September 26, 2023

'Fear and Desire' (1952) — Stanley Kubrick's first film

I only learned of the existence of this movie — released when Kubrick was 24 — in last week's New York Times review by J. Hoberman.

Hoberman wrote:

Seen in retrospect, a first feature by a major filmmaker can be a revelation particularly if, as with Stanley Kubrick's low-budget war movie "Fear and Desire," it concerns a career-long preoccupation — and even more so if the filmmaker has attempted to suppress it.

An independent production which, although fictional, premiered in the documentary section of the 1952 Venice Film Festival, "Fear and Desire" is getting a weeklong run at Metrograph, 70 years after its release in the United States.

Kubrick characterized "Fear and Desire" as "a completely inept oddity, boring and pretentious." While undeniably pretentious, the movie is neither inept nor boring. Its oddity lies in its being both a prelude and footnote to Kubrick's remarkable career.

Turns out you don't have to live in or travel to New York City this week to see the film: it's on YouTube (top).

It costs $3.99 to rent.

Or you watch it here free — the way we like it.

September 26, 2023 at 04:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Museum of Lost Memories

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This Instagram account seeks to reunite photos found in junk shops and flea markets with their subjects (or subjects' descendants).

Wrote Emma Beddington in the Guardian, "The hit rate is low, but if you click "Returned!" you can enjoy some really satisfying success stories.

September 26, 2023 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coca-Cola Y3000 — 'Co-Created with AI'


The latest Sign of the Apocalypse.

From various Coke websites

The future is here: Limited Edition Coca-Cola Y3000 has arrived!

World, meet Coca-Cola Y3000!

Co-created with AI, this is your chance to taste the year 3000 today, showing you what a future full of positivity and optimism could look like.


Explore our Y3000 pack and discover the year 3000 right in front of your eyes.

In collaboration with Artificial Intelligence, you can create your own vision of the future in a snap.

You can too!

While it lasts, score Coca-Cola Y3000 here.

Reviewed here.

Limited-Edition Collection at the Coca-Cola Store.

September 26, 2023 at 08:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 25, 2023

BehindTheMedspeak: Your constipation is my normal


After two unpleasant days-long failed colonoscopy preps last year I realized what the problem was/is: the gastroenterologist's questionnaire I filled out asked if I had constipation and I answered "No."

Only after I pondered for a few days about what could possibly have gone so wrong — since I'd done everything according to the detailed preparation instructions I'd been given — did the penny drop.

                                     TMI ALERT

I poop about once every two weeks: it was around once a week after I started daily antidepressant medication in 1991 and now with my triad of lithium/Paxil/buproprion and being a geezer it's slowed down even more.

But to me that's not constipation — it's normal.

Words mean different things to different people.

I told the gastroenterologist it would be better if the questionnaire asked "How often do you have a bowel movement?"

He agreed.

September 25, 2023 at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

David Rumsey Map Collection — 'Browse 125,216 maps and images'

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Cartography enthusiast David Rumsey

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has put his entire collection of maps online,

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from 16th to 21st century, terrestrial, maritime and celestial.

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Fair warning....

September 25, 2023 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: RJ's Licorice


It's batch made in Australia, though enquiries are to be directed to their New Zealand office; I buy it from Amazon (U.S.).

About five years ago I got a licorice jones and had my Crack Research Team©®™ drill down and order myriad licorice varieties from around the world.

After an enjoyable month or so trying them all out, RJ's emerged victorious, head and shoulders above the rest.

Five 7 oz foil-lined resealable bags cost $29.99.

Note to those who, like me, grew up in the U.S. thinking Good & Plenty and Twizzlers are licorice: RJ's resembles those about as much as chalk resembles cheese.

Question for my Australia and New Zealand readers: how much does RJ's cost there?

Note to gimlet-eyed readers objecting to my opening sentence above:

It's batch made in Australia

when any fool can plainly see the bag (above and below) says 



That photo accompanies the product listing on Amazon's website.

My Crack Photography Team©™® — all of whom are now required to wear the Official boj Thong©™®*— took shots of my bag of licorice, which you can view below.

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nuf sed



September 25, 2023 at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 24, 2023

Folgers' new lid is a step backward

Since forever, Folgers' instant coffee has come in a big red plastic jar with a screw-top lid.

This morning when I opened a fresh jar, I noticed something seemed different.

They added vertical ridges to the lid to enhance grip traction, but — but! — they eliminated the flip-top feature which made early morning semi-comatose access easier.


Bizarro World lagniappe: they also changed the jar's diameter such that I can't substitute my only remaining flip-top lid for the FAILed new iteration.

Up top, a video my Crack Media Team®© made demonstrating the design regression.

September 24, 2023 at 04:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Artist Project — 'What artists see when they look at the Met'

Long story short: Videos of 120 contemporary artists reacting to pieces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's extraordinary collection.

Free, the way we like it.

They're all on YouTube.


September 24, 2023 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

137 Years of Diamond Crystal Salt


Founded in 1886, Diamond Crystal has gone through of number of container redesigns.

The latest (below)

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aims to elevate its image from commodity Kosher salt to Maldon-level finishing salt flakes.

At grocery stores everywhere or if you prefer, Amazon will sell you a 1 lb. box for $8.99.

[via the New York Times]

September 24, 2023 at 08:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 23, 2023

Radiooooo — 'Musical time machine'

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Wrote Emma Beddington in the Guardian:

Pick a country from the world map, pick a decade and Radiooooo plays you music from that time and place (refined to slow, fast or "weird," if you want to be more specific).

I am writing this to a soundtrack of 1960s Morocco and feeling more cosmopolitan than I have any right to: "Oh, you're not familiar with Abdelwahab Agoumi? You should check him out."

More seriously, Radiooooo gives you that expansive feeling that the world is vast, various and infinitely creative.

That's nice.

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September 23, 2023 at 04:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Electric Blue Tarantula

News of the finding appeared in earlier this week with the headline "Jewel of the forest: New electric blue tarantula species discovered in Thailand."

Said a member of the research team: "The first specimen we found was on a tree in the mangrove forest. These tarantulas inhabit hollow trees, and the difficulty of catching an electric-blue tarantula lies in the need to climb a tree and lure it out of a complex of hollows amid humid and slippery conditions."

More: "The secret behind the vivid blue coloration of our tarantula lies not in the presence of blue pigments, but rather in the unique structure of their hair, which incorporates nanostructures that manipulate light to create this striking blue appearance."

Blue is one of the rarest colors to appear in nature, which makes blue coloration in animals particularly fascinating.


Read the original scientific paper, "A new electric-blue tarantula species of the genus Chilobrachys Karsh, 1892 from Thailand (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Theraphosidae)," here.

September 23, 2023 at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lie Down Laptop Stand



From Core77:

Strange Thing for Sale: It's Like an Unfinished ID Student Project

This looks like an ID student's initial mockup of a thing they're going to refine.

Shockingly, it's the finished object: A Lie Down Laptop Stand.


Actual quote from the product copy: "If you have a wireless mouse, we recommend leaving it on the floor beside you for easy access."

I don't even know where to begin with this.


The stability?

The ingress and egress procedure, for both the laptop and your body?

The $120 asking price?

At least that $120 will help save the environment; the seller makes the incredible claim that "100 trees are planted with each purchase."


$120 (laptop included with purchases from Atlanta's southern suburbs: please specify Razer, Alienware, or ASUS).

September 23, 2023 at 08:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 22, 2023

This is what happens when you create a Crack Research Team©™® to do the heavy lifting for your blog


It came in about 40 minutes ago.


September 22, 2023 at 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Super Mario Bros. Speedrun

Wrote Kottke:

I love reading about speedrunning, specifically Super Mario Bros. speedrunning, so this piece in Ars Technica about a new world record by Niftski is right up my alley.

The run is above if you want to watch it.

Four particular things caught my eye about this run:

1. Niftski's new record is 4m 54.631s, which is now faster than what was believed to be the theoretical limit for a human-played game.

2. It's also extremely close to the fastest SMB game ever played done using tool-assisted speedrunning (where you basically play in super slow motion, so you can make all the very precise movements easily, a lá The Flash). "In the battle of man versus machine, Niftski is now just 0.35 seconds away from standing up, John Henry-style, against the standard of machine-made automation."

3. I always marvel at the level of dedication and ingenuity of the players working together (though competition) to lower the possible times through the tiniest of adjustments.

4. His heart rate tops out at 188bpm by the end of the game. I know he's sitting at a desk, but that's got to be of some cardiovascular advantage, right?

September 22, 2023 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: bigger than a bread box.

Another: moving parts.

A third: wood.

September 22, 2023 at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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