Is It Raining Aliens?

This is the coolest story we’ve read in a while. [From Popular Science]

Nearly 50 tons of mysterious red particles showered India in 2001. Now the race is on to figure out what the heck they are
As bizarre as it may seem, the sample jars brimming with cloudy, reddish rainwater in Godfrey Louis’s laboratory in southern India may hold, well, aliens. In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples‚Äîwater taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis’s home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001‚Äîcontain microbes from outer space.
Specifically, Louis has isolated strange, thick-walled, red-tinted cell-like structures about 10 microns in size. Stranger still, dozens of his experiments suggest that the particles may lack DNA yet still reproduce plentifully, even in water superheated to nearly 600ÀöF. (The known upper limit for life in water is about 250ÀöF.) So how to explain them? Louis speculates that the particles could be extraterrestrial bacteria adapted to the harsh conditions of space and that the microbes hitched a ride on a comet or meteorite that later broke apart in the upper atmosphere and mixed with rain clouds above India. If his theory proves correct, the cells would be the first confirmed evidence of alien life and, as such, could yield tantalizing new clues to the origins of life on Earth.

[Read more...]

McCarren Park Pool: Concert List

Neko Case
Despite fears, Clear Channel spin-off, Live Channel, manages to book some great shows. Too bad they’re not all free. TicketMaster (ugh) will be handling ticket sales instead of local outlets:
7/29 – Bloc Party, Secret Machines, Mew
7/30 – Of Montreal (free)
8/11 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth, Blood on the Wall
8/12 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth, Awesome Color
8/13 – Deerhoof (free)
8/17 – Iron & Wine
8/24 – Neko Case, Joanna Newsom, Martha Wainwright
[via BrooklynVegan]

From The Williamsburg Brooklyn Board of Tourism

[via Gawker]

RBally continues to amaze us…

… with his generosity. Check out these three amazing live shows. We recommend starting with Van Morrison at Fillmore:
Tom Waits – San Diego Folk Festival 1974
Ryan Adams on Jools Holland
Belle & Sebastian Live in 1998
Van Morrison at the Fillmore West, 1970

The June 2006 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
Nacho Libre
Comedy is king this month, though early Break-Up reviews may beg to differ. But Jack Black, Adam Sandler and the good folks at Pixar are ready to pick up the slack should Vince Vaughn fall short.
June 2
Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston go all Brad Pitt and, um, Jennifer Aniston.
Newcomers to writing, including Vaughn, who contributed to the story. Directing-wise we have a little bit of hope with Peyton Reed, he of Bring It On and Down with Love. Can he make the transition to two-word titles? But the real hope here, and this almost never happens for me with a comedy, is the trailer. It’s actually funny. How can you not laugh when that guy starts singing Owner of a Lonely Heart?
It doesn’t hurt that Vaughn reunites with Justin Long and Jason Bateman from Dodgeball and Jon Favreau from Swingers. Judy Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Cole Hauser should be fun, too.
Early buzz, sadly, not so good.
Not much competition. Other movies are as afraid of this as X3 for some reason. Maybe they remember what comedies did last summer. The next week, Cars will suck up a lot of oxygen, but this flick’s demo will probably be one of the least affected. $162mil.
Nick Nolte plays Yoda to an injured gymnast.
Early buzz is mixed, with the film coming off as too New Age-y for some. On the other hand, this is from the guy who directed Powder (and both Jeepers Creepers movies, go figure). The writer who adapted Dan Millman’s memoir The Way of the Peaceful Warrior for this exercise also wrote Hellraiser 3, another spiritual journey.

[Read more...]

The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right

From left: James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, Dubya
Last week we launched a new website to coincide with our upcoming book, The Sinner’s Guide to the Evangelical Right (Penguin/NAL). The book is slotted to hit the shelves September 5. Just in time for the Rapture! Here’s the publisher’s description:

“From Bibles designed to look like glossy fashion magazines to mega-churches with ATMs, rock climbing walls, and in one case, a drive-thru McDonalds, the nuances of conservative evangelical culture are no mystery to Robert Lanham, who has his roots in the Bible Belt. Now, with his anthropological eye and trademark wit, Lanham has compiled a handy guide to the evangelical right for those who can expect to be left behind in the End of Days.”

During the course of our study, we became temporary residents of Colorado Springs (the so-called evangelical Vatican), joined an End Times Studies small group, attended a Christian extreme sports event hosted by Stephen Baldwin, met some evangelical mimes, and hung out with Ted Haggard—a megachurch pastor who speaks with George Bush every Monday morning when he’s not busy speaking in tongues in his “prayer closet.” You can read the book’s introduction here.
We’re excited as well about the website,, which will be like a Drudge Report or a Huffington Post, only detailing the exploits of the Rapture Right.
Stop by when you can, and don’t forget to take our Evangelical Right Quiz:
True or False: George W. Bush declared June 10 to be “Jesus Day” when he was Governor of Texas.
a) True
b) False
Plugged In, Focus on the Family’s movie magazine criticized all but one of the following movies of promoting something they refer to as “outercourse.” Choose the supposedly outercourse-free film:
a) Kinsey
b) 40 Days and 40 Nights
c) The 40-Year-Old Virgin
d) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Find out the answers and take the quiz here.

Hip or Dangerous?

A tipster send us this short video, filmed in Williamsburg. It’s a must-see [thanks Noel]

We did the book, looks like someone may finally do the video series. From website:

The Burg: the hipster world capital where trust fund kids pretend to be starving artists, starving artists pretend to be able to live completely off of credit cards, and everybody pretends not to notice. Who says gentrification isn’t funny?

Live Nation, A Spin-Off Of Clear Channel, Discovers Williamsburg

And it’s clear that they have their fingers on the pulse of the ‘hood:

[from the Queens Ledger]
Last week, representatives from Live Nation, one of the largest outdoor entertainment promoters in the world, came to Community Board 1 to discuss their upcoming project: six summer concerts that will be taking place inside the giant swimming pool at McCarren Park.
John Huff, senior vice president of Live Nation New York, and talent buyer Sam Kinken shared details regarding the McPool concert series. They also fielded questions, most of which had to do with their choice of musical acts as well as ticket prices.
Live Nation will be staging a total of six concerts – two or three per-month – from July through September. Kinken said they are expecting attendance figures of up to six thousand, a figure that the pool can accommodate. As far as ticket prices are concerned, he and Huff seemed to hedge between $20 and $35 per ticket. “The ticket price will vary depending on how much the artist wants,” said Kinken. “We hope it will be no more than $30.”
The concerts at McCarren Park will most likely feature alternative rock acts, although neither Huff nor Kinken could confirm which acts, if any, had been signed. “I would definitely say that, more than likely, you’ll see independent rock bands,” he told a small group of about ten people at CB1 headquarters. “But at the same time, we’re talking to a number of bands that skew across the 70′s, [similar to] Tom Petty.”
Kinken assured the community that the live shows would not cater specifically to edgy youth acts. “A standard rock show put on by Live Nation is going to feature people like me,” the 36-year-old corporate employee said. He also told board members that Live Nation would respect the state of the pool, which opened at McCarren Park in 1936, although it has been out of service since 1984. “There will be no moshing,” he said. “There will be no body surfing. We do these shows at the appropriate venues, and this is not the appropriate venue…”

Awesome! We’re looking forward to the Bachman Turner Overdrive reunion. Maybe Toad the Wet Sprocket will open. And do they really think Diesel-jeans and blazers wearing hipsters in Williamsburg would ever mosh? As a local tipster asks:

“What about local bands?? Why can’t Todd P book shows there?? What about the Polish or Latino communities…shows that they would come to? Or discounted seats for locals? Or how about WHAT THE FUCK IS CLEAR CHANNELDOING IN OUR PARK?”