Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From the Vice Desk: Pop Open an Old One

The August issue of Smithsonian contains an interesting article about "experimental archaeologists" who work with local breweries in an attempt to recreate ancient alcohol recipes. The efforst are at least interesting, if not always appealing to our modern/Western sensibilities.

[A tipple to Arts & Letters Daily, once again.]

Monday, June 27, 2011

Not Just Clean, '80s Retro Clean


TMI VIP The Amazing Mrs. Kendall sent us this photo and claims she found the soap that way one afternoon. Lies, damnned lies and soap art.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Those of us in the Northern hemisphere enjoyed the summer solstice, aka Midsummer, today at 17:16 UTC, when the Earth leaned in and gave the Sun a little smooch. A cynic would point out here, that the days only grow shorter from now unitl December.

We will not dwell on such things today. Instead let's take a look at this .jpg of John William Waterhouse's wonderfully textured oil painting "Magic Circle" ...

Waterhouse frequently turned to mythology, folklore and literature for inspiration. Here's a Wikipedia gallery of some of his work.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not Too Dear

On June 18, 2011 Paul McCartney turned 69. And based on recent news that he's getting married again, The Cute One isn't at all worried that somebody will still need him, still feed him, well beyond 64.

Say what you want about Macca. The songs he wrote with The Beatles, even some of the post-Beatles compositions, are solid enough to be molded and reformed by other performers and work just as well. Surely that's the mark of good songwriting.

8-Bit Operators, a collective of musicians who use the sound chips from the Nintendo Entertainment System, Speak & Spell and other similarly low-tech electronic devices, to make music. Two years ago they made a compilation of Beatles covers called I Want to Hld Yr Handheld, Vol. 1.

Like their previous tribute to Kraftwerk, it's a wildly uneven mix but then somebody such as poke-1,170 (aka Julian van Aalderen) puts it all together and knocks out a version of "When I'm 64" that makes perfect sense delivered in the cutesy bleeps and bloops of an old home video game console:

If that embed isn't showing up, here's a link. You might as well also lend an ear to Sloopygoop's take on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and Bubblyfish's reading of "Piggies" that gives the Walter/Wendy Carlos treatment to a song that was already tonally close to A Clockwork Orange.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shrunken Heads Are For Real

May got off to such a promising start. Traveling off the grid put us in strange states where the ghost of Howard Hughes danced on the wing of The Spruce Goose to a lopsided Mexican shuffle played by a laughing band of weirdos. And on a hot Saturday morning, Typing Monkey publisher S.L. Kreighton left a bit of himself in a hotel parking lot. We were all so frightened and entertained.

Never mind. We merge back onto the information superhighway's increasingly neglected backroads in order to bring you this piece about scientists analyzing the DNA of an alleged shrunken head, proving that said noggin is no longer alleged. It's an actual human head that's been shrunk.

As if we ever doubted it. For the time-strapped, here's a quotation from Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, one of the scientists who conducted the DNA examination:

"'During spiritual ceremonies, enemies' heads were carefully reduced through boiling and heating, in the attempt to lock the enemy's spirit and protect the killers from spiritual revenge.'"

[Photo is not the head they tested, but one kept in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Photo by Narayan k28, via WikiCommons.]