Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
Here's a bit of Friday silliness for you. Below is a "supercut" of a bunch of Kramer's entrances on Seinfeld. The video claims to include all his entrances from the series, but I'm not sure if that's possible in only six minutes. Anyway, by about the two-minute mark in this video, my brain started to shut down and I entered a sort of altered state in which all that existed for me was Cosmo Kramer and that door in Jerry's apartment. Watch and be mesmerized.
Kramer's Entrance - watch more funny videos... READ ON
The Know Your Meme Blog has a great introduction to the history and technology behind Auto-Tune, the audio effect first introduced in 1997 and made popular when Cher's single "Believe" made heavy use of the effect in a way that was never intended -- emphasizing the warbling of pitch correction rather than simply using it to sweeten slightly sour notes. A bit from Know Your Meme's article:
With the expense of the Antares Auto-Tune plugin and the relative lack of social networking sites at the time,... READ ON
Before Borat, before BrÃ¼no, there was Ali G, a character created by Sacha Baron Cohen to satirize various political and social issues through interviews with public figures. According to Wikipedia:
Ali G is a boorish, uneducated, streetwise youth with a deeply stereotypical view of the world, who either embarrasses his interviewee by displaying a mixture of uninformed political incorrectness, or gets the interview 'victim' to agree to some breathtaking inaccuracy or insult.
... Examples of his... READ ON
"I want to be as well-informed as I can possibly be before I die" -John Cleese, in a speech on creativity, sleeping on problems, rewrites, and creating "tortoise enclosures" for your mind by creating boundaries of space and time. This is a brilliant little ten-minute talk for anyone who's interested in writing or any other creative pursuit. I wish it went on longer, as this man really does have a lot to say about his subject.
Here's a sample quote:
"When I suddenly discovered that I could sit... READ ON
On October 4, 1989, founding Monty Python member Graham Chapman, star of both Holy Grail and Life of Brian, died from cancer. At his memorial service, the remaining Pythons eulogized Chapman in truly appropriate style -- by cursing, joking around, but in the end, expressing love for their lost peer.
In this clip, watch John Cleese deliver a beautiful eulogy (including some rather tasteful swearing -- "anything for [Graham] but mindless good taste"), then Eric Idle leading the whole crew in the song... READ ON
Way back in 1977, the original Star Wars movie was released, and so began our battle against the Empire. Among many other amazing things, the film featured a computer-animated graphics sequence -- in which a 3D model of the Death Star is shown to pilots who are about to attack it. I remember as a kid seeing that computer graphics sequence and thinking, "Wow, computers in the future can do 3D!!!" Although it looks dated now, it was state-of-the-art at the time, and quite frankly it's better than some... READ ON
You've definitely seen them: commemorative state plates featuring landmarks and slogans from a particular state. I call them "state plates," but the official term among collectors is "souvenir state plates." They're often displayed in kitchens, and the designs range from kitschy to classy to impossibly bizarre -- see below for examples of each. According to CountryHome (in their "What's Hot Now" feature!), state plates have been around since the 1870s:
Souvenir state plates date back to the 1870s.... READ ON
In honor of today's post on the Elliott Smith documentary Strange Parallel, here's a collection of Elliot Smith playing some of his best songs. Smith died on October 21, 2003, at age 34. Read more about him at Wikipedia.
"Waltz #2 (XO)"
A beautiful performance of one of my favorite songs.
"I'm so glad that my memory's remote
'cause I'm doing just fine hour to hour, note to note
here it is, the revenge to the tune
you're no good
you're no good, you're no good, you're no good
can't you tell... READ ON
I'm a little shocked that I've gone so many years being an Elliott Smith fan, and living in Portland (where it is contractually obligated that you be an Elliott Smith fan), but had never heard of Strange Parallel, a 1998 30-minute documentary on Smith. Directed by Steve Hanft as a promotional film (never released commercially), it's hard to find -- but a copy has popped up on YouTube, and it's well worth a look if you like Elliott Smith. Part documentary, part experimental weirdness (as in the sequence... READ ON
Today I bring you a new "web series about dressing like a grownup" presented by Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America (a public radio show that's generally awesome) and Adam Lisagor of the hilarious podcast You Look Nice Today (A Journal of Emotional Hygiene). Anyway, Put This On is all about clothing -- what to buy, how to care for clothes, how to combine clothes, how to do grownup things (like wear ties, match your belt to your shoes, dress properly for an occasion, and so on) that you may not have... READ ON
When asked if Abe had any hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln said, “Cats.”