Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lookingglass Theatre: 20 Years

Cool interactive photo (requires Flash) of the lookingglass theatre ensemble in Chicago, which includes not only the actors but their award-winning costume, lighting, and set designer and resident MacArthur fellow. Everyone appears in a costume from one of their productions from the last two decades.

Click through and Zoom in to find R. Michael Fox (nearly unrecognizable in a wig), Tracy Walsh, Laura Eason, Phil Smith, Mary Zimmerman, David Schwimmer and the rest. Clicking on a person brings you to their bio page.

Favorite pose is Tracy, costumed from the ensemble's production of "Hillbilly Antigone."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Subprime Lending Crisis Hilarity

(via boingboing)

Australian political satirists John Clarke and Bryan John Dawe have been skewering the politicians of the day since 1989. In this clip, they make the subprime lending crisis more hilarious than it ought to be.

Clarke and Dawe

Monday, March 17, 2008

What does science curriculum look like anyway?

When I tell people I work at Lawrence Hall of Science, they get what a museum is. But unless they are a classroom teacher, they don't get what "science curriculum development" is. Now, thanks to NASA, and YouTube, I can show them what a science curriculum looks like (and it's not a textbook).

GEMS Science Sequence image
(Click for YouTube video)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NYTimes: Keltic Dreams

With a student body that is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black, Public School 59 does not seem an obvious home for a thriving Irish dance troupe. And when Caroline Duggan first arrived from Dublin at age 23 to try her hand as a New York City public school music teacher, it wasn’t. Many of her students had never heard of Ireland. Why, they wanted to know, did she talk funny?

New York Times Video.



Link to Performance on Irish Television

Friday, March 07, 2008

Stephen Colbert + John Legend sing

Via Jesse Thorn:
Probably the only thing funnier than this video of John Legend and Stephen Colbert dueting... is the original video, with Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney on that fucking hayride.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Rule: People recommending that a particular cereal tastes like Buc-Wheats cereal need to have actually eaten Buc-Wheats at some point in their lives.

Man. Two recent commenters to my original post lamenting the absence of Buc-Wheats cereal from the marketplace proposed some current alternatives.

It seems clear that neither of these writers had experience with actual Buc-Wheats.
Upon cracking our first box of Kelloggs' Frosted Flakes GOLD this morning the look and taste were immediately quite evocative of our late, lamented Buc-Wheats. It's been too many years to say for sure but to me the similarities are more than casual.
If by "more than casual" you mean "not at all", then yes, of course, I agree with you.

I went and bought a box of Frosted Flakes GOLD, even though I could read on the box that Frosted Flakes GOLD is corn-based. It is honey-flavored with horrific marshmallow overtones. (Like Honey Nut Corn Flakes, but sweeter.)

Not two weeks later, we hear from this individual:
There is a cereal out there that is almost exactly like Buc Wheats. It's called Maple Buckwheat Flakes Cereal by Arrowhead Mills.

Wow, I thought. Maple. Buckwheat. We could be on to something.

Here, again, we have a problem with language, in which one needs to remove the word "exactly" and replace it with "nothing".

So now I've got these two boxes of cereal (Frosted Flakes GOLD and Maple Buckwheat Flakes) in my cupboard and I have no intention of eating any more of them.

For those of you who never ate Buc-Wheats, or who have smoked too much of the locoweed to remember, permit me to attempt an evocation of this discontinued cereal.

It was a wheat-based flake. The closest in texture I know of is Total. But less sweet, a little more whole-grain in flavor. The maple sweetening syrup was drizzled into the cereal, so that most of the flakes were unsweetened, some had just a bit of sweetness, and a few were fused together in a tasty clump of sweet maple-y goodness.

One could compare this in the savory realm to homemade Chex Mix, in which one stumbles across an intense shot of worcestershire sauce-soaked Chex in a handful of mildly seasoned Chex.

This irregular texture and sporadic sweetness was a huge part of the cereal's awesomeness.

In fact, my recollection is that at some point the recipe/manufacturing processes changed. Some rumors suggest that the actual buckwheat was removed--I don't recall noting that, but I do recall that after the change the flavor of the flakes had a bit less depth.

Also after the change there were no longer any maple-encrusted clumps of flakes. The application of the maple flavoring was far more evenly applied.

I still loved Buc-Wheats during this era, although not quite as much, and when I want a cereal that evokes this latter-day Buc-Wheats I turn to Kellogg's Healthy Heart Maple Brown Sugar Smart Start.

It's too sweet and crunchy by far (wish that I could extract the oat clusters), but the maple flavoring combined with the whole grain (in this case oat bran) flakes is the closest thing I've got.

Commenters are welcome to offer their own suggestions, so long as they follow the rule (above). And I'll say right now that unless you write 250+ extremely convincing words describing what about a particular cereal is like Buc-Wheats, I'm not going to run out and try it.

Fool me twice, won't get fooled again.

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Twitter "in Plain English"

Commoncraft makes videos using stick figures and cut-out paper that work to explain modern technologies in a simple, digestible form. Their use of the phrase "in Plain English" is a tad disingenuous, as their entire premise rests on the combination of their simple, diagrammatic visuals with the verbal explanation.

A minor quibble (and arguably their success is in communicating the big idea of a thing, which "in Plain English", while imprecise, does). They're quite good at what they do.

Here's their newest, a take on Twitter. It's not how I use Twitter currently*, but it's a pretty good explanation of why someone unfamiliar with Twitter might find value in it--and it's in the direction of how I see Twitter's value to some underserved populations, e.g. seniors and parents of preschoolers.

Some other of their videos include RSS in Plain English and Social Networks in Plain English.

*As a virtual space to crack wise.

Monday, March 03, 2008

MOA (Metropolitan Oakland Area): "California is Climate"

Oaklandish posts a 1953 promotional film that sells the benefits of Oakland's weather--asserting that better health due to year-round warm temperatures will "increase factory production."

Via Zennie Abraham.

Election Night Special

Via kung fu grippe, the best parody of CNN's Election Coverage I've seen, and it's from 38 years ago (I haven't watched it in at least twenty). The kind of comedy sketch that merits its own Wikipedia entry.

It also serves as a reminder that Matt Gonzalez shouldn't be hitching his fortunes to Ralph Nader. He could do a lot better running on a ticket with Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-OlĂ©-Biscuitbarrel.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Impossible is the Opposite of Possible

Missed this from, oh, December 2006. An message of inspiration from actor and professional athlete Michael Cera.