Less work, more leisure? Sounds good to us.

From The Independent (UK):

Britain is facing return of three-day week

Shorter hours would be preferable to mass unemployment, say government sources

By Jane Merrick, Brian Brady and Cole Moreton
Sunday, 25 January 2009

The prospect of the three-day week returned to haunt Britain yesterday as it emerged that ministers are considering paying firms to cut hours in order to survive the recession.

Tens of thousands of businesses are already planning to scale back working hours this year in an effort to stay afloat. But as the country comes to terms with the reality of a recession, it emerged that the Government is looking at compensating employees, through their firms – thereby drawing comparisons with the shutdowns of the 1970s.

Ministerial sources insisted last night that a scheme to help compensate workers was “not imminent” but said it was an option being discussed. It would match measures introduced by the German government.

The Thatcher government brought in a short-time working directive in the 1980s to cover earnings lost through shorter hours. Such a move would cost the Government millions of pounds, but would be cheaper than the huge rise in unemployment benefit claims as a result of job losses.

Many firms in the car industry have introduced or are considering a three-day week, such as Bentley Motors in Crewe and Nissan in Sunderland. But the practice is spreading to the rest of the manufacturing sector, and business leaders fear it is only a matter of time before other industries resort to the measure.

Three-day weeks have been backed by the unions, whose members are happier to take pay cuts than lose their entire salary and pension benefits.

DAILY MAGPIE – Free Tuesdays at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

If you are beginning to hallucinate a desert oasis in the sea of ice that is currently blanketing New York City, it’s high time you took a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to absorb a heavy dose of Vitamin D from the heat lamps in the tropical greenhouses. Stop and take a deep breath of simulated humidity – I mean, warm island air. Spend some time communing with the cacti, ferns and bromeliads. Smell a flower. It will do your body good. On your way out, ease back into wintertime by taking a stroll through the frost covered Japanese zen gardens. If you go on a Tuesday, this entire experience will be as free as snow.

Date & Time:
Tues – Fri: 8am – 4:30pm, Weekends 10am – 6pm
Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Location: 1000 Washington Avenue / Brooklyn NY 11225
Directions: 2 or 3 to Eastern Parkway gets you directly to the main entrance (more options here)
Price: Free on Tuesday (more info on admissions here)

mad magazine made me the man i am today

Mad magazine formed my entire political philosophy and I’m insane and I love drugs. This screensaver is my new lava lamp. “What? me worry?”


Mad magazine

Is anything subversive enough to not be quashed by republican clusterfuck of money mismanagament? Not even the bastions of subversion can survive the last republican administration. There is no god, not even the one that we kill people for.
MAD magazine is going quarterly because Editor John Ficarra
said, “The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is that only every third issue of MAD is funny, so we’ve decided to just publish those.”

They tried, using the same formula that we are using here Arthur, except Arthur is more in the documentary style:

from the New York Times article march 28, 2001

“…The magazine has begun to include sexually explicit content and runs ”Monroe,” a strip about a dysfunctional family in which the father is a drunk, the mother a floozy and the son a dejected and alienated boy. Monroe has drunk bong water. He was forced into the car of a pedophile by his father, who wanted him to sell more school chocolates. His mother, who has a pornography site on the Internet, has slept with numerous characters, from her Tae-Bo teacher to Steve the lawn boy. His grandfather is a shellshocked World War II veteran who parades around the house in Nazi uniforms he stripped from German bodies.

The magazine’s parodies, which used to expose popular culture or give it a new slant, now often seem to echo society’s divisiveness.

‘It was a gentler magazine,” said Mr. Sacco, the cartoonist. ”It divested young boys of innocence, but in an easy way. The magazine I see now slams you over the head with much more prurient material. It is harder core. It is for worldly, deeply cynical kids, but maybe those are the only kids out there.”

Merriweather Postponed Pavilion

So if you’re in Southern California and you had tickets for one of the two canceled Animal Collective shows this weekend — canceled due to sickness, so no bad vibes — you are no doubt very bummed. Doubly bummed now that the AC site is encouraging ticket holders to contact the point of purchase for a refund, i.e. the shows aren’t being rescheduled.

Your contributing editor has been elevated to the point of ecstatic laughter at an Animal Collective performance on the Sung Tongs tour, and he has walked out early from a disorienting and rather grating show when they were out pushing Strawberry Jam. It appears as if this current tour was of a quality suggesting the former experience, as in true jam band fashion AC has been taking older songs from their back catalog and re-rubbing their edges to fit into the gloriously swirling forms of the transcendent Merriweather Post Pavilion.

To get a sense of what we Southern Californians missed out on, we direct you toward NYC Taper’s excellent AUD recording of their January 21, 2009 Bowery Ballroom show. Put the “My Girls” house-building anthem video on repeat, mute the audio and let the reel-to-reel roll. (Re: the video. How many granola jam-band credits do you get for rocking a headlamp on stage? Enough to counterbalance the lack of hairy chinspace?)

It was just last year that Arthur pal Zach Cowie, in his 2007 year-end list of favorite things, predicted that “homeboys are about five seconds away from having a tapers section.” Now, a year later, and this is definitely the reality. NYC Taper’s show is the best we’ve heard, but if you find something as good or better here in this Animal Collective dot org archive of live recordings, drop us a line in the comments.

And while we’re at it, Arthur contributor Trinie Dalton — who profiled AC for the cover of Arthur 19 (Nov 2005) — catches up with the band once again for LA Citybeat. Read “The Polka Dot Lives On” here.

Animal Collective will be back for shows all up and down the West Coast — including an already sold-out (DANG) stop at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur — in May.

Read a take on the aforementioned Bowery Ballroom show (written by one of our favorite Deadheads, natch) over at the Village Voice.

(thanks to Raspberry Jones for the AC dot org tip!)