In a few days/months, it'll be time for you to take down your Christmas tree. In the meantime, anchor it down so it doesn't fly away. Otto Dieffenbach's tree might. He's the marketing director of Flyguy Promotions, a company that creates amazing aerial drones and RC planes. He doesn't explain how it works, but I'm guessing that it's powered by the magic of Christmas.
You are a unique person--just like everyone else! To show your individuality, wear the latest fashions--just like everyone else! Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom demonstrates our herd mentality in his new book titled People of the Twenty-First Century. Since 1993, he's visited major cities around the world, parked himself in one spot, then spent a couple hours photographing people who are dressed alike. You can see more photos from the series here. It's remarkable how many people neatly fit into particular fashion trends. I wonder how many of us do this unconsciously.
Trees come in all colors, and it just takes a sense of humor to turn a blue one into Cookie Monster! Redditor enhydra-lutris did just that, with a couple of styrofoam balls and a pillowcase for his mouth. Next project- baking lots of cookies to hang as ornaments! Santa might have a little problem taking them away from him, though.
One lucky little bear went for a float amongst the stars, and when ground control checked in he told them he was ready for a major award...in the form of a triple scoop ice cream cone! The view from outside the space shuttle was mighty nice, but that astronaut bear only had eyes for his delicious frozen treat, which sat just out of reach and was starting to float away in slow motion...
Add some adorable intergalactic flavor to your geeky wardrobe with this Astronaut Bear t-shirt by Mike Jacobsen, and show the universe how tasty t-shirts can be!
Better count to more than ten if you're playing hide and seek with these kids. They may need a little time to perfect their games. Remember when a well-draped blanket fort seemed to be the crucial factor in between you and everything/everyone else in the world? Those were the days, weren't they?
See all kids who are highly visible yet think they have the proverbial wool pulled over the eyes of the world here. It's a funny bunch of photos, I recommend it.
Joe Cocker is remembered best for singing “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which closed out his set at Woodstock in 1969, and for the love song “You Are So Beautiful.” He was also renowned for his jerky movements and sometimes incoherent lyrics, parodied by John Belushi on Saturday Night Live. In 1983 Cocker won a Grammy for the song “Up Where We Belong,” the duet with Jennifer Warnes from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. You might not be aware that he received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace in 2008. Today, his agent Barrie Marshall has confirmed Cocker’s death.
Last year his arena tour across Europe saw him achieve a number one album in Germany and give what was to be his final concert in Hammersmith, London, in June.
Mr Marshall said it was with "the heaviest hearts we heard that our beloved Joe Cocker passed away last night".
"He was without the doubt the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain and remained the same man throughout his life."
He described Cocker as a "true star" who was also "a kind and humble man who loved to perform".
"Anyone who ever saw him live will never forget him," he added.
Christmas is the king of commercialized holidays, the one time of year when we buy-buy-buy and give-give-give, but some of the crazy holiday themed crap some companies come up with takes the spirit of giving straight over the top!
Here are twelve of the strangest, WTF inducing Christmas themed products ever sold to a holiday merchandise hungry world. Time to update your Christmas list!
1. Santa Bathroom Set-
Sitting on the throne has never been more festive! Let Santa make your movements a little more pleasant, it's a lot like sitting on his lap only you don't get a candy cane when you're done...
It seems like most baby costumes take the fact that the baby can't walk into account during the design phase, but the look on this baby's face says wearing this Christmas Tree Baby Bunting is pure torture. Believe it or not some kids remember traumatic incidents from their babyhood, and they'll spend the rest of their lives plotting their revenge...
They say wearing an image of Santa's butt on your person will bring you good luck come Christmas, but it will also make you the butt of many jokes throughout the year.
Luckily, there are these Santa's Butt earrings, which are small enough to cover up if you have long hair. That way you can wear Santa's Butt all year long, and it will be your own little Yuletide secret.
Back when I had an “office” job, Christmas parties were great, mainly because that was a bit of time we weren’t working. And there was food. Then one year the boss decided that anyone who wasn’t actively working had to clock out for the party. There were only two of us at the party, the two who were legally logged on those hours. And therefore, only two of us brought food -the rest of the staff clocked out and left. The moral of the story is that people who aren’t paid to be there would rather spend their time with people of their own choosing. This skit from SNL is a bit of a fantasy, as jobs are too precarious these days for anyone to actually let their hair down during an office party. -via Viral Viral Videos
There are those who say that the online life is an empty one--that relationships that are mediated by an internet connection aren't real. A recent event on Final Fantasy XIV, an online role-playing game, evidences otherwise.
The player behind Codex Vahlda, a 50th level bard, was dying. He was 29 and going through renal failure. He was so well known and respected within that game that as he faced his final hours in a hospital bed, huge numbers of players assembled in the game to conduct a vigil. Mike Fahey writes for Kotaku:
Imgur user Aenemius, a member of Codex's Free Company on the Gilgamesh server, documented the steady stream of players arriving at the Free Company house to pay their respects. […]
According to Pattmyn, a real-life friend of Codex, the stream of the event made it into the fallen player's hospital room, so at the very least his family was aware of the massive outpouring of support. Pattmyn also reports his friend did not make it through the night. May he rest in peace.
I did not know Codex Vahlda. I couldn't tell name a single person in any of these images, character or real life. But I know the MMORPG community, having been playing the damn things for 15 years, and I know that whoever Codex Vahlda was, every single person in these images — in his final moments — cared for him like they were his dear friends. When a group of people is deeply invested in a virtual world, be it Eorzea or Azeroth or Norrath or wherever, there's a bond there that crosses any and all real-world lines.
Now for something ridiculously cute. This three-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf (the largest of the rhino species) is already a big boy. He requires a lot of nourishment. When the calf was not gaining as much weight as expected while living with his mother, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park staff began to hand-feed him the large bottle shown here every two hours. The as-yet unnamed calf, who gulps his bottles down, has gained weight ever since. Adding 30 pounds since birth, the rhino now weighs in at 190. Adult rhinos weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. The calf is watched around the clock by staff in the meantime, and is taken outdoors for exercise daily.
Once plentiful in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. The species is listed as endangered due to poaching. There are an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th of the species born at the park since 1975, making the facility the leader in the world for breeding of this species.
Roxy's Dream is a maker of custom pet furniture--especially geeky pet custom furniture. The company is named for the owner's late cat, Roxy. It produced this cat bed that looks like a high mileage landspeeder. You can see process photos here. Roxy's Dream notes that it took Padmé the cat only 10 minutes to settle into her new den.
A court case involving Sandra, a 29-year-old orangutan in Argentina may have ramifications for other apes, or even other non-primates. An animal rights group filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Sandra, alleging that her rights were being violated by her confinement at the Buenos Aires Zoo.
In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.
The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person”.
General George S. Patton (1885-1945) was a great American general who led armies to victory in north Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany during World War II. He had a larger than life personality and was, at times, as controversial as he was successful. In 1970, actor George C. Scott depicted him in the blockbuster movie Patton.
1. Gen. Patton believed that he had been reincarnated from many previous military lives. Specifically he believed that he had been a Greek soldier who resisted the Persian invasion of Ionia, a Roman soldier in the Tenth Legion under Julius Caesar, a Viking warrior, a Scottish Highlander fighting for the House of Stuart, a French soldier who escorted Napoleon Bonaparte on his retreat from Russia, and a member of a New York regiment during the American Civil War (8-9).
2. The opening speech in the film is a compilation of several that Gen. Patton gave (2).
(Images: Burt Lancaster in Run Silent, Run Deep and John Wayne in Flying Leathernecks)
3. Burt Lancaster and John Wayne were both considered for the role of Patton. Burt Lancaster was very interested and immediately agreed to the role before the first attempt at the film in the early 60s fell apart (38-42).
(Image: Ronald Reagan, Department of Defense)
4. Ronald Reagan wanted the lead role, but producers never offered it to him. He wouldn’t have had the time anyway, as he had entered politics by that point (66). By the time that the film was produced and released, Reagan was the Governor of California. He loved the movie and admitted that Scott did a better job in the role than he could have (148).
Those who work for tips are at the mercy of their customers. Sometimes, particularly during slumps in the economy, it pays to do whatever you possibly can to put the public in the mood to part with their hard-earned money. The people who made these signs for their tip jars are attempting to use humor to inspire generosity; it's probably the best approach.
See an amusing collection of these tip jar signs here.
Doctor Horrible Brain is cursed, which doesn't seem surprising considering he chose to become a supervillain rather than finding honest work as a lab rat or trash picker, but his curse doesn't stem from his career choice. No, Doc Brain is cursed because of his choice in friends, and now he's stuck with his henchman Pinky for the rest of his little rodent life. Every night that dimwitted Pinky slinks in to his operating chamber and asks him the same stupid question- "What do you want to do tonight, Doctor Horrible Brain sir?", to which the Doc inevitably answers "Try to take over the world, and find a new girlfriend, in that order!"
Share your love of classic cartoons, and cult classic indie flicks, with this What Do You Want To Do Tonight? t-shirt by Wirdou, and you'll never have to worry about anyone accusing you of having horrible taste!
Arcangelo, a woodworker from Italy, does amazing fantasy-inspired work. We've previously featured his pipe that looks like that of Thorin Oakenshield, a character in The Hobbit movies. He's made more Lord of the Rings pipes, such as this one called Shire's Blossom. It's made of olive wood and finished with shellac wax.
Continue reading to look at his other Lord of the Rings pipes.
Six-year-old Sadie Adam has been hearing impaired since birth. In previous years, when Sadia visited Santa, any communication she had with him required a sign language interpreter. This year, however, Westminster, Massachusetts Police Chief Salvatore Albert, who has played Santa for 15 years, learned sign language just so he could communicate with Sadie. The fact that Santa knew how to speak with her was an early Christmas gift to the little girl, who was thrilled. What a sweet story.
What in the world is this? It’s a watermelon, terrified because he is falling, no doubt thinking about the big mess his splat will leave on the floor. It’s a glass Christmas tree ornament available at eBay, and just one of a collection of 16 inexplicable, obscure, or just plain bizarre Christmas ornaments you can still purchase over the internet. See the rest of them in a list at mental_floss.
O Ghost of Christmas Future! I shall heed your kind counsel. Please continue to instruct me in the ways of generosity. May I suggest sending me a year's worth of issues of The Times from 1845? I could search for information therein about the needs of the poor in London.
Canadian couple Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted what they thought was a pygmy piglet and brought her to live with them. They named their pet Esther. Within two years, Esther grew to be a whopping 667 pounds! It was obvious that Esther wasn't a pygmy, but by the time they realized their mistake, the couple had grown to love her as a member of their family. They found her to be highly intelligent and good natured.
Steve and Derek's love for Esther changed their lives in more ways than one. It made them reconsider eating meat. They went from carnivores to vegans. The couple began to consider animals such a central part of their lives that they decided to start their own animal shelter. After raising over $400,000 on Indiegogo, they launched their operation. That Esther must be Some Pig!
There are quite a few places where early Americans left their marks, but did not leave us any explanations. European explorers had never seen anything like them, and local people said they’d always been there for reasons lost to time. Many of these mysteries are symbols or possibly language carved in rocks. One huge design in California wasn’t even discovered until a plane flew over in the 1930s! And then there’s the Miami Circle.
A recent discovery, the Miami Circle was only unearthed in 1998 when a Florida developer knocked down a 1950s apartment complex, revealing a circular pattern of holes in the limestone bedrock. Further excavation turned up tools similar to those used by the once-local Tequesta people, and radio-carbon testing suggests the site is nearly 3,000 years old.
The State of Florida now owns the plot, which still sits at the water's edge beside a series of high-rises, to protect it from developers. Archaeologists believe the holes are actually signs of a bit of prehistoric development: post-holes for some kind of permanent shelter.
This is Charlie, the star of a YouTube channel maintained by Kluna Tik. His owner feeds him and dresses him on camera. Charlie lives a wild, adventurous life. In this video, he dons a Santa Claus costume.
We've seen Rambro the angry ram smash a noisy quadcopter drone that got too close up in his biz. Here's new footage of what looks to be a mama kangaroo with her joey who wasn't going to take any chances with some annoying buzzy thing getting too close to her offspring. She picked the drone out of the air and smashed it. Why do I find footage of animals quickly destroying drones so satisfying? Should I seek therapy to work through my resentment of drone technology? Or should I simply make it a point to travel with Rambro and a 'roo whenever I'm in outdoor, open spaces? -Via Uproxx
In Poynter’s annual roundup of the funniest, weirdest, and most egregious errors and corrections, the top prize went to an incident in which a satirical website was quoted as real. That happens more often than you’d think. That’s just one type of error, and 2014 was full of them. One of the runners-up was from The Washington Post:
An earlier version of this story erroneously said that Joaquín Guzmán was found in bed with his secretary. He was found with his wife. This version has been corrected.
Oops. The tragedy is that corrections are tiny sentences in a box on an inner page, while the original article was probably front and center. Here's another, less tragic, correction:
This post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers.
There are also test pages that were published, stories that turned out to be completely untrue, and plenty of small but embarrassing errors that snuck into newspapers, news sites, and blogs. Oh yeah, and some serious journalism goofs, too. Read them all at Poynter. -via Metafilter
Ever since Photoshop came to town photos have become much less believable overall, because anybody can now erase, shape, edit, airbrush, color correct, clone stamp, warp, filter, soften via blur and add to any and all photos whenever they want.
Addition via Photoshop can be a powerful tool, and one little addition is all it takes to entirely change the meaning of a photograph.
1. Make 'Em Smile!-
Sharks already have a pretty toothy grin, but whether they're happy or not their smile looks like the stuff of nightmares. Thankfully Photoshop can help soften their image:
According to the movie, Rocky had no love for the trash talkin' Clubber Lang, but imagine how different that trilogy could have been if Rocky fought opponents in the ring, then had to fight for their hearts after the bout.
All it takes is one hand to change Rocky III from a sports flick to a tender romance:
When kids play in the mud it looks like a total disaster, but not the type of disaster where young lives are in danger. Enter your friendly neighborhood Photoshops and this messy, muddy playtime turns into a total bloodbath!:
That Great Old One with the squid for a face used to be a real sourpuss, hell bent on subjugating and eliminating mankind, but then he met a man named Santa who changed his entire outlook on human life. Now Cthulhu is the biggest Christmas fan of them all, and when he arises from his slumber he's not coming to eat you, or drive you insane, he just wants to sing you Christmas carols and give you a present. But be aware that Cthulhu is pretty new to the whole giving a gift without taking the mortal's soul thing, so his presents might be a tad on the gory side...
Bring some wickedly fun style to your Christmas with this Merry Cthulhumas! t-shirt by Captain RibMan, and you'll end up on the Naughty list right where you belong!
Flavorwire has assembled their end-of-year selections for the best films of 2014. They list 25 titles, one of which is the fascinating documentary Finding Vivian Meier, about a nanny who secretly was a prolific photographer. Her staggering body of work was found by a stranger, only by chance, after her death. For those like me who love documentaries, this is certainly a compelling one that I recommend.
See the other 24 titles selected as best films of 2014, with descriptions and trailers for each, in this article.
Parenting can be a lot of fun when you’re not stressed out about daycare and bills and what Timmy just ate. Here, a husky mom discovers that when herpuppies learn to get around, she suddenly has a whole slew of playmates! “Look, kids, I can jump on the couch and you can’t!” She’ll be surprised in a few more days when they do it themselves. -via reddit
Are you funny? Your jokes on open mike night at the local comedy club may not make the audience laugh, but an official college degree in comedy probably will. Emerson College, a private college in Boston and Jay Leno's alma mater, now offers a minor program of study in the field of comedy.
Specifically, it's called "Comedy: Writing and Performance." To complete the program, students take 5 classes in performance and writing. Two of the classes are called "Writing for Television" and "The Evolution of Comedy." Andrew Desiderio writes for The College Fix:
“There are no guarantees that someone will be funny,” Martie Cook, associate chair of Emerson’s visual and media arts department, told The College Fix. “But that’s true of most programs in the arts.”
Cook added that students can study film and television writing, but that does not mean they will go on to write Emmy- or Oscar-winning scripts.
“What we can guarantee is that students who take the minor will come out better versed in the comedic arts,” Cook said.
Emerson College argues that a versatility in comedy can help people in all career fields:
“Whether on a stage, in a board room, a writers’ room, or simply talking one-on-one, being empowered with the grace and confidence to artfully apply humor in your daily life gives you an invaluable edge,” said Adam Greenfield, also a member of the committee that helped shape and develop the comedy minor.
When injuries cause the loss of a functioning body part, the results are the same in animals as well as people. There is a sense of profound loss and a period of grief and depression as a result of such a loss. Then comes a time of adjustment, in which the being strives to live as normal a life as is possible in their new circumstances. At that time, a prosthetic can make all the difference. The importance of being mobile and autonomous can never fully be comprehended until such time as it is lost.
Two cases of animals who have benefited from prosthetics are pictured here. The adorable Chris P. Bacon, above, never suffered a loss of his limbs, as he was born without rear legs. His owner, a veterinarian named Len Lucero, outfitted the pig with a set of rear wheels. Ever since, Chris has been inspiring children in hospitals who are confined to wheelchairs, showing them that it's not a condition that can keep them from leading fulfilling lives.
In a terrible accident, Motala the elephant stepped on a landmine, necessitating an amputation in her front left leg. Motala was fitted with a prosthetic leg, which changed the fifty-year-old elephant's outlook and her life.
Read about sixteen more cases of prosthetics improving the lives of animals in this article.