HOME IS BURNING by Dan Marshall

from The Guradian

Home Is Burning: the profanity-laced terminal illness memoir with fart jokes

Dan Marshall’s book about his father’s death – while his mother was stricken with cancer – is possibly the most scatalogical memoir of its kind ever, and now Hollywood has come knocking

The Marshall family on 22 September 2008, the day of Bob’s death. (Left to right): Dan, Michelle, Tiffany, Bob, Chelsea, Debi, Greg. Photograph: Gary Neuenschwander/Supplied

Dan Marshall sips an iced coffee under a Los Angeles sun and mulls the notion of Hollywood sanitising his memoir, the story of how he and his siblings dealt with terminally ill parents during an anguished year in the Mormon capital of Salt Lake City. Marshall shakes his head and gives a faint smile. “It’d tear the balls off the thing if they made it PG-13.”

It would indeed. Home Is Burning, published this month and due to be made into a film, dives deep into the pain and grief of caring for a father who slowly wastes away, and a mother who hovers close to death. It also plumbs the cacophonous dysfunction of a family stumbling through the ordeal with black humour, fart jokes, painkillers, booze, feuds, sex and swearing – epic, ungodly, obscene, unrepentant, relentless swearing.

“It’ll have to be R-rated,” says Marshall. “There’s a lot of death and dying but with South Park humour applied to normally difficult and sentimental situations. I’m making jokes about wiping my dad’s ass.”

The 300-page memoir jokes about everything: the cruelty of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which killed Bob Marshall in 2008; the brutal side effects of Debi Marshall’s cancer treatment; the vicious sibling arguments; the pious Mormon neighbours.

One unforgettable section details Debi’s declaration that she will perform oral sex on her husband – by then confined to a bed and respirator – daily until he dies. “My mom was beyond proud of the blow-job-a-day goal. I don’t know if it was because she was all fucked up on Fentanly or what, but she seemed to bring it up any chance she got. ‘A blow job a day. Not a bad deal,’ I heard her explain to a visitor. ‘You wouldn’t think it, but his penis is still strong.’”

The Marshall clan is barging into a terminal illness genre rife with sentimentality – think The Fault in Our StarsBefore I DieTuesdays with Morrie – with a unique strain of profane, scatological humour. Prominent memoirists have endorsed Home Is Burning. James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, called it hilarious and heartbreaking. Justin St Germain, author of Son of a Gun, deemed it self-aware and ruthlessly honest: “Dan Marshall might be a self-described spoiled white jerk, but he’s also a depraved comedic genius.” Publishers Weekly called him the literary love child of Dave Eggers and David Sedaris.

In person Marshall, 33, is softly spoken, almost shy. He mocks himself in the memoir as a dumpy, boozy, gummy bear-chomping screw-up. But the figure who settles into the corner of a restaurant terrace, seeking shade on a baking afternoon, is somewhat reformed. He has quit drinking, jogs and has, by his own measure, matured.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

The Outlaw Bucky Fuller

from The New Yorker

In the Outlaw Area



When Richard Buckminster Fuller was in New Zealand a year ago, he spent several rewarding hours at the University of Auckland with a friend of his, a cultural anthropologist who also happens to be Keeper of the Chants of the people he belongs to, the Maoris. These chants go back more than fifty generations and constitute, in effect, an oral history of the Maoris, and Fuller, a man who is intensely interested in almost everything, undertook to persuade his friend that it was high time they were recorded on tape and made available to scholars, himself included. The anthropologist said that he had often thought of recording them, but that, according to an ancient tradition, the Keeper of the Chants was allowed to repeat them only to fellow-Maoris. Fuller thereupon launched into an extensive monologue. It was buttressed at every point by seemingly irrefutable data on tides, prevailing winds, boat design, mathematics, linguistics, archeology, architecture, and religion, and the gist of it was that the Maoris had been among the first peoples to discover the principles of celestial navigation, that they had found a way of sailing around the world from their base in the South Seas, and that they had done so a long, long time before any such voyages were commonly believed to have been made—at least ten thousand years ago, in fact. In conclusion, Fuller explained, with a straight face, that he himself had been a Maori, a few generations before the earliest chant, and that he had sailed off into the seas one day, lacking the navigational lore that gradually worked its way into the chants, and had been unable to find his way back, so that he had a personal interest in seeing that the chants got recorded. We have Fuller’s assurance that the anthropologist is now engaged in recording all the chants, together with their English translations.

The somewhat overwhelming effect of a Fuller monologue is well known today in many parts of the world, and while his claim to Maori ancestry must remain open to question, even that seems an oddly plausible conjecture. An association with the origins of circumnavigating the globe would be an ideal background for his current activities as an engineer, inventor, mathematician, architect, cartographer, philosopher, poet, cosmogonist, and comprehensive designer whose ideas, once considered wildly visionary, are now influential in so many countries that he averages a complete circuit of the globe each year in fulfillment of various lecture and teaching commitments.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Starry Night in Agar

from USA Today

Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ recreated with bacteria in petri dish

by Mary Bowerman

(Photo: American Society for Microbiology)

Bacteria may not be the tool of choice for most artists, but for microbiologists getting in touch with their creative side, it’s just as good as paint.

Microbiologists, members of the American Society of Microbiology, and a few citizen scientists were recently challenged to use microbes to create works of art as part of the American Society for Microbiology’s first Agar Art contest.

As a canvas, each artist used a petri dish filled with agar, a jelly type substance where bacteria live and grow.

“The artist picked the bacteria they wanted to use based on the different color expressed when that strain of bacteria grows,” Emily Dilger, public outreach manager for American Society for Microbiology, told USA TODAY Network.

The winners of the contest were announced in September and works of art included representations of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” as well as numerous originals. There was even an outline of North Carolina created with Chromobacterium violaceum,which is a flesh-eating pathogen, according to American Society of Microbiology.

[ click to continue reading at USA Today ]

The Real Big Bang

from Nautilus

The Greatest Animal War



A simple species count does not do justice to the power of the Cambrian Explosion. Species have continuously formed over time. A new type of moth may have antennae that are furrier than its sisters; a new species of dinosaur may be distinguished by clawed wings and vicious front fangs. But a new phylum—a major branch on the tree of life, the upper-level ranking that separates an insect from a pterodactyl—is rarely born.

Most of today’s 30 to 40 animal phyla originated in the Cambrian, and have persisted through time with hundreds of variations on a theme (see Explosion). Where the Cambrian Explosion saw a proliferation of architectures (picture igloos, cabins, skyscrapers, suburban houses, and grass huts), the rest of time has mainly been about remodeling existing forms (add a Jacuzzi, a deck, or a tin roof). The explosion of animal phyla in the Cambrian includes the category, the chordates, to which humans, reptiles, sloths, and fish belong. Chordates are united by a central bundle of nerve fibers running down our backs, supported by a stiff rod.

Why did it take so long for the explosion to happen? After all, life arose 3.5 billion years ago, and the first eukaryotic cells (the kind within our bodies) occurred a billion and a half years later. Beneath the surface, a lot was probably going on: DNA had to work just right for organisms with multiple cells to evolve, and then enable a diversity of forms for natural selection to play with. In the Cambrian, “[animals] got large, and biomineralized, and they started doing stuff they never did before,” says Nick Butterfield, a paleontologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “Suddenly,” he says, “it just started to click.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Joanna Newsom’s DIVERS

from PASTE Magazine

Joanna Newsom: Divers Review By Mack Hayden

Joanna Newsom: <i>Divers</i> Review

I was a non-believer for a pretty long time. Joanna Newsom was an artist I just didn’t “get.” I was too busy being pretentious about Pavement in my younger years to really give her quirky, baroque complexities and off-kilter vocal style a chance. Hell, I even came around on liking Swans before her stuff clicked for me. Hopefully, my initial disinterest and naiveté may convince another skeptical listener to give Newsom’s new album, Divers, a shot.

Newsom definitely requires some patience of her listeners, not to mention a palate accustomed to outside-the-norm instrumentation. She’s long been upheld as an indie goddess, but her music exists far from the label’s general conventions. There are barely any guitars and, when there are, they’re in the background. The drums are spare, and she’ll always go for a traditional piano over a synth. She plays a harp, her voice indulges in nuances unique enough to almost go beyond the realm of mimicry, and her previous record, 2010’s Have One On Me, went a few minutes past two hours in length.

In other words, if you put her on a mix CD for someone whose only experience of “indie” up to that point was Death Cab for Cutie, they’d probably snap it in half or you’d at least get a “what the hell is this?” text. But, like so many other at-first-difficult artists or bands, once her stuff clicks with you, it sticks forever. She’s got the musical ingenuity to go from being a frustration to a favorite in one second’s worth of enlightening epiphany.

[ click to continue reading at PASTE ]

Mr. Richardson’s First Monograph

from Harper’s Bazaar



Terry Richardson, an image maker renowned for his often provocative, bold and striking portraits is releasing a new tome with Rizzoli. The self titled, Terry Richardson, features 600 of the photographer’s works from over the past 20 years, including his most iconic shots and never-before-seen images that encompass the breadth of his career. The tome is divided into two volumes: portraits and fashion photography.

[ click to continue reading at Harper’s ]

Saving The Accidental Sea

from KCET

Why Don’t Californians Care About Saving The Salton Sea?


The Salton Sea is critical wildlife habitat | Photo: David Prasad/Flickr/Creative Commons License

It looks as though the state of California is starting to take the dying Salton Sea seriously. After years of relative inaction, both the Legislature and the Governor’s office are taking actual steps to halt what could become one of California’s biggest environmental and public health nightmares.

There’s a new Salton Sea Czar to oversee restoration of the Sea’s wetland habitats, a new resolve from the Brown administration to restore thousands of acres of wetlands around the shore, and a new, pressing deadline set by the Legislature to get those restoration projects lined up. After 15 years of warnings from environmental analysts, good government advocates, and regional leaders, California’s government may finally be ready to roll up its sleeves to do something about the Sea’s accelerating decline.

And that’s a good thing, because doing nothing means losing crucial wildlife habitat, consigning some of California’s least-affluent residents to chronic illnesses, and lowering Southern California property values by the billions. So why don’t most Californians care?

The Salton Sea, formed 110 years ago by an engineering accident that diverted the Colorado River’s flow into the Imperial and Coachella Valleys, has been fed in the intervening century by runoff from agricultural irrigation. In that time the Sea has become crucial habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. That’s especially important given that our use of the Colorado River’s water has starved the formerly lush Colorado Delta, diverting the water that once supported lush wetlands and riparian forests. Now, the Salton Sea is often the only suitable stopover habitat in the region for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

That’s about to change. In 2018 the Salton Sea will likely begin shrinking dramatically, the result of drastically reduced flows into the inland sea. The nearby IID has been deliberately sustaining the Sea by releasing so-called “mitigation water” into the Sea, but that “mitigation water” will dry up at the end of 2017, when IID reaches the end of its legal obligation to supply that mitigation water.

[ click to read full article at KCET ]

This Man Is To Blame

from Prospect Magazine

Max Martin: the Swedish svengali with a formula for the new pop age

How the legendary producer’s hit factory works

by John Harris

© C Flanigan/WireImage for KAABOO Del Mar via imageSPACE© C Flanigan/WireImage for KAABOO Del Mar via imageSPACE

Popular music was changed forever when a Swedish producer’s in-car cassette machine broke, and he found himself unable to listen to anything other than a song called “All That She Wants.”

It was 1992. The producer’s name was Dag Krister Volle. Some people knew him as “Dagge,” but he went about his musical business under the name of Denniz PoP. He apparently had a “childlike wonder” about him, and loathed music that was in any way anodyne or boring. As he saw it, “every note, word and beat had to have a purpose, or be fun.” The song that got stuck in his tape deck was an early version of the eventual breakthrough hit for a quartet called Ace Of Base, who were led by a musician named Ulf Ekberg. At that stage, it was called “Mr Ace,” and its creators obviously knew it lacked a certain something. Having heard what Denniz PoP had achieved with a minor Swedish hit entitled “Another Mother,” they had sent it to him in the hope that he might help.

At first, Denniz PoP was not impressed at all. But as he drove his car each day and listened repeatedly, familiarity began to melt his scepticism and suggest that something could be done. Having met the group, he then took out half the instruments on the recording, and moved the whistled melody that closed the song to its introduction. Denniz PoP also pushed Ekberg to add more lyrics.

What resulted was seemingly gauche, clunky and devoid of much sense. The reggae-ish music sounded synthentic and flimsy; the vocals were so treated with effects that they seemed almost inhuman. Ekberg later claimed that Ace of Base had an advantage in not being native English speakers, because he and his colleagues were able to treat the language “very respectless [sic], and just look for the word that sounded good with the melody.” But even on that basis, the stuff they came up with was pretty awful:

When she woke up late in the morning light
And the day had just begun
She opened up her eyes and thought
Oh what a morning
It’s not a day for work
It’s a day for catching tan
Just laying on the beach and having fun
She’s going to get you

The chorus was even worse: it was built around a refrain of “all that she wants, is another baby,” which suggested the condition medical professionals know as secondary infertility, but was actually meant to refer to a quest for a lover. To rock snobs like me, this was the kind of fleeting hit that one occasionally hears on European holidays, safe in the knowledge that such tripe could never be successful back home. What I chose to ignore was the fact that the song lodged itself even in my self-denying brain for keeps after a single hearing.

“All That She Wants” went to number one in 10 countries, including the UK. In the United States, it reached number two on the Billboard charts, and was certified platinum, denoting sales of one million copies. Denniz PoP and some of his Swedish associates were suddenly in demand, and about to push music somewhere new. If the cultural period running from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s was the rock age, we now live in the era of pop, and “All That She Wants” is the song that began it.

[ click to continue reading at Prospect ]

Men Are Worms.

from The Telegraph

Male brain is programmed to seek out sex over food

By , Science Editor

Sexy time: December 11 is most fertile day of yearAn amorous couple Photo: ALAMY

It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but a new study suggests that when it comes to sex, food is the last thing on his mind.

Researchers have found that the male brain is hardwired to seek out sex, even at the expense of a good meal, with specific neurons firing up to over-ride the desire to eat.

The worm species used in the study, Caenorhabditis elegans, has two sexes: males and hermaphrodites.

These hermaphrodites are essentially modified females that carry their own sperm and do not need to have sex in order to reproduce.

Scientists conditioned the worms so that when salt was present they realised that they would be starved. Over time, the worms moved away from the salt. However when the salt was present at the same time as a mate, the male worm still moved towards the mate. In contrast, hermaphrodites moved away from the salt even when a mate was present.

It indicated that for males the sex trigger was stronger than the salt.

[ click to read full article at The Telegraph ]

“Those MotherF†ckers!”

from The Daily Beast

Street-Racing Arab Playboys Tear Up L.A.

by M.L. Nestel
Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

The Qatari sheikh who staged an illegal street race through Beverly Hills is just one of a cohort of rich, car-obsessed Arabs who are eyeing L.A. as their new favorite vacation spot.

The speed-freak Qatari sheikh who fled the U.S. after running into trouble with cops—for allegedly staging a private Grand Prix in Beverly Hills—was living the high life in California, renting a palatial abode for $55,000 a month, The Daily Beast has learned.

Cops suspect that Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani was behind the wheel of an unregistered Giallo Modena yellow Ferrari LaFerrari that street-raced another driver (in a Porsche GT3) for over 30 minutes on September 12, and “almost killed someone” as throngs of neighborhood kids gawked on the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, a source who had been shadowing al-Thani said that his brother arrived in L.A. also sporting multimillion-dollar wheels—a satin white LaFerrari—and that his car magically “had a California plate on it within a day of arrival.”

Several kids in the neighborhood claimed to have seen the race. “I was by the house and watched as they sped by my house and they woke up my parents, who were sleeping,” said one 10-year-old. “Next day, [the sheikh’s family] were gone.”

Another 10-year-old boy was revved up over the Ferrari festivities. “It was really loud,” he said, smiling, as his mother looked on disapprovingly. “I was playing in the alley and the car started smoking,” he said. (The smoking, a source with knowledge of autos said, “was caused by dumb driving… [the sheikh] drove the car when it was cold and the oil wasn’t properly warmed up.”)

The mother of the boy admitted the illegal event “was exciting for the kids” but she remains “really pissed.”

“They think they can come here and do whatever they want,” she said. After the roadsters roared by the family’s home multiple times, she said her husband shouted: “Those motherfuckers.”

Other neighbors (most of them parents) had seen the cars go by before but on this particular weekend, one mother said, “they let it rip.”

[ click to read full article at The Daily Beast |

Unusually High-velocity Halloween asteroid, hmmmm?


Asteroid making surprise flyby at an ‘unusually high’ velocity

by Steve Dent

One asteroid into universe near earth planet, sun in the background - Elements of this image furnished by NASA

A newly discovered asteroid (not pictured) will make Halloween more thrilling by passing within 1.3 lunar distances (310,000 miles) of Earth. The object, which measures between 300 and 600 meters (1,000 and 2,000 feet) across, was discovered last week by the asteroid-hunting Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii, according to NASA. It’ll streak by on October 31st at an “unusually” high encounter velocity of 35 km/s, or around 78,000 mph. By contrast, the Russian meteorite caught by vehicle cameras in 2013 was 17 meters (55 feet) across and traveled at a top speed of 19 km/s, while the one that flattened a Russian forest in 1908 measured 40 meters (130 feet).

[ click to continue reading at ENGADGET ]

Movie One-sheets Re-imagined

from The Observer

The Underground Movie Poster Scene Booming on Social Media

Tired of the celebrity-centric posters that dominate the industry, artists are reimagining the medium


Robocop by Van Orton Design, to be featured in Alternative Movie Posters II: More Film Art From the Underground. (Photo: Van Orton Design)Robocop by Van Orton Design, to be featured in Alternative Movie Posters II: More Film Art From the Underground. (Photo: Van Orton Design)

Gorgeous, eye-popping movie posters are still out there—they just aren’t being made in Hollywood anymore.

A vast, growing network of artists designing some of the most innovative movie posters in decades—completely independent from Hollywood studios.

Author Matthew Chojnacki documented the artwork of the movement in his 2013 book Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Undergroundand a sequel book—Alternative Movie Posters II: More Film Art From the Undergroundis  published in November.

According to Mr. Chojnacki, who works in finance by day and is an author in his spare time (his first book, Put the Needle on the Record, was about vinyl album art from the 1980s), the popularity of artist-designed posters grew organically through social media.

“It’s a great way [for artists] to get their art noticed,” he told the Observer.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Billy The Kid Captured

from The Telegraph

Billy the Kid photo bought for $2 could be sold for $5 million

By , New York

The photograph of Billy the Kid whch was purchased for $2 at a Fresno junk shop in 2010, could sell for millions at auction.The photograph of Billy the Kid whch was purchased for $2 at a Fresno junk shop in 2010, could sell for millions at auction. Photo: Kagin’s

Billy the Kid, the Wild West gunslinger, is usually associated with a Colt single action 44, not the genteel English elegance of a varnished oak croquet mallet.

However an extremely rare photograph of the legendary outlaw leaning on a croquet mallet has emerged – only the second known photo of “The Kid”, whose real name is Henry McCarty, thought to exist.

The photo shows McCarty playing croquet with his gang of Lincoln County Regulators in late summer 1878.

It was bought by collector Randy Guijarro for $2 from a Californian junk shop in 2010 and will now be sold by Kagin’s auctioneers for an estimated $5 million.

“When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably sceptical — an original Billy the Kid photo is the holy grail of Western Americana,” said Kagin’s David McCarthy.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Alien Megastructure, Egad!

from The Mirror

‘Alien megastructure’ could surround giant star baffling scientists looking for new planets


A series of mysterious objects surrounding a giant star millions of miles away could be an alien megastructure, experts believe.

Planet spotters examining data from the Kepler Space Telescope were startled by an unusual light pattern orbiting a star called KIC 8462852.

When they studied the star, which sits some 1,480 light years from Earth, they noticed a swarm of objects surrounding it in an usual pattern.

At first it was thought to be comets, shrapnel from an asteroid impact or even a mistake in the data.

But astronomer Jason Wright from Penn State University offered a more science fiction explanation.

He believes it could be an ‘alien megastructure’ designed to harness energy from the star.

He said: “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Spielberg & Frey Do AMERICAN GOTHIC on CBS

from The Wrap

Steven Spielberg, James Frey Murder Mystery ‘American Gothic’ Gets Series Order From CBS


CBS has given a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of “American Gothic,” a new one-hour murder mystery from Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Television and author James Frey‘s Full Fathom Five, TheWrap has learned.

The series, which will be broadcast during summer 2016, centers on a prominent Boston family that is attempting to redefine itself in the wake of a discovery that links their recently deceased patriarch to a string of murders spanning decades, and amid the mounting suspicion that one of them may have been his accomplice.

“American Gothic” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Amblin Television. Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of Amblin Television, James Frey of Full Fathom Five and “The Good Wife’s” Corinne Brinkerhoff, who is writing the script, will serve as executive producers.

[ click to read complete article at The Wrap ]

Emilia Clarke Game of Sexy

from The New York Daily News

‘Game of Thrones’ star Emilia Clarke named Esquire’s 2015 ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’


Emilia Clarke is the Mother of All Dragons on “Game of Thrones,” and now she has a new title: Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive.

“Half pal, half dominatrix. Half kid sister, half sexy queen,” the magazine’s cover story gushed about the star.

The magazine chose Clarke for her “gorgeous balance” of sexy siren and girl next door. But the 28-year-old said when she was a drama student, she wasn’t anyone’s “favorite.”

“I was a keen bean,” she described her studious younger self.

But Clarke was transformed into a sex symbol after landing the role of Daenerys Targaryen on the hit HBO series.

The actress said that she got the part even though she didn’t fit the description of the dragon queen from George R. R. Martin’s books.

[ click to continue reading at NYDailyNews.com ]

ENDGAME Gold Won – Congratulations to Froylan Moreno del Rio!

from The Las Vegas Sun

Claiming Gold


The first puzzle in the “Endgame: The Calling” high-stakes apocalyptic book trilogy brought to life by bestselling authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton was solved just 24 hours before today’s deadline.

To win “Endgame,” the winner had to solve an interactive puzzle comprised of clues leading to a real-life $500,000 cash prize. Froyal Moreno del Rio solved the puzzle and this afternoon unlocked the gold vault at Caesars Palace for the big payoff.

Book 2, “Sky Key: An Endgame” was published Tuesday. The New York Times bestselling authors were on hand at Caesars to autograph copies of both books. No word yet on the title of Book 3 or its publication date, but more puzzles and cash prizes await.

[ click to continue reading at the Las Vegas Sun ]