Sign of the Times (and the Place)

Half a dozen Russian speakers, all under thirty, packed up their car after a weekend rental of one of my neighbor’s cottages here in the Driftless Regional Resort Region. A few may have glanced at me as I scrabbled in the dirt, digging up buried money and muttering, “I am uncovering my wealth.”

Films sans subtitles

My friend Charlie is now living in Buenos Aires in a house full of folks from all over the world, and among them is Lauren Stephenson, whom some of you may know. The other night Charlie and Lauren went to the movies. Their command of Spanish was not up to the task of following the film as its makers intended, and Charlie reflected on the experience of watching a talkie without a solid grasp on the words the characters spoke.

There were a lot of solitary and broody fishermen in boats and seaside bars. And one mouthy whore. There was a girl thrown into the mix, but her character stared vacantly into the distance so often that I wondered what she was looking at. Was she psychic? Did she make that guy have a heart attack just by squinting through the window? What was she looking for in the distance anyway? Did she like to find beavers in clouds? Again, not sure.

Charles Coleman, the celluloid adventurist

Coleman, 47, is film programmer for Facets Multimedia.

One thing being lost is the art of conversation, of people seeing a movie and then actually having a good talk afterwards. — As told to J.R. Jones.

Man, does this put me in mind of my friend Charlie’s thoughts re: the “hidden cinema” he frequents in Buenos Aires.

Wanted: Globe

Posted to Dubuque Freecycle list:

Just a plain old globe. Condition doesn’t really matter.

from the moderated comment spam

Yes! this jet train built for political prisoners to dump in vast wilderness of Siberia.swift and time kommissar directed to design bureau…,more and more jet engines to be fitted for smooth travel.genadi enraskoi of kommissar is responsible to see daily progress of the project.he was so keen to travel by this nasty time capsule.but he died in road accident before the project reached at testing stage.another prototype TURBOPROP,train was destroy after its first experimental run.unfortunatly they can`t perfectly aligned the pushing and pulling engines.soviets are planned new type of tracks for this train.but after some serious controlling and safety problems they abandoned this project.

Life in a Day

Any of you watched Life in a Day? I watched it this afternoon as part of my Funemployment. I liked it, put together by many, “directed” by the Scott brothers (Ridley and Tony). I’d like to see other directors take the 4,500 hours of video submitted and do their own take. A sort of “Aristocrats” for directors.

I put a post up before it happened. I didn’t see anyone familiar in the film.

Viva la Sauna Svedese (Mah Nà Mah Nà)

Ponder this if and when you view The Muppets.

from the comments

Derek White:

Matter of fact a good percentage of Italians dress on the street like Americans dress to play golf.

Afghanistan – touch down in flight

Lukas Augustin:

I have lived from 2006-2008 in Kabul doing my civil service for a humanitarian aid organization. This March I had the chance to go back with my fiancé to show her the place I love and to capture the beauty of this country with our cameras.

Unspeakably beautiful.

(via stellar)

photo out of context

from the spam

One day. Xiao Ming another class …. a sudden “rush”(fart) a cry;sitting next to a small U.S. scolded and said: Xiao-Ming Ah ~ if you could not make a noise;

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella.

Don't Forget Your Umbrella

I really struggled trying to pick which images to post from this collection of vintage Tokyo subway manner posters. I feel remiss not including the Santa Says You’re Probably Drunk poster. Or the Hitler Is Inconsiderate of Others’ Personal Space poster. Or the These Sumo Wrestlers Are Basically Just Fucking poster.

There’s a real obsession with left-behind umbrellas here. And chewing gum, which can apparently fell even the superest of superheroes.

Don't Throw Chewing Gum on the Platform


headline of the day

German fashion designer makes clothes from milk

Most damaging, however, was her obstinate faith in the kindness of strangers

A good overview of the Amanda Knox case, at least from what has become the American perspective:

Their list of grievances was long: incompetent police work, leading to the mishandling of evidence. The lack of any physical trace of Knox in Kercher’s bedroom. Italy’s carnivalesque judicial process, where there is never order in the court, the lawyers and defendants constantly interrupting the proceedings with groans and catcalls and wild gesticulations, while the press in the gallery yammers away like the kids in the back of the classroom. The prosecution’s failure to establish motive or intent (“We live in an age of violence with no motive,” said one prosecutor). And the fact that prosecutors did not immediately drop the case against Knox and Sollecito after the bloody fingerprints and footprints came back matching a 20-year-old petty thief named Rudy Guede.

(via marginal revolution)

Laura Marling || A Creature I Don’t Know

Via Lauren Stephenson, who has up and absquatulated to Buenos Aires (in truth, the move was a long time in the making) and who sent this video to my friend Charlie, who’ll be Buenos Aires-bound come November.

I love it when my friends from different realms mix and match.

from the archives: April 28, 2006

The Last Hurrah (4.27.06):

I always wondered why Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown decided to visit Israel and hang out with Ariel Sharon. Tonight, while eating Country Fried Kalebone™ at phATLanta’s Soul Vegetarian restaurant on N. Highland Avenue, I finally found the answer.

the legend of Mexican Coke

There are a number of pretty clear conclusions that can be drawn from these tests. To put it simply, when it comes to taste, there’s this simple relationship: Boosterism > Tasting = Feeling, meaning that while there are an equal number of people who are affected by the flavor of Coke as there are affected by the feel of the container, both of these groups are eclipsed once you add in knowledge of the product’s provenance. Those folks who prefer Mexican Coke (like myself), really just like the idea of Mexican Coke — whether it’s because they think real sugar is tastier/healthier than corn syrup, whether it’s because Mexican Coke is more expensive and harder to find, thus more valuable, whether it’s because of its exoticism, whatever the reason — strip away the Mexicanness of it, and suddenly it’s a lot less appealing.

Serious Eats did a series of taste tests pitting bottled and or Mexican Coke against the alternatives. I’ll leave you to read through to find out which combination people actually preferred, but the results are interesting at least as much for what they say about the subjective nature of our preferences.

exotic hand gestures from around the globe

Meaning: “You are a dickhead”
Used in: United Kingdom

Bring the fingers and thumb together as if holding a phallus near the forehead.

From Romana Lefevre’s Rude Hand Gestures of the World, with photographs by Daniel Castro, The Atlantic put together a handy clutch of rude gestures to carry with you wherever you go.

(thanks, Casey)

headline of the day

Chinese female condoms too small for South Africans

quote out of context

Behind its flower box framed windows, hidden away from mourners, is an automated storage system. It stores and chills encoffined corpses, delivering them through hatches and into a viewing room, day or night, whenever friends and family come to pay their respects.

(via marginal revolution)


at a gas station convenience store. Near Madison, Wisconsin.

“What is the difference between the Dutch and the Germans?”

[Gesturing.] “A boundary — which the Germans have breached on many an occasion.”

“Do they speak the same language?”

“Dutch and German are very close.”

“Because, you see, between Kenya and Tanzania, there is a boundary, but we speak the same language.”

“That — is colonialism, my friend!”

boxercising earthquake

A friend called a few weeks ago to tell me about a skyscraper that had to be evacuated after an earthquake in Seoul. For ten minutes the building made wide metronomic swings. Thing was, there had been no earthquake registered in the area. It was a mysteriously super local event. After a two-week investigation, the epicenter had been narrowed down to the building’s twelfth floor gym where the side kicking, upper-cutting, and fist-jabbing of seventeen middle-aged Korean women boxercising to Snap’s 1990s hit “I’ve got the Power” seemed somehow to have hit the building’s resonant frequency, sending the whole structure into convulsions.

(thanks, David)

The story of Gadafy’s invisible daughter

Yesterday in the terracotta-coloured section of Bab al-Azizia where the Gadafy family lived, I came across a room which seemed to be part-study, part-lounge. Its contents – including a Sex and the City DVD box set; CDs of the Backstreet Boys; cellulite treatments; WellWoman vitamin supplements and stuffed toys – hinted that it belonged to a young woman.

Amid the bookshelves lined with medical textbooks and copies of Col Gadafy’s Green Book, I found passport photographs of a woman, dressed in medical garb, who appeared to be in her mid- 20s.

Some of the rebels sifting through the room’s contents shouted excitedly: “It’s Hana, it’s Hana, the daughter Gadafy lied about. This was her room.”

(via @tcarmody)

tweet of the day

How long do countries have until their populations disappear?

It never really occurred to me, until just now, that this could actually happen.

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