Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Odds & Ends: LIFE Magazine, Wallace and Gromit, depressed babies, Wheaton and the Big Bang Theory

+ This is great news: Google Books announced yesterday that they have digitized and made available to the reading public all 1,860 issues of LIFE Magazine from 1936 to 1972. I haven't had a chance to delve into it yet, but what a treasure trove of wonderful images and stories! I can't wait.

+ Another goodie for you British people: to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit, Aardman Animations is holding a contest to win tickets to see "A Grand Day Out" at the London Film Festival and attend a special Q&A session with creator Nick Park. This contest makes three reasons why I am jealous of you people, following closely on the heels of your temperate climate and lovely seaside vistas. Oh, and those delicious fishcakes I had in the Kyle of Lochalsh where -- true story -- a large sea bird dropped half a lobster on my head as I stood outside a phone booth.

+ How many of you were born in the winter months? Raise your hands. Okay, I was born in the winter and I have bad news for all of us: apparently, we're screwed. Scientists have actual data suggesting that winter babies are less successful and more sickly than their high-falutin' summer-born brothers and sisters. I always thought my failures were my own doing but now I can blame it on my lack of Vitamin D. Woo!!

+ Wil Wheaton has a great blog post up about his first day on the set of "The Big Bang Theory," in which he's guest starring. It's a great insight into how the show works and also a wonderful reminder that actors can be huge fan boys, too.

+ In the mood for a little "Buffy" nostalgia? Then check out Alyson Hannigan's photo from Sunday's Emmys.

+ Here's a cool in-depth look at "Pirate Radio," the upcoming Richard Curtis film chronicling the pirate radio transmissions that took place off the waters of the UK in the 1960s, feeding rock and roll junkies the music denied them by the BBC. I'm looking forward to this flick because, "Four Weddings and a Funeral" be damned, I really enjoy Richard Curtis' work.

+ And finally, I haven't forgotten the Nerd Man for this month. I'm just way behind, so look for me to sneak this month's winner in under the wire on Monday.


Someone Said said...

Interesting, Pirate Radio was called The Boat that Rocked when my wife saw it in Scotland back in March.

W&G are twenty? Man, I'm getting old.

Cara King said...

Thanks for the link to the Wil Wheaton blog post! Very interesting. (I'd heard things about his blog, but hadn't ever read it before...)

Michele said...

Pirate Radio is SUCH a bland name for the film. I much prefer the British title: The Boat That Rocked...

*runs to enter the W&G comp*

What was done said...

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things:

Roscoe said...

"The Boat That Rocked" is available on DVD from if you are a die-hard Richard Curtis fan who simply cannot wait until November.

If your morality is flexible on the subject of software piracy, the film is also already available on torrents.

Mike said...

There is substantial data suggesting that keeping your vitamin D levels up will protect you from H1N1 and colds and flu in general.
Take a look at these two articles:
Sept 2009-More on Vitamin D3 and influenza

August 2009-Vitamin D3 deficiency and its role in influenza

If the links don’t work, go to and look under “In the News” This site offers a good newsletter on Vitamin D updates and recently launched a new micropill formulation of Vitamin D.

Mary said...

Sadly, the feature on the Focus website that supposedly tells the real story of offshore radio is full of nonsense. I've been running a website devoted to the subject for over ten years and have published magazine features and written chapters of books on the subject, so I do know a bit about it!

That photo isn't 'the Caroline ship' it's one of the TWO Caroline ships. The picture is very tiny but it would appear to be the North ship Fredericia (renamed Caroline) which broadcast from Ramsey Bay off the Isle of Man to the northwest of England and parts of Scotland and Ireland. The south ship, anchored three miles off the Essex coast, was the Mi Amigo.

The founder of Radio Atlanta was not Oliver Smedley, but Australian Allan Crawford. When Crawford brought his plans for marine broadcasting to the UK, he chose to share them with Ronan O'Rahilly, who soon latched on to a potentially profitable idea and decided to fit-out his own ship. Crawford also allowed his Radio Atlanta vessel to be fitted out at the Irish port owned by O'Rahilly's father. O'Rahilly's ship was finished first and Radio Caroline launched several weeks before Radio Atlanta.

The offshore stations were by no means 'almost all' financed by American capital. Three of them were. Radio London, the station that brought Top 40 format to the UK, was Texan funded. Radio London's Texan founder Don Pierson later launched a second ship, housing two short-lived stations that broadcast as Radio England (Top 40) and Britain Radio (easy listening). Most of the offshore broadcasters e.g. Radio City, Radio Scotland and Yorkshire's Radio 270 were run by local businessmen.

Pirate radio was NOT illegal. This is an oft-repeated myth. The stations were sited in international waters and therefore outside of jurisdiction. Parliament could not stop the broadcasts, which is why it was obliged to introduce the Marine Offences Act. It scuttled the pirates by outlawing advertising on the stations and making it illegal for British citizens to work aboard them or provision them.

As for, "In retrospect the pirates had little impact on the mid-60s emergence of British rock." What absolute rubbish! Who was pioneering the sounds of the Small Faces, Them, the Yardbirds, the Who, the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, et al?. It wasn't the BBC!

Unfortunately, I am not 'allowed' to post this comment on the Focus website, because I don't have a US zip code.