Archive for October 19th, 2011

October 19, 2011

After Dark

flying toaster by Sam Lu

After Dark is a series of computer screensaver software introduced in 1989 by Berkeley Systems for the Macintosh, and later for Windows. Following the original, new editions were introduced including ‘More After Dark’ and ‘Before Dark,’ as well as editions themed around licensed properties such as ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ and Disney. The screensaver modules were often noted for their intertextuality, such as the flying toasters appearing in the Fish screensaver, and the cat from Boris screensaver appearing in the Bad Dog screensaver.

Of the screensaver modules included, the most famous is the iconic Flying Toasters which featured 1940s-style chrome toasters sporting bird-like wings, flying across the screen with pieces of toast. A slider enabled users to adjust the toast’s darkness and an updated Flying Toasters Pro module added a choice of music: Richard Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ or a flying toaster anthem with optional karaoke lyrics. Yet another version called ‘Flying Toasters!’ added bagels and pastries, baby toasters, and more elaborate toaster animation.

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October 19, 2011

Birth Control Glasses

bcg

Birth control glasses, officially called GI glasses, are eyeglasses issued by the American military to its service members. At one time they were officially designated as ‘Regulation Prescription Glasses,’ or RPGs. This was commonly said to mean ‘Rape Prevention Glasses’ due to their unstylish appearance. The glasses are relatively thick frames made of brown translucent plastic, with a thin metal wire extending down the center of each of the earpieces. The shape of the corrective lenses is nearly rectangular, with rounded edges, and a slight diagonal angle adjacent to the integrated nose pieces. This design reflects a specification for durability at the lowest possible cost. There are two designs available for female and male soldiers who require prescription eye wear.

They are large enough to provide a wide field of vision, but can be so large as to interfere with peripheral vision or the sights of a rifle under certain circumstances. As well as being waterproof, they are also impact resistant and satisfy many eye protection requirements. GI glasses are issued at government expense to new recruits at recruit training or Officer Candidate Schools in the United States military. When entering recruit training, service members may wear civilian glasses until government-issued ones are assigned, including but not limited to the BCG. Contact lenses are never permissible for these exercises. After recruit training, soldiers are permitted to wear civilian glasses provided they are conservative in design and color. The military offers annual replacements for those who qualify, and personnel may request the government issued glasses in addition to several varieties of more attractive eyewear, in clear and tinted lenses, as well as prescription gas mask inserts and inserts for government-funded ballistic eyewear.

October 19, 2011

General Butt Naked

general butt naked by Paul Ward

Joshua Milton Blahyi (b. 1971), better known by his nom de guerre General Butt Naked, is a former leader for the Liberian warlord Roosevelt Johnson in the First Liberian Civil War known for his fierce, violent and eccentric measures in the first half of the 1990s. He was originally a tribal priest, and has returned to preaching after the war. Blahyi’s nom de guerre was appropriated for comical effect by the creators of the Broadway musical ‘The Book of Mormon’ as their fictional Ugandan warlord ‘General Butt Fucking Naked.’

Blahyi got his nickname, ‘General Butt Naked,’ from his nakedness which was supposedly demanded by the Devil. In his account of a typical battle Blahyi claimed, ‘So, before leading my troops into battle, we would get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager, drink their blood, then strip down to our shoes and go into battle wearing colorful wigs and carrying dainty purses we’d looted from civilians. We’d slaughter anyone we saw, chop their heads off and use them as soccer balls. We were nude, fearless, drunk and homicidal. We killed hundreds of people – so many I lost count.’ Blahyi also purported that during that period he had ‘magical powers that made him invisible’ and a ‘special power’ to capture a town singlehandedly, then call in his troops afterwards to ‘clean up.’

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October 19, 2011

The Rapture

the rapture

The Rapture is a dance-punk band based in New York City. The band mixes influences from many genres including post-punk, acid house, disco, electronic music, and rock, pioneering the post-punk revival genre. The Rapture formed in 1998 by keyboardist Chris Relyea, drummer Vito Roccoforte and guitarist/vocalist Luke Jenner. In 1999 the band released its debut ‘mini-album’, ‘Mirror.’ Following this release, the band relocated to New York. They were finally joined by Matt Safer having gone through five keyboard players and two bassists in an eighteen-month period. After touring extensively for two years, the band released the six-song EP ‘Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks’ on the Sub Pop label, with the lead track featuring in the film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel ‘The Rules Of Attraction.’

The Rapture were forerunners of the post-punk revival of the early 2000s, as they mixed their early post-punk sound with electronic and dance elements via their collaboration with the celebrated New York production team DFA. Multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi joined the band in 2002. Their first full-length record, ‘Echoes,’ was released to critical acclaim in 2003. The Rapture released their second full-length album, ‘Pieces of the People We Love,’ on Universal Motown Records in 2006. Paul Epworth, Ewan Pearson and Danger Mouse produced the album.

October 19, 2011

Little Dragon

twice

Little Dragon is a Swedish electronic band, formed in Gothenburg in 1996. It consists of Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion) and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards). Little Dragon’s first release was the single ‘Twice/Test’ in 2006. The following year, the band signed with the larger British indie label Peacefrog Records and released their self-titled debut album. Their second album, ‘Machine Dreams,’ was released in 2009, followed by their third album, ‘Ritual Union,’ in 2011.

The band’s name was inspired by the ‘Little Dragon’ nickname Nagano earned due to the ‘fuming tantrums’ she used to throw while recording in the studio. ‘It’s a little exaggerated but there is some truth in it,’ Nagano said. ‘But we’ve grown up a bit and I realized you can’t have a fit every day because otherwise you won’t be able to stand each other.’