"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Wonderland: The End of the World Bus Tour

A group of Palinesque evangelical Protestants traipse around Israel, which they want preserved so that it can be destroyed by God.

via: Trois Vitesse

running time 40 minutes

5 comments religion, world

Travels With My Beard

An English sikh having been mistaken for a muslim by a rastafarian and asked what its like “to be at the bottom of the barrel”, decides to find out what its like to be a muslim in Britain after the London terror bombings. He grows a beard to look a little bit more ‘fundamentalist’, and sets off on his travels.

Running time: 57 mins.

1 comment religion, world

Holidays in the Danger Zone – Places that dont Exist

The premise of this 5 part documentary series is interesting in itself – breakaway states, but this episode is particularly relevant. It is about the Georgian breakaway states including South Ossetia. These are the Caucuses – where Caucasians, a ridiculous term that is racism by indirection, don’t come from. Unless you are Georgian, or a Georgian from a breakaway state that doesn’t want to be Georgian, that is. Confused? Stay tuned.

(running time: 30 mins.)

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New York Slum Images

Quite often, I hear people complaining that New York has lost its edge and that it has been ruined by gentrification and Yuppies. The people that I hear this from have tended to be middle class white people.

Here are some pictures of New York in the 70s and 80s, when I remember visiting the South Bronx and it looked worse than my early memory of Beirut. Not much to romanticize about, unless you look back wistfully on poverty rarely seen outside of the ‘developing’ world and people shooting up through bloody, shoeless feet. The gritty creativity of downtown New York, was a theme park hell, whereas further north there was the real thing.

There is a consensus these days, that rising oil prices spells the end of suburbia. However, few people under 40 in global cities such as New York and London have any memory other than the improvement of inner city areas. Here real estate costs soared through tenement and terrace gentrification, rezoned industrial building conversions and more recently cartoon loft condo dwellings. But in a country with few socialist programs outside of free tennis courts, and a financial services crash which will lop a sizable chunk of New York’s local government revenue, the Brownstone and brick frontiers could easily retreat as they have done in the past.

2 comments society, world

Cape Town to Cairo in an Airstream

On its 50th anniversary, a group of Airstream enthusiasts plan to recreate Airstream founder, Wally Byam’s 1959 Cape Town to Cairo caravan, which travelled the full length of Africa.

I love the story of this trip, because it is like someone’s grandfather climbing Everest in a plaid shirt. Byam and his followers looked like the apotheosis of 50 suburban Americans, the type that cosmopolitan types may sniff at. But they did some genuinely ground breaking traveling. And they did it in style – because they had Airstreams.

Above is a clip of the original, and here is a link to the 50th anniversary trip.

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After the Revolution – Georgia

Worth linking to, even if there is no embed, a 20 minute, bleak, prescient, profile of Georgia from 2004.

“After the dramatic ‘Rose Revolution’ that saw him to power, will Saakashvili be able to unify his country?

The hardest tasks still lie ahead. Vast swathes of the country are outside his control. Having claimed independence, they answer to no one. Everywhere you turn in South Ossetia are signs of Russian influence. The police and soldiers wear Russian uniforms, cars have Russian numberplates and the region even runs on Russian time. But technically South Ossetia is part of Georgia. Saakashvili is doing his best to win back their support but any invasion would surely be bloody.”

I seems like the Russian invasion of Georgia is the inevitable result of 2 variables: natural resources and union.
Russia feeling it needs to be aggressive against splinter states to prevent fragmentation of other self identifying enclaves; and protecting access to oil routes. From the US Civil War to Iraq this is a feature of most conflict.


Comments Off history, world

A Video Clip History of Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Olympic ceremonies have ranged from camp trash to deeply serious, military-style maneuvers. The Chinese opening ceremony will, no doubt, manage to combine the two, but there will be one important cultural factor that will come into play. The Chinese invented fireworks, and early footage suggests that several megatons of Firecrackers will welcome in Beijing 2008. Enough to pollute the air!

The Olympics started in Greece, as the Athenians tried to tell us in 2004 in an hour long, surreal, extravaganza, featuring a video link ‘drum off’ and people in illuminated pregnancy costumes. Professional eccentric, Bjork, completed the hallucinogenic effect with one of her songs…

Read the rest of this entry »

2 comments sport, world

Freedom of Speech Lecture in China

Charles Frith writes: “Internet star and Beijing history teacher Yuan Tengfei talks about freedom of speech, with a clarity and frankness rarely seen in China.”

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Tank Man

A documentary about the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. A lot has changed since then and one can’t help but wonder if prosperity leads more easily to freedom than protest.

2 comments history, world

Savile Row

Part 1 of a 3 part documentary about Savile Row, the street in London, where the worlds leading bespoke tailors have made suits for the rich and famous for several centuries. Where Churchill bought his pinstripe and Fred Astaire, his tails. The filming coincides with the arrival of an undesirable element on the street, Abercrombie and Fitch.

Like the $5,000 – $30,000 suits themselves, the subject of this film may not seem worth it at first, but it a quiet, unrushed, dignified and won’t go out of fashion.

1 comment nostalgia, world