Simon's Cat Meets a Crow

(YouTube link)

In one of the goofiest Simon's Cat videos yet, the cat encounters a crow. Crows are smart, and this one gets a real kick out of tormenting the cat for laughs. The cat isn't going to take that lying down. There's a bit of back and forth to determine who will have the last laugh. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Royal Beauty Secrets of the 19th Century

Several 19th century European monarchs married young women who were renowned for their beauty. As they took their place as wives of world leaders, they were all aware of the impression they made upon the public and worked hard to keep up appearances. Empress Eugénie, wife of Napolean III, wasn't at all vain, but was mindful that her choice of dress influenced an entire fashion industry. Empress Elisabeth, wife of Franz Josef, on the other hand, set aside an entire day to wash her hair, and spent three hours daily having it dressed. It wasn't wasted time, though, as she took lessons while her hair was tended to. Princess Alexandra of Denmark (pictured), who became the Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of Edward VII, made the deepest impression of all on her subjects.

Princess Alexandra’s effect on fashion was so profound women even copied what some people might have considered to be a drawback. It was her limp. She acquired it in 1867 after suffering an illness that “threatened to contract her leg and make her a cripple.”[8] Thus, whenever she appeared in public she used a walking stick and exhibited a slight limp. Her infirmity was soon copied by “distinguished people, and the ‘Alexandra limp’ was adopted by various members of fashionable society!”[9]

Although fashion conscious women might have copied the Princess’s limp, perhaps, the most prized beauty secret of the Princess Alexandra was her goodness.     

Alexandra’s most lasting legacy was the choker necklace, which she used to cover a scar. A Google image search shows that she wore jewelry to cover her neck the rest of her life. Read about all three women and their beauty regimens at Geri Walton's blog. -via Strange Company


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Mating Rituals of Humans in Their Natural Habitat

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The format of a nature documentary works pretty well with the wildest species in the world -the human. In a video from Viva Dirt League, the goal is made perfectly clear with narration by a David Attenborough soundalike. However, not all mating rituals are successful, especially when the participants are inexperienced and awkward. The survival of the species depends on whether they learn from their mistakes. -via Laughing Squid


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Surviving the Unsurvivable

German paraglider Ewa Wisnierska set a world record in 2007, but not because she was trying to. She was practicing in Australia for a competition when an updraft swept her aloft.

But this one was a bit stronger than usual, and before she knew it, Winsnierska was rising at a rate of 65 feet per second. She soon passed out from lack of oxygen, and when she woke up half an hour later, she was six miles above the Earth. That's cruising altitude for airplanes.

Then she heard thunder.

Wisnierska rode the storm for about an hour, being hit by huge hailstones. When she finally landed, she was 40 miles from her starting point. She suffered some frostbite, but was otherwise okay. Her path was traced by a global positioning beacon that indicated she flew as high as 32,000 feet. Her story is one of 5 People Who Straight Up Survived The Unsurvivable at Cracked.  


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Genesis Tour Manager Recalls His Role in One of Rock’s Most Embarrassing Moments

Genesis tour manager Regis Boff recalls a stage stunt from the mid-70s that will remind you of something out of Spinal Tap. It no doubt contributed to the inspiration behind the film. Here's what was supposed to happen:

A standard early-to-mid-70s Genesis show finished with Peter Gabriel dressed in his “Magog” outfit: a long velvet black cape and a giant triangular headpiece. Towards the climax of the show, Peter would throw off his hat and cape to reveal himself in a silver jumpsuit. We made him momentarily invisible by detonating controlled explosions that came from metal pods at the front of the stage. The audience was blinded and dazed so it made for an excellent finish. We filled these canisters with a martini of flash and gunpowder that would be criminally outlawed today, whereas back then it was quietly banned. We never told anyone we were going to do it. One of our roadies filled them a couple of hours before the show and set them off just at the right moment.

Someone had the inspiration to “fly” Peter into the air while the audience was blinded (it was most likely Peter himself). He’d be hoisted fifteen feet into the air by nearly invisible thin metal wires and finish the song floating in a silver jumpsuit, as the curtain closed. End of show. Nice. He’d also be concealed by the smoke machines and the intense fog that bubbled up from stage hands dumping huge blocks of dry ice into buckets of water. If the prevailing winds permitted, this vapor would fill the entire stage.

What could possibly go wrong? Oh, so many things, most of them unforeseen. The story of how it all went horribly wrong one night "either in Cleveland or Berlin" is a comedy of errors that will paint an unforgettable picture in your mind. -via Nag on the Lake
 
(Image source: YouTube)


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All About Dogs

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One thing we all know about dogs is that they're all good dogs. This episode of Scatterbrained from Mental Floss has a lot of neat stuff about dogs, starting with trivia. Then learn how bloodhounds work, how a breed gets into the American Kennel Club, the origins of the Puppy Bowl, and research on dogs' ability to smell human emotions. No, it's not everything there is to know about dogs, but the entire show is about dogs, so it's all about dogs. 

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

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World Record Stack of Waffles

Today was a momentous day in Denver. Spencer McCullough and Cory Trimm invited all their friends and a few professionals to attempt the Guinness World Record for waffle stacking. Elizabeth Hernandez of the Denver Post was dispatched to cover the event. She is preparing a proper article for the Post, but first posted a Twitter thread as the event unfolded.

The previous record was 51 centimeters. Guinness sent a 40-page document with their rules for waffle-stacking, including a long and precise definition of "waffle." Friends flew in from out of town, and total strangers joined the fun. Hernandez' enthusiasm grew as time went along, and you have to wonder how grim her other assignments are.

 
The stack was 67 centimeters! You can witness the drama unfold in her Twitter thread.  

-via Metafilter

Update: Here's a threadreader version if you prefer that to Twitter, and the Denver Post story has been published.


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Amelia Bloomer Did Not Invent Bloomers

The expected dress of a proper women in antebellum America was hot, uncomfortable, and impractical. The preferred silhouette required a cinched waist, multiple petticoats, and a floor-length skirt. All that fabric was dangerous for a working woman, and even upper-class housewives had trouble maneuvering. Imagine climbing stairs with a lamp in one hand, a baby in the other arm, and trying not to trip over your skirt. That's where bloomers came in. But they were not invented for Amelia Bloomer -they were just named for her.  

An editor of the Seneca County Courier had one idea: maybe women could avoid the discomfort and dangers of their attire by switching to “Turkish pantaloons and a skirt reaching a little below the knee.”

The editorial, written in February 1851 by a man who had previously opposed the women’s suffrage movement and the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, drew the attention of one feminist. Amelia Bloomer was herself an editor of the first women’s newspaper, The Lily. She used her paper to gently upbraid the Seneca County Courier writer for supporting dress reform, but not women’s rights.

At almost exactly the same time, Bloomer’s neighbor, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, received a visit from her cousin, Elizabeth Smith Miller—who was wearing the very outfit Bloomer had just been discussing in the press. Alternately called “Turkish trousers” or “pantaloons,” the outfit combined knee-length skirts with loose pants. Stanton exclaimed over the style and made herself up in the same way. Bloomer wasn’t far behind, feeling that it was her duty to do so, as she’d engaged in the question of women’s dress in the media, and announced her decision to her readers in the April 1851 edition of The Lily.

The practical bloomer outfit became a sensation, but didn't last long. Amelia Bloomer's suspicion that they were a distraction from more important battles was precient. Read about the rise and fall of bloomers at Smithsonian. -via Strange Company


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Watch Your Step

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KLAS-TV in Las Vegas was doing a live report from Lake Las Vegas. Photojournalist Chris Benka was walking along the dock, following the reporter's boat, and wasn't watching his feet. Luckily, the water wasn't all that deep. The camera is okay! Oh, yeah, he's okay, too. In fact, he kept on rolling that live footage. -via Digg


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In Istanbul, Drinking Coffee in Public Was Once Punishable by Death

As coffee made its way out of Ethiopia to the rest of the world, it was an insanely controversial drink. The fact that people loved and enjoyed it was enough to brand it as sinful. Ottoman Sultan Murad IV took note of the coffee's popularity and set out to destroy the coffeehouses of Istanbul in 1633. Being caught drinking coffee in public would get you beaten on the first offense, a second offensive meant death.

Odd though it may sound, Murad IV was neither the first nor last person to crack down on coffee drinking; he was just arguably the most brutal and successful in his efforts. Between the early 16th and late 18th centuries, a host of religious influencers and secular leaders, many but hardly all in the Ottoman Empire, took a crack at suppressing the black brew.

Few of them did so because they thought coffee’s mild mind-altering effects meant it was an objectionable narcotic (a common assumption). Instead most, including Murad IV, seemed to believe that coffee shops could erode social norms, encourage dangerous thoughts or speech, and even directly foment seditious plots. In the modern world, where Starbucks is ubiquitous and innocuous, this sounds absurd. But Murad IV did have reason to fear coffee culture.

The fear had to do with the nature of the coffeehouse. Patrons had to wait for the coffee to brew, and then sip slowly because it was hot and bitter. And since it was fairly inexpensive, both wealthy and poor citizens gathered to drink it, and discussed the news of the day while they waited. Those discussions might lead plots against Murad IV, as he was a particularly brutal ruler. Yet Murad himself enjoyed an occasional cup. Read about the despotic ruler and the political dangers of coffee at Atlas Obscura.   


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Officiating a Wedding While in Labor

Brianna Doyle and Casey Walko were planning to get married before their baby came, and already had a license, but then Doyle went into labor early. At New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the couple desperately searched for someone to solemnize their vows before the baby was born. Sushma Dwivedi volunteered that she was ordained in the Universal Life Church, and although she had never performed a marriage ceremony, she was willing to do it. But Dwivedi was a patient in the maternity ward -she was in labor herself!   

There was just one problem. Dwivedi had just gotten an epidural and couldn't move at all from the waist down.

"My legs were jelly by this point," she said.

"It was a little bit of a Jabba the Hut moment where they took the automatic bed ... and sort of propped that up so that I could sit and officiate, and they came to me in my room."

With the officiant in bed, Doyle and Walko were married. The nurses had put together a bouquet and fixed Doyle's hair. Both women gave birth to healthy babies within a few hours. The ceremony is on video at CBC Radio. -via Metafilter 

(Image courtesy of Sushma Dwivedi Jindal)


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How to Cook for 10,000 People

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Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi's biggest Sikh temple, welcomes everyone, no matter their station or religion, for a meal. The kitchen is open 24 hours a day, and is supplied and staffed by volunteers. Chapatis, dal soup, potatoes, and more, all for around 10,000 people every day. Anyone who visits can volunteer for simple jobs to help out with the production if they want to. Besides a temple and kitchen, the complex also houses a school, hospital, hotel, and a library. -via reddit


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Chewbacca Actor Joonas Suotamo Talks Solo

Joonas Suotamo is a former basketball player from Finland. He took over the role of Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies from Peter Mayhew, who made the Wookiee what he is. Suotamo is very cognizant of Mayhew's creation, and takes pains to continue his legacy seamlessly, knowing that Mayhew has his eye on him.   

But with time and creativity, Suotamo has mastered the character’s every move, adding layers to an already beloved and familiar face, particularly in The Last Jedi and Solo. It’s almost jarring to watch one film after the other, taking in the heartbreak in Chewbacca’s eyes when Luke Skywalker asks, “Where’s Han?” and then rewinding to the very day that the iconic duo first met.

For Suotamo, who has played the character opposite the original Han Solo, Harrison Ford, and newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, following that narrative has been an interesting experience. “In this movie, Chewbacca doesn’t really know Han; he’s just getting to know him,” said Suotamo. “So it was interesting to play him in a way that sort of places Chewbacca in this space where he has to decide what he’s going to do with his life...whether this reckless scoundrel is the partner for him.”

Suotamo talks about that temporal shift, plus what it's really like to wear the big hairy suit, the cool special effects in Solo, and the thrill of piloting the Millennium Falcon in an interview at Den of Geek.  


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Relocating Bighorn Sheep

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I watched this video and thought about the people who say they've been abducted by aliens. You know these sheep are going to tell tales like that the rest of their lives, and none of the other sheep will believe them. This relocation project helped to bring the population of North American bighorn sheep from 100 to 600 in recent years. It's one of 5 Heartwarming Stories That Are Also Totally Hilarious at Cracked. In fact, the bighorn sheep were just a small part of the story about how helicopters are the funniest way to transport animals.


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Alexa Recorded Conversation Unbidden, Shared It

An Amazon Alexa home assistant recorded a conversation taking place in the room and then sent it to a third party. There were no orders for it to do so. Danielle, in Portland, says she received a call from one of her husband's employees in Seattle, who told her that their Alexa device had been hacked.

"We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house," she said. "At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'oh gosh, you really did hear us.'"

Danielle listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn't believe someone 176 miles away heard it too.

"I felt invaded," she said. "A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, 'I'm never plugging that device in again, because I can't trust it.'"

An Amazon technician confirmed that Alexa had done exactly what they suspected, but it hadn't been hacked. The company later responded with an explanation.

In a statement Thursday, Amazon confirmed the woman’s private conversation had been inadvertently recorded and sent. The company said the device interpreted a word in the background conversation as “Alexa” — a command that makes it wake up — and then it interpreted the conversation as a “send message” request.

“At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’” the statement said. “At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list.

Amazon called it an “unlikely” string of events, but if a device can activate by and interpret (or misinterpret) background conversation as commands, the sky is the limit as to what it may do. -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Flickr user methodshop .com)


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Maru Vaulting Boxes

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Can you stack boxes too high for Maru to climb into? Maybe the real question is, how can you get that many boxes all the same size? Well, I can imagine if you're mugumogu, people just give you boxes all the time. Maru eventually meets his match, and we get to hear him meow more than we've ever heard before. -via Everlasting Blort

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

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The ‘Saurian Monster’ That Terrorized 1880s New Zealand

In October of 1886, slaughterhouse workers near Hamilton, New Zealand arrived at work to find that one of the sheep carcasses had been eaten. To be precise, something had climbed up and removed the sheep from its hook and left nothing but bones ...and footprints. The witnesses has never seen footprints like that before.

These, New Zealand’s Daily Telegraph reported, were the “undoubted traces of a saurian monster.” The word “saurian” means lizard-like—other papers concluded that this monster must be an alligator or crocodile, despite New Zealand’s smattering of living reptiles being, without exception, only a few inches long.

For two months, throughout October and November, the people of the Waikato region kept up a near-constant watch for their worrying new neighbor. Farmboys reported seeing it in the river, with its head poking up from the creek; indigenous Maori told settlers that they had known of it for some time and called it a taniwha. “Stories are extant among them of a very large animal, like an eel, which has come out of the water at times and chased them, even seizing their legs in its teeth,” reported the New Zealand Herald. A year earlier, a Maori girl had allegedly been found dead in the same river, with the flesh stripped from her arm.

Talk of the monster grew so that no one knew which stories were real and which were exaggerations or pure hogwash. But they eventually found the monster. Read that story at Atlas Obscura.

Oh yeah, the animals pictured were already quite extinct.  


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Camel Eats a Cactus

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When you live in the desert, you evolve to eat what's there. Watch this hardcore dromedary munch down on a prickly pear cactus with 6-inch spines! And you thought Captain Crunch made your mouth sore. Apparently, camels have protrusions inside their mouths containing keratin that are tough and flexible like plastic that enables them to deal with just about any food source they come across. They are also ruminants, so everything gets chewed up more than once. -via Boing Boing


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Seventy-Five Years Ago, Women Baseball Players Took the Field

On May 30, 1943, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League debuted to fill a shortage of baseball players due to World War II. Like the women who filled factory jobs during the war, they stepped up to the plate and proved that women can do what was normally seen as men's work at the time. Betsy Jochum (pictured) was the star batter for the South Bend Blue Sox. Her uniform is now enshrined in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, but Jochum, now 97, says no one today would know about the league at all if it weren't for the movie A League of Their Own.    

The ballplayers were for the most part factory-town women happy to have the paycheck until the men got home, observes Kelly Candaele, a filmmaker whose PBS documentary about his ball-playing mother was the inspiration for Marshall’s film. “Most of them didn’t approach this thing academically, like, oh, they were pioneers and proto-feminists,” he says. It was decades before they grasped how much they meant to the workplace, how much credibility they conferred on their gender with sheer physical competency, similar to the more than 475,000 Rosie the Riveters who worked in the U.S. munitions industry. If Jochum’s uniform is emblematic of what a little opportunity can do, it’s also threaded with stigma and represents the halting one-step-forward, two-steps-back progress that women faced. When Jochum asked for a raise, her disapproving club owner traded her to Peoria. “If you didn’t do what they told you, you know how that goes,” she says. Instead of accepting the trade she retired in 1948, got her college degree at Illinois State and became a middle school physical education teacher in the South Bend schools.

Read about Jochum and the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League at Smithsonian.  

(Image credit: The History Museum)


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That Time It Rained for Two Million Years

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The Carnian Pluvial Event was a time of major change for the earth and its supercontinent Pangaea. Namely, lots and lots of rain, and all the changes it brings. That was when the forests grew and dinosaurs began to rise to dominance, about 230 million years ago. From the images in this video from PBS Eons, that episode appears to be the line between the familiar (dinosaurs and forests) and the weird, weird, life forms that populated earth before that.  -via Digg


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One Kid's Trumpet

Jacques Ruffin found a letter sent to his mother in 2009, when she was struggling to keep up the rent on his musical instrument for school. He played the trumpet for the rest of his time in school. Allegro Music is still in business, and redditors who know the store vouch for the authenticity of such a gesture from the owner. The discussion thread is full of stories about special people who helped out when they were children, and calls to donate money or musical instruments so that more students can participate in school band who would otherwise not be able to. Every school band director knows students who could really use the help.  


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A Fire Pole to the Moon

Randall Munroe received a question from a 5-year-old and tackled it in excruciating detail on his site What If?

My son (5y) asked me today: If there were a kind of a fireman's pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?

We can picture what the child was thinking, but to be quite accurate, Munroe first had to go through the reasons we can't install a fire pole between the earth and the moon. Then he discarded those reasons in order to answer the question about a fire pole that existed anyway. The first problem is that if you are standing on the moon, you have to go up the fire pole first.

If you climb up the pole far enough, Earth's gravity will take over and start pulling you down. When you're hanging onto the pole, there are three forces pulling on you: The Earth's gravity pulling you toward Earth, the Moon's gravity pulling you away from Earth, and centrifugal force[6] from the swinging pole pulling you away from Earth.[7] At first, the combination of the Moon's gravity and centrifugal force are stronger, pulling you toward the Moon, but as you get closer to the Earth, Earth's gravity takes over. The Earth is pretty big, so you reach this point—which is known as the L1 Lagrange point—while you're still pretty close to the Moon.

Unfortunately for you, space is big, so "pretty close" is still a long way. Even if you climb at better-than-world-record speed, it will still take you several years to get to the L1 crossover point.

But that's when the fun starts! As you let gravity take you down to earth, you have to deal with increasing speed, friction, weather, and the movement of the earth. I hope you brought your parachute. Munroe's highly-detailed answer probably won't be a lot of fun for a 5-year-old dreaming of space travel, but for we nerds who enjoy his xkcd comics, it's a pretty cool story. -via Metafilter


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An Honest Trailer for the Star Wars Spinoffs

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There were several Star Wars feature-length productions that are completely ignored in the Star Wars canon. They are Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, Ewoks: The Battle of Endor, and The Star Wars Holiday Special. Fans would just as soon forget all of them. Screen Junkies produced an Honest Trailer for all three in one video, and it's about as honest as everyone else has been about the quality of these spinoffs. If you've never seen any of them, just watch the trailer, and be satisfied that these clips will be all you need to know that you're missing nothing of importance.


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How Succulents Took Over Instagram—and Then the World

You may have noticed the trend of succulent gardening over the last few years. The drought-resistant plants are big on Instagram and sell like hotcakes. They are found in apartments, dorm rooms, bouquets, wreaths, and even jewelry, as well as expansive yards in places that can't support a traditional English garden.  

Throughout history, succulents have been used as herbal medicines, torture devices, food, dye sources, hallucinogens, and fixtures in religious ceremonies. But their captivating silhouettes, ability to endure long treks, and portability have carried them into the 21st century as the ideal collector’s item. The plants have graduated from filler greenery, to water-wise landscaping fixtures, to Instagrammable pioneers of the burgeoning online plant economy. In a society whose purchasing habits are driven by relentless trend cycles, they are the only plant resilient, varied, and multipurpose enough to keep up with frequent seasonal restylings of the retail sector. They have become the living ornaments of today’s idealized homes, gardens, and workspaces and, subsequently, the central characters in a new gardening movement that values ease over effort.

It wasn't always that way. For most of the 20th century, succulents were an afterthought for professional nurseries, and not all that profitable. Read how that changed, and how a few early fans became power players in the succulent business at The Ringer. -via Digg

(Image credit: Agata Wierzbicka)


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Tips for Cooking for One

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This video from College Humor contains a little NSFW language. When you find yourself living alone, it is tempting to just eat your favorite food all the time. That gets old. Eventually you resort to sandwiches and cold cereal, and when you realize that cold cereal leads to dirty dishes, your diet become just sandwiches and chips. You might be tempted to whip up an entire meal fresh from scratch, but don't do it. Rationalize not doing it by telling yourself it's too time-consuming so that you don't have to think about how very alone you are. So very, utterly alone. -via Tastefully Offensive     


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Violence in the US Senate

It was on this day in history, May 22, 1856, that an assault took place on the floor of the US Senate. The spark, as you might have guessed, was the debate over slavery. Would the new state of Kansas be allowed to embrace slavery by a popular vote? Massachusetts senator and abolitionist Charles Sumner gave a speech opposing such a vote, in which he called out his Southern colleagues who had written the Kansas-Nebraska Act -and called them some rather unflattering names. The speech spilled into the next day, and anger among those legislators only grew afterward. When Sumner arrived on May 22, Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina went for him. A witness gave an account of what happened.   

    “I saw Colonel Brooks lean on and over the desk of Senator Sumner, and seemingly say something to him, and instantly, while Senator Sumner was in the act of rising, Colonel Brooks struck him over the head with a dark-colored walking cane, which blow he repeated twice or three times, and with rapidity. I think several blows had been inflicted before Senator Sumner was fully in possession of his locomotion, and extricated from his desk, which was thrown over or broken from its fastenings…

    As soon as Senator Sumner was free from the desk he moved down the narrow passage way under the impetuous drive of his adversary, with his hands up as though to ward off the blows which were rained on his head with as much quickness as was possible for any man to use a cane on another whom he was intent on chastising.”

Read the story of the caning of Senator Sumner and its aftermath at Atlas Obscura.


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Royal Wedding Outtakes

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The other day I mentioned that something goes wrong in almost every wedding. When Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, they used all of Charles' names and Diana repeated them back in the wrong order during her vows. That was nothing compared to the ceremonial screwups in this version of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding! The flawless (ahem) remix is from BlendTV. -via The Daily Dot


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Roxy, the Long Island Railroad Dog

In 1901, a young dog later named Roxy was taken in by a conductor for the Long Island Railroad. Roxy made friends easily, and was soon traveling by train anywhere he wanted to go. He had favorite conductors, favorite passengers, and favorite stops across Queens. On Thursdays, he would go to Montauk Point for a seafood dinner, then spend the night at the Jamaica station. Other nights, he'd be at the YMCA or in Garden City with another conductor. He knew every train and its schedule, and how to get where he wanted to go.

The conductor would say, “President Peter’s orders are that Roxy has the privilege to occupy a seat in any car at any time.”

Sometimes he’d sit with the passengers, while other days he preferred riding in the baggage car or with the fireman. He was known to spring from the open cab while the train was going 40 miles an hour. But he could also sit patiently still on the platform while waiting for just the right train to bring him back to Jamaica or Long Island City.

On several occasions, Roxy traveled in a private car with President Roosevelt to Oyster Bay. Sometimes he’d visit the president’s home there. The Roosevelt children reportedly loved him.

We also know that he spent the Easter holidays in Merrick in 1905. Whomever he stayed with put a blue ribbon on his collar that read, “I spent Easter at Merrick and had a daisy time.” Perhaps this was Miss Elsie Hess, a school teacher who lived across the street from the Merrick station. Miss Hess always gave Roxy a drumstick at Christmas, and he’d also go to her house for care whenever he was ill. She even had a wicker basket just for him in case he stayed the night.

Then the day came in 1911 that Roxy got on the wrong train -for the first time ever- and ended up in Philadelphia! That adventure made the papers. Read about the life and times of Roxy the Long Island Railroad dog at The Hatching Cat.

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

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The Pits

(vimeo link)

A lonely avocado has an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach. No, wait, he is empty because his stomach doesn't have a pit. He's searching for his other half. This sweet short film by David Bizzaro was selected for more than 30 film festivals so far. -via The Kid Should See This


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Han Solo was Almost in Revenge of the Sith

The new movie Solo: A Star Wars Story will give us a backstory for the character Han Solo and it is guaranteed to be somewhat more believable than the one George Lucas envisioned. Lucas wanted to include Han as a minor character in Revenge of the Sith. In that scenario, Han was raised by Wookiees on the planet Kashyyyk, specifically by Chewbacca. That concept would have given a weird vibe to their later relationship, which is presented in the original trilogy as two friends who are also business partners. Would Han really call his father figure "Fuzzball"?

In the original Revenge of the Sith script from George Lucas, a 10-year-old Han would have found a transmitter on a smashed droid during the Battle of Kashyyyk. He would have presented it to Yoda, and the Wookiees would have traced that back to its source to find General Grievous. So in a way, we would have had Han to thank for Obi-Wan’s victory over the droid general. This would have also been a convoluted way to show how whip-smart and resourceful Han was even at such a young age. But making him a young orphan on Kashyyyk wouldn’t have made much sense at all, and the whole thing sounds like pointless fan service. Which is probably why the scene was cut from the script and never filmed.

And we're glad for that. Not everyone in the Skywalker saga has to have a meta backstory that circles around to coincidental reappearances that strain credulity. It's a bigger universe than that. Chewbacca's existence in the prequels was bad enough. Read more about Lucas' plans for Han at Inverse.  -via Uproxx


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