Devastaingly Devilish Frank Zappa Comeback

My friend Ron Anteroinen just sent me this infamous Frank Zappa anecdote:

“I was reading about Joe Pyne, the conservative talk show ancestor to Morton Downey and Bill O’Reilly. The Wikipedia article on him includes this account of a Frank Zappa interview:

“Joseph Pyne was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He earned three service stars but lost a leg while serving in the Marine Corps during World War II…

“Pyne was generally a conservative and supported the Vietnam War and ridiculed hippies (a favorite target) and the women’s movement…

“Pyne was confrontational with guests on his show and often attempted to throw them off-balance by opening the conversation with an insult. One occasion when this backfired was when he began a dialogue with Frank Zappa by saying, ‘So I guess your long hair makes you a woman.’ Zappa responded with ‘So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table.'”

I think I’ve heard this story before. I did a search and found no video footage of it and I don’t know whether it’s apocryphal or not. It’s widely reported online as actually happening. Seems hard to imagine that anyone can be that quick, but if anyone can, it would’ve been Frank. Does anybody know more about it?


More on Sleep Hacking

I’m fascinated by various efforts I’ve read of folks trying to mess with their circadian rhythms to try and get more wakey time and to avoid drowsiness during the day. This piece, on dumb little man, reinforces something most of these articles say, the key is going to bed only when you’re tired and ALWAYS waking up at the same time. One of these days I’ll find the self-discipline to actually do this.

[Via Lifehacker]


Retro-Futuro Cyborganic Objets d’Art

We’ve written about Gordon Bennett’s amazing robot sculptures before, which are built from old electronic parts and other junk. Here’s a French artist, Stephane Halleux, doing equally awesome work using similar materials.

Unlike Bennett”s work, which is all themed around robots, Halleux does a lot of people, pets, and other curious creatures. Much of it cyborganic in nature, existing in an interzone between man and machine, all rendered in a decidedly retro-futuristic flava. Too bad the site’s all in French, although the work pretty much speaks for itself.

[Via Brass Goggles]


“Beginner’s Mind” and The Stovetop Website

As Bruce Sterling put it in Beyond Cyberpunk!: “Inspiration knows no baud rate.” I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of creativity recently. Last weekend, I went to this year’s Art-o-Matic, an amazing everyone-can-play art orgy held in DC most every year. It’s a great event that I always look forward to. But I’m always struck at how derivative, and well, BORING much of the art is. Now, I’m a firm believer in creativity being our God-given right and responsibility, and that we don’t serve that impulse nearly enough. So I don’t want to harsh anybody’s creative mellow. If it feels good, DO IT!. But in being creative, so many seem intent on painting inside the lines, parroting what others have done. If it were up to me, art school’s major job would be beating all of the rout and mimicry out of students.

The brilliance of beginner’s mind (in the Zen sense) can be seen in the website Miranda July did for her new short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You. The entire site is written on the white tops of her kitchen appliances in dry-erase marker. It’s one of the coolest, most refreshing sites I’ve seen in a while. And it just goes to show you how right Chairman Brucie was.

[Via Boing Boing]


Free Web-Based Mind Mapping App

Years ago — we’re talking YEARS ago, like before the PC-ago — I became obsessed with mind mapping, a brainstorming and organizing technique, where you draw non-linear, associative diagrams of your subject. It’s sort of a cross between an organizational chart, a functional relationships diagram, and an acid trip doodle. I have notebooks, deeply embarrassing notebooks, filled with multi-colored Flair-penned efforts to find myself. But it was actually mind mapping that started my career in computers. I bought a copy of the Whole Earth Software Review, and in it, Stewart Brand reviewed a brainstorming tool for the Apple IIe. He raved about the program, and his description of how it could help offload and process your thoughts reminded me of mind mapping. I convinced the org I was working for that we needed a computer (for managing our mailing lists) and went out and bought an Apple IIe the next day. I’ve never looked back. (And strangely, I never got the program that Brand had recommended).

I’ve had nothing to do with mind mapping since the late ’70s/early ’80s, but I still find the idea interesting. There have been dozens of programs over the years for doing it, or similar graphical brainstorming. But this new one, called Mindomo is especially interesting ’cause it’s Web-based, it’s very easy to use, and it’s free (for limited amounts of use). I don’t know if mind mapping is something I will pick up again, but I am working on a complex project now that could use viewing from a different persecpective, so maybe a mind map would do the trick.


Word Nerd Icon Erin McKean at Google

We blogged previously about Google’s wonderful lecture series that they make available online. The latest MAKE Newsletter made me aware of my pal Erin McKean’s appearance in the series. Erin edits my favorite word-nerd zine, Verbatim, and she’s the Editor in Chief of US Dictionaries for Oxford University Press.

In the video, Erin talks about ten things she wished everyone knew about dictionaries (and a bonus thing!). It’s far more interesting, informative, and entertaining than you might think. You also learn some weird and wonderful new vocab, like erinaceous (of or pertaining to hedgehogs) and presticogitation (rapid mental processing that commands compliance because of its speed and beauty).


Fighting Comment Spam

Thanks to a regular, and growing, bombardment of Comment spam, most of it porn-related, we’ve been forced to turn off Comments until we can figure out a way of keeping these unsavory characters off of our site.

If you have a Comment that you’d like to post, you can still send it to me (using the Who’s Online site messaging system) or via the Contact button above.

We apologize to those who’ve been offended by this spam and to everyone here as we all get a little less of Street Tech, thanks to these bottomfeeders.

NOW It’s Last-Minute Gift-Giving…

Friday and Saturday, folks. That’s all that’s left in the Xmas shopping season. But don’t panic. There’s plenty of good stuff still to be had at your local electronics store, bookstore, etc. Most of the gifts in our 2006 guide can be had at one of these two types of store. Here are the links to our 2006 Street Tech Gift Guide to give you some ideas before heading out into the consumer’s wilderness:

2006 Street Tech Gift Guide, Part 1
2006 Street Tech Gift Guide, Part 2

And also be sure to check out the Federated Media Holiday Gadget Guide that we’ve been contributing to. We’ll be running that through the end of the year (so you’ll know what to spend your money on when you return the puffy jacket your mother buys you every year).

Signed, Numbered Mark Frauenfelder Art for $6!

Mark Frauenfelder has just made 100 signed and numbered Moleskine Cahiers (the same ones I raved about in our Gift Guide) available that have his cute little Gremlin dude silkscreened onto their covers. And they’re only $6… postpaid! I snatched up several. What a cool little art collectible at a give-away price. Get ’em while you can. Thanks, Markie!