Free Download: They Might Be Giants Play Their Entire First Album Live


They Might Be Giants released their eponymous debut album in November, 1986 and it immediately attracted the attention of Village Voice music critic, Robert Christgau, who, in giving the album an “A,” said “the hits just keep on coming in an exuberantly annoying show of creative superabundance”. Almost thirty years later, the band performed the seminal first album live in its entirety during its 2013 world tour. And now, as a special gift to fans old and new, they’re making available a recording of those performances for free. It runs 47 minutes. To get the recording, click the “Free Album Download” button below, and follow the instructions. Or click here.

via Laughing Squid/BoingBoing

Stephen Fry Reads the Legendary British Shipping Forecast

If you live in England, you’re probably familiar with the Shipping Forecast, a nightly BBC radio broadcast that details the weather conditions for the seas surrounding Britain. The broadcast has been on the airwaves since 1911. And many Brits will tell you that the forecast, always read in a soporific voice, can lull you to sleep quicker than a dose of Ambien. The broadcast has a strict format. It can’t exceed 350 words, and it always begins: “And now the Shipping Forecast, issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at [fill in the time] today.” Below y0u can listen to a recording of actual forecasts. (Or catch the one from 6/29/2014 here.) Don’t listen to it while driving, or operating heavy machinery. A primer that decodes the unfamiliar terminology in the radio transmission can be found here.

All of this gives you just enough context to appreciate Stephen Fry’s parody reading of the Shipping Forecast. It was recorded in 1988, for the first episode of his radio show Saturday Night Fry. (Full episode here.) You can read along with the transcript, while listening to the clip up top:

And now, before the news and weather, here is the Shipping Forecast issued by the Meteorological Office at 1400 hours Greenwich Mean Time.
Finisterre, Dogger, Rockall, Bailey: no.
Wednesday, variable, imminent, super.
South Utsire, North Utsire, Sheerness, Foulness, Eliot Ness:
If you will, often, eminent, 447, 22 yards, touchdown, stupidly.
Malin, Hebrides, Shetland, Jersey, Fair Isle, Turtle-Neck, Tank Top, Courtelle:
Blowy, quite misty, sea sickness. Not many fish around, come home, veering suggestively.
That was the Shipping Forecast for 1700 hours, Wednesday 18 August.

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Jack Kerouac’s On the Road Turned Into an Illustrated Scroll: One Drawing for Every Page of the Novel

illustrated on the road scroll
A great deal of mythology has built up around the life of Jack Kerouac, and especially around the experiences that went into his best-known work, the 1957 novel On the Road. Even the very act of its composition — perhaps especially the act of its composition — has, in the imaginations of many of Kerouac’s readers, turned into an image of the man “writing the book on a long scroll of teletype paper in three coffee-soaked-benzedrine-fueled days.” With this image in mind, illustrator Paul Rogers of Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design created On the Road, the illustrated scroll, featuring “a drawing for every page” of the novel, and depicting the historically researched “cars, buses, roadside architecture, and old signs” from Kerouac’s America of the late 1940s and early 50s, one that “looked awfully different than it does now.” You can scroll, as it were, through this work in progress at Rogers’ site.


We’ve here included only four of the over 100 drawings Rogers has so far made, but these examples capture the novel’s multigenerationally intoxicating mix of Americana and pure momentum. You’ll also notice that, underneath each image, Rogers excerpts a passage of Kerouac’s. “Adding Kerouac’s words as captions to the drawings makes the series feel like a journal and not a carefully planned out illustrated book,” he writes, “and it seems to capture some of the spirit of Kerouac’s ‘this-happened-then-this-then-this’ writing style.”


You can read the scroll part-by-part on these pages: one through three, four, five, six, seven. Though I never took quite the lifestyle inspiration from On the Road some have, I can’t wait to see what visual inspiration Rogers draws from the bit about fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.

souvenir folder

Related Content:

Jack Kerouac’s Hand-Drawn Map of the Hitchhiking Trip Narrated in On the Road

Jack Kerouac’s On The Road Turned Into Google Driving Directions & Published as a Free eBook

Jack Kerouac Lists 9 Essentials for Writing Spontaneous Prose

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Ernest Hemingway’s Summer Camping Recipes


With regard to writing, Ernest Hemingway was a man of simple tastes. Were I to employ a metaphor, I’d describe Hem as the kind of guy who’d prefer an unadorned plum from William Carlos Williams’ icebox to Makini Howell’s Pesto Plum Pizza with Balsamic Arugula.

Don’t mistake that metaphor for real life, however. Judging by his 1920 Toronto Star how-to on maximizing comfort on camping vacations, he would not have stood for charred weenies and marshmallows on a stick. Rather, a little cookery know-how was something for a man to be proud of:

“…a frying pan is a most necessary thing to any trip, but you also need the old stew kettle and the folding reflector baker.”

Clearly, the man did not trust readers to independently seek out such sources as The Perry Ladies’ Cookbook of 1920 for instructions. Instead, he painstakingly details his method for successful preparation of Trout Wrapped in Bacon, including his preferred brands of vegetable shortening.

Would your mouth water less if I tell you that literary food blog Paper and Salt has updated Hem’s trout recipe à la Emeril Lagasse, omitting the Crisco and tossing in a few fresh herbs? No campfire required.  You can get ‘er done in the broiler:

Bacon-Wrapped Trout: (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
2 (10-ounce) whole trout, cleaned and gutted
1/2 cup cornmeal
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, sliced
6 slices bacon
Fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat broiler and set oven rack 4 to 6 inches from heat. With a paper towel, pat trout dry inside and out. Dredge outside of each fish in cornmeal, then season cavity with salt and pepper. Place 4 sprigs of thyme and 2 lemon slices inside each fish.

2. Wrap 3 bacon slices around the middle of each fish, so that the edges overlap slightly. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place fish on pan. Broil until bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. With a spatula, carefully flip fish over and cook another 5 minutes, until flesh is firm.

Like any thoughtful hostess (simile!), Hemingway didn’t leave his guests to starve whilst waiting for the main event. His choice of hors d’oeuvres was little pancakes made from a mix, and again, he leaves nothing to chance, or Aunt Jemima’s instructions…

With the prepared pancake flours you take a cupful of pancake flour and add a cup of water. Mix the water and flour and as soon as the lumps are out it is ready for cooking. Have the skillet hot and keep it well greased. Drop the batter in and as soon as it is done on one side loosen it in the skillet and flip it over. Apple butter, syrup or cinnamon and sugar go well with the cakes.

Here, Paper and Salt’s Nicole Villeneuve does us all a solid by doing away with prepackaged mix. Bonus points for using ingredients that would’ve been available in 1920’s Michigan, beloved site of Hemingway’s trout and pancake campouts.

Corn Cakes:
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (either fresh off the cob or thawed)
2 green onions, white parts only, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Canola oil, for frying

1. In a food processor, add corn and green onions and pulse 4 to 5 times, until finely chopped. In a large bowl, stir together corn mixture, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, red chile flakes, salt, and sugar.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, and butter. Add to corn mixture, stirring until just combined.

3. Coat a large skillet or pancake griddle with oil. Over medium heat, spoon batter onto pan in 1/4 cups and fry until cakes are golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Villeneuve opts out of recreating Hemingway’s dessert, an al fresco fruit pie so good “your pals … will kiss you” (provided, of course, that they’re Frenchmen). Because I, too, aim higher than weenies and marshmallows, here are his lengthy, rather self-congratulatory  instructions:

In the baker, mere man comes into his own, for he can make a pie that to his bush appetite will have it all over the product that mother used to make, like a tent. Men have always believed that there was something mysterious and difficult about making a pie. Here is a great secret. There is nothing to it. We’ve been kidded for years. Any man of average office intelligence can make at least as good a pie as his wife.

All there is to a pie is a cup and a half of flour, one-half teaspoonful of salt, one-half cup of lard and cold water. That will make pie crust that will bring tears of joy into your camping partner’s eyes.

Mix the salt with the flour, work the lard into the flour, make it up into a good workmanlike dough with cold water. Spread some flour on the back of a box or something flat, and pat the dough around a while. Then roll it out with whatever kind of round bottle you prefer. Put a little more lard on the surface of the sheet of dough and then slosh a little flour on and roll it up and then roll it out again with the bottle.

Cut out a piece of the rolled out dough big enough to line a pie tin. I like the kind with holes in the bottom. Then put in your dried apples that have soaked all night and been sweetened, or your apricots, or your blueberries, and then take another sheet of the dough and drape it gracefully over the top, soldering it down at the edges with your fingers. Cut a couple of slits in the top dough sheet and prick it a few times with a fork in an artistic manner.

Put it in the baker with a good slow fire for forty-five minutes and then take it out.

Remember, campers:  The real woodsman is the man who can be really comfortable in the bush. – Ernest Hemingway

 via Paper and Salt

Related Content:

Ernest Hemingway’s Favorite Hamburger Recipe

Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction

Ernest Hemingway Creates a Reading List for a Young Writer, 1934

Ayun Halliday is an author who once designed a course on outdoor cooking, just so she could order pie irons online. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Sonny Rollins Describes How 50 Years of Practicing Yoga Made Him a Better Musician

Indian mystic and philosopher Patanjali supposedly created modern yoga by transmitting his doctrine and disciplines to seven sages. In the mid-1950s, those teachings came down through the centuries to another sage, Sonny Rollins, who, like his good friend John Coltrane, incorporated his experiments with Eastern spirituality into his jazz improvisations. In Rollins’ case, yoga has given him, as he recounts in the short video above, “spiritual understanding” and “direction.” Setting out for India in 1967 to find “upliftment,” Rollins checked himself into an Ashram, with nothing but a bag and his horn, “and it worked out well,” he says. Rollins and his jazz “compatriots” like Coltrane “were trying to find a way to express life through our improvisations,” he tells NPR. “The music has got to mean something,” he says, “Jazz improvisation is supposed to be the highest form of communication, and getting that to the people is our job as musicians.”

In his new set of live recordings, Road Shows, Vol. 3, Rollins plays a “mantra-like” song called “Patanjali,” a tribute to the discipline that keeps him physically and musically vital. In his “Morning Edition” interview above, Rollins describes his yoga practice as helping his “concentration level.” “The thing is this,” he says, “When I play, what I try to do is to reach my subconscious level. I don’t want to overtly think about anything, because you can’t think and play at the same time—believe me, I’ve tried.” At age 83, and still sounding as fresh as he does, one imagines he’s tried it all and learned some valuable lessons. In 1963, Rollins met the Oki Yoga group in Japan, who combine yoga, Zen, and martial arts principles, and he’s also studied Rosicrucianism, Buddhism, and “Kabbalah, even—I was really into those philosophies of life.”

As for whether Sonny Rollins considers himself a member of any particular sect, hear his thoughts on organized religion in answer to a recent Google Hangout question (above). While he may not subscribe to a specific belief system, he’s certainly found spiritual techniques that give him—as he puts it in an interview with Yoga Journal—“a center.” Rollins “still practices asana [poses] every day, including Halasana (Plow Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).” Want to learn more about yoga? You could always read Patanjali’s famous sutras. For more practical instruction in this peaceful physical discipline, perhaps take a look at the rather ironically named Lesley Fightmaster’s Youtube channel, with free lessons for virtually everyone.

Of course, no one teacher should be considered the authority on yoga. Like every spiritual practice, yoga has its many schisms and divisions, even so-called “Yoga Wars”: among Hindus and Christians, between corporate giants like Lululemon (and Western teachers like Fightmaster) and traditional Indian practitioners, between “Hot Yoga” (and its controversial founder) and everyone else…. I doubt Sonny Rollins has time to get enmeshed in these squabbles, and maybe neither do you. For a much less uptight fusion of Eastern practice and Western spirit, perhaps try some Star Wars Yoga. In this video, instructor Erica Vetra offers a free beginner’s class for those who “A. love Star Wars, B. have never seen Star Wars, C. love yoga, or D. have never done yoga.” The ecumenical Sonny Rollins might approve, though the venerable Patanjali, indifferent to “fancy” and “illusion,” may not have been amused.

via A Piece of Monologue

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Internet’s Own Boy: New Documentary About Aaron Swartz Now Free Online

On BoingBoing today, Cory Doctorow writes: “The Creative Commons-licensed version of The Internet’s Own Boy, Brian Knappenberger’s documentary about Aaron Swartz, is now available on the Internet Archive, which is especially useful for people outside of the US, who aren’t able to pay to see it online…. The Internet Archive makes the movie available to download or stream, in MPEG 4 and Ogg. There’s also a torrentable version.”

According to the film summary, the new documentary “depicts the life of American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. It features interviews with his family and friends as well as the internet luminaries who worked with him. The film tells his story up to his eventual suicide after a legal battle, and explores the questions of access to information and civil liberties that drove his work.”

The Internet’s Own Boy will be added to our collection, 285 Free Documentaries Online, part of our larger collection, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Steve Buscemi’s Top 10 Film Picks (from The Criterion Collection)


Ah, summer sunshine. It’s lovely, but so is the idea of drawing the drapes while Steve Buscemi schools me in some of the darker corners of cinema and the human psyche.

The man who’s met his onscreen end so frequently (and horribly) as to merit a Youtube tribute titled The Many Deaths of Steve Buscemi is one of dozens of luminaries who’ve compiled top 10 lists from the Criterion Collection’s film catalog.

What do Buscemi’s 10 picks reveal?

A fondness for black-and-white, a documentary sensibility, and an appreciation for anything deftly straddling the divide between horror and humor…

If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with some of his picks, take a look at the trailers. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him cropping up in any one of them.

Billy Liar

This shining example of the British New Wave can be referred to as a kitchen sink drama, but Buscemi calls it a comedy, with “one of the saddest endings” he’s ever seen.

Brute Force

Picture a remake with Buscemi filling the shoes of sadistic prison guard Hume Cronyn.

The Honeymoon Killers 

Buscemi’s hometown gets the nod in one of his favorite-ever film lines: ‘Valley Stream. Valley Stream. What a joke!’”

Man Bites Dog 

Not hard to imagine the Coen Brothers enlisting Buscemi to hold forth on the ballast ratio for corpses. Those with the stomach for it can watch the whole disturbing thing here, though as Buscemi himself warns, it’s not for everybody.

My Own Private Idaho

Buscemi’s favorite River Phoenix flick.


Wondering how Albert Maysles will feel when he reads that fellow director Richard Linklater fixed Buscemi up with a bootleg of his doc about door-to-door Bible peddlers.

Short Cuts 

Looks like there’s an Altman fan in the house of Buscemi.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm (whole film)

This unscripted, never theatrically released faux-documentary from the summer of ’68 was resurrected by Buscemi’s neighbor, the Brooklyn Museum.

The Vanishing 

If something gives Steve Buscemi nightmares, it’s likely to do a number on you too. Watch the whole film here if you dare.

A Woman Under the Influence  

Buscemi’s appreciation is so ardent, I’m hoping he’ll consider hipping us to his Top 10 Cassavetes films!

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A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 Best American Films Ever Made (1963)

Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler and the Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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