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Birmingham, I'll see you today on the Walkaway tour! (then Hay, SF, NYC...) (!)

26 May[ —]

I could not have asked for a nicer crowd than the ones who turned up for last night's event at Liverpool One's Waterstones; now I'm looking forward to today's lunchtime signing at Birmingham Waterstones, on my way to tomorrow's Hay Festival event with Adam Rutherford. (more…)


Trump Organization to Congress: Upholding the Constitution "diminishes the experience of our brand"

26 May[ —]

Remember the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the one that says that presidents aren't supposed to get gifts or payments from foreign governments without Congressional approval? (more…)


Neil Gaiman will read the Cheesecake Factory menu if we raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees

26 May[ —]

The campaign to raise $500K for the UN High Commission on Refugees started with author/comedian Sara Benincasa daring Neil Gaiman to do a dramatic reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu; Gaiman responded that if she raised the half-mil, he'd not only read the Cheesecake Factory's (notoriously florid) menu, he'd follow up with a reading of Dr Seuss's Fox in Socks if the funds hit $1m (I hasten to point out that this activity involves some risk to Gaiman, given the Seuss estate's penchant for bullying acts of copyfraud). (more…)


Why are doughnut boxes usually pink?

25 May[ —]

At the Los Angeles Times, David Pierson unties the story of why doughnut boxes are so frequently pink, particularly in southern California. It's a story of Cambodian refugees who emigrated to the US in the 1970s and built the donut market. But why pink? From the LA Times:

According to (Bakemark, formerly Westco) company lore, a Cambodian doughnut shop owner asked Westco some four decades ago if there were any cheaper boxes available other than the standard white cardboard. So Westco found leftover pink cardboard stock and formed a 9-by-9-by-4-inch container with four semicircle flaps to fold together. To this day, people in the business refer to the box as the “9-9-4.”

“It’s the perfect fit for a dozen doughnuts,” said Jim Parker, BakeMark’s president and chief executive.

More importantly to the thrifty refugees, it cost a few cents less than the standard white. That’s a big deal for shops that go through hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes a week. It didn’t hurt either that pink was a few shades short of red, a lucky color for the refugees, many of whom are ethnic Chinese. White, on the other hand, is the color of mourning.

Len Bell, president of Evergreen Packaging in La Mirada, first noticed the proliferation of pink boxes as a regional manager for Winchell’s in the early 1980s. Back in the Southland after a few years in Minnesota, Bell was amazed to see the doughnut business seemingly transformed overnight by Cambodian refugees, who proved quick studies and skillful businesspeople.

“Pink boxes have been around for a long time, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But they really came into vogue in the late ’70s and early ’80s simply because it was a less expensive box to produce and buy.”

"Why are doughnut boxes pink? The answer could only come out of Southern California" (LA Times)

photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times


Theory11 'Archangels' are the prettiest playing cards

25 May[ —]

I still love these Archangels. 90% of the time, this is the deck of cards I have in my pocket.

I buy a lot of decks of cards, and this remains my go-to favorite. The beautiful black on white back design is mesmerizing to watch go by as I practice flourishes, and I think helps distract people from clumsy sleights. The Ace of Spades and Joker designs are some of the best I've seen, and the gold foil used on the face cards adds a touch of class.

No blank card or double backer is included. There is one Theory11 advertisement card that can be used for "write on this card" tricks and still preserve the decks 52 card integrity.

Bicycle Archangels Playing Cards via Amazon


Arrest warrant issued for disgraced yoga tycoon Bikram Choudhury

25 May[ —]

https://youtu.be/NZ4BF0WdY1s

Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, is out of money, even though he claims in the video above that women are clamoring to pay him $1,000,000 for a single drop of his sperm. To make matters worse for Mr. Choudhury, who was ordered to pay millions for sexually harassing women, there's now a warrant for his arrest.

Via SF Gate:

A California judge on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for the founder of Bikram yoga, who's been ordered to hand over proceeds from his global fitness business to satisfy a $6.8 million judgment won by a former legal adviser.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton issued the warrant for Bikram Choudhury and set bail at $8 million.

No lawyers appeared for Choudhury, who claimed last year he was nearly bankrupt.

(Thanks, Matthew!)


A Manchester woman breaks out in "Don't Look Back in Anger," crowd joins in

25 May[ —]

People across England observed a minute of silence Thursday in remembrance of the 22 victims killed in the Manchester concert bombing. After the minute of silence in this Manchester city center, a woman suddenly starts singing "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis, and the crowd joins in.


Hex key wrenches with ball ends are the best

25 May[ —]

Excellent deal on Amazon right now on this 13-piece Tekton metric hex key wrench set for $7.62. The ball end means you can fit the key into a bolt at an angle. When there's an obstruction between you and the bolt, these come in handy.


Watch other NATO leaders grimace as Trump claims they owe money

25 May[ —]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Cm8Su-bbmw

Trump has been demanding that NATO member states who have funded their militaries below agreed upon rates "pay up." The leaders of those nations almost unanimously look like they could care less about what Orange Julius has to say.

The world could use less military spending.


New documentary in production about electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick

25 May[ —]

Morton Subotnick is an 84-year-old avant-garde composer whose pioneering electronic music, and approach to musicmaking, influenced the likes of Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Four Tet, and countless techno artists. Subotnick helped Don Buchla design what was likely the first analog music synthesizer and used it to create his seminal psychedelic masterpiece, Silver Apples of the Moon (1967), the first electronic music work commissioned by a major record company, Nonesuch/Elektra. (Fan-made video below.) Just a few years before, Subotnick co-founded the iconic San Francisco Tape Music Center that became a creative home for Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and so many more incredible composers. And he's still making sounds. Now, Toronto's Waveshaper Media, the production company behind “I Dream Of Wires" and the forthcoming “Electronic Voyager" film about Bob Moog are working on a documentary about Subotnick. Support it on Indiegogo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8DwthVf-Wg


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