Sometimes you think you know what’s going on when you really have no clue. People with children can babysit as well as anyone, even if you define that as caring for a baby that’s not yours. When I’m watching my grandkids, is that “babysitting” or “grandparenting”? And does it really matter? This comic is from Chris at Lunarbaboon.
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I just bought celery and olives yesterday. I always buy them for Thanksgiving, but rarely any other time of the year. Olives are a special treat, and the adults in my family love them. I use celery in my cornbread dressing, and the rest of the stalk is served alone or stuffed. However, I did not know that the two were traditional on everyone’s Thanksgiving tables for almost a century, and then faded out in the 1970s. It all started when fresh produce began to be transported across the country to be enjoyed whatever the season.
The pairing of the two was both a result of the fact that they were introduced and made readily available around the same time and they served a similar purpose: both celery and olives were palate cleansers, and ones that didn’t require a servant.
“People were looking for a palate cleanser in between Thanksgiving’s richer courses,” explained [Rick] Rodgers. “At a family meal where you don’t have servants, the tray of celery and olives could be put on the table and you didn’t need a servant to serve a sorbet course.”
Advertising played a big part, too. Celery and olives eventually became “traditional” at Thanksgiving. But what happened in the 1970s to change that? Read the entire story of celery and olives on the Thanksgiving menu at boston.com.
Inexperienced babysitters really do need a little supervision the first time they interact with infants. That holds true even if you're a monkey. In this clip from the BBC One series Life Story, a juvenile langur monkey tries out her parenting skills for the first time -with less-than-stellar results. It's a good thing mama monkey wasn't too far away! Maybe she'll do better next time, but you can be sure that mama monkey will stay close by to make sure there are no shenanigans. -Thanks, Caragh Salisbury!
For decades, visitors to Los Angeles have tried their best to go see the famous Hollywood sign up close. It’s not easy to get to, involves quite a bit of walking, and the view isn’t great when you get there. But they keep coming, and the people who live there keep trying to stop them.
By 2011 the anti-tourist rhetoric reached a fever pitch, with homeowners mounting a vicious campaign threatening visitors, who, unsurprisingly, just kept coming. Some neighbors painted their curbs red (illegally) to discourage parking and tacked up more signs (illegally) warning against trespassing. In a vacant lot, someone took the time to build a full-on piece of land art that seemed to echo the large white letters in the distance: TOURISTS GO AWAY.
And now, although the location is correct on maps, if you request directions to the Hollywood sign from Google Maps (or several other services), you get directions to one of two “observation points” that are not near the sign. You can’t really blame the neighbors for being tired of tourists parking on and blocking their streets constantly, but the idea that a small number of homeowners have the clout to dictate policy to Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing, and the GPS service Garmin is a little unsettling. Get a rundown of how it happened in an article at Gizmodo. -via Metafilter
The Copenhagen musical group The Bottle Boys play us a tune we all know and love, and let us in on one of their secrets to making bottle music look so easy -when we all know it’s not. From the YouTube page:
Sometimes people say, that it’s impossible to play that fast on bottles when they see our videos, because they are looking at just one persons head movements. But if you look closer you will see, that we share all the melodies by two persons. So if Philipp plays one part of the lead melody, Kaspar plays the other half, which combined gives you the complete melodic part that you all recognize:-)
We decided to shoot this video in our own studio, since it’s too cold outside here in Denmark and since we wanted it to have a more cosy look, without too much else going on in the frame. In that way you can really focus on what’s being played. We chose to play Y.M.C.A because it has some fast melodic parts and some really cool secondary melody lines.
Welcome to your college dining experience. Food Service Manager Brad Green has a list of rules that will make everything work, and if you follow them, you will also avoid getting punched in the face, or heaven forbid, being beat down by Wanda’s Army. This video is from Kentucky Christian University, but they apply to just about any cafeteria: don’t waste food, don’t be nasty, and don’t make life difficult for the people around you. These are things anyone old enough to go to college should know, but a little reminder doesn't hurt. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer found something very unusual in the Peruvian rain forest: little glowing green dots. They were larva, and they appeared to have teeth! So far, the species has not been clearly identified, and it may even be a new species. Continue reading to learn more about this mysterious but showy glow worm and its lifestyle, in pictures and video.
There are objects from bygone eras that most of us have never even heard of, yet someone somewhere will be a collector and an expert on them. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were arcade games in which one could shoot actual live ammo from a .22 rifle to test your skill and win prizes. That seems thoroughly daft now, but it happened, and the targets were made of cast iron to withstand the beating they took. Richard and Valerie Tucker, the authors of Step Right Up!: Classic American Arcade and Target Forms, collect these targets, and can tell you some wild stories about those old arcades.
Of the few galleries that have survived, the stories of how they were discovered are similarly intriguing. One shooting gallery in Ohio was revealed during a restaurant remodel. The gallery, which proved to be in full working order, had been boarded up behind a wall. “So now Richard and I are going all over the country trying to tear down walls,” Valerie says.
The Tuckers found one, too, but restoring it and setting it up for public use proved unworkable. “At one time, we found a complete gallery out at Coney Island,” Richard remembers. “It was another one of these stories where the gallery had been boarded up and was behind a wall. We thought we might buy it because we had a friend who ran a country-western honky-tonk in Fort Worth. We were going to put the gallery in his honky-tonk, but those conversations quickly came to an end because nobody wanted to accept the responsibility and potential liability behind it.” Apparently, even in open-carry Texas, the prospect of handing loaded weapons to patrons of a bar was simply too much.
Read more about live ammo arcade galleries and the antiques they left behind, at Collectors Weekly.
There are 106 baby boys born for every 100 baby girls. The folks from MinuteEarth tell us why, as far as we know, in this video. However, the sex imbalance is more severe than birth statistics indicate, and varies over time and place. They offer reasons for that, too. -via Geeks Are Sexy
As we prepare for a particularly American holiday centered around the custom of eating ourselves into a coma, we might want to learn more about what’s going on in our bodies. Why do we feel so full after Thanksgiving dinner? Because we ate too much. But that’s just the beginning. Watch this video from the American Chemical Society now, so you’ll have time to forget the unpleasantness of the situation before the turkey hits the table. And remember, when you can’t eat any more, there’s always leftovers for tomorrow! -Thanks, Elaine Seward!
Research into how dogs think is yielding some amazing results, although a lot of it just confirms what we already thought from behavior observation, but did not know for sure. What’s amazing is how its done. Imagine putting a dog in an MRI machine.
The most direct brain-based evidence that dogs are hopelessly devoted to humans comes from a recent neuroimaging study about odor processing in the dog brain. Animal cognition scientists at Emory University trained dogs to lie still in an MRI machine and used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure their neural responses to the smell of people and dogs, both familiar and unknown. Because dogs navigate the world through their noses, the way they process smell offers a lot of potential insight into social behavior.
The scientists found that dog owners' aroma actually sparked activation in the "reward center" of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. Of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs actually prioritized the hint of humans over anything or anyone else.
Other studies show that dogs process information a lot like people do -and quite differently from what we know of cats and other animals. Read more about canine brain research at at Brain Mic, and do not miss the picture of the good dog waiting for his MRI. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Borbala Ferenczy)
A building in London wasn’t even finished when it started melting cars around it. The culprit was solar convergence, which happens when too many glass windows reflect solar heat onto the same spot. Fix the spot? That’s not feasible, since the angle of the sun changes both daily and yearly. Fix the building? That’s an expensive proposition.
Surely the building's designer was mortified by the results of his creation, right? Well, no. When architect Rafael Viñoly was questioned about his flawed design, he heartily deflected, blaming consultants, global warming, cost-cutting developers, and the sun's elevation. This was an especially galling disavowal of responsibility because the science of solar reflectivity analysis has been gaining traction for several years. There are many tools, firms, and even apps available to architects and developers to help avoid just this problem. Especially damning for Viñoly is that the "death ray" issue was not actually unprecedented. And the last time a high-profile building had had problems of this nature, it was also one he'd designed.
Solar convergence from modern architecture is not a new problem. The phenomenon is so well-known that there’s even a generator on the French-Spanish border that harnesses its power. Read about how solar convergence problems happen again and again at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Flickr user Luc Mercelis)
We know quite a bit about the anglerfish because it’s so weird that bloggers love to talk about it. But it’s rare to catch footage of one in its natural habitat because they live deep down where there is little sunlight. An ROV from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) recorded this anglerfish at a depth of 600 meters in Monterrey Canyon. Although scientists at MBARI have recorded anglerfish before, they believe this is first time the species Melanocetus, or the Black Seadevil, has been filmed. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Which dog will eat a plate of spaghetti noodles faster: a golden retriever or a German shepherd? Recall the last competition between these breeds of dogs, in which both considered themselves winners for different reasons. Then you can probably guess which dog will win this one, but you may be surprised at the margin of victory. Unless you own that breed, of course. -via Viral Viral Videos
Tell your Thanksgiving dinner guests you are thinking of serving Veg-All Pie Plate Salad, and you’ll either trim down your guest list or get someone to volunteer to bring a salad -or pie. It’s made of lemon gelatin and a can of Veg-All chopped vegetables, molded in a pie plate and cut in wedges, like a pie. Yum! Pie Plate Salad one of the many recipes that the makers of convenience foods like Miracle Whip, Jell-O, and Campbell’s Soup filled women’s magazines with in the ‘50s and ‘60s. There are a few recipes that survive from those dark days, but Pie Plate Salad is not one of them, for obvious reasons. This is from a list of 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Food Advertisements at Buzzfeed.
(Image source: Flickr user Jamie)
The following is an article from Uncle John's Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader.
Historical fact: The Pilgrims never called themselves “Pilgrims.” In fact, they weren’t known by that name until the 1840s. Here’s the second part of their story that began last week with Why the Pilgrims Came to America.
The Pilgrims finally set off from Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, more than a month behind schedule. Historians can only guess as to the Mayflower’s exact exact size and shape (no pictures of her were ever painted), although most agree that she had two decks and three masts. “Considering the proportions of a number of known merchant vessels of the era,” writes William Baker in Colonial Vessels, “the Mayflower might have had a keel length ranging from 52 tp 73 feet, a breadth of 24 to 27 feet and a depth of 10 to 13 feet.” Other historians say she may have been as a long as 90 feet. Even so, that’s roughly the size of a two story, three bedroom house. And that’s what 102 passengers, 25 crew members, two dogs, many cats, and even more rats squeezed into for 66 days on rough and often stormy seas.
The Mayflower was designed to carry cargo, not people, so there were few cots or hammocks to sleep on. Some of the wealthier families paid the ship’s carpenter to build cots, but most of the passengers slept on hard wooden floors on a constantly rocking boat. Seasickness was common. Because people were heading to a new life in an unknown land, they brought along as many of their possessions and rations as they could pack in… which made the living quarters below decks extremely cramped. A few of the passengers even slept in the shallop, a surveying boat that was stowed on the gun deck.
The Mayflower II, a replica of the Pilgrims' ship. (Image credit: OldPine)
The first few weeks of the voyage saw relatively calm weather, and the mood among the Pilgrims was good. It is commonly believed that the Pilgrims were a bunch of staid old men who wore black clothes and black hats with buckles. That’s a myth. In reality, there was only one man over 60; the average age was 32; and there were 30 children on board. The Pilgrims even wore colorful clothes; William Bradford, for example, owned a “green gown, violet cloak, lead colored suit with silver buttons, and a red waistcoat.” And unlike the stricter Puritans, the Pilgrims liked to sing and play games.
ROUGH SEAS AND ROUGHER SAILORS
But after those first couple of weeks, the fun came to a stormy end.
If they made a movie about Black Friday shopping, of course it would be a horror film. By this point, I’m starting to believe that Black Friday sales are a tradition people only participate in to create news stories and viral videos. Why would anyone want to be anywhere near the carnage? My Christmas shopping philosophy has evolved over the years -I never buy any Christmas gift because it’s on sale anymore. I’d personally rather buy something that the receiver needs or wants. That’s completely opposite my philosophy for buying groceries. This movie parody trailer is from Nacho Punch. -via Tastefully Offensive
More than 800 cats were paraded and judged at The Supreme Cat Show in Birmingham, England, yesterday. The event, held for thirty years now, is one of the largest cat competitions in Europe. Exhibitors brought longhairs, shorthairs, Persians, Sphinxes, and more with fancy names like Sugartump Supremo Disaronno, Adzwosh Darling Doris Day, Bleugems Believe-in-me, and Leadpruuf Pruby Doo. The overall winner was a British Lilac Tortie named Premier Pinemarten Tina Sparkle, owned by Penny Hopgood.
Continue reading to see more pictures.
Be careful! A guy in Corbett, Oregon, was going to remove the snow from his driveway. Turns out he didn’t need to worry about snow at all. He needs to worry about the ice! The driveway is on a hill, and from the looks of it, no vehicles should attempt to drive down. Or walk down, for that matter. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
So, did Batman watch Frozen, or did he become familiar with the entire story by osmosis, like I did? I finally saw the movie, or most of it, about a month ago. This comic is from DeviantART member nebezial. And there was a great comment underneath:
Go away Bruce.
-via Geeks Are Sexy
The movie Steel Magnolias turned 25 years old this past week. Where did the time go? Just the mention of the movie reminds me of getting my hair done and crying along with the movie characters as we watched on VHS. The star-studded film was based on a successful play and became one of the biggest hits of 1989. Let’s learn some more about Steel Magnolias.
1. IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.
Writer Robert Harling wrote Steel Magnolias as a way of coping with the passing of his sister, Susan, who died from complications related to diabetes in 1985. In the play, Susan became Shelby.
5. BETTE DAVIS WANTED A PIECE OF STEEL MAGNOLIAS.
Bette Davis saw the play in New York and immediately began a push to be cast in the film as Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine’s part). She also thought that Katharine Hepburn could make a fantastic Clairee and Elizabeth Taylor would be a perfect Truvy. In 1989, Harling told The Morning Call how Davis had invited him to tea to lobby for the part. As he left, Davis told him, “You may give the role of Ouiser to someone else. But you and they will hear from Bette Davis.”
15. THE FILM WAS CRITICIZED FOR THE MALE ROLES’ LACK OF SUBSTANCE.
But the guys are lucky there were any roles for them in the film at all. Though the men are often talked about in the stage play, no men appeared on the stage at any time. In his review of the film for The New York Times, Vincent Canby noted that “The men in their lives are played by Sam Shepard, Tom Skerritt and Dylan McDermott, among others, but the male characters are no more substantial now than when they were invisible.”
Treating male characters as tokens with barely any substance may be a flaw, but women are used like that in movies all the time. Steel Magnolias turned a spotlight on women and showed that a man is just one of many things they care deeply about. Read the rest of 23 Facts About Steel Magnolias at mental_floss.
In this clip from the BBC One series Life Story, Sir David Attenborough narrates a hermit crab housing chain. If you’ve ever had pet hermit crabs, you know they are always on the lookout for the perfect shell, one slightly larger than the one they have because they are growing. But a shell that is too big will be hard to carry around. In the wild, they’ve worked out their own system for exchanging shells of the proper size. Everybody wins! I love how each of them "claimed" the shell they really wanted, as if they had been watching it for some time. After seeing this, I have to wonder if they leave the smallest shells strategically placed near crab eggs for newly-hatched hermits. -via b3ta
Robert Jones brings us a mashup of the TV show Friends and the film Guardians of the Galaxy! Yes, it’s the every-so-familiar intro to Friends re-edited with selected relevant clips featuring Peter, Gamora, and Rocket celebrating their friendship, despite how different they are. -Thanks, Robert!
This is a nice-looking house for sale in Sweden. It looks quite normal from the outside, but inside… well, the kitchen looks quite normal, modern, and well-equipped. Really nice living room! Wait, are those trophy heads on the walls aliens? Then we get to the hallway, and there’s a full-size Predator! Just wait until you see what’s behind that fancy carved door... Yes, this house is for sale, and you can see a lot more pictures of it at the real estate ad, but I don’t believe you’ll get much out of the text unless you can read Swedish. -via Everlasting Blort
Will Reid has made a name for himself by creating instructional videos for his teenagers, laying out the basics for simple tasks like replacing the toilet paper roll. Now it’s time for the next chapter in this global airing of the family’s dirty laundry. Will’s daughter Beth has a camera of her own, and takes us on a tour of her father’s bathroom, where he gets a taste of his own medicine. Will replied on the YouTube page,
With regards to the empty toilet roll? All I have to say is ............. speak to my wife Sandra!!! ;-)
That’s right, blame someone else! Hey, at least Beth’s paying attention to the videos he’s been posting! -via Tastefully Offensive
The work of a good conceptual artist will surprise you with something you’d have never considered, then upon reflection you find that it makes total sense in some way. That’s the impression I get from Austria-based German artist Toni Spyra, who takes everyday objects and sees them in a new and creative way. He wants to share that creative re-imagining with you.
Continue reading for more.
Although I haven’t watched the show since I was a kid, I thought I remembered the Batman TV series perfectly, because I never missed an episode. It is not so. I was very young then. I recall many of the villains that the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder fought, but there are 37 of them in a list at mental_floss that are just now starting to come back in my memory. Also, since I was so young, I did not realize how many of the actors portraying those parts were already well-known celebrities. I yeah, I knew about Cesar Romero and Earth Kitt, but I did not know that director Otto Preminger played Mr. Freeze in two episodes. Nor did I realize that Anne Baxter played two different villains. Wait, there was both a Riddler and a Puzzler? There’s a lot more trivia in this Visual Guide to All 37 Villains that you’ll enjoy.
Officials in Tuszyn, Poland, have a problem with Winnie-the-Pooh. They met to select a new macot for the municipal playground. They rejected the idea of using literary stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh on the grounds that he doesn’t wear pants. A Polish fictional bear who is completely clothed was suggested as an alternative.
One official is heard saying: "It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite."
Councillor Hanna Jachimska then began criticising the Winnie-the-Pooh author Alan Alexander Milne.
She said: "This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his [Pooh's] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity."
Just in case you’ve forgotten, Winnie-the-Pooh is a stuffed toy bear, and not meant to represent a real animal. The council has yet to make a decision on the playground. -via Arbroath
(Image credit: Disney)
Oh! Oh! I know this one! My father taught geology and geography, and this is one of the few lessons I remember learning as I sat through his summer classes as a young kid. It was cheaper than a babysitter, see. So, I learned words like meander and oxbow. Minute Earth explains what happens to a river over time as the water continuously flows. Our earth is quite a dynamic, ever-changing place. -via Viral Viral Videos
We make jokes about Canadians, and Canadians make jokes about Americans, but deep down, we love each other. Kind of like siblings. Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Nashville Predators. Considering all the snow between here and there, the crowd was overwhelmingly Canadian. During the U.S. national anthem, the microphone pooped out. That’s when the Canadian crowd jumped in to finish the song themselves! It was a lovely moment. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
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