[Surf’s Up, as published in The Telegram in St. John's on Thursday, March 8, 2012. Catching up, folks!]
This week’s digital tour involves a trip to the morgue (but not the mortuary, gentle reader), a global lesson in a maternal health, an evocative short film made here in St. John’s and a checklist for the pop-culture fan.
Most people know that a morgue is connected to things like autopsies, coroners and the deceased. You may not know, though, that the word is also used in the newspaper business, specifically to refer to the archives. Lively Morgue is a relatively new product from the New York Times that highlights some of the amazing photographs that the newspaper has published over the decades. The Times is using the Tumblr format to spread the project through social media. You’ll see wonderful images, like Yogi Berra demonstrating the terrible impact that being a catcher has on the fingers, or style-conscious New Yorkers struggling to stay upright during a particularly windy day. I can’t get enough of it.
Mama: Motherhood Around the Globe
Today is International Women’s Day. To tie into that, I picked this project, which highlights pregnancy and motherhood in different countries, while powerfully making the point that outcomes vary dramatically from one country to the next. Childbirth in poorer countries can definitely be a risky undertaking; it’s staggering to think that the creation of life can be so commonly associated with death. This is an undertaking of the International Museum of Women, a virtual museum which takes its online exhibitions to an audience that transcends walls, bricks and mortar. You might be moved by what you read; you can also, if you choose, take action.
NOTE: This video has been made private since this column was published
Kenneth J. Harvey is well-known as a novelist, but he has also been exploring his passion lately for film-making, particularly with short films. His latest is called Remains, a quiet, poignant piece featuring the St. John’s writer and actor Paul O’Neill. Harvey calls it a cross between fiction and documentary; we see O’Neill amid his own belongings, some related to his own personal history. But the film seems to be about something larger; with elegant, sombre piano from Bill Brennan, it’s bound to make you think about mortality, family, our material possessions and what we leave behind. Harvey says the video is available on Vimeo for a limited time.
Ever wonder what famous people play when they slip on their earbuds? Well, Spypod will give you that information, as long as you accept that it’s all fictional. It’s also entertaining and not nearly updated enough. Everyone from basketball sensation Jeremy Lin to R2-D2 is fair game; indeed, being fictional seems to raise the chances for an imaginary playlist being created in your honour.
EW Must List
One of Entertainment Weekly’s key features each week is the Must List, a rundown of 10 things in pop culture that the magazine’s editors believe you should know about. It’s also an app in its own right, and it’s actually much better on a mobile device than in print. Why? Because it comes augmented; if you like a song, for instance, you can instantly download it, follow the singer on Twitter or check out the official site. If a movie sounds intriguing, you can tap to read a review or watch a trailer. Best feature? You can mark favourites and save them to a must list of your very own, which grows larger by the week. I consider it my “must get around to watching some day” idea list.
Jokes By Kids
Like all good parents, I have learned over time not to wince or (worst of all) groan when I hear one bad joke after another. After all, letting kids tell jokes is part of how they develop a sense of humour, and even how they learn to tell stories. Jokes By Kids is a site we check out from time to time; even now, we take advantage of one-liners (yes, there are groaners aplenty) to keep the household laughs rolling along.
John Gushue is a digital editor with CBC News in St. John’s. Tumblr: johngushue.tumblr.com