Talk about your mind blowing architecture! This impossible looking structure was constructed in the imagination of photographer Victor Enrich, who saw much more than a simple skyscraper when he looked at the NH Munchen Deutscher Kaiser hotel in Munich, Germany.
In fact, he saw 88 different versions of the hotel, each more impossible than the last, and his photo manipulation skills have improved quite a bit since we last featured his works on Neatorama (Link). Victor’s visionary buildings would make a great addition to cityscapes across the globe if we didn’t have that pesky thing called gravity keeping our architecture in check.
There are a lot of ways to make a wedding special, unique and geeky, but I had yet to see a unicorn appear at a wedding, let alone a beericorn...at least, until now.
This brilliant take on the traditional celebratory keg was featured at Offbeat Bride readers Erin and Shayne's wonderful wedding. Believe it or not, the horse was actually one of the first things the couple planned and purchased for the affair -now that's a clever way to enjoy alcohol in style.
In an inventive design reminiscent of old silent films accompanied by piano playing, the Mieru Record offers musical accompaniment to comic strips. Stick one in and turn the crank. As the strip feeds through the music box, you’ll hear a soundtrack to match the story.
In 1939, Solomon Linda was a young Zulu herdsman and singer who had moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to make his fortune. His singing group, the Evening Birds, recorded a song he made up on the spot called "Mbube." As was the custom at the time, he sold the song to the recording studio for about ten shillings. Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds played music locally for years and received some acclaim for the song's later worldwide success -but no money.
"Wimoweh" by The Weavers and the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra 1952
Pete Seeger got a scratchy copy of the tune in 1949 and rewrote it as "Wimoweh," a song recorded by his band The Weavers in 1952 and in 1955. Seeger thought the original tune was a folk song, with no original author. The Tokens recorded the song as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961, which became the biggest hit version of the song so far (there have been many other cover versions). Meanwhile, Solomon Linda died in South Africa in poverty in 1962. His wife and six children could not afford a headstone for his grave for many years afterward.
When Seeger learned of Solomon Linda, he arranged for his songwriting royalties to go to Linda's family. However, Seeger simply sent checks as he received the money, and after the funds were filtered through a charitable trust and a South African lawyer who did not keep records, the Linda family only received small pittances every so often. Meanwhile, the success of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" kicked off a dramatic battle between various rights holders of the original tune -none of whom had creative input, but as the various rights to the song had been sold and resold, everyone wanted a piece of the action.
In 1994, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was included in the movie The Lion King, which resulted in $15 million more in sales. Then in 2000, South African journalist Rian Malan wrote a story for Rolling Stone magazine that recounted the story of "Mbube," and how Solomon Linda never saw any profits from his creation. The article led to a documentary and then a lawsuit, in which the song's copyright was reverted to Linda's heirs. Only then did Linda's family begin to receive regular proceeds from the song their father wrote over 60 years earlier. You can read the article in its entirety, with a 2003 update, at Longform. -via Metafilter
If you couldn't tell already, we here at Neatorama love Star Trek, whether it be the original, the Next Generation, Voyager or Enterprise (some of us even like the new reboot, though that's a hotly contested subject). No matter what version of the show is everyone's favorite though, you have to appreciate the original for kicking off the franchise and with that in mind, we adore Leonard Nimoy and these strange art tributes to Spock are something even those with only a mild interest in the U.S.S. Enterprise can still appreciate.
I'm a particularly big fan of his emo look, though he also makes a pretty great centaur.
Stuart Ashen takes a close look at some unlicensed toys made with not quite the care and quality control of the originals. He starts out with a Batman Begins trading card set that seemed familiar to me, because we published the backstory from it earlier this year. His spoken word delivery is priceless! But that's just the beginning. It's a long video, so I grabbed some screenshots to show you what he is reviewing: Batman Begins, Star Wart (featuring Admlral Ackbar), Teenage Motant Ninja Tortlez, and an Invincibility Robot.
"A never-ending source of disappointment and confusion."
Calendars that benefit charitable causes usually feature cute animals or sexy guys and gals posed for maximum sales potential, but a calendar starring New York City cab drivers has got to be a first.
This wacky NYC Taxi Drivers 2014 calendar was created for University Settlement, an organization that helps immigrant families fund higher education, housing and literacy programs, and with such a good cause behind them there's no need for all the beefcake and fluffy puppy shots. In fact, now that these NYC cabbies have shown the world their softer side both the fares and the charitable donations are sure to come rolling in.
Everyone has emotions and eyebrows are particularly useful in helping express these feelings -even when it comes to dogs. Of course, they aren't just useful for emoting, they're also great for a laugh and this compilation of dogs with fake eyebrows is also great for crack ups.
My old pooch had small eyebrows that were pretty expressive and I've seen a few with natural markings that look like eyebrows, but none of them look this over the top ridiculous.
You can't live on Jack Daniels alone, Pally. -Frank Sinatra, 1962
When Sinatra dies, they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian. -Dean Martin
Countless things have been said about Frank Sinatra, and why not? Frank was the legend of legends, the biggest star in show business, "Old Blue Eyes" himself, the original "swinger," the world's greatest singer, an awesome Oscar-winning actor, fighter, bon vivant, two-fisted drinker, manic/depressive, insomniac, leader of the Rat Pack. Oh yes, and the world's most successful ladies man.
It's tough to conjure up one line to define someone as multi-faceted as Frank Sinatra, but if you tried, it may have been "He loved women and women loved him."
"He had sex on the brain," says Nanci Venturi, who knew Frank from his early day. "He would make love to anyone who came along."
According to friend Joey D'Orazio, Frank confided to him, "I just want to make it with as many women as I can."
These quotes and the basic picture we all have of Frankie the swinger may all, indeed, be true. But like most of us, Frank Sinatra had both Jeckyll and Hyde sides. Yes, he did have women on the brain, like almost all men. A common Sinatra phrase while hanging out with his pals in the lounge of the Sands hotel in Las Vegas was, "We're all men sitting there. Where are the broads?"
Okay, what did Frank Sinatra look for in a woman? "A sense of humor," he once answered, but later in the same conversation, he gave this fascinating elaboration: "I'm supposed to have a PhD on the subject of women, but the truth is, I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But like all men, I don't understand them."
Although the common perception of Sinatra would probably be of the ultimate skirt-chaser who scored with countless females, from the world-famous to the obscurely anonymous, Frank definitely has a more refined side. "Make her feel appreciated, make her feel beautiful," he once advised.
Everybody knows about Dr. Seuss’ illustrious career as writer/illustrator of legendary children’s books like The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs And Ham, but did you know that once upon a time the good doctor tried his hand at creating some "adult" content?
Way back in 1939, when Seuss was in transition from Vanguard to Random House publishing, he made an agreement with his new publisher which allowed him to put out an adult themed book of his choosing, and so The Seven Lady Godivas was born.
The content is quite tame by today’s standards of adult content, but it definitely delivers that Seussian style you know and love, and contains some heartwarmingly hilarious illustrations.
Segways are actually pretty useful little vehicles, but they just look so darnn stupid. Fortunately, there's a new option out there for those who want to use a personal transport vehicle.
The Zero Scooter combines the style of a Vespa Scooter with the functionality of a scooter. It actually uses real parts from a Vespa, which is why it looks so cool and authentic to its inspiration. It can climb slopes of up to 30 degrees and can travel up to 21 miles on one charge at speeds of up to 12 mph.
Of course, if you want to ride around in style, it will cost you -$3,925 to be exact.
Do you know someone who is crazy for Christmas cookies? This year give them a sweet treat with the Yummy Pockets Christmas Tree Cookie from the NeatoShop. This versatile zippered pocket purse is shaped like a Christmas tree cookie. It is perfect for holding money or small accessories.
Lori Koch and her husband went to see their 5-year-old daughter Claire perform in the kindergarten Christmas program. She had no idea that Claire was going to sign all the songs, so that her deaf parents could follow along! They recorded her animated performance on video. The internet noticed.
Koch told Yahoo News in an email that she wasn't expecting her daughter to sign during the performance. "The regular kids used generic hand motions while my daughter chose to use sign language, to our surprise," she said.
Koch told Yahoo News that she can read lips, speak and sign, while her husband, who is also deaf, uses only sign language. "ASL is the first language in our home, so our daughter has been exposed to it since birth," she said.
Apparently the school did not know what Claire was planning, either, or they would have put her in the front row. She did a wonderful job! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Juno is an unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA to study the planet Jupiter. As Miss Cellania mentioned yesterday, it recently flew by Earth to make use of its gravity and slingshot toward Jupiter.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recruited ham radio operators across the world to send a coordinated message that could be picked up by Juno. Timing and organization were essential. As you can see in the video below, they were successful. At the right moment, the ham radio operators sent out a simple Morse code message: “Hi”. Juno’s sensors picked it up.
Hey look! It's time for our collaboration with the wonderful What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? It doesn't really matter if you do, because we are looking for the funniest guesses. You can win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! But first, read the rules:
Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners who submit funny and/or clever (albeit ultimately wrong) answers will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.
If you guess the correct answer, you'll get a big pat on the back.
Update: this turned out to be a loose coupler for radio reception. It was used as the primary tuning device in an early receiver. No one here knew that, but we had some funny answers to win a t-shirt! One goes to ladybugs, who said, "Want to surprise the person sitting next to you? The kinetic energy from this ambush style Jack-in-the-Box will spring the dowel out from the side and smack them." The other goes to Rubinsky, who had a funny (but long) description of how this was used to train Victorian circus mice -read it here. Congratulations! You'll see the answers to all this week's mystery items at the What Is It? blog.
For the carpenter in your life who has either a lot of enemies or some anger issues, there's the hammer nunchaku. Nimer Aleck, an artist in Austin, says that he developed these for display purposes only. But they could probably do some damage to your foes or current woodworking project as well.
Others, as you can see below, are probably strictly artistic.
You’d think the whole sword and sorcery thing would have lost its appeal by now, but creative souls keep coming up with original content, animated and otherwise, which manages to keep even the most jaded viewers glued to their screens.
Fantasy is a very compelling genre when it’s done right, and this CG animated short by Joeri Christiaen entitled 850 meters is a good example of how to deliver both visually and as an original story.
There’s plenty of humor, a damsel in distress and madcap adventure as the bumbling hero Roger Flambe discovers his heroic purpose in life. And even though it’s nearly fifteen minutes in length, there’s plenty of eye candy to keep viewers intrigued from beginning to closing credits.
I don’t know about you guys, but we here at Neatorama are thrilled about the second installment of Peter Jackson’s take on The Hobbit coming out this weekend, called The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. To celebrate, we decided to round up some of the great fan art based on the story. The cool thing about Hobbit art tributes is that creators have over 75 years of source material to pull from, so some of it is based entirely off of the books, some on the 1977 cartoon and some on the recent films. The end result is a vast amount of variety that expresses just how much impact this story has had throughout the years.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is a TON of artwork based on the story, so this is only a mere fraction of what’s out there. I had to leave out a lot of great creations just to keep this article from stretching on for eternity, so if you like what you see here, keep searching elsewhere for more because you’ll be thrilled with what you find.
Here’s another artwork depicting the full extent of the story, this one by Belgian artist Ian Escobar Loos. In the far right corner, you can see Bilbo’s end goal: the return to Bag End.
Framing The Lonely Mountain
This illustration by Daniel Haugnes may not reveal much about the story of the Hobbit, but it rivals the film in the spectacular beauty of its scenery.
The Serenity of a Hobbit Hole
Russian artist Andrei Pevukhin has illustrated many famous scenes from both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but I’m particularly struck by the simplicity and beauty of this scene, showing Gandalf approaching Bag End in the beginning of the story. Impressively, this speed painting only took the artist two hours to complete.
To continue their quest to get folks to buy gooshy noms for their cats, Friskies has released a full-length song about cats and Christmas. The music video stars Oskar the blind cat, Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, and other internet celebricats. The song is available for download at iTunes.
To maintain the company's dignity at least a little, they use the term "wet cat food" instead of "gooshy noms." Friskies is donating one can of gooshy noms to pet shelters for each YouTube view up to 500,000. Of course, that means they were already prepared to donate a half-million cans, and the count will reach that easily before the end of the week. -via Viral Viral Videos
This is another one of his projects. Southern Comfort is a liqueur that originated in New Orleans. A marketing company working on behalf of the brand hired Mr. Cranmer to create sculptures to promote Southern Comfort. These 2 machines are the result. They’re built around instruments reminiscent of New Orleans’s place in jazz history. Insert a bottle and press a trumpet key. The machines play music and, most importantly, deliver alcoholic refreshment.
If George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga Game Of Thrones took place in the modern era the soundtrack would probably sound a lot like this song from progressive folk metal band Scythia.
The song is called "Bear Claw Tavern," and the video is full of raw Celtic energy and an equally rambunctious bar scene featuring drunken dwarves, badass warriors brawling, an epic keytar solo that will knock your britches off, and some wizardly geek trying to do some light reading while he drinks his mead. So hoist your tankards, sharpen your battleaxes and give a great big old Westeros hoo-rah to Scythia's fantasy inspired heavy metal sound.
The number of newborns given the name “Cheese” increased 450% during 2013. Now admittedly, there were not many Cheeses to begin with. There were only 9 Cheeses reported from a survey of 500,000 parents. For that, we should be grateful. But, as Dan Amira of New York magazine asserts, “the correct number of babies who should be named Cheese is zero.”
Christmas time is here again. Are you still searching for that perfect gift for your favorite promiscuous generous friend. Get them the gift of fresh clean breath with the Remember the Names of Everyone You've Slept With Breath Spray from the NeatoShop. This minty novelty product makes an easy present for any good natured friend who doesn't mind a little ribbing.
This new holiday-themed couch gag puts The Simpsons at the North Pole, getting ready for Santa's Christmas toy delivery. Watch for the Festivus Pole and Edna Krabappel as an angel. The sequence will be shown this weekend in the new episode "White Christmas Blues." -via Tastefully Offensive
Looking for something to keep you warm this winter but not really in the mood for plain hot chocolate? Then reach for some delicious eggnog and white chocolate chips and start heating them over the stove on low heat. Serve with some marshmallows, sprinkles and whipped cream and you have a great holiday beverage that is hard to top. Kleinworth & Co. has all the directions you need to make something amazingly rich and beautiful enough to impress any and all of your guests.
The denizens of Sesame Street are geeking out over The Lord of the Rings. You've already seen Cookie Monster obsessing over precious cookies. In this Vine video, Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the movies, wants to enter Hooper's Store. Muppet Gandalf seems to object, but only until McKellen asks politely.
In 1874, kidnapping was a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law. Then 4-year-old Charley Ross went missing. Two men had picked him and his 5-year-old brother up, but the older boy was set free the same day. Christian Ross, the boy's father, went to police, who didn't take the case seriously -until the first ransom note showed up.
Somebody had written the message—ridden with errors in spelling, capitalization and punctuation—in black ink and an unsteady hand. “You wil have to pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to,” the note read. “if you put the cops hunting for him you is only defeeting yu own end.”
The second came five days later, stating the ransom amount: “This is the lever that moved the rock that hides him from yu $20,000. Not one doler les—impossible—impossible—you cannot get him without it.” (The sum of $20,000 in 1874 was the equivalent of about $400,000 today.)
With this demand, the letter writers recorded the first ransom kidnapping in U.S. history. They told Christian Ross to correspond with them through the personal advertisements of the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
The police then went into full investigation mode, asking the public for tips and eventually offering a huge reward. Newspapers covered the case and parents panicked. One lead led to the police hiring a spy to investigate suspects. Two suspects died during another crime and one was arrested, but the case was never truly solved. However, Pennsylvania made kidnapping into a felony crime.
Fast forward 139 years, when a librarian in Philadelphia uncovered a set of 22 letters among her family's possessions. They had found the original ransom notes, which were thought lost forever. But how did they come into her family's possession? Read the story of the kidnapping and those ransom letters at Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog.
(Image credit: Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers)