Okay, when you saw this, which band started playing in your head, Led Zeppelin or AC/DC? I have to admit that it was AC/DC first for me, despite being a Led Zeppelin fangirl through my formative years. What musical genre would the song "Mobility Scooter to Purgatory" fall under? Easy listening? You have to admit the concept has less punch than heaven or hell, since purgatory is temporary, if I recall correctly. This is the latest comic from Aaron Scott at TwoLeafClover. -via reddit
The 1988 movie Die Hard broke new ground in many ways. We had heartwarming Christmas family movies, and we had Christmas horror films, but this was a Christmas action blockbuster. It put comedic actor Bruce Willis into a heroic role we weren't used to at the time. And it introduced us to Alan Rickman as the attractive yet terrifying villain Hans Gruber. Die Hard holds up well 29 years later. And it has a long and really interesting backstory.
1. IT’S GOT A LITERARY BACKGROUND.
Think some action-loving Hollywood scribe came up with the concept for Die Hard? Think again. The movie is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective. In 2013, Thorp’s long out-of-print book was resurrected to coincide with the film’s 25th anniversary.
2. IT WAS INSPIRED BY THE TOWERING INFERNO.
The idea for Nothing Lasts Forever was inspired John Guillermin’s 1974 disaster flick The Towering Inferno. After seeing the film, Thorp had a dream about a man being chased through a skyscraper by a group of men with guns. He eventually turned that snippet of an idea into a sequel to The Detective.
The extensive trivia list goes on to follow the casting, production, and pivotal moments of the film. Read the story of Die Hard at Mental Floss.
A group of Knights Templar are on a quest to "liberate" the Holy Grail from the fortress of the Frenchmen who have it in their possession. They'll have to harness their best weapons skills and ability to leap tall buildings! Oh yeah, and a little bit of trickery, too. It's violent, alright, but not too bloody.
This is what happens when you give Devin Supertramp a television production budget and access to a French castle. Its a promotional film for the History Channel series Knightfall. And it's pretty durn good. -via Geeks Are Sexy
LOLcats are much older than the internet, and even older than current copyrights. The children's book Kittens and Cats: A First Reader (1911) was written by Eulalie Osgood Grover. The simple captions tell the story of a cat throwing a party for all her friends.
The images are attributed to the Rotograph Company, which lead us to believe they were the work of a young Harry Whittier Frees before he began selling cat pictures under his own name. His talent for posing cats in clothing would develop far beyond what is contained in the 1911 primer.
Two parents were carrying laundry into a laundromat in Galveston, Texas, when a carjacker jumped in their vehicle and took off -with their baby in the back seat! The thief eventually realized the baby was in the car and left her and the car seat in a parking lot about ten blocks away. Stephen Ward found the 4-month-old and called police. The baby has been reunited with her parents, but the car and carjacker have not been found. Ward was reluctant to take full credit for finding the child.
Ward said he credits his love for chicken and biscuits for leading him to the baby.
"The real hero hit here is Church's Chicken because if it wasn't for those honey biscuits I probably wouldn't have even gone down that way," he said. "I probably would've gone home."
The Urban Institute has an interactive map that shows how many Americans are in debt county-by-county. But not just "in debt," because that would be almost all of us. This shows the percentage of people whose debts have gone to collections.
Debt in collections includes past-due credit lines that have been closed and charged-off on their books as well as unpaid bills reported to the credit bureaus that the creditor is attempting to collect. For example, credit card accounts enter collections status once they are 180 days past due.
At the site, you can click on counties to get a breakdown of the percentage of people in collections, how much they owe, and what percentage owes medical debt. My county shows 52% of households have debt in collections, and 33% have medical debt in collections. If only we could all be like Minnesota. -via Digg
Wait, what? It was enough of a shock to realize that I am talking to the robot instead of the guy, but the underlying implication of that last line is a bit ominous. Am I one of those friends he finds boring? Does that explain the contrast in happiness lately? And here I was, getting a bit jealous because I don't have my own personal assistant robot. Now I just want to go sulk. This is the latest comic from Chris Hallbeck at Maximumble.
How many Christmas horror movies can you name? There's a lot more than that. Would you believe that Film School Rejects found and critiqued 79 Christmas horror films? Yeah, there are quite a few that you've never heard of, but you might want to look them up if you're into that sort of thing. Of course, in an age when people are vehemently arguing over what is or is not a Christmas movie, there was the initial problem of defining a Christmas horror movie.
We decided on the following criteria. A Christmas horror movie should be feature-length, set on or around Christmas day, and feature some combination of terror, villains, and/or the threat of death. We also put no limit on tone so horror comedies count every bit as much as torture porn. A handful of titles that fit these guidelines still managed to slip by us due to a lack of availability, but those stragglers aside this remains a holiday miracle and the most comprehensive ranked list of Christmas horror movies ever assembled.
Sequels help a lot. When you have Bikini Bloodbath and its sequel Bikini Bloodbath Car Wash, the next step is to produce Bikini Bloodbath Christmas, which is a real movie. It's a long way from that one to the upper-tier films like Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (shown above). Check out the full list at Film School Rejects. -via Metafilter
Psychology professor Kohske Takahashi of Chukyo University in Japan presents a new optical illusion called the Curvature Blindness Illusion. The first thing you should know is that all the lines across the page are exactly the same shape. You can see that in the corners with the light and dark contrasting backgrounds. But in the gray background, some seem to be curvier, while others seem to be more angular. That's because of how the colors (actually shades of gray) of the lines are segmented. When the colors break at the top and bottom of the curve (in the line perceived as a zig zag) we see a corner where they meet. The lines with colors that continue over the upper and lower curve makes us perceive a gentler curve when the background contrast is low.
This illusion has two implications. First, the percepts of a gentle curve (wavy line) are impaired by discontinuity of contrast polarity at the turning point, while the percepts of an obtuse corner are not; this implies that the mechanisms of the gentle curve and obtuse corner detection are separable in terms of contrast polarity. Second, the illusory percepts of an obtuse corner (zigzag line) appears and replaces the gentle curve, which indicates the imbalanced competition between these two percepts.
Jay Swingler and Romell Henry of Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, UK, do dangerous stunts for their YouTube channel TGFbro. When you continue to amp things up for the audience, sooner or later something will go wrong.
But for their latest video, Swingler took the experimentation to a whole new level of idiocy when he put his head in a microwave and filled the appliance with Polyfilla, a spackling paste that’s supposed to fill holes in walls. To be “safe” (nothing about this is safe) Swingler included a flimsy breathing tube. But that tube became blocked as the material hardened and expanded, and Swingler began to panic, which no doubt made him require more oxygen. His friends attempted to dismantle the microwave and chip away around his head using a knife (!?), but thankfully called emergency services before Swingler suffocated to death.
The West Midlands Fire Service was not amused.
We're seriously unimpressed .— West Midlands Fire (@WestMidsFire) December 7, 2017
Five of our firefighters were tied up for an hour this afternoon, freeing a YouTube pranker whose head had been 'cemented' inside a microwave oven. Read more: https://t.co/6bZReGuKQX (Photos © West Midlands Fire Service) pic.twitter.com/2ch2UhszeH
Read the full account of the disaster at Gizmodo. The article contains the YouTube video, which is age-restricted and has been demonetized. That means that YouTube won't allow advertising on the video because it violates community standards.
If Star Wars were an opera, or even a Broadway musical, the producers could do much worse than to hire Whitney Avalon to write the tunes. In this song, she narrates what is going through her head as she struggles to harness the Force to pull off a Jedi mind trick in The Force Awakens, even though the title is a reference to The Last Jedi, out in one week.
What's the best way to disable an AT-AT? It's elementary! Tie a rope around the machine's feet until it trips, while riding your unicycle and playing a Star Wars tune on your flaming bagpipes. We learned that secret in The Empire Strikes Back. Since we know from the trailers that there are AT-ATs in the new movie The Last Jedi, the Unipiper donned a rebel pilot uniform to demonstrate the tactic for the new generation of Star Wars characters.
Stavanger Foto is a photography store in Norway. They do funny Christmas cards every year. This year, the staff recreated the painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp that Rembrandt painted when he was only 26 years old. The photo store guys didn't have a corpse, so they made do with Christmas packages.
I think it's an improvement over last year's card.
TheTigon, who works there, posted these cards to reddit. The guys got quite a few compliments on their neck floofs.
What's the best way to promote a film? Show a small portion of it to movie fans! And where are those movie fans? In the theaters! That's how trailers got started. Now you see them on TV and online, too, and probably on one of those gas pumps with screens. But it took a long time for the movie trailer to become the art form that it is now.
Once again, Beutler Ink has produced a year-end poster paying tribute to the newsmakers, celebrities, trends, and memes of the closing year, titled Here's to 2017. This year, that involves a lot of details. I'm happy that Wonder Woman is front and center. Among the politicians and protesters, you'll see plenty of pop stars, athletes, and fictional characters -and a crowded RIP section. That's a lot of people, which makes it hard to see at this size. Enjoy a much larger -and enlargeable- version at Beutler Ink, where you'll a link to purchase the poster if you choose. -via Nag on the Lake
Being a cat lady is not something you can turn on and off like a light. It's a lifestyle. My older daughter used to carry a camera everywhere. When she visited friends, she didn't take pictures of the friends, or what activities they enjoyed; she brought home pictures of their cats so she could remember them, even though we had plenty of cats at home. This comic from Yasmine Surovec at Cat vs Human reminds us that if the things you want to do are the things you already do, life is good.
Anthony Daniels is 71 years old, and still playing the droid C-3PO in the Star Wars saga. C-3PO is one of the few elements of the series that never changes, since he is mechanical and is as good as new with replacement parts (even if his new arm is red). And while his creator Anakin can grow up, rule the galaxy, die, and then be called "Grandfather," C-3PO is still there to be all fussy about protocol and translate what R2D2 says.
In 1976 Daniels was appearing in a London stage production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and was determined not to take a job on a trivial sci-fi film. Then he saw Ralph McQuarrie’s concept sketch for C-3PO. He saw something in that face. The first three Star Wars films (1977, 1980, 1983), all narrative drive and swashbuckle, still hold up. Fast-paced and funny, they repackaged an archetypal quest for revenge and reconciliation as an outer space western. Good versus evil, dark against light. Simple. R2-D2 and C-3PO are the mismatched comic relief, an intergalactic Odd Couple as Greek chorus: Threepio the neatnik Felix to R2’s slovenly Oscar, reminding the audience what’s at stake and how the principals really feel.
“You need a balance of elements in all these films. It’s a fairy story, it’s a romp. So there’s serious bits, the dangerous bits, whatever, and then occasionally the refreshment of a character who doesn’t really fit into the environment,” Daniels says. “That was another brilliance of George [Lucas], that you come back to the protocol and etiquette thing, these are the last skills ever to be required in a horrible desert surrounded by ghastly people.”
Read more about Daniels and the droid he's inhabited for 40 years at Smithsonian.
I cried when I first read the book Charlotte's Web, and in some subsequent readings, too. I cried when I watch the animated film in 1973. And I cried at the live-action remake in 2006, although my kids didn't understand why. By then it was a flashback to my childhood experience of the story. If you have fond memories of watching the 1973 animated version of Charlotte's Web, you'll want to read a trivia list about the movie.
10. Debbie Reynolds offered to forego her salary to play Charlotte.
Reynolds loved the book so much that she was willing to voice Charlotte’s part just for the fun of it. That’s true dedication to one’s craft.
4. The author wasn’t too fond of the movie.
Just as he feared the director and the animators changed too much about his book. He watched it once and then never again.
E. B. White objected to the songs in the film, but Hollywood did not change the story as much as it changes most stories. Read more about the 1973 Charlotte's Web at TVOM.
It's time for a little warm-and-fuzzy break! Take a few minutes and revel in seeing all kinds of animals giving hugs to people (or vice-versa). We have cows, chimpanzees, parrots, fish, elephants, poultry, bears, pigs, goats, cats, dogs, and ferocious wild animals -some you may not even be familiar with. Need we say it? Don't try this with just any animal.
When you feel the world is falling apart, enjoy the power of touch and the pure signs of affection from critters who don't care about our wealth or our pasts or our politics. -via Tastefully Offensive
Here's a hotel room you will tell your grandchildren about. TheKrane is an abandoned crane at the harbor in Copenhagen, a real crane, converted into an overnight suite for two. The experience won't be cheap (currently €2,500), but you'll have certain amenities:
As a homage to its industrial past, the interior is lined from floor to ceiling in black-stained Douglas planks. Designer Danish furnishings in the signature color complete the minimalist palette, allowing the scenery to shine through the surrounding windows. Below, a gray-stone spa sits in front of floor-to-ceiling glazing, affording expansive views of the city and sea from the sauna and soaking tubs. Amenities include a concierge, airport pickup, and your own BMW to explore the capital.
AMC has promised that the mid-season eight finale of The Walking Dead will have a shocking and devastating moment for the audience. We are not surprised, as that's the kind of talk we hear about every episode. But the series tends to kill off characters right before the show goes away for months at a time -and that's why we have these polls. Who do you think is going to bite the big one this Sunday night? Continue reading for specific predictions for each character, which will contain spoilers for those not current with the show. Or go ahead and register your prediction in the poll.
A young girl is excited about the school's holiday talent show, and puts in plenty of time practicing her dance. But her father is always busy working. Will he make it to the big event? Will he even remember it?
Sometimes parents can surprise you. This heartwarming Christmas short film is from BBC One. -Thanks, Ken D!
Hey, I got a shirt that color! Actually, more than one shirt that color. The Pantone Color Institute has announced the Color of the Year for 2018, and it's Pantone 18-3838. We laymen can call it Ultra Violet.
“Purple is a complex color,” Lee Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, tells Co.Design. “We’re in a complex time; this is a complex color.”
I dunno, it looks like medium purple to me, but I like medium purple. Get ready for Ultra Violet pots and pans, Ultra Violet bathroom accessories, and Ultra Violet clothing, of course. You can browse the ways that Ultra Violet can be used at Pantone. -via Digg
This stunning photograph of the Milky Way over Harvey Dam in Western Australia was taken by Flickr user inefekt69 in February. It was selected as one of Flickr's top images of 2017. So was this magnificent picture of Mont Saint-Michel in France, with its reflection showing in a puddle of water by Flickr user Loïc Lagarde.
To select the best images of the year, Flickr relied on user metrics, such as how many views and favorites the pictures received, to whittle the contenders down. Then the final 25 were selected by the Flickr staff. See all 25 of Flickr's best photos of 2017 here. And if you've got time, there are 612 galleries of top photos broken down by category here. -via Metafilter
This is fine. Christmas is filled with so much joy that we can smile while warming our hands by the toasty flames of our bank accounts incinerating. Honestly, sometimes I think that Christmas exists to make sure we enter the New Year completely broke. That way, the only way to go is up! Until income tax season, that is... This is the latest comic from Sarah Andersen at Sarah's Scribbles.
Andersen's latest book, Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection, is an economical Christmas gift.
A universal basic income (UBI) has been proposed now and then in different places as a response to income inequality, unemployment, low wages, automation, and inadequate social safety nets. Everyone would be given enough money for basic survival, whether or not they also have a paid job. The theory is that some will still work and earn extra money, while those who cannot work (the elderly and disabled), can't find a job, or choose not to work (new parents, family caregivers, students) will not starve. Others will find the freedom to start their own business, go to school, or do volunteer work.
Kurzgesagt explains the basic principles of UBI, the many ways it could be implemented, and the arguments for and against. Don't hold your breath, though.
Competitive creative dog grooming is an activity that makes dogs into an art medium. The biggest competition is the annual Groom Expo, which took place in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in September. Watch as dog groomers Adriane Pope and Angela Kumpe negotiate the four-day grooming exposition and sculpt and dye their poodles, transforming them into magnificent, if odd, works of art.
As with other obscure pastimes, creative dog groomers know each other, know the rules and trends, and work diligently to make a name for themselves among those in the creative dog grooming community. The short film Well Groomed by Rebecca Stern is being developed into a feature film. -via Laughing Squid
(Image credit: Flickr user MR38.)
Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate toward a profession that is reflected in their name. The Wikipedia page cites a 1977 article titled "The Urethral Syndrome: Experience with the Richardson Urethroplasty" co-authored by two Australian doctors named Splatt and Weedon as one of the inspirations for the term. It's not clear whether this is really a trend, or whether those who fit the theory just get attention for it. However, it seems to be rampant in the medical profession. This could be because we have so many terms associated with health and illness. The wide use of euphemisms plays a part, as you can tell in the great number of urologists and gynecologists that fit the profile. Let's meet some of them.
The 2008 movie The Hurt Locker followed a bomb disposal unit in the Iraq War, which meant lots of violence and explosions, but the film was ultimately about how war changed the men in it. Kathryn Bigelow became the fist woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for the movie, beating her ex-husband's film Avatar. Let's learn some of the details behind The Hurt Locker.
10. The film was shot on location in Jordan.
Kathryn Bigelow wanted to shoot part of the scenes on a Kuwait military base but she was denied.
9. The director claimed that no scenes were left out of the final cut.
It would seem that everything that was filmed was put into the movie, which is kind of hard to believe but kind of intriguing as well.
Here's more to learn about The Hurt Locker in a trivia list at TVOM.
(Image credit: Sir Toby Toblerone)
Meet Sir Toby Toblerone. This British cat was picked up by an animal rescue group as a kitten and then was adopted from a shelter by his foster parents. Toby has never been able to walk, although the exact cause have never been pinpointed. But Toby leads a good life with the other cats Hattie and Nigel and his Mum and Dad, who take care of his every need.
(Image credit: Sir Toby Toblerone)
Toby loves to cuddle and enjoys trains, so his humans dress him up and take him on adventures, like riding on a train or just watching one.
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