John Nack on Adobe:

Photoshop engineer Geoff Scott spotted a beautiful black & white image from photographer Moose Peterson, made with the help of Photoshop CS3.  (Too bad the online version isn’t larger.)   Moose writes, “I’ve always loved B&W photography but until recent developments such at the Epson 3800 and 7800 and B&W conversion in Photoshop, B&W was downright painful. With amazing paper like Epson’s UltraSmooth Fine Art and the ease of B&W conversion in CS3, why wouldn’t someone enjoy the amazing old art of B&W photography.”

For more info, check out Russell Brown’s 4-minute video intro to the Black & White dialog, where he shows off the ability to click and drag on color regions to adjust them, as well as a technique for hand-tinting the results.  Russell produced some great B&W presets for Camera Raw in CS2, so I’m sure he’ll offer more good info, tips, and settings for the much-improved B&W controls in CS3’s Camera Raw 4.0.  I had fun using the new split toning functions, together with Photoshop’s venerable Lighting Effects dialog, to show my wife contemplating a “Portrait of the Governor as a Young Man” on New Year’s Eve. (It was a weird party. ;-))

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BoingBoing:

When I heard the This American Life episode about the weird documentary called The Beaver Trilogy, which played at Sundance in 2001, I immediately tried to get it on Netflix or Amazon. I was sorely vexed to learn that the film was not available for any price.

Today, Gord emailed me to let me know “some kind soul has recently posted the Beaver Trilogy in several YouTube snippets. From the kid to Sean Penn to Crispin Glover (before they were *name* guys).”

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Thrasher:

To commemorate our 25th Anniversary we are going to post a new mag from 1981 each month.

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A Photo a Day:

We, here at aphotoaday, would like to kick off 2007 by showing your some of our favorite photos from last year.

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Wooster Collective:

For the second year in a row, Dan Witz has an annual New Year’s prank. Over the last few days he’s installed a series of real gloves around his neighborhood in Brooklyn. He’s calling the project “The Third Man” (after the movie).

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Daily Herald:

2006 Staff Photos from Jeremy Harmon, Ashley Franscell, Mario Ruiz, and a flock of interns.

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LA Times:

GUL slowed for a speed bump, and instead of accelerating when a militiaman jumped up with an AK-47, he stopped. Gul opened the driver’s window, apparently weighing the comparative risks of getting shot and getting kidnapped. The gunman stuck his head in, saw me in the back seat and smiled like a dog sniffing fresh meat.

“Get us out of here!” I shouted at Gul, and he hesitated. “Get moving!”

Gul hit the gas. The barrel of the gunman’s rifle clunked off the rear side of the car. Not daring to look back, I tensed for the shot that didn’t come.

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NYT:

Eventually the media tired of Andrew Martinez. And so did Berkeley: in the fall of 1992, the school instituted a dress code mandating that students wear clothing in public. Martinez quickly ran afoul of the rule, and after he showed up naked for a disciplinary hearing, he was expelled.

Martinez stuck around the city, hanging out in People’s Park and strolling along Telegraph Avenue, but he wasn’t the same Naked Guy as before. Friends noticed that something was amiss: Martinez had become angry — angry about his expulsion, angry that the media had moved on to other stories, angry that no rich nudist had come forward to bankroll the lawsuit he wanted to file against the university. He started to talk of sinister forces, like the C.I.A., that he claimed were trying to thwart him. He felt ostracized. “I merely need to take off a four-ounce piece of cotton and reveal something that I have, everyone knows I have, half of the population has as well, to change from an average 20-year-old guy to a sex-offending criminal,” he wrote in a book manuscript that was never published.

He began to wander Berkeley pushing a shopping cart filled with rocks. He’d place the rocks at major intersections, trying to disrupt traffic, and he’d make piles of them all over the city so that, as he explained to his girlfriend at the time, “people would have weapons for when the revolution comes.” He seemed to seek out confrontations with the police, once luring them to the co-op where he lived and pelting them with compost. He was arrested on multiple occasions.

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Independent:

Foer wades in at the deep end with a visit to Belgrade’s top- scoring Red Star, a team nurtured by Serbia’s equally top war criminal Arkan, who took his well-armed footballers down the Drina Valley in 1992 on an orgy of killing, plunder and mass rape. Arkan drove a pink Cadillac and sported a football wife – the gorgeous retro singer Ceca – whom he married in full Serb uniform. Red Star’s pre-war match against the Croatian Partizans – beloved of its fascist president Franjo Tudjman who had adorned the team he once led with wartime Ustashe icons – ended in a pitched battle.

It was Margaret Thatcher who famously described football hooligans as “a disgrace to civilised society” – the very words we later used about the murderers of Serbia. In Glasgow, Protestant supporters of Rangers would sit in separate stands – “We’re up to our knees in Fenian blood,” they would roar in unison – from fans of the Catholic Celtic football club.

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Filming of The Kite Runner, NYT:

In addition to keen eyes Ms. Dowd needed extraordinary patience. She spoke, for example, of having to drink 45 cups of tea with the director of one French-run school in Kabul before the director trusted her enough to let her tour his 25 classrooms. He then granted her all of three mornings to complete her search.

On her ninth classroom, running out of tricks, she asked the students who was the naughtiest kid in class. “There was one child who stood out as the most extroverted, but right next to him there was another boy who was quiet, but who was responding to the scene,” said Ms. Dowd, speaking of an 11-year-old named Kekiria Ebrahimi. “There was a special little moment of energy from him, and it stayed with me. He ended up playing Amir.”

A precociously witty 10-year-old, Ahmad Khan Mahmiidzada, plays the role of Hassan, the servant boy who is betrayed by his best friend, Amir. The boys did not know each other before being brought to western China for the filming, but off camera they became close. And while there is no confusing reality and fiction for either, at a fundamental level the story in which they are acting rubs against the grain of their friendship and seems to trouble them.

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Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War

Tiger Force, Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss,
[rating:5/5]

This is a harrowing book. Especially reading it now, looking back on Vietnam with an eye on Iraq. Tiger Force was an elite group of US special forces working in free-fire zones in Central Vietnam. Some of these units were investigated (though never charged) with war crimes against Vietnamese civilians. All the stories you’ve heard of GI’s collecting necklaces of ears, elderly farmers beaten down with rifle butts, and even baby-killing are all here in graphic detail. And while I couldn’t put the book down, it left me feeling ill. The descriptions make you feel like you’re there, sweating with the soldiers in the Song Ve valley:

It wasn’t long before the team leader began complaining about the Song Ve. The platoon should be hunting VC, and instead they were stuck looking for villagers…The blisters on their feet were starting to break into open sores, and the men were constantly complaining of the overwhelming smell of manure blowing from the rice patties, where the villagers used animal and human waste to fertilize the fields. Two of the newcomers had carelessly pulled leeches from their legs earlier in the day, leaving wounds so deep the medics were worried about infections setting in.

Private Gary Kornatowski was already hobbling from the cuts in his shins left by the nasty green creatures. When he took off his boots earlier in the day, he had noticed his legs were covered and had quickly begun pulling off the leaches with his hands. The whole country was a collection of vampires, large and small.

The book covers the unit’s apparent devolution into barbarity as they lose comrades and realize that their task is impossible:

There were no real rules and regulations anymore. Half the unit had grown long, scraggly beards and had cut the sleeves off their uniforms. Kerrigan, Ybarra, and several others were openly wearing necklaces of ears, and others were carrying severed ears in pouches. Whenever the smell of rotting flesh was too strong, Ybarra would toss away his current necklace and make a new one from ears he carried in a ration bag filled with vinegar.

Most of the men had lost a great deal of weight, their faces gaunt, ribs protruding when they peeled off their shirts. At least a dozen were hooked on amphetamines and constantly pestered the medics for daily allowances.

The last third of the book leaves the jungle and covers an Army CID investigation in the atrocities. Though it seems obvious that their commanders had to know what was happening, and at least two soldiers admitted to murdering civilians, no charges were ever filed:

Charles Fulton was even more revealing, because he not only admitted to tossing grenades into a bunker but later heard the cries of the people underground. No one, he said, bothered to help the wounded Vietnamese. He freely admitted there were no weapons or signs of Vietcong.

Aspey wondered, Could this have been a routine practice? It violated the Army’s policies and procedures and the Geneva conventions. Worse, because there were so many bunkers, no one would ever know how many in the province were turned into mass underground graves.

He wondered with a growing sense of dread how far up the chain of command this case went.

Tiger Force, Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss,
[rating:5/5]

Wooster Collective:

One of the most interesting email correspondences we’ve maintained this year is with a group of Iranian graffiti writers living in Tehran. While the communication hasn’t been easy, every time we open an email from A1one we feel like the reason for updating the Wooster site has been re-confirmed to us.

The images above were sent to us a week or so ago with the line – “It was th worst work in Tehran,,, some about Mind Control by Our Gov ,aome a teasand joke with the Voting which is in friday to choose Islamic leaders comity..”

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Wikipedia:

In the late 1960s — in response to violence at football matches in England — police began confiscating any objects that could be used as weapons. These items included steel combs, pens, beermats, polo mints, shoelaces and even boots.

However, fans were still permitted to bring in newspapers. Larger newspapers such as The Guardian or The Financial Times work best for a Millwall brick, and the police looked with suspicion at working class football fans who carried such newspapers. Because of their more innocent appearance, tabloid newspapers became the newspapers of choice for Millwall bricks.

The book Spirit of ’69: A Skinhead Bible describes the use of Millwall bricks by British football hooligans (not just skinheads) in the late 1960s:

Newspapers were rolled up tightly to form the so-called Millwall Brick and another trick was to make a knuckleduster out of pennies held in place by a wrapped around paper. You could hardly be pulled up for having a bit of loose change in your pocket and a Daily Mirror under your arm.

The book Skinhead says, “The Millwall brick, for example, was a newspaper folded again and again and squashed together to form a cosh.”

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The Onion:

“Never have the words ‘win or go home’ provided such inspiration to any team,” Bin-Shakur said. “I am overcome with joy, as well as hunger, and I look forward to bringing the Third-World Cup trophy home to my country.”

The Third-World Cup trophy, an AK-47 coated with gold spray-paint and mounted on a pallet of United Nations staple foods, has already been seized by Somali troops and distributed amongst ranking military officers.

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NYT:

But all that changed last Wednesday at dawn when the Islamists attacked Baidoa from two directions. Witnesses said that their waves of young fighters were summarily mowed down by the more experienced (and older) Ethiopian-backed troops. On Saturday, the Islamists announced that Somalia was now open to Muslim fighters across the world who wanted to wage a jihad against Ethiopia, which has a long Christian history though it is actually about half Muslim.

The next day, Ethiopia struck.

With warplanes and tanks, the Ethiopian military pushed deep into Somalia and began uprooting the Islamists from their positions. Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister, said his country had been forced into war by the Islamists and that Ethiopia would try to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible.

The toll is rising in Mogadishu. At Benadir hospital, crowds of women pushed at the gates to get inside to see their wounded sons and husbands. Witnesses said the hospital’s courtyards were stacked with dozens of corpses buzzing with flies. Some of the women even threw stones at the Islamist commanders visiting the hospital and shouted, “Why have you done this to us?”

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WFMU’s Beware the Blog:

Three years prior to his cartoon, Ali came out with one of the most amazing things he was ever involved with. 1974 brought us one of the most legendary vinyl records ever made, Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay. The album features an A-list cast of celebrities all in rather ridiculous poses. Frank Sinatra, for instance, appears as a desperate ice cream vendor insisting Muhammad Ali force the gang of children that’s following him (more orphans?) to eat ice cream. “No, kids! Ice cream hassa lotta sugah innit! Ice cream causes cavahtehs!”

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PunkNews:

Friday 29 $7
Gilman’s 20Th Anniversary Weekend
Doors at 6Pm
Born/Dead
This Is My Fist
Drain the Sky
the Jocks
Baby Jail
Thee Double D’s
Lil’ Runt
Hey Girl

Saturday 30 $8-$10
Gilman’s 20Th Anniversary Weekend
Doors at 6Pm
Social Unrest
El Dopa
Black Fork
Schlong
the United Intrepid Forces
Look Back and Laugh
a.D.T.

Sunday 31
Gilman’s 20Th Anniversary Weekend
Record Swap 10Am-2Pm
Basketball
Chess

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NYT:

“The Ethiopians are blowing things up all over the place,” said Mohammed Hussein Galgal, an Islamist commander in Beledweyne, near the Ethiopian border. “Civilians have been killed, people are fleeing. But don’t worry, we won’t be defeated.”

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Wonkette:

Let no one accuse the NRA of shirking its duty. Freedom In Peril: Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century, is a spectacularly beautiful graphic novel. Here, for example, is one of the biggest threats to the white suburban hunter: dirty hippies and their evil sidekicks: the dynamite-carrying owl, sinister pig, angry Wall Street bull, dire wolf, terror chicken and Land Lobster.

Here.

Here’s a painting for my solo at 1988. I gutted an old pachinko machine for a frame. This is pretty big compared to most things I paint.
Here.

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