Sculptor Jean Cotton prefers the term "aesthetically challenged." That's probably a more polite phrase to use when describing her facial mugs. They're sometimes goofy and sometimes scary, but they're always in for a hard time at a beauty contest. You can find her Facebook gallery here and her Etsy shop here.
P.S. If you like Cotton's work, then you may also like the ceramic faces of The Big Duluth.
Mike Dougherty is a screenwriter who worked on Superman Returns and X-Men 2. He is also, according to his Twitter profile, a "part-time mammal." That's good--always keep a side hustle going.
He wears a lot of hats, including, now, that of a fashion designer. With a few markers, he sketched up this design for an Alien chestbuster onsie at which any parent would be proud to scream in terror. He made it at his first baby shower, which shows a promising start.
Sometimes, when you're on a culinary adventure, some naysayer may mutter, "This seems like a bad idea" or "We should turn back while we can" or "This seems dangerous." Such people would not be welcome in the kitchen of Becky McKay, the internet's Cereal Baker.
Her most recent mad cooking experiment consisted of building stacks of Girl Scout cookies: Tagalongs, Samoas and Thin Mints. She wrapped these stacks in raw canned crescent roll dough.
Once you've made something in the kitchen--anything, really--it's time to start up the deep fryer. Becky browned her concoctions for a minute or two on each side, then sprinkled them with powdered sugar.
As Master Yoda said, "Size matters not." Or perhaps it's better to say that being big is not always an advantage, even in sports.
On Tuesday, the Sacramento Kings faced off against the Houston Rockets. In a pregame event, Rockets player Dwight Howard, who stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall, took on a little boy. Howard easily blocked the child and batted away his shots at the basket.
But then, at 0:47, Howard's size suddenly presented an opportunity for his opponent.
You don't have to settle for ordinary lashes. Etsy seller Natalie Russo makes jewelry that adds flair to them. She uses tiny beads, wire and feathers to create sculptures that you can glue onto your face. I have wood glue handy, but Russo recommends something called "eyelash glue."
Some of her fancier pieces use gold and peacock feathers. Russo tells The Daily Beast that she has sold 600 sets over the past 3 years. I can see how the concept could have even broader, mass market appeal.
Happy Derpy Day, everypony! Today is Derpy Day, an annual brony holiday about Derpy Hooves--the My Little Pony character created by fans and adopted by the show.
Traditionally, bronies celebrate Derpy Day by baking muffins and giving them to people in order to share the magic of friendship. Yesterday, I told my library co-workers about Derpy Day and gave them homemade banana muffins.
Today, I'm baking muffins and drawing pictures of Derpy with my daughters. My 5-year old has expressed skepticism that Derpy Day is a legitimate holiday, but that won't stop us from having fun.
To mark the occasion, I've rounded up some of the best crafts featuring the lovable and ditzy Derpy Hooves. At the top, you can find renegadecow's masterful flying Derpy automaton.
Of all brony crafters, renegadecow is my favorite. He is a master artisan in a complex craft. Here's his other Derpy automaton. This one, as you can see, shows her dozing on a cloud.
Many bronies have made plushes. I like this one by picklz especially well because it shows Derpy in her Nightmare Night (Halloween) costume, which consisted of paper bags.
We share muffins on Derpy Day because according to brony lore, Derpy loooooves muffins. A lot. This hoodie by Lisa Lou Who shows Derpy's colors, cutie mark, wings and a muffin.
Pejac, a street artist from Spain, makes brilliant use of his urban canvases. His use of a drainage grate to show a barcode is inspired. But I'm most impressed by his map of the world draining away. It's a sad image, but it's also striking.
Sometimes in relationships, you have to do this "talking" thing--like conversations and such. That can take a lot of time and energy.
We humans rose from the dirt and squalor of the caves because we used tools. The long journey from stone axes has brought us to this: BroApp. This app available for Android phones takes all of the work out of back-and-forth texting conversations with your significant other.
Once you download BroApp, write a bunch of sweet-sounding text messages. I know--it's a chore. But you'll only have to do it once!* It sends messages periodically according to your input as well as its computations about the optimal times to send the messages.
Here's one clever feature: BroApp asks you to enter your girlfriend's WiFi network information. You don't want for the app to send a message while you're with her at her house. That would totally blow your cover. So the message queue pauses when your phone detects her wireless network.
Here’s a musical fushion that I’ve never heard before! It’s a combination of Japanese surf rock and classical western European music. Terauchi Takeshi is the musical mind responsible. He formed the eponymous Terauchi Takeshi & the Bunnys in 1966 in Yokohama. Takeshi experimented with other genres, borrowing heavily from classical music. Here’s his mix of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
You can hear more classical tracks at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, including selections from Brahams, Schubert and Tchaikovsky.
You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of WiFi. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of cell signal. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!
I recently ran across 2 interesting blog posts about how science fiction and fantasy often shove people into fixed categories because of species. First, Salem MacGourley wrote about why he prefers to play humans in role-playing games:
I'm really kind of a fan of humans. This translates into my gaming habits, as there's many games out there that let you pick not only male or female, but species as well. I always roll human. Sure, Dwarves might be stronger, Krogans might be more resilient, Asari might live a thousand years longer, and Elves might be bastards, but give me a human any day. Us humans, we can do anything. I can't, for the life of me, remember the source of the quote, nor can I the quote itself, but on Star Trek, probably Deep Space Nine, there was a quote about humans that's stuck with me. You take 10 Klingons, you've got 10 fierce warriors. 10 Ferengi, you've got 10 shrewd businessmen. 10 Romulans, 10 expert spies. But you take 10 humans, you don't know *what* you're dealing with. They could be anything. You can't plan for humans.
What you get is ten bigots. Because, see, humans, specifically the humans that wrote that script, look at ourselves as "people" and the other people, the ones with the pointy ears or the furry feet or the bony ridges on their foreheads, as "archetypes".
All Klingons are honor-loving warriors. All dwarves are beer-swilling Lawful Good blacksmiths with, for some reason, bad fake Scottish accents. All elves are ethereal granola-munching bunny-hugging archers. But humans are people and therefore can be good or evil, horticulturalists or mechanical engineers, priests or physicists, saints or monsters.
In Dungeons & Dragons, dwarves can't be rangers and halflings can't be magic users, but humans can be any character class. In Star Trek, the United Federation of Planets is a galaxy-spanning polyspecies polity, but the officer's mess on any Starfleet vessel looks more like a board meeting at Augusta National than it does the cantina in Star Wars. The most homogenous, conformist technological society on planet Earth has everything from tattooed yakuza to sumo wrestlers to lolita cosplayers, but you could title a documentary on Klingons Fifty Shades of Worf.
This tendency has long struck me as a weakness of Star Trek. You could have a Klingon society dominated by warriors, but only if it was a constantly expanding empire with a booty-based economy, such as Fifteenth Century Spain. Ferenginar could exist as a mercantile city-state similar to Seventeenth Century Venice. But the entire populations couldn't consist of warriors or merchants. At minimum, someone would have to build and run the machines.
Occasionally Star Trek's writers addressed the discrepancy. Nog once commented that his father Rom would have made a great engineer if only he hadn't been pressured to go into business. It just would have been nice if the series had kept going and given even more sociological depth to alien cultures that were easily stereotyped.
It’s time to pop the question. But which engagement ring is the right one? Is she a macaroni and cheese girl? What about pancakes? A full breakfast? Toast? Grilled salmon with asparagus?
Well, if she’s the latter, then keep looking. That just screams "high maintenance." We can’t afford to set expectations that high. But whichever approach you take, Etsy seller Casey the Crafter has the perfect ring for you. She also makes food miniatures as standalone pieces and charms.
The organization has an official pillow designed specifically pillow fighting.
What’s formal pillow fighting like? It’s similar to dodgeball, except that there are starting positions--lying down in bed. It takes place on a basketball half court with a dividing line in the center. Players throw pillows at each other and returned missed shots with fury. Referees stand by to enforce the rules and call time.
Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras. One traditional way to celebrate on the Gulf Coast of the United States is by eating a king cake with friends. The king cake is a traditional brioche cake shaped like a ring. It’s colored inside and frosted with the traditional colors of Mardis Gras: green, purple and gold. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America describes its origins:
The tradition of the king cake arose from Catholic cultures in Europe. In celebration of Twelfth Night, families would share a cake into which a bean had been baked. The person who found the bean was made King or Queen for the day, the finding of the bean commemorating the Wise Men discovering the baby Jesus. Colonists from France and Spain brought the tradition of the Twelfth Night cake to America, and the bean was soon replaced with other trinkets, including coins, amulets, and porcelain babies.
In the United States, the trinket is usually a plastic figurine of a baby. The person who finds the baby in his or her slice must provide the king cake next year.
Food Drunk, a catering service in New Orleans that offers “alcohol influenced cuisine,” made a burger fit for the occasion.
Would you like to spend 5 years going into debt to learn things that have nothing to do with current or future job markets? Then I've got a product for you! Comedian Ryan Higa tells us all the wonderful world of advanced, top-shelf education. Buy now and receive a crushing sense of failure absolutely free!
In 1995, the great Bill Watterson shut down his cartoon Calvin & Hobbes and retired. He's famously private. When Jake Rossen of Mental Floss landed an interview with him last year, it became a major news story.
It's unusual to see art made by Watterson after 1995. Pictured above is a promotional poster that he made for Stripped, a documentary about the past, present and future of cartooning. In the trailer embedded below, you can hear him, as well as other cartoonists, including Jim Davis (Garfield) and Matt Inman (The Oatmeal).
Michael McLane of Florence, Kentucky is a stained glass artist of both talent and excellent taste in subject matter. Among other projects, he makes lamps inspired by science fiction and comic books. You can see more work at his DeviantART gallery, including stained glass pieces inspired by Princess Mononoke, Iron Man and the band One Direction.
In the great green-certified room there was a smart phone, and a silver spoon, and a picture of…
Since 1947, millions of children have gone to bed enjoying Margaret Wise Brown's classic picture book Goodnight Moon. But the parenting methods used back then were, to put it mildly, crude. They did not nurture children, let alone push them hard to learn from the very beginning of their lives.
The Ladybird Book line still exists, but in the traditional sense, the name refers to a line of British children’s books that were published from the 1940s through 1970s. The had a standardized format including a listing of key vocabulary words on each page.
Miriam Elia, a writer and artist, has released the book We Go to the Gallery. It's a satire on modern art that in the form of a fake Ladybird book:
“I thought it would be humorous to see Mummy, Peter and Jane going to a really nihilistic modern art exhibition”, she says. Among the works confronted by the trio on their cultural outing are pastiches of Emin, Creed and Koons, through which they learn about sex, death, nothingness “and all of the debilitating, middle-class self-hatred contained in the artworks.”
Here’s a clever rig that is (or was in 2010) located in Liberty, Kentucky. Tong the horse is on a sturdy treadmill--apparently for the first time. He’s taking to the work well. He drives a wood splitter for Patrick Maloney on a cold winter day.
I suspect that this video shows the Ferrari team at the Australian Grand Prix last year. Watch what a perfectly trained pit team can do. The car stops at 0:35. It moves at 0:37. In those 2 seconds, the team replaces all 4 wheels. Look at how well they work together--like the fingers on one hand.
On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi LaForge was notoriously awkward with women. Oh, working with them was fine. But if he tried to make a move, he’d dematerialize into a puddle of anxiety. His attempts at romance could be charitably described as clumsy (not that I’m one to talk).
Well, that’s old Geordi. Maybe he took the advice of Worf, the resident love doctor on the Enterprise. But I think this photo by Victoria McNally reveals how Geordi became successful. He’s not self-conscious and pleading. He just hangs back, confidently, and lets the Sailor Scouts come to him. Atta boy, Geordi.
Theodore Tugboat is a Canadian children’s television show. It’s similar to Thomas and Friends, a children’s show about living locomotives. In fact, many episodes of those two shows were directed by the same person.
In the show, there’s a human harbormaster who serves as the narrator and several tugboat puppets that constitute the main characters. Among them is Theodore Tugboat, for whom the show is named.
In 2000, the production company for Theodore the Tugboat built the Theodore Too, a full-scale replica of the character. It travelled through the waters of the Maritime provinces as well as the Great Lakes, participating in public shows. Now it works as a tour craft in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I love the Batman mythos, but it's impossible to keep up with every Batman movie, comic book issue and TV episode that's produced. Thankfully, there are a few great works that Adam A. Donaldson of Nerd Bastards has helpfully rounded up.
I've found that animated Batman is consistently better than the live-action movies, which are often overwrought and designed around stunts and special effects rather than good stories. #10 on Adam's list is a great choice: the episode "Epilogue" from Justice League Unlimited. It's the finale for that show, as well as Batman Beyond and pretty much the DC Animated Universe. Its 24 minutes of outstanding storytelling tells us a lot about both Bruce Wayne and his successor.
Another great choice is #7 on Adam's list: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This 1993 feature film is, in my opinion, the best Batman movie ever shown in theaters. It's partially an origin story, but it goes beyond that. Mask of the Phantasm features a cleverly-written script, great animation and a fine soundtrack.
In The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition, historian W. J. Rorabaugh asserted that early Americans routinely consumed alcohol at rates that would put college freshmen to shame. One of my college history professors once epxlained to me that this happened in part because although it was easy to grow grain in America, it was very difficult to transport it. The nation's road network was terrible--at least compared to western Europe. Consequently, the cheapest way to transport grain was to reduce its weight by distilling it into liquor.
Drinking a lot was an early American tradition. At Reason, Stanton Peele describes one party at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia:
Indeed, we still have available the bar tab from a 1787 farewell party in Philadelphia for George Washington just days before the framers signed off on the Constitution. According to the bill preserved from the evening, the 55 attendees drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer, and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.
That's more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a number of shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. That seems humanly impossible to modern Americans. But, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk—but not losing control—was simply socially accepted.