John Farrier's Blog Posts

The 12 Beards of Christmas

All of us at Neatorama wish you a very beardly Christmas! You can get started having one with these 12 Christmas-themed beards photographed by Stephanie Jarstad. Although Movember is over, Jarstad rejoices that Decembeard is here. Go all out with your whiskers by adding ribbons, dye, ornaments, and a hefty dose of Christmas cheer.

This gives me a project idea: I could grow a functional Advent calendar beard. It's too late to grow one for this Christmas. But if I get started now, I could be ready next year.

-via Pleated Jeans


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9 Things You Might Not Know about Home Alone

Would a child alone hunted by criminals be scarred for life from the experience? Former child actor Macaulay Culkin is--literally. During one scene for the 1990 Christmas movie Home Alone, co-star Joe Pesci bit Culkin on the finger. It was in the script, but Pesci didn't mean to bite so hard. Still, he left a mark on Culkin's finger that he has to this day.


(Video Link)

That's 1 of 9 interesting facts brought to us by CineFix. Their researchers are great at finding fun trivia about movies. We've previously featured their video about The Hunger Games.

-via Blame It on the Voice


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This Amazing Birdcage and Fish Bowl Is Unlike Anything You've Seen Before

(Photo: Cooper Hewitt)

And I don't open up my box of superlatives like that without good reason. The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum owns this rare and bizarre artifact of early Nineteenth Century Dutch origin. It's both a birdcage and a fishbowl.

The fish live in the glass at the top. But the sphere in the center of the bowl doesn't open to the fishbowl. It opens only to the birdcage at the bottom. A bird inside the birdcage can fly up into the sphere. When it does so, it would appear to be flying in the midst of the fish.

-via Messy Nessy Chic


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The Fire Truck Will Get Where It Needs to Go Even If It Has to Push a Police Cruiser out of the Way

A building on Montreal caught fire last September. Firefighters were eager to get to it as soon as possible, for it was blazing vigorously.

This took place in Old Montreal--the oldest part of the city, which has very narrow streets. It was hard for the firefighters to maneuver their fire truck to the scene. The fact that police had chosen to park their cars in the way didn't help. But it didn't stop the fire truck, either. The driver pushed the police cruisers out of the way, sideswiped a BMW parked nearby, and kept going.


(Video Link)

Now if only I could do this to people who waddle slowly in front of me down the middle of hallways . . . .

-via 22 Words


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A "Shake It Off" Parody for Hanukkah


(Video Link)

Tuesday is the first day of Hanukkah, an 8-day Jewish holiday celebrating a miraculous event during the Maccabean Revolt. To mark the occasion, the musical group Six13 (warning: auto-play video) offers this lively parody of Taylor Swift's song "Shake It Off," which is embedded below.

The song helpfully summarizes the traditions and origins of the holiday in its lyrics. Here's a sample:

Back in 160 B.C.E.
Lived Judah Maccabee
His army was so weak
But they still beat the Greeks

Supply of oil wasn't great
But a miracle took place
It burned for 8 whole days
It burned for 8 whole days 


(Video Link)

-via Pleated Jeans


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Taste the Rainbow one Color at a Time with a Color-Sensitive Skittle Sorter


(Video Link)

Standard Skittles candies come in red, yellow, orange, violet, and green. Do you have a favorite? To the best of my knowledge, they all taste the same. But if you're picky about the color, then this automatic Skittles color sorter is for you.

Alice Kassar, Jesse Checkla, Mikhail Rudinskiy, who are students at Cornell University, made it a class project. It exposes the Skittles to light, then determines the color based on the RGV values reflected back. A sorting arm adjusts to move each Skittle into the correct silo, which feeds it into a bag. Pull the bag across a hot wire to seal it and then you've got a bag of monochrome Skittles. 

-via Hack A Day


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The Greatest Film Rating Ever

Why is the 1989 monster flick Godzilla vs. Biollante rated PG? It's not for foul language or frightening situations, but "Traditional Godzilla Violence." Besides being a great band name, Traditional Godzilla Violence should be the aspiration of every work of fiction.

That film, by the way, pits Godzilla against a huge mutant rosebush--a story as old as time itself.

-via Jeff Treppel

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Needle Felted Benedict Cumberbatch

DeviantART member CatsFeltFeelings creates highly realistic dolls and figures using needle felting, such as this large head of actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role from the TV show Sherlock. She plans to build a body with it, including Holmes's trademark coat, scarf, and hat.

Her whole gallery is filled with impressive works. You'll want to check it out, especially if you're a fan of Adventure Time.


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7 Reasons Why Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings Should Be Required Reading in School


(Photo: Pedro Dias)

Neither of these series was required reading for me when I was in high school, but Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was required reading when I took a children's literature class in library school. At the time, I was working full time and attending school full time, so I didn't look at the hefty Harry Potter novel on the syllabus with any joy. One afternoon, I walked into a bookstore, skimmed through a copy in 3 hours, and crossed it off my to-do list.

I didn't enjoy reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. But perhaps I would have if I had experienced it through a literature class led by a good teacher. Mackenzie Patel of the Huffington Post thinks that the Harry Potter novels and J.R.R. Toklien's The Lord of the Rings should be required reading in high school English classes. Here are her first 2 arguments:

1. Both novels teach the importance of loyalty, friendship and honesty (i.e. the classic trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione and the Fellowship). For example, in chapter 5 of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, "He [Harry] knew that Ron and Hermione were more shocked than they were letting on, but the mere fact that they were still there on either side of him... was worth more than he could ever tell them."

2. Both include advanced vocabulary that would be a boon when students have to take state-administered exams (i.e. I received a 790 on SAT reading because I read like a fiend). Lord of the Rings takes the gold medal in this category for including obscure words such as "malice," "unceasing," and "bestirred."

-via Geek Art Gallery

Do you agree with Patel's conclusion?



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10 Ways to Offend People in Other Countries


(Photo: Brooklyn3012)

Practice has paid off and you're now good at offending people in your own country. But what about other nations and cultures? What may work in your own culture may not successfully offend people in others. Thankfully, When on Earth has a list of 10 ways you can offend people around the world.

For example, in Australia and New Zealand, it's considered snobbish to sit in the back seat of a taxi. Most natives, When on Earth informs us, sit in the front seat with the cabbie. So: into the back seat you go.


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Kind Tortoise Flips Over His Buddy

Each of us, at some point in our lives, is a tortoise flipped over on his back, unable to right himself. We need some kind person to flip us back over. We need this tortoise, who helped a companion in need at a zoo in Taipei, Taiwan.


(Video Link)

-via Althouse


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Last Week, A Sea of Fog Completely Filled the Grand Canyon

Last Thursday, visitors to the Grand Canyon in Arizona witnessed a spectacular event: the enormous valley filled up completely with fog. Natasha Greiling of Smithsonian explains that this event is known as a "total cloud inversion." That's when cold air becomes trapped in the bottom of the canyon beneath a heavy layer of warm air. This occurs once every few years at the Grand Canyon during unusual conditions.

Fortunately, the National Park Service staff who work at the canyon were ready. They took some amazing photos, as well as a time-lapse video of the event, which you can see below. It looks like the canyon is filling up from the bottom. 

-via Ace of Spades HQ

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Mystical, Soothing Land Art by Sally J. Smith

Sally J. Smith is an environmental artist, which means that she uses the raw materials of nature to create ephemeral sculptures, which she then photographs and leaves in place. Flowers, stones, leaves, and ice are to Smith what paint and clay are to other artists. Although she has a studio at home where she paints many watercolors, the entire natural world is also her studio, as well as her gallery.

Smith recently published a 2015 calendar highlighting some of her more impressive works of environmental art. You can see more photos from it at My Modern Met.


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Child's Chair Unfolds into a Dollhouse

Koichi Suzuno and Alicja Strzyżyńskaby designed this simple but clever piece of children's furniture. It's a dollhouse, a child-sized chair, and a storage container. Fold and unfold it as needed. You can see more photos at Spoon & Tamago.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Amazing Video: Elephant Picks up Litter, Sticks It in a Trash Can

Thornhill Safari Lodge in eastern South Africa posts this video and says, "If only we humans could behave in the same manner." Indeed! The elephant picks up 2 pieces of trash and puts them where they belong.


(Video Link)

Please note that I am unable to verify the authenticity of this video beyond the Facebook posting by Thornhill Safari Lodge and an article in the British tabloid Metro.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath

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

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Don't Text and Joust

He was preceded in death by Sir Read-A-Book-on-the-Steering-Wheel-While-Driving-down-the-Freeway. Dave Coverly of Speed Bump offers a warning that all jousters--especially teenage knights of dubious judgment--should heed.


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The Office: Middle-Earth Edition

After saving Middle-Earth, Bilbo Baggins humbly turned aside the great treasures and honors offered to him. Instead, he went to work at a paper company. Gollum is his co-worker with serious hygiene problems. Gandalf is the general manager or, as he puts it, the "Lord of the Reams." He's a walking, talking, sexual harassment lawsuit.


(Video Link)

Martin Freeman, the actor who plays Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, hosted Saturday Night Live last night. He was inevitably typecast in one of his most famous roles. This tme, though, he took Bilbo to The Office.

-via Chris Hallbeck


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Fashion Trend for Women: Armpit Hair Extensions


(Photo: unknown, via xojane)

Two months ago, we told you how to dye your armpit hair and showed you a photo of a woman who had dyed her own a cool shade of blue. Now it's become all the rage. Women are taking up their dye brushes to add unconventional colors to their armpits.

To stand out even further and express their creativity, some women, such as the one pictured above, are also adding hair extensions. That makes a lot of sense. Growing hair takes a long time. A few rhinestones also help bring some sparkle to a lady's armpits

-via American Digest

P.S. The news story of armpit hair dyeing went viral after I wrote about it here, often through posts and articles that directly sourced Neatorama. So, in a small way, I contributed to the spread of this fashion trend. You're welcome.


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Panda: The Action Movie

Michael Bay Gifs is my new favorite subreddit. It's filled with inexplicable explosions digitally added to ordinary footage. Redditor PhoneDojo offers this wonderful contribution. If you ache to fill the Transformers-shaped hole in your heart, then this .gif will keep you going for a while. Hopefully Michael Bay will turn the Action Panda concept into a real movie.

-via Daily of the Day


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Watch a Whale Feeding Frenzy


(Video Link)

AkXpro used a drone to capture this awesome footage of a pod of humpback whales feeding on fish off the coast of Alaska. It gets really intense at the 0:49 mark. The whales form a circle, then lunge out of the water.

Ark in Space explains that the whales are engaging in bubble feeding. This means that they move into a circular formation, then breathe out bubbles while rising to the surface. The bubbles form a wall that the fish can't swim through, concentrating them into the center where the whales can swallow them en masse.


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Admiral Ackbar's Mousetraps

Admiral Ackbar of the Rebel Alliance is most famous for his iconic "It's a trap!" line in Return of the Jedi. It is inevitable that he would one day decide to cash in and put his fame to profitable use.

Cullen Sweet made these mousetraps as an art project. He has a few extra and plans to give them away at the upcoming Star Wars Life Day Celebration, a Wookiee holiday.

-via Nerd Approved


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These Shoes Hold Hidden Whisky Bottles

(Photo: Oliver Sweeney)

Maxwell Smart's shoe phone would be a handy gadget, but you don't always need a phone. For other moments of crisis, there's the Johnnie Tan Leather Brogue, a shoe from the Oliver Sweeney brand of shoes and the Johnnie Walker brand of whisky. The heels contain tiny compartments for storing whisky bottles. The sides have the Johnnie Walker striding man trademark and the bottoms of the shoes are transparent, which would seem to diminish their effectiveness at concealment.

-via Tasteologie


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Potato Nativity


(Photo: Sally Williamson)

Craig and Sally Williamson of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, UK, grow potatoes on their farm. To promote their goods, they put up this chrèche in their farm shop. The little spud looks comfortable in his manger. If he's hungry, maybe the sheep in the scene can be put to good use.

-via Jonah Goldberg

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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I Would Never Leave This Beautiful Chaise Lounge Bathtub

(Photo: Omvivo)

Omvivo, a home interiors design firm, offers this gorgeous bathtub called Le Cob. It's called that because the work of the late French architect and furniture designer Le Corbusier inspired it. As you slide into it, excess water spills over the front into a pile of charcoal pebbles. And thanks to the glass walls, passersby are treated to a view of you dressed in your finest.

-via Twisted Sifter


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This Cat Birthday Party Is the Worst Ever


(Video Link)

Nine MSN reports that the birthday girl is named Princess Lolita. She and everyone else at this party is having a miserable time. There's some sort of pudding to eat. But the human servant didn't know that these other cats are definitely not her friends. They should never have been invited.

Hopefully Princess Lolita at least got some presents out of the experience.

-via Daily of the Day

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

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Watch All 707 Classic Doctor Who Episodes Simultaneously


(Video Link)

If you want to start watching the modern Doctor Who, then you've got 8 seasons to catch up on. That comes out to (I think) 122 episodes. That's a lot, but it's feasible. It'll just take a few months.

Now classic Doctor Who--the show than ran from 1963 to 1989--that's a different story. Then you've got 707 episodes. To the extent that watching TV can be considered an act of work, it's a huge chore.

But don't worry. This video will help you get caught up very quickly. You'll just watch all of the episodes simultaneously. It's helpfully annotated with the names of the actors who played the Doctor.

-via David Thompson


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10 Breaking Bad Easter Eggs You May Not Have Noticed

Breaking Bad was a show with remarkable depth and sophistication executed carefully with great attention to detail. You may been riveted to the screen during all five seasons, but I’ll bet that a few of the subtle references that directors made slipped past you. Fortunately, Tristan Cooper of Dorkly has rounded up screenshots of 10 of these gems.

For example, the two-square Breaking Bad logo shows up in the background at times.

Walt and Jesse had to move a lot of cash around. It was fake, of course. Here’s a pile of $50 bills, but not all of them have Ulysses S. Grant’s face on them. Those in the foreground display the face of the creator of the show, Vince Gilligan:

Check out the rest at Dorkly.


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Lisa Pierce’s Wacky Animal Menorahs

Hanukkah is an annual Jewish celebration of the reconsecration of the Temple during the Maccabean Revolt. The traditional nine-branch menorah plays an important role in marking the occasion.

Lisa Pierce’s menorahs are anything but traditional. From her studio in Portland, Maine, she uses old toys to build gold and silver-colored menorahs that look like dinosaurs, elephants, and tortoises.

Continue reading

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Hundreds of Beautiful Works of Trench Art


(Photo: Imperial War Museum)

During World War I, soldiers were not always fighting. Sometimes, during idle moments, they might work on crafts using materials at hand. Some of these surviving works demonstrate impressive artistic skills, such as this engraved tobacco jar from the British Imperial War Museum. It was made by a Turkish prisoner of war using a British 13-pound shell case. Did you notice the color variation? That’s from copper and silver wire inlaid into the brass.

You can view more examples of fine trench art at the website of the Imperial War Museum and Collectors Weekly. To examine truly outstanding works in the field, I highly recommend this Flickr photo set.

-via Marcel Ledbetter


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Ultimate Dog Prank: Collar-Mounted Laser Pointer


(Video Link)

The humans, of course, just laugh and play while the dog fiercely attacks the enemy, Red Dot.

Red Dot must be destroyed. It is close—so close—but it always slips away at the last moment. Keep chasing! Eventually, our canine protector will capture and slay it.

-via 22 Words

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

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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