"Better to be interested than interesting."

Dale Carnegie


I don't understand how astronomers are able to give a fuck about anything in their daily lives. If I had to think about stuff like this all day I'd start drinking as soon as I got in my car to go home and quickly end up in prison. I almost dropped out of school once because I couldn't stop thinking about how the sun was eventually going to consume the earth and how everything was pointless. Then I got over it.

When trying to conceive of the utter abyss of space I think everyone is either drawn towards the Lovecraft view of it and despair at our insignificance or the Sagan view of it and get excited about our uniqueness. Shut up Liam.

Post-Apocalyptic Screen Grabs #6
Terminator Salvation
Cause: Skynet becoming self-aware

L.A. and the Hollywood Sign:

The Griffith Observatory:

Small band of resistance fighters in New York City (note D train):

San Francisco:

I Want a Dog So Bad

Saw one of these at a bar and thought I was losing my shit, then was delighted (it's the 1930s version of the Puppy Bowl!):

3D YouTube

YouTube recently launched a 3D channel. I was going to use this opportunity to brag about how many pairs of 3D glasses I have but then realized you can select how you want to view them. Truth be told, the cross-eyed version looks better than the red and blue glasses version (although it will give you an eyeball hangover).

This one (of the Roosevelt Island tram) is my favorite so far. I recommend watching it full screen with your lights off.

Shfuck 2

I've been accused of being too positive but when it comes to the prospects of ever managing to score Tom Waits tickets I'm downright despairing. So for me, listening to his live albums are understandably both wonderful and bittersweet. His new album includes a bonus disc of his between song banter-stories that I'm happy to report are all new, with no overlap of my forthcoming Tom Waits Comedy Album I've been compiling from other live shows for a while now. Check his out:

Tom Waits - Tom Tales
[right-click to download]

Just for fun I just want to toss in a few interview snippets:

PLAYBOY: While you may strive for musical crudity, lyrically you’re quite sophisticated-interior rhymes, classical allusions and your hallmark, a great ear for the vernacular. In a sense, you’re the William Safire of street patois, rescuing such phrases as walking Spanish–inebriated saunter–and even coining some pretty good lingo of your own, such as rain dogs: stray people who, like animals after a shower, can’t find their markings and wander aimlessly. What are some of your other favorite bits of slang, phrases you’d like to see get more everyday use?

WAITS: For starters, I’d like to see the term wooden kimono return to the lexicon. Means coffin. Think it originated in New Orleans, but I’m not certain. Another one I like is wolf tickets, which means bad news, as in someone who is bad news or generally insubordinate. In a sentence, you’d say, “Don’t fuck with me, I’m passing out wolf tickets.” Think it’s either Baltimore Negro or turn-of-the-century railroadese.

PITCHFORK: Are there any new artists or people performing right now that you're excited about?

WAITS: Missy Elliott. I'm crazy about her. She did some video where she's on the beach doing the jerk in a wife beater. She's out of her mind. She's so natural. It's like she's always been around. Chamillionaire. I listen to a lot of stuff that my kids listen to. You know, Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys, all that. Most of the stuff that dominates the household is not stuff I'd necessarily listen to, but now I put on what the kids put on.


Given a little more time I could have done this. In the meantime check out my previous post-apocalyptic posts.

PS: Now in theaters, 2012, Zombieland and The Road.

See also:

Earth's Rings

The other day I was standing on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum (Just after seeing this awesomeness) and saw a jet trail that spanned the whole sky. It made me wonder what it would look like if Earth had a ring like Saturn (or Jupiter) did. As luck would have it, someone already figured it out:

I wonder how having rings would have affected our development, not only as a navigation tool but as a source of wonder and religion. Crazy!

PS: Let us not forget this recent discovery.


I love this:

SITE (Sculpture in the Environment)
USA, established 1970
James Wines, American, born 1932
Forest Showroom, Richmond, Virginia
Scale model, 1978
Cardboard and plastic


You know what's a dumb show? V. I can't help liking it, especially its shots of an alien mothership hovering over Manhattan:

I mean, with two cast members from Firefly, one from Battlestar, another from Lost, and one more from Party of Five, you really can't go wrong.

Come to think of it [[SPOILER ALERT]], this is kind of how I hoped Battlestar would end.

Sea Monsters in Space

[This is awesome]

I just finished reading R. Crumb's new illustrated version of Genesis. If you were planning on starting to read the Bible his edition is definitely the way to go. I had read most of Genesis before but this reading taught me something new: God did not create the world.

Here are the first few lines of Genesis:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Because the language obfuscated itself I never took it its meaning until I saw R. Crumb illustrate it:

[Click to enlarge/improve]

What he's saying is that before what Jews and Christians think of as the creation, the earth was already in a sense there but in the form of an endless body of water. God created a pocket of air within that water, holding it back with the firmament (that is until Genesis 7:11 when "the windows of heaven were opened" and the waters were let in to flood the earth). This space constituted all of his creation with the sun and moon and stars floating between the land and firmament. Here is a better illustration:

This understanding of creation is buttressed by one Biblical scholars' more nuanced translation of the Hebrew:

Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author . . . claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world—and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals . . . She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb "bara" . . . does not mean "to create" but to "spatially separate" . . . [She] said her new analysis showed that the beginning of the Bible was not the beginning of time, but the beginning of a narration. She said: "It meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself." She writes in her thesis that the new translation fits in with ancient texts. According to them there used to be an enormous body of water in which monsters were living, covered in darkness . . . The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding.

Normally if I'm offered two stories of the same event I'll go with whichever one is more interesting. This story really gives the Black Sea deluge theory a run for it's money in terms of awesomeness. I think I'm having a crisis of atheist faith. I want to know more about these sea monsters! Do they now live past the edge of space? Are they like the Acanti?

Here's a bonus page from Genesis where Lot offers his two virgin daughters to an angry mob to rape rather than the two strangers he took in as guests (the same two daughters who would later get Lot drunk so they could have sex with him to have children. Fun!

[Click to enlarge/improve]

Liam Shat

Every time I watch Star Trek this is all I can see.


I am of the firm belief that Kano's I'm Ready is one of the best dancing songs ever. I got a bunch of ItaloDisco comps hoping to find some other songs like it but to no avail. I did however come across this song that with a little production work could be next year's D.A.N.C.E. (another top dance contender). Now I just found the video of it that's filmed in 80s London, rad!

And while on the subject of 80s London Amazingness, here's an early BBC documentary on the nascent rap scene (PS Two of my all time favorite rappers have British roots):

And look what I found while looking for Doom videos!:

Interior Design

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

I Knew It!


I'm currently following two great NYC location scout photography blogs using Google Reader (the new all-consuming force in my life), Nathan Kensinger Photography and Scouting New York. Scouting New York has recently started seeking out and posting then and now shots of scenes in famous New York movies. So far he's posted about Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver and Rosemary's Baby. It was on his Ghostbusters post that I learned that the filmmakers originally wanted to use 1 5th ave. for Sigourney Weaver's apartment building slash Sumerian temple to the demigod Zuul instead of Central Park West. I'm just excited because I've always thought it looked like it should have been used in Ghostbusters and now I feel vindicated. Interesting to no one but me is that it also is on the same block as Will Smiths house in I Am Legend with only the Washington Mews to separate them, look out Colin!

You can hit the streets or hit the sheets, don't make no nevermind to me, you dig?

Fucking yes! I've been waiting for this movie to come out for months and finally got to see it and it was everything I wanted and more. The acting, cinematography, soundtrack, and kung-fu were all perfect. I'm going to watch this movie again and again until I've memorized it line for line. My only regret is that I wasn't stoned in the theater.

Here's the soundtrack sampler:

Space News

1. First rocky extrasolar planet discovered!

2. Water discovered on moon!

[click to enlarge]
3. This is only news to me, but I didn't know about the existence of Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Ceres. I especially didn't know that Ceres is suspected of having an ocean of liquid water below its surface and that in 2007 NASA launched the Dawn space probe to explore it in 2015!

See also:
How Many People Are In Space Right Now

2 Albums You've Never Heard

Someone couldn't wait for another Wes Anderson soundtrack so went ahead and made one themselves. Fortunately for us it's a pretty decent knock-off. Even better is that that someone was Nicholas Gurewitch, creator of the Perry Bible Fellowship, the most consistently funny comic strip I've ever seen online. Oh to be multitalented...

You can download it here.

Here's the tracklist:

1. Cumulus
2. Donovan - Hi It’s Been a Long Time
3. Andrew’s Waltz
4. The Kinks - So Long
5. Les Boréades - Piggies
6. Paul Simon - The Obvious Child
7. Artur Rubenstein - Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini - Var. #7
8. Belle and Sebastian - Fox in the Snow
9. With a Chance of Rain
10. Mike Berry and The Outlaws - Don’t You Think it’s Time
11. Hindi Beatles medley
12. The London Double Bass Sound - Moses Fantasy (paganini)
13. Ion Laceanu - Briu
14. The Rolling Stones - Mother’s Little Helper
15. The Flight of the Bumblebee* (Sinfonia Lahti Cello and Bass Ensemble) (Rimsky-Korsakov)
16. The Zombies - Beechwood Park
17. John Cale - Paris 1919
18. The Who - Can’t Explain
19. English Chamber Orchestra - Water Music Suite No. 2 in D
20. Sparks - Whipping and Apologies
21. Itzhak Perlman - Caprice #2 in B Minor by Paganini
22. The Damned - Jet Boy Jet Girl
23. The String Quartet - Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground)
24. Sigur Ros - Olsen Olsen

Listening to the State being interviewed on the Sound of Young America I learned they made an album that was declared unsuitable for release by Warner Brothers. Judge for yourself by downloading it here (although it's really only for State completists).

Elephant House

I just stumbled upon this great flickr set of Edward Gorey's home on Cape Cod (now a museum). A few years ago I was looking at a book of photos of his house that showed a small door at the back of a closet that led into a secret sunny room that housed his childrens book collection (sadly not a part of this flickr set). The man had so many books they had to shore up the beams holding the house up!

Here are some interesting tidbits from Wikipedia:

• Roomed with poet Frank O'Hara while studying French at Harvard.

• Although many people assumed he was English based upon his aesthetic, Gorey was American and had never visited Britain.

• In later years he wrote and directed numerous evening-length entertainments, often featuring his own papier-mâché puppets, in an ensemble known as La Theatricule Stoique.

• For many years he religiously attended all performances of the New York City Ballet.

• His knowledge of literature and films was unusually extensive, and in his interviews, he named Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Francis Bacon, George Balanchine, Balthus, Louis Feuillade, Ronald Firbank, Lady Murasaki Shikibu, Robert Musil, Yasujiro Ozu, Anthony Trollope, and Johannes Vermeer as some of his favorite artists.

• Gorey was also an unashamed pop-culture junkie, avidly following soap operas and TV comedies like Petticoat Junction and Cheers, and he had particular affection for dark genre series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman: The Animated Series, and The X-Files; he once told an interviewer that he so enjoyed the Batman series that it was influencing the visual style of one of his upcoming books.

• Although Gorey's books were popular with children, he did not associate with children much and had no particular fondness for them. Gorey never married, professed to have little interest in romance, and never discussed any specific romantic relationships in interviews. In the book The Strange Case of Edward Gorey, published after Gorey's death, his friend Alexander Theroux reported that when Gorey was pressed on the matter of his sexual orientation, he said that even he was not sure whether he was gay or straight. When asked what his sexual preferences were in an interview, he said,
“I'm neither one thing nor the other particularly. I am fortunate in that I am apparently reasonably undersexed or something...I've never said that I was gay and I've never said that I wasn't...what I'm trying to say is that I am a person before I am anything else...."