Pulling down a tree with a truck is not a recommended tactic. You might save some money by not hiring a professional, but getting flattened, no matter how small the chance, can be a devastating consequence. -via Arbroath
Writer and director Wes Craven was responsible for Freddy Krueger’s invasion of your nightmares in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which includes nine feature films and a TV series, plus books, comics, and video games.
From his feature film debut, The Last House on the Left in 1972 to the four Scream movies, he was a master of the modern horror genre. Craven’s IMDb entry has a list of 36 writing credits, 27 producing credits, 29 directing credits, and 19 acting credits.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Donald Trump talks about China a lot- enough to make it sound downright funny. This supercut from HuffPo may prove to be an earworm. My apologies in advance. -via Viral Viral Videos
Acclaimed neurologist, author, and philosopher Oliver Sacks revealed earlier this year that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The New York Times has announced his death this morning. Sacks wrote about neurological research in a way that the layman could not only understand, but that would spark deep thought into the meaning of mind and consciousness. He wrote about patients who displayed unusual abilities and disabilities of the brain, as in the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and neurological research, such as his discovery of the effects of L-dopa on the brains of catatonic patients in Awakenings, which was made into the 1990 film starring Robin Williams as Sacks.
His intellectual curiosity took him even further. On his website, Dr. Sacks maintained a partial list of topics he had written about. It included aging, amnesia, color, deafness, dreams, ferns, Freud, hallucinations, neural Darwinism, phantom limbs, photography, pre-Columbian history, swimming and twins.
“I am very tenacious, for better or worse,” he wrote in “A Leg to Stand On.” “If my attention is engaged, I cannot disengage it. This may be a great strength, or weakness. It makes me an investigator. It makes me an obsessional.”
The Times has more on Sacks' extraordinary life and work. Sacks died of cancer Sunday morning at his home in New York. He was 82.
Your cat would love to have a toy like this, with which he can use his agility and wits to bat a ball around inside a simple maze until he can get it out. You can make this yourself from a cardboard box with a knife, glue, and a ball. The “maze” part is just one cardboard strut inside that adds strength and makes the game more challenging for the cat. The tutorial is at meeoow.com. If your cat is like mine and would just pull the ball up with his claws, then you can easily replace it with a more slippery ball with no holes. I can think of other ways you can customize this to make it more difficult or more interesting, depending on what amuses your cat.
For the 33rd year in a row, the English Department at San Jose State University has rewarded aspiring or otherwise writers for the worst opening line in a (non-existent) novel. The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is named for Victorian novelist Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton who once began a book with the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night…” and cemented those words as a writing cliche. Congratulations to Dr. Joel Phillips of West Trenton, New Jersey, who won the top honor with this gem:
Seeing how the victim's body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the bumper of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, officer "Dirk" Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase "sandwiched" to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.
There were also runners-up recognized and winners in various categories such as horror, fantasy, romance, and children’s literature. Many “dishonorable mentions” are included on the winners’ page as well. A special categories recognizes “vile puns,” won by John Holmes of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Locals know it as Pinocchio Rock, because it's shaped like a proboscis, and lies at the edge of the cliff.
And more than one from the winner’s page paid tribute to Bulwer-Lytton’s famous line, like this dishonorable mention in the “Purple Prose” category:
The night was dark; which is a bit redundant, since night is by definition dark, unless it's a stormy night when lightning causes moments of brilliant light, or except in places like Norway or Alaska where summer nights can be pretty light, but still, most of the time when you say “night,” people are going to think “dark.” — Joseph E. Fountain, Fredericksburg, VA
In the Jim Crow era of the 20th century, landowners would not sell beachfront property on the Gulf coast to black investors or even families. Blacks were restricted from visiting any beach- except one. In 1923, Bishop Robert E. Jones of the Methodist Church established Gulfside Chatauqua and Camp Meeting Ground, later named Gulfside Assembly, on 316 acres on the coast near Waveland, Mississippi. It was a haven for local blacks and vacationing families from all over. Summer camps, church retreats, and seminars were held there for decades. The land was, in a stroke of cosmic karma, from the estate of President Andrew Jackson that came onto the market in 1922.
Luckily for Jones, however, his light skin and his position as a Methodist bishop took the question of race off the table. When he bought the property from John DeBlieux, a wealthy lumber mill owner who had once used the property as his family’s summer home, nobody thought to question whether he was black. Jones also secured the rights to a long-term lease of an adjacent 316-acre property from the state, but he ultimately didn’t develop the property, and it is now the site of the present-day Buccaneer State Park.
Yet the relative ease with which he secured the land for Gulfside didn’t mean that Jones was freed from having to make difficult — and controversial — compromises with the local white community as he began to develop it. “In order for them to remain viable … they had to accommodate white supremacy,” explains Andrew Kahrl, a University of Virginia history professor who wrote The Land Was Ours, a history of black beaches in America. That meant tightly controlling the movements of people visiting Gulfside by forbidding them from leaving the grounds; ensuring that people at the retreat, many of whom came from the North, obeyed the “racial etiquette” of the Deep South; and avoiding any provocation of Waveland’s white population. Alcohol and popular music were forbidden, as was sex, and activities were kept innocuous: Adolescents were taught to swim during the summers, and outdoor Bible study classes for families were held.
Gulfside was a respite and a place to socialize for victims of Jim Crow, and later became a meeting place for civil rights activists. The popularity of Gulfside suffered when blacks were finally able to enjoy beaches alongside whites, so the focus of the resort shifted to community development and elder care. Plans were made to open a retirement community at Gulfside, and a huge hotel was built to cater to the nearby state park and bring in some income. But mere days after the grand opening celebration, hurricane Katrina struck. Then the recession hit. Then there was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Yet there are those who recall Gulfside’s heyday and are committed to saving the resort for future generations. Read the story of Gulfside Assembly's unique history at Buzzfeed.
Have you seen the governor’s mansion in your state? Redditor coreyisthename put together an imgur album of images of all 50 state mansions, listed alphabetically. Many of them look pretty close to the same: nice big colonial houses. But some are surprisingly modest, and others are grand but of quite different styles. Which do you like the best? Which one would you most like to live in? And keep in mind, those are two different questions. -via reddit
The Chicago Zoological Society proudly announced two new arrivals at the Brookfield Zoo yesterday: snow leopard cubs! Well, the announcement was yesterday; the cubs were born on June 16th. Since then, they have been living in seclusion with their mother, 4-year-old Sarani. Their father is 5-year-old Sabu. Both cubs are female, and have no names yet (which sounds like a crowdsourcing project may be coming). Snow leopards are one of earth’s seven "big cats," and are an endangered species. There are only a few thousand left in the wild.
The new cubs will remain in their own private living quarters until October, when they will be introduced to the public. Meanwhile, you can read more about them at the zoo’s website, and keep up with their progress through Facebook. -via Buzzfeed
I’m no technical genius, but even I can tell that what we use computers for becomes more complicated all the time, which means we will never have the speed we want. Twenty years ago, I couldn’t load a video. Ten years ago, I had to buy a new computer just to start a blog. Now we stream full-length movies and live events. What's next? And how frustrating will it be?
Want to dress your dog up as a werewolf and possibly draw the attention of authorities? Check out this muzzle you can order from Russian retailer Zveryatam. It comes in five sizes and costs 2 10000 р, whatever that means -plus shipping.
Russian guitarist Alexey Kurulyov shared a picture of his dog wearing one. I’m sure he’s a bundle of love most of the time, but wearing this muzzle, he’s a hellhound straight out of your nightmares. -via Geeks Are Sexy
Harrison Ford stars in a Ridley Scott film based on a novel by Philip K. Dick. You can’t beat a pedigree like that. The 1982 film Blade Runner couldn’t help but become a classic of the sci-fi genre. Surely you’ll want to know some of the important facts behind the movie. For example:
4. RIDLEY SCOTT DIDN’T READ THE BOOK ON WHICH IT’S BASED.
Blade Runner is (loosely) based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick. (It’s one of over a dozen movies based on his works.) But Scott didn’t read the book before making the movie: “I actually couldn’t get into it. I met Philip K. Dick later, and he said, ‘I understand you couldn’t read the book.’ And I said, ‘You know you’re so dense, mate, by page 32, there’s about 17 storylines.’”
5. PHILIP K. DICK HATED THE SCRIPT (AT FIRST).
Dick passed away before the film was completed, but he kept up with the script as it went through various permutations. He loathed Hampton Fancher’s original draft, saying he was “angry and disgusted” at the way it “cleaned my book up of all the subtleties and of the meaning … It had become a fight between androids and a bounty hunter.” A revised screenplay by David Webb Peoples brought Dick around: “I couldn’t believe what I was reading! ... The whole thing had simply been rejuvenated in a very fundamental way ... [The screenplay and the novel] reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel. I was amazed that Peoples could get some of those scenes to work. It taught me things about writing that I didn’t know.”
Grumpy Cat is slated to be enshrined in Madame Tussauds wax museum in San Francisco. That means she had to travel to their studio to be studied, measured, molded, and photographed by the artists who will create her wax doppelgänger. Did Grumpy Cat enjoy the session? Duh. -via Tastefully Offensive
This was recorded on Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia by the folks at Lone Goat Soap Co. Naturally, YouTubers had to edit this video to “improve” the roar, and to insert the marmot into an opera and a Taylor Swift concert. You can see those at Tastefully Offensive. -via Arbroath
Photographer Larry Chen noticed that honeybees were living in a wall of his house. They weren’t coming inside, but who wants bees living in the wall? Instead of calling an exterminator, he contacted a beekeeper named Mike.
Mike managed to remove an established hive and contain almost all the bees without harm. There was some wall repair to do, but it was a nice squared-off hole, so it shouldn’t have been too difficult. Highlights of the 5-hour process were recorded for your edification and amusement. In other words, this is fascinating. -via reddit
Belle Boyd, teenager, “fast woman,” and Confederate spy.
Karen Abbott grew up in Philadelphia and then moved to Atlanta. She experienced culture shock when suddenly confronted with people who seem to still be fighting the Civil War. It piqued her interest in the conflict, and she wondered how women were involved. There are always women involved in war, even if they don’t make it into textbooks. Abbot became intrigued with the stories of Elizabeth Van Lew, Rose O’Neal Greenhow, Sarah Emma Evelyn Edmondson, and Maria Isabella “Belle” Boyd. The stories of these spies and soldiers intersected with each other, and involved plenty of other women who left fewer accounts behind. They used the misogyny of the time to their own advantage.
In this climate, women made great spies precisely because of the way 19th-century society underestimated them. During the Civil War, they “were able to take society’s ideas about the weakness of womanhood and brilliantly exploit them,” Abbott says. “Women were always supposed to be the victims of war, not the perpetrators. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from a Lincoln official, who was completely flummoxed when he said, ‘What are we going to do with these fashionable women spies?’ The idea that women are not only capable of treasonous activity, but they are also capable of executing it more deftly than men was something that had never occurred to these men. The women were either above suspicion, in the case of somebody like Elizabeth Van Lew, or below suspicion, in the case of somebody like Mary Jane Bowser. Nobody even knew she could read, and of course, she was probably the smartest one of them all.”
If they were caught, or on the verge of being caught, female spies could play dumb, helpless, or indignant, declaring “How dare you accuse me? I am a defenseless lady!” Abbott says men didn’t know how to handle it. “Another one of my favorite scenes in the book is the hearing where Rose O’Neal Greenhow is being charged with treason against the United States,” she says. “The prosecution is questioning and badgering her, and she’s turning the tables on them and putting them on the defensive brilliantly. Then one of her interrogators says ‘I don’t think you are bent so much on treason as mischief.’ And it’s like, ‘Mischief? I basically won the battle of Manassas for the South, and I’m up to mischief?’ Even when the evidence was clearly laid out right in front of the men, she was just guilty of ‘mischief,’ because what more could a woman be guilty of?”
Long-wandering human tribes finally hunker down in 9000 BCE and form villages. To hop between settlements, they convert game trails—like the 440-mile Natchez Trace trail between Mississippi and Tennessee—into walking paths.
Around 5000 BCE, oxen become the preferred draft animal and the travois—a V-shaped frame that shoulders heavy weights—becomes the world’s first vehicle. Trackways widen to accommodate bigger loads.
Sumerians invent the best thing to come before sliced bread—the wheel—around 4000 BCE. Roads made of mud brick appear in the Indus Valley, while Mesopotamians build stone streets near Ur, Iraq.
Kevin Miller was flying his camera-rigged drone over Rhode Island near Portsmouth Abbey School and spotted this man laying in the sun on top of a wind turbine! Was he napping? Surely not. Rolling over in your sleep could mean death in that situation. A couple of commenters believe the man is a Bendictine monk who climbs the turbine often. -via Boing Boing
Hey, sweetie, want some chocolate? These kids are expecting the sweet milk chocolate they’ve always had, but this is dark chocolate. The kind grownups eat, without so much milk and sugar. In slow motion, you can see the shock, disappointment, and near panic in their eyes.
Once they get a bite, we adults don’t have to hide our chocolate stash from the youngsters any more. This is an ad from Splendid Chocolates of Quebec. It’s hard to see how this will sell more chocolate, but it’s awfully cute. -via Buzzfeed
The covers of some magazines stay the same for a hundred years, while others change drastically, even when they seem the same from month-to-month. Vogue went from art to fashion models to celebrities. Cosmopolitan went from literature to sex. Karen X. Cheng and Jerry Gabra put together a gallery and analysis of the cover art of some familiar and long-lived magazines. Looking through them, you have to wonder why National Geographic only started using photos on the covers in the 1960s, and why GQ took until the ‘90s to figure out they should put a woman on their covers. Meanwhile, there’s one magazine using the same style covers now as it did 100 years ago. See them all at Medium.
Target’s new Star Wars ad has no movie clips at all (okay, one tiny one), but will still get you excited about the December premiere of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. It relies on nostalgia, with clips of kids (and grownups) all joyously indulging in Star Wars glee.
What’s this all about? Well, it doesn’t say in the ad at all, but the new toys and other merchandise accompanying The Force Awakens will arrive in Target stores September 4th. That gives us all plenty of time to clear the stores of Christmas gifts before the movie even opens. That way, it won’t matter a bit whether the film is any good or not. Still, no matter how you feel about merchandising, enjoy the video for what it is. -via Time
Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.
Half a pound of tupenny rice, Half a pound of treacle. That’s the way the money goes, Pop! goes the weasel.
Up and down the city road, In and out of the Eagle. That's the way the money goes, Pop! goes the weasel.
Every night when I get home The monkey's on the table, Take a stick and knock it off, Pop! goes the weasel.
A penny for a ball of thread Another for a needle That's the way the money goes, Pop goes the weasel.
The above are the lyrics to the famous nursery rhyme "Pop Goes the Weasel.”
I’ve always liked the song, mainly because it is featured in the Three Stooges short Punch Drunks (1934). The basic plot revolves around Curly getting super-human strength every time he hears the tune "Pop Goes the Weasel.” Because of my great love for the Three Stooges, hearing "Pop Goes the Weasel" always evokes a happy feeling in my heart.
When a kid knows what she wants, she can get pretty stubborn. When a kid doesn’t know what she want, she’ll take forever to make up her mind. This kid, in the latest from Fowl Language Comics, knows exactly what she wants.
Facebook member Itsjudytime has twin girls. They like to talk and play with each other in their cribs, and Mom keeps an eye on them through a baby monitor. Babies don’t understand remote monitoring yet. Watch what happens when Mom talks to them through the monitor!
Stop reading now if you are still avoiding spoilers for the final episode of the TV show Breaking Bad. The rest of us well remember Walter White’s remote-control oscillating machine gun hidden in the trunk of his car. If you want to refresh your memory, that scene is on YouTube.
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman wondered if they could recreate that trick in real life. So they recruited Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan as a witness and tackled the project for Mythbusters. -via Laughing Squid
You should be able to relate to this episode of the mental_floss List Show, because they are about things we all have, or had at one time. Can you imagine using a vacuum cleaner to dry your hair? Razors are older than you think, and toothbrushes are newer than you’d think.
There’s many a slip ’twixt the expensive handheld device and the pavement, as these clips from Fail Army show us. You’ve probably seen at least some of them before, but they are funny enough to justify another peek.
Fail Army put this compilation together to promote their new phone app. Many of the people featured will have to purchase a new phone before they can use it. One grandmother is not interested at all, and would prefer chocolate, thank you. Contains NSFW language. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
The annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival hosts all kinds of art and music, but it is noted for its comedy award. This year’s festival crowned punster Darren Walsh with the award for the funniest joke. The one-liner was a part of his one-hour show at the festival. The top 10 jokes were ranked, and they are as follows:
1: Darren Walsh: “I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans-free.”
2: Stewart Francis: “Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse... but enough about Kanye West.”
3: Adam Hess: “Surely every car is a people carrier?”
4: Masai Graham: “What’s the difference between a ‘hippo’ and a ‘Zippo’? One is really heavy, the other is a little lighter.”
5: Dave Green: “If I could take just one thing to a desert island I probably wouldn’t go.”
6: Mark Nelson: “Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That’s not a miracle. That’s tapas.”
7: Tom Parry: “Red sky at night. Shepherd’s delight. Blue sky at night. Day.”
=8: Alun Cochrane: “The first time I met my wife, I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves.”
=8: Simon Munnery: “Clowns divorce. Custardy battle.”
10: Grace The Child: “They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for...”
For some of those, I guess you just had to be there. Read more about Walsh’s comedy and the festival (which runs through Monday) at the Independent. -via Metafilter
Follow the adventures of the doctors and nurses of Cat Hospital, their families, the sexy ambulance driver, Dr. Scratch Adams, patients with nine lives, and a variety of standard soap opera stereotypes both human and feline. Oh yeah, and an overabundance of cat puns. -via HuffPo