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Odds and Ends

February 2, 2011
tags: ,

Collection of fascinating images and links I found on my weekly procrastination rounds on the Internet.

Book Crossing

Back in the far-off days of yore, people would spend half their waking hours tracking the movements of large animals I’ve forgotten the names of. This has lead to countless innovations in hunting techniques, human migrations over vast swathes of territory, and social changes that gave birth to early civilizations. The end result is the Internet, where you can safely sit back and leisurely relive the grim primitive hunting days of your ancestors by watching books cross continents.

Okay, seriously: it’s a very cool idea, and I’m probably going to sign up. This is exactly the kind of social experiment/information gathering thing that can only work on the Internet. It’s quite frankly amazing just how many people will pick up one book. (The small cynical side of me says that the breeding ground for new and exciting germs is staggering, but as usual I have locked it away where it will lie screaming in misery for the rest of my days.) (This might be too much information.)

Impressionist Painting

The first photo is from a beauty magazine, (and if anyone knows, please tell me. It crawled one day into my computer. I have no idea where it came from.) and the picture on the bottom is La Japonaise, painted by Claude Monet. The woman in the painting is his wife, posing for love. The woman standing in the fashion shot is a model, posing for money. Assuming she gets some.

Unusual Deaths, from Wikipedia.

Chief highlights include:

162 BC: Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a war elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V; charging into battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him.

…which sounds like a scene from a cartoon, except with a real person and probably a lot gorier. And

1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf.

…which might be the plot to a James Bond film.

My favourite one is:

1974: Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, drank himself to death with carrot juice.

…which I can not even possibly begin to comprehend.

I feel slightly horrible for laughing at these poor people though. No matter how humorously they may have kicked the bucket, these really are still real people with real emotions who probably weren’t too pleased with how they ended up. But after working my way through a few hundred of these, my black humour comes out practically shoe-polished.

Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe & Screenwipe

– Toon Pool.

“…and this is a lighthouse keeper being beheaded by a laser beam

(I just love that part so damn much.)

Charlie Brooker is my new hero. He’s a witty, sardonic and very interesting comedian who can go from a passionate and intelligent film analysist to bizarre man-child making love to a loaf of bread without breaking stride. His programmes can go from “heart-warming and endearing tributes to Oliver Postgate, to him sitting alone on a couch screaming swearwords at the piggish cockass git-faced dumbshitignoramous pillocks whom populate TV advertising land.

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