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I had lots to talk about tonight. I managed to survive another World Rock Paper Scissors Championship.

Google managed to settle the lawsuit with the Author’s Guild over their book scanning project – paying out a hefty sum, but securing themselves some interesting rights in the process (fodder for a future post, I’m sure, once I figure out what exactly I think about it).

But all that was pushed to the side by the nice cashier at the grocery store this evening, Brefny.
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It’s THROW DOWN time!

There’s a lot of people who assume that the line in my bio about being an international-class pro Rock Paper Scissors referee is a witty bon mot. But last time I checked, wry web-irony didn’t come with one’s own trading card. My favourite weeked of the year is here as it’s once again time for the 2008 World Championships of Rock Paper Scissors… sorry I guess that’s the Yahoo! 2008 World Championships of Rock Paper Scissors (whew).

I’m not sure I could even begin to go into my shady history with the infamous World Rock Paper Scissors Society, but suffice it to say – there are certain… acts… that in retrospect would have made everyone’s live’s easier had I done them under a nom de guerre. Read more

So Sad When We Lose a Good One to the Allure of Animal Retail

I love Banksy, you love Banksy, we all love Banksy… so I was very saddened to learn he’s put down his spray-can and gotten out of the art game to open a pet store in New York.

On the other hand, the store he’s opened is the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill – so at least it’s delicious and educational.

Enjoy your new career Banksy.

Got less sense than a cat’s got hoofs!

A commenter over at Mike Sterling’s Something Or Other hipped me to the candy gab of Jerry on the Job, a delightful essay by James Lileks (of Gallery of Regrettable Food fame).

Such wonders you will see therein! Thrill to Lileks short stack of thick thought on this forgotten master of the comic-strip flip-take. PEOPLE WILL BE BLOWN OVER ON ACCOUNT OF THE PERIOD-APPROPRIATE LAFFS!

Mobile Podcasts and Internet Radio on the iPhone

I promise not to become a tech or gadget blog – but this is one of those rare situations where I want to make sure a solution I’ve found makes it’s way onto the Google-index since I know lots of others are in the same boat. Indulge me.

While I’ve been pretty happy since I “chose” to switch over to an iPhone this summer (I accidentally drop kicked by four-year-old warhorse blackberry 7130 down two flights of stairs) there were two killer applications in my mind which still eluded me:

1. Mobile Podcasts
2. Listening to Internet Radio Directly

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Concrete Universe

Just a little web-comic pimpage – Kris Straub (who writes something like forty seven thousand and eight different webcomics) has started a story-within-a-story plotline over at Starslip Crisis that I’m completely in love with.

The concept is that in the 34th Century “Concrete Universe” is a popular historical police procedural broadcast show which is set in our present day. However because of the time gap – the future has about as good a grasp of modern day life as we would have of, say, the 5th Century (do the math – it all works out). That is to say, not very well at all.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go defrag my daguerreotype.

Rudy Ray Moore 1927-2008

(Dolemite Theatrical Trailer – 1975… NSFW)

Others will write about how Rudy Ray Moore in many ways laid the groundwork for the African American comedy, music, and rap explosion of the late 70s and early 80s. How the “party record” circuit in many ways showed for the first time there was a voracious market of African American consumers (even in disadvantaged neighbourhoods) who where starved for any kind of material that actually spoke to them directly. The number of contemporary hip-hop, r&b, and rap artists who claim they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing without Moore (or Red Foxx) is proof enough of that.

Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that’s for real.

-Tha Dogfather

I remember the first time I ever saw Dolemite, and was blown away by an almost pure expression of independent cinema. Here were a group of self-financed, self taught, street hustlers with no film experience. There are no shortage of criticisms you can level at the film (or Moore’s other blaxploitation staples: The Human Tornado, Petey Wheatstraw, and Disco Godfather) they’re misogynist, foul-mouthed, and often technically amateur (and I’d be lying if I said that period kitsch fascination wasn’t a huge part of their longevity) – but they were absolutely the vanguard of the low-budget independent movement. Each of those films was solid proof that one didn’t need millions of dollars, or a studio, to make a feature film (also, you apparently didn’t need actors, technical crew, fight choreographers, a script, special effects, or an ending). What you did need was the desire to tell a certain story, in a certain way that spoke to an audience.

It’s absolutely fascinating to me that most of the criticisms that one could level against Moore’s early work could be equally applied to the recent Nollywood movement in Nigeria. One could almost do a point-by-point comparison between the two easily (film theory majors in need of thesis topics take note).

In a couple of later interviews I read with Rudy Ray Moore, he seemed frustrated at how much the systems he had laid the groundwork for had become co-opted by “the man”. Rap, R&B, and even “independent” film are once again the domain of the major labels and studios. As someone who drove town to town, selling self-pressed comedy records out of the trunk of his car, I’m sure it was tough seeing others make far more financially successful careers with only a modicum of his drive (simply because of fate, timing, or their accessibility to a wider audience), but to his credit Rudy Ray Moore knew how important his contributions had been (and would tell anyone who cared to listen, along with delivering his trademark smack-talk) until the end.

Rest in peace Rudy, we know that Dolemite hasn’t quit – he’s just run out of ass to kick down here and gone off looking for a better challenge.

Schadenfreude II: The Schadenfreuduning