This would be funny even if it weren’t word-for-word from an actual legal deposition. It’s from a 2010 case in which the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Recorder’s office was sued for charging $2 a page to make copies of public documents. The exchange, re-enacted verbatim from the court records, shows the lengths a person can go to to avoid answering a simple question. The expanded story is at The New York Times, although I cannot read it because I’ve already reached my limit of ten free articles this month. -via Viral Viral Videos
Jessica Hickey is an only child, and her father has been a widower for twenty years. Since she got married, he’s wanted a grandchild, and the moment finally came to break the news to him. This is short and terribly sweet, so you might want to have a hanky ready. The top comment at reddit brings us back down to earth:
He is crying because being a Cubs fan, he is not used to getting what he wants.
We wish the entire family all the happiness in the world. -via reddit
John Cena got the opportunity to watch -and record- a family of beavers repairing their lodge right in front of him. They were in a hurry to get as much done as possible before the nighttime cold set in, and demonstrated exactly where the phrase “busy as a beaver” came from. The excited commentary is priceless! -via Metafilter
Daisy and Cooper are living a dog’s life. They got an ice cream cone from McDonalds! But they have to share it with each other. According to established protocol, Daisy always gets to lick the ice cream first. You may be able to figure out why pretty easily, but you’ll still giggle when it happens. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Jon Negroni, who made a name for himself by coming up with the Unified Pixar Theory, continues to bring us new insights about the movies. By analyzing the clues you may have missed by watching Toy Story 2 only a dozen or so times, he knows who Andy’s Mom really is. She is only referred to as Mom or as Ms. Davis in the film, but if you buy this theory, she had a more fleshed-out past than you thought. I won’t give it away, but rest assured that the explanation is only for real Toy Story fans. -via Digg
Jeff Highsmith’s oldest son started school and needed a desk for homework. But this kid didn’t get just any desk- his dad built him something extraordinary. When the lid is down, its a slant desk used to complete homework. But when the homework is done, raise the lid and you’re in Mission Control!
I researched the Apollo Program as well as NASA’s Mission Control Center, and designed my own console roughly based on those. I say “roughly” because the actual Mission Control does more monitoring than controlling, and isn’t awash in the whiz-bang rocket noises young kids appreciate. I took great liberties and made more of a “space-themed” play console than an accurate simulator. My goal was simply to provide some extra ideas and sound effects for my two sons to play “space” together.
Hey, when I was that age, my dad made me a pair of stilts. Make has an extensive article on how Highsmith built the desk and all the widgets inside, with lots of photographs. -via Metafilter
Norvell Hardy, who was to gain world fame as one half of the legendary movie comedy team of Laurel and Hardy, was born on January 18th, 1892, in Harlem, Georgia. He was the fifth and youngest child of Oliver Hardy and Emily Norvell (young Norvell had two half-sisters and two half- brothers). Oliver Hardy was a confederate veteran who was wounded at the battle of Antietam in 1862. Sadly, he was never to get to know his father, as Oliver Hardy was to die in the first year of Norvell's life (he passed away on November 22, 1892).
He faced another childhood tragedy when his older brother Sam died in drowning accident. Norvell fished his brother's body out of the water and tried to resuscitate him, but Sam was already dead.
Almost from day one (possibly to compensate for these early childhood tragedies) young Norvell had huge appetite. According to family lore, his mother once baked 20 buttermilk biscuits, only to watch in amazement as little Norvell ate all 20. For the remainder of his life, as a child, a teen, and an adult, Hardy was to be obese, his weight, at it's peak, reaching 350 pounds. His ravenous appetite caused him to be overweight from an early age, and Norvell had to deal with the taunts of "Fatty! Fatty!" from the other kids.
He soon realized that laughter brought him balm and pleasure. If the other kids laughed with you, they couldn't laugh at you. Norvell loved to umpire the local baseball games and ham it up, calling out "Steeeriiiike threeeee!".
Once, a wild bear got loose and chased him up a tree. Even in this terrifying situation, Norvell caused great laughter, as he shouted out from the tree top, "Lord, if you don't help me, please don't help the bear!!"
A born entertainer, Norvell developed a very melodic singing voice at family sing-a-longs. At the age of eight, he ran away from home and joined a troupe called Coburn's Minstrels, who he briefly toured with. After returning home, he was enrolled in a local boarding school, which he hated, causing him to run away again.
When he returned home, Emily, realizing what a great singing voice he had, sent him to receive singing lessons in Atlanta from the distinguished Adolf Dahm-Peterson. Norvell often skipped his lessons, instead earning $3.50 a week singing at the local Alcazar Theater. Returning home once more, Hardy's mother (probably to discipline him) put him in a military academy, which, as would be expected, the rambunctious Norvell hated. He was enrolled briefly at Young Harris college, but his heart was obviously in entertaining.
Around 1910, two important things happened in the life of Norvell Hardy. First, he changed his name from Norvell to Oliver Hardy. One story says he changed his name because he was advised to by a psychic or a numerologist, but possibly, he simply took on the name of his late, lamented father.
Second, he opened the first-ever movie theater in Milledgeville, Georgia. Ollie, besides being the movie theater's manager, was also its janitor, ticket taker, and projectionist. While watching and studying the movies on screen, Oliver thought he could act just as well, if not better, than the actors he saw.
Jalopnik has a great discussion post up about engines, particularly car engines, with an odd number of cylinders. There are some real gems in the comments, such as this Lanz Bulldog tractor. It's a 1-cylinder engine, which is not that uncommon. Many old motorcycle designs, such as those of Royal Enfield, have only one cylinder.
But the Lanz Bulldog's two-stroke thumper engine has a displacement of 10.3 liters! Look at it shake in the above video. Also note that the steering wheel is used as a starter crank. This simple, rugged tractor design dominated the German market before World War II. John Deere bought the company in 1953.
Bonus Item: A five-cylinder rotary car engine that spins on a vertical axis.
This is the only 1906 Adams-Farwell in existence. It has an air-cooled 4-stroke rotary engine, so the crankshaft remains stable while the entire crankcase spins.
In this video, we see how a mother dog teaches her pup how to walk down the stairs. First she lovingly demonstrates, then she provides watchful encouragement. The puppy is scared, but he does the job. That's a good dog! Then we are treated to a look at a cat teaching a kitten how to navigate down the stairs. Now you know the difference between cats and dogs. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
The Professor was a good-looking but nerdy academic, an exaggerated stereotype of the man of capacious intelligence with little or no social awareness. Occasionally approached romantically by Ginger (and guest stars, including Zsa Zsa Gabor), he remained chaste and unaffected.
But he was pretty much the only character on the show who possessed anything resembling actual knowledge, and he was forever inventing methods to increase the castaways’ chance of rescue. Still, among the show’s many lapses of logic was the fact — often noted by Mr. Johnson in interviews — that although the Professor could build a shortwave radio out of a coconut shell, he couldn’t figure out how to patch a hole in a boat hull.
Professor Roy Hinkley was not his only role. Johnson appeared in movies beginning in 1952, and played in many Westerns both in film and on TV -usually as the villain. He also appeared in time-traveling episodes of The Twilight Zone twice.
What many fans do not know was that during World War II, Johnson was an Air Force Captain and flew 44 bombing missions. He was awarded many combat medals, and earned a Purple Heart after a plane crash. Johnson was 89 years old. -via Metafilter
There's taking your dog for a walk, and then there's this. Bryan Gregory and his dog Kaia tear through the forest joyfully burning up serious calories. Go, Kaia, go! Anyone who has ever known a border collie can feel how happy she is at full speed. Producer Jonathan Kang of Foxwood Films did a marvelous job catching the action on camera. -via Metafilter
Robert Osbourne David Denver was born in New Rochelle, New York, on January 9, 1935 (that is exactly one day after the birth of Elvis Presley). Just as his "distinguished-sounding" real name seems a bit incongruous for the actor who was to achieve worldwide fame playing a perennial goofball named "Gilligan", so the real-life Bob Denver was almost a direct dichotomy to the character too.
Shy, introverted, highly intelligent and well-read from his youth and on into adulthood, Bob, and his family, soon moved to Brownwood, Texas, where he was to grow up. His early jobs included working as a mailman and as a high school teacher of both math and physical education.
After high school, he moved to California, where he enrolled at Loyola-Marymount College in Los Angeles. Denver earned a degree in political science and was considering a career in law when he got bit by the acting bug.
He made his stage debut in a west coast stage production of The Caine Mutiny Court-martial in the late fifties. Soon thereafter, he made his movie debut in the 1959 film A Private's Affair with Sal Mineo (also in the cast was his later Gilligan's Island co-star Jim Backus). The year 1959 also brought the young actor his first big break when he was cast as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
Denver's portrayal of Krebs is legendary in television history. His catch phrases "You rang?" upon his entrance in every episode and his stimulus-response of "Work??" whenever the word came into the conversation became highly popular and Maynard became one of television's first icons and "breakout characters." Denver's character was so popular there was a huge backlash from fans when rumors of Maynard being drafted into the army cropped up during the show's run (in real life, Denver had broken his neck in 1956, saving him from actually being drafted into the military).
Although the "Gilligan" character is more well-known nowadays, Denver actually played Maynard in more episodes (142 to 98) and it was Maynard who was later voted one of TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Characters. After the Dobie Gillis run ended in 1963, Denver again played a beatnik-like character in the 1964 movie For Those Who Think Young (also featuring his soon-to-be co-star Tina Louise).
Since the launch of its first film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli has enchanted viewers around the world and hooked many people on anime. Rocket News 24 recently rounded up a long list of trivia that you might not know about the studio and its films.
For example, the castle in Howl's Moving Castle sounds like a loud, clanking machine that belches fire and smoke as it moves. Hayao Miyazaki, the director of the film, found a natural way of acquiring those sounds:
Miyazaki’s version of the castle is also more of an almost-organic clump of pipes, turrets, scaffolding and legs. To create the sound of the castle, Ghibli hired a team of carpenters, filled the studio with tools and asked them to do what they do best.
Dad has been hard of hearing for years, but he recently got hearing aids, and all of the sudden can hear everything that's going on. The big change was a little jarring for his two sons, who could not remember a time when their father heard so well. DannyTheHamilton wrote a little song about it, and unveiled it when the family was all together for Christmas. It was a big hit! Luckily, his brother TilterMcTilt recorded the whole thing for the rest of us. The lyrics can be found here.
I can well remember when my father got hearing aids and my family went through the same thing -which will probably happen again in the next few years when I break down and get my own aural enhancements. -via reddit
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