When we tries to rank movie franchises, we must remember that such a thing did not really exist until recently. Serials from the early 20th century weren't expected to be blockbusters, and after those died out, few movies had sequels before the age of home video. If you go by box office take, you have to keep in mind that the older a movie is, the less expensive the tickets were. Also, there's the problem of defining a franchise. The Spider-Man series is not considered part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because those movies are from a different studio. The Marvel Cinematic Universe includes both the Avengers movies and Guardians of the Galaxy, even though one takes place on earth and the other in space. Yet X-Men is a different franchise, even though they are also about comic book characters produced by Marvel. Confused yet? Maybe it will be clearer when you see how the top ten movie franchises ranked, in a list at Mental Floss. Or maybe not. The list tells us that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is officially a part of the Batman franchise, but not tell us whether Suicide Squad or Justice League are included.
French artist and photographer Francois Beaurain has an extensive collection of hand-painted movie posters from Liberia. These were mainly produced for video clubs in the 1990s, painted on plastic tablecloths, using the image on a VHS box.
Tablecloth was preferred to primed cotton canvas because it was thought more resistant (posters were nailed outside on any kind of support, exposed to the sun and the rain) and cost efficient. It was not an easy task to find the posters as most of the video-clubs have long dumped their piles of posters. Most of the posters found here were found in video clubs, usually under a mattress or nailed on the tin-roof to make the projection room darker.
Most of the paintings were signed by the artist. Some are better likenesses than others, but all are interesting for what they are. See some of these posters at Beaurain's website, and even more of them in a video. -via Everlasting Blort
Look at this backyard bowling lane. It's ingenious, with strings to reset the pins and a sloped gutter to bring the ball back. Then you think about how the strings and pins laying around would interfere with the second ball. How would you ever get an honest spare? But that's really a moot point. The first ball would bounce around against the backboard and knock them all down anyway. And how would the wood hold up against the weather? Not well, if the wooden table on my deck is any indication. But it was the string pinsetter that got the most interest when this picture was posted at reddit. Some folks had never heard of such a thing, while others say it's used at all the bowling alleys where they live. Here's how a string pinsetter works in an indoor alley:
And here's how an robotic pinsetter works, in case you've wondered.
I guess either one beats the old method.
The Slo Mo Guys have an underwater camera and they have to do something with it. So they are going to give us an up close look at a belly flop from 15 feet up in slow motion. Okay, maybe 12 feet. From both above and under the water. Dan is a big, pasty, fleshy mess (Gav's words, not mine), so he is the one who gets to do the belly flop. But first we have to see him in his Speedos.
He had to do it over and over, because it didn't hurt enough, I guess. Flatter! Higher! Slower! -via Boing Boing
The German TV show Beginner gegen Gewinner (Beginner vs. Winner) pairs an amateur with a professional in athletic competition. The pro must perform with some kind of handicap. In this case, professional long jumper Alyn Camara is wearing a T-rex costume. The participants are taking this way too seriously, but it's all worth it to see the T-rex bounding down the ramp to make his jump.
The amateur won this one because Camara's last jump was disqualified. He couldn't see the line! This show is broadcast live in Germany, which is why we had to wait for the sand to be swept between each jump. Also see a women's footrace and men's table tennis. -via reddit
I've actually thought about the curves and a possible sphere when playing with matches. But it's been long time since I've played with matches, and I never had enough free time to amass this many matches and put this experiment into action. YouTuber All Is Art did it.
What happens when you start gluing matches together? Because the heads are slightly wider than the wooden bodies, they begin to form a sphere. This was an experiment in how many matches it would take to get all the way around to make a perfect globe. After months of gluing and gluing and gluing we made it to the other side.
The answer is 42,000, give or take a few matches. What do you do with this sphere afterward? Light it up, of course!
Don't let the length of this video deter you- that all happens in the first three minutes. Then we get to see it from all angles, then in slow motion. -via Geeks Are Sexy
Every U.S. president eventually has a portrait hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Last Monday, President Obama's portrait was unveiled. At the ceremonies for these unveilings, the subject of the portrait normally has praise for the artist's talent, often accompanied by a self-deprecating joke about their own appearance. That was not the case when Lyndon Johnson's portrait was made public in 1967.
When he first laid eyes on the painting that was to be his official White House portrait, Lyndon B. Johnson disgustedly called painter Peter Hurd’s work “the ugliest thing I ever saw” and refused to accept it. Hurd was already decades into his successful career as a painter, specializing in portraiture and landscapes of the American Southwest. Arrogant enough to be unaffected by the comment and eager to publicize the president’s “very damn rude” behavior, he readily responded to press curiosity about the incident. Americans were sympathetic toward the scorned artist and increasingly skeptical of the president’s character—a slight that Johnson, who was already seen as short-tempered, could hardly afford. After displaying the piece at a Texas museum in retaliation, Hurd later donated his painting to the Portrait Gallery, which agreed to not display it until after Johnson’s death.
Johnson did not elaborate on what made the portrait "ugly." Hurd's portrait was a very good likeness of the former president, and if anything, it made his look less mean than he was. Plenty of folks speculated as to why Johnson reacted the way he did, which you can read about in an article at Smithsonian that looks into Johnson's way of thinking.
We all know it, and we all struggle with it. The worst part about listening to oneself is that there's always an argument going on. The id battles with the superego. The heart conflicts with the brain. Then our fears and doubts take over and we end up giving in to the tongue and the stomach. Maybe the real secret to discipline is to stop listening to our own bodies and take control. This comic is from Zach Weinersmith at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Go to the comic link for the hovertext and push the red button for an extra punch line.
H. Mayne Young, a Church of England cleric, was living in colonial India in 1906 when he saw a Bijli, or evil spirit. A wandering holy man had warned him not to use water from a certain tank, but he ignored that warning and used it to bathe. Young wrote an account of what happened later when he traveled to a camping spot in the middle of the night. His servants and even his horse fled when they saw a light approaching.
The situation was now getting exciting. Deprived of my horse, and two guides, and in the midst of pathless fields, I felt it would be difficult for me to proceed, so raising the rifle to my shoulder, I cried “Stand still, or I fire at you! ” Hardly had I uttered the words, when I was horrified to see that the figure, which seemed to fly along, and was now only some few yards distant, was no human being at all. All that was visible was a grinning, bony skull and eye sockets, with long lank hair, and a fleshless arm holding a flaming torch ; the rest of the figure being a mere trail of grey mist.
As I stood there, unflinching, with my finger on the trigger, the apparition, which was now only ten or fifteen feet distant, suddenly diverged from me, and rapidly sank into the ground, some twenty feet past me, so that I had a good view of IT. I rushed up to the spot where it had disappeared, but no trace of it was to be found. I stamped upon the ground, but the only proof of the apparition was a sprinkling of red hot embers, which a moment before had formed the flaming torch.
The encounter was interpreted as a further omen that bad things were going to happen to Young, but what could he do about it at that point? And something bad indeed happened. You can read the whole story of the Bijli encounter at Haunted Ohio. -via Strange Company
A true capitalist can see the value in any political movement if there is enough money to be made from it. In 1911, women in England were working to achieve the right to vote. A large demonstration was planned for June 17, to coincide with the coronation of George V, in which participants were urged to wear white in solidarity. That, of course, meant buying new clothing, and there was a mad scramble for customers who wished to vote.
Readers of the weekly newspaper, Votes for Women, which was edited by Frederick and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, were urged to buy their outfits from firms that advertised there. ‘If they find it pays them to advertise in VOTES FOR WOMEN they will advertise – if they find it doesn’t, they won’t. The more money that flows into the coffers of our advertisement department the better our paper can be made, the wider its influence reaches. Therefore let every woman who believes in this cause never enter a shop that does not advertise in VOTES FOR WOMEN, and let her deal exclusively with those firms that do, and inform them why.’
Women who obeyed this call to arms would have had a good choice of items to ensure a suitably modish appearance during the procession. Advertisers enticed them with pictures of dresses, dainty blouses, charming hats, smart coats and hair care products. The procession through London from Westminster to the Albert Hall comprised around 60,000 women from around the world carrying 1,000 banners and stretched for seven miles. One hopes that they also bought the comfortable shoes on offer!
On the one hand, it helped the cause that so much purchasing power could be harnessed in the fight to change hearts and minds about the rights of women. On the other hand, third-wave (and even second-wave) feminists have to cringe at the image of women buying new corsets, wigs, and "charming" hats for a suffrage demonstration. See more of these ads at The British Library. -via Strange Company
For her latest weird tech project, Simone Giertz teamed up with William Osman to modify her tiny electric car, Cheese Louise. They turned it into a computer mouse. The aim is to draw a picture on a computer screen by driving the car.
What you might need to know is that Giertz only recently got her driver's license, and the car is around 30 years old. So the picture isn't all that much, but the project was a success and the video is entertaining. Osman's video about the project goes into more detail about how they did it, and it's funny, too, but longer.
See more projects from Simone Giertz.
Vikki Gasco makes a living as a ventriloquist. She sat down talk to several young children and explain what she does. Most of the kids had no idea, but they really got into the idea that you can play with puppets as a job! Then they all wanted to try it out. This is really cute, thanks to their enthusiasm. -via Laughing Squid
You've seen wiener dog racing, but you've never seen it like this! The Daytona 500 race is coming up, and the dachshunds Crusoe and Oakley are getting into the spirit. Watch them race around in their little wiener dog cars!
Ice skating has been around for at least 5,000 years, but for most of that time, it was a method of transportation. The first competitive skating was racing. Figure skating is called that because in the beginning, it was all about making a perfect figure 8 on the ice. There were also some rudimentary "tricks" for show-offs, like jumping over things. Then came Jackson Haines, who is now considered the father of figure skating.
The person credited with developing the artistic side of skating in the late 19th Century is Jackson Haines, an American skater and dancer from New York. “Haines saw in skating tremendous theatrical and artistic possibilities,” Adams writes. “Haines experimented with a form of skating inspired by dance. He fit his skating to music, developed new moves (including the sit spin, which for many years was called the Jackson Haines spin, and invented a one-piece skate.”
But his style and innovations did not gain much traction in the U.S., which was more taken with the English style. So Haines went to Continental Europe to see if he could do any better there.
He did well, indeed. And the style he promoted is the reason why we watch young Olympians do amazing things in PyeongChang. Read about Jackson Haines at Deadspin.
Disney is doing their best to milk the Star Wars franchise for all it can. We are looking forward to Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Episode IX, the Kenobi film, a new trilogy of films by Ryan Johnson, another trilogy by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and a slew of TV series for Disney's streaming service. The Hard Times took this nonsense and ran with it, plotting a new Star Wars film for every year through 2361. They include documentaries, musicals, pornography (Porgasm! 2284) and origin stories for every character in the galaxy. Here's a sample.
228. Uncle Owen’s Revenge (2299)
229. Honey, I blew up the Death Star (2300)
230. Kylo Leonard Part 6 (2301)
231. Gone with the Mace Windu (2302)
232. Untitled Movie Set in Jedi Ghost Planet Starring a Yoda Puppet (2303)
At this rate, we shouldn't be surprised that Jar Jar's dad gets his own film (2022). I might skip that, but I am intrigued by Viva Los Vader (2038). I think Moisture Farmers’ Almanac (2032) might be a snooze. You can see them in classic Star Wars opening crawl form or read them at The Hard Times. -via Metafilter
Apple is all about beautiful design, and the company's new "spaceship" headquarters building in Cupertino, California, has been hailed as a work of art. The huge work spaces are a mix of open floors plans and not-so-private offices, separated by glass walls. The design is meant to facilitate collaboration. That doesn't mean there aren't problems.
Surrounding the building, located in Cupertino, California, are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass. Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.
Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said.
How do you make a dance team's routine much cooler? Put a talented dancer in an animal costume! We learned that watching the cheerleader who wore a T-rex costume for Halloween. So watch the BYU Cougarettes get upstaged by the mascot Cosmo Cougar at a football game last fall.
They're all excellent dancers, but who can resist a dancing wild cat in football uniform? -via reddit
Reading this comic, I had to nod, yeah, yeah, I'll always remember how I felt when I heard "It Don't Come Easy," "Love Her Madly," or "Treat Her Like a Lady," which are all songs from 1971. That's the year I turned 13. Then I got to the end of the comic and suddenly I feel so very, very old. They didn't even call it middle school back then. This comic is from the young Québécois geeks at CommitStrip.
In the word association game Robot Mind Meld, the object is to come up with the same word as a robot in as few steps as possible. You each start with a random word, and try to get closer to each other in the next attempt. I got lucky on the first try, as you can see from the three steps pictured. My second attempt landed in Israel, where it became clear there would never be an agreement. After that, I started to get the idea that the robot was not trying to follow me nearly as much as I was trying to follow it. Robots can drive you crazy! Or maybe I was in too much of a hurry. Try the game yourself, and let us know how well you did. -via Metafilter
Michel de Nostredame is best known today as a prophet, because of his prophecies written in verse. Those verses are so enigmatic that they can be connected to all kinds of historical events, whether he had any insight to them or not. But there was more to Nostradamus: He was a writer, a chemist, an apothecary, and a cook. All those activities came together in a 1552 book called the Traité des fardements et confitures (Treatise on Cosmetics and Jams). The book was full of things he whipped up himself in the kitchen, such as medicines, love potions, and beauty aids.
But other recipes are more recognizable and downright edible. In the Traité, sugar is touted for its ability to preserve fresh fruit, and many of the recipes resemble modern jam and jelly techniques. A recipe for morello-cherry jelly involves fruit cooked until soft enough to strain out the pits and skins, then mixed with sugar. If a dab of the jelly on a plate doesn’t slide around, Nostradamus writes, then it’s ready to be stored.
But at the time, sugar was fabulously expensive. This is probably why Nostradamus writes that several of his sweet concoctions are intended only for nobility or kings. Consider his quince jelly recipe. Nostradamus turns up his nose at those silly enough to peel their quinces before cooking them: The rind and peel, he writes, enhances the jelly. After boiling the fruit, straining it, and adding sugar (taking care not to overcook), the final product has the color of a ruby and is “fit to set before a king.”
Read about Nostradamus' other recipes from the book at Atlas Obscura.
The Espaces Abraxas and Arènes de Picasso is an apartment complex in a Paris suburb called Noisy-le-Grand, designed by Ricardo Bofill and Manuel Nunez-Yanowsky. Erected in the late 1970s, it was part of a huge effort to provide housing outside the crowded city. The modern and slightly dystopian look of the structure made it the perfect set at which to film the 1984 movie Brazil and the 2015 movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. Bofill designed the complex around a courtyard "theater," hoping to fill the apartments with a mixture of people from different classes and backgrounds and facilitate a feeling of community among them. When that didn't happen, he felt the "experiment" was a failure.
In 2006, Noisy-le-Grand sought to demolish parts of the development. After being met by widespread resentment from the population of Espaces Abraxas, the decision was made to keep them standing — for now. Kronental's photographs demonstrate very clearly that in spite of any assumed architectural or urban failings, these houses have been appropriated by their residents. In spite of the atmosphere of emptiness that Kronental has consciously captured, houses have become homes.
You have to wonder why anyone would tear down housing just because it didn't turn out exactly as you planned. The residents thought, "Oh, you wanted us to form a community? Why didn't you say so?" To keep their homes, they began to organize parties and clubs.
-via Nag on the Lake
Do you recall the 1998 film Rounders? It starred Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich in a story about a compulsive but talented gambler who is trying to resist the lure of poker in favor of law school. Yeah, you know how well that works in movies. We follow him in a series of high-stakes games on the way to the World Series of Poker. Despite its star power and good reviews, Rounders did not do well at the box office. If it had been released a couple of years later, it would have benefited from the Texas hold 'em craze. As it is, the movie became a cult hit among poker fans on home video. Here's some more about Rounders.
5. There are many types of games being played throughout the movie.
There’s No Limit Hold ‘Em, 7 card Stud, Draw or Stud, Forced Rotation, and so on and so forth. There’s a lot of different versions of the game and each person usually has their preference.
4. The film was set in New York but was shot in New Jersey.
It’s not that big of a jump really but there are many differences that can be noted.
There's more movie trivia about Rounders at TVOM.
Take a trip down memory lane as we zip through the best movies in history, starting with The Great Train Robbery from 1902 and continuing to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! It's not just one movie per year, because some years were very good for film.
Four-legged animals have six different ways of walking, our at least most of them do, that are illustrated in this animation. I was surprised to see how a dog uses his left and right legs together in both front and back in the slower gaits. I had assumed that they usually worked the opposite way, as in the trot.
There are exceptions, like my three-legged dog who just does the best she can, and my neighbor's dog who doesn't walk at all as far as I can tell -he just sits on the porch. -via Boing Boing
Since 2014, The Onion has been running the same headline with the same article over and over. ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens uses the same story every time a mass shooting happens, with only the location and number of victims changed. The seventh version of the story was published yesterday, after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
In May of 2014, it was UC Santa Barbara, California.
In June of 2015, it was Charleston, South Carolina.
In October of 2015, it was Roseburg, Oregon.
In December of 2015, it was San Bernardino, California.
In October of 2017, it was Las Vegas, Nevada.
In November of 2017, it was Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The headline was originally written by Onion editor Jason Roeder four years ago. Roeder no longer works for the website but his article still comes around. This time struck a little close to home- Roeder lives in Parkland, Florida.
When I wrote this headline, I had no idea it would be applied to the high school a mile from my house. https://t.co/Vm1jCaiugo— Jason Roeder (@jasonroeder) February 15, 2018
-via The Daily Dot
Police in Shanghai have released security footage of a crime in progress. It went viral on Chinese social media, not because people wanted to help solve the crime, but because the perpetrators are the very definition of dumb criminals.
They want to break into a storefront, so they chuck bricks at the window, which is probably Plexiglass. That was a mistake. Forget calling the police, these folks need an ambulance! -via reddit
The newest episode of Simon's Cat Logic looks at how cats define, mark, and defend their territory. Animator and cat lover Simon Tofield gets the lowdown from cat expert Nicky Treverrow of Cat's Trust. We get to meet Jazz, the real cat who became a rival for Simon's Cat in his cartoons.
The informational part is only five and a half minutes long, followed by some classic Simon's Cat cartoons.
The following article is reprinted from the book The Best of the Best of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
Oh, the poor potato—a symbol of laziness (couch potato) and unhealthy eating (cheese fries). But it deserves much better. Here’s how the lowly potato altered the course of human history.
SPUDS OF THE INCAS
For at least 4,000 years, potatoes have been cultivated in the Peruvian Andes. The Incas called them papas, and although the flowers are toxic (they’re members of the deadly nightshade family), the part that grows underground -the tuber- is one of the healthiest foods humans have ever cultivated. Consider this: The average potato has only 100 calories, but provides 45% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C; 15% of vitamin B6; 15% of iodine; and 10% of niacin, iron, and copper. Potatoes are also high in potassium and fiber, with no fat and almost no sodium.
But the papas that the Incas cultivated looked more like purple golf balls than today’s potatoes. More than 5,000 different varieties grew in the Andes, and there were more than 1,000 Incan words to describe them. The potato was so integral to Incan culture that they buried their dead with potatoes (for food in the afterlife) and measured time based on how long it took a potato to cook.
THE EDIBLE STONE
For a long part of human history, it was a tragedy when an engagement was broken -and grounds for a lawsuit, too. Both men and women could sue, but the laws in place were mainly to protect women who might have given up a chance to marry someone else or even (horrors) their virginity under the promise of marriage. But like any attempt to regulate human activity, there were those who took advantage of the system. In the early 20th century, lawsuits by gold diggers who manufactured relationships with rich men made sensational and lurid headlines.
The legislation in question was something called the “breach of promise” or “heart balm” suit, and it was based on the premise that an engagement was a binding contract between two people. If one person were to break off the contract without consulting the other, the law could step in and award damages to the brokenhearted party.
Granted, no one was terribly happy about these laws in the first place—feminists thought they made women look dependent, while misogynists thought they allowed women to tap into their naturally devious natures—but as controversial, high-profile breach of promise suits kept making the papers, the public grew increasingly paranoid about the implications of such legislation. By 1935, the paranoia had grown so extreme that lawmakers were calling for a wholesale elimination of heart balm laws, and soon enough states were abolishing them right and left—abolishing them so quickly, in fact, that the constitutionality of some of the reform statues was later called into question. Still, the message had been made clear: it was no longer possible to sue over a shattered heart, real or false.
Women who targeted wealthy men were called "heart balm scammers," and they were more rare than newspapers would have one think, considering the publicity their cases received. Meanwhile, a lawsuit over a genuine everyday heartbreak got scant attention. Read about the heart balm scams and the rush to rescind laws concerning breach of promise cases at Smithsonian.
It's always a good day when you turn this much trash into a treasure. Zayd Menk spent three months constructing a scale model of Midtown Manhattan in his free time after school. He built it out of discarded electronic components: circuits, relays, motherboards, and whatever else fit the bill. It's big, too. The finished landscape is 165x80cm (5'5" x 32"), and the tallest building is 10.6 inches tall. If you know Midtown well, you'll want to check out his accuracy by the closeup views from different angles in this Flickr album. See more of Menk's work, including a video of this project, at Instagram. -via reddit
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