So, in the interest of giving cause to occasionally check this site, here's a handful of memetic tchotchkes - great for ice-breakers or the local pub's quiz night - to tide y'all over under the next batch of big-think claptrap. (Which, I promise, is coming swiftly down the pike. I'm just faffing about with word-choice at this point.)
* * *Two major plane crashes within twelve hours, the latest in an alarming line of aviationary disasters. My set-theory specialist housemate reassured me that the meager probability of getting in a place crash (around 1 in 4.2 million) is the same whenever I set foot on an aircraft. Of course, he had to go on to explain how compound probability would support my jittery suspicion that, yes, I am more likely to die with each flight I take. Thanks, math!
* * *Via the always-delightful Things Magazine, here's a remarkable collection of photos that suggests China was more livable amid the early-'80s aftermath of the Gang of Four. Shanghai wasn't always a garbage-strewn clusterfuck? And there was once depth and translucence in the skies over Guangzhou? Scenes of natural splendor uncluttered by artificial lights and souvenir vendors? The mind reels.
Meanwhile, the recent Takanashi Yutaka photography exhibition provided an interesting White Lodge/Black Lodge converse to the above Flickr set. A series of bar interiors - also shot in 1983 - from within the warren of Shinjuku's Golden Gai suggests that relatively little has changed in Tokyo over the past twenty-five years. In claustrophobic bars with thematically unified decor, gel-haired rockers and chain-smoking ojisan mingle with heavily made-up gals sporting vinyl Puma shoulder-bags. Throw a couple of cellphones into the frame and the pics could have been taken last night.
this hokey preview of Twin Peaks' second season. Remember what it was like in the days before user-generated content and constant connectivity? How quaint Alan Thicke's smug tour-guide persona and ABC's proprietary impassivity seem now... But far more shocking than the presumed lack of media literacy circa 1990 is the very existence of something called Cop Rock. Yeah, that other show mentioned in the opening credits. What, pray tell, is Cop Rock?
That's right: from deep within the furrowed grey matter of Steve Bochco, he who cut his teeth on Columbo and achieved nigh-unmatched TV notoriety for creating both Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, comes a pre-ironic musical cop show - complete with every embarrassing, epoch-anchored production gag & genre trope the late '80s had to offer! I'll wager that this here li'l ditty (complete with caricatured "negro drug dealers") about how snorting blow is within the constitutional rights of rich white folks is a reasonable indicator of the show's genesis.
No, this is not some tangential sight-gag from the scathingly self-aware 30 Rock; this show happened for real. But then again, I thought Mad Money was a contextual one-liner created by Arrested Development. Goes to show you never can tell...