Posts by: Paul Collins

Steaming Mug

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So a decade ago, hack advertisers needed to make everything cyber-this and i-that.  Fifty years ago, everyone was selling a Space-whatsit, and a hundred years ago it was all radium-whatever.  Radium Razor Blades! (I’m serious.) But let’s say it’s 1848: now how do you make yourself the product of the future? Wonder no more.  It’s

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International 826

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Very happy indeed about this: the Guardian is reporting that an “826 London” is in the works. The project founders have a blog here, and the first planning meeting was just a few weeks ago: Among the themes being considered for the storefront: The London Monster Emporium.

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Pleasant Dreams

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Some books are born to greatness, some achieve greatness, and apparently others have greatness thrust upon them in the form of an Amazon gift card. This hasn’t gotten much play yet outside of California news blogs, but it should. When GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner’s memoir (Mount Pleasant: What Happened When I Traded a Silicon […]

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Greetings from 1896

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There’s no way to embed it here, alas, but the Times of London has video of the newly discovered 1896 film that appears to be Australia’s first movie: “Patineur Grotesque shows a bearded man, dressed in a top hat and smoking a cigar, rollerskating in a park before a circle of onlookers. He stops and lifts his […]

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Free Dreadfuls

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Terrific news in last Sunday’s Times of London: “MORE than 65,000 19th-century works of fiction from the British Library’s collection are to be made available for free downloads by the public from this spring….Many of the downmarket books known as “penny dreadfuls” will also be made available to the public, including Black Bess by Edward […]

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Alt Weakly

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For some reason this hasn’t attracted much notice nationally, but this last week the San Francisco Bay Guardian won a whopping $21 million dollar judgment against Village Voice Media for monopolistic practices by VVM-owned SF Weekly. But because VVM was apparently too cocky to post bond before the case, now the Bay Guardian can start […]

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If it’s too loud…

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NPR has a terrific piece this week on the Loudness War — as mourned/explained by this YouTube video. As a drummer, hearing every part of the kit and every single beat rammed to the front of mixes is as depressing as… I don’t know, probably as depressing as Auto-Tune abuse is to singers. Anyway, NPR […]

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The Road to Cell

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I wrote a New Scientist piece earlier this year on the nearly criminal foot-dragging by Detroit over safety advances made by pioneering engineers in the 1950s and 60s, and that sad pattern seems to have been repeated… with cell phone companies. An excellent piece of historical digging by Matt Richtel in the Times:

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Into the Vault

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I’m on a NPR Weekend Edition segment about Shakespeare’s First Folio this weekend; Scott Simon and I ventured into the vault of the Folger with library director Gail Paster. It’s very rare that they let anyone into the underground vault — it literally has a giant time-lock door — so we were lucky indeed to […]

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The Blooburds uv my Hart

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The Times carries an obituary to spelling reformer Ed Rondthaler, who passed away at age 104. He’s the man I described in a Believer piece last year as the last living link to the movement’s Edwardian zenith. From his obituary:

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