Mixed Media

Here Is a Video of 25-Year-Old Jon Hamm Being Super Awkward on a Dating Show

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 12:47 PM PDT

So, you're walking down a street and you see a sign or a building or a landmark and it triggers some long forgotten memory from your past and you're swept up in it and a wistful smile crawls across your face and you look up to the sky and put your hands on your hips and then you look down to the ground, then finally straight ahead, and you chuckle and my God, you were so young and stupid—but wasn't it good to be young?—but then you stop chuckling because you think about the memory more and you remember it in detail and my God, what were you doing, did you really act like that, did you really say that, my God, did you really look like that, and boom boom boom is the sound of your heart pounding and your anxiety is rising and you recall vividly that you didn't think you looked ridiculous when you were on this street corner when you were young and now you worry all of a sudden that you actually thought at that time—gasp!—that you were cool and fun and neat and attractive, and people liked you, you thought, but they couldn't have liked this person you're remembering because this person you're remembering, young you, is objectively humiliating, and now you begin doubting everything—is north north?—but especially yourself, that is what you doubt the most, because if you thought you were cool then and you were wrong, maybe you're wrong about thinking you're cool now, and maybe it's all a lie, everything you tell yourself about yourself, maybe you're not really very cool, maybe you're not really very happy, maybe you'll never be very cool, maybe you'll never be very happy, maybe your hands still sweat, and your lip still quivers, and your hair still looks all a mess, and oh God, dear God, blessed God, it's true, you think: you're still the same silly shamefully awkward 25-year-old you never wanted to be in the first place.

Don't worry. Jon Hamm was a super awkward 25-year-old as well and look at him! You're probably cool now, too.

(via Slate)

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George W. Bush Is a Far Better Painter Than He Was a President. Here's His Portrait of Vladimir Putin.

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 7:59 AM PDT

On Friday, NBC aired an interview with former president and aspiring painter George W. Bush. The president—talking to his daughter Jenna Bush Hager on Today—unveiled 24 portraits of world leaders.

It was only a little over a year ago that we learned of Bush's second act painting passion. Some people hate the paintings. Some people love them. Some people don't spend that much time thinking about them. Still others can't consider them without remembering that, you know, he was an awful president. I, for one, consider George W. Bush's public painting career to be endearing. He's not the best painter in the whole wide world, but he's not the worst. There's some skill on display, which is more than could be said for much of his presidency. Do I want to hang them in my house and look at them everyday? Of course not. But I've seen worse paintings. More than that, I've seen worse paintings painted by actual professional painters.  I'm no expert, but Bush's Putin looks pretty not-the-worst-thing-in-the-world to me.

NBC

The Tony Blair painting on the other hand is a little splotchy, but nobody can be perfect all the time.

NBC

4,486 American servicemen and women, and more than 100,00 Iraqis lost their lives as a consequence of the war in Iraq. Here is a clip of the president who led us into that war talking about his painting career with his daughter on NBC.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Is About Obama's Terror-Suspect Kill List, Say the Film's Directors

| Fri Apr. 4, 2014 7:23 AM PDT

There are currently no plans to screen Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the White House, as far as the film's directors have heard. But if it makes it to the White House family theater, President Obama would be watching one big-budget, action-packed, and Scarlett Johansson-starring critique of his controversial terror-suspect "kill list."

This isn't me reading things into a mainstream comic-book movie. It's what the directors themselves will tell you.

"[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller," Joe Russo, who directed the film with his brother Anthony, tells Mother Jones. "So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience...That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president's kill list, preemptive technology"—all themes they worked into the film, working closely with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

WATCH: Republican Presidential Candidates Compete for Sheldon Adelson's Attention [Fiore Cartoon]

| Thu Apr. 3, 2014 3:45 PM PDT

Mark Fiore is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a website featuring his work.

Elton John Is Getting Married: "We're Living in Extraordinary Times."

| Mon Mar. 31, 2014 8:58 AM PDT
From left to right: David Furnish, Elton John, and Bill Clinton.

Singer/songwriter Elton John and filmmaker David Furnish are officially getting hitched. The couple, who have been in a British civil partnership for nearly a decade, announced that they intend to marry in an English registry office in May, in an intimate ceremony, with their two young sons and a few friends.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Furnish referred to the recent legalization of gay marriage in England and Wales (Saturday was the first day gay couples could legally marry in England):

We don't feel the need to take an extra step legally. But since we're committed for life, we feel it's really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example...We're living in extraordinary times. My god, 20 years ago, when I started seeing Elton, if you asked me if I'd be able to get married, if I'd be able to have children, it was unthinkable, literally unimaginable.

You can click here to watch Elton John denounce Russia's anti-gay law during a Moscow concert last December.

Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard Stand the Test of Time

| Mon Mar. 31, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

Merle Haggard
Okie from Muskogee 45th Anniversary Edition
Capitol Nashville

Johnny Cash
Out Among the Stars
Columbia/Legacy

Merle Haggard album

Great singers sound better with time, regardless of genre, and country icons Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard hold up especially well, which makes these two vault-scouring projects noteworthy. Still, more than four decades on, it's impossible not to cringe at the small-minded, hippie-baiting sentiments of Haggard's signature hit, "Okie from Muskogee," but look past that unfortunate episode and rewards aplenty await on his reissue. (If it helps, Haggard later tried to distance himself from the song and embraced a more nuanced form of populism.)

Captured in his prime, Hag is a magnificent singer, boasting a rich, supple and stirring voice that could embrace western swing, honky-tonk and softer, nearly countrypolitan sounds with equal expressiveness, while his nimble band never loses the groove. This '69 live set—which sounds like it's been "enhanced" by extra overdubbed audience noise—includes some of Haggard's most soulful efforts, including "Mama Tried," "White Line Fever," and "Sing Me Back Home." The second disc offers another, less-successful live outing, "The Fightin' Side of Me," intended to capitalize on the higher profile generated by "Okie from Muskogee" the year before.

Johnny Cash album

As for the man in black, Out Among the Stars, a collection of previously unreleased recordings from '81 and '84, finds craggy-voiced Johnny Cash on the verge of separating from Columbia Records, his longtime home, and entering a period of artistic uncertainty that would end in the '90s with the career-reviving intervention of producer Rick Rubin. If the songs don't add up to a coherent album, there are still moments that entice, among them the heartbroken "She Used to Love Me a Lot," a rollicking duet with Waylon Jennings on Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" (also covered on Haggard's set), and "I Came to Believe," a moving statement of faith. Among the musicians recently recruited to fill out some of the originally uncompleted tracks are Buddy Miller and Cash's stepdaughter, Carlene Carter, who returns with an excellent new album of her own next week.

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Music Review: "SLC" from Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs' All Her Fault

| Mon Mar. 31, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

TRACK 1

"SLC"

from Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs' All Her Fault

TRANSDREAMER

Liner notes: "Don't get your hopes up in Salt Lake City/'Cause you ain't gonna have a good time," sing Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave (a.k.a. the Brokeoffs) on this jaunty country-blues shuffle, adding that you "can't get fucked up, can't get shitty" there in the heart of Mormon country.

Behind the music: The British-born Golightly, a former member of Thee Headcoatees and onetime Jack White duet partner, has 20 solo albums to her name. She recorded All Her Fault at home outside Athens, Georgia, where she shelters rescue horses.

Check it out if you like: Rootsy acts such as Pokey LaFarge and Alabama Shakes.

This review originally appeared in our March/April 2014 issue of Mother Jones.

Music Review: "This is Anarchy" from Tacocat's NVM

| Mon Mar. 31, 2014 3:00 AM PDT

TRACK 8

"This Is Anarchy"

from Tacocat's NVM

HARDLY ART

Liner notes: Fizzy punk-pop rules on this firecracker, an ironic look at entitled rebellion from singer Emily Nokes.

Behind the music: The quartet's past work includes "Death Fridge," about Anna Nicole Smith, and "Psychic Death Cat," about a feline that can foretell a person's demise.

Check it out if you like: The Ramones, Bikini Kill, the Buzzcocks, and Green Day.

This review originally appeared in our March/April 2014 issue of Mother Jones.

Here Is Some Pretty Great Advice About How to Respond to a Bully, Courtesy of Wil Wheaton

| Sun Mar. 30, 2014 5:55 PM PDT

Growing up is hard. Children are generally awful to each other. The world is filled with unhappy kids taking out their unhappiness on even less happy kids who then take that unhappiness out on still less happy kids. This cycle is often punctuated by tragedy.

People do this at every age, obviously, but one of the best parts of becoming an adult is realizing the shallow sophistry of bullying itself—that it has nothing to do with the bullied and everything to do with the bully's sick psychology. But when you're a kid and you already feel like you are alone and someone who appears to be popular and well-liked says something cruel to you, it can be hard not to think that they just may well have a point.

If time machines existed we could go and warn ourselves. "Look, young me, kids are going to say mean things to you but only because they're from a broken home and their father didn't go to their baseball game and they're beginning to suspect that maybe they aren't very bright and they have very little self-worth and they're trying to make themselves feel better about their own mediocrity by putting you in a position that allows them to think 'well at least I don't have it as bad as him!'" Then—poof!—we'd vanish in a puff of smoke and our young selves' would ride off to grade school with armor optimized for adolescence.

Sadly, time machines do not exist, but YouTube does! So, if you have a child, show them this video of Wil Wheaton explaining to a young girl how to respond to kids who may call her a "nerd."

It was taken at the 2013 Denver Comic-Con which was a year ago but Wheaton didn't post about it until today. It's pretty great evergreen advice, so enjoy. Happy Sunday!

 

Here Is a Wonderful Video of a 40-Year-Old Deaf Woman Hearing for the First Time

| Fri Mar. 28, 2014 8:35 AM PDT

Joanne Milne was born deaf and began to go blind in her 20s due to a rare genetic disorder called Usher Syndrome. Last month, at the age of 40, she underwent surgery to have cochlear implants installed. This video of her hearing for the first time in her entire life is the reason I can't get any work done this morning.

"It might be a bit overwhelming at first," the doctor warns before turning them on. That's an understatement.

"Hearing things for the first time is so emotional from the ping of a light switch to running water. I can’t stop crying and I can already foresee how it’s going to be life changing,” Joanne says.

Her friends made her a playlist with one song for every year of her life. The first one she heard was John Lennon's "Imagine."

Anyway, this is beautiful and amazing and, to be honest, I don't even like that stupid John Lennon song but I want to listen to it right now on repeat for an hour.

Happy Friday.

(via Gawker )