Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dancing iPod

Chicomathmom sent me this picture of her Halloween costume. I can't believe people at work were asking her what she was supposed to be! I must admit, the only iPods I've ever seen were on ads and store displays, but even I can recognize one.

Halloween Links

Look at This has posted a comprehensive look at Halloween, including the origins of the holiday, the many ways different countries celebrate, Halloween trivia, and a huge list of links to more holiday fun and information.

Every year, Forbes posts printable versions of celebrity Halloween masks. This year, the scary celebrities featured are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, OJ Simpson, Larry Craig, Britney Spears, Phil Spector, Michael Vick, and the 2008 presidential candidates. You can also access masks from previous years. (via J-Walk Blog)

Gothtober is a collaborative multimedia project featuring a different artist for each day in the month of October, with a nautical theme for this year. Move your mouse over the ship on the flash page to select a dat. There are videos, graphics, animations, and games. I spent way too much time on Pirate’s Hangman, which you’ll find on day three! (Thanks, Cristin!)

The Haunted Hospital. There's a live TV broadcast from there tonight!

Halloween Hangman!

The 10 Most Fascinating Tombs in the World.

Worth 1000 competition: If the Dead Ruled.

Kipling West is all about bats, especially this time of year!

38 Essential Facts About Frankenstein. And Nine More Frankenstein Facts.

More Halloween links.


1931. Starring Bela Lugosi. In its Entirety. Happy Halloween!

Freestyle Rollerblading Slalom

Xu Xinyu of China won first place in the the freestyle rollerblading slalom at the JeonJu Slalom in Korea last month. I didn’t find her age officially listed, but a commenter at YouTube said she is eleven years old. This video is her winning performance. The music is Exodus by Maksim. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

My Kids in Costume

My kids in their Halloween costumes. Gothgrrl is being rather gothic as a girl vampire. Princess makes a classy pirate.

Gothgrrl is excited about trick-or-treat. She bubbled, "I'm gonna be sick and get cavities!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Around the Blogosphere

Welcome back the blogosphere’s prodigal son, formerly known as FTS! His new blog is called Snowmansland, and he is going by the name Snowball. I think.

Homo Escapeons’ retirement from blogging didn’t last long. I, for one, am glad of it.

Chris at Death By Children has a ghost story that might make you lose some sleep tonight.

Jacob had a diving accident, and now he’s paralyzed. And his family’s insurance has reached its limit. PAgent’s son emptied his piggybank to help him. You can, too.

Britney Spears guest posts at Clueless in Carolina.

Lis B in da City writes about The Doe Fund. Every city should have such a program.

When Omegamom mentioned “laundry chute” and “cat” in the same post, I knew what was going to happen.

Robin Prosser

Medical marijuana has been legal in Montana since 2004. Robin Prosser was a registered user. Prosser was a former concert pianist and systems analyst. She suffered from an autoimmune disease that left her with chronic pain, unable to tolerate prescription painkillers. Last spring, federal agents confiscated her supply of marijuana. Prosser wrote about it for the Billings Gazette:
Four months ago, my medicine was seized in transit by the Drug Enforcement Administration. I've repeatedly asked Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Attorney General Mike McGrath, Rep. Dennis Rehberg and our U.S. senators for their help, for their protection. All defer to the DEA, who say they can't comment on an ongoing investigation.

I've had my medical marijuana confiscated by Missoula County sheriff's deputies, even though I had my registry card in hand at the time. It was never entered into evidence, I was never reimbursed.
On October 18th, Prosser committed suicide. She was 50 years old.

(via Metafilter)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fun Links

Comedian Stephen Colbert Reaches Double Digits As Third-Party Candidate. (via Simply Left Behind)

Stationery movies: Identify a feature film by these depictions in office supplies.

Sloth on a Date. A strange but beautiful viral video by Lorenzo Fonda.

The Top Ten Sexiest Commercials Ever.

Cat Found! Does this one belong to you?

Ten Geeky Wedding Photos. (via the Presurfer)

Thermostat kicks on. I LOLed.

Interesting Links

Another reason to walk home or call a cab. Hitchhiking can get you in trouble.

Da Vinci’s The Last Supper has been rendered as a 16 billion pixel digital image. It may take a while to load, but you can really zoom in on this one!

Money Pubs: Home of the World’s Most Expensive Wallpaper.

12 of the world’s weirdest destinations.

Ten of the Strangest Things Caught While Fishing.

The history of ships’ figureheads.

15 Great Decluttering Tips.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Kenova Pumpkin House

Ric Griffith carves over 3,000 pumpkins to decorate his home in West Virginia every Halloween! Last year, he built a wall of pumpkins and synchronized the lights inside to The 1812 Overture. This year, he’s putting in just as much effort. Read all about it at Neatorama.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My New Bathroom

I was planning to post "before" and "after" pictures, but I am grossed out when I look at the "before" pictures. I don't want you to feel the same way.

Halloween Links

Our Favorite Vampires. Which one is your favorite?

Frankenstein and the Wolfman videos!

Classic funny skeleton videos.

Thirteen Thriller dance videos, from Cebu to Iraq to Second Life.

Gruesome Halloween Party Food.

This Halloween. Nikki Katt is going to have a better costume this year.

Former Frontier Editor has a list of vampire castles!

Do-It-Yourself Halloween Decorations. I am amazed at some of the elaborate things people come up with.

A list of links to Halloween parties in some major cities.

Halloween posts at Miss Cellania cover these subjects: Horror Stories, Haunted House, Ghost Stories, Halloween Links, Skeletons, Halloween Candy, Halloween Costumes, Monsters, Pumpkins, Jack-O-Lanterns, Halloween Party, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Zombies.

Shannen Rossmiller

Amateur counterterrorist Shannen Rossmiller works from her office in Montana. She is monitoring terrorist sites, forums, and chatrooms on the internet.
We're monitoring jihadist chatter, and she has warned me that we're not likely to come across anything too dangerous. Home-brew cyber-counterterrorism, it turns out, is a lot like most police work — weeks of tedious beat patrols punctuated by occasional bursts of excitement. And the section of the Internet populated by terrorists is a lot like the rest of the Internet — only instead of commenting on, say, a video of 1,500 prison inmates performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller," everyone's chatting about the death of Americans.
The 38-year-old Rossmiller gets up at 4AM to check the ‘net before her day job in the attorney general’s office. She surfs at night and on weekends.
She has passed along numerous case files to federal authorities. Her information has led US forces abroad to locate Taliban cells in Afghanistan, discover a renegade stinger-missile merchant in Pakistan, and help another foreign government identify a ring of potential suicide bombers.
Read Wired’s in-depth interview with Rossmiller.

Big Dog Robot

This is Big Dog, which is supposed to be a robot packhorse. It looks more like the bottom half of two people. Creepy and fascinating. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eugene Lazowski

Dr. Eugene Lazowski took all kinds of risks in his plan to use the dreaded disease typhus to save villagers from death camps in World War II. He and his colleague Stanislaw Matulewicz injected healthy people with a killed strain of the bacteria to produce positive tests and cause quarantines.

In secrecy, Dr. Matulewicz tested it on a friend who was on special leave from a work camp in Germany. He desperately needed a way to avoid going back to face death in the work camp—and becoming just another number. He injected the man with the bacteria and sent a blood sample to the German laboratory. About a week later, the young doctors received a telegraph informing them their patient had Epidemic Typhus, which prohibited the man's return to the work camp. It worked.

Others were treated as well, creating fake epidemics. It is estimated that 8,000 people owe their lives to Dr. Lazowski. Read the story here.

Informative Links

Top Ten Most Unusual College Degrees. I would like to go back and study Adventure Recreation, but I probably need Comedy: Writing and Performance more.

How food scientists are going high-tech to bring you yummy flavors. As if we needed more incentive to eat food!

Hi-speed photography yields some very well-timed pictures.

The World as I See It, by Albert Einstein. There is no math involved.

Mind Tricks Explained: The latest research on déjà vu, out-of-body experiences and other head games.

25 Incredible But Real Houses.

The Temple of Boom: An Indiana Jones Home Theater.

The cow-eating tree of India. Does this remind anyone else of The Little Shop of Horrors?

The Top 15 Manipulated Photographs. Someone could make a lot of money selling the Katie Couric Treatment.

The house isn’t much, but the view makes up for it.

What would happen if you stayed awake for eleven days? I might get caught up with work, but I’d also be ready to strangle someone.

The Great Pizza Orientation Test. One half mushrooms, one half pepperoni, and one half silliness.


A new townhouse development in Toronto put up a billboard showing what kind of community they expect to attract. Someone who goes by the name Defy added cartoon balloons to each, voicing what the neighbors were thinking already. The street art has already been removed, but the pictures are on the net forever. You can see the whole thing in detail at Dead Robot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tsar Bomba

Tsar Bomba was the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. The 50 megaton bomb was detonated on October 30, 1961 at an altitude of 4,000 meters over a Siberian island in the Arctic Sea. The resulting fireball was seen 1,000 kilometers away, and broke windows in Finland. The seismic shock traveled around the world three times before dropping below measurable levels. The Soviets has designed a 100 megaton bomb, but had to scale back for testing, because they had no place to test it. You can see a longer video on the bomb here, or a shorter one here. (via Videosift)

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Real Robinson Crusoe

In 1704, Alexander Selkirk was left on a small island hundreds of miles off the coast of South America when he argued with his ship’s captain about the seaworthiness of the ship. He was right about the ship, but Selkirk spent four years and four months on the island, eating goats and plums and making friends with feral cats.

[Selkirk] was at first much pestered with cats and rats that bred in great numbers from some of each species which had got ashore from ships that put in there for wood and water. The rats gnawed his feet and clothes whilst asleep, which obliged him to cherish the cats with his goats' flesh, by which so many of them became so tame, that they would lie about in hundreds, and soon delivered him from the rats. He likewise tamed some kids; to divert himself, would now and then sing and dance with them and his cats; so that by the favor of providence, and the vigor of his youth, being now but thirty years old, he came, at last, to conquer all the inconveniences of his solitude, and to be very easy.

Read the story of the man who inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe at Damn Interesting.

Informative Links

A new record has been set for the Cannonball Run, driving from New York to Los Angeles. They averaged over 90 miles per hour for 31 hours!

American Lawbreaking: a series on the laws we are allowed to break in America and why. Too many laws lead to selective enforcement, or else we’d all be in prison!

The Top Ten Most Fuel-Efficient Cars.

Ten Amazing Lost Cities.

How to smile. Seriously, read how to smile genuinely and make yourself feel better, too!

Fantasy map of what Europe would look like if the Nazis had won.

Why we love Frankenstein’s monster.

What do celebrities blog about?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


To really get a taste of Vampire history, watch Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film starring Max Shreck. Originally released as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, this adaption of the Dracula story is a masterpiece of horror and still causes chills, dread, and nightmares. Read reviews and download it at Internet Archive. Watch the entire one hour, 24 minute movie with the lights off for maximum effect.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Weekend Fun

Gruesome Halloween Party Food.

Lots of classic internet zombie videos, in one post.

Vampire videos!

7 Reasons Frogs are Funny.

Existential prank: The Restroom Mirror. Funny as it is, it’s even funnier if you understand German.

Heavy metal umlaut: The Movie. A fascinating look at how Wikipedia evolves, using on entry’s changes over time.

Cereal Killers.

Get off my lawn!

If you’ve had just about enough office stress this week, the game Cubicle Freakout will help. Maybe. (via b3ta)

8 Superheroes Who Are Actually Douchebags. (via Gorilla Mask)

Pass the Head. (via the Presurfer)

A classic interview with Mel Blanc, the man of a thousand voices. Some of those voices were Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd. He was just as funny in his own voice!

An archive of the entire ten years of Calvin and Hobbes strips.

Bollywood Thriller (with subtitles)

You’ve seen Bollywood Thriller, here it is with the “misheard lyrics” treatment, discounting the fact that the song is not in English. (via Neatorama)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Political Roundup

Abstinence 1, S-CHIP 0.

Bush says he vetoed the S-CHIP bill because it’s one way to ensure he’s still relevant. Remember that the next time you pay for your child’s prescription that your insurance doesn’t cover.

Alternet has a slideshow of images from Andrew Lichtenstein's new book, Never Coming Home. It’s short, but powerful. (via Grow-A-Brain)

US Presidents are not supposed to say the words "World War III", especially when talking to other world leaders. But W did.

Charge it to my kids.

The United Nations took up a resolution calling for the abolition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for children and young teenagers. The vote was 185 to 1, with the United States the lone dissenter.

Job Security? The average American worker stays at a job only four years, less than half of the tenure of all European countries surveyed.

The Scary Consequences of Our Mindless Indifference to the History of the Constitution. (via Exploding Aardvark)

Oh NO! John Edwards wants to restore habeas corpus!

A closer look at the ‘errors’ in An Inconvenient Truth. This explains the difference between an error and an ‘error’. And a further update.

What cats know about war. (via Metafilter)

The Income Gap and the Education Gap. Why local funding causes the gaps to widen.

Fed Up with the Lawnmower

I've felt that way before, haven't you? (via Arbroath)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learn Something!

The Pledge to Not Suck at the Internet.

Ion Propulsion Helps Spacecraft Cruise Solar System on the Cheap.

55 Must See Movies of 2008. If I only see one of these, it’ll be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

25 of the Hubble telescope’s best pictures from space.

Paper, the hot new homebuilding material?

How to date a girl who is way out of your league. These techniques can also be used to date a girl who’s smart, funny, and nice.

Gossip might be more powerful than direct observation in determining how we judge people.

Why the upcoming World Toilet Summit is no laughing matter.

Funny Money: Strange currencies of the world.

Hang Gliding Everest

Think climbing Mount Everest is an adventure? It is! But on May 24, 2004, Angelo D'Arrigo surprised a group of climbers on Everest by flying overhead in a hang glider!

His adventure was filmed in the documentary “Flying Over Everest” in which D'Arrigo chronicles a key moment: "South of Everest and close to the peak, we ran into a gigantic area of rotor turbulence, which dragged the microlight violently downwards, projecting me in the hang glider upwards at the same time". However, the turbulence stopped and D'Arrigo was able to fly on over the mountains: "We were at a height of about 9000 meters; I was 500 meters south of Everest, about 150 meters over the peak... This was the moment, flying over Everest! I had succeeded in the attempt to fly my hang glider over the highest mountain in the world."

D’Arrigo died in an air show accident in 2006. His website is now a tribute to him. Read about the Everest stunt at Foganazos (with video). (via Grow-A-Brain)

Classical Interlude

The Imperial March played by the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra during a pops concert at the Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), Janesville Wisconsin, February 10, 2007.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The World's (Un)Luckiest Man

73-year old Frane Selak of Croatia has a 40-year string of near-misses that will curl your toes. He has survived train crashes, bus wrecks, car accidents, bizarre auto misfunctions, pedestrian injuries, and was even once sucked out of a plane! He survived four disasterous marriages, too.
By this time he was starting to get an international reputation for his amazing knack for survival. "You could look at it two ways," Selak said. "I am either the world’s unluckiest man or the luckiest. I prefer to believe the latter."

Lucky or unlucky? You’ll have to read about the amazing twist of fate Selak experienced in 2003, today at Neatorama.

Kobi on the Top Bunk

Lisa is a veterinarian with a three-year old Serval named Kobi. See more Kobi videos at Lisa’s YouTube page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Interesting Links

Funny Money: Strange currencies of the world.

Informational Cascade, or how consensus can be so wrong.

21 Facts about Internet History You Should Know.

The World’s Most Expensive Homes.

10 Fast Fixes When You Need Instant First Aid.

Cute alert: Teacup-sized piglet.

Donate your furs to the Humane Society for use in comforting wildlife babies. (via Scribal Terror)

PC World’s Favorite 100 Blogs. Congratulations to Neatorama for making the list!

Nature's Great Survivors: Water Bears. I had never heard of this animal that can survive beignn frozen, boiled, dehydrated, and irradiated.

How sick is too sick to go to work?


Pelosi says we are just 13 votes from being able to override Bush’s veto of expanded S-CHIP. How is your representative going to vote?

Dueling Bathrooms

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fun Links

Drive-By Projecting. A portable projector puts funny captions and images over people out after dark. Clever!

Chinese Culture Versus German Culture, illustrated with international symbols. This is by a Chinese who was educated in Germany, in order to amuse us all.

Spot the 5 Differences, a pretty game that is just difficult enough to hold your attention. (via Dump Trumpet)

The 5 Most Terrifying Foods in the World. This article is not for the squeamish.

George Lucas used the film The Dam Busters as inspiration for the Star Wars final action scene. Now see them edited together.

What the employees do instead of listening to the boss.

Embarassing movie posters. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Oh Noes! LOLcats are programming now! LOLcode. (Thanks, Ed!)

The Forgotten Scientist

People still think Watson and Crick are the ones who “broke the genetic code.” No, they discovered the double helix... from an x-ray taken by Rosalind Franklin. People forget, or never knew, that Marshall W. Nirenburg was the one who figured out the sequence of amino acids that program a living being.
In 1961 Marshall Nirenberg, a young biochemist at the National Institute of Arthritic and Metabolic Diseases, discovered the first "triplet"—a sequence of three bases of DNA that codes for one of the twenty amino acids that serve as the building blocks of proteins. Subsequently, within five years, the entire genetic code was deciphered.
So why doesn’t everyone know the name Niremburg?
“Personality, I guess,” Nirenberg says. “I’m shy, retiring. I like to work, and I’ve never gone out of my way to try to publicize myself. Crick told me I was stupid because I never was after the limelight.” In addition, Watson and Crick’s discovery yielded a simple, visually stunning image: a gleaming molecular spiral staircase. The genetic code, in contrast, was a mazeworks of forbidding chemical names, codons and complex molecular functions—a publicist’s nightmare.
At age 80, he’s still at work!
Nirenberg, 80, is now a laboratory chief at the National Institutes of Health, where he has spent his entire career. His otherwise standard-issue science office is distinguished by framed copies of his lab notebooks tabulating the results of his genetic code work. Many of the original documents and some of the instruments he used in this research are on display on the first floor of the NIH Clinical Center, in the exhibit “Breaking the Genetic Code.”
Read up on Niremburg and his work at Scientific American.

Fake Blood Out of Nowhere!

Scare someone this Halloween by making blood appear without cutting yourself! This is real science -the main ingredients are potassium thiocyanate and Ferric Nitrate. Get the printed instructions here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

High-Stepping Cockatoo

The Rockettes have nothing on this dancing cockatoo! (via a comment at Metafilter)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How To Make Giant Soap Bubbles

Those bubbles are BIG! This video contains the recipe for super-tough bubble formula. (via the Presurfer)

Friday, October 12, 2007

S-CHIP Fallout

Right wing pundits are attacking the messenger: 12-year-old Graeme Frost and his family. Even though this family should be an ad for everything the right wing stands for. If you have never priced and applied for private insurance …then you are utterly unqualified to suggest that others should do the same. Read the comments there for some hair-raising but typical stories of buying insurance. Even Michelle Malkin herself has run into problems trying to choose a health-insurance plan.

Lindsay Avner

Lindsay Avener was recently featured on CNN’s Young People Who Rock.

Albert Camus said, "There are some people who prefer to look their destiny straight in the eye." Lindsay Avner is, without a doubt, one of those people. At a healthy 23, she volunteered to get a double mastectomy because virtually every woman in her life, her mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunts and cousins, suffered from or died of breast cancer.

Avner took control of her own destiny after a blood test revealed she had a genetic predisposition to the disease. She didn't want to live in fear. She wanted to meet her future husband and say, "we got this out of the way so our family won't go through what I did growing up."
See a video interview with Lindsay at CNN. Visit her nonprofit organization Bright Pink, which provides education and support to young women at high-risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kawika Chetron

Underwater photographer Kawika Chetron posted beautiful pictures of undersea life at his website Cold Water Images.

His love of the ocean and its inhabitants are well described in this article at SF Gate.
Chetron was a man who lived in two worlds. In one, he was a big-league software engineer in Silicon Valley. He had a degree from Harvard, a master's from Stanford. His friends all said he was the most intelligent person they knew.

In his other world, he lived to dive in the cold waters on the edge of the continent, the world just under the surface of the Pacific. It was the place he loved best.

He came back from the depths with photographs of sea life -- animals, plants in purple, orange and pastel colors, pictures of tiny sea creatures, a shot of a rock cod waiting to pounce on a prey, pictures of a place that looked like another world, just below the surface, just beyond the shoreline. His favorite was a self-portrait with a harbor seal looking over his shoulder.
Chetron enjoyed just a few years of diving photography. From his site:
On Saturday, March 17, 2007 Kawika launched his boat in Eureka, California. When he did not return that evening, the Coast Guard launched a search, finding his boat Sunday morning. Kawika's camera was on board; Kawika and his dive gear were not. The Coast Guard continued the search until Monday evening. He has not been found.
But he leaves amazing images behind. Take a look at his gallery.

(via the Presurfer)

Fishing with the beloved wife

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Enjoy These Links

Do-Wop Bee-Jay.

Triumph of the Will, the Director’s Cut. Adolf Hitler bust some rhymes.

Classic drum battle: Animal vs. Buddy Rich.

Join the attempt on October 27th to set the world record for the biggest Thriller dance worldwide. Events are scheduled in 125 cities in 18 countries... so far.

WiFi Detector Shirt. This will be as handy to wear traveling as the Traveler’s Phrasebook T-Shirt. (via Cynical-C)

Cool video: skateboarding through a bowl of balloons. (via Cynical-C)

Best High School Athletic Team Name Ever!

Cracked has ranked the ten Manliest Names in the world. I thought Guy Man-Dude couldn’t be beat, but that’s just a gender trifecta with no real testosterone. And probably not the name he was born with. No, these ten guys are all very real, and sport very manly monikers.

Australian citizenship test. (Thanks, Whitesnake!)

2 Legit 2 Quit

Bringing back memories. (via MC Hammer)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Expedition 360 Completed!

Jason Lewis completed his round-the-world trip last weekend. It took 13 years, two months, and 23 days. Lewis is the first person to ever travel around the world using only his own power. He walked, bicycled, paddled, skated, and pedaled his way across 46,000 miles to complete the trip. He has been injured, chased by a crocodile, menaced by pirates, and questioned as a suspected spy. What’s next for Lewis? Check his website, he may say have new plans. (via Arbroath)

Informative Links

The Monkeysphere, or why you don’t care about 99% of humanity.

The 2007 Ig Nobel prize winners.

Online Music: 90+ Essential Music and Audio Websites.

The new Sony Bravia Playdoh bunnies ad. There are some questions about where the original idea came from.

The Weirdest Insects in the World.

Women, your finances are your responsibility.

The new Nissan Pivo2 concept car can rotate all wheels AND the cab! Bonus: robot included.

Educating children about disabilities. Remember, they see things differently.

Follow researcher Vanessa Woods as she studies Bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Effects of Global Warming

Global warming is apparently doing some really weird stuff! (via YesButNoButYes)

Monday, October 08, 2007

OmegaMom's supplies challenge

Omegamom is participating in the Donors Choose program, and has found three teachers who are asking for what seems like piddly amounts because they don’t have enough basic supplies for their classrooms. Pencil sharpeners, dry-erase markers, and staples. They aren't asking for the moon. If you want to do something good today and feel all happy inside, check out their stories and make a donation.

Funny Stuff

Be Careful! The world is a very dangerous place. Here’s a collection of safety posters warning you about the dangers of various animals. (via the Presurfer)

There are quite a few devices that allow a woman to pee standing up. One has a very interesting shape.

World Record Limbo!

The 12 Craziest Moments From The Late Show With David Letterman.

If this picture doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, I don’t know what will.

Could you pass eighth grade science? Yes, I can. I even got an A!

The ten worst presentation moments. Imagine speaking to a roomful of strangers you want to impress, and your requested PowerPoint is interpreted as an electrical outlet, or your shoes are superglued to the carpet.

Insane amusement park ride. I watched the whole thing, although it made my stomach queasy.

Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

The power of the edit menu.

What to say to a naked woman.

Should I stop playing this game? A decision matrix for married folks.

Lou Pearlman

Lou Pearlman was the mastermind behind a slew of boy bands in the nineties: The Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Take 5 and quite a few others. But he’s in hiding now. Vanity Fair has an in-depth look at Pearlman’s career, downfall, and the stories of sexual extortion.

Pearlman built quite a bit of wealth running two aviation companies in the 80s -a blimp advertising company and a charter place service. To keep both afloat, he needed investors. As the money flowed out, his tactics for attracting and keeping investors slid to the illegal side. He never had the assets or the insurance that he claimed to have. But investors, mostly retirees, kept the money rolling.

He jumped into the music business in 1992, after admiring the success of New Kids on the Block. He auditioned thousands of boys for his group, the Backstreet Boys, who became a worldwide sensation over the next few years. Many more auditions, and more bands followed. Pearlman wallowed in the joy of having so many young, attractive, and talented young men around.

Some, especially the teenagers, shrugged and giggled when he showed them pornographic movies or jumped naked onto their beds in the morning to wrestle and play. Others, it appears, didn't get off so easily. These were the young singers seen emerging from his bedroom late at night, buttoning their pants, sheepish looks on their faces. Some deny anything improper ever happened. But the parents of at least one, a member of the Backstreet Boys, complained. And for any number of young men who sought to join the world's greatest boy bands, Big Poppa's attentions were an open secret, the price some paid for fame.

Meanwhile, Pearlman’s blimp business fell to the wayside, and the charter plane business was found to be an elaborate exageration.

Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell couldn’t understand why the band members were only making about $12,000 a year when record sales were so hot. He sued Pearlman, opening the door for other Pearlman protegees to sue for profits due. The greatest payment the bands received was freedom from Pearlman’s control.

A family who had invested $14 million dollars in Pearlman’s schemes sued, also. In his defense, Pearlman used forged documets, a ficticious accounting firm, and a deceased tax attorney. One by one, investors started getting suspicious. Many had invested millions with Pearlman. One even committed suicide when he discovered the house of cards Pearlman had built.

He had left the country last January, just days before the state sued him, alleging that he had bilked nearly 2,000 investors, many of them elderly Florida retirees, out of more than $317 million in a Ponzi scheme lasting at least 15 years. A dozen banks also sued for more than $130 million in back loans. Later the indictment would come. Big Poppa, it turned out, had been an accomplished swindler long before he formed his first band. His were scams of jaw-dropping audacity. Pearlman's largest company, a colossus he boasted was bringing in $80 million a year, was … well, not. For years his investors, starry-eyed after rubbing elbows with 'NSync and the Backstreet Boys, never questioned his promises of forthcoming riches. When they finally did, he fought back with lawsuits, forged documents, and fictitious financial statements. When the truth began to come out, he ran.

On June 15, 2007, Pearlman was arrested by FBI agents in Jakarta, Indonesia. His trial is scheduled for next spring. Read the entire story at Vanity Fair.

The Miracle Beer Diet

That ‘splains it. I need to start drinking beer.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Around the Blogosphere

Nominations are now open for the 2007 Weblog Awards. Look through the list of categories and check the comments to see if your favorites have already been nominated. You can hit the + button to add a “me too” to a nomination. If you want to nominate a blog, you’ll have to register to comment. Nominations are open til October 15th.

Jennifer at Cocktail Party Physics recently married Sean at Cosmic Variance. Wishing many many years of happiness to you both! They should be back from their honeymoon anyday.

Congratulations to Slippy Lane and Zesty on their recent engagement!

Congratulations to Penny and her brand-new husband, who tied the knot on September 21st, and didn’t bother to tell us til October! I guess she’s been busy, do ya reckon?

Suzie-Q and Globel Evildoer Fighter are apparently "combining forces"... personally, that is. I wish them all the happiness in the world! Despite the announcement, they couldn’t stay away from blogging very long.

Mamacita is closing up shop at her blog. Good luck, and we’ll miss you!

Andrew at The Gunsmoke Files has an awesome post on the homeless in Denver.

Coleen and Sadie are off to obedience school. Sounds like fun!

Motherpie reminds us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hoss is full of stories from his trip to Hawaii. The zoo is pornographic, the Wifi connections are elusive, and they don’t serve grits. Otherwise, a great time was had by all.


I never heard of these guys til yesterday, but the music takes me back about 30 years. (via b3ta)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vodou Brooklyn

Stephanie Keith met a Vodou priest at a Buddhist interfaith event in New York. He invited her to photograph and experience the religious world of his Haitian culture. Ten ceremonies later, she offers her images and reflections on these late-night rituals.

Produced by Trent Gilliss and Mitch Hanley
(via Metafilter)

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Sad Story of the Singing Nun

Jeanne Deckers was best known as The Singing Nun, who had a #1 hit in 1962 titled Dominique. What happened afterward is the sad part.

She didn’t seek the fame the music business brought her. Her political beliefs caused a rift between Deckers and her superiors. She left the convent and tried to raise money by resurrecting her musical career, but never quite made it back. Later, she received an income tax bill for her profits from Dominique, years after all proceeds had been donated to the church. Her decline into poverty and substance abuse led to a double suicide in 1985. Read the whole story. (via Metafilter)

Political Links

Frontier Former Editor puts his feelings about Iraq into a few choice words.

What happens when you get rid of all the illegal immigrants. Some towns are rethinking their recently-enacted hard-line laws.

Economic priorities of the federal government.

Have you heard of Free Speech TV? Find out more at Simply Left Behind.

I always hated it when Ann Coulter was attacked for her looks. That’s so unneccessary. There are plenty of other reasons to attack her, like the things she says. There are too many jokes about her looking like a man, so she has to go and say things that proves she hates being a woman.

Iceland had exactly one troop in Iraq. But now he’s going home, and leaves us a farewell song. The Loneliest Icelander.

Can you think of a better caption for the new republican logo?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lise Meitner

How did a Jewish woman born in Germany in 1878 end up as a nuclear scientist? Lise Meitner discovered nuclear fission! At first she received no credit for the discovery because of who she was. Then she received “the blame”.
The Nazis, in the meantime, had been removing all traces of the Jews, and Meitner’s name was erased from all the research she had done. Perhaps because of this, Otto Hahn managed to convince himself–and the world–that the discovery of nuclear fission (Meitner coined the term) had been his. Hahn received the Nobel Prize in 1944. (Meitner never did.) For years, Hahn was listed at the inventor, with Lise Meitner occasionally mentioned as his assistant.

When the atom bomb was dropped on Japan, Meitner was upset, not only by the devastation but also by the sudden publicity: reporters on her doorstep; cameras in her face; phone messages and telegrams waiting for her reply. She had little to say. The bomb had killed 100,000 people, and suddenly she was being portrayed in the media as the person who had come up with the blueprint for it.

Read the entire story at Neatorama.

Freestyle Tuba

Oystein Baadsvik plays tuba like you’ve never heard before. (via Gorilla Mask)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Miss C, the Snake Wrangler

When we finally made it home from afterschool errands this afternoon, we found our cat Biscuit acting funny. Princess got down on his level to see what he was looking at, then jumped out of her skin. A SNAKE! A SNAKE! Mama!

Yes, there was a little snake, wrapped around the TV electrical cord. I tried to pick it up with a broom, regretting that I tossed the big barbecue tongs out a couple of months ago. Princess and Gothgrrl jumped around and made so much noise that the snake slithered under one bookcase, then another, and finally hid behind a wall heater. Oh, great.

I took the kids to church and promised to get that snake. Later, Biscuit indicated the snake was under my desk. I chased it around a while, and threw a small towel over it so it wouldn’t see me sneak up. Then it was easy to take it out. I’m glad I decided to keep it to show the girls, or else they’d never believe I caught it, or be able to sleep tonight.

Good Reading for Today

The sun ripped off a comet’s tail, and NASA has the video.

How to survive as the family tech support person.

Patrick Mallucci has thoroughly researched pictures of celebrity women to compile images of the best looking breasts. His work is supposed to help plastic surgeons create the perfect looking breasts when clients request some work done on their natural assets.

Study in rats suggests long-term, moderate consumption of alcohol improves recall of both visual and emotional stimuli.

50 Myths About Money.

Rethinking the age of sexual consent. Should sex with a 16-year-old be the same crime as the rape of a 5-year-old?

How to make moonshine.

Some folks are finding fame by leaving comments on internet blogs.

How to Accept Criticism with Grace and Appreciation. Learn this technique, and your critics will turn into fuzzy pink kittens.

The new Dove Campaign for Real Beauty video packs a punch.

George Takei is now a heavenly body, as an asteroid has been named in his honor.

A guide for Thai women on finding a foreign husband. (via Look at This)

Lovelle Svart woke up Friday knowing it was the day she would die. A story of a legal planned suicide.

Amish Grace.

Two Million Virgins

A new book called Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After The First World War by Virginia Nicholson tells how The Great War affected the women of an entire generation.

One hazy morning in 1917 the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School For Girls stood up in front of the assembled sixth form and announced to her hushed audience: "I have come to tell you a terrible fact.

"Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a statistical fact.

"Nearly all the men who might have married you have been killed. You will have to make your way in the world as best you can.

"The war has made more openings for women than there were before. But there will still be a lot of prejudice. You will have to fight. You will have to struggle."

Sitting in the assembly hall among her shocked and silent schoolfellows was 17-year-old Rosamund Essex.

She was never to forget those chilling words, recalling: "It was one of the most fateful statements of my life."

When Rosamund, who never married, wrote her memoirs 60 years later she accepted that her teacher's pronouncement had been prophetic.

"How right she was," she recalled. "Only one out of every ten of my friends has ever married."

Read more about Rosamund Essex and other stories of women whose lives were changed by demographics in this article at The Daily Mail. (via Look at This)

Rubber Biscuits

(via Tacky Raccoons)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good Blogs

Someone wrote me once and said it seems all the blogs he reads have the same material. That can be true, if you read mine and the blogs I work for and the blogs I cite. They are all linkblogs, looking for the latest and coolest posts on the internet. When a link is hot, you'll find it all over. But there are lots and lots of bloggers with talent and original material. I will try to post some of my favorite now and then, so you can explore different areas of the Blogosphere and maybe enjoy and learn something, too!

Today, here are a few bloggers who write well about what they do for a living. See, part of what makes these blogs so good is that these people have lives off the net. And they are very good at expressing themselves.

Waiter Rant is from a blogger who is also a waiter in New York. He posts stories about his experiences in various restaurants, his observations of diners, and things that have nothing to do with either. The writing is excellent. He has a book that will go to press very soon.

Random Acts of Reality chronicles the adventures of an EMT in London, England. The well-written stories are thought-provoking and often exciting.

The Blank Top Chronicles is by a guy who answers the phone for a DC cab company. Besides the wealth of material (never underestimate the stupidity of people demanding service), he tells these stories in a particularly hilarious manner.

Saw Lady (Natalia Paruz) is a busker and recording artist who plays the musical saw in New York City. She writes about music, life in New York, and the busker lifestyle.

There are more, and blogs on other subjects as well. Check these out, and I'll have more in the days to come.

The Bloody Benders

The Benders of Kansas were America’s first serial killers. They ran an inn in their tiny prairie home. The main draw was thier daughter Kate, who was not only attractive, but supposedly a psychic medium.

If a diner, overnight guest or séance participant appeared to be wealthy, he was given a seat of honor with his back to the curtain. While Kate distracted him, Old Man Bender or his son would sneak up to the curtain with a sledgehammer. They would then strike a savage blow to the top of the man’s head, killing him instantly. The body was then dragged back beneath the canvas and stripped. A trap door that led to an earthen cellar was opened and the body was dumped below until it could be buried somewhere on the prairie. A favorite burying ground was apparently an orchard that was located on the property.
Read more about the Benders at Dead Men Do Tell Tales. (via Metafilter)

The Last Laugh

Stadler and Waldorf signing off The Muppet Show every episode. (via Milk and Cookies)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Informative Links

Why Do Otherwise Normal Girls Refuse To Go Dutch? Here’s a breakdown of opinions, according to Gawker comments.

The Monkeysphere, or why you don’t care about 99% of humanity.

Never mind your carbon footprint; what will your asshole footprint on earth be?

It’s possible you’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Now here’s an explanation of what your initials mean that really makes sense. I am an ENFJ. (via Metafilter)

The 10 Most Fascinating Tombs in the World.

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Nothing. (via Bits and Pieces)

The truth about a career in marine biology.

Enter your zip code at ZIPskinny and find information from the 2000 census report.

The growing “happiness gap” between men and women. Thirty years ago, women reported being slightly happier than men. Now men are happier.

Exercise your brain by switching your mouse to the other hand.

How to catch a mouse without a mousetrap.

Weird and Funny Links

Robot Chicken does The Great Pumpkin. NSFW.

If you are a politician, and you are going to steal bandwidth, don’t do it to a b3ta member.

Rammstein is getting all traditional in preparation for Oktoberfest.

Non-Stop FAIL! This video may make you hurt.

Robot Chicken takes on the myth of the protective blanket vs monsters in the dark.

Headline of the week: Trouser snake kills Cambodian man.

If this picture doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, I don’t know what will.

Star Trek: TNG and The Love Boat. More eerie similarities than you can shake a stick at.

See what happens when you translate a phrase through several different languages. I put in “Never underestimate the stupidity of large groups.” And received “Too much the great group not never is a form of the analysis that not nonstupid in the possession of the order no.”

A Tough Dance

A Tough Dance. The film is from 1902 (originally silent); the song is from 1905.