Tuesday various

Thursday various

  • Today is Harry Houdini’s birthday. In honor of that, here’s a look at his Scene and Prop List. [via]
  • I don’t know… ordering the removal of a mural depicting your state’s labor history from the lobby of your state’s Department of Labor seems like kind of a dick move. [via]
  • As, frankly, do these new farm “protection” bills discussed by Mark Bittman — although, there, there’s some dangerous precedent being set:

    The Florida bill would require anyone wishing to photograph a farm to first secure written permission from the owner. And what if they don’t? First-degree felony. The implicit goal here is to deter and criminalize damning undercover exposés….The bill would also make it illegal for an agenda-less passerby to snap a picture of a farm from the side of the road, but my best guess is that those “crimes” might not be prosecuted quite so diligently.

  • The Phantom Menace in 3-D? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me…oh, god, what is this? Like the at least the sixth or seventh time? Shame very obviously on me, George Lucas, but I will not be going to see this. [via]
  • And finally, an interview with Terry Jones. He discusses, among other things, Monty Python‘s less than certain start:

    I mean, even right up until the middle of the second series John Cleese’s mum was still sending him job adverts for supermarket managers cut out from her local newspaper.

Wednesday various

Tuesday various

  • Lots of people are pointing out why retroactively censoring Huckleberry Finn is a bad idea, but I think I like what Gerry Canavan says most:

    If we’re going to retroactively censor Mark Twain, I’d say “slave” seems significantly more offensive to me than “n*gger” insofar as it accedes to the noxious proposition that some people can be slaves in the first place. People can be enslaved, of course—but no person is a slave. In my own rare writing and teaching on slavery I try to favor “so-called slave” and “enslaved person” in a quiet effort to highlight that slavery is not an essence but a structure of violent domination.

    It’s not the fact that we’re still having this conversation that bothers me — we should have continued and open discussions about race — it’s that we’re still faced with people who think not discussing it, pretending the words we don’t like don’t exist, is the right way to go.

  • In happier news, Nel Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are married. As Patton Oswalt writes:

    Marriage of @amandapalmer and @neilhimself confirmed. Like the Hatfield/Coy War, the Nerd/Goth schism is laid to rest — by love!

  • And in other amusing, geeky wedding news, Doctor Who‘s David Tennant is engaged to one-time co-star Georgia Moffett. As Peter David amusingly notes:

    The Tenth Doctor is going to be marrying his own daughter who also happens to be the daughter of the Fifth Doctor and Trillian from the TV version of “Hitchhiker.”

    Most meta engagement EV-er.

  • Speaking of Doctor Who, these one-of-a-kind nesting dolls may very well be the coolest thing ever. [via]
  • And finally, Udo Kier…honestly, in interview, the man comes across like he’s playing an Udo Kier character — erudite, macabre, and often delightfully unhinged:

    I cannot answer you, because it’s totally unknown to me what you just asked me, and also very boring.

Thursday various

  • “What’s a Canooter to Do?” Heather reviews Jenny McCarthy’s latest book, so the rest of us don’t have to:

    Is this what the book is about? No, not really. But even my canooter agreed that there was a glimmer of something just underneath the surface — a subtext of what happens when you turn to a life of reality TV and high profile media. And when you finish reading the book — when you finish with McCarthy’s tale of how she has turned to Buddhism to try to find peace and acceptance in her life — you’re left with a vague, nauseous feeling. A feeling that if you want to be like Jenny McCarthy, you’re buying into a view of the world that is tough, jaded, and incredibly cynical. It’s a fleeting feeling, though. Give a moment, and then you’ll be back to laughing about the silly things you can do with your canooter. Hahahahahah. Seriously. I’m not making this up. Hahahahaha.

  • On why dancing is like being a Time Lord:

    When dancing is going well, time does funny things. Sometimes it feels like the most perfect special effect. The suspended water drops. The muffled pause inside an explosion, with every piece of debris hanging still in midair. The only other time I’ve felt the same endless expansion was one evening when I drove down the freeway and a car in front of me lost control, spectacularly and ridiculously. It spun the way cars do in movies, actual elliptical twirls that carried it across the entire spread of lanes, first one way and then the other. It struck the central divider and pinwheeled off again, and everything looked so gentle and so inevitable that when it swung towards me, it seemed to drift along an obvious curve and I had all the time in the world to twitch my own car the smallest degree to the side and watch it slide past. Time suddenly opened up, every edge of it unfolding, like some sort of weird, reversed version of origami. [via]

  • A short but interesting interview with Chevy Chase:

    Let’s not call physical comedy falling down and pratfalls. All humor is physical, no matter how you dish it out. It’s timing, like a dancer or an athlete would have. The raising of an eyebrow, how you do it; when you look, how you look. All those little things are physical. [via]

  • Genevieve Valentine on bad movies:

    If you are on a desert island and Legion is the only movie available in the island-proof DVD player, use the reflective surface of the DVD to angle sunlight onto some dry grass and start a fire; do not use it for any other purpose. I am serious.

  • And finally, Theodora Goss on why she goes to the museum:

    It’s part of a writer’s training, in a sense, to experience as much as possible and to store what is experienced away, not as though doing research, but storing it in the mind so that what is most important is retained. The sheen on a particular piece of glass, for example. Because we create a sense of reality by describing our fantasies as though they were real, and in order to do that we need to draw from what is real, from our experiences. That’s why monsters are hybrids: we always draw from and recombine reality, and so our fantastical creatures are recombinations.