Browser Daily Newsletter 1285


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The Life And Times Of Kiss

Chuck Klosterman | Grantland | 10th April 2014

"There’s never been a band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose output has been critically contemplated less than the music of Kiss. Part of what makes the band so culturally durable is the assumption that you can know everything about their aesthetic without consuming any of it”. As for the music: "A few of these records are great, most are OK, several are bad, and some should be buried in sulphur" (10,400 words)

Looking For Tom Lehrer

Anita Badejo & Bem Smith | Buzzfeed | 9th April 2014

He was a maths prodigy; entered Harvard at 15 in 1943; "stood out for his wit and brilliance"; kept a stand-up piano in his room; joined the National Security Agency; invented vodka Jell-O shots; and sold 370,000 LPs of his privately-recorded songs by mail-order in the 1950s. But stardom bored him. In the 1960s he stopped performing. Went to teach at UC Santa Cruz. "His entire body of work topped out at 37 songs" (5,500 words)

Dark Joys Of Bengalcore

Marco Ferrarese | Roads & Kingdoms | 10th April 2014

Exploring the extreme-metal scene in Bangladesh with Adnan, a Dhaka lawyer who performs as Loki Nihilluminatus. The name of his band, Jahiliyyah, means “the state of religious ignorance before the Qur’anic revelation in the Arab world”. Epitaph of Plassey, a concept album from Severe Dementia, "retraces the 1757 defeat of the last independent Nawab of Bengal at the hands of the British East India Company" (1,500 words)

Leaving Afghanistan

William Dalrymple | New Statesman | 10th April 2014

Some good news from Afghanistan as Western troops withdraw. The presidential election went smoothly; turnout was heavy; the winner looks likely to be former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, who is well-qualified if "super-temperamental". According to a friend: "He is the sort of man who could easily order an execution in a fit of anger one evening, and deeply regret it when he calms down the following morning” (4,400 words)

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

Hunter S. Thompson | Rolling Stone | 11th November 1971

Weekend treat. Thanks to Longform (http://longform.org) for pointing out that this piece, one of the most influential and enjoyable magazine articles ever published, is available ungated on Rolling Stone's website. If you haven't read it before, seize the moment. And if you have, read it again. Just try and stop yourself: "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold ..." (22,900 words)

Hook Of Mormon

Bianca Bosker | Huffington Post | 9th April 2014

Mormon church lifts ban on social media, discovers that internet chat rooms are great places to recruit. People like the anonymity. It's easier than having "a couple of gangly teenagers" in your living room. "Whereas traditional Mormon missionaries convert, on average, six people during their 18-to-24-month service, the online apostles in Provo have averaged around 30 converts per missionary per year" (4,100 words)

Video of the day:  Crosswind Difficulties

What to expect: Planes manoeuvring to land on a windy runway

Thought for the day:

"Obligation spoils everything" — Emile Chartier

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