Happy Holidays!

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Another year, another Christmas approaching at the speed of Gary Larson‘s Far Side Eye cartoon,  “Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”. Nostalgia peppers the soul seconds in between To Do Lists running from A, as in Advent Calendar Gifts to Buy and Stuff in 24 Pockets, to Z, as in, when can I get some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz-leep. On that nostalgic note, here are some fun toys that you can no longer find on today’s stores – Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Musical Musings of Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is a boundless force of creative culture. Musician, composer, singer, performer, digital pioneer and music instrument inventor, she entered my consciousness in the early 1990s just before the Web became a mass reality, with her wildly surreal Puppet Motel CD-ROM, which the National Public Radio considered  “should do for CD-ROMS what the Beatles Sergeant Pepper did for rock ‘n roll”. Besides her own projects, the once-upon-a-time MFA Sculpture graduate and long time companion of Lou Reed – the two married in their 60s in 2008 – worked together with many notable artists and counter culture figures like William S. Burroughs, Brian Eno, and Timothy Leary.

[If a Sperm Where the Size of a Whale:Mach 20
[On the culture of oversimplification:Let X=X
[From Da Vinci’s Ethics and Wisdom series:Great Thinkers: Laurie Anderson

Stephen Fry on the Catholic Church

English actor, writer, comedian, broadcaster, and man of words extraordinaire Stephen Fry offers his take on whether the Catholic Church is a source for good in the world at the BBC Intelligence Squared Debate Series in October 19, 2009. “Sometimes the importance of being earnest is more than a moral duty – it is a pleasure”, he states when opening his IQ2 debate address on the topic, available here: Part 1/2  and Part 2/2 .

Stephen Fry currently hosts the British comedy quiz show QI, Quite Interesting, featuring extremely obscure questions and awarding points for interesting answers, even if incorrect and unrelated to the question; and rounded up by a General Ignorance topic, a mockery of General Knowledge quizzes.

Conversations with Marina Abramović

New York based, Serbian born Marina Abramović, grandmother of Performance Art, explores relationships between performer and audience, limits of the body and possibilities of the mind. In one of her most famous and daring performances [Rhythm 0, 1974], she put herself at the mercy of an audience for 6 hours, during which the audience could use any of 72 objects to manipulate her body and actions. She discovered that an initially gentle audience could kill you, and then run away.

Conversation #1 with PBS news anchor Jeffrey Brown
Conversation #2 with Harvard University professor Sanford Kwinter

On Grain: Pumping for the Kill

[Grain:] a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein. The staple diet in developing nations in the form of  rice, wheat, millet, or maize. Which is why the cheaper E10 biofuel comes at a sky-high high cost: driving up the price of grain, and killing people unable to afford the higher prices, or too malnourished to wait for charity, probably from the very hands that dealt the higher crops prices. In Germany, icon and hotbed of potently masculine car making, some government officials demand the fuel to be banned; while philosophical France next door, the first EU country to introduce E10 in 2009, is currently “considering  to reconsider” expanding the use of bio-fuel. The two countries account for a big, fat lion’s share of the total European bio-fuel consumption, which has doubled since 2006 despite lots of good legislative intentions to curb the appetite for killer bio-fuel. But good news loom on the horizon: despite increases in consumption,  the trend is for Europe to decline its share in the global bio-fuel killer trend, as other regions will increase their consumption a great deal more than Europe. The Worst Biofuel Baddy crown will be worn somewhere else – guess where?