The Silver Trail: How An Italian Immigrant Made His Mark on Southwestern Jewelry

Jewelry made of turquoise and silver instantly brings Native American culture to mind. But much of the popularization of such jewelry came through a family of Italian jewelry craftsmen. Frank Patania, Sr. immigrated to New York with his parents in 1908 after training to be a goldsmith as a child. He was recognized as a talented jewelry designer even in his teens. But doctors sent him to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to recover from tuberculosis, and he opened a jewelry store there. And then another in Tucson.  

Frank Sr.’s designs stood out among the more familiar shapes of Native American jewelry, and in turn, his work influenced many artisans in the area. “He brought with him an Italian design sense, and worked silver in a gold and platinum style that made his pieces more sculptural and lighter in appearance than what was being done by Native Americans at the time,” Patania says. “His designs brought in clients who lived in the area part time and wanted jewelry that could be worn outside the Southwest.”

Although Frank Sr. did incorporate regional materials like silver and turquoise, as well as common motifs of Native American jewelry, his style blended these with European trends, such as the organic forms of Art Nouveau and the streamlined shapes of Art Deco. “Many of his motifs, like leaves, are not traditionally Native American, but they became ubiquitous in Native American work after he began using them,” Patania explains. “He brought an outsider’s design sensibility and work style that didn’t exist in the Southwest until he moved to Santa Fe in the early 1920s.”

The Thunderbird Shop also benefited from the expansion of Fred Harvey’s tourist company, which brought thousands of outsiders to the region, many looking for “authentic” souvenirs. Frank Sr. made jewelry for some of the company’s famous Harvey Girls as well as members of the Santa Fe creative community, including Mable Dodge Luhan and Georgia O’Keeffe. “His designs weren’t so regional, meaning his work could be worn with a wonderful fashionable impact in Manhattan, Chicago, or Kansas City,” Patania says.

The work was carried on by Frank, Jr., grandson Sam, and great-grandson Marco. Sam Patania talks about his family and how they influenced the jewelry of the American Southwest at Collectors Weekly.


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A Human-Robot Dance

Most TED Talk videos are lectures, but this is a dance performance, a pas de deux between choreographer and dancer Huang Yi and the industrial robot KUKA, which he programmed.    

(YouTube link)

When the robot apocalypse happens, KUKA will be the one to reassure us that it is all for the best. She might even bring along a cellist -or a robot who plays cello. -via Digg


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Smoking Babies, Assault Rifle Selfies And Other Oddities From The Dark Stock Photos Twitter Feed

It must be fun for photographers to take photos for stock photography sites, because they get to set up and shoot hundreds, if not thousands, of different shots just to make sure they're supplying stuff for every possible demand.

And since they're fulfilling a visual media need stock photographers get away with shooting stuff no other photographer could, like pics of smoking babies, suicidal Santa fans and teens posing for assault rifle selfies.

How much do you pay a baby to pose for photos anyway? Do you pay them more if they bring their own cigarettes?

Video game journalist Andy Kelly can't answer those questions, but he does have a knack for finding the darkest and most bizarre stock photos on the 'net, which he shares via his Dark Stock Photos Twitter feed. Give it a follow then sit back and watch the strange and demented photos roll in!

-Via Dangerous Minds


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18 Amazing Cat Room Designs For Your Inspiration

We know you are crazy for cats, but have you ever considered designating a room in your home as a playroom for your kitties? Lots of people do this, especially folks who have more rooms than they currently need. And there is no shortage of vendors who will sell you amazing climbing, hiding, and chasing contraptions for your cat. Or you could custom-build them yourself. Check out a collection of 18 rooms designed for the pleasure of cats at I Can has Cheezburger. -Thanks, hearsetrax!  

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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People Are Obsessed With Watching An Art Dealer Remove Varnish From A 200-Year-Old Painting

Bob Ross proved it can be very soothing to watch someone paint, and painting can be an extremely relaxing activity and a great stress reliever for the artistically inclined.

But watching art dealer Philip Mould remove layers of ancient varnish from a painting is like watching art magic in the making, as the subject is restored to her former beauty bit-by-bit.

People are so obsessed with Philip's classical painting clean ups that they begged him to start doing a live stream of his restorations, which probably won't happen, but at least Philip has begun posting short videos of the process.

And just so you can see how important Philip's work is, and what a drastic difference a little varnish removal makes here's a before and after of a fully restored painting. It's like washing your windows after driving through the desert!

-Via Distractify


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Moonlight Towers

In the late 19th-century, some towns used moonlight towers (or moontowers) instead of street lamps. These towers were very tall, ranging from 165 feet to 237 feet tall! The idea was to illuminate a large part of the city with one tower instead of putting lamps on every block, which was more expensive.

The towers were designed to illuminate areas often of several blocks at once, on the "high light" principle. Arc lamps, known for their exceptionally bright and harsh light, were the most common method of illumination. As incandescent electric street lighting became common, the prevalence of towers began to wane.

The only moonlight towers that still exist today are in Austin, Texas. The photograph above is of a moonlight tower in Los Angeles in 1882. -via TYWKIWDBI


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This Man Has A Collection Of Over 1,200 Messages In Bottles

Sending a message in a bottle is seen as something only castaways and the wrongly imprisoned do as a last ditch effort to be saved, but in reality people most often stick notes in bottles and toss them into the sea for fun.

And while none of the senders actually expect to receive a response to their letters many of the bottles sent off are actually found by people like Wim Kruiswijk of the Netherlands, who has found over 1,200 of them so far.

Wim has been collecting bottled messages since 1983, and apparently the Netherlands' Zandvoort coast is a prime spot to find stuff washed up on the shore because that's where Wim has found his entire collection.

(YouTube Link)

This short documentary by Great Big Story profiles Wim and his interesting hobby, and even though it's not profiled in the video the local museum in Zandvoort also has an interesting collection of stuff people have found on the beach.

-Via Boing Boing


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Action Jackson

The 1988 film Action Jackson starred Carl Weathers as a Detroit cop who investigates a murderous union-busting corporation. It was a box office hit, but critics found it lacking. Formulaic but fun, if you like action movies. Let's learn some more about Action Jackson.    

10. It was supposed to be a franchise but it never happened.

Despite the reasons this never happened the film titled Dangerous Passion was touted as Action Jackson 2 in some countries to capitalize on the success of the movie.

9. Carl Weathers came up with the idea while on the set of Predator.

It seems a little odd to think about another film while working on a film but Weathers’ idea was met with a great amount of approval.

Read more about Action Jackson at TVOM.


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Leggo My Eggo! - Apparently Frozen Waffles Are Brain Food, Who Knew?!


Leggo My Eggo! by Diablo Productions

Everyone has a limit to their patience, a button that can be pushed that activates our rage mode and makes us totally flip out, and for Eleven that button is pushed whenever someone refuses to leggo her Eggo. Those frozen waffles are more than just a meal for young El- they're a comfort food that helps remind her that she's not such a stranger to normalcy after all, and they're the only food that truly makes her happy. So if you want to stay on Eleven's good side keep your mitts off her Eggos, or you might end up with a splitting headache...

Show the world what happens when you mess with a psychic kid's favorite breakfast food with this Leggo My Eggo! t-shirt by Diablo Productions, it's one totally bitchin' design that's sure to blow people's minds wherever you go!

Visit Diablo Productions's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty cool designs:

A Tale of Two Strange Worlds! Big Wheeler Caffeinate! Bad Seed

View more designs by Diablo Productions | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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The Long Ethical Arc of Displaying Human Remains

People have long held a morbid curiosity about dead bodies, from public hangings to modern day exhibits like Body Worlds. Through our history, sideshows and museums alike put human remains on display, the only real difference between them being the stated reason: entertainment on one side and education on the other, with the wishes of the deceased and their descendants ignored. Most of the time. Only recently have the dominant societies of the world turned to respecting cultural beliefs about burial, with spotty results. Why do we continue to display Egyptian mummies when the practice of displaying Native American remains is no longer accepted? It all appears to come down to whether there is anyone left who cares.

Like the treatment of Native Americans, the collection of Egyptian skeletons is rooted in colonialism and a disregard for the wishes of the dead. But, while living Native Americans claim descent from their continent’s first peoples, the Islamic communities of Egypt do not claim continuity with the people who built the pyramids. And even if they did, mummies were gathered to glorify ancient Egyptians while Native American skeletons were long collected to dehumanize indigenous peoples. The modern-day Egyptian government has given its consent for the excavation of tombs.

While the article at Atlas Obscura mainly deals with the pubic display of human remains, there's still the ethics of digging them up in the first place. Where will we draw the line between grave robbing and archaeology? Should respect for cultural and religious beliefs override our quest for knowledge about ancient (and not-so-ancient) people? Should that respect hinge on someone complaining about it? Those questions are explored in a discussion at Metafilter.


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Builder has Truss Issues

Ken is going to show us how to set a roof truss when you are by yourself. What could possibly go wrong? Well, first off, he's setting trusses alone. If there was any day to call your idiot brother-in-law, this would be the day, even if just to have someone available to call the paramedics. Also, he's not wearing a hard hat, and he turned his back on the unsecured truss.

(YouTube link)

Luckily, the paramedics were not needed in this incident -or else the video would not have been uploaded. And the garage was eventually completed, and not by one man alone. -via Boing Boing


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Conservators Discover Grasshopper Stuck In Van Gogh Painting

Like most Impressionists Vincent Van Gogh liked to paint outdoors, setting up his easel in front of the very landscape he was painting in order to properly capture it's splendor.

And since Van Gogh applied a liberal amount of paint to the canvas to create the signature textural look of his paintings bugs would often get stuck in the globs of paint while they dried.

Van Gogh once wrote in an 1885 letter to his brother "I must have picked up a good hundred flies and more off the four canvases that you’ll be getting", so he was obviously used to having insects add their impression to his paintings.

But as conservators at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri discovered Van Gogh must have missed a few bugs along the way, because they found a grasshopper embedded in his 1889 painting Olive Trees.

Conservator Mary Schaefer discovered the insect, which she hoped University of Kansas entomologist and paleontologist Michael Engel could use to identify the exact season when the painting was created.

Sadly the insect didn't yield any clues to when the painting was created, but I bet conservators around the world will start poring over their paintings looking for embedded bugs!

-Via Mental Floss


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Cinemaps: Plotting the Fantasy Worlds of the Silver Screen


Take a stroll through fantasyland, courtesy of Hollywood and Cinemaps! The new book Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies features 35 beautiful full-color maps of your favorite fictional movie worlds that will help you relive stories from 1933's King Kong through modern classics like Mad Max: Fury Road and Guardians of the Galaxy. Artist Andrew DeGraff illustrates the geography, the path of the plot, and the mood of each adventure, accompanied by A. D. Jameson's essay's on each film. Neatorama is pleased to give you a close look at some of these maps, with exclusive commentary by the artist.
Continue reading
See more featured images over at Spotlight

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The German Town That's Literally Breaking Apart

Tom Scott has ended his tour of America and is back in Europe, finding places with interesting stories to tell us about. The picturesque town of Staufen, Germany, is one such place. A geothermal drilling operation in 2007 has caused the ground to swell up under the downtown area, and the buildings are cracking.

(YouTube link)

When the foundation underneath has moved, there's not a lot you can do for the buildings on top. Those buildings stood firm for hundreds of years, but in the last ten, they are crumbling. The problem is explained in depth in this article from the journal Geothermal Energy. -via reddit


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The Savvy Marketing That Put Marshmallows on Your Sweet Potato Casserole

In 1895, Joseph Demerath came up with a way to manufacture marshmallows in mass quantities, which made them affordable outside the upper class for the first time. This kicked off a marshmallow craze that lasted for the next twenty years or so -that is, if it ever went away. The Bunte Brothers were the first food producer to give away booklets of recipes to market marshmallows, and the custom spread to other marshmallow manufacturers who thought up hundreds of ways to use them in everyday cooking -including using them on sweet potatoes. Why this particular recipe became so popular involves an explanation of how sweet potatoes were prepared before marshmallows were available, which you'll find at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Flickr user Alexis Lamster)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Why Do People Still Think the Earth is Flat?

Raleigh, North Carolina, was the site of the first Flat Earth International Conference a couple of weeks ago. A few hundred people traveled from all over to meet with like-minded people who reject the notion that the Earth is a ball hurling through space. They believe what they see -and the things they choose to read and watch on the internet. They see the Earth as a flat disc, with the Antarctic as an icy barrier that keeps us from falling off the edge.       

(YouTube link)

BBC News spoke to several people at the conference about their reasons for attending. The next Flat Earth International Conference will be in Denver in November of 2018. -via Laughing Squid


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Die Of A Kombucha Overdose In Travel Oregon's Updated Version Of Oregon Trail

People used to risk their virtual lives along the Oregon Trail, facing wild bears, broken axles, starvation and the ever present threat of dysentery, all so the survivors of the trip could live a better life.

But now it's easy to move to Oregon and live the good life, and instead of risking death by dysentery gamers can risk death by kombucha overdose in Travel Oregon: The Game.

The semi-independent Oregon tourism group Travel Oregon created their homage to Oregon Trail as a way to engage potential visitors and show off all the amazing culinary adventures found in Oregon:

"The impetus for creating the game was to help educate folks about the range of winter activities in Oregon," Katie Meeker, Travel Oregon's Global Marketing Manager, told MUNCHIES over phone Monday. "We wanted to try to find a way to do that in an engaging way."

Travel Oregon: The Game comes with a pretty robust food and drink component, which is pretty cardinal to the real-life experience of Oregon as a tourist. "Portland's known for its food and drink," Meeker told MUNCHIES. "In terms of thinking about what makes an experience in Oregon great, that comes up a lot. It's sort of part of who we are. You will eat and drink very well."

Within the game, you can play the role of an apple farmer or winemaker (along with such vocations as yoga teacher, ski pro, rancher, fly fisherman, or, uh, surfer). You're then given the option of journeying to one of seven territories within the state and partaking in a number of activities such as foraging for truffles, getting ice cream at Salt & Straw, catching and cooking Dungeness crab, or even becoming an accidental sommelier. The list goes on.

At a variety of stores in different parts of the state, you can also purchase craft beer or artisanal coffee. Potential causes of death along your journey include falling victim to a food coma or ingesting too much kombucha. Choose your own adventure, baby!

-Via Munchies

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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A Backhanded Compliment

She wanted to say something nice about him, but it may be that she would have been better off saying nothing at all. I looked up "Pareto optimal" and went to Wikipedia.

Pareto efficiency or Pareto optimality is a state of allocation of resources from which it is impossible to reallocate so as to make any one individual or preference criterion better off without making at least one individual or preference criterion worse off.

So what she is saying is that he is the best he can be, considering what he has to work with. Not exactly high praise. She may as well have said, "Your feet don't smell too bad when you take a bath," except that he would have understood that easily. This comic is from Zach Weinersmith at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.


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Holding a Baby for the First Time

In this video experiment, Cut handed a baby to quite a few people who had never held an infant before. Watch their faces, and the awkward way they hold the child. Most found it a surprising experience. They all had different reactions when it was over. One contains NSFW language.  

(YouTube link)

This is also an illustration on how different the world is with reliable birth control. Once upon a time, it would be difficult to find an adult who had never held a baby, because people had many siblings over quite an age range before they ever dealt with their own children. -via Tastefully Offensive  

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Who's This? - Jack And The Blue Police Box


Who's This? by Karen Hallion

Ever since Jack cracked the Christmas code he's been looking for something new to obsess about, and as if he'd read Mr. Skellington's mind the Doctor appeared in Halloweentown. He didn't make himself known at first, since the inhabitants looked a little too scary for a casual meet and greet, but he left plenty of clues for Jack to follow knowing his curious mind would force him to follow the trail. And follow the trail is exactly what Jack did, discovering a fez, a striped scarf and a sonic screwdriver before coming across a curious blue police box sitting among the trees...

Turn a wardrobe nightmare into a geeky fashion dream with this Who's This? t-shirt by Karen Hallion, featuring a magical design that's sure to make your fellow fans grin with delight!

Visit Karen Hallion's Facebook fan page, official website and Tumblr, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

Who Shall Not Pass Chew Toy You Comin' Blondie? Yubaba's Bathouse

View more designs by Karen Hallion | More Cartoon T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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These May Be the World’s First Images of Dogs

Dog pictures! They've been around a long time. The oldest art that depicts dogs has been dated to between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago. Some of the dogs in the rock carvings appear to be on leashes, and could indicate that dogs were part of a hunting culture of the Arabian Peninsula in the pre-Neolithic era.

The hunting scene comes from Shuwaymis, a hilly region of northwestern Saudi Arabia where seasonal rains once formed rivers and supported pockets of dense vegetation. For the past 3 years, Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany—in partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage—has helped catalog more than 1400 rock art panels containing nearly 7000 animals and humans at Shuwaymis and Jubbah, a more open vista about 200 kilometers north that was once dotted with lakes.

Starting about 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers entered—or perhaps returned to—the region. What appear to be the oldest images are thought to date to this time and depict curvy women. Then about 7000 to 8000 years ago, people here became herders, based on livestock bones found at Jubbah; that’s likely when pictures of cattle, sheep, and goats began to dominate the images. In between—carved on top of the women and under the livestock—are the early hunting dogs: 156 at Shuwaymis and 193 at Jubbah. All are medium-sized, with pricked up ears, short snouts, and curled tails—hallmarks of domestic canines. In some scenes, the dogs face off against wild donkeys. In others, they bite the necks and bellies of ibexes and gazelles. And in many, they are tethered to a human armed with a bow and arrow.

The image above shows the rocks with color enhancements to highlight the carvings. Archaeologist Paul Tacon cautions that the leashes in the images could be symbolic instead of a realistic representation, but if the animals were real, why wouldn't the leashes be? Read more about the rock carvings at Science magazine. -via Gizmodo

(Image credit: Guagnin et al., 2017)


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Enchant Your Eyeballs By Watching This Creepy Cute Cartoon Entitled The Summoning

Practitioners of the Dark Arts utilize the skills they've learned in various ways, from casting spells to scrying to communicating with the dead, but only the bravest black magic users attempt a ritual of summoning.

Summoning opens a doorway to our world and there's no way of knowing what sort of creature will come storming through that doorway, but Claire the witch knows exactly what kind of demon she wants to import. If only she hadn't run out of troll fat...

(YouTube Link)

The Summoning was created by Australian artist Elyse Castro and released by Sony Pictures Animation and Frederator Studios on their Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel.

-Via Laughing Squid


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Rare Photograph of Billy the Kid Found at a Flea Market

For a hundred years or so, there was only one known photograph of William Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid. Two years ago, a second one surfaced of the outlaw playing croquet at a wedding. Frank Abrams, an attorney in North Carolina, saw that story and thought about a tintype he'd purchased for $10 at a flea market a few years earlier. It showed five cowboys posing as a group. Looking through other pictures of the Old West, Abrams was shocked to see a resemblance between the man at the right end of the group and Pat Garrett, the lawman who ultimately killed Billy the Kid. That made him wonder if the man appearing second from the left might be Billy himself.

Believing that his tintype photo might show the foes in happier times, Abrams spent months consulting with forensic analysts and professors, who confirmed that the photo likely depicts Billy the Kid and Garrett, according to Kim Vallez of Albuquerque’s KQRE News. A handwriting expert in Texas also matched a signature on the image to ten known samples of Garrett’s handwriting, reports Terry Tang of the Associated Press.

The 2015 image of Billy the Kid was valued at $5 million. Experts believe that the new picture with Garrett could fetch even more money. Read about the newly-discovered photograph of Billy the Kid, and about the relationship between him and Pat Garrett at Smithsonian.


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R. Crumb's Early Days As An Illustrator For American Greetings

Robert Crumb is a comic art pioneer, a trailblazer in the world of indie comix and one of America's most famous illustrators, but before he became the Big Cheese R. Crumb had to join the rat race just like everyone else.

At nineteen Crumb's art skills landed him a job designing cards at the American Greetings company in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met Harvey Pekar and other artists who inspired him to get out there and try to get paid for his comics.

Crumb's cards feature his signature art style minus all the pervy and drug-themed material found in his underground comix, and even though he didn't really dig the job the experience helped shape him as an artist:

Of all the big cities I’ve been in, Cleveland’s about the deadest or something. But that’s only in certain ways. In other ways I really like Cleveland, ya know? It’s like the lowest common denominator or something. Like you can get right down to basics here or something. Like in Chicago, Milwaukee, or Detroit or Denver or a lot of other towns, I can get a lot of attention from people who appreciate artists. Like I get a lot of ego build-up that way, but Cleveland’s a big dumb town.

I was here off and on for three or four years. I came here when I was nineteen after I left home to look for a job and to live with my friend Marty Pahls, and I was here like two weeks and got a job with American Greetings doing color separations. So I worked in the color separations department for about a year and then I was promoted to the Hi Brow department for about a year and then I got married and went to Europe and came back and worked American greetings again for about two months and then I decided to f@#k Cleveland and went to New York to try to make it big in New York.

I was there for nine months and I said f@#k New York and came back to Cleveland. Worked in Cleveland for about another eight months or something and then I went to San Francisco.

The boss kept telling me my drawing was too grotesque. He got me to draw this cute stuff, which influenced by technique, and even now my work has this cuteness about it.

Read more about R. Crumb's career as a greeting card artist at Dangerous Minds


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Weightless: Jean-Baptiste Chandelier

Jean-Baptiste Chandelier is a professional paraglider and videographer. This video shows him flying in places one shouldn't go and performing stunts one shouldn't attempt -at least without extensive training, legal permits, a safety crew, and some prudent Photoshoppery.

(YouTube link)

It's a beautiful video, and will make you feel uplifted for a while. And in case you missed the many ad placements, Chandelier is sponsored by Adidas. The song is "My Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit. -via reddit


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Start The Season Of Partying Off Right With A Festive New NeatoShop T-Shirt

T-Wrecked by Alan Bao

The holiday season is all about getting together with friends and family, enjoying the company of others and having a good old time- in other words the holidays are all about partying!

If you're a party animal who likes to show up in a shirt that makes a statement then you should head to the NeatoShop and grab a fun new shirt or hoodie that'll make you the toast of the town!

Not everyone looks forward to the holiday season

Merry Forking Christmas (White),Xmas T-shirt,Funny Jumper Humor Gift by Fizzy Bat

But if you fight hard to keep your spirits bright

You Gotta Fight by Rocky Davies

Then you'll spread the holiday sunshine wherever you go!

Solar System Pun by Cafe Pretzel

Continue reading

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

While the 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was more faithful to Roald Dahl's book of the same name, it is the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory that people recall fondly. The story is the same, but Gene Wilder gave the Wonka character charm and affection not found in Dahl's version. If Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a part of your childhood, you'll want to learn more about the production.

7. The actor playing Grandpa George was nearly blind.

The actor had lost much of his sight thanks to an exposure to poison gas in World War I, so he was instructed to look for a red dot that would indicate where he was supposed to look when speaking.

6. The chocolate river was made from water, chocolate, and cream.

There was 150,000 gallons of this concoction used and by the end of the film it was starting to smell terrible because the cream had spoiled.

Read the rest of the trivia list about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at TVOM.


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Things People Should, But Don't, Tell You About Having Kids

People giving parenting tips often come across as guilt-tripping, with the subtext being "You're doing it wrong." Reading this list, it occurs to me that encouragement, reassurance, and advice is much better given when people simply talk about their own experiences instead of telling you what you should do. We're all just doing the best we know how as we go along. Buzzfeed complied a list of reader-submitted observations about raising children and how it changes you (or most people, because there are always exceptions). They are spot-on yet hard to properly convey to someone who hasn't specifically asked about it.

1. That as your children grow, you'll miss the person they were.

"Where is that 3-year-old who crawled onto my lap to read books and covered the driveway with chalk art? Where is the 10-year-old who quietly drew for hours every night? Where is the goofy 14-year-old who told me hilarious stories about his day, every day? They're gone, forever." —Jessica Margolin

3. That for the most part, raising a child simply involves a lot of really boring tasks.

"Those moments of exhilaration or despair are real, but few and far between. There's no such thing as 'quality time', only 'quantity time' in which those extraordinary moments sometimes occur. I don't care about anyone who would 'take a bullet for their children' because we would all do that. What I care a lot about are the parents who simply show up every day. And the next day. And the next. Tying shoelaces, singing the f[*****]g 'Little Green Frog' song 50 times, keeping a running mental account of food intake to decide if the next meal should be heavy on the protein or fats or fiber, and smiling when their kids walk in the room even when they would kill for five minutes alone. Yep, these are the people who deserve an award for perseverance." —Imogen Moore

As to #1, the only thing you can do is to appreciate the new person your child continually becomes. And believe it or not, you'll eventually miss #3 ...a little. There are 24 of these observations in a list at Buzzfeed.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Climbable Christmas Tree

Jayne, the proprietor of the Etsy shop likekittysville sells cat accessories like beds you can hang on a wall. She also was kind enough to post the instructions for making the marvelous climbable Christmas tree she designed a few years ago that will bring your cats joy for many holidays to come. Jayne talked about how the idea came about:

“For years I’ve missed using my vintage aluminum Christmas tree, but don’t miss the kitty havoc that was decimating the tree and its vintage ornaments. I wanted a tree that’s not just cat-proof but cat-inviting. This tree has a Jetsons space-age look but is quite practical. It can be climbed but not knocked over. It can hold gifts, which saves floor space. The ornaments are cheap and easily replaced.”

It's six feet tall, and folds flat for storage until next Christmas. -via a comment at Fark

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The First Detective

The following is an article from the book Uncle John's Canoramic Bathroom Reader.

Sherlock Holmes, Jean Valjean, and the FBI can all trace their roots back to one Frenchman who turned a life of crime into a life of fighting crime.

SPLIT PERSONALITY

In 1809 a 34-year-old petty criminal named Eugène François Vidocq (pronounced vee-DOCK) was doing yet another stint in a French prison, this time for forgery. In and out of jail since he was a teenager, there were basically two Eugène Vidocqs: One was a hard-drinking brawler and womanizer who was quick to challenge any man to a duel. The other was a charismatic family man who had a knack for gaining people’s trust…so he could scam them. It was that persona that Vidocq used in prison to win the confidence of some of Paris’s most notorious criminals. And then he ratted out their plans to the city’s police chief, Jean Henry.

Why did the crook suddenly turn informant? For one, Vidocq was facing a long prison term and possibly the guillotine. But he was also growing tired of living life as a fugitive. He’d tried to go legit before, and this time he wanted it to stick. So after he proved his worth to Henry, in 1811 the chief arranged for Vidocq to “escape” prison, something he’d done for real many times before. After that, Vidocq became an undercover spy, working the streets of Paris. He burrowed into the city’s criminal underworld, often in disguise, and brought back what he learned to Chief Henry. The information he obtained put dozens of his former accomplices in prison …and sent more than a few to the guillotine. And he was just getting started.

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