Angry Robot


In 1970-ish, “The Italian Elvis” Adriano Celentano recorded a song called “Prisencolinensinainciusol”. To the Italian ear it sounds like English, but to the English ear it sounds like gibberish, which is what it is. If the Joycean slurry of near-meanings wasn’t awesome enough on its own, it’s set to a stripped down, crazy-funky droning four-on-the-floor arrangement so that the whole setup prefigures both rap and disco. (That said, I think James Brown and Bob Dylan are the real influences, and there’s nothing magical about the song’s foreknowledge, but that doesn’t make it any less thrilling). Add to that the boss dancing, and you have a timeless classic on your hands.

I tried to figure out how the internets learned about this, but I can only trace back so far. There’s this, announcing an edit of the song, and giving a bit of history. (Here’s the mp3 of Greg Wilson’s edit BTW.) There’s this, which gives us the black and white original:

Which is then picked up by Sasha Frere Jones, then Metafilter, then BoingBoing, and then years later, your unreliable narrator stumbles into the whole mess via an Easter egg in the game Glitch. Anyway, the important part is when you search Youtube for Prisencolinensinainciusol and uncover gems like these versions with different sets of subtitles, all set to a mashup of the two videos:

Precinct Calling Ace Vantuso / Prison Colon ends in I choose all / Freezing culmination I choose all.
hope something / poke something / awesome babe!

It’s amazing to see how we project meanings onto sounds. It’s worth adding that in Celentano’s words, from the intro to the TV show staging, the theme of the song is incommunicability, that “we don’t understand anything anymore”, and prisencolinensinainciusol means “universal love”. I also love this karaoke staging of the song for drunken Portlandians, which seems to sum it all up.

Let me just say that when I added the song to iTunes, I chose the genre “heaven”.

Human Cloning in Japan

one of the implications of 3D printing tech is that you can make an action figure of yourself. In Japan, anyway. (via)

Chain World Videogame Was Supposed to be a Religion—Not a Holy War

“In Rohrer’s mind, his game would share many qualities with religion—a holy ark, a set of commandments, a sense of secrecy and mortality and mystical anticipation. This was the idea, anyway, before things started to get weird. Before Chain World, like religion itself, mutated out of control.”

Why we’re betting everything on FCP X

CrumblePop on the new FCP. BTW I’ve spent about a half hour playing around with FCP X, and so far I think it’s a good thing. The new timeline is a real timesaver. Much less fuss about codecs. Still getting my head around the new bin display though.

There's No Wrong Way to Play Monopoly

Waxy on the history of the board game, which is a near-copy of earlier games

The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress

can’t remember where I found this.

Jack Layton steps aside as NDP Leader after second cancer diagnosis

How the Editor of Windows Magazine Became an Apple Fanboy


Oslo Terrorist Used Modern Warfare 2 as “Training-Simulation”, World of Warcraft as Cover

Summer fun in Toronto, 1980s style

vids from @retrontario on BlogTO (via)

Apple Updates MacBook Air Line With Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt and Backlit Keyboards

and Lion’s out.

Sean Hoare death: postmortem being held on hacking whistleblower

“unexplained but not thought to be suspicious”… nothing suspicious about a dead whistleblower.

The Tree of Links: Terrence Malick Studies

a lot of good articles about Malick films here. Saw The Tree of Life about a week ago and am still thinking about it.

Scenes from Glitch

This means I have a garden, so I get some seeds and start planting in my little garden patch. I grow rice, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes. With the result I cook, but there’s always something missing for new recipes – where do I get a pickle? I check the auctions, they seem pretty expensive. I keep farming, but soon I get some fruit tree beans, which means I can plant trees that don’t vanish when they yield their crop: cherries. With the fruit changer, I can change these into other fruits. With my blender I make orange juice. It’s pretty good. I can sell this at auction.

I explore the auctions more. There are cherry trees everywhere in Bortola, so I harvest them whenever I pass. Before long I have a hundred… The item screen says these are worth 1 currant each. I list them at that price and they sell instantly. Well, sounds like I can sell them for more than that. at 5 each they still sell instantly. When I need the money to buy something, I go out and harvest.


I’m still experimenting with all the things you can learn and do: alchemy, element handling, tinkering, cooking. Every recipe needs salt or some other seasoning. It’s hard tracking them all down at the vendors. It would be better to harvest allspice, which grows on spice trees, and can then be transformed into other spices.

But where are the goddamned spice trees? Nowhere in Bortola. I ask in global chat, and people point me to remote, exotic climes where there are indeed spice trees, but they are much rarer than cherry trees. I gather enough allspice to last and then go back to my hood. I tweak my avatar, give him a nice fro.

I realize I can sell cherries at 8 currants each. I level up in tree-related skills, so now I can harvest twice and get more cherries. I am selling mad cherries now, not even bothering to hold on to any to cook with. I am the Cherry King. I will drive a Porsche with CHERRY as the vanity plate. Well, there are no cars in Glitch – but I do dream of getting a huge ass crib. I can see them in the real estate listings, with their slick design and lots of garden and storage space.


In the forums I see a post lamenting the lack of spice trees, which used to grow in the central locations. Turns out you can cut down trees! And poison them. And if no one waters them, they die. I feel guilt – I haven’t been watering all the poor trees I have been exploiting to build my cherry empire. I thought they were always there, or respawned periodically, like in every other game. I vow to be a better glitch.

Someone knocks at my door. That’s odd! I answer. The stranger glitch tells me she is considering buying in my neighbourhood and wants to look around a property. I show her. I tell her what I know about the gardening, tree growing, etc. We add each other to our buddy lists.

I plant a spice tree in my garden. I learn to capture pigs and bring a couple home. I waste a lot of time learning meditation skills – when you meditate you restore your mood and energy, but the amounts don’t seem to justify the time it takes to learn the skills. Oh well.

I explore a lot. The desert is a mysterious place, with a lot of treasure and some back story that isn’t super fleshed out at the moment. A bandit (NPC) steals my focusing orb, which I need to meditate. I eventually buy a new one.

Down south there are a lot of mines, which are full of people. You can make mad currants mining, people tell me in chat. But I find it boring. It’s just click and wait.

You can grind down ores you mine into elements that can be reassembled. I’m not skilled at this, so it uses a lot of energy. When you use up all your energy or mood, you die. I inadvertently grind myself to death and wake up in hell. Someone there tells me all you have to do is step on a bunch of grapes. Consider it done.

In the forums people are talking about how farming has been nerfed. It used to be comparable to mining, or earned a bit less but people enjoyed it. Now they are pissed because it takes way longer and you can barely make a living farming. After a while the devs say they will adjust things, and then they do, and everyone is happy. (Mostly.)

I am level 15 now and halfway to getting my mansion. I have been watering the trees. The game test period is almost over; I have heard of the “Apocalypse Parties”. I get the location and head to Ajaya Bliss, deep in the caverns.


There are many many people there. They are doing “no-no powder”, giving gifts. I use my meditation skill “radiate” that gives others mood bonuses. People invite each other on races. I give away some green eggs I made. In the chat, GOD starts giving warnings. Then it is over.

Jarvis bike lanes to be eliminated

the first year in Toronto’s history to yield a net loss in bike lanes

George C Scott watches the Jack and Jill Trailer‏

The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Paul Ford on fertility treatments (via)

In Situ

an interactive doc about urban artists (via)

An Open Letter to my Mayor and City Councillor About the Jarvis Bike Lanes

I sent the following letter to Mayor Rob Ford and my local Councillor, Mary Margaret McMahon. You should do something too, the vote is tomorrow or wednesday.

Dear Mayor Ford and Councillor McMahon,

I am writing today about the removal of the Jarvis bike lanes.

As a driver and a cyclist, I understand the frustrations of both groups. Toronto has terrible commute times, and it’s very important that we do something to improve them. But eliminating the Jarvis lanes will not improve matters. Existing cyclists will clog up the curb lane, forcing cars into the passing lane. It will needlessly endanger the cyclists and frustrate drivers. City planners found peak transit times have increased by only two minutes since these lanes were built. The city’s staff considers them a success, and casual surveys of motorists on Jarvis indicate the majority want the bike lanes to stay.

When I’m driving a car, I like bike lanes because they keep bikes out of my way. And the more bikers on the road, the fewer motorists. As a cyclist, I know that bike lanes are safer and encourage more people to take up cycling. Bike lanes are a win for both groups and while it may take a few years for bike lanes to reach optimal use numbers, I encourage you to have the patience to plan for our city’s future and not for the present.

Toronto’s population is increasing by 100,000 people a year. New condo buildings are springing up in every neighbourhood in the city. We cannot continue increasing our city’s density and expect all the new residents to drive, as we have no more road space for cars. We need strong alternatives, and cycling is one of them. Let’s build for the future by building strong transit and a functional bike network, not retreat into an impossible past by pulling up newly built bike lanes at the taxpayers’ expense.

Thank you for your time.

Beyond the iPhone 5: The future of Apple's mobile devices

some inspired speculation features discussion of an iPod Touch 3G aka iPhone lite for prepaid markets, and the unlikeliness that an “iPad HD” will show up this year. (via)

From Katamari Damacy to Glitch: Keita Takahashi Discusses His Newest Imaginings

I’ve just barely tried Glitch. I loved the Game Neverending, Butterfield’s previous game, and who doesn’t love Katamari?

Worst Song Lyrics Ever

This AV Club post about terrible lyrics reminded me of my favourite worst lyrics ever, which I seem to post about once every few years:

I was feeling no pain
Feeling good in my brain.

Tom Petty/Traveling Wilburys, “Last Night.” Like yeah he was feeling plenty good in his shitty brain, that he let that zinger make it to the record. To be fair, these are the following lyrics:

I looked in her eyes
They were full of surprise.

Kind of puts the savant back in idiot savant. There’s a story there, at least.

I’m glad Zack Handlen brings up Katy Perry – that song Firework drives me insane. OK so ostensibly it is about celebrating one’s individuality. Then why use the metaphor “firework”, a device so rarely used individually that the singular form of it just plain sounds weird? And in fact, if you set off a single firework, everyone would be profoundly disappointed. Perhaps the song is actually a subversive takedown of individuality, and I should recalibrate my distaste.

Bungie's Classic Mac FPS 'Marathon' Launches for Free in the App Store

back in the day I was such a Marathon junkie.

The Grand Rapids Lipdub

“This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly”. Holy shit. (via)

Toronto’s Bloor Cinema to reopen as documentary theatre