Movies

3BT: All-Video Edition [Three Best Things 3/22/10 - 3/28/10]

Logorama by François Alaux

The 2009 Best Animated Short Acadamy Award-winner, and probably the strangest 16 minutes of your week, unless you’ve already been gunned down by Ronald McDonald this week.

[NSFW: Language]


Photoshop CS5 Content-Aware Fill Sneak Peek

This should not exist yet. John Gruber says it’s “indistinguishable from magic.”

But is there already a parody? Of course there’s already a parody.

Fantasyland

The next time some wet blanket takes issue with how much you care about your passions, remind them it could be a whole lot worse; you could be like the fantasy baseball mega-nerds (NO SERIOUSLY, these guys are OFF THE RESERVATION but GOD BLESS EM) in this documentary.

Michael Jordan Would Defuse Those Bombs Like They Were Ehlo in '89 [Three Best Things 3/1/10 - 3/7/10]

  • Thing: My Best Worst Friend from Free Darko. A regular Joey, so regular he runs a Blogspot blog, somehow stumbled into a years-long friendship with THE Michael Jordan (THE THE Michael Jordan). Post reconfirms Mike-iavelli’s endearing insanity and kind of makes me hope I never accidentally cross MJ’s path.
  • Thing: How Not to Depict a War from the New York Times Lens blog. The Hurt Locker: a deserving Best Picture nom that’s well-directed, -written, and -performed. But true to life? Its reception has been a case of mistaking grittiness for authenticity; seriously, a bomb squad wanders onto some rifles and then downloads sniping mastery from the Matrix, or so it seems? It’s pretty much a literate Call of Duty, or Rambo in Apocalypse Now skins. And the idea that it’s an anti-war movie is MOOTED by the movie’s final scene. In the Times essay, American soliders in Iraq remotely detonate the movie’s bona fides. So to speak.
  • Thing: The making of the new OK Go video from Make Magazine. In case you’ve been living under a rock made of no internet, here’s OK Go’s new music video:

    In case you’ve been living INSIDE a rock that’s under a rock, here’s OK Go’s old music vide OH WAIT their label made it unembeddable.

Three Best Things: Ivory Tower Edition [2/15/10 - 2/21/10]

It was a knockout week for articles about people who are smarter than normal people.

  • There are over 300 million people in the US — only 32 of them are annually selected to be Rhodes scholars. There are almost seven billion people on earth — only 32 of them are annually selected in the NFL Draft’s first round. What are the odds that one person could score both? Hey, I only graduated from relatively lowly Kennesaw State University, and even I can calculate that it’s SLIGHTLY RARE. Future NFL star/current Rhodes scholar Myron Rolle makes you and me and everyone we know all feel like big, big losers. Can you imagine the pressures of being Myron Rolle? Article’s most underrated moment: when we learn that Rolle, quite possibly the most smartest American pro athlete ever, enjoys the music of Plies, who looks like this.
  • Rolle’s fellow people-who-are-smarter-than-you, Ivy Leaguers Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman, and Hemali Thakkar, have created a soccer ball that generates energy by being kicked. Fifteen minutes of play generates enough power to run a light for three hours, meaning a whole day of running/kicking can help patch the electricity gaps third-world villages have to deal with.*
  • The Atlantic’s food columnist compares Walmart’s produce with Whole Foods’, hosting a blind taste-test for 16 professional food critics. THIRD-BULLET TWIST: several critics end up “not entirely happy” to discover the produce they preferred was actually THE POPULIST PRODUCE. This changes everything! Update the class war scoreboard: Little Guy 1, Rhodes Cornerback & The Soccer Teslas… still somewhat more than 1. Ok, fine.

Ebert: common ground.

Speaking of famous intellectuals with fun jobs and a lot of money and important friends: Roger Ebert, relentless tweeter and the only movie critic known of by regular humble folk, profiled after cancer surgeries have left him unable to speak, eat, or convincingly show anger. Also, check the second-disc commentary… it’s Ebert on the article on Ebert.

*: Source site turns out to be a nonprofit’s Drupal site. For more nonprofits that use Drupal, see our list here.

What Happens If You Pay Zero Rupees to Register as a South Carolinan Terrorist? [Three Best Things 2/1/10 - 2/7/10]


Via 5th Pillar

  • Indian government workers demand bribes from people all the time. Solution: hand those crooks some worthless currency made especially for bribing. They say it’s working; corrupt bureaucrats are falling back at the sight of people sticking up for themselves.
  • If you want to overthrow the government of South Carolina, first you have to pay a $5 registration fee. Even if this article was a joke, it might still qualify as a Best Thing: Comedy Edition entry, considering South Carolina’s especially overthrow-y history. But it’s for realsies — some legislators in South Carolina think Al Qaeda is going to stop by and fill out some paperwork. This is a real law! A real law. You’d think. Um. It’s. Wait, does. Mind broken. Real law. Only just. Really? I. (Let’s move on.)
  • Not mindhacking your zen is cluttery/unrefreshing. Truly ground-breaking zen: 43 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life. Sample zenhacks:
  1. Remove your doors
  2. Eat half of each pet
  3. Sit on a big, thick book
  4. Something something keyring holder
  5. Paint clocks cheery pink

But wait

Spider-Man by Wes Anderson.

A Phony's History of the iPad [Three Best Things 1/25/10 - /1/31/10]

J. D. Salinger

In 1965, author J. D. Salinger retired with the world heavyweight book-writin’ title belt. By the early ’80s, his Catcher in the Rye was simultaneously the most-banned and second-most-taught book in American schools. He died this week at 91.

Holden Caulfield says: “Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”

The iPad

To paraphrase Dee Dee Warwick and Mike Tyson, iPad’s gonna make you love iPad. Need one good reason to convince yourself that you’ll never fall for it? How about twelve?

There’s this: “If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple’s famous Super Bowl ad.” And this: The thing that bothers me most about the iPad is this: if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today.” But the iPad isn’t meant for computer geniuses. It’s meant for their moms.

The iPad is crap futurism whose lack of Flash compatibility might give us a future without Flash. That would be fantastic. The future also promises nine tablet computers that might wind up being as good, better, or cheaper than the iPad. (As with MP3 players and smart phones, Apple wasn’t the first or necessarily the best; they were the loudest biggest and shiniest most magical.)

Holden Caulfield says: “It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.”

Also relevant:

Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, who also died this week, shoehorned all history into a single narrative and avoided citing his claims — which you can get away with if you’re writing a history text like this, but not if you’re writing one like this. He didn’t exactly become a historian’s historian. But he achieved a harder thing; he made young people see history for what it is: an evolving story with unreliable narrators, usually written by the winners.

(IS THERE A LINK-OF-THE-WEEK IN HERE SOMEWHERE?)

One of Zinn’s last interviews, with PBS in December 2009.

Holden Caulfield says: “People always think something’s all true.”

A word:

Has anyone checked on Matt Damon this week? Good Will Hunting was basically Catcher in the Rye: Math Version, and Damon’s character is a big Zinn fan. In fact, Damon was Zinn’s real-life neighbor growing up, and was one of the first people to read a draft of A People’s History.

Status update: ENGINE is sad for Matt Damon.

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