Monday, November 25, 2013

The most common sentences in each series... together has a good summation of each series.

Via io9


Io9 has a post of holiday gift books for lovers of science and science fiction which includes this Beautiful LEGO book! Damn! That would take all the rounded pieces and then some!

His 15 Minutes (and then some)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Interactive Doctor Who Timeline Infographic

Via BBC - Click over for the interactive part.


Via NPR: Why we've been traveling with Doctor Who for 50 years

Well, actually since time is a ball of timey-whimey stuff...then it's been for much longer...

From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?

A Couple of Things to Watch Before...

And, seeing how distraught we were at the death of our beloved President, the BBC blessed us with...the Doctor.

1st Doctor Who minisode

50th Mini epsode The Last Day by culttvstuff

2nd Doctor Who minisode

The Real Science of Doctor Who

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NYMag: Six Writers on their Favorite Books

Via NYMag

For example, William Gibson lists the following titles:

  1. Tiger! Tiger! by Alfred Bester
  2. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
  3. Arslan by M.J. Engh
  4. The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard
  5. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  6. Pavane by Keith Roberts
  7. Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack
  8. Great Work of Time by John Crowley
  9. Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling
  10. 334 by Thomas M. Disch

Midday Snack

Via Queerty

It's why car manufacturers made the seats go back.

So Looking Is a Thing on HBO

Read and see more at BuzzFeed

Interview: James Marsters Talks About Into the Light

Via io9

After Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel ended, there were persistent rumors that Director Joss Whedon was going to make a Spike movie with actor James Marsters reprising his role as the fan-favorite vampire. It never happened, but now the movie is taking new life as a comic book called Into the Light, written by Marsters himself and coming out from Dark Horse next year!

I really wish he'd show up some more in Torchwood...though I also really hope that Torchwood never does what it did in Miracle Day...that is...suck.

io9: David Goyer pitches a Sandman movie

Um, no...let's be cannot squish the complexity that is 75+ issues of The Sandman into one movie. And there's quite a bit of it that wouldn't do in the very linear-creature that is a regular movie. Maybe a TV series...controlled by me and maybe some of the other fans who would make sure you (the director(s)) wouldn't fuck it up!

Via io9

Okay, let me clarify that: David Goyer is definitely pitching a Sandman movie, and Badass Digest is reporting that The Dark Knight's Rises' Joseph Gordon-Levitt is somehow involved. It's possible that JGL wants to direct it, but it seems much more likely that might play Dream in such an adaptation (or both, hell).

This is way too early to really even speculate about, but you should recall that 1) Warner Bros. loves themselves some David Goyer, seeing as he's written all three of Chris nolan's Dark Knight movies and Man of Steel, 2) I'm sure Warner Bros. would be equally excited to have Joseph Gordon-Levitt involved, and 3) President of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson said not four months ago that a Sandman adaptation was at the "top" of their movie to-do list.

On the other hand, there have been plenty of DC movie ideas — including a few by Goyer himself — that never made it past the announcement stage, so I wouldn't hold your breathe just yet. But man, I think JGL would be a pretty inspired choice to play Dream. Hmm....

Via MediaMatters: Debunking The Book of Matt

It may not be a particularly sound barometric test, but when I get a book in my hands about a subject I find interesting but by an author I am unfamiliar with, I look in the author bio in the back: if he or she has ever done any work for Fox, I immediately begin to question not only whether or not I will agree with the author's thesis, but also whether or not the tome in hand is more akin to science fiction or fantasy, more so than, say, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or Pratchett's Discworld.

When I first learned of Jimenez's thesis and then his association with Fox, these are the cogs that started turning in my head. So as soon as we got his book at my library (and believe me, of course, we'd get THIS book as opposed to all the other gay-related books that I would prefer the library to get), I googled "criticism, book of matt," and found the following article from MediaMatters.

Although right-wing media have rejoiced at the arrival of The Book of Matt - convinced that it exposes an LGBT "grievance industry" founded on "lies" and cover-ups, Jimenez's repeated conjecture, unreliable sources, and stubborn denial of blatant evidence of homophobia mark the book as a sub-par work of reportage.

In the course of his failed effort to upend the public's understanding of Shepard's murder, Jimenez pays no heed to the reality of anti-LGBT hate crimes. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) notes that no other minority group is as targeted for hate crimes. However poor the investigative work and unfounded the conclusions, Jimenez's book gives aid and comfort to those who turn a blind eye to anti-LGBT violence and bigotry.

This is actually the conclusion of the piece, so be sure to click over and read the rest.

Given what tomorrow is (50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK), there's been a lot of talk about where everyone was on THAT day. "Well, everyone remembers where they were on the day that it happened." Learning about the death of Matthew Shepard was one of those moments for me (along with the Challenger explosion and 9/11), and while, yes, his murder has been used as a political means, I'm okay with that means being one for justice. Using his death to bring back a darkness is a terrible, terrible thing.

All the deaths in A Song of Ice and Fire - No Spoilers

Via Observation Deck

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Walter Naegle receives Medal of Honor for Bayard Rustin

And Tam O'Shaughnessy receives the Medal of Honor for Sally Ride.

Via Joe.My.God.

Accepting the medals on behalf of their late partners were Tam O'Shaughnessy (Sally Ride) and Walter Naegle (Bayard Rustin). Both presentations were preceded by the off-stage announcer recounting the contributions made by Ride and Rustin to the history of the LGBT movement.

Katy Perry's Unconditionally

President Obama awards Loretta Lynn Medal of Honor

Image via Facebook

Among more here

So... this Chris Bosh's bukkake face?

Everyone Single Doctor Who Story Ranked from Best to Worst

Via io9

The top 10?

1) Caves of Androzani - Yes, it really is that good. Peter Davison's final story as the Doctor is both thrilling and fascinating, thanks to a complex plot, intense performances and beautifully staged action. The Doctor is dying from the first moments of the story, and this is all about him making his final hours count.

2) Blink - You could argue that it deserves the top spot. This insanely inventive story about stone statues that can get you when you're not looking, and a DVD extra showing a missing time traveler dispensing cryptic advice, is still unrivaled, even after years of copies.

3) City of Death - Douglas Adams co-wrote this witty story about an alien fractured in time, who is creating duplicate Mona Lisas as part of a ploy to time-travel and erase humanity from history. The most stylish classic Who, but also the cleverest.

4) The Doctor's Wife - The TARDIS is made flesh, and we finally get to the bottom of the Doctor's relationship with his time machine, in this intensely moving story.

5) Midnight - When the Doctor's gift for being the "cleverest man in the room" is turned against him, he's at the mercy of human nature at its most revolting, in this misanthropic, scary story.

6) Vincent and the Doctor - Of all the "meeting famous people" stories, this is the most heart-breaking. An astonishing look at art and madness and what being able to see things that nobody else can see might do to someone.

7) Pyramids of Mars - justly revered, this story about mummies and pyramids is a great example of Tom Baker's Doctor coming up with three or four plans to defeat an ultimate menace... all of which fail. Sutekh is a fantastic villain, and it's great that we've never seen him since.

8) The Ark in Space - Years before Ridley Scott's alien, a wasp creature laid its eggs inside cryo-preserved humans. The Doctor is at his wits' end coming up with plans to defeat the Wirrn.

9) The Genesis of the Daleks - The Daleks' origins as space Nazis are fully displayed here, and the ethical debates in this story are absolutely mind-boggling. Davros is a master manipulator who gives a human face to the Daleks, in his one really great outing.

10) Turn Left - a fantastic alternate-universe story where one little change wrecks everything, and we see just how bleak things could really get.

This Week's Books

"David Trinidad turns the paste jewels of pop art into the real thing."—James Schuyler

"In David Trinidad's Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera, the moment-by-moment particulars of traditional haiku collide with the time-stretching serial narratives of contemporary soap operas. As Trinidad's haiku chart the changing seasons, don't be surprised if the snow falling under moonlight is artificial, dumped by overworked stagehands off-camera. Seventeen syllables mediated by television—the continuing story of Peyton Place making a high-def splash in Basho's pond."—Tony Trigilio

"The world of art can appear anywhere, so it's no wonder to me that Trinidad finds something worthwhile in producing a haiku for each of the episodes of Peyton Place and that, embedded in the strange curl of Dorothy Malone's hairdo, is yet one more space still untouched and undefined by a poet."—Manuel Muñoz

This is the continuing story of Peyton Place. One irreverent haiku for each of the over five hundred prime time 1960s era "adult" soap opera episodes. Fraught relationships, courtroom cliffhangers, and sensational storylines are condensed into seventeen-syllable episodes, as stereotypic characters weather the passing TV seasons. This haiku soap epic is ingenious, funny, and totally addictive. Excerpts from Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera have been selected by Denise Duhamel for inclusion in Best American Poetry, 2013.

A masterly collection of new stories from Russell Banks, acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone, which maps the complex terrain of the modern American family

The New York Times lauds Russell Banks as "the most compassionate fiction writer working today" and hails him as a novelist who delivers "wrenching, panoramic visions of American moral life." Long celebrated for his unflinching, empathetic works that explore the unspoken but hard realities of contemporary culture, Banks now turns his keen intelligence and emotional acuity on perhaps his most complex subject yet: the shape of family in its many forms.

Suffused with Banks's trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. In "Christmas Party," a young man entertains dark thoughts as he watches his newly remarried ex-wife leading the life he once imagined they would share. "A Former Marine" asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative "Veronica," a mysterious woman searching for her missing daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, A Permanent Member of the Family charts with subtlety and precision the ebb and flow of both the families we make for ourselves and the ones we're born into, as it asks how we know the ones we love and, in turn, ourselves. One of our most acute and penetrating authors, Banks's virtuosic writing animates stories that are profoundly humane, deeply—and darkly—funny, and absolutely unforgettable.

Russell Banks is one of America's most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.

What was your favorite childhood toy?

Do you have fond memories of fighting unseen enemies with your G.I. Joe action figures, demolishing fleets of vehicles with your Tonka Toy Trucks, or Karate-chopping imaginary street thugs with your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

What about carefree summer afternoons counting ticks on your Skip-It, scooting around the neighborhood on your Big Wheel, or soaring down your backyard Slip 'n Slide?

Still a little bitter that your parents never let you have a Nerf Super Soaker, or a Barbie Dream House?

Did you prefer to unleash your inner artist with your Etch a Sketch, or your inner chef with your Easy-Bake Oven? Did you like to challenge your friends to a rousing game of Mousetrap, or did you prefer to get tied up in knots over a round of Twister?

In Toy Time! you’ll be reunited with all these classic toys and more. No matter when you grew up, or what types of play ignited your imagination, Toy Time! will take you on a journey of rediscovery, allowing you to relive those carefree, innocent, and fun-filled days of childhood.

Charming, playful, and full of photos of vintage toys, Toy Time! is an exploration and celebration of the toys that roused our imaginations, shaped our memories, and touched our lives.

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

The New York Times bestselling author of Just My Type and On the Map offers an ode to letter writing and its possible salvation in the digital age.

Few things are as exciting—and potentially life-changing—as discovering an old letter. And while etiquette books still extol the practice, letter writing seems to be disappearing amid a flurry of e-mails, texting, and tweeting. The recent decline in letter writing marks a cultural shift so vast that in the future historians may divide time not between BC and AD but between the eras when people wrote letters and when they did not. So New York Times bestselling author Simon Garfield asks: Can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated and tracked the progress of civilization for more than five hundred years?

In To the Letter, Garfield traces the fascinating history of letter writing from the love letter and the business letter to the chain letter and the letter of recommendation. He provides a tender critique of early letter-writing manuals and analyzes celebrated correspondence from Erasmus to Princess Diana. He also considers the role that letters have played as a literary device from Shakespeare to the epistolary novel, all the rage in the eighteenth century and alive and well today with bestsellers like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. At a time when the decline of letter writing appears to be irreversible, Garfield is the perfect candidate to inspire bibliophiles to put pen to paper and create “a form of expression, emotion, and tactile delight we may clasp to our heart.”

Possibly the most important book of this selection!

The classic American treat finally gets its due: foolproof pudding recipes, from irresistible standards to inventive modern twists, by the chef and owner of New York City’s popular pudding destination.

Puddin’ shares Clio Goodman’s secrets for re-creating—and improving on—your sweetest childhood memories. From grown-up renditions of snack-time favorites like Butterscotch Pudding (spiked with whiskey) to party-ready showstoppers like Banana Upside-Down Cake with Malted Pudding and summertime crowd-pleasers like Peanut Butter Fudge Pops and Peach Melba Parfaits, Puddin’ serves up luscious and decadent recipes for your every dessert whim. Along the way, Clio offers suggestions for adapting her pudding recipes—all of which are naturally gluten-free—for vegan and low-fat variations. And because creamy pudding just begs for a companion, Puddin’ also includes recipes for homemade toppings, such as Salted Caramel Sauce, Marshmallow Crème, and Brownie Crumbs, that can be mixed and matched with the puddings of your choice or incorporated into one of Clio’s signature parfaits.

These surprisingly easy-to-execute pudding creations are destined to become staples of your dessert repertoire. Puddin’ is a celebration of an American classic.

Writing with an exuberant love of language and detail, Anjelica Huston shares her enchanted childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in New York.

Living with her glamorous and artistic mother, educated by tutors and nuns, intrepid on a horse, Huston was raised on an Irish estate to which—between movies—her father brought his array of extraordinary friends, from Carson McCullers and John Steinbeck to Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando. Every morning, Anjelica and her brother visited their father while he took his breakfast in bed. “What news?” he’d ask. “I’d seen him the night before,” Anjelica recalls. “There wasn’t much to report.” So she became a storyteller.

In London, where she lives with her mother and brother in the early sixties when her par­ents separate, Huston encounters the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. She understudies Marianne Faithfull in Hamlet. Seventeen, striking, precocious, but still young and vulnerable, she is devastated when her mother dies in a car crash.

Months later she moves to New York, falls in love with the much older, brilliant but disturbed photographer Bob Richardson, and becomes a model. Living in the Chelsea Hotel, working with Richard Avedon and other photographers, she navigates a volatile relationship and the dynamic cultural epicenter of New York in the seventies.

A Story Lately Told ends as Huston launches her Hollywood life. The second part of her story—Watch Me—opens in Los Angeles in 1973 and will be published in Fall 2014. Beguiling and beautifully written, Huston’s memoir is a treasure.

Paris and London have long held a mutual fascination, and never more so than in the period 1750-1914, when they vied to be the world's greatest city. Each city has been the focus of many books, yet Jonathan Conlin here explores the complex relationship between them for the first time. The reach and influence of both cities was such that the story of their rivalry has global implications. By borrowing, imitating and learning from each other Paris and London invented the true metropolis.

Tales of Two Cities examines and compares five urban spaces—the pleasure garden, the cemetery, the apartment, the restaurant and the music hall—that defined urban modernity in the nineteenth century. The citizens of Paris and London first created these essential features of the modern cityscape and so defined urban living for all of us.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

In Bed With Gore Vidal

So this article totally makes me horny...

Via BuzzFeed:

Vidal was always “on the ball, not bashful or shy, rather aggressive and pushy,” Bowers says, and was “more or less into a quick trick. He did everything sexually, you sucked his cock, he would suck yours, but he preferred to fuck. Gore and I fucked and rolled around and played with each other’s cocks. He’d grab your cock and, boom, he was young and hot and sex was rather quick.”

Click over for more.

Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round


You might know Gertrude Stein from that college class where you studied her experimental fiction, or maybe you remember her as the host of salons for famous 20th-century artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

But here's a side of her you might not know: Stein the children's book author. Her book for kids was a collaboration with illustrator Clement Hurd, the artist behind Goodnight Moon and the mystical rabbits in The Runaway Bunny. The book, The World Is Round, follows the adventures of a young girl named Rose, and it's just as beautiful and fascinating as anything Stein — the mother of modernism — put her hand to.

The World Is Round turns 75 this year, and the anniversary is being marked with a re-release that replicates how the book looked when it first came out in 1939. Clement Hurd's son, Thacher Hurd, a children's book author in his own right, contributed the foreword. He tells NPR's Don Gonyea about how Stein came to write a children's book and why it's a good read for adults, too.

Click over for more.

Mind the Blisters

Via Time:

Two Belgian university professors decided to apply their knowledge of toxicology screenings to the 10 most borrowed books at the Antwerp library. Each book underwent bacteriology and toxicology tests, and the findings reveal that library books are even more germ-covered than you expected.

While the experts found that all 10 books contained traces of cocaine – enough so that people who touched the books wouldn’t feel the effects, but might test positive for the drug –they also found something pretty gross: Fifty Shades of Grey, your weird aunt’s favorite mainstream erotic series, tested positive for traces of the herpes virus.

The professors assured everyone that concentrations of the virus were so minimal that there is no public health risk and it would be impossible for people to contract it by touching the book. Still, something to keep in mind next time you consider taking trashy erotica out of the public library.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

After the Laughter: the 2nd book of Herakut

Since “The Perfect Merge” was published in 2008, the prolific street art duo Herakut has risen to the spotlight in the international art world. Herakut – After the Laughter takes an intimate view at the individuals behind the pieces, as well as their dynamic as a team, their interio styles, and their place within the art world. Designed as a scrapbook by Hera and Akut, the title features all new murals, works on canvas and sketches. The book is collaged with images in different mediums and includes revealing photographs of the duo. All elements are woven into a multilayered poetic reflection on art and its place in the world, with a range of freeform ideas penned artfully on the book pages in Herakut’s signature lettering. Masking tape edges and crossed out pencil confessions add to the personal, forthright style – an open invitation into the frenzied minds and rapid-fire hands of a unique artistic team.

Herakut has at least 2 pieces here in Lexington...

Via StreetArtNews

Via Bricks + Mortar

And drag queens around the world begin to starve themselves...

...I mean, more so than usual, to get those cheekbones...

Watch the trailer on YouTube

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This Week In Books

The New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder, Run, and Bel Canto creates a resonant portrait of a life in this collection of writings on love, friendship, work, and art.

"The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living."

So begins This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, an examination of the things Ann Patchett is fully committed to—the art and craft of writing, the depths of friendship, an elderly dog, and one spectacular nun. Writing nonfiction, which started off as a means of keeping her insufficiently lucrative fiction afloat, evolved over time to be its own kind of art, the art of telling the truth as opposed to the art of making things up. Bringing her narrative gifts to bear on her own life, Patchett uses insight and compassion to turn very personal experiences into stories that will resonate with every reader.

These essays twine to create both a portrait of life and a philosophy of life. Obstacles that at first appear insurmountable—scaling a six-foot wall in order to join the Los Angeles Police Department, opening an independent bookstore, and sitting down to write a novel—are eventually mastered with quiet tenacity and a sheer force of will. The actual happy marriage, which was the one thing she felt she wasn't capable of, ultimately proves to be a metaphor as well as a fact: Patchett has devoted her life to the people and ideals she loves the most.

An irresistible blend of literature and memoir, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a unique examination of the heart, mind, and soul of one of our most revered and gifted writers.

The Washington Post hailed Roger Rosenblatt's Making Toast as "a textbook on what constitutes perfect writing," and People lauded Kayak Morning as "intimate, expansive and profoundly moving." Classic tales of love and grief, the New York Times bestselling memoirs are also original literary works that carve out new territory at the intersection of poetry and prose. Now comes The Boy Detective, a story of the author's childhood in New York City, suffused with the same mixture of acute observation and bracing humor, lyricism and wit.

Resisting the deadening silence of his family home in the elegant yet stiflingly safe neighborhood of Gramercy Park, nine-year-old Roger imagines himself a private eye in pursuit of criminals. With the dreamlike mystery of the city before him, he sets off alone, out into the streets of Manhattan, thrilling to a life of unsolved cases.

Six decades later, Rosenblatt finds himself again patrolling the territory of his youth: The writing class he teaches has just wrapped up, releasing him into the winter night and the very neighborhood in which he grew up. A grown man now, he investigates his own life and the life of the city as he walks, exploring the New York of the 1950s; the lives of the writers who walked these streets before him, such as Poe and Melville; the great detectives of fiction and the essence of detective work; and the monuments of his childhood, such as the New York Public Library, once the site of an immense reservoir that nourished the city with water before it nourished it with books, and the Empire State Building, which, in Rosenblatt's imagination, vibrates sympathetically with the oversize loneliness of King Kong: "If you must fall, fall from me."

As he walks, he is returned to himself, the boy detective on the case. Just as Rosenblatt invented a world for himself as a child, he creates one on this night—the writer a detective still, the chief suspect in the case of his own life, a case that discloses the shared mysteries of all our lives. A masterly evocation of the city and a meditation on memory as an act of faith, The Boy Detective treads the line between a novel and a poem, displaying a world at once dangerous and beautiful.

The number of soldiers wounded in World War I is, in itself, devastating: over 21 million military wounded, and nearly 10 million killed. On the battlefield, the injuries were shocking, unlike anything those in the medical field had ever witnessed. The bullets hit fast and hard, went deep and took bits of dirty uniform and airborne soil particles in with them. Soldier after soldier came in with the most dreaded kinds of casualty: awful, deep, ragged wounds to their heads, faces and abdomens. And yet the medical personnel faced with these unimaginable injuries adapted with amazing aptitude, thinking and reacting on their feet to save millions of lives.

In Wounded, Emily Mayhew tells the history of the Western Front from a new perspective: the medical network that arose seemingly overnight to help sick and injured soldiers. These men and women pulled injured troops from the hellscape of trench, shell crater, and no man's land, transported them to the rear, and treated them for everything from foot rot to poison gas, venereal disease to traumatic amputation from exploding shells. Drawing on hundreds of letters and diary entries, Mayhew allows readers to peer over the shoulder of the stretcher bearer who jumped into a trench and tried unsuccessfully to get a tightly packed line of soldiers out of the way, only to find that they were all dead. She takes us into dugouts where rescue teams awoke to dirt thrown on their faces by scores of terrified moles, digging frantically to escape the earth-shaking shellfire. Mayhew moves her account along the route followed by wounded men, from stretcher to aid station, from jolting ambulance to crowded operating tent, from railway station to the ship home, exploring actual cases of casualties who recorded their experiences.

Both comprehensive and intimate, this groundbreaking book captures an often neglected aspect of the soldier's world and a transformative moment in military and medical history.

It's easy to name a superhero—Superman, Batman, Thor, Spiderman, the Green Lantern, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rorschach, Wolverine—but it's not so easy to define what a superhero is. Buffy has superpowers, but she doesn't have a costume. Batman has a costume, but doesn't have superpowers. What is the role of power and superpower? And what are supervillains and why do we need them?

In What is a Superhero?, psychologist Robin Rosenberg and comics scholar Peter Coogan explore this question from a variety of viewpoints, bringing together contributions from nineteen comic book experts—including both scholars in such fields as cultural studies, art, and psychology as well as leading comic book writers and editors. What emerges is a kaleidoscopic portrait of this most popular of pop-culture figures. Writer Jeph Loeb, for instance, sees the desire to make the world a better place as the driving force of the superhero. Jennifer K. Stuller argues that the female superhero inspires women to stand up, be strong, support others, and most important, to believe in themselves. More darkly, A. David Lewis sees the indestructible superhero as the ultimate embodiment of the American "denial of death," while writer Danny Fingeroth sees superheroes as embodying the best aspects of humankind, acting with a nobility of purpose that inspires us. Interestingly, Fingeroth also expands the definition of superhero so that it would include characters like John McClane of the Die Hard movies: "Once they dodge ridiculous quantities of machine gun bullets they're superheroes, cape or no cape."

From summer blockbusters to best-selling graphic novels, the superhero is an integral part of our culture. What is a Superhero? not only illuminates this pop-culture figure, but also sheds much light on the fantasies and beliefs of the American people.

A humorous "guide to life" for grown-ups! One day, Diane Muldrow, a longtime editor of the iconic Little Golden Books, realized that, despite their whimsical appearance, there was hardly a real-life situation that hadn't been covered in the more than 70-year-old line of children's books—from managing money, to the importance of exercise, to finding contentment in the simplest things. In this age of debt, depression, and diabetes, could we adults use a refresher course in the gentle lessons from these adorable books, she wondered—a "Little Golden guide to life"? Yes, we could! Muldrow's humorous yet practical tips for getting the most out of life ("Don't forget to enjoy your wedding!" "Be a hugger." "Sweatpants are bad for morale."), drawn from more than 60 stories, are paired with delightful images from these best-loved children's books of all time—among them The Poky Little Puppy, Pantaloon, Mister Dog, Nurse Nancy, We Help Mommy, Five Pennies to Spend, and The Little Red Hen. The Golden greats of children's illustration are represented here as well: Richard Scarry, Garth Williams, Eloise Wilkin, J. P. Miller, and Mary Blair, among many others. Sure to bring memories and a smile, this book is a perfect gift for baby boomers, recent grads, lovers of children's literature—or anyone who cherishes the sturdy little books with the shiny cardboard covers and gold foil spines!

An essential toolkit for understanding architecture as both art form and the setting for our everyday lives.

We spend most of our days and nights in buildings, living and working and sometimes playing. Buildings often overawe us with their beauty. Architecture is both setting for our everyday lives and public art form—but it remains mysterious to most of us.

In How Architecture Works, Witold Rybczynski, one of our best, most stylish critics and winner of the Vincent Scully Prize for his architectural writing, answers our most fundamental questions about how good—and not-so-good—buildings are designed and constructed. Introducing the reader to the rich and varied world of modern architecture, he takes us behind the scenes, revealing how architects as different as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, and Robert A. M. Stern envision and create their designs. He teaches us how to “read” plans, how buildings respond to their settings, and how the smallest detail—of a stair balustrade, for instance—can convey an architect’s vision. Ranging widely from a war memorial in London to an opera house in St. Petersburg, from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., to a famous architect’s private retreat in downtown Princeton, How Architecture Works, explains the central elements that make up good building design. It is an enlightening humanist’s toolkit for thinking about the built environment and seeing it afresh.

“Architecture, if it is any good, speaks to all of us,” Rybczynski writes. This revelatory book is his grand tour of architecture today.

With U.S.–Iran relations at a thirty-year low, Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd dared to take his young family on a year-long sojourn in Tehran. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay traces their domestic adventures and closely tracks the political drama of a terrible year for Iran's government.

It was an annus horribilis for Iran's Supreme Leader. The Green Movement had been crushed, but the regime was on edge, anxious lest democratic protests resurge. International sanctions were dragging down the economy while talk of war with the West grew. Hooman Majd was there for all of it. A new father at age fifty, he decided to take his blonde, blue-eyed Midwestern yoga instructor wife Karri and his adorable, only-eats-organic infant son Khash from their hip Brooklyn neighborhood to spend a year in the land of his birth. It was to be a year of discovery for Majd, too, who had only lived in Iran as a child.

The book opens ominously as Majd is stopped at the airport by intelligence officers who show him a four-inch thick security file about his books and journalism and warn him not to write about Iran during his stay. Majd brushes it off—but doesn't tell Karri—and the family soon settles in to the rituals of middle class life in Tehran: finding an apartment (which requires many thousands of dollars, all of which, bafflingly, is returned to you when you leave), a secure internet connection (one that persuades the local censors you are in New York) and a bootlegger (self-explanatory). Karri masters the head scarf, but not before being stopped for mal-veiling, twice. They endure fasting at Ramadan and keep up with Khash in a country weirdly obsessed with children.

All the while, Majd fields calls from security officers and he and Karri eye the headlines—the arrest of an American "spy," the British embassy riots, the Arab Spring—and wonder if they are pushing their luck. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay is a sparkling account of life under a quixotic authoritarian regime that offers rare and intimate insight into a country and its people, as well as a personal story of exile and a search for the meaning of home.

A treasure hunt that uncovers the secrets of one of the world’s great civilizations, revealing dramatic proof of the extreme sophistication of the Celts, and their creation of the earliest accurate map of the world.

Fifty generations ago the cultural empire of the Celts stretched from the Black Sea to Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. In six hundred years, the Celts had produced some of the finest artistic and scientific masterpieces of the ancient world. In 58 BC, Julius Caesar marched over the Alps, bringing slavery and genocide to western Europe. Within eight years the Celts of what is now France were utterly annihilated, and in another hundred years the Romans had overrun Britain. It is astonishing how little remains of this great civilization.

While planning a bicycling trip along the Heraklean Way, the ancient route from Portugal to the Alps, Graham Robb discovered a door to that forgotten world—a beautiful and precise pattern of towns and holy places based on astronomical and geometrical measurements: this was the three-dimensional “Middle Earth” of the Celts. As coordinates and coincidences revealed themselves across the continent, a map of the Celtic world emerged as a miraculously preserved archival document.

Robb—“one of the more unusual and appealing historians currently striding the planet” (New York Times)—here reveals the ancient secrets of the Celts, demonstrates the lasting influence of Druid science, and recharts the exploration of the world and the spread of Christianity. A pioneering history grounded in a real-life historical treasure hunt, The Discovery of Middle Earth offers nothing less than an entirely new understanding of the birth of modern Europe.

The vividly told lives of British servants and the upper crust they served.

From the immense staff running a lavish Edwardian estate and the lonely maid-of-all-work cooking in a cramped middle-class house to the poor child doing chores in a slightly less poor household, servants were essential to the British way of life. They were hired not only for their skills but also to demonstrate the social standing of their employers—even as they were required to tread softly and blend into the background. More than simply the laboring class serving the upper crust—as popular culture would have us believe—they were a diverse group that shaped and witnessed major changes in the modern home, family, and social order.

Spanning over a hundred years, Lucy Lethbridge - in this “best type of history” (Literary Review) - brings to life through letters and diaries the voices of countless men and women who have been largely ignored by the historical record. She also interviews former and current servants for their recollections of this waning profession.

At the fore are the experiences of young girls who slept in damp corners of basements, kitchen maids who were required to stir eggs until the yolks were perfectly centered, and cleaners who had to scrub floors on their hands and knees despite the wide availability of vacuum cleaners. We also meet a lord who solved his inability to open a window by throwing a brick through it and Winston Churchill’s butler who did not think Churchill would know how to dress on his own.

A compassionate and discerning exploration of the complex relationship between the server, the served, and the world they lived in, Servants opens a window onto British society from the Edwardian period to the present.

Never before have two revolutions with so much potential to save and prolong human life occurred simultaneously. The converging, synergistic power of the biochemical and digital revolutions now allows us to read every letter of life’s code, create precisely targeted drugs to control it, and tailor their use to individual patients. Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and countless other killers can be vanquished—if we make full use of the tools of modern drug design and allow doctors the use of modern data gathering and analytical tools when prescribing drugs to their patients.

But Washington stands in the way, clinging to outdated drug-approval protocols developed decades ago during medicine’s long battle with the infectious epidemics of the past. Peter Huber, an expert in science, technology, and public policy, demonstrates why Washington’s one-size-fits-all drug policies can’t deal with diseases rooted in the complex molecular diversity of human bodies. Washington is ill-equipped to handle the torrents of data that now propel the advance of molecular medicine and is reluctant to embrace the statistical methods of the digital age that can. Obsolete economic policies, often rationalized as cost-saving measures, stifle innovation and suppress investment in the medicine that can provide the best cures at the lowest cost.

In the 1980s, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence, until the FDA loosened its throttling grip and began streamlining and accelerating approval of life-saving drugs. The Cure in the Code shows patients, doctors, investors, and policy makers what we must now do to capture the full life-saving and cost-saving potential of the revolution in molecular medicine. America has to choose. At stake for America is the power to lead the world in mastering the most free, fecund, competitive, dynamic, and intelligent natural resource on the planet—the molecular code that spawns human life and controls our health.

Friday, November 8, 2013

MAN'S Fiction: Weasels Ripped My Flesh!

No. Not the Frank Zappa album...


How do you survive an attack by a horde of bloodthirsty weasels or killer turtles? Escape the clutches of a lust-crazed jungle nympho? Make conversation with a peyote-smoking beatnik? Conduct oneself at a lesbian party? Nowadays, most people haven't got a clue. But readers of vintage men's adventure magazines did. They read about these scenarios in pulpy periodicals like Real Men, Man's Life, True Men Stories, Untamed, Exotic Adventures, Sir! and Gusto.

From the jungles to the deserts to the mean city streets, the men's adventure magazines of the 1950s, '60s and '70s left no male interest or fantasy unexplored, offering war stories, exotic adventure yarns, "true, first-hand" accounts of white-knuckle clashes between man and beast, and spicy tales of sadistic frauleins and tropical white queens hungry for male companionship...Topped off with salacious exposes of then-shocking subjects like free love, the Beat Generation, homosexuality, LSD and the secret horniness hidden in calypso lyrics.

Josh Alan Friedman (Black Cracker) and Wyatt Coyle (Stop Requested) join collector and historian Robert Deis of for a guided safair through a jaw-dropping collection of classic men's adventure magazine stories in the first anthology from the genre ever published.

Packed with pulp fiction created by writers who later went on to greater fame, sensational illustrations by masters of men's pulp art and wacky ads taken from the magazine's back pages, Weasels Ripped My Flesh! is your passport to a gonzo world where every dame was a femme fatale or scantily clad damsel in distress and manly men fought small mammals bare-handed.

Includes work by Lawrence Block, Harlan Ellison, Mario Puzo, Robert Silverberg, among others.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's Lincoln

Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra is painting this on the back of the Kentucky Theater just down the street.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Neil Gaiman writing Doctor Who ebook

Via io9

Neil Gaiman is writing one more adventure for the Eleventh Doctor, this time in ebook form. His ebook story Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock will follow the Doctor and Amy Pond to the year 1984, when they'll face a newly created monster.

The Guardian has a two-page excerpt of the story, which comes out on November 21st. Here's the opening paragraph:

The Time Lords built a Prison. They built it in a time and place that are both unimaginable to any entity who has never left the solar system in which it was spawned, or who has only experienced the journey through time, second by second, and that only going forward. It was built just for the Kin. It was impregnable: a complex of small rooms (for they were not monsters, the Time Lords – they could be merciful, when it suited them), out of temporal phase with the rest of the Universe.

Gaiman explains that the book is set during the Eleventh's Doctor's first season, and that it takes place during the present day, in 1984, and during a far more ancient time. It also provided his first opportunity to create his own Doctor Who monster, the Kin, whom he hopes will prove spooky to readers.

Click over for more of the excerpt.

Also, happy early birthday to Mr. Gaiman who turns 53 on the 10th.

In other news, I would do dirty things to Neil Gaiman. Just sayin'.

Infinite Wombat