thoughts and links

The Heaven’s Gate cult website is still up and running

If you go to, you’ll see a website that looks like it was designed in late 90s. It has the hallmarks of the web design that I learned in high school (I graduated in 2003). 

That’s because it was designed then. And it is still up and running — despite the fact that most of the people who built the website are dead. You even heard about their deaths.

That’s because the people who built the site were one of the most notorious cults in recent memory, the Heaven’s Gate cult.

Gizmodo delved into the still-functioning website and how it is still running all these years after the cult’s mass-suicide. The two who run the site are known as Ti and Do and they spoke to Gizmodo. Definitely worth a read.

It’s not at all surprising why Mark and Sarah were chosen as to run the website. They’ll answer your questions, but will never offer any information that hasn’t been directly prompted. They’re wary—and they have every reason to be. And that quiet reservation is what allows the website—not its keepers—to take center stage. You wouldn’t even know anyone was behind the scenes unless you knew where to look.

But why keep running? As far as Mark and Sarah are concerned, it seems to be more about keeping a promise than anything else. And if they do know what Do truly had in mind, at least for now, they’re keeping their mouths shut. But as Balch says:

[Do] was also very intent on going out with a splash, as one of the ex-members told me. Way back in the very beginning, they believed that they were going to fulfill prophecy by being assassinated and resurrected. Then the UFO would come, the space ship, and they called it a demonstration because this was going to be proof to the world of who they were. More than that, they believed it was going to be witnessed by thousands and broadcast around the world, So when they committed suicide, I think even though they didn’t use the term demonstration, it was the same thing. Going out with a splash—and they certainly did. So the website certainly could be the legacy of that.

One more thing: I had heard for years that the cult members wore Nike Cortez shoes. These are my favorite kind of shoes — they are comfortable and pretty much indestructible.

But when I looked at a photo of the aftermath of the mass-suicide after reading the Gizmodo piece, I noticed… hey, those aren’t Nike Cortez shoes.

They didn’t wear the Nike Cortez. Instead they wore the Nike Decade.

George Costanza, meanwhile, preferred to rock the Cortez.

Posted 9/18/14 @ 11:00 AM #

Bryan Cranston is a national treasure.

While he will always be known as Walter White, he has been doing some very funny things (and apparently some very good things on Broadway, as he is turning his Tony-award-winning performance as LBJ into a TV movie for HBO) since the end of the show.

From being a pawn shop owner with Aaron Paul to congratulating Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Emmy win by making out with her, he has stayed in the public eye and shown that in addition to being the menacing Walter White (and, in the early episodes, the nebbish Walter White) he hasn’t forgotten how to be hilarious.

This video promoting the MLB playoffs on TBS is the latest, and perhaps greatest, example. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of baseball and seeing Cranston reenact famous postseason baseball moments… well it’s just great.

Can we make this one-man show into a real thing?

Posted 9/16/14 @ 12:06 PM #

Real archaeologists don’t like Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is the most famous archaeologist, well, ever. And he’s not even real.

Real archaeologists? They don’t like him much.

“That first scene, where he’s in the temple and he’s replacing that statue with a bag of sand – that’s what looters do,” Canuto says, grinning. “[The temple builders] are using these amazing mechanisms of engineering and all he wants to do is steal the stupid gold statue.”

Think about it. Here’s Indy, in some ancient tropical temple whose booby traps have miraculously not turned to dust with age and humidity. All the ropes, wooden blocks, gears, whatever – they still function. This is a treasure trove of information for an archeologist. How did their technology work? How did they get that giant rock to the top of that ramp? What powered their poison darts?

But no, he goes for the least interesting but most economically valuable thing in the temple – a golden statue. A real archeologist would have taken a photo of it, told the Nazis they could have the stupid thing, and spent the next 10 years studying the temple’s booby traps.

The rest of us can keep liking him.

IKEA catalog announcement: It’s not a digital book or an ebook. It’s a bookbook. 

Posted 9/10/14 @ 11:57 PM #

John Oliver + Cookie Monster = greatness.

Posted 9/3/14 @ 10:00 AM #