The Community Weblog. In byte-sized chunks.

Dancehall in Japan

Dancehall in Japan. A short mini documentary from the Scene Unseen project at #ListenForYourself.

There are two other films right now: one about Indie music in Mexico, and another about Electronic Music in India. They are dope.

Well I'll Go To The Foot Of Our Stairs

British subtitles

This has nothing to do with the former Italian prime minister

Bárðarbunga, an Icelandic volcano named after a Norse viking, is maybe going to erupt soon. Webcams are standing by.


Sports and pop culture junkies Bill Simmons and Rembert Browne visit the 2014 National Sports Collector's Convention.

CSNY 1974

The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 'Doom Tour'

Quick and agile, Aquarius has an aggressive fighting style

On Twitch, two fish are playing Street Fighter II. It's unexpectedly entertaining.

Bittersweet No More

In the wake of the great miracle fruit craze of the late 00's, Francis Lam tested two more obscure taste distorters: adenosine 5′-monophosphate, which blocks the sensation of bitter flavors, and Gymnema sylvestre, a South Asian herb that does the same for sweetness.

You had to have seen this coming, right?

A compilation of people fucking up the ice bucket challenge. (Mildly NSFW).

Pioneer Girl on the Prairie

This fall, the South Dakota Historical Society Press will publish Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder - apparently full of "not-safe-for-children tales includ[ing] stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey" (or, more academically put, "full of the everyday sorts of things that we don't care to think about when we think about history"). They've been blogging the process of research, annotation, and publication at The Pioneer Girl Project, as well as stories about crabs, a new letter from Pa, really useful books, as well as photos and a series of interviews with the researchers involved via.

It's a Denby

How do I get a static IP address for my teapot? The story of the teapot: HTCPCP (Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol) and the mentioned Wikipedia link.

Young Thomas Is A Longshoreman By Trade...

A series of Pop Songs converted into Shakesperean-style sonnets.

New sonnets added every week. Among those already featured (see if you can guess first):

Young Thomas is a longshoreman by trade,
Whose guild ceased work to fight for wages fair.
The strike drags on, 'tis weeks since he's been paid,
A crawl towards destitution and despair.

Remember when I tended to thy grass?
She then appeared in nought but towel dress'd.
Her lasting look showed favor clear as glass,
While pointing out some errant growth in jest.

From observation of my gallant gait
And its effect upon the sex so fair,
You see no hope for discourse or debate,
For comely ladies find me debonair.

These feelings that weigh heavy in my breast
Should in your soul be similarly sown;
I pledge these vows, so earnestly express'd,
To make my deep affections truly known...

To these celestial bodies raise a toast
For they've maintained a wondrous constancy,
Just like we've drifted on Life's trying coasts
Too long to any diff'rent sailors be.
While ladies dance away the night for sport,
So shall we too, their favor sweet to court.

...If you prefer Shakespeare as a dramatist, enjoy this previous post.

Jon runs the voodoo down

Pianist Jon Cleary is not a native New Orleanian (he hails from Cranbrook in Kent, England) but when it comes to the history and practice of New Orleans music, and piano music in particular, hell, you'd think he'd grown up on Basin Street or maybe next door to Tipitina's. You'll see what I mean when you watch this little clip, Jon Cleary - History of New Orleans Piano, and hear this masterful player roll through an exhaustive (and very entertaining) demonstration of the musical styles that the city is renowned and revered for.

Live happily and die majestically.

BKS Iyengar, one of the most prominent founders of modern yoga practice, has passed away. His 1965 book Light on Yoga (pdf link) sold millions of copies and began the growth of yoga into its current popularity. Namaste, Guruji.

Video of Iyengar demonstration in 1976.

The Rise and Fall of Brownie Wise

In the 1951, impressed by the amount of Tupperware she was selling (especially compared to other outlets), Earl Tupper hired Brownie Wise to run his sales organization. As a VP of the company, she revolutionized Tupperware with her Tupperware parties, her salesforce management, and other sales and marketing techniques, thus allowing him to stay in the background, creating new designs. Sales skyrocketed and Tupperware became popular throughout the United States.

PBS's spritely American Experience: Tupperware! (51 minutes; lots of video from parties, jubilees, and interviews with Tupperware distributors) took a look at the iconic plastic storage ware, the company that made them, and the women who built the company (and the men who held down all the top jobs except Brownie's). If you don't have an hour to spare, here's a summary of the corporate history.

Earl Tupper retained control of the company, and in 1958, he fired Wise - despite sales at record highs. They had been at loggerheads for a while, arguing over direction, expenses, attitude, control, communication, manufacturing, and her popularity. He sold the company a year later.

You can see vintage catalogs, postcards, ephemera, and other product material at Tupperdiva. Vintage Tupperware (on flickr) has become increasingly collectible (or reimagined), while modern Tupperware sales are happening (WSJ) around the world

FritoLay Blue, or May The Odds Be Ever In Your Flavor

One of the craziest "crowdsourcing" exercises in Marketing today is Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" Contest for new potato chip flavors. The first year in the U.S., 'Cheesy Garlic Bread' defeated 'Chicken & Waffles' and 'Sriracha' in a popular vote to earn its creator a million dollar prize. Exporting the competition to Canada (where it was named "Do Us A Flavour"), had a more dubious result when 'Maple Moose' outpolled 'Creamy Garlic Caesar', 'Perogy Platter' and 'Grilled Cheese & Ketchup' then bombed in the stores. But both contests are back for 2014, with American contenders 'Bacon Mac & Cheese', 'Cappuccino', 'Mango Salsa' and 'Wasabi Ginger' and the Canadian competitors 'Bacon Poutine', 'Cinnamon Bun', 'Jalapeño Mac & Cheese' and 'Tzatziki'. No wild animals there, but in the U.K., their British brand Walkers is doing it's own "Flavour" with six choices: 'Cheesy Beans on Toast', 'Hot Dog with Ketchup', 'Pulled Pork in BBQ Sauce', 'Steak Fajita', 'Chicken Curry' and 'Ranch Raccoon' (no Rocket Raccoon endorsement implied).

If you thought it couldn't possibly be worse, here's how it could be. (based on past experience, 'Rancid Owl' and 'Marsupial Medley' COULD be future contenders)

Become a citizen scientist!

It's Science Week in Australia and the crowdsourcing call has gone out for Weather Detectives to look through old ships' log books and track weather observations from the 1890s and 1900s. It's a good project for older kids, and aims to improve weather forecasting and track climate change. Do try this at home, kids.

That's us, boys, that's us

Representing New England in the Little League World Series, the Cumberland, RI American team lost to Jackie Robinson West of Chicago in a 8 - 7 game Monday night. Coach Dave Belisle's consolation speech to his team has been making the rounds as an example of the best of youth coaching.

In addition to coaching Little League, Dave Belisle is the assistant hockey coach for Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, RI. His father, Bill Belisle, led MSC to 26 consecutive state titles, a feat memorialized in the documentary Ice Kings.

Although Coach Belisle is the assistant coach to his father, earlier this year, he was selected as National Federation of High Schools' Coach of the Year. Here's five things you should know about Dave Belisle.

"My Sex Is Magic"

Brenna Twohy, representing Portland, OR, performs her poem "Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them," about Harry Potter, pornography, and non-consent, at the 2014 National Poetry Slam.

15 years later, Fark discovers moderation

Fark Wants to Ban Misogyny. Is That Even Possible?

Deus ex machina

Patrick Lin discusses ethics, responsibility and liability related to safety programming in self-driving cars: Robot Cars With Adjustable Ethics Settings.

Explosive Crude By Rail

Do you or your family live, work, or go to school within the potential blast radius of the next Lac-Mégantic?

Gaza Writes Back

Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, of Gaza, "We are unfair to her when we search for her poems."

We are certainly unfair when we scrabble anywhere for poems, searching for aesthetic pleasure in others' suffering. But here, poetry seems to have welled up from the need to speak, to create, to defy silence: Most of the Arabic writing about Gaza that came out of the last month was first-person reportage on events. But some of it mixed together with other elements to create otherworldly or impassioned prose. 6 of the Most Beautiful Writings from and for Gaza.

Gaza is not the most beautiful of cities.

Her coast is not bluer than those of other Arab cities.

Her oranges are not the best in the Mediterranean.

Gaza is not the richest of cities.

(Fish and oranges and sand and tents forsaken by the winds, smuggled goods and hands for hire.)

And Gaza is not the most polished of cities, or the largest. But she is equivalent to the history of a nation, because she is the most repulsive among us in the eyes of the enemy – the poorest, the most desperate, and the most ferocious. Because she is a nightmare. Because she is oranges that explode, children without a childhood, aged men without an old age, and women without desire. Because she is all that, she is the most beautiful among us, the purest, the richest, and most worthy of love. 'Silence for the Sake of Gaza,' Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish at the Poetry Foundation.

An accessible look at Darwish's life and work, at long last

Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine, edited by Refaat Alareer is a compelling collection of short stories from fifteen young writers in Gaza, members of a generation that has suffered immensely under Israel's siege and blockade. Twitter, Facebook.

Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Gaza, Palestine Blog for the book, the U.S. tour, and more!

These stories are acts of resistance and defiance, proclaiming the endurance of Palestinians and the continuing resilience and creativity of their culture in the face of ongoing obstacles and attempts to silence them.

Whether tackling the tragedy that surrounds missile strikes and home raids, or the everyday indignities encountered by Palestinian refugees, Gaza Writes Back brings to life the real issues that the people of Gaza face. One prominent theme in many of the stories is the value placed on the wisdom of parents and grandparents. A sense of longing pervades the book, as the characters in the stories reveal desires ranging from the mundane to the complex—including, in several of the stories, a strong yearning to return to the characters' long-cherished family homes and properties after many decades in exile from them. Social differences within Gaza are also sensitively explored. A few stories are especially difficult—but critical—to digest , for the vividness with which they depict the experiences of victims of Israeli military strikes and confront the legacy of violence and occupation, particularly on young people.
'Gaza Writes Back'—New Book Published by Palestinian Writers

The 2014 Palestinian Festival of Literature: Since 2008 an annual literary festival has been the center of our activities and we have brought dozens of influential literary figures from the UK, US and Arab world to teach workshops and perform in free public events. We partner with dozens of Palestinian organizations – cultural and educational – to produce an immersive, collaborative festival every year.We work to reaffirm, in the words of Edward Said, 'the power of culture over the culture of power'

"Land, akin to language, is inherited," Mahmoud Darwish once said. In the occupied territories, however, language is pillaged, appropriated, violated, and surrounded by barbed wire, just like the land. Language, like land, under assault in Palestine

Can poetry create a space where constructive encounters might take place, ones which shift the power balance? And what does it mean for such an encounter if one of the parties is dead, unable to negotiate their role for themselves? Collaborating with Mahmoud Darwish without his consent

In Performance: Undeniable Voices, Palestinian Agency and Marginalized Narratives

Palestine-a borderless landscape of people, memory, conflict, resilience, and vision-this month locates itself in Words Without Borders, as contemporary Palestinian writers address and establish the multiple senses of place. Word without borders: November 2006: Writing Palestine

Nearby, Iraq and Syria's Poetic Borders: There are few places, in fact, endowed with as much cosmological and political significance as Iraq or Syria in the medieval Arabic literary and intellectual tradition. Even as they came under the sway of different rulers and were pulled apart into benighted principalities or swallowed up by vast global empires, the territories retained their elemental status as core geographical components of the sublunary world.

The Ottoman History Podcast: Palestine and Its Fragments: Historians face numerous challenges when attempting to excavate the Palestinian past. Palestinians are often erased from the landscape and their voices are wiped from the historical record. This is especially true with regards to the Ottoman past, which despite its immediate relevance for understanding the present, has been largely ignored by scholars. In this episode, Beshara Doumani discusses his experiences in rediscovering Ottoman Palestine and some of the unique challenges facing historians seeking to write the history of Palestinians.

And today, Beloved Palestinian Poet Samih al-Qasim Dies at 75.

Isis claims to have beheaded an American journalist missing in Syria

Video has emerged showing the beheading of journalist James Foley. James Foley has been reportedly beheaded by Isis in retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq. He was working in Syria when he was reported missing in 2012.

James Foley has been reportedly beheaded by Isis in retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq. He was working in Syria when he was reported missing in 2012.

Full transcript of video:

JAMES FOLEY: I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.

My message to my beloved parents, save me some dignity, and don't accept some meagre compensation, for my death, from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq.

I call on my brother John, who is a member of the US air force. Think about what you are doing, think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family. I call on you John, think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been. Think John, who did they really kill? And did they think about me, you, our family when they made that decision?

I died that day John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people they signed my death certificate. I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again. But that ship has sailed. I guess all in all I wish I wasn't American.

EXECUTIONER: This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and have gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq, your strikes have caused casualties among Muslims. You're no longer fighting an insurgency, we are an Islamic army, and a state that has been accepted by large number of Muslims world wide, so effectively, any aggression towards the Islamic State, is aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who has accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership, so any attempt by you Obama to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.


...depending on how much support you have to give

Barely Legal Pawn, starring Bryan Cranston, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Aaron Paul. (SLYT)

Before IMDb, there was The Guide

For over 25 years, film critic Leonard Maltin (along with a team of contributors and editors) have produced what has been the Bible of movie geeks everywhere in his annual movie guide. The 2015 edition that will be released next month will be his last. The Dissolve has offered their own eulogy. (The folks at MST3k were also fans, as evidenced to three memorable moments that pay tribute to the man, the book and his not entirely accurate rating system.)