Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gerry Adams singlehandedly changes British constitution by resigning from Westminster

One of the joys of having an unwritten constitution, such as the one that the UK operates under, is that it can a) bend to new circumstances and b) change in a heartbeat if someone refuses to obey stupid rules.

For the past 400 years, MPs have not had the option of resigning their seat, their only way out was to be disqualified. The honourable way of being disqualified was to accept an office of profit from the Crown. Two such positions, Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham and the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead were available, if applied to, and granted by, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Otherwise, you’re stuck.

Today Sein Fenn leader Gerry Adams took a third option. Desiring to run for a seat in the Irish parliament, which does not permit sitting Westminster MPs, Adams sent a letter to the Speaker resigning his seat. No Crown Steward position. No Bailiffing. And 400 years of history are kaput.

Gerry Adams makes British Parliamentary history

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Yorker buys abandoned men's club and turns it into a private residence

Wow. Here’s the tour.

Interview with Al Jaffee

Mad Magazine’s fold-in artist Al Jaffee is interviewed by the Huffington Post Hint: he does the answer first, then draws the fold.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Remembering Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde


A beautiful little vignette on three 60s and 70s magazines published by Ralph Ginzburg, Eros, Fact, and Avant Garde.

Six months after Fact closed shop Ginzburg and Lubalin collaborated on their third periodical – Avant Garde. The magazine, which Ginzburg intended for “a rarified, even elitist audience” was both editorially and artistically equal parts of the sexuality of Eros, and counter-culture politics of Fact. Perhaps no other magazine so successfully captured the zeitgeist of the late 1960s:

A brief history of the octothorpe

Robert Fulford, National Post

The Big O is a sign with deep historical and cultural roots, part of our heritage. It didn’t deserve the neglect it suffered in recent times. It’s lived under many names: the hash, the crunch, the hex (that’s in Singapore), the flash, the grid. In some circles it’s called tic-tactoe, in others pig-pen. From a distance it looks like the sharp sign on a musical score. Whether you call it a pound sign or a number sign or anything else, it retains its identity. It’s so majestically simple that it always looks good, even if drawn by someone utterly without graphic talent. Good old #. It can’t go wrong.

Does a country still exist if it sinks under the sea?

Encroaching seas in the far Pacific are raising the salt level in the wells of the Marshall Islands. Waves threaten to cut one sliver of an island in two What happens if the 61,000 Marshallese must abandon their low-lying atolls? Would they still be a nation? With a U.N. seat? With control of their old fisheries and their undersea minerals? Where would they live, and how would they make a living? Who, precisely, would they and their children become?

It’s a question that the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu and other atoll nations will need an answer to very soon

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

An interview with Rick Meyerowitz on his National Lampoon book

Not only does Rick Meyerowitz’s new book, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great look amazing, it doesn’t use the fucking ‘We’ll shoot this dog cover.’

Rupert Murdoch is serious about his iPad newspaper

It’s going to be called The Daily and he’s hired New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones as culture editor

Sunday, 14 November 2010

James Frey has a new business: mass producing books

James Frey, author of the controversial fictionalised memoir A Million Little Pieces, has gone into the young adult book-packaging business, working with new writers to mass produce new works.

The terms of the writers’ agreement with Frey, however, are somewhat one-sided:

In exchange for delivering a finished book within a set number of months, the writer would receive $250 (some contracts allowed for another $250 upon completion), along with a percentage of all revenue generated by the project, including television, film, and merchandise rights—30 percent if the idea was originally Frey’s, 40 percent if it was originally the writer’s. The writer would be financially responsible for any legal action brought against the book but would not own its copyright. Full Fathom Five could use the writer’s name or a pseudonym without his or her permission, even if the writer was no longer involved with the series, and the company could substitute the writer’s full name for a pseudonym at any point in the future. The writer was forbidden from signing contracts that would “conflict” with the project; what that might be wasn’t specified. The writer would not have approval over his or her publicity, pictures, or biographical materials. There was a $50,000 penalty if the writer publicly admitted to working with Full Fathom Five without permission.

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Onion begins franchising to other US cities

I’ve known that The Onion has been interested in franchising the paper to other cities for quite some time, but this is the first public request for inquiries that I have seen. You know I love freesheets, but it may be a little late, especially if the franchisees don’t get a cut of the web income. The Onion, Inc. already run company-owned weekly papers in Austin, Madison, Chicago, Denver, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and New York.