This Craigslist ad originated in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where this kind of thing probably happens more it than does where you live. If you had a picture like that, you’d be tempted to do the same thing. I wonder how many responses they got. -via reddit
It was March of 1960. The teenagers of the world were rejoicing. Why?
Because Elvis was getting out of the army. Yes, Elvis "the Pelvis" Presley, rock 'n' roll's greatest rebel iconoclast, was finally leaving the U.S. military and taking up his career as the sneering, hip-swiveling rock 'n' roller. Elvis' film career was foremost in the minds of his fans, right along with his music.
Before leaving to serve his stint in Germany, Elvis had made four films, each one fairly good, each one demonstrating a definite talent, a screen charisma, and a very real potential for Elvis' real dream as a performer- to become a respected actor, like his supreme idol, James Dean.
After two years of serving his time for Uncle Sam, for his "comeback" movie, Elvis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker, chose a lightweight musical-comedy called G.I. Blues. “Marlon Brando did a musical early in his career,” Elvis happily chirped at his back-from-the-army press conference. (Famous last words.) Elvis, a genuinely nice guy, also had another reason for his film choice, saying “It was one way I had to show all the guys with whom I served in the army how much I respected them.”
No one is invulnerable. Tempting fate is the fastest way to find out what your weakness is. This is definitely a fable- you can probably think of one of Aesop’s “moral of the story” lines, or a verse from Proverbs to fit. How about “Pride goeth before a fall”? Or “He who laughs last, laughs best”? Or maybe “What goes around comes around”? This is the latest from John McNamee at Pie Comic.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of those blockbuster summer movies that made a ton of money despite generally negative reviews. The truth is, it was the only big-budget superhero film in theaters at the time. And now we have an Honest Trailer from the ultimate source of negative reviews, Screen Junkies.
This is one of those movies that suffered from overblown expectations, but how could you possibly put Batman and Superman in the same movie in the 21st century and not have high expectations? Still, the people who paid to see it enjoyed the action sequences, if not the depressing plot. -via Tastefully Offensive
Pippa Branham and her family moved into a new home with a staircase. She and her husband wanted to make the slick wooden stairs safer for their children. Instead of carpeting, they opted for new paint mixed with a little sand. And the risers were Pippa’s project: she painted them with the spines of her favorite books!
“The particular spines were chosen based on the spines which matched the book I had read at the time I read them, rather than just the book covers which are available now,” she explained. “I had read some of them through library services or borrowing from family and friends so I had to track them down to get images of the spines sent to me.”
“The hardest part was without a doubt the sideways lettering,” Branham said, noting that it was also her favorite part because it was so satisfying to finish.
See more pictures of the project at Buzzfeed.
(Image credit: Philippa Branham)
Earlier this month, we got to see three new Scottish wildcat kittens at a British zoo. Now there’s one at the Chester Zoo in Chester, UK, as well. The single kitten was born in May to mother Einich, but had only recently emerged from its den for the first time. This event was caught on camera as the kitten heard its mother warn people away.
She’s letting you know she’s definitely a wildcat -but the two-month-old kitten is adorable. The cats, Einich and her mate Cromarty and the kitten, are not on public display, but zoo visitors can watch them on a webcam feed. Read more about the Scottish wildcats at the zoo’s website. -via mental_floss
Much of the internet generation only knows Robert Downey, Jr. from the Iron Man role, which is pretty big, but it’s only the most recent part of his career. There’s also his strange childhood, Saturday Night Live, Chaplin, and various personal struggles. In case you don’t remember all that, here’s a sample:
Being the son of movie director Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Downey, acting runs in Downey’s veins. His first appearance on screen was as a puppy in his father’s film Pound in 1970. Robert Downey Sr., his father, is both a writer and a director whose work gained an underground following in the ’60s. Coming from a family such as this one, it was almost impossible for Downey to do anything other than act because it was a major influence in the years as he grew up.
When he was 17, Robert Downey Jr. dropped out of Santa Monica High School in California to pursue a future in acting. He moved to New York and struggled through part-time jobs while looking for an acting gig. He bused tables, performed in off-Broadway shows and was once hired as a piece of living art in a SoHo nightclub in New York City. Robert Downey Jr. is the poster kid for the saying ‘hard work and dedication merits rewards’. Take a cue from him and go out and chase after your dreams.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend dropping out of high school, but hard work will get you further than anything else. Read a lot more about Robert Downey, Jr. at Money Inc.
San Diego Comic Con begins Thursday. There were 167,000 people in attendance last year, making it the biggest convention of its type in the world. As SDCC and other conventions are gaining popularity, more and more people are attending for the first time. If you are headed to SDCC, or a convention near you, for the first time, Forces of Geek has a primer that will help you prepare and know what to expect. The number one rule is plan ahead!
Don’t expect your pre-planning to be perfect, however. No plan survives first contact with the enemy, so they say, and you will have to be flexible your schedule. Sometimes you’ll find you’ve overextended yourself and need to skip something just to catch your breath. No worries. There’s always next year, or even next month at a different convention.
Also, when planning events, take time to consider how full a room is going to get or how long you may have to wait to get a seat. Want to get into that Neil Gaiman reading? Get in line early. Is Kevin Smith doing his Q&A thing? Get in line early. Really want to check out that panel on sea shanties in 19th century science fiction? Well, there probably won’t be a line so you’ll have time to also go see that panel discussion on bitter, underground comic artists.
Want to see all the versions of the Joker? Batman’s nemesis is an extremely popular fictional villain, because he’s both funny and terrifying -and outrageously odd, too. Screen Rant takes a close look at every Joker we’ve seen in movies and TV shows. While they differ greatly, you always recognize the character.
Which Joker do you prefer? Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, or some other? -via Geeks Are Sexy
Artist and photographer Olaf Breuning thinks out of the box for his media, as you can see in our previous posts. In his newest series, he creates faces out of common household items and gives them funny yet appropriate names. Mrs. Broomecutie is at the top (yes, I know she's a mop); below are Mr. Narziss and Mrs. Trainface.
(Image credit: Winchendon Fire Department)
Passersby noticed a cat stuck in a grate over a storm drain in Winchendon, Massachusetts, last Thursday. The Winchendon Fire Department responded and found the cat with its body hanging inside the grate, and its head stuck. They believe the cat was inside the storm and drain and was trying to get out. However, it’s also possible that cat’s body slipped through from above. The fire department reported:
When we arrived the cat was barely breathing and moving as she was hanging from the grate. Lieutenant Peters, Firefighter/Medic Harding, and myself removed the grate and uprighted the grate so the cat could breath.
When the owner arrived we had him get some dish soap from his house and we applied it around the cats neck, we slowly worked his head back into the grate and within a couple minutes we freed the cat.
(Image credit: Winchendon Fire Department)
The one-year-old female cat was taken home by its owner, soapy but safe. -via HuffPo
The stargazer fish was named that because it has eyes on the top of its head. But it’s not stars that this fish is looking for -it’s food! The stargazer wiggles its body and digs into the ocean floor with its fins until it is completely buried, except for those eyes. When a smaller fish swims by obliviously, it leaps from the sand in a terrifying instant.
Enjoy the action in this compilation video, with a decidedly strange musical accompaniment, and then read more about the stargazer fish at Atlas Obscura.
One of the great side effects of the Pokémon GO craze is that it gets people outside walking around, which for many video game fans is a real change. Give it a few months, and we'll find out that while they thought they were training Pokémons, it was really Pokémon GO that was training them! Or, more specifically, Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president of The Pokémon Company. If he doesn’t achieve total global domination, he may go down in history as the man who got people outside and moving again. This comic is from JHall at Dorkly. -via Geeks Are Sexy
MY DAD GOT INVITED TO A 60TH BDAY PARTY & THOUGHT IT WAS A 60S PARTY AHAHAH pic.twitter.com/8rVz9wMMoZ— Sam (@sammiemccomb) July 8, 2016
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you got to school and everyone laughed because you were still wearing your pajamas or just your underwear? Have you ever been anxious about “costume day” at school because you were sure you’d be the only person showing up in costume? Jimbo McComb had such an occasion, without the anxiety. He was invited to a party with a '60s theme -or so he thought. He dressed up for the period with a hippie wig, headband, and paisley shirt. When he arrived at the party, everyone was confused, because it was a birthday party for a friend who was turning 60 years old. It wasn’t a "60s" party, it was a "60th" party! Luckily, McComb kept his sense of humor about it, and a good time was had by all. -via Buzzfeed
Railway use ramped up even before the US entered World War II, because the war in Europe was interrupting shipping lanes, so more cargo went by train. Then wartime gasoline rationing caused an uptick in passengers using trains. Meanwhile, men were being shipped off to fight, so women were hired to work on the railroads. By the beginning of 1944, there were some 116,000 women railroad workers. Some of these women were photographed in 1943 by Office of War Information photographer Jack Delano. See a collection of images of women railroad workers at Mashable. -via Metafilter
You might not have ever heard of the Amalfi coast, but you can see by the picture that it’s gorgeous. It’s a stretch of small towns on the Italian coast near Naples, settled thousands of years ago by people who carved their homes from the rock cliffs.
Today, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most top rated locations for private getaways for lovers. The deep blues of the sky and the sea melt into each other, creating a divine view for tourists especially at sunset and during the sunrise. The little towns along the coast have narrow stairways and cobblestone paths tucked away into the rocky frame of the mountains so beautifully that it is hard to imagine that it is real.
These places are popular today with tourists who know a spectacular getaway when they see it. Accommodations include some of the most luxurious hotels in Italy, which you can see at Money Inc.
Disney is heavily promoting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, because it drops this year. But fans are looking past that, to the next episode of the Skywalker family saga in 2017. Alex Luthor put together a trailer for that movie, using footage from The Forces Awakens plus scenes from other fan films.
There are no secrets revealed here, as far as we can tell, but it does make one anxious to see what Luke Skywalker will do when he finally rejoins the world in 2017. -via Tastefully Offensive
Kawika Singson was exploring and photographing a lava flow from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island when he found this glowing hole, and several others like it. The hole in the lava was in the shape of a tree that was no longer there. It’s an artifact of the weird way in which lava destroys trees.
When hot, fluid lava engulfs a “moist, cool tree,” according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, “the layer of lava next to the trunk chills and solidifies,” creating a circular mold of cooled lava around the trunk.
Eventually, the tree burns to ash or “bakes into charcoal,” as explained by the Observatory.
Sometimes, the lava around the tree will drain away to a lower area, creating a mold of the tree that stands above ground, like the ones seen along the Lava Trees Loop Hiking Trail.
You can see those and learn more about how lava changes the landscape at HuffPo.
(Image credit: Kawika Singson)
The following is an article from the book Uncle John's Canoramic Bathroom Reader.
(Image credit: redditor jueskin)
You watched your bag get loaded onto the plane, and then it was gone. What happened to it?
LOST IN SPACE
After a long flight, airline passengers shuffle to the baggage claim area and wait for their luggage to slide down the chute and onto the carousel. Most passengers see their bag, grab it, and go on their way. But not everyone. Every year, of the more than 2.5 billion bags checked onto flights worldwide, 26 million go missing— and of that 26 million, 1 million never make it back to their original owner. Bad weather and flight delays, miscoded destination tags, and the fact that some people simply forget to take one of their bags off the carousel are a few of the reasons. But the number-one reason a bag ends up lost is that it has no ID tag, and airlines don’t know to whom it belongs.
(Image credit: Flickr user SonnyandSandy)
Transferring luggage from check-in to departure gates to arrival gates to baggage claim is a delicate piece of timing. If the system moves too slowly, the baggage won’t make connecting flights. If it’s too fast, the bags may make the connection but the passengers might miss the flight. Each airport has its own way of allotting how much time a bag needs to move in transit. Denver International Airport, for example, has a sophisticated automated system that includes scanners that read luggage labels, destination-coded vehicles that travel along tracks and load and unload the bags without stopping, and sorting machines that route baggage to the appropriate gate. Even so, all that technology may not save your luggage tag from being torn off in the conveyor belt, making you the hapless owner of a bag with no name.
James Dickson was driving a country road, windows down, music up, and the song “I’m Broken” by Pantera was playing. He pulled up next to a pastured horse wearing a raincoat who appreciated Dickson’s taste in music. The horse started head banging, then tapping his hoof, and if the car had stuck around a bit longer, we’d probably see him try crowdsurfing. Note that Dickson named the video after the 1992 Pantera album Vulgar Display of Power. -via Tastefully Offensive
Newly-hatched ducklings are known for “imprinting,” or latching on to the first thing they see as their mother. That way they know who to follow and who will protect them. Imprinting is considered to be instinct, and ducklings have been known to imprint on animals and even objects that are not their mother. A recent experiment hijacked the imprinting period to determine how intelligent ducklings are, as in whether they can distinguish the abstract concepts of “same” and “different.”
To explore how ducks think, researchers exposed newborn ducklings to a variety of objects, showing them pairs that were either the same or different, in characteristics like shape or color. Later, when shown completely different objects, three-fourths of the ducks got up and followed the pair that had the same relation they'd originally seen—whether it was one of color or shape, sameness or difference—parading after them the same way they'd line up and follow Mrs. Mallard.
For example, newborn mallards who were first exposed to two spheres (same), later chose to follow a pair or triangles (same) rather than a cube and a cuboid (different). “We hatch them, we give them about 12 hours to dry off, and once they able to walk they are able to do this and learn it with great accuracy,” says Antone Martinho a cognitive scientist at the University of Oxford and co-author of the new study.
This kind of relational matching behavior has been observed in certain primates, like monkeys and apes (and of course humans), and a few other birds, like parrots and crows. But again, these animals are all generally considered to be far more intelligent than ducks.
This experiment brings up a few thoughts. 1. Who is going to care for those experimental ducklings and show them how to duck? B. If newborn ducklings can distinguish same from different, maybe that concept isn’t really “abstract thought.” 3. Could this have been an ancient observation that led to the story of The Ugly Duckling? After all, the ducklings were aware of how different the cygnet was. Read more about the duckling experiment at Smithsonian.
(Image credit: Alexey Gomankov)
Life is weird when you live near an international border. Estcourt Station is a small village that’s technically in the U.S. in north Maine. But the road that takes you there comes from Canada. Any public services that don’t come from Canada are incredibly hard to obtain. In fact, Estcourt Station, Maine, butts up against Pohénégamook, Quebec, and you’d never know the two villages were at all separate if it weren’t for the customs officials.
Looming somewhere past a pizza place is the international border line, where Pohénégamook becomes Estcourt Station. But even after entering the American side through a checkpoint, it can be confusing to know which country you are actually in at any given moment. The border is a generally invisible boundary that indiscriminately hopscotches through gardens (a resident’s potato plants might be in Maine, while their radishes are in Quebec), runs through kitchens and across back porches.
Adding to the confusion in Estcourt Station is the fact that cottages on the U.S. side, along with the local Gulf Gas Station, all have 418 Quebec area codes and receive their electricity from Hydro-Québec. These American homes are the only ones in the country to have Canadian area codes. There aren’t many of them, either: the last U.S. census lists the total population on the Maine side as four people. According to a representative of the U.S. Postal Service, mail is delivered to three addresses there twice a week.
There are a few homes in which the border runs through the house, and the residents must abide by some bizarre regulations, such as paying property tax in both countries, and knowing which police department to call depending on which room a crime occurred in. The border crossing shuts down on the weekend, so anyone on the U.S. side must make sure they have enough groceries to last until Monday. Read about the complex reality of Estcourt Station at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Mrgriscom)
For every TV series that goes into production, there are at least five pilots that didn’t make the cut. Some of these sample shows are never seen again, some are aired as specials or TV movies, and a few are accepted but totally changed before becoming a real series. Josh Hadley has a collection of these shows for you, 19 of them in the first of two posts on TV pilots. Some are clearly awful, while others sound promising, like the one called Ice.
Really funny NON-LAUGH TRACK comedy (that was a rarity in the 90’s so it was to be savored) about an isolated research station in the arctic and it’s crew of misfits just trying to remain somewhat sane. Ryan Reynolds (!!!), Michael Jeter and Leland Orser are the only actors I could put names too (my copy has no credits) but there were a few other faces I knew from movies and whatnot.
The comedy was actually funny with odd sub-plots (a female penguin with a crush on Reynolds and Orser being so obsessed with Star Trek that he wears a uniform similar to Classic Trek and records all of his official logs with Stardates being two).
Could really have been a cool (no pun intended) series.
Some of the pilots have video evidence, others have pictures, and some have only synopses. Shows that bein with A through M are in part one. Read about them at Forces of Geek.
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!
A review of ear research
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research Staff
Old Folks Have Big Ears
Old men have big ears, is the consensus of several medical studies on the question. The most celebrated work focused exclusively on men, in accordance with British male doctordom’s smug tradition of showing interest mainly in themselves. But in Japan and in Germany, wide-ranging investigations broke through the patriarchal hegemony. The newer studies made plain, for anyone who cared to know, the long-untold half of the story: that old women have big ears.
The British action played out in a characteristic location: the pages of the British Medical Journal, where all body parts are always of interest.
In 1993, Dr. James A Heathcote, a general practitioner in Bromley, set out to answer the question: “As you get older do your ears get bigger?” Dr. Heathcote and three colleagues examined the ears of 206 men of various ages, then presented his findings in a monograph called “Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?”
What’s it like to go see a movie at a theater in Korea? It can be an experience you’ll never forget. While American theaters focus on simplicity in order to serve as many people as possible, a trip to the movies on the other side of the world can be as individual as you like.
Get yourself some butter squid and beer, or maybe some cheesecake, and relax in a soft reclining couch… or even a bed! There is no end to the upgrades you can get at a movie theater for just an extra dollar or two in Korea. It can be as comfortable as watching a movie at home, except on a screen the size of an iMax theater. -via Digg
When you think of playgrounds, you probably remember the good times you had at your local school or park, playing on metal swings, testing your bravery on high slides, climbing the monkey bars, and getting dizzy on the merry-go-round. You don’t see those pieces much these days, because in the mid-‘70s they started to be replaced by safer plastic and fiberglass structures nestled in shredded wood or rubber surfaces. Kids can’t catch a good thrill anymore. Brenda Biondo finds and takes pictures of vintage playground equipment to document those pieces before they all disappear. Her book Once Upon a Playground: A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920-1975 contains both her photographs and vintage ads for playground equipment. She tells us about playgrounds evolution.
Collectors Weekly: What was the impact of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which launched in 1973?
Biondo: Things started to change after that, which is why I limited to book to apparatuses made before 1975. New playgrounds were starting to be build out of plastic and fiberglass. I looked up the statistics, and according to the little research I’ve done—contrary to what you’d expect—there’s not much difference in the number of injuries on older equipment versus injuries on equipment today. A “New York Times” article from 2011 called “Can a Playground Be Too Safe?” explains that studies show when playground equipment was really high and just had asphalt underneath it and not seven layers of mulch, thekids knew they had to be careful because they didn’t want to fall. Nowadays, when everything is lower and there’s so much mulch, kids are just used to jumping down and falling and catching themselves. So kids learned to assess risk by playing on the older equipment. They also learned to challenge themselves because it is a little scary to go up to the top of the thing.
Read about Biondo’s research and see plenty of pictures that will bring back memories at Collectors Weekly. Don’t miss the extra gallery of images at the bottom the article. You may find the Madonna song “This Used to be My Playground” running through your mind. Now get off my lawn!
The Eye of the Sahara is a 25-mile wide geologic feature in the desert of Mauritania. Officially known as the Richat structure, it appears from the air as a series of concentric circles on the earth. No one ever saw it until it was photographed by the Gemini IV mission in 1965, but now it is a landmark for astronauts orbiting the earth. The Gemini mission was looking for impact craters, and the Eye of the Sahara was thought to be one for quite some time, but scientists now think there’s a more complex origin for the circles.
They think that the Eye's formation began more than 100 million years ago, as the supercontinent Pangaea was ripped apart by plate tectonics and what are now Africa and South America were being torn away from each other.
Molten rock pushed up toward the surface but didn't make it all the way, creating a dome of rock layers, like a very large pimple. This also created fault lines circling and crossing the Eye. The molten rock also dissolved limestone near the center of the Eye, which collapsed to form a special type of rock called breccia.
A little after 100 million years ago, the Eye erupted violently. That collapsed the bubble partway, and erosion did the rest of the work to create the Eye of the Sahara that we know today. The rings are made of different types of rock that erode at different speeds. The paler circle near the center of the Eye is volcanic rock created during that explosion.
So the colored circles are the result of the wind and sand shaving off and leveling the dome that was created millions of years before. Read more about the Eye of the Sahara at Business Insider. -via the Presurfer
(Image credit: SRTM Team NASA/JPL/NIMA)
Liquid oxygen presents us with a conundrum. When you expose a fire to oxygen, it burns brighter. When you expose fire to a liquid, it should put the fire out. And when you introduce something hot into something cold, the temperatures should cancel each other out, depending on how much substance there is of each. So what happens when you expose burning iron wool to liquid oxygen? The reaction is pretty spectacular.
Professor Martyn Poliakoff brings us another episode of The Periodic Table of Videos involving the scientific process. After the initial light show, he and his team of mad scientists tried to design experiments to find out exactly what was happening during the reaction. While they didn’t get the answers they were looking for, they learned quite a bit about the limits of lab equipment and the difficulty of observing unpredicted effects. Luckily, they keep a fire extinguisher handy. However, Poliakoff assures us that you can learn something even in failed experiments. And the footage was so cool that they couldn’t resist sharing it with us. -via Laughing Squid
See also: More videos with Professor Poliakoff.
The Garthim were huge, tentacled, black-carapaced flea-like creatures, armed with powerful claws and moved with a loud ticking sound. When not in battle, they stood like sentries in the corridors and pits of The Castle of the Crystal, standing immobile until given a command.
Grant Snider of Incidental Comics shares with us a comic he drew for the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of The Southampton Review. Next time I come down with a case of writer’s block (which is at least twice a week), I’ll use the letters themselves as an excuse. You can get a poster of this comic through Snider's website.
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