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Things I've Found 42 (What Hath Thomas Edison Wrought? From the Birth of Cinema to 70s Estonian TV Commercials)—2/24/2005

by Mark Rose

What hath Thomas Edison Wrought? In its off-hours, when technology is bored with dehumanizing the populace and making others redundant, it is used to create something that could not have been made before. Like this marvelous product from the folks at Kino and the Museum of Modern Art. http://www.kino.com/edison/ It's a 4 DVD set filled with 140 (!!) Edison films. Witness the beginning of cinema, and we're talking beginning, like the year 1888. Sure, there's some weirdness like boxing cats and a cockfight, but this is just amazing stuff that can be had for $75 (910 minutes of it!). Stunning.


New Technology Mimics Old: Turn two iPODs into a 21st century stereoscope: http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/stereographics/ipodphoto/index2.html


Our technology theme continues. Want to listen to live railroad radio frequencies? Why? Well, if you do, here's where you go. http://www.railroadradio.net/ It's actually relatively interesting. Relatively.


Would you like to have your image (or any others) permanently imprinted on a shopping tote-all bag? Well then, here you go: http://www.anyahindmarch.com/beabag/index.htm. As to WHY you want your image or any others permanently imprinted on a shopping tote-all bag, well, we'll have to wait for a new website to explain that.


And we close our technology sub-theme with this: an archive of 1970s Estonian television commercials, all video clips: http://www.lehvalehva.ee/inc/teenused_reklaamfilmid_sisu.php. These aren't for everyone; in fact, some are downright creepy in a sexual way. But they're very interesting (from our friends at Boing Boing).


Name a Monkey After Yourself...for Charity (not like the way you usually do it): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/08/science/08obse.html?ex=1265605200&en=5677ef2e9860c264&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland


Of course, you want to buy a cake pan for Mary (Kay) Letourneau and Vili Fualaau. Don't you? http://wedding.weddingchannel.com/search_purchase/guest_view.asp?wauid=564313940


You want MORE proof that public schools damage your kids more than educate them? http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=333969&category=SCHENECTADY&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=2/17/2005 Schenectady school district bans a middle school student from wearing a red, white and blue beaded necklace because those are...wait for it...gang colors!! She wore the necklace to support her uncle who is in Iraq. Not only that, but the school's mascot is a Patriot. I don't even know what to say, especially when one of the administrators talks about their carefully conceived dress code, which the student ISN'T breaking. And if you want to see a photo of the beads, they're here: http://www.wnyt.com/x1649.xml?ag=x156&sb=x183 (yeah, that looks like gang colors, huh?).


Now HERE'S a child who must have gone through the Schenectady school system. In Cambridge (UK), a man steals a computer. Computer's webcam goes off, taking multiple pictures of the criminal. Pictures are sent to victim's backup system. Victim sends police to capture criminal. Criminal in jail for 11 months. Love it when that happens. http://w3.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/story.asp?StoryID=69201


George Plimpton is One of the Higher Gods: I always loved George Plimpton. Whether he was making fun of himself on an episode of The Simpsons, or writing great non-fiction books like Fireworks, or writing hilarious classic books like Paper Lion and The Bogey Man, he was always at the top of his game, mixing intellectualism with popular pursuits. Oh, and yeah, he was also editor of the amazing The Paris Review magazine for something like 50 years. And now you can read some of the seminal cultural interviews that formed the core of the magazine over so many years. If you give a rat's ass at all about classic literature and art, you should look at these interviews: http://www.theparisreview.com/literature.php


Oh My God. Stefan Sharkansky of soundpolitics.com is the great local Seattle political blogger. He is the one, along with others outside of mainstream media, who helped to bring to light very severe voting irregularities in Washington State's 2004 gubernatorial election. This site: http://www.soundpolitics.com/voterlookup.html allows you to check to see who has and hasn't voted in the election. I always wondered if my permanent absentee votes are counted, and this enabled me to check on that. More power to the independent bloggers.


I love miniature golf, and was even going to write a book about it before Maria Reidelbach and John Margolies convinced me to give them all my historical information and wrote their own "Miniature Golf" (Abbeville Press — if I didn't give them the stuff, they would have written it anyway, and it would have been wrong in many instances). Well, here's a short tour of the Yuckiest Miniature Golf Course in the World and it's worth the visit: http://www.redtongue.com/golfintro.html


You Made My Shitlist (at least that's what L7 would say): Paul Krugman, the syndicated columnist and screaming loony leftie is so mentally repulsive I always feel the need to wad up the paper and throw it across the room. When he's on television, I just grit my teeth. In a recent episode of Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews and Krugman were talking about the Super Bowl ads. Do you remember the ad where a number of soldiers walk through an airport, and people slowly rise to their feet and applaud them as they pass? Best damn ad in four and a half hours of dismal marketing. Throat-lump time. Dust in the eye. That kind of thing. Krugman was unimpressed. "We all support the troops. But this is exploitation." Well Paul, I'm not actually sure you've "supported the troops" over the past year and a half but we'll let that go. The ad was surely NOT exploitation. In the 50s and 60s, we did exploitation better. Exploitation would have been having a guy hand the soldier a beer and say, "This one's for you." Now THAT would have been exploitative. But to bitch about the one classy ad during the entire game, and the one ad that has been almost universally approved by fans in various online polls, shows just where Krugman is out of touch with society. Bastard went on too, saying they should just support the troops without making it clear that it was from a beer company. Some soldiers in Iraq wrote in and indicated that Anheuser-Busch DOES support the troops without publicizing it, in that they gave each soldier two beers during the game. Krugman is scum. Check out the story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6902610/ (cursor down to February 8 entry) and just about everywhere else on the Web.


Awww, I didn't mean it to end on a sour note. So let's have a FUN link to finish this issue off. How about buying a large fiberglass animal for the home or your business? If so, here's where you want to go: http://www.fastkorp.com