M Is FOR MASHUP - January 21st, 2015
TV Shows from That Day-Glo Decade
This week, we're gonna' hand it over to guest columnist Dave, otherwise 'noun' as AtoZ !
Some of the thoughts he's had on 60's TV that've been knockin' around his whimsical version of a brain for ages have suddenly taken the written form of an essay . . or a thesis . . or maybe just a rambling series of sentences ?
Anyweigh, we're gonna call "TV Shows from That Day-Glo Decade" a topic related to Mash-Ups, perhaps as the deep seated seeds of inspiration . . . or maybe just cuz your Useo host has mashed both "Hogan's Heroes" and "Mr. Ed"?, while he and AtoZ both have used The Dick Van Dyke show on separate occasions.
If the men behind the TV pilot seasons of the mid-60's weren't exactly at the same "LSD In Your Coffee Surprise Party" as Mr. George and John Beatle, then at least they were all passed the same joint !
We went from the dawn of that "turbulent decade", where shows were still painting dreamy pictures of suburban life. And even if all the shows like "Father Knew Beaver Would Make Room For Daddy" added more salt to their sugary visions then we tend to remember, it was still largely the rosy ideal portrayals of the late 50's.
Things took a few major steps towards realism as Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith came on the scene, but in only a couple more years high concept sit-coms would explode in all directions !
One guys marries a witch, while another brings home a genie in a bottle ( eventually marrying her as well ).
One motley assortment of oddballs get stuck on an island, while a couple of astronauts get stuck in the stone-age!
"My Favorite Martian" crashes with an L.A. reporter while a Flying Nun sails over Puerto Rico.
We got yer' talkin' horses, yer' mother's spirit inhabiting a car, wacky antics in a concentration camp with adorable Nazis, and two families of family-friendly ghouls living in the ookiest homes on the block! (a rent-free ghost even lived with Mrs. Muir!)
Rural America was on the move in all directions too! . . . Manhattanites move out to Greener Acres, Hillbillies end up in Beverly Hills . . . while the girls of Petticoat Junction simply washed-up in a water tower.
At the same time, modern culture continually passed thru the looking-glass of tripped-out TV.
The Beatles became "The Monkees" . . . James Bond translated into Maxwell Smart . . and without a dozen comic-book superhero movies a year to draw on, TV fed on it's own with the campiest version of Batman paving the way for a couple of single-season delights like "Captain Nice" and "Mr. Terrific".
If we trace the evolution of music, culture, and personal/social self-identity through the very same times, it becomes apparent that we were all Dorothy, traveling from black & white Kansas to step out into the colorful landscapes of Oz!
The Times, They Were a' Changin', indeed . . . everywhere and on most levels. So perhaps my observation that TV pitch-guys ( and Madison Ave. ) all flipped their wigs as they lost their expanded minds… maybe this is pretty darn obvious afterall.
But it sure made for some entertaining & goofy new ideas on channels 2, 4 and 7 !!
To paraphrase a "pair a' phrases" from this same frame of time, they "turned-on while we was already tuned-in ... and then we all dropped-out and staged a "Laugh-In" till the 70's dawned and the gritty realism at the movies manifesting in films like "Midnight Cowboy" & "M*A*S*H" was also reflected in TV shows like "All In The Family" or "Room 222".
We came back down to earth, putting our trippy threads back in the closet, but we'd never have ended-up in Enlightened Town if we hadn't have travelled through Whimsyville to get there.
Charles M. Blow: How Expensive It Is to Be Poor (NY Times)
Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released a study that found that most wealthy Americans believed "poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return." This is an infuriatingly obtuse view of what it means to be poor in this country - the soul-rending omnipresence of worry and fear, of weariness and fatigue. This can be the view only of those who have not known - or have long forgotten - what poverty truly means.
Suzanne Moore: Inequality isn't inevitable, it's engineered. That's how the 1% have taken over (Guardian)
Unless we wake up to the fact that wild inequality isn't just an unavoidable byproduct of growth, the gap will keep on widening.
Kristi Harrison: 4 Ways the Disney Princesses Created Modern Feminism (Cracked)
After a year when everyone from Nicki Minaj to science toys cloaked themselves in the warm, motherly folds of feminism -- when A-list starlets like Divergent Girl and Katy Perry distanced themselves from the "F" word, and when TIME magazine got so sick of the label that they flirted with putting the word on the naughty list -- I think it's safe to say "feminism" is having a moment.
Nicola Oakley: Woman fakes own DEATH to get out of dating man she met online (Mirror)
One of our readers claimed that she had to resort to desperate measures to rid herself of an admirer.
Happy Holidays from Exit10 (Vimeo)
Nothing spreads holiday cheer like a slushy, well-hurled snowball to the face. See how we light up with joy in this ultra-slow motion video shot on a Phantom Camera.
Karen McCombie: when I was 15 and desperately wanted to be Holden's girlfriend from Catcher in the Rye (Guardian)
Site member MarsBar27 talks to the author of The Girl Who Wasn't There and Angels in Training about ghosts, crisps, cats, time travel and what we can expect from her next…
Shalini Boland: how to write the perfect dystopian novel (Guardian)
Site member and teen book blogger Delve into Dystopia talks to the author of the Outside series about her novels and all things dystopia.
The Virtues of Know-Nothing Criticism by Noah Berlatsky (LA Review of Books)
RECENTLY I WROTE a story about Star Wars and science fiction for The Atlantic. The comments section, as these things will, featured a large number of people telling me that I was unqualified to write about the topic because I hadn't read enough sci-fi books, or hadn't read enough recent sci-fi books, or hadn't read the right sci-fi books, or hadn't seen the right sci-fi movies.
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"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
Project Blue Book
Didja see this?
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to email@example.com.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
I'm not too good at the begging routine, but this page doesn't generate enough revenue for a high-speed connection, so I'm still on a crappy dial-up.
I'm grateful to my 3 pillars who faithfully send a monthly donation, but it's not enough to cover what the local cable monopoly charges ($59.99/mo) for a faster connection.
Many thanks to the one reader (Dale) who responded.
Did you know it takes 8 minutes to download 1MB on a crappy dial-up? Or that it takes me over an hour just to upload an average page & its elements?
My patience is shot and I'm tired of being tired.
Please get me off this damn crappy dial-up!
Jointly Heading Cannes Festival Jury
The Coen brothers, award-winning American directors of hits like "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski", will jointly head the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first pair to chair the world's top cinema showcase.
Joel and Ethan Coen will preside over the panel of filmmakers and actors judging the movies in the main competition of the festival staged in the glamourous French Riviera resort town from May 13 to 24.
The nearly inseparable brothers are considered two of the most innovative directors in the world and have jointly written, directed and produced a series of hits over the past three decades.
Joel, 60, and Ethan, 57, take over running the Cannes jury from last year's president Jane Campion, the New Zealand director of "The Piano".
The siblings are known as the "two-headed director" within the movie world for their seamless ability to work alongside each other.
The FCC means business when it tells companies not to use the distinctive Emergency Alert System audio tones to grab audiences' attention for entertainment - the way Viacom and ESPN did when they ran ads for FilmDistrict's 2013 thriller Olympus Has Fallen. The regulatory agency today rejected the companies' claims that they shouldn't be held responsible for fines it imposed last year, requiring Viacom to pay $1.12 million and ESPN to cough up $280,000.
Misuse of the warnings "creates a 'Cry Wolf' scenario, which risks desensitizing the public to the significance of the tones in a real emergency," the FCC says in its Foreiture Order. Viacom aired the ads 108 times over five days on Spike, VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, MTV2, Centric, and BET. ESPN ran them 13 times over four days on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNEWS. That "violated the law and jeopardized the essential and exclusive function of the EAS - to immediately alert the public to an actual emergency." (NBCUniversal also showed the ad 38 times, and paid its $530,000 fine.)
Viacom and ESPN told the FCC that they shouldn't be held responsible because they weren't notified that the movie trailer broke the rules. Viacom added that the ban on use of EAS tones "does not apply to intermediaries…which neither produced the Advertisement nor transmitted it directly to consumers."
But the FCC says that the rule "applies broadly to 'persons' and does not exclude cable programmers." It also applies to those who "transmit or cause to transmit" the tones, which gave the companies "unambiguous notice" that they could be held responsible. What's more, Viacom's ad guidelines tell buyers that it can review commercials before they run and reject them if needed "to ensure compliance" with laws and regulations.
Boy Builds Braille Printer With Legos
In Silicon Valley, it's never too early to become an entrepreneur. Just ask 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee.
The California eighth-grader has launched a company to develop low-cost machines to print Braille, the tactile writing system for the visually impaired. Tech giant Intel Corp. recently invested in his startup, Braigo Labs.
Shubham built a Braille printer with a Lego robotics kit as a school science fair project last year after he asked his parents a simple question: How do blind people read? "Google it," they told him.
Shubham then did some online research and was shocked to learn that Braille printers, also called embossers, cost at least $2,000 - too expensive for most blind readers, especially in developing countries.
Round-The-World Attempt Next Month
A plane powered by the sun will attempt an unprecedented flight around the world next month, the project's founders said, seeking to prove that flying is possible without using fossil fuel.
Solar Impulse 2 is set to take off from Abu Dhabi with stopovers in India, Myanmar and China before crossing the Pacific Ocean and flying across the United States and southern Europe to arrive back in Abu Dhabi.
On its five-month journey of 35,000 km (22,000 miles), the engines will be powered only by solar energy. The two Swiss pilots will take turns at the controls in the tiny cabin for five consecutive days and nights in the air.
The plane, which has the weight of a family car (2,300 kg, 5,100 pounds) and a wingspan equal to that of the largest passenger airliners, will take off in late February and return by late July. Its journey will span approximately 25 flight days at speeds between 50 and 100 km (30 to 60 miles) per hour.
Loses Court Battle
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is facing a real-life kitchen nightmare after a British judge on Tuesday ruled him personally liable for the 640,000-pound ($1 million) annual rent on a London gastropub.
Ramsay accused his father-in-law, Christopher Hutcheson, of using an autopen machine to forge his signature on a document making Ramsay personal guarantor for the rent on the York & Albany pub, now a fashionable dining spot.
But High Court judge Paul Morgan ruled that the contract was binding. He said that when the 25-year lease was signed in 2007, Hutcheson "was acting within the wide general authority conferred on him by Mr. Ramsay" to manage his business.
He said Ramsay knew that the autopen - a device often used by authors to sign multiple copies of their books - was "routinely used to place his signature on legal documents."
The judge ordered Ramsay to make an interim payment to the pub's owner, Gary Love, of 250,000 pounds. The chef also faces a large bill for legal costs.
Two Ex-Wrestlers File Lawsuit
Two former WWE professional wrestlers say they have serious brain injuries after suffering repeated concussions in the ring and have filed a potential class-action lawsuit against the Connecticut-based company in federal court in Philadelphia.
Vito LoGrasso, 50, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Evan Singleton, 22, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, accuse World Wrestling Entertainment of "selling violence" and ignoring their "numerous" concussions.
LoGrasso, whose ring names included Big Vito and Skull Von Krush, wrestled in the WWE from 1991 to 1998 and from 2005 to 2007, was "seriously and obviously injured countless times," according to the lawsuit. It said he was "forced to wrestle though he was losing consciousness before and during matches."
LoGrasso now suffers from "serious neurological damage" and has memory loss, depression and anxiety, the lawsuit said.
Singleton wrestled for WWE under the name of Adam Mercer from 2012 to 2013 and at the age of 19 was among the youngest wrestlers in WWE history. He now has "an array of serious symptoms," including tremors, convulsions, memory loss and "impaired ability to reason," the lawsuit said.
New Yorker Writer Says He Didn't Pen Op-ed
A New Yorker journalist famed for his reporting from China wrote that the state-run newspaper China Daily faked an editorial under his byline after interviewing him.
Peter Hessler said on Facebook on Tuesday that he didn't write the piece posted on China Daily's website a day earlier titled "US observer: Comparing Egypt with China" and that his words were taken out of context.
The resulting editorial repeats Communist Party talking points, lauding China's stability and education system while counseling that any changes in China are "likely to be subtle, incremental, and coming from the top."
The newspaper removed the online piece in English, but it remains available in state media in Chinese. On Facebook, Hessler wrote he asked the China Daily for a retraction but the paper refused.
Water Levels Drop
Russia sounded the alarm Tuesday as water levels in Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake, dropped to record lows, with environmentalists blaming dry weather and overuse by local industry.
The regional emergency ministry in Buryatia region on the lake's shores announced a state of high alert as villages surrounding the lake were reportedly hit by water shortages.
The water level in the lake is just eight centimetres (3 inches) above the minimum 456 metres (1496 feet) above sea level allowed by the Russian government. The lake has been at its lowest levels in 60 years, according to Buryatia natural resources minister Yury Safyanov.
A special meeting of the Russian government will decide next week whether to allow Baikal to drop below the current legal minimum level to feed the hydroelectric power plants.
Unlocking Ancient Scrolls
Villa of the Papyri
Scientists have succeeded in reading parts of an ancient scroll that was buried in a volcanic eruption almost 2,000 years ago, holding out the promise that the world's oldest surviving library may one day reveal all of its secrets.
The scroll is among hundreds retrieved from the remains of a lavish villa at Herculaneum, which along with Pompeii was one of several Roman towns that were destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79.
Some of the texts from what is called the Villa of the Papyri have been deciphered since they were discovered in the 1750s. But many more remain a mystery to science because they were so badly damaged that unrolling the papyrus they were written on would have destroyed them completely.
"The papyri were completely covered in blazing-hot volcanic material," said Vito Mocella, a theoretical scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems (CNR) in Naples who led the latest project.
Mocella and his colleagues decided to try a method called X-ray phase contrast tomography that had previously been used to examine fossils without damaging them.
Villa of the Papyri