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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.