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.
Any 80's Goths in the house? I thought so. Let's take a trip through the annals of music video history -- specifically, my favorite songs by The Cure. Share your favorites in the comments!
Boys Don't Cry
From way back in 1979 1986 (thanks @TheKm!), this video is weird, fun, and simple. A kid-version of the band plays, while the real band plays behind a curtain. Robert Smith's eyes glow red. That is all.
In Between Days
The official video includes bizarre colorization, including, guess... READ ON
Computer Beach Party was released in 1987, and by all accounts, it was an awful, awful movie. IMDB's plot summary reads:
Greedy locals are trying to turn some beach property into a tourist attraction, and a computer expert sets out to use is knowledge of computers--along with the help of several local "beach bunnies"--to stop them.
Digital archivist (and filmmaker) Jason Scott saw the movie recently, and decided to dig into its history. Why is it so bad? Why is all the dialog dubbed so badly?... READ ON
Claude Shannon is famous among geeks; he's considered the "father of information theory." He built one of the earliest chess-playing computer programs, and he worked on early wearable computers, and he made a killing applying his research to gambling. But Shannon was also a bit of a joker; he invented something called the "Ultimate Machine," a machine whose sole purpose was to turn off a switch that had been turned on by its user. Sneaky little bastard. Wikipedia says:
One of [Shannon's] more... READ ON
Don't you hate it when mouse pointers click and drag your body parts around while you're trying to sleep? Jeremy Bailey sure does. In this 2003 video, Bailey's body is "manipulated" by a host of annoying mouse cursors as he makes disapproving, sleepy noises. Weird.
(Via... READ ON
Evidence is a short film by Godfrey Reggio, director of Koyaanisqatsi, showing kids watching TV, from the perspective of the TV. It's mesmerizing and shocking -- the looks on the kids' faces are peaceful...but creepily vacant. Reggio's website says:
Evidence looks into the eyes of children watching television - in this case Walt Disney's "Dumbo". Though engaged in a daily routine, they appear drugged, retarded, like the patients of a mental hospital. Evidence is about the behavior of children... READ ON
We've written about the Quidditch World Cup before -- it's a competition in which muggles play a real-world version of the fictional Harry Potter game. Below, check out actual video from the event at Middlebury College. Do you wonder what Muggle Quidditch players look like? You're about to find out.
Warning: this video contains nerds and jocks. And, weirdly, nerdy jocks.
See also: Calvinball, Quidditch and other fictional sports you can play and Curling Term or Quidditch... READ ON
I was just alerted to this trove of classic David Letterman clips on YouTube. They appears to be transferred from VHS tapes, and give a glimpse of what late-night TV looked like in the 1980's. Ah, memories.
Dave Gets Help Making a Phone Call, January 1988
With a telephone technician, a receptionist skilled at dialing, a production assistant, legal counsel, a staff runner, and a fireman...what could possibly go wrong?
The NBC Bookmobile, February 1988
Dave gets a visit from a bookmobile on... READ ON
So this couple, Jennifer and Jeff, wanted to announce Jennifer's pregnancy. Apparently Jeff had some time on his hands (for now), so he created this amazing birth announcement using modified footage from Star Wars: Episode IV. Like, he took the footage and added 3D animated stuff to it, re-edited it, it's intense. This is the nerdiest thing I've seen all day. Stick around for the crawl at the end.
See also: Your Wedding: Star Trek or Star Wars?
(Via... READ ON
Disorganized salami goes in one end, robotic FlexPicker™ hands go to work, and neatly organized rows of perfect salami exit the machine. A control panel shows salami status at all times (strangely reminiscent of the shipping dock computer seen in season 2 of The Wire). This is all happening, right now, in Ansbach, Germany. Just keep thinking about that all day -- somewhere, robots are sorting your salami....
For more robotics videos, check out the ABB Robotics channel on YouTube. For... READ ON
In this video, Bill Murray reads poetry (including Emily Dickinson) to construction workers at the Poets House in Manhattan. The action begins at the 1-minute mark.
(Via Movie City Indie, as tweeted by Roger... READ ON
In 1865, six-year-old Teddy Roosevelt watched Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in NYC.