My Thumped review of The Necks live at the Peacock
Forgot to post this earlier in the week; I reviewed the Aussie improv jazz trio on my first time seeing them (after three attempts!) as they closed the four-night ‘pop-up’ festival STRUT at the Peacock. #sound   ·

My Thumped review of Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg at his most provocative, but he can’t help it with the schmaltz, can he? #screen   ·

ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape
A timely reminder that it’s not about religion or culture or any of that obfuscating bullshit: it’s about power, power of over individuals and over populations. Like feudalism, like the church in the middle ages, like warlords in the Horn of Africa, like the Third Reich. It’s all the same when you reduce to the essence. #comment   ·

List of selfie-related injuries and deaths
A few of these, like falling down the steps at the Taj Mahal, are unfortunate incidents that could happen to anyone. But the rest? Some people will do the stupidest things for social media kudos. #aux   ·

Decoding Daesh: Why Is the New Name for ISIS so Hard to Understand?
Arabic translator Alice Guthrie cuts through the western cultural biases to explain what’s really a straight-forward idea. #comment   ·

What is Code?
The longread to beat all longreads: Paul Ford’s recent takeover of Bloomberg Business Week to answer the question above. It’s ostensibly aimed at executives and management, given the vehicle of publication, but Ford is a man of the people and he clearly went about demystifying the world of tech and coding and whizz-bang computery things for you and me and everyone else. Also: here he is on the Shutterstock blog discussing how the article (all 38,000 words of it) came about. #aux   ·

La Guerre Éternelle
Leonard Pierce says everything that needs to be said about last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and their aftermath. #comment   ·

Syria’s Climate Conflict
A graphic lesson in how climate change precipitated the Syrian crisis, and all the awfulness that’s come with it. #comment   ·

Britain’s criminally stupid attitudes to race and immigration are beyond parody
Frankie Boyle wrote this back in April, but with the subsequent European migrant crisis — which is increasingly being reframed as a crisis for Europeans having to put up with refugees, rather than the incomprehensible struggles of the refugees themselves — and of course the recent Daesh atrocities in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere, it’s even more pertinent. #comment   ·

Nobody Knows
Linking this story by m’learned friend Mat Honan (who’s apparently given up email? Yeah, I won’t be doing that; email isn’t broken for me) because it’s both a rare self-reflective bullshit-calling piece on tendencies in tech reporting, and a parody of said reporting. I think? Also, I have no idea what Box is. None, zero, zilch. #aux   ·


I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me
‘Liberal’ in this case being redefined, I fear, as ‘Not only am I free to believe whatever I believe as true, but if others don’t share those beliefs, that constitutes a violent assault on my selfhood.’ Or as Laura Kipnis puts it, “emotional discomfort is regarded as equivalent to material injury, and all injuries have to be remediated.” (There’s a lot to unpack in that essay, too.) #comment   ·


The Internet Wrestling Database
Wrestling geek overkill right here: a complete resource of grapple cards from promotions the world over. #wrestling   ·

The Necessity Of Intergender Wrestling
“Antiquated notions of gender-based wrestler capability need to dissolve. Women can be and are the same kind of wrestlers as men. Wrestling is for everyone, and wrestling is better if men and women can do it together.” I think the mainstream is, what, decades away from this? Which is weird because Chikara does it just fine. [c/o @atomic_elbow] #wrestling   ·

The Past and the Future for WWE Pay-Per-Views
A good piece by David Shoemaker (AKA The Masked Man) from over the summer, exploring the differences in wrestling culture between the beginning of the PPV era and now. Identifies most of the things I’ve noticed and thought about myself, so saves me the trouble. #wrestling   ·


Mammoth, previously unpublished interview with Iain Banks about The Culture
Another one for the reading pile, probably when I get back into Banks’ oeuvre. #words   ·

New Yorker copyeditor dishes on the wacky side of her (quite dignified) job: “One feels so silly looking up [profanity]”
“If there’s a combination that makes an ideal copy editor it’s high intelligence and low ego, because if you’re looking for ego gratification copy editing is probably not the place to be.” Absolutely! And I firmly believe all my years of editing has made me a better writer, even if only in terms of not being so precious about my own words. If something needs fixing, so be it. #media   ·

An iPhone app for turning photos into watercolours. Should one ever need such a thing. #aux   ·


Wikipedia’s entry on Japanese input methods
If you’ve ever wondered quite how people type kanji on a Qwerty keyboard. (Prompted by watching characters text each other in Durarara!!) #aux   ·

Japan’s Robot Dogs Get Funerals as Sony Looks Away
What’s ironic is that there are actual living dogs that have lived and will live longer than Sony’s support for the Aibo. So much for the permanence of technology. #aux   ·

Sam Simon interview at the Archive of American Television
A lengthy, in-depth interview with the late Simpsons showrunner. Which I haven’t watched yet, hence this reminder to myself. #screen   ·


Stir-Fried Chicken With Ketchup
Just chicken, flour, oil, seasoning and regular store-bought ketchup? Okay, I’m doing this. #food   ·

Sugar-free tiramisu recipe
Well, except for the rum, which is made from sugar. I mean it’s basically boozy molasses. #food   ·

I have journeyed to the soul of chocolate and I bring you good tidings
Very tempted to try this, if I can find a lower-budget method. I make cold-brew coffee all the time, but nothing fancy: just steep it in a cafetiere for 12 hours (I’ve got one on the kitchen counter right now) then keep it in the fridge in a Volvic bottle. #food   ·

Momofuku Pork Belly
Deceptively simple; it’s all in the execution. I spot a similar preparation for pork shoulder there, too. Haven’t had pulled pork in ages, over a year it must be… But we’ve got our own thing with the overnight dry rub. It’s good, trust me. #food   ·


‘Mortal Kombat’: Untold Story of the Movie That “Kicked the Hell” Out of Everyone
Massive soft spot for this one; it’s so bad but the good bad, not the just-plain-bad Sharknado bad. #screen   ·

50 Must-See Horror Films Of The 21st Century (So Far…)
Oh I definitely disagree with this list (just from the first page — The Innkeepers are a must-see? Hardly!) but I’m posting it here as a reminder to check out quite a few flicks I’ve missed. #screen   ·

Stop Asking “Is This Feminist?”
“Don’t ask ‘is this feminist?’ as a means of giving yourself permission to like something. Media is designed to elicit an emotional response. You are not a bad person for having an emotional response to problematic media; you are not being attacked if someone examines the racial politics of your favorite movie. Media criticism is not about you.” Lindsay Ellis gets it, of course. #screen   ·

Mad Max: Fury Road is less radical than its B-movie influences
But you know what? That’s okay. I think people are really looking for too much from this movie, seeing things that aren’t really there and feeling let down that it doesn’t actually conform to their lofty standards. Anita Sarkeesian, who is someone I don’t normally agree with (because she often does that commonly academic thing of cherry-picking her criticisms out of context), makes a lot of agreeable points about it along the same lines — even if she defaults to academic shibboleths like the idea of violence being inherently ‘male’, and seems to miss that one can simultaneously hold the notions that action movie violence is awesome and real-life violence is tragic. #screen   ·

How to make a good horror movie: 9 lessons from the genre’s latest triumphs
I agree with all of these except maybe lesson 5: don’t take too long or you’ll lose my attention. Oh look a squirrel! #screen   ·


My Thumped review of Mississippi Grind
This Ben Mendelsohn/Ryan Reynolds gambling drama is worth a flutter, but you could probably wait for the home video. #screen   ·

Why food allergy fakers need to stop
It’s depressing that this is even a thing. No one thinking about the real consequences of their actions. Also, it’s deeply insulting to people who actually have serious allergies or intolerances. [c/o Kottke] #food   ·


Migrants or refugees: what’s the right word?
The reason why ‘migrant’ and not ‘refugee’ so often is that the latter is usually conflated with UNHCR-identified programme refugees; it’s then assumed to be a specific term, and ergo ‘migrant’ is preferable (coming from a standpoint of acute awareness of media law, at any rate). But of course, ‘migrant’ implies agency (in most people’s ears, what they hear is ‘economic migrant’) whereas ‘refugee’ implies no choice but to GTFO. And you don’t need to know the specifics to understand that the people fleeing conflict in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere are doing so out of absolute necessity. Refugees they are. #comment   ·

Answers the question ‘How many days until…?’ Might come in handy. #aux   ·

Wikipedia’s list of oldest companies
Japan holds the top six slots, with the eldest dating back to the birth of Islam, it’s that old. #aux   ·


Nine trains delayed for four hours by one abusive passenger with no ticket
I was on one of those trains. Missed an important bus connection because of it. Seriously, fuck that guy. But also, fuck the toothless system that allowed him to basically hijack the whole Maynooth line. Where the hell were the guards? Cabra Garda Station is a five-minute drive from Ashtown, where this prick held up his train; you’re telling me they couldn’t spare a single car? #comment   ·

Interstellar: Is the emperor wearing any clothes?
Charles Forman liked the film a lot more than I did, but still identifies significant flaws strangely ignored by the critical consensus. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Sicario
A prime October release for one of the year’s best horror films — and best films, full stop. #screen   ·


The Coddling of the American Mind
You know that bit Stewart Lee does about ‘political correctness gone mad’? I think even he would turn green in the face of this sheer self-righteous ignorance, this kind of selective outrage that priorities certain people’s feelings over others in situations where there is no incitement to hatred and, perhaps worse, equates mild discomfort on the part of otherwise well-meaning people expressing solidarity with (but ultimately condescending to and patronising) vulnerable others with long-lasting psychological or physical injury. So there! On a related note, the same issue of The Atlantic has a piece on how stand-up comics in the US have to censor their humour for college campuses, but weirdly I think the situation provides some pause for self-reflection: American stand-up is mostly unfunny shit, because it takes stereotypes as an end in themselves without unpicking them and playing with them in the same way observational comics do on this side of the pond. (Though even at that, I guarantee that Stewart Lee bit above would be enough to earn him a ban from many ‘forward thinking’ campuses.) #comment   ·

Music writer’s Twitter feed exposes industry’s harsh sexism, marginalization
Arsehole/ignorant men and the culture that perpetuates them are letting my gender down. #comment   ·

Punk has a problem with women. Why?
For the usual reasons, alas. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find it’s still an egalitarian culture, maybe even more so than ever before. #sound   ·


My Thumped review of The Martian
An engrossing adventure tale whose ‘hard sci-fi’ credentials have been oversold, I think. #screen   ·

My Thumped review of Miss You Already
Catherine Hardwicke’s wannabe weepy works best when it dispenses with the clichés and the characters get real. #screen   ·

The Timeless Beauty Of Studio Ghibli’s Movies
And these images are only backgrounds and/or establishing shots. Just goes to show the effort anime artists put in that puts western animated cinema (yes, even the vaunted Pixar) to shame. #screen   ·

Huge collection of (and commentary on) matte art from classic films
Matte feels like a lost art in the CGI era, even more so seeing these classic paintings restored for high-definition transfers. #screen   ·

The strange, preachy, profitable saga of Billy Jack
Nathan Rabin on the “violently contradictory” Billy Jack movies, which are strangely all but unknown outside of the US, despite their deep cultural resonance to Americans. [c/o MeFi] #screen   ·


Aubergine rolls with spinach & ricotta
Made this twice last week, but with a twist: those rolls are a pain in the hole, so we just stirred the roasted aubergine slices right into the spinach and ricotta mixture. Delicious. #food   ·

Learn the Military Tuck for Keeping a Dress Shirt Neat
Filing this for future reference, when my gut is small enough to make a dress shirt look good. #aux   ·


J Robbins walks us through Jawbox’s 1996 swan song
The Jawbox vocalist/guitarist goes deep on his best-known band’s final record for the AV Club. But reading him say that he “can’t sing”? What the hell are you talking about, man?! You have one of the richest sounding voices in rock! #sound   ·


Mike Judge thinks we’re doomed
Y’know, I’d forgotten Silicon Valley was his thing. Which might be exactly what he wanted, so it isn’t lumped with the baggage of his previous achievements. Also: must watch Silicon Valley. #screen   ·

It isn’t just The Breakfast Club: everything good happened in 1984
Bee’s been saying it for years (and not just because she was born in 1984). My only lasting memories of that year are taking the train to the zoo on my birthday, about a month before the Dart started running, and starting Montessori school a few months later. #screen   ·

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