought I’d share this satirical imagined monologue by Marco Kaye:

No, I won’t take off my topcoat. And that’s exactly my point. I understand your confusion. The nascent trend I have latched onto is difficult to define. Maybe I can explain it to you with the new mods I’ve been working on. No, Mom. Not like in Quadrophenia, although I appreciate those mods’ fondness for tailor-made clothing. These mods.

This looks like a late-18th-century organette, correct? Look again. It hides the Dell laptop you got me when I went to college. This bronze hand crank turns it on, and I’ve hidden a miniature photo printer where the tune sheet is supposed to go. I even installed Linux. I’ve put a lot of time into this since I quit my job at Anthropologie, which is something else I wanted to tell you about. Don’t get up and go to Lowe’s yet. But when you’re there can you get me a two-speed fan capacitor?

You’ll appreciate this, Dad. Would I ever lose this cell phone? It’s got a back plate of soldered brass. I created the aged patina with simple ammonia and salt. I’ll replenish that soon, if you’ll quit bugging me about it….

If you want to label me retrofuturistic so I can fit into your compartmentalized worldview, that’s fine. But look past my airplane goggles. This is my lifestyle….

Don’t shackle me to your outmoded ways of work. Trade and barter are more valuable to me than any coin. Besides, I’m plenty busy guest-hosting a blog called The Neon Corset. My band, Shades of Crimson, has taken off. We just booked a gig at the Rusty Rudder.

Don’t look so crestfallen, Mom and Dad. At least I’m not into cyberpunk.

Kaye’s satire requires as least an introductory knowledge of Steampunk, which means that laughing at this essay equates in some ways to laughing at one’s self. Steampunk is so fucking cool.

BTW: While researching an article on emo for Reason, I came across two ’90s emo acts with which I am now very much in love. I know I’m late to the party on these two, but here are my current fave’s: Sunny Day Real Estate and My Bloody Valentine:

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Reason.tv did an interview with Mark Bauerlein, professor of English at Emory U. and author of the Dumbest Generation. His thesis in a nutshell? Facebook makes us dumb shits:

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Christopher Hitchens writes at Slate about cave salamanders and their implications for evolutionary biologists and creationists alike. I’m guessing his thesis will rub God is Greaters a little raw: Creationists claim evolutionary progressions as an intelligent victory, but what about the case of the blind salamander, that devolved until it had no eyes?

An explanation of the title here.

UPDATE: So, in case you haven’t followed the above link to the Westboro Baptist Church’s website, go here instead. The church was recently sued for $10.9 million and lost. In the linked video, the church members tell why it’s a good thing. My favorite quote? “We thank God for the $10.9 million verdict because, adjusted for inflation, it is roughly the same as the 30 pieces of silver Jesus was sold for.”

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-Keith Hempstead of Raleigh, NC, sues his local paper over staff cuts that made his subscription worth less than what he paid.

-Underage college douche gets DUI, almost kills a person, then shows up at a party in a jailbird costume. Pictures from said party end up on Facebook, the state attorney’s office finds the pics, the judge throws the book at the kid. Who didn’t see that one coming?

-After watching three movies about super heroes, Vanity Fair concludes that the parallels between reality and fantasy are too overwhelming to put anywhere but the homepage (see Arnold & Hellboy, R. Downey, Jr. and C. Bale).

-People who do it for a living divided on the best way to cut open a woman and extract a screaming, wriggling fetus.

-N. Koreans abduct baby from the White House.

-An interviewer learns that Tracy Morgan is something of an idiot savant; Michael Ian Black is nobody’s last resort, and Maggie Gyllenhaal (because The Secretary wasn’t evidence enough) is interested in sexuality.  

Courtesy of my Google Reader.

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