You believe in angels, or the saints or that there’s such a thing as a state of grace. And you believe it. But it’s got nothing to do with reality. It’s just an idea.

Psychologists investigating the well-being of patients with an acquired brain injury (ABI) have documented a curious phenomenon, whereby the more serious a person’s brain injury, the higher their self-reported life-satisfaction.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

When we look at the world around us, we feel that we are seeing it as it is. Most of the time, we are — but not because our visual system perceives the world precisely as it is. Rather, our visual system makes informed guesses about the contents of the world based on the compressed signal projected onto our eyes. And, for most practical purposes, those guesses are pretty good. Moreover, this “guessing” system work so seamlessly that we rarely notice any discrepancy between our guesses and reality. Only when we “break” the system can we reveal these default assumptions.

My 7-minute long talk at TEDxUIUC in February 2011 explains why we have to break the visual system to understand how it works.

{ Daniel Simons | Watch the video }

related { Sean Penn faced skepticism when he arrived last year with no medical expertise and no N.G.O. experience, but he has built one of the most efficient aid outfits in Haiti today. | NY Times | full story }

I’ve been waiting for two hours for an employee to come wash my hands like the sign says


{ Why Does Paz de la Huerta Always Match Her Lipstick to Her Dress? }

‘I’ve been married too many times. How terrible to change children’s affiliations, their affections — to give them the insecurity of placing their trust in someone when maybe that someone won’t be there next year.’ –Liz Taylor


{ Andy Warhol, Blue Liz As Cleopatra, 1963 | silkscreen ink and acrylic paint on canvas | Related: Jerry Saltz on Andy Warhol’s Portraits of Liz }

A mental block. And a sense of duty. And a fear.


Jeannie asks, “Why are you here?” and Charlie, dead-panned, replies, without regret: “Drugs.” And then he slowly disarms her bitchiness with his outrageously sexy insouciance, transforming her annoyance into delight (they end up making out).

That’s when we first really noticed Charlie Sheen, and it’s the key moment in his movie career (it now seems to define and sum up everything that followed). He hasn’t been as entertaining since. Until now. In getting himself fired from Two and a Half Men, this privileged child of the media’s sprawling entertainment Empire has now become its most gifted prankster. And now Sheen has embraced the post-Empire, making his bid to explain to all of us what celebrity means in that world. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. It’s where we are, babe. We’re learning something. (…)

Post-Empire isn’t just about admitting doing “illicit” things publicly and coming clean—it’s a (for now) radical attitude that says the Empire lie doesn’t exist anymore, you friggin’ Empire trolls. To Empire gatekeepers, Charlie Sheen seems dangerous and in need of help because he’s destroying (and confirming) illusions about the nature of celebrity. He’s always been a role model for a certain kind of male fantasy. Degrading, perhaps, but aren’t most male fantasies? (I don’t know any straight men who fantasize about Tom Cruise’s personal life.) Sheen has always been a bad boy, which is part of his appeal—to men and women. There’s a manly mock-dignity about Sheen that both sexes like a lot. What Sheen has exemplified and has clarified is the moment in the culture when not giving a fuck about what the public thinks about you or your personal life is what matters most—and what makes the public love you even more (if not exactly CBS or the creator of the show that has made you so wealthy). It’s a different brand of narcissism than Empire narcissism.

{ Bret Easton Ellis | Continue reading }

Nitro and acetylene open la machine


In late 1979, Debbie Harry suggested that Nile Rodgers join her and Chris Stein at a Hip hop event in a communal space taken over by young kids and teenagers with boom box stereos, who would play various pieces of music to which performers would break dance. The main piece of music they would use was the break section of “Good Times.”

A few weeks later, Blondie, The Clash and Chic were playing a gig in New York at Bonds nightclub. When Chic started playing “Good Times,” rapper Fab Five Freddy and members of the Sugarhill Gang jumped up on stage and started freestyling with the band; Rodgers allowed them to “do their improvisation thing like poets, much like I would play guitar with Prince.”

A few weeks later Rodgers was on the dance floor of New York club LaViticus and suddenly heard the DJ play a song which opened with Edwards bass line from “Good Times”. Rogers approached the DJ who said he was playing a record he had just bought that day in Harlem. The song turned out to be an early version of “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, which Rogers noted also included a scratched version of the song’s string section. Rogers and Edwards threatened The Sugarhill Gang with legal action, which resulted in them being credited as co-writers on “Rappers Delight”.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

‘The term ‘group think’ is an oxymoron.’ –G.E. Nordell


Hugh Hefner already has his final resting place picked out and paid for: a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Not that he has plans to use it anytime soon. Hefner, who will turn 85 in April, lives these days what appears to be the life of an invalid, or even of a cosseted mental patient: wearing pajamas all day; rarely venturing out of the house; taking most of his meals in his bedroom — the menu seldom varying, the crackers and potato chips carefully prescreened to remove any broken ones. He is hard of hearing in his right ear and has an arthritic back that causes him to lumber a little when he walks. But he is in otherwise enviable shape for an octogenarian. (…)

A couple of weeks later, Hefner was on the business pages, trying to buy back his own company. (…) Hefner startled even his own board by announcing that he wanted to make Playboy Enterprises, which he took public in 1971, private again. He offered the stockholders $5.50 a share, or more than 30 percent beyond what the stock was trading for. But this was slim consolation to investors who had been unhappily watching Hefner live like a sultan at their expense while the value of their shares declined to single digits from a high of $32.19.

Strictly speaking, Playboy Enterprises, and not Hefner, owns the Playboy Mansion, a 1920s Gothic-style spread southwest of Hollywood. Hefner pays rent and covers non-business-related expenses­. The company pays for the upkeep of the house and grounds, and the salaries of the 80-employee staff, which includes a round-the-clock kitchen crew and a team of 13 who take care of Hef’s personal and business needs. Last year Hefner’s bill was $800,000, while the company kicked in $2.3 million. (…)

A late bloomer sexually, Hefner didn’t masturbate until he was 18, and after years of foreplay, he finally managed to lose his virginity when he was 22. (…)

Mr. Playboy’s heyday was the ’70s, when, as the money poured in, Hefner took to wearing pajamas round the clock, working from his bedroom, where he also slept with pretty much whomever he chose, and jetting around in the Big Bunny, his customized DC-9. The ’80s, though, were his anni horribiles. Overexpanded, the business went sour, Hefner clashed with the Reagan administration and the Moral Majority and in 1985 he suffered a stroke, in part brought on, he insisted, by the unfavorable publicity surrounding the 1980 murder of the Playmate Dorothy Stratten.

Hefner now says that his 1989 marriage to Kimberley Conrad, January Playmate of the Month the year before, was an attempt to seek refuge — a “safe harbor from the waves.” (…) He and Conrad broke up in 1998, though they did not divorce until 12 years later. “During the marriage I was faithful,” he said to me emphatically, “and she was not.” (Hefner, for all his advanced views, clings to the double standard and has never entirely got over his first wife’s admission that while they were engaged she had an affair with a high-school coach.)

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

related { Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health after 100 people reported becoming sick after attending a fundraiser and party there earlier this month. }

Vanilla, wisteria, zaza


“Oh my God, I’m more naked that I was in Playboy,” Kim Kardashian told her sisters. “I’m so mad right now. [The magazine] promised I would be covered with artwork — you can see the nipples!”

“The whole concept was sold to me that nothing would be seen,” she continued. “I feel so taken advantage of … I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I’m never taking my clothes off again, even if it’s for Vogue.”

This wasn’t the first time Kim was upset over nude photos — when her Playboy spread came out, she similarly was upset, telling Harper’s Bazaar… (…) Then, she posed nude for Bazaar.

{ Huffington Post | Continue reading }

photo { Zoe Strauss }

For my fate gives me time


Interview with Curt Cobain, January 27, 1994 issue of Rolling Stone

Along with everything else that went wrong onstage tonight, you left without playing “Smells like Teen Spirit.” Why?

That would have been the icing on the cake. That would have made everything twice as worse. I don’t even remember the guitar solo on “Teen Spirit.” It would take me five minutes to sit in the catering room and learn the solo. (…)

Have you ever been that consumed with distress or pain or rage that you actually wanted to kill yourself?

For five years during the time I had my stomach problem, yeah. I wanted to kill myself every day. I came very close many times. I’m sorry to be so blunt about it. It was to the point where I was on tour, lying on the floor, vomiting air because I couldn’t hold down water. And then I had to play a show in 20 minutes. I would sing and cough up blood. This is no way to live a life. I love to play music, but something was not right. So I decided to medicate myself.

{ RollingStones | Continue reading }

photo { Tierney Gearon }

‘What experience and history teach is this — that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.’ –Hegel


Our study of more than 2,600 ads found that—contrary to popular wisdom—celebrity ads do not perform any better than non-celebrity ads, and in some cases they perform much worse.  

{ Ace Metrix | PDF }

photo { Paul Rodriguez }

Love and romance poetry


{ When you think of the words “prudent” and “marriage,” the last person you should think of is Elizabeth Taylor, who was married eight times, and shocked and astounded each and every time it didn’t work out. The most bizarre choice of husband was probably Larry Fortensky, a construction worker she met in rehab. | Craked | Continue reading }

‘The people I paint don’t exist. It’s not like a photograph where there’s another reality that existed at a certain moment in time in the past.’ –John Currin


{ Larry Gagosian, Charles Saatchi and Leo Castelli, photographed by Jean Pigozzi in St. Barthelemy, 1991 }

They were about him here and there, with heads still bowed in their crimson halters, waiting for him to melt


{ 50cent | Twitter }

In the middle of August, swingin’ from the rafters in his brand new tie


{ J.D. Salinger PERSONALLY OWNED & USED Toilet Commode | eBay }

Quickly a card behind the headband and transferred it to his waistcoat pocket


{ A Personal Letter From Steve Martin | Thanks Daniel C ! }

Handsome is and handsome does. Reserved about to yield.


My favorite ad ever, I think it was in Frontiers or one of the gay magazines in L.A., and it ran for weeks and weeks, it was a classified ad. It said, “Every night at 10 p.m., here’s my address, my door’s unlocked. Fuck me.” (…)

Well phone sex is something I’d never do for fear that someone was recording it. I have done it before in my life. But it’s the kind of thing that today I’d be very hesitant about. Because you can never have healthy phone sex. Who has phone sex and then says, “One day we are going to fall in love and grow old together”? It’s usually some kind of verbal abuse or something. (…)

Well I’d advise that if you’re a bear, don’t tell your parents. Parents shouldn’t have to accept that. “Mom, Dad, sit down. I have something to tell you.” Imagine their nervous look. “I’m a bear,” you know; and they do that. (…)

Let me tell you, I’m at an age where I’m starting to attract people who want daddies, but I’d be mortified to be thought of as someone’s daddy. What I’ve learned is that with anybody who wants a daddy, it isn’t because they’ve had a good relationship with their daddy. It’s to punish their daddy, and you are the vessel. (…) Otherwise they would date people age-appropriate, something I’m not very good at. (…)

I have a very, very nice life as a single man. I’ve had long-term boyfriends and we’ve lived together in the summer, but I’m really bad at living with someone. You’ve never seen my house. Who could live in it but me? I could see someone saying, “I think I’ll hang this up.” No you won’t. And I can’t stand television. One relationship almost ended because of it. I can’t stand having a television on in my house. I don’t care if I’m wildly in love. If they watch television, it’s a deal breaker. I’ll make them wear earphones. (…)

What is sex to Michael Jackson? All it is is taking out that limp polka-dot penis and dribbling a weak load somewhere. He’s not a top. To me, I don’t know if he’s guilty, but I taught in prison and had a lot of pedophiles in my class, and he certainly fits the profile of a child molester. 

{ Interview with John Waters | Butt magazine | Continue reading }

photo { via Bon Jane | Facebook }

‘The easiest way to feel creative is to find people who are more ignorant than yourself.’ –Ronald S. Burt


How shoes can change your life–and your skeleton

You might think that shoes can only change your life if you are a sex-and-the-city type shoe lover, spending huge amounts of money on designer footwear. And for most of us, that kind of dedication to shoes is fairly incomprehensible - after all, they’re just things to wear to keep your feet safe from broken glass and tarmac, right? Wrong….

In fact, footwear doesn’t just change your life in the way that owning that perfect pair of Jimmy Choos can affect a girl. Instead, it can influence the way you walk, the shape of your foot, and even the number and type of pathologies present in your foot bones.

A recent study by Zipfel and Berger (2007), for example, has found that some 70% of European males and 66% - that’s two in every three! - females has some pathological condition in their big toe, compared to only about 35% of individuals from an archaeological population which habitually walked barefoot.

{ Going Ape | Continue reading }

photos { Lady Gaga visits MoMA | Lady Gaga’s shoes | Thanks Bucky! }

if someone comes at me w/ the whole oh-you’re-a-supertsar angle, i just play that character, but


it always makes me perplexed when people refuse eternal youth. […] ulysses: ‘i’m glad someone invented death.’

There are only three people in LA. Everything else is done with mirrors.


In the fall of 1996, a $30-million Hollywood production almost ground to a halt because of facial hair. As producer Art Linson recounted in his 2002 memoir, “What Just Happened?,” Alec Baldwin surprised everyone when he showed up to film “The Edge” (1997), a man-against-nature thriller, with an overgrown beard. A profanity-laced debate ensued between producer, star, agent and studio executives.

Finally it came down to this: The execs, who had already sunk millions into the production, wouldn’t shoot the picture with their expensive star acting behind a hairy hedge. The stand-off might have ended badly for the studio if the star had walked, but in the end he didn’t: Mr. Baldwin blinked, emerging from his trailer clean-shaven for the first day of filming.

Why risk so much money over a few whiskers? The answer to that question and other mysteries of modern-day film financing can be found in “The Hollywood Economist,” Edward Jay Epstein’s latest foray into the seamy underbelly of Hollywood spreadsheets.

{ Wall Street Journal | Continue reading }

I can fly! Can you fly?


{ What O.J. Simpson wore when he was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife and her friend was the suit seen around the world during one of the most watched televised moments in history. But the Smithsonian Institution, America’s repository of historical artifacts, rejected it Tuesday as inappropriate for their collection. | Washington Post | Continue reading | Flashback: The O. J. Simpson murder case | Wikipedia | Related: Robert L. Stone, a former top executive at the Hertz corporation who had hired O.J. Simpson in the 1970s as a famous pitchman for the car rental giant, has died. | Related: The Los Angeles Police Department has apologized to the family of the late Robert F. Kennedy and removed items from a homicide exhibit in Las Vegas that included the dress shirt worn by the senator when he was assassinated in 1968. | LA Times | Continue reading }

I’m gonna rock the mike till you can’t resist, everybody! I say it goes like this:


The most audacious burglary gang in recent Hollywood history–accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and other stars–appears to be a bunch of club-hopping Valley kids, motivated by vanity and celebrity-worship.

{ Vanity Fair | Continue reading }