It’s official: Women Are Getting More Beautiful

A hot woman from Finland, yesterday.
According to some researchers
at the University of Helskinki, evolution is making more and more hot women.

FOR the female half of the population, it may bring a satisfied smile. Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors.

The researchers have found beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.

Over generations, the scientists argue, this has led to women becoming steadily more aesthetically pleasing, a “beauty race” that is still on. The findings have emerged from a series of studies of physical attractiveness and its links to reproductive success in humans.

I took a walk down State Street the other day and confirmed this. Then I spent the next day walking about K-Mart and the theory was disproven aisle after aisle. My Ten Favorite Festishes

Above: The best orgasm I’ve ever had.
Lifelong sex researcher Kris Saknussemm tells us about his favorite festishes, most of which, even though I spend way too much time on the web, I have never heard of.

Chremastistophilia — Excitement at being robbed or held up
One British gentleman proudly displayed the scar he received from a knife wound in the course of a mugging — an event which he said led to a spontaneous ejaculation, the most powerful and substantial he’d ever experienced. (While the sight of the knife wound continues to unhinge me.)

The others are just as strange.

David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer

David Foster Wallace had a great article in 2006 on tennis player Roger Federer. This is one of those essays that make you feel way more knowledgeable about a subject you may not know anything about once you finish. And suddenly you look at that subject in a completely different way.

Interestingly, what is less obscured in TV coverage is Federer’s intelligence, since this intelligence often manifests as angle. Federer is able to see, or create, gaps and angles for winners that no one else can envision, and television’s perspective is perfect for viewing and reviewing these Federer Moments. What’s harder to appreciate on TV is that these spectacular-looking angles and winners are not coming from nowhere — they’re often set up several shots ahead, and depend as much on Federer’s manipulation of opponents’ positions as they do on the pace or placement of the coup de grâce. And understanding how and why Federer is able to move other world-class athletes around this way requires, in turn, a better technical understanding of the modern power-baseline game than TV — again — is set up to provide.

The whole article is great, read it.

Beck chats with Tom Waits

Beck’s current revamp of his site
is all sorts of awesome. First we get the weekly cover versions (they’re making their way through “Velvet Underground and Nico”), then we get a mp3 mix, and now we get part one of a conversation between Tom Waits and Beck. Too too cool.

BH: There’s something about that awkwardness of being bereft of a sound system and that volume you’re used to. You’re stripped of that and suddenly you have to make due with almost nothing. And the people were crowded in there. They were about two inches from your face. That’s another thing. You’re singing right into people’s faces, which is another interesting thing. (Laughs.)

TW: You’d like to be raised up a little bit. I played the Roxy with Jimmy Witherspoon a long time ago, and somebody hit the telephone pole in front on Saturday. Knocked out all the power – this was like 5minutes before we went on. Place was in total darkness. People were lighting candles. Jimmy Witherspoon went and did a killer show. He just put his organist on a piano, and he has this big big, huge voice any way. Got right on the lip of this thing. I was freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. He killed. I guess you have to get reduced to that to find out the origin and basic building blocks of what you do are still in tact. Look under the building, make sure the supports are still there and haven’t been eaten through. (Laughs.) But, yeah, you can do a lot with a bullet mic and a wah-wah pedal. But before that there was changing your voice and raising your volume. I guess we’ve all gotten very lazy with all the toys that are available.

FlipCam’s software goes from awesome to ass in one fell swoop

I’m posting this hoping that other people come across it
and FlipCam gets shamed into fixing this problem, which it could do very simply.
My mom bought a FlipCam for her holiday in Italy and came back with about three hours of footage. Of course it was down to me to teach her how to use the software to then turn it into a DVD. I was initially surprised–FlipCam’s software was easy to use and even my mom got the hang of it. Very simple viewer, a bit like iPhoto, with all the videos in order, from first to last. All she had to do was select all, click make movie, and then the computer ground away, making all the little videos (from 1 second to 1 minute–Mom learned well to keep it short and sweet) into one long one. She started making one hour videos this way.
Two days later I get a call from my momz. Now all the videos are backwards, with the most recently-shot one being first in the list. So when you selected all and ran “make movie” it edited the films into a reverse order.
My first suspicion was my mom had clicked on something and omgmomyouscrewedeverythingup, but when I went to visit I found, no, the software now put the files in this order. And there was no way to simply view them the other way. The only way to make a movie now was to manually drag the files in order to an “assembly” video. When you have 150+ files, that sucks. Not to mention that each time I dragged a file, the assembly window snapped back to the top. Oh, awful. Turns out this was the result of a software update that my mom had installed.
I called FlipCam and got somebody on the line who said yes, she knows that the new version of the software does this, but “focus groups” had determined that this is the order people wanted their videos in. Really? Had anyone at the company tried this new version? No.
Other questions: can I just reinstall the software that comes with the camera? No, b/c the software is *on* the camera when you first plug it in and now that had been upgraded too.
Is there a section of the website with old versions of the software? No.
I sent in a complaint to FlipCam but got a patronizing “Here’s how to sort video for dummies” response in return. And this quote at the end: “There is no other way to sort your videos in the Flip Share program.”
Well, yeh, that’s the problem. Being able to sort both ways (earliest/latest, biggest/smallest, a-z/z-a) has been standard on pretty much every app since the ’80s. What kind of focus group fail did these guys have?
So that’s it. My mom went and returned the camera, bought a Sony instead…which has its own problems too. But that’s another post.
Hopefully FlipCam will realize what a complete ass piece of software they now have on their hands and will lose users until they fix it.
In the meantime: FAIL FAIL FAIL.

What the world needs now is another Michael Jackson post

Let’s celebrate the black Michael.
However, his passing/suicide (?) has made for some good articles, and here are my favorites.
First, the Ian Halperin piece in the Daily Mail that details his final days: closeted, balding, up to his surgeried eyeballs in debt, anorexic, and with a degenerative lung disease that meant he could no longer sing. If he hadn’t died before the tour, the tour would have killed him. Surely this is the tragic end that our culture secretly wanted. And we got it!
‘I’m better off dead. I’m done’: Michael Jackson’s fateful prediction just a week before his death

Many in his entourage spoke frankly to me – and that made it possible for me to write authoritatively last December that Michael had six months to live, a claim that, at the time, his official spokesman, Dr Tohme Tohme, called a ‘complete fabrication’. The singer, he told the world, was in ‘fine health’. Six months and one day later, Jackson was dead.

So take that!
Onwards to the recollections. Robert Hilburn’s was one of the most poignant which wasn’t just ass-kissing.
Michael Jackson: the wounds, the broken heart

During weekends I spent with him on the road during the Jacksons’ “Victory” tour in 1984, I learned that he was so traumatized by events during his late teens — notably the rejection by fans who missed the “little” Michael of the Jackson 5 days — that he relied desperately on fame to protect him from further pain. In the end, that overriding need for celebrity was at the root of his tragedy.

And then the analysis:
K-Punk quoting Greil Marcus at length here:

The pop explosions of Elvis, the Beatles and the Sex Pistols had assaulted or subverted social values; Thriller crossed over them like kudzu. The Jackson-ist pop explosion … was brought forth as a version of the official social reality, generated from Washington D.C. as ideology, and from Madison Avenue as language … a glamorization of the new American fact that if you weren’t on top, you didn’t exist.

Going back to the music, K-Punk lauds “Off the Wall” as the last time the music contained any real joy. I agree. I love all the Jackson 5 records I have, and the disco jams on “Off the Wall” are great. And beyond the unstoppable groin pulse of Billie Jean, there’s little on Thriller I like. (Well, Pretty Young Thing is pretty good). But Thriller sets the stage for the rest of the career: paranoid aggression (“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and the endless commercial drone of “Beat It”…which then leads to all the angry stuff like “Bad,” “Leave Me Alone,” etc.), soppy love songs, and a thread that will lead to even soppier “Heal the World” drivel. I feel all the songs are a gaze into Jackson’s crumbling psyche, but because he lived in a country-sized state of denial, there’s none of the awareness that makes such psychological journeys from other artists so palatable.
K-Punk:’…and when the groove is dead and gone.’

…what’s haunting me is the difference between Jackson in the Off The Wall videos and how he looks in the Thriller clips. I’m not talking about the surgery, or rather I’m not only talking about that. The surgery – by then, ‘only’ a Disney eye-widening, a Diana Ross nose-narrowing, and a little skin-bleaching, as nothing compared to the collapsing Cronenbergian butchery of later years – is but a symptom of the change that you can see in Jackson’s face and body. Something had already disappeared that early, never to return.

Read somewhere that daddy Jackson, surely a monster if there ever was one, used to don a monster mask and climb into young Michael’s open window at night to scare the bejeesus out of him. All to teach him a lesson about keeping the window closed, lest somebody kidnap him. And I’ve been thinking about that anecdote and how it relates to the end of the “Thriller” video…zombie Michael staggering towards his hysterical date, changing back to “regular” Michael, and then giving us that one last glance to let us know that the monster is still inside him. And how the monster in the window reminds me of the Bob/Dad molester scene in “Fire Walk With Me,” stealing in the bedroom of Laura Palmer to rape her nightly.
Sins of the fathers…and as consumers we get to share in them being played out.

“They’re out to get you, there’s demons closing in on every side…”