June 22, 2014
"Forty years after the original short-story publication, Keyes finished his memoirs and went to breakfast to celebrate. While eating he was reading the New York Times and spotted a headline: “Smarter Mouse Is Created in Hope of Helping People”. Keyes contacted the author of the mouse study, Dr. Joe Z. Tsien of Princeton, to ask when such a treatment might be used on humans. “After a long pause, Dr. Tsien said, ‘I expect it to happen in the next 30 years,’” Keyes wrote in an afterword to his memoirs, Algernon, Charlie, and I: A Writer’s Journey."

— The Honorary Unsubscribe: Daniel Keyes. He passed away on June 15 in Florida.

June 1, 2014

Bunny Yeager, maker of icons, Not Safe For Work Florida character, RIP.

May 6, 2014

Sampled from the New York Times interactive MAD fold-in collection.

In honor of Al Feldstein, MAD editor, EC Comics creator, shaper of culture.

From the Washington Post obituary:
For decades, in order to preserve its sharp satirical edge, the magazine did not accept advertising. It had regular features, including “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” and “Spy vs. Spy,” but it built its reputation by puncturing pomposity, often with carefully wrought parodies.

“What we did was to take the absurdities of the adult world that youngsters were facing and show kids that the adult world is not ominpotent,” Mr. Feldstein told the New York Times in 1981. “We told them there’s a lot of garbage out in the world and you’ve got to be aware of it.”

In a Mad sendup, the bland middle-America magazine Better Homes and Gardens became “Bitter Homes and Gardens,” where you could learn how to “convert your spare bedroom into a basement.”

During the Vietnam War, the magazine asked readers to write to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to request an “Official Draft Dodger Card.”

In a predictably bizarre encounter, FBI agents paid a visit to Mad’s offices in New York, dropping hints that Hoover didn’t take kindly to such shenanigans.

February 20, 2014
"A lot of people told Bob to stop playing in Devo in those early days. Luckily, he had trust. That’s one of at the advantages of brothers. He didn’t accept disrespectful assessments of our experiments. We were feared and objects of derision all at the same time. They felt sorry for us in a way. We couldn’t even get a date."

Jerry Casale remembers his little brother and bandmate in Rolling Stone.

Both Bob Casale and Alan Myers appear to have died from stomach problems.

January 28, 2014

MR. TAVENNER: Mr. Seeger, prior to your entry in the service in 1942, were you engaged in the practice of your profession in the area of New York?

MR. SEEGER: It is hard to call it a profession. I kind of drifted into it and I never intended to be a musician, and I am glad I am one now, and it is a very honorable profession, but when I started out actually I wanted to be a newspaperman, and when I left school —

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Will you answer the question, please?

MR. SEEGER: I have to explain that it really wasn’t my profession, I picked up a little change in it.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Did you practice your profession?

MR. SEEGER: I sang for people, yes, before World War II, and I also did as early as 1925.

MR. TAVENNER: And upon your return from the service in December of 1945, you continued in your profession?

MR. SEEGER: I continued singing, and I expect I always will.

MR. TAVENNER: The Committee has information obtained in part from the Daily Worker indicating that, over a period of time, especially since December of 1945, you took part in numerous entertainment features. I have before me a photostatic copy of the June 20, 1947, issue of the Daily Worker. In a column entitled “What’s On” appears this advertisement: “Tonight-Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming.” May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from the New York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.

MR. TAVENNER: I don’t believe there is any more authoritative document in regard to the Communist Party than its official organ, the Daily Worker.

MR. SCHERER: He hasn’t answered the question, and he merely said he wouldn’t answer whether the article appeared in the New York Times or some other magazine. I ask you to direct the witness to answer the question.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer.

MR. SEEGER: Sir, the whole line of questioning-

CHAIRMAN WALTER: You have only been asked one question, so far.

MR. SEEGER: I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.

MR. TAVENNER: Has the witness declined to answer this specific question?

CHAIRMAN WALTER: He said that he is not going to answer any questions, any names or things.

MR. SCHERER: He was directed to answer the question.

MR. TAVENNER: I have before me a photostatic copy of the April 30, 1948, issue of the Daily Worker which carries under the same title of “What’s On,” an advertisement of a “May Day Rally: For Peace, Security and Democracy.” The advertisement states: “Are you in a fighting mood? Then attend the May Day rally.” Expert speakers are stated to be slated for the program, and then follows a statement, “Entertainment by Pete Seeger.” At the bottom appears this: “Auspices Essex County Communist Party,” and at the top, “Tonight, Newark, N.J.” Did you lend your talent to the Essex County Communist Party on the occasion indicated by this article from the Daily Worker?

MR. SEEGER: Mr. Walter, I believe I have already answered this question, and the same answer.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: The same answer. In other words, you mean that you decline to answer because of the reasons stated before?

MR. SEEGER: I gave my answer, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is your answer?

MR. SEEGER: You see, sir, I feel-

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is your answer?

MR. SEEGER: I will tell you what my answer is.

(Witness consulted with counsel [Paul L. Ross].)

I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Why don’t you make a little contribution toward preserving its institutions?

MR. SEEGER: I feel that my whole life is a contribution. That is why I would like to tell you about it.


Pete Seeger’s testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), August 18, 1955.

October 28, 2013
Lou Reed, tai chi practitioner.

Lou Reed, tai chi practitioner.

October 7, 2013

September 16, 2013
First Things' remembrance of Warren Zevon has some surprising songs in it.

The admiration for Catholicism from outside should be no surprise, really. But some of the tracks linked in there are really not what you’d expect.

And are good.

September 2, 2013

Jim Kelly from grantimatter on 8tracks Radio.

I asked people, “What one song makes you think of Jim Kelly?”

These were some of the answers.

If you’ve got one that’s not on here, let me know, and I can do some editing.

August 28, 2013

Later, then, would mean tomorrow morning. But after seeing how bright the moon is tonight, Shealy has been inspired to check the beans early. So here we are, pushing our way through patches of hip-high sawgrass and palmetto, getting our feet wet in the interest of science. A certain skepticism seems in order — it’s hard to believe we could really get results so soon — but otherwise, it occurs to me, there are worse ways to spend a warm Saturday night in January.

Then I see Shealy stand up straight, as though startled. “What’s happened here?” he says, taking a big step forward into what I recognize as the site of the bean-set. “Look at this!” I’m looking already, not sure what I’m seeing. For some reason the blue, five-gallon bucket in which Shealy had carried the beans is lying on its side in the middle of the mud. The rake he used to clear the ground and which he’d left standing upright in the bucket and leaning against a pine tree is now in the mud too — but it’s in pieces, its sturdy wooden handle snapped at three points like a toothpick. The beans, once piled in a neat, six-inch mound, are almost all gone.

Shealy is kneeling down, examining the ground a few feet in front of the biggest piece of rake handle, staring at a strange mark in the mud. “There’s a print!” he exclaims. “See the heel, the toes?”

When I return alone to the site at 8:30 the next morning, the footprint is still there. A quick measurement confirms that it is, in fact, quite big — about fourteen inches from its toes to its deep-pressed, water-filled heel, and about five inches across at its ball. It appears to be a right foot.

The bucket and pieces of rake lie where they were dropped. The night before, I’d moved only one thing — the rake’s plastic teeth. An unfamiliar odor is still present on them hours later. Strangely, it is not especially unpleasant, and nothing like a rotten-egg stench. Rather, it smells like licorice crossed with something else, something completely outside my experience. Now, with that smell still on my hands, I’m left to wonder just what it was we almost encountered last night. With the sun up, it’s much harder to imagine a rampaging Skunk Ape loose in these woods.


Jim Kelly, "Creature Feature", Miami New Times, 19 Feb 1998.

Ride easy, Jim. You never know what’s out there.

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