The Uncanny Valley: Jumpin’ Black Flash, A Cape Cod boogeyman
May27

The Uncanny Valley: Jumpin’ Black Flash, A Cape Cod boogeyman

Spring-Heeled Jack, in addition to being the best-named apparition since the Mad Gasser of Mattoon, was a frequent haunter of Victorian London and, eventually, other parts of Great Britain. He was known and feared for his habits of sudden attack via tearing with metal claws and breathing blue fire, and the black-caped scoundrel often left the scene of a crime via inhuman leaps. There’s an odd echo of Spring-Heeled Jack in the pantheon...

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The Uncanny Valley: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
May27

The Uncanny Valley: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Behind the scenes at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke in the 1990s, Stephen Petegorsky made a delightful discovery: “hundreds of taxidermed animal specimens — most of them really ratty — stuffed in a storage closet.” He borrowed some stuffed animals for photo shoots, and used front screen projections to set the tattered taxidermed birds and mammals against evocative background scenes. Titles like “Fish,” “Bat,” and “Baby Crocodile”...

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News of the Weird: Revealing Art Class

Among the requirements of “Visual Arts 104A” at the University of California, San Diego is that, for the final exam, students would make a presentation while nude, in a darkened room. Professor Ricardo Dominguez (who would also be nude for the finals) told KGTV in May that a nude “gesture” was indeed required (and disclosed to students in the first class) as a “performance of self,” a “standard canvas for performance art and body...

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My Favorite Walk: An Occasional Pilgrimage to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Springfield
May27

My Favorite Walk: An Occasional Pilgrimage to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Springfield

On occasion, to keep up my health, I take a walk. Nearby my home in West Springfield is a mile-long stretch of sidewalk with no hills, few cars, and even fewer people outside. The homes are densely packed, and I wonder about the people who live inside. Over time, I’ve made up background stories for the places I most like: the house with the pink honey-bee “Welcome” flag flying above the front door; the squat, one story home with the...

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MGM Springfield Casino Mixtape: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Limber up! It’s time for this week’s jog over to the site of MGM’s new casino resort in Springfield’s South End. Once you start tracking an $800 million construction project, the hits just keep on coming. So put those ear buds in, and let’s catch up on casino news with an updated playlist: Police & Thieves: The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is working with local law enforcement on a new statewide research project to establish...

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Rapid Rise in Super PACS Dominated by Single Donors

The wealthiest Americans can fly on their own jets, live in gated compounds and watch movies in their own theaters. More of them also are walling off their political contributions from other big and small players. A growing number of political committees known as super PACs have become instruments of single donors, according to a ProPublica analysis of federal records. During the 2014 election cycle, $113 million — 16 percent of money...

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