Daily Blog 06/13/2012

  • We often tend to think that the best era for trash culture was sometime in the middle of the Twentieth Century. An era where there were a lot of 25 cent paperbacks with gun-toting lesbians on their covers, plus drive-in movies, stag films, cheap comics and weird burlesque shows. And so on. But actually, the pinnacle of trash culture is right now. We’re living in the best era for pulpy disposable culture right at this moment. Future generations will look back on the early 2010s with a caustic, adoring envy.

    tags: culture trash

  • Invented in 1912, the small-scale, obsessive sport of slot car racing has seen its ups and downs over the last hundred years. The hobby, in which motorized model cars speed around a slotted track, enjoyed its height of popularity after World War II, then sputtered in the ’70s with the introduction of Pong and other videogames. The public arcades where hobbyists could race have largely been wiped off the map, but an estimated three million slot car enthusiasts still rev their tiny engines in basements and garages.

    tags: slotcarracing

  • Henry Hill, who has died of heart failure aged 69, was the mob informer whose story was told in a bestselling book, Wiseguy (1986), and Martin Scorsese’s film Goodfellas (1990). From the early days of organised crime, before the advent of witness-protection programmes, informers could expect to meet the same fate as Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, who “fell” from a Coney Island hotel window in 1941. Even Joe Valachi – who in 1963 made public the inner workings of what he called “our thing”, the Cosa Nostra – ended his days in prison. In contrast, Hill not only survived being kicked out of witness protection, but also avoided a return to jail himself and in the wake of Scorsese’s film went on to thrive, appearing on TV shows, lending himself to many documentaries and even selling his own brand of spaghetti sauce.

    tags: RIP mafia

  • Risk assessment is a huge industry and, on the whole, parents are terrible at separating risk from emotion (we fear snakes not cars) or values (all sports are good for you but all drugs will cause harm).

    Thus I worried about my child going to a festival where drink and drugs were freely available but not about the “healthy” cycling holiday that nearly killed her. Bad things may happen but control freakery disguised as “good parenting” or “good teaching” does not stop them happening. We have to let our children take risks.

    tags: parenting children risk

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