Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shakespeare Behind Bars

Shakespeare Behind Bars is a compelling film that follows an all-male Shakespearean theater company composed of convicted felons. For one year, while incarcerated at Kentucky's Luther Luckett prison, the cast rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare's great last play, The Tempest.

Fun and Funny Links

The worst place to put ANY tattoo is on your forehead, but some people insist on putting terrible things right up front.

The House of the Future. Sometimes it just takes one little detail to seal the deal of a lifetime.

The 7 Most Amazing One-Take Video Clips. Some of these would still be amazing if they had been edited.

100 Greatest Viral Videos in 4 Minutes. Were there really 100? It was only three-and-a-half minutes. I recognized all but two.

30 Dumb Inventions. Yeah, the cigarette umbrella is dumb, but the rocket belt is to die for!

Andy Woodruff noticed that Ohio has 88 counties, so he went to work on a map application that assigns a piano note to each county. The map is a musical instrument you can play! (via the Presurfer)

Skateboarders fly down the streets of San Francisco in the dark to connect glowing Tetris-like shapes. The points should go to the ones who don’t injure themselves!

Conan the kitten doesn’t like to be left alone. And he won’t hesitate to tell you about it.

Bird Loves Egyptian Music

(via Arbroath)

Update: This bird is Frosty, an this is the original video. His owner Karla says many different versions have been made and disseminated, so I decided to replace the "Egyptian" version with the original. (Thanks, Karla!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Somewhat More Realistic Cartoon Characters

Trying to improve upon classic comic and cartoon characters is like messing with Mother Nature. Still, there’s nothing wrong with re-imagining a character from a different point of view. Tools like Photoshop make it easier than ever to give texture and shadow to plain line drawings, so converting our favorite cartoon characters into a more realistic style is too tempting to pass up. This is sometimes called “un-tooning”. See eleven examples from different artists in this collection I posted at mental_floss.

Good Reads and Information

Three different missions to the moon have relayed back evidence of water. The findings of all three spacecraft "provide unambiguous evidence for the presence of hydroxyl or water."

The Fresh Loaf, a community for amateur artisan bakers and bread enthusiasts.

The United Nations is in session, with leaders and representatives from all over the world meeting to exchange ideas. Just how can they do that, when they speak so many different languages?

11 Famous Actors and the Big TV Roles They Turned Down.

The Story Behind the Story. As investigative journalism fades away, your news comes from those who have an agenda.

The story of the Gömböc. This man-made shape is the perfect Weeble when it wobbles but it won’t fall down.

Manzanar: America’s Concentration Camp.

Doctors Are Giving Heroin to Heroin Addicts. The program works to help them get it together for a post-addiction life.

The Star Spangled Banner

This is the way our National Anthem should be done. Of course, we don’t always have the luxury of such talented singers, but the style and arrangement here is awesome, too. (Thanks, Holistic CPA!)

Monday, September 28, 2009


From Wikipedia:

The Intruder is a 1962 American film directed by Roger Corman, after a novel by Charles Beaumont, starring William Shatner. Also called Shame in US release, and The Stranger in the UK release. The story depicts the machinations of a racist named Adam Cramer (portrayed by Shatner), who arrives in the fictitious small southern town of Caxton in order to incite townspeople to racial violence against the town's black minority and court-ordered school integration.

The film was shot in black and white on location in Missouri. The production was banned in East Prairie and Charleston because the local people objected to the film's portrayal of racism and segregation. Although it only had a budget of $80,000, the film lost money, as the major studios had predicted.[1]

Links for Fun

Jenny Slate said the f-word on her first SNL appearance over the weekend. Here are 10 other SNL f-bombs.

Tales of the Unexpected. (via Fark)

Donny will kick your ass. (Thanks, Joe!)

A real-life Saber-Toothed Squirrel!

11 Viral Videos By Celebrities That Absolutely Bombed. Merely putting a famous face in a web video is no guarantee of viral success.

Theodore Roosevelt said a lot by using few words. Some of his wit and wisdom is found in these motivational posters.

Elementary students at the Lewes New School perform David Bowie’s Changes. The original bass player is here, but the rest is all talented kids.

Carl Sagan sing A Glorious Dawn thanks to Auto-Tune.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fun Links

15 Most Embarrassing Cakes. Wouldn;t you love to be a fly on the wall at some of these parties!

Where the Wild Things Ought To Be. (via Super Punch)

Tom Delay getting in touch with his feminine side on Dancing with the Stars. (via Everlasting Blort)

You may be getting a laugh out of FMyLife, but remember there are always two sides to a story.

The greatest examples of Banana Art.

The Onion once again pegs us right where we live.

Jewish Haiku.

A Rather Depressing Gallery of Fat Superheroes. (via mental_floss)

Andy Griffith Theme

I’ll bet you didn’t know this had lyrics, did you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Brain from Planet Arous

From Wikipedia:

The Brain from Planet Arous is a 1957 science-fiction film concerning the idea of possession. It was shown as a double-feature with Monster from Green Hell from 1958 onwards.

An outer-space terrorist from Planet Arous, a brain creature named Gor, arrives on Earth and possesses young scientist Steve March. Gor then proceeds to use his vast, destructive powers to bend the world to his will, threatening to wipe out the capital city of any nation that defies him.

Meanwhile, another Brain from Arous named Vol arrives on Earth in the form of a dog, and explains that Gor is a wanted criminal on their world. His only weakness is the Fissure of Rolando and he is only vulnerable during one brief period when he needs to exit his host to absorb oxygen.

Good Reads and Information

“...young people today write far more than any generation before them.” That’s a good thing, but most of it is text messages and YouTube comments. What does this say about our overall literacy? (via Metafilter)

8 Weird Weather Phenomena.

A tile supplier in England makes ceramic tiles in Tetris shapes! Pick up to seven colors for the six shapes and design your own video game bathroom or kitchen. For faster installation, they also offer sheets of mosaic tiles with preset patterns. (via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)

6 Insane Dog Behaviors Explained by Evolution.

An experiment last year from the University of Toronto showed that thinking about an incident where the subject felt socially excluded led them to estimate the room’s temperature to be lower than those subjects who recalled a better experience. Three more experiments show the converse to be true as well: warm or cold temperatures affect how people perceive relationships.

13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares.

A 13-year-old girl refuses to obey her parents and becomes a national hero.

Pipe Dreams

Animusic brings us a lovely and surreal video of a fantastical musical dream.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reefer Madness

The classic from 1936. From Wikipedia:

Reefer Madness (aka Tell Your Children) is a 1936 American exploitation film revolving around the tragic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try "marihuana": a hit and run accident, manslaughter, suicide, rape, and descent into madness all ensue. The film was directed by Louis Gasnier and starred a cast composed of mostly unknown bit actors. It was originally financed by a church group and made under the title Tell Your Children.[1][2]

The film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use.[1] However, soon after the film was shot, it was purchased by producer Dwain Esper, who re-cut the film for distribution on the exploitation film circuit.[1] The film did not gain an audience until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and gained new life as a piece of unintentional comedy among cannabis smokers.[1][3] Today, it is in the public domain in the United States and is considered a cult film.[3] It inspired a musical satire, which premiered off-Broadway in 2001, and a Showtime film, Reefer Madness, based on the musical.

Fun Links

Can you name all the vampires on this t-shirt? You could win the shirt!

Bored farmers do clever things with hay bales. I’m getting some ideas for Halloween here!

4 Awkward Moments in Facebook "Likes". The best line: “How do I unclick?”

Holy Moley, it’s a wireless Rube Goldberg contraption. Nearness, a video by Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall uses RFID chips to activate each step. (via Boing Boing)

Hitler’s Diabolical Plan. (via Buzzfeed)

Come On Down!: 4 Great Moments in The Price is Right. And remember to spay and neuter your pets.

Secret of the Incas was the 1954 film that inspired Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels as well. Watch it in its entirety.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Informative Links

Wired has a collection of videos from the British Medical Association showing surgical operations from the 1930s. Be warned they are graphic, but at least they’re not in color.

The New Homesteaders: Off-the-Grid and Self-Reliant. When the robots/aliens/zombies take over, these are the folks you want to have as close friends.

The Arctic Circle is warmer than it’s been in 2,000 years. Scientists are noticing many changes in animal populations because of it.

Carl Jung’s final book might actually be published after almost a hundred years. Those who’ve read it say it’s a work of genius, or maybe psychosis. (via Metafilter)

15 Spectacular Sinks & Strange Wash Basin Designs. I want them all! And here’s more.

Cable trains run up and down hills in Europe through the power of gravity. Some are filled with water to make them heavy; one goes downhill on sewage.

What do you do when all else has failed to change your kid's behavior? As any experienced parent will tell you, chill out and let it go, at least for a while.

Normally, babies learn how to look at the world before they can communicate their experiences. The rare cases of people who have been blind all their lives and then had their sight restored offer scientists a unique opportunity to study how we learn to interpret visual signals.

The Stutter Rap

By Morris Minor & The Majors. (via Gorilla Mask)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Puppy Escape

Not only did she escape without damaging the crate, but she then tried to destroy the evidence! (via Metafilter)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! See lots of links and fun at Miss Cellania, and more pirate fun in the archives. Also check out how other people talk like pirates.

The Pirate Song

From George Harrison. Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fun Links

What if Raiders of the Lost Ark had been filmed in 1951? Charlton Heston would be the perfect casting choice.

Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences. The author of The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol can entertain completely out of context with his purple prose.

Look what 375 Days of Exercise an do! It can be done, if you can ever get past that horrible third day.

In this clip from National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles, two filmmakers study Johnny Rooks in the Falkland Islands. meanwhile, the birds sometimes called Flying Devils are having fun with the filmmakers!

Ants on a school trip! When chaperoning, always remember to count heads and take the roll.

The 15 Most Shameless Fake Photos Ever Passed Off as Real. They don’t even look real, but hindsight is 20/20.

Use this awesome and creepy Japanese generator to animate a still portrait. Or mug shot. Upload, wait, and click your mouse on it for the full effect. (via Fark)

Which goes faster, your sofa or your garden shed? I think the dumpster can overtake them all!

The Muppet Show’s Ten Weirdest Moments. These are exactly the moments that made it such a delightfully funny show. (via Look At This)

Can a preschooler stare at a marshmallow and not eat it if it meant getting TWO marshmallows just for waiting? This cute video is a recreation of a well-known experiment by psychologist Walter Mischel.

Woody Takes A Shower

(via Arbroath)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

10 Strange and Wonderful Umbrellas

Umbrellas are utilitarian objects that most of us have -unless we don’t. A wise woman (or man, maybe) once said you need three umbrellas: one to forget at home, one to leave on the train, one to leave at the restaurant. If you are the kind of person who can keep up with an umbrella, you should treat yourself to a distinctive and memorable accessory, like the ten featured in this list I posted at mental_floss.

Good Reads and Information

Photographer Howard Schatz took pictures of boxers before and after fights. It hurts just to look! (via J-Walk Blog)

One of my favorite scientists, Carl Zimmer has an extensive article in Time Magazine that looks at recent research on how your dog thinks. They are apparently smarter than they want us to know. (via Metafilter)

5 Facts About Woodstock The Hippies Don't Want You to Know. It’s not so much that these facts are secret, but 40 years later you might not know them. (via Fark)

How did our handwriting get so bad? Is there any need to learn proper handwriting in the modern world?

Seven New Rules for the First-Time Home Buyer. The best advice is to listen to those who aren’t going to profit from your decision. (via Lifehacker)

How the values of Wal-Mart are shaping the US economy. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

The 6 Strangest Coming of Age Rituals in the World. If we don’t go through any of these, can we stay young forever?

World Record or Genetic Cheat? Sean Konrad caught a world record 48-pound genetically-modified rainbow trout that escaped from a fish farm years ago.

As the new Dan Brown book The Lost Symbol is released, National Geographic takes a look at eight myths about the Freemasons and their symbols. Only the secrecy surrounding the Masons makes them seem eerily powerful.

Ducklings in the Pool

How do you get a family of duckling out of the pool? All they need are the right tools! (via Arbroath)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

Why parents should not be allowed on Facebook. Someone should explain to this woman that social networking is like gossiping on a party line, only a million times more public.

“Bacon is good for me!” This little boy has his priorities, and he’s not going to compromise on what’s important.

22 Awesome Ways to Reboot Classic TV. This time, Lassie an acronym for Lethal Anti-Terrorist Super Secret Intelligence Entity.

The 20 most Bizarre Craigslist Ads of All Time. I just wish we knew whether the deals worked out for these people.

This puppy is as agile as a turtle, but it’s okay because he’s adorable. Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Animal faces you can buy and wear. So well done, but oh so creepy!

A sloth goes on a date. I never understood how this campaign was supposed to sell Alfa Romeo cars, but it’s fun to watch.

6 Classical Scandals Straight from the Tabloids. Mom always told you to never trust a professional musician; that reputation goes way back.

Pachelbel Bedtime

Canon for kids.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sergeant Alvin York

Sergeant York has been called “the greatest soldier in history” for his exploits during World War I. But Alvin York never set out to become a soldier, and he never wanted to fight a war or kill anyone. In fact, what he considered his greatest accomplishments came after all the glory of his war exploits. Others tend to disagree. He was a true hero. Read why in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Information Links

The 19-year-old Hubble Telescope was refurbished earlier this year. The new, improved photographs have been released, and are eye=popping good! (via Neatorama)

The curious case of the game show neuroscientists, or how NOT to research an online community. Sometimes it’s not so easy to pull on over on large groups of internet users. (via Metafilter)

The art of car sales, from the salesman’s point of view. The more you are prepared for their sales tactics, the more you can avoid spending. (via Lifehacker)’

Sonification: A Little Data Music. Any kind of data with a pattern can be transformed into music, and there are several ways to do it.

Scientists can now levitate mice in the lab. They say they are doing it to help astronauts deal with low gravity, but you know they’ll be out on the streets with a tin cup impressing tourists any day now.

An 1857 letter from a slave to her former owner’s family will break your heart. On a lighter note, here’s an 1865 letter from a former slave who was by then a free man.

Your mother always urged you to sit up straight, and you should have listened to her. A study by researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain and Ohio State University finds that sitting up straight makes you feel more confident about yourself.

Things Mathematicians See at the Movies. Epidemiology, engineering, game theory, and balance theory all come up in movies you know and love.

Here Come the Duck!

From the Duck Fashion Parade at the Dubbo Show, 2008. (via Super Tremendous)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fun Links

22 Misspelled Political Signs. Remember, you don't have to be educated, or literate, or competent in order to vote in this democracy.

“...a video depicting a war between pirouetting soldiers holding cardboard guns, replete with a singing ghost and piles of amputated limbs, set to a song sung in falsetto by a band with a painfully hip name.”

The rise and fall of talented animator Ryan Larkin. Appropriately related to us in animation, by Chris Landreth, another talented animator.

Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles stocks 500 flavors of soda pop. In this video, learn about Romanian rose soda, the best-tasting diet soda, why glass bottles are better, and other fascinating facts about soda pop. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

50 things that are being killed by the internet. “The mysteries of foreign language” is mentioned as dying, but I’m still mystified by some of the Britishisms used in this list.

Kate Pong gives birth to quintuplets. But you shouldn’t assume too much about her just because she named them Barack, Bobbi, Beyonce, Earl and Tyra.

How do you write a review on music everyone knows from a band that recorded 40 years ago? Well, first you take your tongue and put it into your cheek. (via Metafilter)

Stuck on You, by Ray Stevens. Illustrated. (via Bits and Pieces)

Stickman Dance

(via Random Good Stuff)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

8 Odd Periodic Tables (and then lots more)

People love the Periodic Table of Elements, as long as they don’t have to deal with the actual chemistry. The design of the table can be used to classify, or just illustrate, all sorts of groups. Have you seen the Periodic Table of Elephants? See it and more in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Informative Links

The pharmaceutical industry has developed thousands of medicines that have saved millions of lives, but it has also used its marketing muscle to successfully peddle expensive pills that are no more effective than older drugs sold at a fraction of the cost.

The deaths of Cameron Todd Willingham’s children seemed like an open-and-shut case of murder by arson. Until just before his execution date, and by then it was too late.

How often does someone who draws super heroes get to become one himself? Comic strip artist Chris Weston suddenly saw the chance to use his skills to fight crime. Really. (via Metafilter)

Group Polarization: The Trend to Extreme Decisions. Rather than compromising, those who work in groups tend to exaggerate their preferences until they win something further than they really wanted.

Roxy Freeman never went to school until she was 22 and decided to go to college. She found the lifestyle that went with her studies to quite a challenge, and very different from the Gypsy life in which she was raised.

Nature’s Exotic Athletes: 12 Strange Animal Sports. No donkey basketball; these are activities creatures perform in the natural world.

Where Did All the Flowers Come From? Figuring out the evolution of flowers may be a matter of analyzing how the DNA of modern flowers works.

The 33 Most Deadly Substances On Earth. Most of them provided free of charge by Mother Nature.


By legendary animator Ryan Larkin, 1968.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

9 Spiders and the Stars They Were Named For

When I read that a new spider species was named Heteropoda davidbowie in honor of David Bowie, it reminded me of several other celebrities whose names were enshrined in taxonomy because there are so many new spiders being discovered as distinct species. With a little digging, even more star spiders turned up! See nine of them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Links for Fun

What do you do when you HAVE to have a particular sex toy, and the store is closed?

An update on the kitten found in Shanghai a few weeks ago. And she’s got eyebrows like this one!

The story of Paul and John, the neighbors who went to war over lawn chairs, has reached a turning point. Will John do the ethical thing, or the wrong thing that will make his neighborhood happy again?

Seven versions of Mahna Mahna. You can’t go wrong with a classic! Here’s one more.

People of Walmart is a user-generated image blog with a niche that’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Honestly, when you’re talking about the world’s largest discount store, where you can find almost anything you need 24 hours a day, it’s a wonder you don’t see more people shopping in whatever they slept in. (Thanks, Bill!)

A nervous bride and groom just plain lose it during their wedding vows. Too funny!

There will be balls touching. Not what you think.

The Kittens in the Toilet. The hard parts of growing up are the ones that stay with you. “Childhood isn't something I'd ever willingly inflict on anyone.”

Mario Theme on Euphonium

In the men’s room, where the acoustics are better.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

8 Attention-grabbing Soaps

At one time, soap was soap. You had your choice of deodorant soap or moisturizing soap, and maybe a few different scents. Today, there is no limit to the creativity put into a simple bar of soap. See an overview of eight soaps that will impress your guests in this list I posted at mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

30 Examples Of Life Imitating Art. Which is not difficult as the art imitated life already, but they are all cute.

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong when you try to rob a jewelry store with a sledgehammer. You may as well not have even tried, because these guys were expecting you.

Cats and Women: The Inevitable (and Oh-So-True) Comparison. (Thanks, Roy!)

A hidden gem in HTML.

The Timeless Wisdom of Larry David. The producer of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm shares personal one-liners that may become modern proverbs.

A compilation of classic viral videos featuring pain, destruction, and general failure. All shortened to the minimum, just like our attention spans.

In response to the news that Disney will acquire Marvel Comics, people all over the net are creating mashups of Disney and Marvel characters. A boatload of these are collected at Super Punch. (via Neatorama)

7 Iconic Characters They Saved from The Cutting Room Floor and the people who believed in them. This article from Cracked is worth a read just for the early concept drawing of Batman, but all the stories are interesting. (via Gorilla Mask)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Informative Links

James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D. is a professor of geography AND a scholar with the Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies. His website Geography of Coffee is full of information about coffee around the world, including the places coffee is produced, shipped, and sold. (via the Presurfer)

Why Craigslist Is Such a Mess. When you are the 800-pound gorilla, you don’t have to always look your best, and that’s part of the charm.

Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens are a sight for sore eyes in an urban setting. Kind of like walking through the produce aisle when the mist jets come on.

The Iraqi who saved Norway from oil. Take it from me, this story of a man who risked everything for his family is way more interesting than the title would suggest. (via Metafilter)

Paralympics Offer Wounded Veterans a Chance to Dream. The US Olympic Committee has an outreach program to get disabled veterans back into sports.

Top 10 Creepy Aspects of Victorian Life.

The Evolution of Space Food. The astronauts get better food while the airlines... well, less food on commercial flights can be a blessing.

The latest on Cash4Gold and their quest to sue the internet. Or at least anyone who mentions Cash4Gold in a less than golden light.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

10 Quirky Marriage Proposals

Since the mental_floss article Modern Marriage Proposals was published in 2007, I have read about many more marvelous methods men have used to asked for their sweetheart’s hand in marriage, plus a couple of proposals that started out traditionally and ended up in the news because of embarrassing unforeseen circumstances. See them all in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

When you really, really don’t want to deal with a client.

Where the Wild Things Are Cupcakes!

A Keyboard Cat you can make for yourself.

Generations Reference Manual (actually a chart). I declare this to be 90% accurate, at least for Baby Boomers.

Kids and Food Coloring. Don’t turn your back on them for a minute!

Can you name the top 20 countries that use the internet the most? In four minutes? I named 17, but would’ve gotten 19 if I could spell better.

The highs and lows of being a young man. This was just as valid 30 years ago when I was that age, right down to The Doors.

Ask some questions of a little kid and marvel at the genius (and not-so-genius) answers. There are many pages of delight. (via Ectoplasmosis)

On Nom Nom

(via Arbroath)