Michael Abrahamson makes amazing balloon sculptures. Browse his gallery to see startlingly realistic motorcycles, cartoon characters and even a full-sized couch that can support the weight of three adults. My favorite, though, is this xenomorph chilling at a pub.
The annual Dance Off with the Star Wars Stars is back as Disney's Hollywood Studios launch their Star Wars Weekends. This year's dances include "Bad," "Fight for Your Right to Party," "Hey Ya," and since this is the first Dance-off since Disney bought Lucasfilm, a special appearance by Jedi Mickey. You can see all the numbers on video at Inside the Magic. Link
Face it, some days you feel like a kind and gentle Dorothy and some days you feel like the mean wicked witch. Now you can have an accessory that quietly expresses the darker side of your split personality with the Don't Make Me Release the Flying Monkeys Bangle from the NeatoShop. This beautiful bracelet is hand carved, inked, and polished. It is inscribed with the text "Don't make me release the flying monkeys." The bangle comes with a handsome embroidered gift pouch.
Faced with the daunting prospect of having to sit through hours of commencement speeches, Dominique Zamora of Foodbeast came up with the perfect solution: she put a flask in her graduation cap.
Luckily, the process for making this thing is painless enough. Just pop off the top button with a pair of pliers, Velcro in the bladder (I took mine out of the Wine Rack Bra, secure the whole mess with bobby pins and drink up.
Head on over to Foodbeast to see how you can make your own (we're not responsible if you get thrown out of your graduation ceremony, mmkay?): Link
Oh, alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life's problems.
We already know that cats will steal anything that's not tied down. But what about the rest of the animal kingdom? The tendency to steal food is a beneficial adaptation for a species, and taking what another critter has is not really rare. For example: Flowers produce nectar to attract bees for pollination purposes, but bumblebees take nectar from flowers without pollinating the plants in exchange.
Bees who’ve evolved with short tongues and thus can’t reach for the sweet nectar have learned to carve holes into the side of a flower in order to reach their reward. This phenomenon, first observed by Charles Darwin, gets a bee nectar without the bee pollinating the plant. More cannily, there’s evidence suggesting that bees aren’t born behaving this way—they learn how to thieve from other bees, a sad sign that bee society is being overrun by hoodlums.
It's never occurred to me that tea could be a pie flavor, but it has to Sarah Baird, a writer and cook in New Orleans. Her pie filling recipe includes ground cloves, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and the contents of chai tea bags.
(Photo: Sarah Baird)
Image: Igor Kolos/Shutterstock
For the fourteenth year in a row, Jacob is America's most popular baby boy name - but there are new entries in the list as compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Here are the most popular baby names in 2012:
As we mentioned above, Jacob has been champ for 14 years since 1999 ("Michael" held that title from 1959 to 1998). This is the second year Sophia came at number one for girl names. Liam cracked the top 10 for the first time, perhaps because of recent movies starring Liam Neeson.
The US Social Security Administration also released the names that underwent the greatest change in popularity from 2011 to 2012:
From Social Security's press release:
Many pop-culture naming trends appear in a popular feature of Social Security’s baby names website--the “change in popularity” page. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 500 are Major and Arya.
The fastest riser on the girls’ list may have been influenced by the popular cable TV series “Game of Thrones.” Arya is the daughter of a leader of one of the Seven Kingdoms. She also is an expert sword fighter, so doubt her influence on the popular names list at your own risk.
For the boys, parents may associate Major with the military title. Acting Commissioner Colvin added “I have no doubt Major’s rising popularity as a boy’s name is in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military, and maybe we’ll see more boys named General in the future.” You also might trace Major’s increase in popularity to a cable TV show. “Home by Novogratz” is a popular home design show featuring Major Novogratz, the youngest son of designers Robert and Cortney.
The second fastest riser for boys was Gael, and for girls, Perla. Both names most likely are on the rise due to the increase in the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Perla is the Latinized version of Pearl and is popular among Hispanic-Americans. Gael’s popularity could be tied to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.
Got a beard? Then you've got potential ad space to rent! Cornett-IMS, an ad agency in Kentucky, came up the idea. It has already leased billboard space to the restaurant company A&W:
At least, that’s what A&W was thinking when they signed up with a Kentucky-based agency to create “beardboards.” According to Biz Insider, the “half-joke, half genius” scheme involves paying men with beards $5 a day to walk around with a mini ad clipped to their facial hair.
“We’re getting a ton of emails from guys with epic beards that want to host beardboards and we’re actually in talks with some brands that want to be Beardvertisers. I think we’ll probably be seeing some beardboards in the wild before too long,” said agency Cornett-IMS’s Whit Hiler.
When aspiring rapper Baba Brinkman went to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, he decided to mix a little rap into his studies in Medieval and Renaissance English Lit. In fact, he recreated Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in rap for his Master's thesis, thus making him the only peer-reviewed rapper in the world.
After graduating in 2003, Brinkman began his career as a rap troubadour and achieved great success with this clip above, The Rap Guide to Evolution.
View more of Brinkman's work over at this neat post by 'xim Sauriol over at Geeks Are Sexy: Link
Luo Gang was five years old when he was kidnapped from his home in Sichuan province, China, and taken to Fujian province. He was adopted by a family 1500 miles away.
“Everyday before I went to bed, I forced myself to re-live the life spent in my old home,” he said. “So I wouldn’t forget.”
But the only memory Luo had of his hometown was of two bridges.
He drew a rough map of his hometown from memory, before posting it on “Bring Lost Babies Home”, a Chinese website devoted to locating missing children through the help of volunteers.
Soon afterwards, a volunteer wrote back with valuable information - a couple from a small town in Sichuan’s Guangan city had lost a son 23 years ago. The time matched Luo’s abduction perfectly.
Luo searched for pictures of the Sichuan town and found they looked familiar to him. To confirm his suspicions, he turned to the satellite version Google Maps. The minute he zoomed in on an area called “Yaojiaba” near the Sichuan town, Luo recognised the two bridges.
“That’s it! That’s my home,” shouted Luo, in tears.
Many tunnels in Sydney, Australia aren't tall enough to permit tractor trailers to move through safely. This animated gif shows a warning system that informs truck drivers when they're about to crash into a tunnel entrance. When sensors detect a vehicle that is too tall, the system pours water across the entrance to the tunnel and projects a stop sign onto that water curtain.
There's no KFC in the Gaza strip, a 140-square mile coastal strip 1.7 million Palestinians call home, but that doesn't mean that you can't get the Colonel's finger lickin' good chicken there.
Where there's a will, there's a way - and by way, we mean smuggling tunnels:
... after Mr. Efrangi brought some KFC back from El Arish for friends last month, he was flooded with requests. A new business was born. [...]
... whenever there is a critical mass of orders — usually 30 — he starts a complicated process of telephone calls, wire transfers and coordination with the Hamas government to get the chicken from there to here.
The other day, after Mr. Efrangi called in 15 orders and wired the payment to the restaurant in El Arish, an Egyptian taxi driver picked up the food. On the other side of the border, meanwhile, Ramzi al-Nabih, a Palestinian cabdriver, arrived at the Hamas checkpoint in Rafah, where the guards recognized him as “the Kentucky guy.”
From the checkpoint, Mr. Nabih, 26, called his Egyptian counterpart and told him which of the scores of tunnels the Hamas official had cleared for the food delivery. He first waited near the shaft of the tunnel, but after a while he was lowered on a lift about 30 feet underground and walked halfway down the 650-foot path to meet two Egyptian boys who were pushing the boxes and buckets of food, wrapped in plastic, on a cart.
Mr. Nabih gave the boys about $16.50, and argued with them for a few minutes over a tip. A half-hour later, the food was loaded into the trunk and on the back seat of his Hyundai taxi, bound for Gaza City.
Fares Akram explains how one smuggles KFC from Egypt into Gaza in this story over at The New York Times: Link (Image: Wissam Nassar for the NY Times)
Cinco de mayo may be over, but that doesn't mean the sombrero fun has to end. Now you can dress up your favorite liquid refreshment whenever you want with the Sombrero Booze Hat Bottler Stopper from the NeatoShop. This fantastic bottle stopper is reusable and dishwasher safe.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Bottle Stoppers.
Australian magician and comedian Nicholas Johnson invites you to a games party in which he cheats his way through every game. It won't take you long to figure out how it's done, but even afterward there's some weird stuff that will make you scratch your head. Not that scratching your head helps you think better. The title of this video is Can you name all the games and beat the cheat? but I think that is to distract you from the shenanigans going on. The Tetris song is by the group Flap! -via the Presurfer
Teens can sleep through anything. Well, almost anything. While a sleepy Napa, California teen was reaching for her alarm clock she was bitten on the hand by a large boa constrictor. The really strange part, neither she, nor her family, own a boa constrictor.
The teen had crossed paths with a cold-blooded killer: a three-foot long boa constrictor. Somehow the reptile slithered into the Ojeda’s apartment on the 300 block of Collier Boulevard and made itself at home. It was a specimen so large, Ojeda said that Napa County Animal Control was shocked.
“When they saw it, they were like ‘Oh crap it’s big,’ so they went and got a cage for it,” Ojeda said.
Emelyn Ojeda did have to seek medical treatment for the bite, but the incident isn't causing her to lose any sleep. Apparently she is still sleeping just fine.
KPIX5 has more: Link
When we last saw master bladesmith Tony Swatton, he made a fully functional axe modeled after Gimli's from The Lord of the Rings. Most recently, he created a battle-ready version of the bat'leth, a sword from Star Trek. Qapla'! His tempered steel sword is ready to sever Jem'Hadar heads.
At the link, you can watch a video of Mr. Swatton making the sword. Be sure to watch until the end, which shows his assistants attacking targets with the bat'leth.
An unnamed man in Cork, Ireland, stopped by a McDonalds outlet early Tuesday morning. For some reason, he sat in a high chair designed for infants and toddlers. When he couldn't get out, police were called. They managed to free the man from the high chair, and no charges were filed. However, witnesses, who say alcohol was involved, managed to snap a picture that went viral. A spokesman for McDonalds remarked that anyone using a high chair in their shops should always have adult supervision. Link -via Gawker
(Image credit: Maverickkat)
No, Doctor, I'm not going to lecture you on where to park your TARDIS. You can disregard my advice. But let's make sure that we lock the door when we leave.
-via Nerd Approved
The Chesapeake blue crab is a symbol of Maryland, so in 1984, Baltimore artist Jackie Leatherbury Douglass made this enormous sculpture of that creature. A Baltimore Sun article from 2000 describes it:
The county, wanting an eye-catching tourism display, commissioned the crab's creation more than 15 years ago, from Shadyside artist Jackie Leatherbury Douglass and her husband, John.
Originally, Jackie Douglass recalls, "they wanted a 30-foot crab, which was just impossible." The three-dimensional, 10-by-7-by-5 1/2 - foot blue crab they settled on took the Douglasses more than 5,500 hours to assemble, with John welding the steel frame and Jackie performing the stained-glass work.
The result was more than just a fitting icon for Anne Arundel County, with 550 miles of heavily crabbed waterfront, and a capital city known as Crabtowne, and a newspaper nicknamed the Crab- wrapper.
(Photos: Elvert Barnes)
(Photo credit: Wolfgang Sauber)
1. Diego Rivera’s “Man at the Crossroads”
The Moral: Never hire a communist to do a capitalist’s job.
During the Great Depression, Mexican artist Diego Rivera was on a roll. In 1931, he painted a massive mural for San Francisco’s Pacific Stock Exchange. And by 1933, he’d completed two more enormous murals of Ford’s assembly line for the Detroit Institute of Arts. But there was a disconnect in Rivera’s work. Although the artist was a vocal and committed communist, his art was decidedly capitalist. After a few friends pointed out the hypocrisy, Rivera decided to put his paintbrush where his mouth was.
Opportunity knocked in 1932, when the Rockefeller family hired Rivera to create one of his signature paintings in the lobby of the new RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. Their suggested theme for the work was “Man at the Crossroads Looking with Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a New and Better Future”—an allusion to the crossroads between industry and technology. Rivera’s final product depicted a crossroads, but hardly in the way the Rockefellers had intended. Instead, the sprawling 63-foot masterpiece illustrated two alternate futures: a communist heaven and a capitalist hell.
Rivera might have gotten away with his political statement if it hadn’t been for one detail—he painted his personal hero, Vladimir Lenin, into the piece. When building managers realized Rivera was filling their lobby with Red propaganda, they ordered him to cease and desist.
Guys, forget cute puppie - they're messy and poop a lot. Instead, grab a guitar when you're trying to meet women. A new study has proven that women love musicians:
According to the study’s abstract, they enlisted a young man to flirt with 300 women under three different scenarios: holding a guitar case, carrying a gym bag and appearing empty-handed.
Ultimately, the women were much more willing to give him their phone number when they saw the guitar case, “thus suggesting that musical practice is associated with sexual selection.”
The diet can wait until...well, let's not kid ourselves.
Sarah J. Gim used already made glazed donuts and slow churn ice cream to make the sandwiches. She froze them, then dipped them in melted chocolate and served them to undoubtedly thankful people. You can find process photos and her recipe at the link.
Are you looking for an accessory that will really touch your soul? Behold the Dead Inside Banshee Bag from the NeatoShop. This striking purse features a sugar skull / calavera design. A kiss lock metal closure and shoulder strap help make the bag both functional and beautiful.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Bags & Totes.
First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper.
Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies.
That was little comfort to consumers struggling to find toilet paper on Wednesday.
"This is the last straw," said Manuel Fagundes, a shopper hunting for tissue in Caracas. "I'm 71 years old and this is the first time I've seen this."
One supermarket visited by the Associated Press in the capital on Wednesday was out of toilet paper. Another had just received a fresh batch, and it quickly filled up with shoppers as the word spread.
"I've been looking for it for two weeks," said Cristina Ramos. "I was told that they had some here and now I'm in line."
Economists blame government price control that caused Soviet Union-like shortages of toilet paper and other basic commodities: Link
John Cheese at Cracked is 39, and starting to recognize the signs of aging. I can relate to several of these. I don't mind slang terms yet, but I find that it now takes a lot to impress me.
Eventually, you reach a point where you have heard virtually every debate point for every topic ever conceived by man. Nothing anyone says is new. Nothing anyone says is convincing the other side to "convert" to their line of thinking. Consider how long debates have been around between atheists and Christians, legalization and anti-drug groups, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, Democrats and Republicans, and on and on. So many of the talking points and debate styles overlap from topic to topic that you can damn near lip sync to them as they're being said. All debates have turned into a Nickelback album.
Maybe it says something about how much older I am that I don't even know what Nickelback sounds like. But he's got some good points in this list, in plenty of NSFW language. Link
(Image credit: Flickr user Aislinn Ritchie)
In the Nineteenth Century, artisans in Eastern Europe made amazing smoking pipes out of meerschaum, a soft mineral. Roy Ricketts has assembled a collection of outstanding examples of this crafting tradition. Ben Marks of Collectors' Weekly explains why craftsmen used meerschaum:
Meerschaum is a relatively new material to pipe making, appearing no earlier than the 18th century. Found primarily in and around the city of Eskişehir in western Turkey, meerschaum is a porous mineral that’s soft enough to be carved but hard enough to be polished, revealing the carver’s artistry. Unlike hardwood briar pipes, which are also finely carved, meerschaum does not burn, which means the bowl is cool to the touch when it’s being smoked and the pipe material imparts no flavor to the tobacco. And because meerschaum is porous, meerschaum pipes change color over time as they are smoked. Thus, the stone, which is carved white, turns butterscotch brown when made into a pipe, filled with tobacco, and smoked, a process that’s frequently hurried along by rubbing a finished pipe with beeswax and, occasionally, ox blood.
At the link, you can see more photos of pipes in Mr. Ricketts's collection.
Well, this is just fantastic! T-shirt designer extraordinaire Naolito illustrates how Mr. Fantastic is a natural champ at the game of Twister. View his designs over at his official website, Facebook page, Tumblr and deviantArt - then visit his NeatoShop page for more neat T-shirt designs: Link
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