12.23.2009

The Starred Review

It's down to three: authors will only be able to hope for starred pre-publication reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, since Kirkus is no more.

12.22.2009

The unsung obituaries of the 2000s

As we end the "Noughts" Mog.com rounds up the musicians and performers and musicians who have died in the past decade and whose legacy has be unfortunately diminished ever since.


2000

Kirsty MacColl, pop and folk singer-songwriter.
Ian Dury, singer, lyricist, actor, and founder, frontman, & lead singer of the New Wave band Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
Jack Nitzsche, arranger, producer, songwriter and film score composer.
Tito Puente, Latin Jazz and Mambo musician, aka "The King of Latin Music".

2001

Chet Atkins, country guitarist and co-creator of the Nashville sound
James Carr, extraordinary Rhythm & Blues and soul musical artist.


Read the rest of the list here.

12.03.2009

The Hokey Pokey is what it's all about

Often we assume that the rhymes we sing as children come from some distant, anonymous past. But not everything was written by Mother Goose or Brothers Grimm. Just as "Happy Birthday" and "I'm a Little Teapot" are still under copyright, one of the possible authors of the Hokey Pokey was alive until just last month.

The New York Times reports that Robert Degen passed away on November 23rd, his 104th birthday. While a later version of the song was the first to hit big, Degen was the first to copyright "The Hokey Pokey Dance" in 1944.

However, some believe that the song's origins really are as old as Goose or Grimm:

A similar song, called variously “Hokey Cokey” or “Cokey Cokey,” was reportedly a favorite of English and American soldiers in England during World War II, the authorship attributed sometimes to a popular British songwriter, Jimmy Kennedy, and sometimes to a London bandleader, Al Tabor.

Some Roman Catholic churchmen, meanwhile, have said that the words “hokey pokey” derive from “hocus pocus” — the Oxford English Dictionary concurs — and that the song was written by 18th-century Puritans to mock the language of the Latin Mass.

12.01.2009

Cormac McCarthy trades in his typewriter

The New York Times reports that Cormac McCarthy, prize-winning author of The Road and many other novels, has decided to auction off his Olivetti typewriter to benefit the Santa Fe Institute. He estimates that the Olivetti has borne about five million of his words over the past fifty years, including all of his novels.

The waning popularity and presence of typewriters hasn't been lost on the author:

Mr. McCarthy is known for being taciturn, particularly about his writing. He came to realize that not only his working method but even his tools are puzzling to a younger generation.

He remembers one summer when some graduate students were visiting the Santa Fe Institute. “I was in my office clacking away,” he said. “One student peered in and said: ‘Excuse me. What is that?’”


But don't think this is a signal of McCarthy going digital. What is he trading this typewriter in for? Another Olivetti.

Have you seen my dog?



via Neatorama

11.19.2009

Jeanne-Claude, Christo's Partner, dies


Very sad news from the New York Times that the artist Jeanne-Claude, who collaborated with her partner and husband Christo, has died.

Their working methods, as described on their Web site, remained constant throughout the years. After jointly conceiving of a project, Christo made drawings, scale models and other preparatory works whose sale financed the project. Working with paid assistants, they did the on-site work: wrapping buildings, trees, walls or bridges; erecting umbrellas (“The Umbrellas,” 1991); spreading pink fabric around islands in Biscayne Bay near Miami (“Surrounded Islands,” 1983).

“We want to create works of art of joy and beauty, which we will build because we believe it will be beautiful,” Jeanne-Claude said in a 2002 interview. “The only way to see it is to build it. Like every artist, every true artist, we create them for us.”


Anyone who was in New York for the Gates is familiar with the impact of the couple's monumental yet temporary work. For an online retrospective check out the National Gallery's site here.

11.16.2009

What's Missing from Sarah Palin's Book?

Going Rogue, Sarah Palin's new memoir was published without an index. So was Obama adviser David Plouffe's The Audacity to Win. While the reason for this may simply be timing -- indexes take time to make and can delay publication if schedules are tight -- the absence has been noted in the nation's capitol. The Daily Beast reports that we may be seeing the end of the "Washington Read."

All the big names in town would do it: stop by the Georgetown Barnes & Noble or Politics and Prose, stare admiringly at the cover, then furtively flip to the index to make sure your place in the power structure was secure.

...

“I suppose we’ll actually have to read the whole book from now on,” said former Clinton adviser and CNN commentator Paul Begala. “Heaven forbid.”

11.14.2009

What to do when you want to lose something in New York


Brokelyn.com has a guide for New Yorkers who want to get rid of old items. Furniture, tires, light bulbs, hazardous materials -- everything you want to throw away but don't want to just dump in the Gowanus Canal.

Image via Science of the Time.

11.11.2009

Bear necessities: hair

Dolores the bear, resident of a German zoo, has lost nearly all her hair. Her vets are baffled. Read the story here.

11.07.2009

Landscapes under foot

This beautiful site features little figurines in bite-sized landscapes--and the best part shows what happens when the artist returns to his scenes after time's passed them by.

10.15.2009

Someone has lost their goats

Today's winner of best NY Times headline: "Possible Religious Link Seen in Mystery of Runaway Goats."

Four goats have been found in the New York City area over the past four months -- and that's after six goats were found in 2008. Amazingly, possibility is that these animals are escapees who managed to avoid becoming victim of a ritual sacrifice:

While the goats could have been dumped sick animals or live-market escapees, a number of neighbors have called animal-care officials to speculate that the goats might be part of the sacrificial rituals of Santeria, a religion created several centuries ago by West Africans enslaved in colonial Cuba and imported to New York City in the 1940s.

“The neighborhood where these goats are being found, there are a lot of Santeria, people who practice Santeria,” said Susie Coston, the national shelter director for Farm Sanctuary. “They’ve seen skulls and obvious sacrificed animals before.”

10.14.2009

Blog to Watch: Scientific American's Extinction Countdown

It's a blog we'll likely be linking to many times in the future. Scientific American's Extinction Countdown covers new updates about endangered species around the world. Where else will you read about how an "AIDS-like retrovirus threatens Australia's koalas with extinction"? Or see a photo of this rare guy:

9.30.2009

A library loses its books (on purpose)

The Boston Globe reports on the Cushing Academy, a private school that will be doing away with its 20,000-volume library of books in favor of a digital "learning center" and electronic readers such as the Kindle or Sony eReader.

"When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books," said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. "This isn't 'Fahrenheit 451' [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We're not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology."

There are some good arguments for digital collections, but I have to admit that this decision to completely remove all books doesn't sit very well with me. For one thing, what will people read during power outages?

Then again, the numbers do suggest that the books aren't exactly flying off the shelves: "School officials said when they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children's books."

9.29.2009

Say Goodbye to Hyphens

About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).
Read the rest at Reuters.

9.28.2009

RIP Beau Velasco of The Death Set

The Death Set are one of my favorite Baltimore bands (whose haunts also ranged up to NYC and Philly). They're responsible for the only show I've attended that involved me getting hit in the head with a soon-to-be demolished disco-ball.

So I'm sad to report the death of one of the groups two founding members, Beau Velasco. Details are scarce (it was announced last night via Twitter) but for now the best remembrance is in the music:



More videos at Brooklyn Vegan.

9.17.2009

Mary Travers, rest in peace

Mary Travers, a third of the beautiful voices in Peter, Paul, and Mary, has died at the age of 72.

9.16.2009

9.15.2009

Done Dancing

Patrick Swayze, 57, is dead after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.

9.14.2009

Wal-Mart at War

In Virginia, Wal-Mart has won the right to build a store close by the site of the Battle of the Wilderness, one of the top ten battles with the most casualties in the Civil War. Writes the Washington Post:

Wal-Mart and its supporters dismiss ... opposition as exaggerated, because the store would not sit directly on parkland or on what is known as the core battlefield, where the most intense fighting took place. Instead, the site is in what was the Union rear.
via Kathleen

9.11.2009

On September 11th

A 9/11 widow contemplated her loss eight years later.

World's Oldest Person Dies

Gertrude Baines passed away in Los Angeles, CA at age 115.

Featured on local television newscasts when she voted last year, Baines, who is black, said she backed Obama ''because he's for the colored.'' She said she never thought she would live to see a black man become president.


Read her full obit here.

A Grizzly End


The effects of disappearing salmon are beginning to show in the declining grizzly bear population, reports the Globe & Mail.

Mr. McAllister said it used to be easy to visit salmon streams in the Great Bear Rainforest, a large area of protected forest on the central coast, and see 20 to 30 bears a day feasting on salmon.

“Now you go out there and there are zero bears. The reports are coming in from Terrace to Cape Caution … the bears are gone,” he said.

“And we haven't seen any cubs with mothers. That's the most alarming part of this,” Mr. McAllister said.
via Kathleen

8.29.2009

8.25.2009

Doo-Wop Hall of Famer Dies at 75

Johnny Carter, the falsetto in the Flamingos and the Dells, passed away on Friday. The Times has the full obit, but here are some of the hits he'll be remembered for:



8.12.2009

Choose Your Own Apocalypse

Slate asked readers, "How would you like the world to end?" The readers' top five demises included loose nukes, peak oil, antibiotic resistance, China unloads U.S. Treasury, and Israel-Arab war.

via VSL

8.10.2009

Love Letters

Have something to say to your ex, but never had the opportunity? Old Loves is a collection of anonymous letters addressed to those we've lost.

8.09.2009

Preservationists Worried About Nathan's On Coney Island

Coney Island lovers are worry that Mayor Bloomberg's rezoning plan will leave the hot dog icon vulnerable to developers.

8.08.2009

With Nary A Glance

The skill of careful observation has been lost at museums, Michael Kimmelman notes while observing people observe art at the Louve.

8.07.2009

Billy Lee Riley, Rockabilly Original, Dies

Sun Records Artist Billy Lee Riley has passed away at 75. The New York Times has the obit. He may perhaps be best recognized for backing up bigger stars -- his band played with Jerry Lee Lewis on "Great Balls of Fire" -- but he did have some singles of his own which he continued to perform until recently. Check out this performance of "Red Hot" from 2003:

When Novelists Go Sober

In Intelligent Life, Tom Shone examines the effects of alcohol -- and sobriety -- on some of the great writers. The question is not whether those who stuck with drinking lose their ability -- a fairly inarguable point in many cases -- but whether those who were able to clamber onto sobriety could be counted as any better by literary standards:
Cheever was to die of kidney cancer within a few years—but for the effects of long-term sobriety we can turn to Raymond Carver, who, after the usual pile-up of emergency rooms, courtrooms, detox centres and drying-out clinics, got sober in 1977. For a year he wrote nothing (“I can’t convince myself it’s worth doing”), just played bingo and got fat on doughnuts, but then he remarried, and he went on to write some of his best work—he was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for his story collection, “Cathedral”, illuminating the downtrodden blue-collar lives he had written about before with unexpected moments of revelation and connection.
Read the full article here.

John Hughes RIP

As most readers have no doubt heard, acclaimed director of The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, and Sixteen Candles (to name just a few), John Hughes, has died.

Via Pitchfork, Alison Byrne Fields has an incredible account of becoming pen pals with the reclusive Hughes. Given the lack of interviews he did, it is probably the most personal thing you could read about him today. Read it here.

The Man Who Stopped Squeaks, Dead at 84

John Barry, the creator of WD-40, a household solution for squeak prevention, has died.

8.06.2009

Supermodel, Naomi Sims, Dies at 61 of Cancer

Naomi Sims was sometimes referred to as the first black supermodel. Her appearance on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal in 1986 was an accomplishment of the Black is Beautiful movement and she is credited for breaking racial boundaries.

The iPhone Wins all Bar Arguments

Again from Inverted Soapbox, the sad state of bar arguments in an era of instant information access:

In the past, those dark ages of the late 90s and early 00s, it was possible to sit with a fellow lass or lad on adjacent bar stools and spend hours debating at increasing levels of volume, vitriol and frustration, exactly what the original TGIF lineup was. ...

Even private debates you wouldn’t expect the internet to answer — was she at the party? did those two ever date? — are still solvable through a perusal of pictures on the Facebook, the Flickr and the rest of the public domain that has become our digital lives.
The full article is well worth it, read it here.


8.05.2009

Lose Lame August

Slate.com advocates getting rid of the month of August. There are no major holidays in August and August isn't the hottest month or biggest vacation month. August doesn't bring any good new books or movies.

The Death of Handwriting

Inverted Soapbox comments on Time Magazine's article on the ongoing degradation of handwriting, giving the reporter's perspective:

I know I gave up on handwriting long ago. If I handed you one of my reporter’s notebooks and you could decipher more than four or five words per page, you are some sort of secret codemaster....

And maybe some of my best writing (that you’ll never see so you’ll never know if I’m telling the truth) is spread scattershot in convulsions of black ink and greasy margin smudges like rotten infestations on the husk of dead tree I carry around in my moleskin.

It reminds me of Lost contributor Jeff Steinbrink, who admitted to running a test of signature verification, thanks to the prevalence of credit card machines:

My signature bears witness to the breakdown of civilization as we know it. My signature used to be a thing of beauty — of distinction, anyway — a march of erect and discernable letters, some of them half-printed, ending in a bold lateral sweep. It was the sort of signature you'd expect from a man of substance — a pirate or a cowboy or an astronaut. Now it's just a jumpy squiggle, a bad EKG readout, a worm. I have, almost all of us have, lost it.

My credit card ate my signature and in its place upchucked this senseless scrawl. There was a time when I could write my name as well as the next person and when a reader of discernment could tell that it was a signature and not an IOU or a note directing a bank teller to PUT CASH IN BAG NOW.

Why do they bother with that vague, digitized signature at all? I am only waiting for the moment when I walk up to the CVS counter and find nothing but a spot waiting for my fingerprint.

8.04.2009

Artist and Auschwitz Prisoner Dies At 86

Dina Babbit was a prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp. In an effort to save her life and her mother life, she bartered her services as a portrait painter.

8.03.2009

No More Cooking?

Americans spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking themselves. This New York Times Magazine article explores the reasoning behind this fundamental change in how American's think about food.

7.26.2009

Lance Not in Yellow

Lance Armstrong finishes third in the Tour de France. This is what he said about the less favorable results: "I'm realistic, I did everything I could...For me, and even more for my kids, it's probably a healthy thing for them to see, because they saw their dad that never lost, and the kids in their class (say) 'your dad never loses,' so it's good for them to see dad get third and still be cool with that and still be happy."

7.24.2009

Professor Murder Rides the Subway

The New York Times would like to remind you that just because print is dead, it doesn't mean that other things aren't dying too. Things like New Yorkers. And so they've compiled a morbidly fascinating homicide map of the city covering the years 2003-2009. Now I can positively confirm that there has not been a murder within a one-block radius of my apartment since 2004. Should I be relieved or terrified?

And just because it seems appropriate to the situation:

Losing Your Mind?

Being in a city is stressful to your brain. Only a few minutes on a crowded street and the brain has less self control and is able to hold fewer things in memory. 

7.23.2009

Testing Integrity

Lost your wallet recently and wondering the chances that it will be returned? Check the statistics out at Wallettest.com

7.20.2009

7.16.2009

Appalachia/Argentina?

South Carolina's Mark Sanford is not the first politician to pull a disappearing act.

Going to die

A story out of the UK has folks talking...was an apparent double suicide by a prestigious couple that had been together over fifty years illegal, or love?

7.15.2009

Obama Lost His Telempromter, But Kept His Focus

While giving a speech on urban policy, President Obama's teleprompter shattered on the floor. Fortunately, he was able to continue with his remarks.

7.14.2009

The Process of Weeding Out



Awful Library Books is an entertaining blog where librarians post books that should be removed -- "weeded" -- from their collections. Like the 1983 exercise guide above.

I'm always a little disappointed to hear about books getting thrown away. Somewhere, I imagine there's someone who needs that 1966 copy of The Guide for Young Homemakers. But in reality these outdated books shouldn't be taking up space on library shelves. There are plenty of new, hopeful authors who would be happy to fill them.

And really, does anyone need this coffee table book from 1977?:

Lost in translation

Engrish collects awkward English translations of Japanese advertising and product design.

7.10.2009

Who Killed the Big, Bad Werewolf?


According to Science Daily, Charles Darwin did:

From the late 19th century onwards, stories of werewolf encounters tailed away significantly, says [Brian] Regal. “The spread of the idea of evolution helped kill off the werewolf because a canid-human hybrid makes no sense from an evolutionary point of view,” he says. “The ape-human hybrid, however, is not only evolutionarily acceptable, it is the basis of human evolution.”

Thanks to Bob Powers for the tip!

7.09.2009

Flags of Forgotten Countries

Dark Roasted Blend has posted a series on flags that have been permanently furled. Why? Because their nation has ceased to exist. Such as the Most Serene Republic of Venice:
And the Empire of Brazil:

7.08.2009

RIP: Mollie Sugden

Mollie Sugden, the wonderful actress who played Mrs. Slocombe on British hit comedy Are You Being Served?, passed away on July 1st. The Telegraph's obituary perhaps sums up why her character was such a popular and enduring one:
Mollie Sugden's Mrs Slocombe was a recognisable working type – the shopworn divorcee trying to keep up appearances, defying the years with ever more lurid rinses, and returning home alone each night to her "little pussy", to which there was always at least one reference in every show.

Mrs Slocombe had an arch, Ortonesque way with the unfortunate phrase: "Captain Peacock, I do not respond to any man's finger!", she says in response to a summons from the boss. "Before we go any further, Mr Rumbold, Miss Brahms and I would like to complain about the state of our drawers. They're a positive disgrace."
Of course, this video tribute really captures the essence of the show's humor. Comedy never really changes, does it?

7.07.2009

Japan's Capsule Apartments Face Demolition

The New York Times' laments the potential destruction of Tokyo's Nakagin Capsule Tower, one of the few examples of Metabolist architecture. As you can guess by these photos, it was built in the '70s:





The architect, Kisho Kurokawa was also well-known in the '60s for the Space Capsule Disco, which unfortunately doesn't seem to have photos readily available on the internet.

Another day, another bookstore down

The Trover Shop is closing in Washington, DC.

Horse Slaughter

Despite the recent legislation closing down horse slaughter houses in the United States, thousands of horses continue to cross the borders to Mexico and Canada to meet an unfortunate fate. 

7.06.2009

Over 150 People Lost in Chinese Riots

Rioting that began on Sunday in the Xinjiang province have killed over 150 people.

The end of French Cuisine?



Maclean's magazine reviews Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine and the Death of France by Michael Steinberger, including this terrifying news:

Charles de Gaulle’s famous remark—“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”—grows ever more hollow. Prized cheeses are dying out as their makers retire unreplaced: in 2005, septuagenarian CĂ©lina Gagneux hung up her ladle and a two-centuries-old Alpine cheese, Vacherin d’Abondance, went extinct. Other raw-milk varieties—real cheeses, in the judgment of connoisseurs—even the iconic Camembert, are also under threat.

Not the Camembert! Read the full review here.

7.02.2009

It's all online

Check out the "Wayback Machine" and see what your favorite websites used to look like--and perhaps, as we said in 2005, to see what was, what isn't, what won't.

6.30.2009

Odetta Holmes

Odetta Holmes, (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008) was an important musical figure during the Civil Rights Movement. Her powerful delivery of folk music, jazz, blues, and spirituals greatly influenced other musicians including, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janice Joplin during the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s.


6.29.2009

Billy Mays Dies

Billy Mays could sell anything from Mighty Putty to OxiClean. He had people across the country whipping out their credit cards to buy an assortment of products on his infomercials. Mays died at the age of 50. 

The Strange Deaths of 10 Musical Composers

Listverse has composed a list of 10 great classical composers who died in rather dissonant ways.

6.25.2009

The King of Pop

Michael Jackson, age fifty, has died after suffering a cardiac arrest. 

Charlie's Angels star Farrah Fawcett Dies At 62

After battling cancer for three year, actress, Farrah Fawcett dies at 62.

Toothless


(Image created by Inhale)
My Milk Toof photographs the adventures of a baby tooth after the owner has placed it under his or her pillow in exchange for money. 

6.24.2009

Mama gonna kiss that Kodachrome

Kodak is going to stop production of Kodachrome, and the one American lab that still handles the stuff will only offer the service through the end of 2010.

6.23.2009

America's Top Second Banana Dies


TV legend, Ed McMahon, best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show has died at 86.

DC Metro Crash

At least nine people have died in the subway crash on the Red Line in Washington, D.C. Read more info here


6.22.2009

The Man Condemned for Surviving the Titanic Disaster


Read the story on Neatorama about Masabumi Hosono, the Japanese man who escaped the Titanic but was told by his countrymen that he should have gone down with the ship.

Hosono was denounced as a coward by Japanese newspapers and fired from his job with the Transportation Ministry. The ministry hired him back a few weeks later, but his career never recovered. College professors denounced him as immoral, and he was written up in Japanese textbooks as a man who had disgraced his country. There were even public calls for him to commit hara-kiri -ritual suicide - as means of saving face.

6.19.2009

Steal it back!


Looking for that 12 gram nugget ring someone stole from you last month? Perhaps a doubloon, or that lot of 15 cell phones you used to love so much? Head on over to this site and steal it back!

6.18.2009

The Ventures' guitarist, Bob Bogle dies

Read the full obituary of one of the founding members of the surf-rock group The Ventures here. The New York Times focuses mainly on the band's hit version of "Walk - Don't Run."



But I also love their version of the Surfaris' famous "Wipeout":

Book Hungry!

Google and Amazon are battling out the future of the book...or one version of the book, at least.

6.17.2009

Gay community loses trust

The Gay community expresses disappointment in President Obama's recent actions. 

Closed for Business

I went to a media conference at Gettysburg College a few months ago. All the journalists there were a twitter about twitter. I went home that night and opened up my account. So far, it hasn't had much action.  To my knowledge, not many of my college classmates are on Twitter; most prefer facebook. (Myspace is totally out.) 

I love things from the internet that hark back to an earlier time (like YOU ARE REMARKABLE that coordinates people sending strangers snail mail -- not emails! -- telling them how remarkable they are). Incorporating the new with the old seems to be a growing trend, which is why I was disappointed that I missed the deadline (by mere hours) for: the Twitter on Paper Project. Twitter on paper was a service that allowed people to request custom paper versions of Sam Pott's tweets to be mailed to them for free. 

6.12.2009

Good for what ails you, if what ails you is "health"


Decades ago, Americans were a simpler and much, much higher bunch. Pill Talk has a great selection of classic medical ads for drugs that would now get you arrested if you tried selling them. Looking at these ads reminds me of visiting the old site of the New Orleans' Museum of the American Cocktail, which was then part of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.

Michigan Central Station


(Photo copyright Southen.)

The Detroit City Council voted in April to tear this incredible Beaux Arts landmark down. For a look inside it 22 years ago, when it was closed but still largely intact, check out this video.

Anyone know the latest status of the building?

6.10.2009

Summer's melting ice pops


(image copyright Meredith Allen)
The last three days I have walked to work in Manhattan in the pouring rain. To my dismay, it's suppose to keep raining this week. These pictures of melting ice pops make me long for hot hot weather and endless summer. I miss the simple summers of childhood. 

The Perforating Mexicans Strike Again

Filled with skeletons and still not completely mapped, Paris' catacombs have always been fascinating. A recent Guardian article describes a secret cinema/bar in the catacombs discovered during a police training session (bizarrely, the catacombs are protected by the "sports squad"). The cinema had an motion-sensitive alarm system that sets off a tape of dogs barking when intruders entered, and the collection of videos included mostly noir films and contemporary thrillers. Since its discovery, the set-up has been claimed as the work of The Perforating Mexicans (I can't help but hope this is a mistranslation), a group of "cataphiles" dedicated to exploring (and partying) in the tunnels. 

Up in smoke

The e-cigarette is making a bid to let smokers get what they want: all the pleasure and none of the complications. They have their detractors, but on the positive side, they leave no litter and can be smoked inside. Plus, they have an eerie red tip.

6.09.2009

North American Bats at Risk


I can think of plenty of puns to go with this piece, but rather than reducing it to Jay Leno-monologue status we should take this problem seriously: 

A mysterious fungus attacking America's bats could spread nationwide within years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century, experts warned Congress Thursday.

Displaying pictures of bats speckled with the white fungus that gave the disease its name — white-nose syndrome — experts described to two House subcommittees Thursday the horror of discovering caves where bats had been decimated by the disease.

As a state wildlife biologist from Vermont put it, one cave there was turned into a morgue, with bats freezing to death outside and so many carcasses littering the cave's floor the stench was too strong for researchers to enter.

They also warned that if nothing more is done to stop its spread, the fungus could strike caves and mines with some of the largest and most endangered populations of hibernating bats in the United States.

And in one particularly surprising example: 

"I went into a cave last spring and most damn near cried," [Marvin Moriarty, acting deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service] said in an interview after the House panel.

There were supposed to be 3,000 bats in the cave, the Greeley mine in Vermont. Moriarty and his colleagues could only find 33. 

"And I don't think a single bat was going to make it out of the cave."

Read the full Associated Press article here.

He ran his eyeballs out

This Belmont Stakes ended a dream for jockey Calvin Borel, aboard Mine That Bird: to win all three races that make up the Triple Crown. Borel won the Kentucky Derby riding Mine That Bird and switched over to the promising filly, Rachel Alexandra to win the Preakness. He went back to Mine That Bird, hoping to win the Belmont, but Mine That Bird's half brother, Summer Bird, overtook him.

6.08.2009

A Bird's-Eye View of the Chesapeake Bay

The Washington Post Magazine has a gorgeous series of aerial photos from Maryland/Virginia's the Chesapeake Bay. Not only is it an impressive look at the region's landscape now but a visual argument for protecting the region. 

6.04.2009

Paul Auster's Children's Book

GalleyCat relates a bizarre story from the New York Observer about a children's book that was created based on Timbuktu, an adult novel by Paul Auster. Auster was asked about the book at a recent BEA panel but didn't know anything about it and had never seen a copy.

Compare the original book and the children's version. And read the full Observer story to discover why "It’s kind of a macabre idea for a children’s book."

Protecting manuscripts from dumps and war

A major movement to protect at-risk texts is underway.

6.03.2009

6.02.2009

High and Dry

Most shipwrecks end up at the bottom of the ocean, but occasionally a ship ends up abandoned above water. Webphemera has some terrific pictures  of these oddball wrecks from around the world. Below is one from Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland:


Losing Inches to Escape

Jake was stuck until the pounds came off.   

6.01.2009

Try Not to Think About That Television Show

The Times reports that an Air France Jet has disappeared while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. It's moments like these when you realize that time-travel is not the worst that can happen, and that reality is always more dangerous than fiction. Here's hoping that the passengers and crew are safe.

Last Titanic Survivor Dies

Millvina Dean was only two months old when she was rescued from the sinking Titanic. She wasn't even aware that she was one of 706 survivors until she was eight years old. 

5.30.2009

La Gioconda

It has been discovered that restoration techniques used on the Mona Lisa rendered her eyebrow and eyelash-less. 

5.29.2009

Television Shows On the Way Out?

Derek Thompson argues that television shows are no longer fitting consumer needs. It seems archaic to wait for new installments of shows and have consumers rearrange schedules to be able to watch them, when other media like movies and music are instantly available without interruption of commercials, and when TV shows themselves are available online.

5.28.2009

Jay Bennett's Music

Former member of Wilco Jay Bennett died in his sleep on Saturday. His time with Wilco -- both his significant contributions and his abrupt firing -- have been well-documented in the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. This Editor has always preferred Bennett-era Wilco -- especially Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -- to the later work from Jeff Tweedy, and he has a feeling many other listeners would agree. 

Rather than get into a rock-snob argument, it would be better to take a look at some of the great music Bennett made. Idolator has a must-watch collection of videos and links available here. Below is one of my favorites, from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Razing it to save it?

China is razing an ancient, Islamic city in Kashgar, China--and the rationale of "improvement" is a bit puzzling.

5.27.2009

"Stach-letes"

We still can't figure out who's lost what, but L.A. is all about mustaches.

Abandoned Wonders of the Worlds

WebUrbanist has an amazing, 33-part guide to abandoned locations around the world. That's right, there are thirty-three entries in this series. For instance, below are a few images from Los Angeles' defunct Griffith Park Zoo:

Check out the rest of the series here.

5.26.2009

The Best "Stuff" in the World

I was disappointed to miss New York's Tattoo Convention a few weeks ago, but that disappointment pales in comparison to my realization that I also missed the 2009 World Taxidermy and Fishing Convention in St. Louis! As the organizer's press release said, this convention had the best "stuff" in the world. Thankfully, there are plenty more events coming up list here on taxidermy.net. 

5.22.2009

Swindled by swine

The under-65 set may not have the antibodies to tackle swine flu on its own, according to authorities.

5.21.2009

Put Your Hands Together for Danny Gans!

The obituary of Las Vegas' most successful impressionist, Danny Gans, from the New York Times:

Mr. Gans was a show business anomaly, with no movie or television career to speak of and a long-ago one-man show on Broadway that lasted a week. Still, when he died he was grossing $18 million a year as a sure bet to lure people into the casinos that hired him, which is what it's all about.

He had no tigers, no scantily clad assistants, no fireworks — only a seven-piece band, a prop or two, and the uncanny ability to summon the voices of dozens of celebrities a night. In singing a duet of "Unforgettable," for example, he would channel both Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.

5.20.2009

Cheesus Christ

The Houston Chronicle's editors are searching for a "Cheesus"--the latest craze, in which true believers proclaim they've found actual representations of Christ in Cheetos snacks.

Check out the story here.

5.19.2009

Born to Run

Animal-lovers who enjoyed a cow's recent escape (and subsequent pardon) from a Queens, NY slaughterhouse will find more tales on WebEcoist's list of Twelve Great Animal Escapes. Unfortunately, they aren't all as cute as this one:

(via Neatorama)

A missing link lost

We're one big step closer to understanding the path of human evolution after a press conference this morning at the Museum of Natural History.

5.18.2009

Lost Opportunities: Vaudeville Edition

Over the weekend, Lost's Editor missed one of those rare chances to prove himself a "real" New Yorker. On the uptown N train, a map-clutching tourist asked him how to get to Carnegie Hall. The Editor gave her directions, but after she walked off he realized his mistake. The only way to Carnegie Hall is "practice."

5.15.2009

Head over to the Woolworths'

Dime store king F.W. Woolworth's house may be gone, but the three houses he built for his daughters in 1920 still stand.

5.14.2009

Rock 'n Roll Dreams Dashed

Brian Wilson, the genius behind The Beach Boys, has admitted to AutoWeek that even though his former band scored hits such as "Little Deuce Coupe" they did not actually know much about cars.

In other music news, Motley Crue did not smoke in the boys room and David Lee Roth was not hot for his teacher.

5.13.2009

Lost? The Television Show? Never heard of it.

Ever since Lost Magazine was born, we've been asked about the TV series. After all, we launched the website just three months after Lost premiered on ABC. Maybe because of some sense of rivalry, this Editor avoided watching it for as long as possible. But last year that all changed, and so tonight's two-hour season finale is anxiously anticipated. 

According to internet speculation, someone in the cast will die. But we'll leave the rumor-mongering to the professionals, and instead suggest an excellent Lost offshoot that can be enjoyed whether or not you're a fan of Lost the TV show or Lost the magazine. Check out the startlingly talented recap band Previously on Lost's "Lost in 2 Minutes", which you can hear here.

What lies in the shadow of the statue!?!?

I call it, "Pluto"



Image via NASA

Venetia Fair named Pluto when she was 11. She died at 90, on April 30, 2009, herself having a wonderful name. Read the full obituary over at The Los Angeles Times. The Pluto was downgraded to Kuiper Belt dwarf planet status, we still consider it one of man's best friends.

5.12.2009

Life in an Iron Lung


Image via the New York Times

Martha Mason, who passed away last week, spent most of her life in an iron lung after a childhood case of polio. She graduated from college, wrote for a newspaper, and even had a memoir published. Read the full, fascinating obituary over at The New York Times. You'll never complain about writer's block again.

5.11.2009

Escape from Detroit

On June 1st, Megan Deal will leave Detroit, Michigan for Greensboro, Alabama. She plans to bring only one bag with her, so she's selling all of her life's possessions online. Check out her website for great deals on "One Dried Carnation. Dried in April 1997," "College for Creative Studies one of a kind belt buckle and bumper stickers," "one fun round swirly thingy," and other must-have (unless you're Megan) effluvia.

(via Neatorama)

5.09.2009

Writers: Get lost in Texas

George Getschow, writer in residence of the nationally renowned Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, is inviting nonfiction writers and anyone interested in the narrative craft to the 5th annual conference, July 24-26 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, TX., five minutes from the DFW Airport. This year's conference features a diverse group of storytellers from genres unexplored in previous years, including travel writing, broadcast, nature writing and documentary film.

Keynotes include one of America's literary lions, Paul Theroux, author of acclaimed travel literature, short-story collections, novels, criticism and children’s books; Ira Glass, National Public Radio's host and producer of “This American Life: and editor of a breathtaking anthology called The New Kings of Nonfiction; Alma Guillermoprieto, Latin American correspondent for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. The nation's foremost humor writer, Roy Blount Jr., will also be speaking at the conference, along with Stephanie Elizondo Griest, the "accidental memoirist" of Mexican-American society; Vogue's renowned narrative essay writer, Julia Reed; the nation's leading authority on Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Michael Kauffman; Gordon Grice, “the Stephen King of nature writers”; Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent and hunger expert, Roger Thurow; internationally acclaimed documentary filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell; and a number of other storytellers.

Bob Shacochis, a National Book Award Winner (Swimming in the Volcano) who spoke at last year's conference, says the Mayborn is "the most compelling, remarkable writers' conference I've attended in more than 20 years of writers' conferences around the nation. Thanks to the Mayborn tribe of storytellers, I think of Dallas as a preferred destination, a center of literary gravity, perhaps the very heart of the universe these days for nonfiction writers in America."

And there are prizes. For information and to register, visit http://themayborn.unt.edu/MaybornConference2009.htm. For more information, contact George Getschow at getschow@unt.edu or by phone: 972-746-1633, or Project Coordinator Jo Ann Ballentine, joann.ballantine@unt.edu, 940-565-4778, cell 940-368-1988. 940.368.1998. George Getschow at 972-746-1633.

5.08.2009

What became of Captain Beefheart?

The private life of Don Van Vliet -- a.k.a. Captain Beefheart -- isn't as much of a concern for journalists as that of other reclusive artists. More reporters have taken the time to visit J.D.  Salinger's home in New Hampshire or looked for Jeff Mangum on the New York streets. But for fans of his music Vliet's sudden decision to quit music in the '80s in order to focus on painting was the equivalent of a full-scale disappearance. The last clear update on his life came in a 1997 BBC documentary. There seem to be rumors that he's possibly suffering from MS, but regardless of his health no one expects to be hearing from him publicly. Unfortunately, his life will likely not be fully remembered until the obituaries are published. 

In 1993, Anton Corbijn made this video about the artist. Though over 15 years old it is probably the most recent material that will be available (thanks to Ubuweb):



But for someone so withdrawn, it's amazing to see him on Letterman back in '82! 

Chernobyl lost...and found...and lost...


Chernobyl is coming back faster than you might think...but there's a lot that stays the same. The images are amazing.
From English in Russia.

5.06.2009

Who cut off Van Gogh's ear?

The accepted story has always been that Van Gogh was responsible for cutting off his own ear. But now, German art historians Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans claim in a new book that Paul Gauguin in fact did the job with a fencing epee, as covered in the London Telegraph

From over here, however, it doesn't seem as if they have much basis for their case: "Although the historians provide no 'smoking gun' to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation," writes the Telegraph, before listing such evidence as Van Gogh's cryptic final words to Gauguin, a reference to a French novel, and the use of a Latin fencing term in a Van Gogh painting. 

And suddenly we start to wonder if this is really just a buzz campaign for the new Dan Brown novel....

Lost Razors



For some, yesterday called for celebration. It was "Cinco de Mustache."

5.05.2009

Old-Fashioned beer brands

There are some big fans of classic drinks here at Lost, but while vintage cocktails have gotten plenty of attention there hasn't been the same fervid effort to recreate long-lost brews. Over at Flickr, Lance Wilson has posted a great set of photos of vintage beer cans. Some of them are vestiges from still-active brands, but others are much less recognizable. Lite Beer, anyone?
via Love Made Visible.

Who doesn't want extra cash...

Apparently someone in Pennsylvania, who has yet to claim half of the $174.4 million Powerball Jackpot, or $87.2 million, from the February 28 drawing. Quite a misfortune to lose your fortune.


Lost fortune? Or is $87.2 million just
unclaimed?