Change Your Life! Learn the Japanese Art of Decluttering, Organizing & Tidying Things Up

Custom dictates that you should observe July 4th—America’s Independence Day—outdoors, eating hot dogs, drinking beer, waving tiny flags on Main Street, and viewing fireworks.

Why not liberate yourself from the tyranny of the traditional by spending a portion of the day indoors, communicating affection to your clothing, as organizational expert, Marie Kondo, author of the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, does in the instructional video, above?


Most of us who dwell in small New York City apartments are already familiar with her teachings. Hers is a take-no-prisoners approach to clutter control. Any item that doesn’t “spark joy”—be it a pair of stretched-out sweatpants, a long ago graduation present, a ream of children’s artwork, or a nearly full bottle of slightly funky-smelling conditioner—must be discarded immediately.

(Note to self: ask Mom whatever became of my Spirit of ’76 watercolor. She had it framed because it won a prize. Best Bicentennial Observance by a 4th Grader or some such. Things like that don’t just vanish into thin air, unless…)

The total makeover Kondo proposes is an arduous, oft-emotional, week-long task. Don’t blow your entire July 4th holiday trying to complete the job.

Instead, take an hour or two to refold your clothes. New Yorkers’ drawers are where Kondo’s influence is felt most deeply. Whether or not we subscribe to her practice of treating each garment like a treasured friend, our underwear definitely has more room to breathe, when not on active duty.

See below for a graphic demonstration of how to best fold shirts, pants, and several species of undies, using Kondo’s Kon-Marie method.

And don’t be tempted to decamp to the backyard barbecue when you run across challenges like overalls or baby onesies. Watch below as Kondo tackles a shirt with kimono sleeves, a pair of Edo-style mata hike pants, and a sweater with a marked resemblance to a Thneed.

If you’re beginning to feel like fireworks may be overrated, Kondo delivers a 45-minute overview of her philosophy as part of the Talks at Google program below. Or lose yourself to an entire playlist of Kondo folding videos here.

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Ayun Halliday, author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine, will be reading from her travel memoir, No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late at Indy Reads Books in downtown Indianapolis, Thursday, July 7. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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The Wizard of Oz Broken Apart and Put Back Together in Alphabetical Order

WARNING: This film contains extremely fast editing, flashes of light, abrupt changes in image and sound.

Back in 2001, Matt Bucy had the inspiration to do something truly original — take the entire Wizard of Oz, cut it up, and put it back together–this time in alphabetical order. And that’s precisely what he did several years later, in 2004. A coder, Bucy created an app that made it easy to deconstruct the beloved 1939 film. He told Vox:

That [app] spit out a big text file with all the words and their locations in the film, which I then imported into a spreadsheet, sorted in alphabetical and then chronological order, and fed into another little program that took the sorted list and produced the edit. So basically, it was edited in Excel….

All told, I think it took about seven days spread out over a couple of months. Disassembly was mind-bending in itself. It was literally hard to talk after moving word by word, or syllable by syllable, through the film. English stopped sounding like language, and at times I had to stop because I could not figure out what a word was — I just couldn’t hear it right.

When finally alphabetized, the film, says Bucy, had a surprising energy to it. A certain je ne sais quoi. Yes it’s hard to describe. Maybe you can put your own words to it.

In 2016, Bucy finally made the alphabetized Wizard of Oz available to the rest of world. You can watch it here. And do heed the warning above.

via Vox

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Hear a Supercut of the Last Second of Every AC/DC Song

acdc songs

Image by Weatherman90, via Wikimedia Commons

Last summer, Paul Marshall, a DJ at the classic rock station 100.7 KSLX in Phoenix Arizona, went the distance in trying to answer a question: how many AC/DC songs end in pretty much the same way? The result of his study is the supercut below. On his Facebook page, Marshall writes:

It took a LONG time to go through. I promise you, *no song was repeated.* These are all the final notes, of almost every AC/DC song ever recorded (very few songs in their history, fade out. They were omitted). They know how to end a song. That’s for sure. Feel free to share, steal, and give to your morning show without crediting me (you know who you are!). Annnd….power chord!

All of this puts the quote attributed to Angus Young (AC/DC co-founder/guitarist) in a funny light: “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sounds exactly the same, Infact, [sic] we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”

Enjoy!

via @WFMU

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Tiny Tim Performs a Bizarre Cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” on The Tonight Show (1979)

In 1979, cult musician Tiny Tim ditched his ukulele and tiptoed out of the tulips to cover Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” on The Tonight Show, above.

The Gong Show-worthy performance left host Johnny Carson—and presumably the majority of home viewers—speechless.

Was it comedy or a fading, mentally unbalanced novelty act’s attempt to rekindle the passion of a fickle spotlight?

Maybe just a particularly unbridled foray into new artistic territory… Like his elaborately formal manners, Tiny Tim’s usual repertoire harkened to an earlier period. (“No one knew more about old music than Tiny Tim,” Bob Dylan once remarked.)

His oddly demure comportment is in short supply here as he veers from his customary falsetto to a more manly lower register, stripping off jacket and braces to showcase a portly, middle aged mid-section. Musicianship also seems a bit wanting, though to be fair, that’s rarely the criteria by which we measure the success of an act that ends with writhing on the floor.

Whatever his intentions, Tiny Tim’s place in the annals of WTF performance history would be secured on this turn alone.

A few years later, he recorded a 20s-tinged “Do Ya Think I”m Sexy” with Gary Lawrence & His Sizzling Syncopators, released inside a greeting card as a 6” flexi disc. The video,  below, honors his vintage sensibilities while simultaneously screaming 1982.

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Are You One of the 2% Who Can Solve “Einstein’s Riddle”?

It’s sometimes called “Einstein’s Riddle” because, according to legend, Einstein invented it as a child. Others say that the puzzle was actually designed by Lewis Carroll, best known as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (Carroll was also a logician.) Where did this brain teaser originate? We’re not really sure. Perhaps it was a 1962 issue of Life International magazine.

In any event, “Einstein’s Riddle” is a good test of your mental agility. They say that only 2% of the population can solve the problem. The TED-Ed video above will walk you through one version of the riddle. If you don’t want any assistance, you can find other versions online.

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Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burns His House Down (1990)

It was something of a Christmas ritual at Hunter S. Thompson’s Colorado cabin, Owl Farm. Every year, his secretary Deborah Fuller would take down the Christmas tree and leave it on the front porch rather than dispose of it entirely. That’s because Hunter, more often than not, wanted to set it on fire. In 1990, Sam Allis, a writer for then formidable TIME magazine, visited Thompson’s home and watched the fiery tradition unfold. He wrote:

I gave up on the interview and started worrying about my life when Hunter Thompson squirted two cans of fire starter on the Christmas tree he was going to burn in his living-room fireplace, a few feet away from an unopened wooden crate of 9-mm bullets. That the tree was far too large to fit into the fireplace mattered not a whit to Hunter, who was sporting a dime-store wig at the time and resembled Tony Perkins in Psycho. Minutes earlier, he had smashed a Polaroid camera on the floor.


Hunter had decided to videotape the Christmas tree burning, and we later heard on the replay the terrified voices of Deborah Fuller, his longtime secretary-baby sitter, and me off-camera pleading with him, “NO, HUNTER, NO! PLEASE, HUNTER, DON’T DO IT!” The original manuscript of Hell’s Angels was on the table, and there were the bullets. Nothing doing. Thompson was a man possessed by now, full of the Chivas Regal he had been slurping straight from the bottle and the gin he had been mixing with pink lemonade for hours.

The wooden mantle above the fireplace apparently still has burn marks on it today. It’s one of the many things you can check out when Owl Creek starts running museum tours in the near future.

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via Gothamist

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A Fittingly Strange Animation of What’s Going On Inside Charles Manson’s Mind

In 1968, Charles Manson listened to The Beatles’ White Album and came away thinking that America was on the verge of an apocalyptic race war between whites and blacks. As Manson imagined it, the race war would be triggered by a shocking, chaotic event called “Helter Skelter” — a named borrowed from a song on the White Album. And, like most megalomaniacs, Manson put himself at the center of the drama. In the summer of 1969, Manson had members of his cult commit a series of infamous murders in Southern California, hoping that African-Americans would be blamed and the race war would begin. Instead, a lengthy police investigation led to Manson’s arrest on December 2, 1969 and his conviction soon thereafter, making him then, and now, one of America’s notorious inmates.

Through the 1980s, Manson, even though behind bars, remained a very public figure, giving high profile interviews to Tom Snyder, Charlie Rose, and Geraldo Rivera. But then, he began to fade from view, for whatever reasons. For the past 20 years, we haven’t heard much from him. Until this came along. Above, you can watch Leah Shore’s animation of never-before-heard phone conversations between Charles Manson and Marlin Marynick (who later published a best-selling biography called Charles Manson Now). Fittingly strange, the animation reminds us of the very odd things going on inside Manson’s mind. Off kilter as ever, he goes in all kinds of unexpected directions.

via Vice

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Postage Stamps from Bhutan That Double as Playable Vinyl Records

Bhutan_record_stamps

The tiny, Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has a unique national aspiration that sets it apart from its neighbors, China and India. (And certainly the United States too.) Rather than increasing its gross national product, Bhutan has instead made it a goal to increase the Gross National Happiness of its citizens. There’s wealth in health, not just money, the Bhutanese have argued. And since the 197os, the country has taken a holistic approach to development, trying to increase the spiritual, physical, and environmental health of its people. And guess what? The strategy is paying off. A 2006 global survey conducted by Business Week found that Bhutan is the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest country in the world.

It’s perhaps only a nation devoted to happiness that could throw its support behind this — postage stamps that double as playable vinyl records. Created by an American entrepreneur Burt Todd in the early 70s, at the request of the Bhutanese royal family, the “talking stamps” shown above could be stuck on a letter and then later played on a turntable. According to Todd’s 2006 obituary in The New York Times, one stamp “played the Bhutanese national anthem,” and another delivered “a very concise history of Bhutan.” Thanks to WFMU, our favorite independent free form radio station, you can hear clips of talking stamps above and below. Don’t you feel happier already?

via The Reply All Podcast

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The Falling Water: A Rube Goldberg Machine That Makes a Fine Cocktail

Joseph Herscher, a kinetic artist from New Zealand, has a knack for making some pretty imaginative Rube Goldberg machines. Back in 2012, we showed you The Page Turner, a device that gives creative assistance to anyone still reading newspapers in a print format. Next week, we’ll hopefully get a chance to feature his most recent contraption. (Stay tuned for more on that.) But for now, as we head into the weekend, let’s admire The Falling Water, Herscher’s cocktail-making machine that plays on the name of a famous Frank Lloyd Wright creation. You can watch it go above. And for those who want to play along at home, here is the recipe for the drink:

– 30mls (1Oz) 42BELOW Feijoa Vodka
– Ch’i or Lemonade
– Long slice of seedless cucumber
– Ice

Cut a long thin piece of cucumber on a diagonal.
Rest it against the inside of a Highball glass.
Fill the glass with ice, add 42BELOW Feijoa.
Top with Ch’i or Lemonade.

Enjoy!

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As Benevolent Dictator, Vladimir Nabokov Would Abolish Muzak & Bidets: What Would Make Your List?

nabokov abolish

In 1969, the BBC’s James Mossman conducted an extensive interview with Vladimir Nabokov, which was first published in a magazine called The Listener, and later in a book entitled Strong OpinionsSome of Mossman’s questions were serious: “You’ve said that you’ve explored time’s prison and have found no way out. Are you still exploring…? Some were lighter: “Why do you live in hotels?” (Answer here.) And still other questions fell somewhere in between, like: “If you ruled any modern industrial state absolutely, what would you abolish?” It turns out that loud noises, muzak, bidets, and insecticides made the great novelist and lepidopterist’s list.

Which raises the question, if allowed to play benevolent dictator for a day, what would you obliterate? Me? I’d probably start with almost anything likely to appear in today’s Billboard Top 5 — dreck that’s not too far from muzak.

via Biblioklept

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