Sunday, April 30, 2023
Carol Burnett ruled prime time comedy with her sketch series The Carol Burnett Show from 1967 to 1978. The show featured a regular cast of veteran comedians and guest stars. The sketches included recurring characters, ad libs, and a tendency for the cast to lose their composure. Today we would call it "corpsing," and it was often funnier than the script. Laughter is contagious, you know.
Carol Burnett celebrated her 90th birthday on Wednesday. There is no better way to pay tribute to this remarkable comedian than to watch her at work. The Carol Burnett Show's official YouTube channel compiled a collection of the best instances of contagious laughter getting out of control on the set. (via Born in Space)
Your kitchen may have a bunch of cooking appliances, from a stove to a toaster to a coffeemaker to a crock pot to a microwave. Of all those gadgets, only the microwave manages to cook without heat. Open it up, and the only thing hot in there is your food (and sometimes not all of it). If your glass or ceramic dishes get even a little hot, that's from the hot food in it, not from the microwave. How a microwave works without generating heat has some great benefits, like less energy use per item cooked, and not making your kitchen overly hot in the summer. But there are also some weird effects to this cooking method, which have to do with the exact chemistry of the food you're heating up, and the exact nature of the microwaves themselves. Some foods end up soggy or dry or both. You know that cold pizza turns out much better warmed in a toaster oven than in a microwave, and reheating rice is better if you cover it with a wet paper towel. But you can harness this weirdness by using a microwave to dehydrate some foods you'd have never thought of. Minute Food teaches us why microwaves are so weird, and how you can work around that strangeness. The video is only 5:16, the rest is an ad.
The evolution of birds has always seemed puzzling to me. There were once dinosaurs with feathers that didn't fly. There were once reptiles that flew (pterodactyls) that flew, and if they had feathers they didn't use them for flight. Why would an animal grow feathers if not for flying? And why did dinosaurs start to fly, anyway? A fossil discovery in 2007 shows us a weird transitional dinosaur/bird that illustrates how feathers really had nothing to do with the urge to fly. Birds developed the a wing first, and in fact some resembled bats more than they resembled the reptiles they were. Or were they? The fact that they ever got it together long enough to develop true wings and become flying birds is an astonishing turn in evolution. This video is only eight and a half minutes long; the rest is an ad.
Saturday, April 29, 2023
In 1944, the story of Captain America was serialized for theaters. It’’s quite different from the Avenger you know today. From Wikipedia:
Captain America is a 1944 Republic black-and-white serial film loosely based on the Timely Comics (today known as Marvel Comics) character Captain America. It was the last Republic serial made about a superhero. It also has the distinction of being the most expensive serial that Republic ever made. It also stands as the first theatrical release connected to a Marvel character; the next theatrical release featuring a Marvel hero would not occur for more than 40 years.The series is archived at YouTube if you want to watch them all. There are 15 episodes, with bonus material. (via Metafilter)
The serial sees Captain America, really District Attorney Grant Gardner, trying to thwart the plans of The Scarab, really museum curator Dr. Cyrus Maldor - especially regarding his attempts to acquire the "Dynamic Vibrator" and "Electronic Firebolt", devices that could be used as super-weapons.
In a rare plot element for Republic, the secret identity of the villain is known to the audience from the beginning, if not to the characters in the serial. The studio's usual approach was the use of a mystery villain who was only unmasked as one of the other supporting characters in the final chapter.
I have written extensively about parasites that turn animals into zombies, because it's a subject that never fails to turn into a horror story. Even more so because it's real.
Now we have Ze Frank bringing us up to speed on fungal parasites that do that, in his inimitable style. He starts off with fungal parasites in general before he moves onto zombification. He shows us three types of fungal infection that zombifies insects. Yes, cordyceps is there, as you would expect. Beware that nature is metal, and what the fungus does to an insect may be disturbing for anyone who has empathy for insects. Also this video contains NSFW language. There's a one-minute internal ad at 5:17.
This video from The Cut talks to a variety of women about wearing makeup and what it means to them. What really fascinated me was the point at which they all removed their makeup and show that there is almost no difference at all. It seems to me to be an awful lot of work with very little bang for your buck. But if it makes them feel more confident, more power to them.
On a personal note, I started wearing mascara as teenager because I had long eyelashes that were invisible because they were blonde. I honestly got a lot of notice after that. The only makeup I wore as an adult (outside of the occasional TV appearance) was mascara, but eventually my lashes didn't grow long enough for it to make a difference so I gave it up. Life is just much easier when you don't think about what your face looks like. (via Digg)
Um, why would you pour molten aluminum into a watermelon? Because you can? Will it explode? The Backyard Scientist shows us what happens, and it’s neater than you might expect. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Friday, April 28, 2023
Imagine if every creature in the animal kingdom had to battle against a punching bag. Now make it funny. That's what this video is all about. Every animal has their own strengths and weaknesses. If you don't have muscle, you can always confuse your enemy into submission, or even cause him to laugh until he falls. Jiemba Sands can imagine and impersonate it. Note that he doesn't always win the fight. A punching bag can be a formidable opponent when you are a just a tiny spider. Sands came about his athletic and artistic skills honestly, as part of the Sands Family Circus. That means years of training and practice. (via reddit)
Disney's big animated feature for 2023 is Wish. It combines computer-generated imagery with Disney's classic watercolor art. Just a glimpse at the wishing well will take you right back to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the stars may as well be that star Jiminy Cricket sang about in Pinocchio. We can tell from the teaser that it follows the Disney Princess formula, with a young woman protagonist, her funny animal sidekick, and an evil villain. The villain is King Magnifico, the ruler of Rosas. Wish stars the voices of Ariana DeBose as the protagonist Asha, Alan Tudyk as her donkey, and Chris Pine as the king. Wish will debut in theaters on November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, which sets Disney up for a Wish merchandising Christmas.
When Deadly Steamboat Races Enthralled America. (via Damn Interesting)
Jeanne Simmons' Womanscapes. Photography that melds bodies and the environment.
The great European house cat migration. (via Kottke)
An Honest Trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Age 80 is different in 2023 than in 1776 – but even back then, a grizzled Franklin led alongside a young Hamilton.
Almost Every Shelter Cat in Clever Video Gets Adopted.
A Brief Compendium of Places With Secret Passages. They either have a detailed history or else are still a mystery.
The new Star Wars video game drops today with much fanfare. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, featuring protagonist Cal Kestis. In this promo for the game, Cameron Monaghan is performing motion capture duties for Kestis (which he really did), and Mark Hamill is coaching him on how to be a Jedi, or at least play one in a computer game. (via Boing Boing)
The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library of Kansas created a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” to celebrate National Library Week. Thevideo for “Check It Out” includes a bunch of easter eggs for knowledgeable Taylor Swift fans. (via The Daily Dot)
(via Everlasting Blort)
A deimatic display is any pattern of bluffing behaviour an animal uses to scare off predators. This dead leaf mantis uses its front legs & wings to create the illusion of a toothed mouth— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) April 4, 2023
[read more: https://t.co/zSTcGL84sM]
Thursday, April 27, 2023
I thought you might enjoy a little mashup from There I Ruined It. We have the classic almost-instrumental by The Champs' song "Tequila" backing Freddie Mercury's singing on "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.
Magnets, how do they work? Here they are not so much working as playing. YouTuber Magnetic Games built a seven-note scale using magnets and the resonance they provide when they repel each other. After tuning the screws, he plays a couple of songs you will recognize. I'm not all that sure what he's doing in the second half of the video, but it looks like a lot of fun. (via Nag on the Lake)
The stereotype of Southern cooking is that it covers a lot of sins by adding butter, because everything's better with butter. Well, it's true, but you can also say that about French cooking. Deep-frying stuff in batter is typical of the South, yet it's also popular in plenty of other parts of the US. Casseroles are not limited to the South, either, as they are very common in the Midwest and in the Mormon corridor. So what really epitomizes Southern cooking?
To me, raised in a border state, it's the casual attitude towards measurements. I learned a few family recipes growing up, but I altered them past the point of recognition. Then I doubled them to feed a big family. Then I got into the habit of using what I have rather than what I'd have to run out to get. By the time my kids were old enough to ask me for those familiar recipes, it was hard to go through my usual sequence and describe what ingredients and how much of them I use. That's the heart of Southern cooking. You ask for the recipes you love from Mama or Grandma or the nice lady at the church, and they will write them down for you... at least the parts they recall. Grandma doesn't cook anymore and is a bit forgetful, Mama never measured anything, and that church lady doesn't want you to outshine her in cooking. So even if you follow the recipe, you'll have to suffer a crushing blow to your ego in your first failures, then experiment with it by adding a good amount of butter.
5 Historical Figures Who Were Assassinated in The Lavatory. It's not always good to be the king.
Gun Violence Is Actually Worse in Red States. It’s Not Even Close. (via Kottke)
Humans Ain’t so Tough. A science fiction short story. (via Geeks Are Sexy)
Whale Approaches Boat Captain To Ask Him To Do Her A Helpful Favor. (via Everlasting Blort)
Peaches Are Facing a Crisis. Bad news for farmers market devotees: Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on this year's crop.
In Oklahoma, a woman was told to wait until she's 'crashing' for abortion care.
In preparation for Volcano Preparedness Month, let’s review common taunts you should avoid:— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) April 25, 2023
-poking the volcano & saying “do something”
-“sure you were big in the 80s, so were waterbeds”
-“lahar? more like laharn’t”
-“yo mama was a big butte”
-“Mt. Doom did it better”
Don’t listen to him, Cascades, he’s just joshin’ haha we sure do love jokes here 😅— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) April 25, 2023
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
This hour long documentary was made for TV in 1991. You could call it a biography, but it's more about Groucho Marx's comedy career, and contains plenty of movie and TV clips that make it all worthwhile. (via Metafilter)
Laurence Brown grew up in the UK with his vision of America supplied by Hollywood movies. Now he is an American living in a house in the suburbs of Chicago. Let's find out how his expectations stack up against reality. In this video, he focuses on dog walking, rectangles, and door-to-door salesmen.
The Disneyland show Fantasmic! was improved exponentially last Saturday night when the final show of the day ended in the demise of the biggest villain. A 45-foot tall animatronic fire-breathing dragon caught fire and was immolated in a spectacular fashion. The cast and guests were evacuated, and firefighter eventually extinguished the blazes. No one was injured.
Eight-year-old Alissa Sizemore has taken dance lessons since she was four. In May of 2014, a truck ran over her right foot, and it was amputated below the knee. She was back in the dance studio even before she received her prosthetic leg. Less than a year after the accident, Alissa performed a solo at her dance school’s recital. The song is "Try" by Colbie Caillat, which Alissa says is an inspiration to her. Watch as she starts off dancing with her new leg, and then removes it for more freedom. The audience was impressed -and so am I! (via Buzzfeed)
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
In 1938, we had no transistors and certainly no microchips, and digital communication was a far away dream. Cutting edge technology was when Westinghouse figured out how to send commands to electronic machines over telephone lines by coded pulses. But that was nothing compared to the humanoid robot that the company debuted in 1938 at the World's Fair in New York City.
Elektro the robot was a wonder to all who saw him. He was able to perform 26 human actions including walking, talking, counting, blowing up balloons, and smoking a cigarette. You might wonder how a robot did all that without transistors or microchips. He wasn't a person inside a costume, but there was a lot of what we today might call mechanical shenanigans going on inside. But even if all Elektro's abilities were explained to the audience at the World's Fair, they would still be impressed. Read how Elektro really worked at Today I Found Out.
Cats are the perfect pet for most humans. They weren't so much bred for human companionship like dogs were, but they pretty much just fit into human civilization. That doesn't mean we can change their nature. Hannah Shaw, also known as Kitten Lady, is an ethical vegan. That means she doesn't eat meat because she doesn't want to cause the death of an animal. But she also knows cats, and their natural nutritional needs. That little ball of fur may be your cuddly sweetums, but he comes from a long line of obligate carnivores. Shaw explains the ethical way to feed your cat. Also, there are a lot of kittens in this video.
Switzerland is a small country draped over some tall mountains, yet it has developed ways to pack all kinds of modern infrastructure in with Swiss engineering and multiple uses of the land. Now, airports and military air bases need quite a bit of room and flat ground for runways, which is at a premium in Switzerland. So they built Meiringen Air Base in an Alpine valley that already had important public roads running through it. The highways run right across the runways! Yeah, there's a system in place to keep everyone safe. Most air bases are closed to the general public, but it can't be done here, so people come from all over the world to watch the military aircraft take off and land at Meiringen. Tom Scott added some more information at the YouTube page, explaining that the planes aren't stored in hangars here. They are stored in caverns in the hillsides! The Swiss know a thing or two about saving space.
Vehicle Recommendations for a Road Trip.
A Thread of Ugly Frogs. (via Everlasting Blort)
Make the Official Mocktail of the European Space Agency. It's one of 70 imaginative drink recipes.
John Boyega Reportedly Coming Back for New Star Wars Movie. (via Boing Boing)
IKEA Celebrates 80 years with a New Retro Furniture Collection.
Experimental Gel Killed 100% of Brain Tumors in Mice.
Universal Monsters: Which Creatures Still Work in the 21st Century.
This Prefab Home Was Installed On The Property In Just One Day. No, it's not a trailer. (via Nag on the Lake)
Wallace the bunny got the gift of a lifetime -for a rabbit. It’s a scale model cardboard castle and a Throne of Carrots! Let’s watch how he enjoys his new toys, set to the stirring a cappella rendition of the theme from Game of Thrones. That’s one lucky bunny. He won’t smile or say thank you, but you know he had a great time eating this set up. (via Neatorama)
Monday, April 24, 2023
Sure, your cat is cool. All cats are cool! But some cats have made a mark for themselves in history, whether it's for their own actions or because they belonged to an inspirational figure. After all, who inspired those inspirational deeds? In this video, you will meet military cats, science cats, literary cats, political cats, showbiz cats, and cats who happened to be in the right place at the right time. One cat even went to outer space! Incidentally, Nikola Tesla's cat is referred to as "Mačak." If that was the cat's name, it showed a profound lack of imagination, because that is the Croatian term for "male cat." But maybe the cat was named by another family member, because we know Tesla had plenty of imagination. (via Mental Floss)
In this sweet little story, a guy (Mr. Butter, we find out) wants ice cream but he can't catch the ice cream truck. So he decides to make some at home. The wordless story is already pretty surreal by then, but when the ice cream starts to make noise, his life changes completely and forever. You could compare this to Frankenstein, but this is ice cream. (via Laughing Squid)
Super Cool Cosplay: Zibartas as Pharah from Overwatch.
When did mass layoffs become so normal? A brief history of engineered job insecurity in America.
Driver Apprehended With Much Laughter.
A Black man and a Latino man disappeared within months of each other, after both of them got into a cop car driven by the same White deputy sheriff. Nineteen years later, we can all read about it. Or follow NPR's podcast series. (via Fark)
Five Deadly Incidents Involving Mathematicians. Sadly, mental illness played its part.
Taco Bell’s Innovation Kitchen, the Front Line in the Stunt-Food Wars. (via Metafilter)
The Brains of Lonely People Process the World Differently.
The Story of the Album Cover of Whipped Cream and Other Delights, One of the Best Selling Albums of the 1960s. See the parodies here. (via Strange Company)
All these guys rock the beards and ‘staches well, as we see facial hair styles changing over the past 200 or so years. What impressed me was how one famous personality (at a time) can set the style. Whether the men who adopted a style from a particular politician, movie star, or war hero were emulating their idols or just thought the look was cool is whole other question. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Sunday, April 23, 2023
A 42-pound cat named Patches came into the care of Richmond Animal Care and Control with a serious case of overeating. After some health assessment and a diet that shaved off two pounds, the shelter posted his photo on Facebook, saying, "Did you wake up today and say, “let’s adopt the largest cat anyone has ever seen”? If so, we have the cat for you."
Patches was quickly matched with a new owner who is committed to giving him a regimen of diet and exercise to get the cat down to a healthy weight. His new human, Kay Ford, had to have a second person help her carry Patches' cage out of the building. We wish him all the luck in the world on his diet. (via Fark)
In the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian, the catch phrase is "This is the way." The phrase was uttered 24 times during the first season and 11 times during season two, so we already knew that's just what Mandalorians say. But that wasn't enough for Disney/Lucasfilm, who are obviously wanting to make every Star Wars fan use it as a greeting. During season three, there are 187 instances of "This is the way." Auralnauts took notice, and also saw how it was almost always said it in a particularly rhythmic way, just perfect for an electronic slow march beat mashup. The total count for the series so far is 222, but there is a bonus clip at the end where it might be another instance. (via Laughing Squid)
Pecan, the well-dressed cat, rings a bell and receives treats for his efforts. You can see who’s training who here.
watergirlmv: I’ve trained my cat to ring a bell!
Pecan: I’ve got it made. All I have to do is ring this bell, and watergirlmv gives me a bite to eat! Even when she says we’re done, I can keep ringing it to get more. I sure trained her well!
(via Tastefully Offensive)
How do you accomplish American-style grocery shopping with no car? Where there's a will, there's a way! Yeah, this is staged, but it's pretty clever. (Thanks, WTM!)
Man picks up Groceries on Scooter 🛴! pic.twitter.com/puuu4geChZ— Levandov (@blabla112345) April 10, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Tim Burton gave us Corpse Bride in 2005, along with his usual gang, including Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Danny Elfman. It is a stop-motion animation that's also a romance, comedy, and horror film. Oh yeah, and a musical, too. Once you've seen it, the word that most describes it is "melancholy."
Laurence Brown and his wife have a cat, Kafka, who he is fond of, and a new puppy named Arthur, who he completely fell in love with. Like everything Brown has encountered in America, owning a dog is a bit different in the US, mainly because the terms we use are new to a Brit. That subject is enough to hang a video on, but along the way, we learn about his childhood dog, the history of the ASPCA, the dog training method he uses (a sponsor), the interactions between Kafka and Arthur, and finally we get to see Arthur's first visit to an automated car wash.
We can't watch a movie in a theater without popcorn, and we use it as a metaphor for watching anything entertaining, like a scandal or a political train wreck. But I've always wondered about the very first person to witness corn popping. They expected to get cooked corn, and and get explosions instead! However, that was so very long ago that there are no records of the incident. This Ted talk gives us the history of popcorn from the early Americans to today's theater staple, and also explain how it works. Something that struck me was that European pioneers in America referred to it as "parched corn." I had come across that term in many books as a young reader and never knew they were talking about popcorn! How did I never learn that? I suppose those are the kinds of thing Ted talks are for.
Once again, Cookie Monster is learning about staying focused and getting good nutrition by indulging in a movie parody. It’s called called “The Aveggies- Age of Bon Bon.” The Aveggies include Captain Americauliflower, Dr. Brownie, Onion Man, Black Bean Widow, Mighty Corn, and Zuchin-eye. Can it get sillier? Watch and see! (via The Daily Dot)
Friday, April 21, 2023
To find out why soda cans in Hawaii are different, you are going to learn more about soda cans than you ever thought you would. The reasons have to do with the confluence of product design, raw materials, shipping, and most of all economies of scale. Everything in the manufacturing industry has to do with economies of scale, where tiny little tradeoffs are made and the value of long-term investments must be compared to the value of short-term investments. The difference is also because Hawaii is unique, and that's what we love about it, even if you've never noticed the difference in their soda cans. (via Laughing Squid)
A new Netflix series called FUBAR will star Arnold Schwarzenegger as a retired CIA agent who gets called back into service. Sure, it's the action scenario you would expect, but the twist is that it's a family comedy, too. Why did Schwarzenegger decide to give a television series a try? It could be because no one really tried to recruit him for one before, with his extraordinary clout as a movie star and former governor of California. Schwarzenegger is executive producer of FUBAR, along with showrunner Nick Santora, so the governator probably has a lot of creative control over FUBAR. It's got all his tried-and-true devices: action, danger, snappy one-liners, international intrigue, familial relationships, violence, and the "I'm getting too old for this" shtick that gives new movies to old action stars. FUBAR will premiere on Netflix on May 25th. (via Digg)
You probably know the basics of how Anne Sullivan changed an almost feral blind and deaf child into the highly educated Helen Keller, especially if you've seen The Miracle Worker. But the movie only showed the most dramatic parts. There's a lot more to the story, about how Anne Sullivan came to have the skills she would need to take on such a challenging job. Besides the unique experiences that armed Sullivan for the task of educating Helen Keller, she also possessed a combination of stubbornness and patience that led to great things for Keller later in her life.
Take a Virtual Trip on a Space Elevator!
I don't know if we will ever have a real space elevator , but the
virtual trip will gave you some sort of perspective on how very high
that is. (via Damn Interesting)
230 Rare Classic Cars Are Going Up for Auction in the Netherlands.
The Sweet History of Lemonade.
A Peek at the Wicked Film. The first of two.
The Bay Area origins of ‘420’ are full of controversy. (via Boing Boing)
Marching Soldiers And Collapsing Bridges.
More Dracula Coming to Theaters in The Last Voyage of the Demeter. This one is no comedy.
The Fictional Brands Archive. So you'll be able to look up obscure pop culture references. (via Kottke)
Mom and Dad don’t think much of their sons using their phones at the dinner table. Dad has his own way of stopping all that, without raising his voice. I remember having to put my foot down about devices used during a family dinner, when the kids were a bit younger. Now family dinners are rare because the kids have other places to be. I can’t complain, though, as it gets me out of cooking. It would be different if we had sons at home, because teenage boys don’t want to miss an opportunity to eat. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Thursday, April 20, 2023
The movie Cocaine Bear is fiction, because we know that the real bear the story is based on died pretty quickly from consuming cocaine. But could a bear who drank 69 cans of soda pop go on a caffeine and sugar-fueled rampage? People near Earls Cove, British Columbia, might want to be on the lookout. That's where a bear broke into Sharon Rosel's car and helped himself to a ton of soda while Rosel could do nothing but watch. The bear spent an hour and a half biting off the tops of pop cans and drinking the contents. He started with the Orange Crush and went through them until he came to the diet sodas, then quit. Even wild bears have their standards. The bear left Rosel's car a mess, tearing up the leather upholstery, breaking off the door handle, and of course, spilling soda all over everything. (via Damn Interesting)
Buddy was picked up after being seen running loose on a high way in Germany. No one claimed him, although he is a unique dog that would never be mistaken for any other. First, he is huge. He also has heterochromia, meaning his eyes are different colors. And he's deaf. Not being able to hear doesn't keep Buddy from vocalizing, but it does keep him from knowing how different he sounds from other dogs. I have a deaf cat who yowls loudly. She's learned that it gets my attention, but she doesn't know that a soft meow would get the same reaction.
Jennifer and Thomas Maier made Buddy a part of their family, which also includes another rescue dog and a rescue cat. They appreciate Buddy's unique personality as well as his unique appearance. It's the happy ending all dogs deserve. You can keep up with Buddy and his housemates at Instagram.
Best Weather-Related Halloween Costume.
Jena Friedman Gives Male Comedians the Female Media Treatment. (via Metafilter)
The Curious Reproductive Structures of Poinsettia Flowers certainly look like Muppets.
ReaderSheds' Annual Shed of the Year Competition. Enter your shed by May 31st. (via Nag on the Lake)
Mark Twain’s Two Week Stint as a Confederate Soldier. It was a comedy of errors. (via Damn Interesting)
Why Barbie’s Best Friend Midge Was Once Removed From Shelves. (via Digg)
Take the Food Disgust Sensitivity Test- But Not While You're Eating. (via Metafilter)
Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, an Al Jaffee tribute. The latest from Tom the Dancing Bug.
YouTube member carsandwater continues his Red Hot Ball of Nickel series by seeing what happens when you drop one on a large jawbreaker. This one is a volatile combination. What you get is a volcano, complete with tremors, smoke, steam, and lava flow of hot, sticky sugar! That’s going to be a mess to clean up. (via Viral Viral Videos)