[Five Deadly Everythings]

King Tut’s grandmother is kind of cute

Posted in monsters, news stories, photos steal souls, the history books by Jef on September 24, 2010

I finally got around to reading National Geographic’s feature on the “family secrets” of King Tut. The famous Egyptian king has been popping up a lot lately due to a bunch of new exhibits (took my mom to the AGO’s earlier this year; if you missed it, you really missed out) and new insights into his life gleaned from genetic testings. Yes, looks like he had malaria, and his club foot was likely the result of inbreeding. Doesn’t look like he was murdered though, which was previously the most popular theory on his too-young death.

The DNA tests have also established a family. More inbreeding. The mummy previously referred to only as “Elder Lady” (on left) has been revealed to be Tut’s grandmother, Tiye. His only grandmother, since Tut’s parents, we now know, were brother and sister, Tiye’s offspring. Evidence also suggests that maybe Tut himself indulged in some of the ol’ incest — two mummified children are likely to be his and his half-sister’s.

You can read Zahi Hawass’s story here, but I encourage you to seek out the September issue print version because Kenneth Garrett’s photos are lush in a way only Nat Geo’s glossed pages can capture. I was particularly drawn to this photo of Tiye, still with her beautiful reddish hair flowing behind her, left hand forever clenched in a sign of queendom. She stayed fly, that Tiye.

Was Ian Flemming right about MI6’s license to kill?

Posted in books, mob deep, movies, news stories by Jef on September 22, 2010

According to Keith Jeffery’s new book, The Secret History of MI6, the answer is no. MI6 did not hand out licenses to kill. But that doesn’t mean Ian Flemming’s tales of super spy James Bond were that far off.

From the Star:

The first-ever official history of MI6 reveals that Britain’s foreign spy agency debated assassinating Nazi leaders, landed a spy wearing a wetsuit over his tux at a casino by the sea … but also wrangled with other government departments and had to make do on a shoestring budget.

Ace spies included “Biffy” Dunderdale — a friend of Flemming — whom Jeffery says shared with Bond an affinity for fast cars and fast women.

Also this:

More happily for spy buffs, Q — the gadget-making super-scientist from the Bond films — is based on reality. After World War II, MI6 researchers worked on silent weapons, knockout tablets, safecracking tools and exploding filing cabinets that could destroy secret documents at short notice.

Gotta love how it all makes MI6 sound like just a bunch of bumbling Inspector Gadget type blokes. Her majesty’s secret service, of course, held the power to censor the book’s content.

(screencap via)

Loving and dying, Woody and Harold

Posted in movies, photos steal souls by Jef on September 20, 2010

From Woody Allen’s Love and Death (1975). (via)

Avatar’s foreboding turn of phrase

Posted in monsters, movies by Jef on September 17, 2010

“Ya te veo” is the name given to a man-eating tree of legend by J.W. Buel in his Sea and Land (1887). It translates from Spanish to “I see you,” which is also the catch phrase writer-director James Cameron used in his magic-tree-filled nature-strikes-back love fest, Avatar. Good one, James.

Shouts to Pamela Isley.

(pic via)

Propaganda Wars

Posted in design, mob deep, what is it good for? by Jef on September 17, 2010

Sergei Ignounov, 1937

(via)

Ellie Kemper kills me

Posted in *dead* by Jef on September 16, 2010

Lately I crush on the new cute girl on the The Office. Her drama teacher in high-school was Jon Hamm, she went to Princeton, Oxford too. Sometimes writes for The Onion and McSweeney’s. And she makes me roffle, which always helps.

House built for dying man unsurprisingly morbid

Posted in dead sea scrolling, design, dystopian futures by Jef on September 16, 2010

See? This is why I firmly believe part of living a healthy, happy life is facing and coming to terms with death. Otherwise, you end up like this dying man here who has 15 good years left and chooses to build and live in “a house awaiting that death.” Sombre, grey and concrete on the outside. Spartan and tiled with dark wood on the inside.

The house, by Eastern Design Office, will be built on a beach near the Suzuka mountains facing east towards the sunrise so the inhabitant can avoid sun rises and their “symboling meaning — that things things have come to an end.” Polygon shaped windows evoke the image of a butterfly’s wings. Transformation and reincarnation.

From Yatzer:

Furthermore, anchors have been hoisted on the wall, a “two-pronged anchor is suspended from the wall and a four-pronged anchor is fixed to the top of a type of narrow bearm.  They are the symbols of a man who has lived a life of relentless rage.”  The architects of EASTERN Design Office sometimes still question themselves why this client asked for such a project with this request “A House Awaiting Death.”

Because it bears repeating: “They are the symbols of a man who has lived a life of relentless rage.”

More pics after the jump.

(more…)

World’s Finest, above and below

Posted in if looks could kill by Jef on September 4, 2010

(via)

A Deadly Medley of links

Posted in link dump, missives by Jef on September 3, 2010

I’m feelin’ on top of the world without the fear of fallin’ – Black Milk, “Deadly Medly”

It’s been a minute, but it’s been a good one. I reached the point where I was writingwritingwriting but on auto-pilot, no clear destination in mind. I even lost sense of my voice after a while. Easing up on the blogging for a couple of weeks has been good for me — I now have a few projects and assignments lined up that I am EXCITED about and I want to tell everyone about but I won’t, because I’m scared of putting the jinx on them. (And I just watched this video.)

The Ashcan has coasted a bit as well of late, but stay tuned — we just hit our first anniversary mark (*air horn*) and there’s nothing like a new-year landmark to push you to strive for that next level.

But to get Five Deadly back in the swing, here’s a dump of some of the things I thought about posting about over the last few weeks. Some really good reads, and surveying it should give anyone who is confused a good idea of what this blog is concerned with. Sorry for the lack of attribution; I’ve long forgotten where I got these links from.

How murder fell out of fashion with the rich –> As a kid I used to love a good Agatha Christie mystery and Clue was my favourite board game, but lately murder is an activity mainly of the poor and disadvantaged and those cultural items seem anachronistic, if not archaic. Why did society’s elite stop going all Hitchcock on each other? And why not the impoverished and marginalized?

Lady Trouble: Chicago was once full of killer broads –> Speaking of which, Bookslut’s Jessa Crispin looks at “The Girls of Murder City”, a book about Chicago’s Jazz Age and the murderous women who chased fame and found infamy. The world has been hooked on femme fatales ever since. (Or at least I have.)

Letters of Note: The Death List –> Letters of Note is a really great site that collects fascinating correspondence. This one is a letter from actor Steve McQueen to his lawyer regarding McQueen’s inclusion on Charles Manson’s “Death List.” In very staid prose, McQueen requests that his gun licence be renewed, that his lawyer “pull strings” with the police, and that he receive a response back, quick-time. You know. Before he gets murdered and stuff.

You’re Dead. Now What? –> From The Chronicle Review: “We don’t lack narratives about the Beyond—we lack science about the Beyond. We want something factual, anything factual, to falsify the apparent truth that when we perish we won’t see our children ever again or hear the chuggy groove of a Hammond B-2 organ. God bless nonscientific narratives! Our need for knowledge of the Everlasting is something that only science can slake. But science, Frohock freely admits, is not up to the slaking.”

Our Neandertal Brethren –> So, uhm, modern humans apparently got down with Neandertals. I guess Battlestar Galactica was right. (Spoiler?)

Health Care & the Lost Art of Compromise –> Hilarious comedian Hari Kondabolu hijacked Jay Smooth’s Illdoctrine vlog to deliver a modest proposal: LET’S EAT RICH PEOPLE, and take their organs! Sounds reasonable enough.

UFC 117: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen –> I know you won’t believe me (I wouldn’t believe you either), but I TOTALLY CALLED THAT. If you go through the archives and re-watch Silva’s fights (as I did before this match), it’s easy to notice — Silva’s weakness is takedown defense. He’s been able to cover this up and maintain an aura of invincibility because he’s so good fighting off his back, but I knew Sonnen — being the bully of a wrestler he is — was going to take him down and take it to him. So I was right about that, but not right about the outcome. Good thing I’m just a smart-ass and not a betting man.

That’s it. The rest should be recent enough to get their own posts. See you soon, bastard zombie children of Babylon.