Sunday, February 19, 2012

Internet Browsing Club - February 2012

Since Google Reader imploded, I've missed reading articles and bitlets that my friends recommended. I sent an email to some internet power users to see what's up, and here are the results:

from myself:

Raise The Crime Rate - A long discussion about the American prison system:

"If, in the popular imagination, the primary purpose of prisons is to keep us safe from (the vanishingly small number of) people like Charles Manson, then we should simply kill Charles Manson. Prison abolitionists should be ready to advocate a massive expansion of the death penalty if that’s what it takes to move the discussion forward. A prisonless society where murderers were systematically executed and rapists were automatically castrated wouldn’t be the most humane society imaginable, but it would be light-years ahead of the status quo."

Rocky VS Rambo - Mr. Show writer Scott Aukerman, Parks and Rec writer Harris Wittels, and others' absurd 103-page screenplay:

- Rocky is bench-pressing Mickey while a pair of pelicans
look on. He finishes a set and rests Mickey on amakeshift bench. Rocky lifts one of the pelicans up toreveal a nest of blue pelican eggs. He takes three ofthe eggs and cracks them into a gigantic wooden bowl.These eggs are much bigger than normal eggs. He breathesdeep and starts drinking, chugging until he gets themdown. Rocky is disgusted but Mickey nods his head inadmiration.
- A room full of other prisoners hung up by their handslike animals in a meat locker. Rocky is punching one ofthem in the sides, you can tell that this is agonizingfor the prisoner. Rocky mouths “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” 
- Rocky looks up at a photo of his old boxing gloves thathe has hung up on the wall of his cell. He looks down tothe make-shift gloves he’s got now - cobbled togetherwith rags and gauze and pita bread. He eats a littlebite of the pita bread and looks ahead with renewedvigor. 
- Rocky runs up the long staircase of an ancient temple(a la the stairs sequence in Rocky I). The stairs aresteep, and much sweat drips from Rocky’s hoodie.The old stone steps crumble under his feet as the MUSICCLIMAXES - Rocky reaches the top! A Buddhist monk ispraying nearby as Rocky punches his fist through areligious statue at the pinnacle of the temple invictory. Rocky pumps his fists, the Buddhist monk isvery sad about the statue though.

She Found Out You’re One Of Those Guys Who Throws A Ball Around The Office At Work Day! -
Yet another amazing short story by Bob Powers:
I was bored and I found myself perusing your work website, and I checked out the “Staff” link to see if there were any photos of you. I found one. Such a nightmarish one. One of you in your desk chair with your shirt sleeves rolled up, tossing a Nerf football to one of your co-workers.
Review of "I Will" by Danny Brown - Matthew Perpetua (click through to hear the song):
Danny Brown spends a lot of time rapping about his intense love for performing cunnilingus, and this track is pretty much his most enthusiastic ode to that act. Even though there’s a number of other emcees from Brown’s generation who are keen to boast about their love of going down on ladies, it’s still pretty refreshing to hear hip-hop music so focused on selflessly providing pleasure to women. Well, it’s not that selfless. Danny’s clearly having a grand old time down there, and the chorus about how he’ll do what some other guy will not suggests that this is just as much about competition with other dudes than it is about making his girl happy.
Bobby sez, "I came across this article today, addresses issues that my other attorney friends have encountered so far. The traditional law firm model is an antiquated relic that many excellent attorneys in our generation aren't buying into, and it is a case study in the different types of folks described in this article":
Because vampires and divas and underminers are so loud and distracting, they take up all the emotional energy that we should actually be devoting to the real enemy. This is why we never destroy the soulless careerists. This is, I think, the number one mistake that we make in the world of work.
 V passes on the NYT profile of Sleigh Bells, if you were wondering who the hell that was on SNL yesterday:
In March 2008 Mr. Miller moved to New York expressly to find a female vocalist for a duo. 
 James passes along How Carrots Became The New Junk Food 
What a silly use of advertising dollars to tell people that vegetables are healthy.
From Alipete, two New Yorker articles:
The Caging of America, by Adam Gopnik
For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.
The Plagiarist's Tale, by Lizzie Widdicombe
The author of “Assassin of Secrets” was a thirty-five-year-old d├ębut novelist with the pen name Q. R. Markham. Just before the book’s publication, in November, there were signs that it would be a hit: it had blurbs from the spy novelists Duane Swierczynski and Jeremy Duns (“instant classic”) and glowing early reviews. Kirkus pronounced it “a dazzling, deftly controlled debut,” and Publishers Weekly wrote, “The obvious Ian Fleming influence just adds to the appeal.” On the James Bond fan site, someone linked to an excerpt, which the publisher, Little, Brown, had posted online, and wrote, “Anyone read this novel? I’m ordering it next month . . . it’s very Bondian.”
But, as in a thriller, no sooner had the book’s trajectory been established than it was reversed. That day, another Bond fan wrote to the thread, “Why order a copy? Just read chapter 4 of ‘License Renewed’ ”—by John Gardner, who continued the Bond series after Ian Fleming’s death. “It’s all there, the ‘matched luggage’ . . . ‘What’s it like to kill a man?’ the son et lumiere at ‘Frankie’s’ flat—entire paragraphs copied verbatim from John Gardner’s text.”
Like a spy hiding in plain sight, “Assassin of Secrets” appeared to be a bizarre aberration: an homage to Bond that plagiarized Bond.
 And finally Cara wants you to know about PerezHamilton - celeb gossip meets a daily dose of history: 
John Locke Writes Carolina Constitution with Rumored Lover


Lindsey said...

I'm hurt I wasn't consulted for this. I like the Internet! All I get is chopped.

Nicolas Frisby said...

I really enjoyed The Plagiarist's Tale. And Bobby's link.

Prisons are one of those several issues that I think deserve my lifetime's 24/7 attention. But that's not going to happen. My will is elsewhere. So I am abetting.

Don't cull me; I'll submit next time, especially in light of Cara's source.

Nicolas Frisby said...

I'll go ahead and just limp one in.

I just read this, and it's a bit of a nostalgia trip for me.

That minute of game play has fascinated me for years. “Only around one percent of people who watch that video really know what’s going on,” Capcom’s Seth Killian told me during a recent chat about fighting games. Killian is Capcom’s community manager and fighting game enthusiast, and it’s his voice on that tape, breaking with excitement. In many ways this was like watching the Super Bowl with John Madden there in the room, giving you color commentary. So I had to ask him: what the hell happened in that clip?

I thought I, as a former "gamer", was in the 1% — but I wasn't. It's a depiction of gaming's incarnation of centuries-old notions of competition.