The Frontier Is Everywhere

I have to say: I love me some space. Give me high resolution imagery of some uninhabited sphere out in the cold, merciless void and I’m all over it. Reading the exploits of diminutive robots poking digging into alien soil leaves me tumescent with nerdy excitement. There are those who, of course, do not. There are many who feel that instead of looking up, we should instead be looking down, or forward, or even catty-corner. That the money being shot into the ether would be better off spent here. And like those who would extol the virtues of white chocolate or the musical stylings of the Violent Femmes, I simply allow my eyes to roll into the back of my head and drool profusely when those naysayers begin to pontificate their anti-NASA vitriol until they depart my company, confused and disgusted. It seems the only reasonable reaction. Also, I am exceedingly lazy.

It probably doesn’t help that, as of now, NASA doesn’t have anything as sexy as the moon landing going on at the moment. Smashing things into Jupiter is cool and all, but not as awe inspiring as watching humans traipse about on the surface of an orb hundreds of thousands of miles away. As such, the agency doesn’t have quite the media presence of, say, the armed forces. There are no images of astronauts flying spaceships or scientists doing complex math formulas while Keith David narrates over a pulsing, rap metal track.

This did not sit well with YouTube user damewse, who put together a video entitled “The Frontier is Everywhere” that features “narration” by the late Dr. Carl Sagan comprised of his reflections on the Pale Blue Dot photograph. It’s a stirring piece of video that, as admitted by damewse, borrows heavily from “EARTH: The Pale Blue Dot” by Michael Marantz, (see below), tailored with images of the space shuttle. Whether or not this is effective advertising is up for debate, but it’s certainly beautiful to watch.

Thanks, Evan!

BTC: Twin Peaks Ads for Georgia Coffee

Morning! While it’s true that Coilhouse’s BTC category probably already has one-too-many Twin Peaks posts, this one’s just WAY too good to resist:

Japanese Georgia coffee ads directed by David Lynch! (Discovered on Julie In Japan‘s blog while researching that post about Bunny Island.) DAMN fine advertisements.

The FAM: Frontline: The Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan

Welcome to the first FAM of 2011, as we pick up after the Bacchanalia that saw us sputtering and wheezing like an overweight asthmatic through the last few weeks of the previous year. In celebration of its (not so) triumphant return we offer you the greatest gift a FAM can give its reader. I speak, of course, of Frontline. You may say that last bit is a matter of opinion, but as a Frontline junkie I would counter that, no, you are wrong. Then I might, perhaps, throw in a dig about your mother. But seeing as we are in polite company I will allow you your obviously wrongheaded perceptions and get onto the video linked above.

“The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”, a report filed by Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi and originally broadcast on April 20, 2010, examines the re-emergence of an ancient Afghan custom known as “bacha bazi” — literally “boy play” or “playing with boys”— in which boys as young as 11, mostly from the poorest segments of Afghan society, are purchased from families or taken off the street by their “masters” who dress them in women’s clothing and train them to sing and dance for the entertainment of wealthy and powerful men. According to experts, they are also used as sexual slaves.

Quraishi does an amazing job in this piece, gaining an impressive level of access to some of the people involved in this illicit trade, uncovering a world mired in corruption and abject poverty. It makes for a fascinating but horrific documentary. Most importantly, and most uplifting, is Quraishi’s valiant attempts to save a young boy purchased by his contact Dastager. It may very well represent a breach in separation of reporter and subject but it is impossible to fault him for doing something so noble and represents, at least, a modicum of justice.

As mentioned, the practice had died out for many years, or at least dug itself further underground, but has re-emerged. The reason for this remains unexplained but the practice does relate to one, recent event. On December 2, 2010 the Guardian published an article related to a US Embassy cable from June 24, 2009, made public by Wikileaks. The cable details a meeting between Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli and Minister of Interior Hanif Atmar regarding an incident that took place in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan in April of that year. The event, as it is referred to in the document, led to the arrests of two Afghan National Police and nine other Afghans, including an undisclosed number of DynCorp language assistants. DynCorp is a private, US contractor tasked with training Afghan police. Atmar was hoping to charge them with “purchasing a service from a child,” but was also concerned that the release of video of the incident would become public, urging US officials to “quash” the story.

Interestingly, as the Houston Press’s John Nova Lomax pointed out on December 7th, DynCorp has a bit of a history with this kind of thing:

As we mentioned, this isn’t DynCorp’s first brush with the sex-slavery game. Back in Bosnia in 1999, US policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac was fired from DynCorp after blowing the whistle on a sex-slave ring operating on one of our bases there. DynCorp’s employees were accused of raping and peddling girls as young as 12 from countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. The company was forced to settle lawsuits against Bolkovac (whose story was recently told in the feature film The Whistleblower) and another man who informed authorities about DynCorp’s sex ring.

It is a terrible practice to be sure, one that, overall, Afghan authorities seem to be unwilling to acknowledge, let alone stamp out. Thankfully, the issue has been given some media coverage since Quraishi’s Frontline episode. Hopefully with increased scrutiny comes a change to that indifference.

Advertise in Coilhouse Issue 06!

Coilhouse can be found in over 2,000 retail locations. For specific details of our distribution, click here. Photo by rickiep00h on Flickr.

Coilhouse Magazine Issue 06 is coming. It’s been coming for a long time, and that’s because we’ve challenged ourselves to put more care and effort into this issue than ever before. You won’t have to wait much longer: 06 will be out in early spring! For those of you interested in advertising in Coilhouse, now is the time to get in touch and reserve your spot. The deadline for reserving an ad in Issue 06 is February 1st.

Who’s advertising in Coilhouse?  Increasingly, it’s not just businesses – it’s also artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, designers, art galleries and publications. Take a look at November’s “Support Our Advertisers” blog post, which outlines the 69 participants in Issue 05’s Small Business Advertising Program. It’s an inspiring, eclectic collection of products and people.

Magazines with production quality on par with Coilhouse are usually chock-full of corporate advertising, but we’ve made it part of our mission to prioritize our cherished community base, enabling less profit-driven entities to appear in our pages. Though we’ve raised all our full-page rates as of 2011, a beautifully-designed ad square in our Small Business Program still costs only $99-149.

Magazine reader response to the catalog style layout has been very positive. We hear a lot of people say that they spend as much time poring over the scrumptious small biz grid pages as they do over the articles themselves. You can see examples of what the ad grid layout looks like in the magazine here and here.

If you’re new to the advertising in Coilhouse, check our Advertising FAQ. For specifics about our distribution, circulation and pricing, check out our 2011 Media Kit. If you’ve made up your mind to take out an ad, all you need to do in order to get the ball rolling is email our wonderful Ad Manager, Samantha.

The Coilhouse venture remains, first and foremost, a labor of love… with lucre a very distant second. Rest assured that when beloved members of this community participate in our Small Business Ad Program, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership that keeps us all striving. (And hey – if you’re a small business, but you still want to take out a full page ad, come talk to us – we’ll be happy work something out.)

As always, thanks for reading. See you in Issue 06!

A Tale Of Two Penguins

This past week I have found myself embroiled in a losing battle with a nameless affliction affecting my corner of the northeast United States. Wracked by a hacking cough, nearly every orifice leaking fluid of various and sundry forms, my brain stewing in hot fetid juices I continue with my daily routine, a zombie with a cold.

As such my judgment, perhaps, should not be trusted. Of this I am well aware. I am also aware that those who would allow me access to their readers in such a state are also undeserving of trust, but that is a different matter entirely. No, I merely offer this as a preamble to the two videos presented here.

Both are no doubt better suited to M.E.R.’s ongoing Better Than Coffee series but, as a cold, unfeeling machine, I’m sure she won’t care though, no doubt, she’ll use it as an excuse to pump Justin Bieber through the speakers in my cell at eardrum-shattering levels. In my current state, however, it seems worth the temporary deafness. Above you will find a delightful video of a tiny penguin, frolicking with nary a care in the world and below you will find the significantly more amusing heavy metal remix in which a tiny penguin stalks his territory, filled with an unspeakable rage.

Via The Daily What : Videogum

Infant Aerobics?


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via Disinformation

Whaddaya reckon? Real or fake? Either way, it certainly filled my Involuntary Horrified Shrieking Laughter of the Damned quotient for the day. Gah…

You win this round, internet. Walking away now.

Happy Birthday, Hayao Miyazaki-sama!

One of the world’s most dearly loved filmmakers and animators turned 70 today. Otanjou-bi Omedetou Gozaimasu, Hayao Miyazaki-sama! Deep bows, and deep thanks.

Bad Girl of a Bygone Era

Not much is known about this photo. It looks like the carte-de-visite of a Broadway actress named Nora. That’s all we may ever know about her, though it’s fun to imagine her as a feisty character who smoked cigars, cheated at poker, held séances, and habitually carried a riding crop.

What else might she have done? Tell me your stories about her. I loved your tales of Athanasius Scrimshaw and his good lady, Jerboa.

See also:

[via Wunderkind Jellygraph]

Shannon Funchess is Here to Slay

Shannon Funchess radiates a certain low, rumbling power unlike anyone or anything else around her. And her voice O Holy Fuck, that VOICE. It belongs in a cathedral, or an abattoir.

The Brooklyn-based musician’s previous work as a frontwoman, and with NYC indie darlings like TV on the Radio and !!! and Telepathe is all very cool, but it’s only more recently, with the platform of Light Asylum — her duo with electronics maestro Bruno Coviello– that Funchess’ vision and strength seem to have reached a fulminating state.

This is the raw, real stuff right here, hearkening back to ultra-early Ministry, dance hall Cabaret Voltaire, or any of 4AD’s most toothsome output from back in the day. Think Ian Curtis at his most tuneful, Grace Jones at her most carnivorous, or Clan of Xymox with roid rage… then think far, far beyond that, because, with Coviello matching her, it seems like Funchess now has the space she needs to commit to ritual that pushes even further into the dark. Light Asylum songs, at their best and most grandiose, seriously feel like they’re on the verge of some sort of Crossing-the-Abyss-at-the-Discotheque type of working. (Is that statement too bombastic? Maybe. Maybe not. Go to one of their live shows and decide for yourself.)

“To me Light Asylum is a metaphor for the lack of genuine self-expression in the world, where people suppress their sexuality, their creativity, their entire lives. This music is for them and for people to realize that they’re not alone. The music is dark, but it’s at a place where you can see there is light at the end of the tunnel. The darkness isn’t all around us; it’s inside us.” [via]

Creepy baby is creepy.

Hacking the Passive Girl Toy

Over at Instructables site, maker  j_l_larson writes, “I have noticed a strange inequity between the poseability of girls and boys dolls.  Most of the female dolls have stiff arms and legs, which permit them to do little more than model clothing.” To rectify matters, Larson created a step-by-step tutorial for modifying girls’ dolls so that they can actually do stuff. Lisa Wade of SocImages adds, “scholars have noted that ‘action figures’ and ‘dolls’ tend to be pose-able and non-pose-able, respectively, reflecting the idea that boys are encouraged to be active agents and girls passive objects.” The tutorial is a great way to examine this issue, and the disembodied in-between shots are works of art in their own right.

Wheeeeee! The finished product.