I've trained rats to find their way through a maze to get to food, but can you train a dog to negotiate a maze to find his beloved master? Andrew Himelson and his family plowed a maze through the deep snow in their yard to find out. Geno is a clever dog and promptly achieved his goal by cheating. In later sessions, he's learned the maze, and seems to understand the game, but is still not above cheating when the situation calls for it. That's a good dog. -via Viral Viral Videos
Will Ferrell has been busy promoting the movie Anchorman 2 by appearing here and there as Ron Burgundy. He showed up during the holiday weekend doing the local news at KXMB in Bismarck, North Dakota. Now he's in Canada.
Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings is the name of the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials, going on now in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ron Burgundy is there, as a special celebrity commentator. This is a highlight reel; last night's full 30-minute broadcast is available at TSN. -via Uproxx
When you travel backwards in time, there is always the danger of creating a paradox, in which two different timelines are created. They would run parralel, but might not be at all alike. One Minute Galactica looks at one of the possibilities, using the plotline from the movie Back To The Future. What happens next could even be catastrophic! NSFW language.
As the European tradition of Krampus enters the American consciousness, folks start to wonder why the Krampus depicted on Victorian ephemera resembles the classic description of the devil, while the people who dress up as Krampus every December look more like yetis or some other monster animal. In fact, Krampus looks different in every European region!
So, what should Krampus look like? Al Ridenour, the director of the upcoming Krampusfest in Los Angeles, explains the different looks by giving us the history of the Krampus tradition.
Long before the circulation of any postcards standardizing the image, the isolating Alpine terrain of Krampus’ native habitat encouraged strong regional variations. And without any grounding source text to nail down his appearance, the original Krampus would have been a shapeless bogeyman defined only by oral tradition, a freeform figure variously described by parents and other storytellers. Like the Tooth Fairy, he had a definitive function, but no definitive form.
Whenever the first adults — through whatever combination of playfulness and cruelty — decided to dress up as the first Krampus, they would have created a monster defined by whatever easily available materials could be used for a startling effect. In some cases those materials were the horns and pelts of mountain goats, and in others, straw or hay set aside as winter fodder. Today, though some costumes may be produced by mass production, they still imitate the look established by materials regionally available in Alpine valleys.
The earliest written descriptions of Krampus surfaced in the 17th century, although the custom, under various names, pre-dates Christianity. Learn about those early versions of Krampus and decide for yourself what The Krampus should look like, after you read about them at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Flickr user leo.laempel)
A little over a year ago, we told you about a very bright comet on its way that we'd see in late 2013. It turns out that Comet ISON is not quite the light show we expected; in fact, it may be a goner. As the comet slung around the sun over the last few days, its brightness waxed and waned until astronomers were scratching their heads. What happened? Phil Plait put together a video showing the comet's swing around the sun from the vantage of the NASA/ESA spacecraft SOHO.
You can see the comet head was so bright at the beginning it was saturating the SOHO detector, but then faded fast (I wrote a brief explanation of what you see in SOHO images in an earlier post). The other thing to note is that now, days later, the comet has faded substantially; there is no nucleus to be seen, and we can even see stars right through the comet (the image at the top of this post was taken on Nov. 30 at 20:42 UTC, and makes that clear; ISON is on the upper right and is now pretty well dispersed).
It appears that the comet underwent "disruptive event," or what we laymen would call a crash, but the data is far from conclusive right now. The comet sure seems to be dying, but as Dr. Plait says,
But who knows? When the comet started fading before perihelion I thought it might be dying, and I was more sure when it really smeared out. Then it came back, and we thought it survived, but now it’s looking more like that was a last gasp. This comet (and our estimation of what it’s doing) changes its story on an hourly basis, it seems.
Read a more thorough explanation of the data we have so far on Comet ISON at Bad Astronomy.
Loki the red fox was found abandoned at about six weeks of age. He now lives at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California. Since that song came out, park staff thought it would be educational to show kids what a fox really sounds like, so they decided to train Loki to vocalize. This is his first training session, in which we see he'd rather jump for treats than ask for them! By the time this was uploaded, he could display 28 different vocalizations. -via Arbroath
Bowie the parrot and PaiMei the Maltese puppy race to see who can reach the top of the stairs first. Their owner tried to level the playing field by distracting PaiMei with a treat at the bottom, but the race resembles a real-life tortoise and hare race, with slow-and-steady Bowie vs. the faster dog who waits until the last minute and charges past. After such a determined effort, Bowie does not want to accept defeat. -via Viral Viral Videos
To mark World AIDS Day (December 1st), LIFE magazine looks at the story behind the iconic 1990 photograph of David Kirby and his family that put a human face on the AIDS epidemic, and showed the world how it affected families as well as its victims. Photographer Therese Frare shares how it came about.
“Early on,” Frare says of her time at Pater Noster House, “I asked David if he minded me taking pictures, and he said, ‘That’s fine, as long as it’s not for personal profit.’ To this day I don’t take any money for the picture. But David was an activist, and he wanted to get the word out there about how devastating AIDS was to families and communities. Honestly, I think he was a lot more in tune with how important these photos might become.”
Frare pauses, and laughs. “At the time, I was like, Besides, who’s going to see these pictures, anyway?“
Over the past 20 years, by some estimates, as many as one billion people have seen the now-iconic Frare photograph that appeared in LIFE, as it was reproduced in hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV stories — all over the world — focusing on the photo itself and (increasingly) on the controversies that surrounded it.
Those controversies included the use of the photo in a Benetton ad, which drew the ire of activists and others. But you might not know what else happened after Kirby's death. His parents went through it all again, as they became caregivers to the hospice worker who cared for David, when he also succumbed to AIDS. Frare documented his story in pictures as well, which you can see in the article at LIFE. -via Digg
The following is an article from Uncle John's Fully Loaded 25th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.
Aristotle didn't have it. Neither did Pythagoras or Euclid or or other ancient mathematicians. We're talking about zero, which may sound like nothing, but, as it turns out, is a really big something. Here's the story.
COUNT LIKE A HINDU
Sometime in the early ninth century, a mathematician named Muhammad ibn al-Khwarizmi (circa 780-850 AD) gained a key piece of knowledge that would eventually earn him the nickname "The Father of Algebra." What he discovered would also speed up mathematical calculation many times over and, eventually, make a host of amazing technological advances possible, up to and including cars, computers, space travel, and robots.
What was it? The Hindu number system (developed in India). The system intrigued al-Khwarizmi because it used nine different symbols to represent numbers, plus a small circle around empty space to represent shunya- "nothingness." To keep from having to use more and more symbols for larger numbers, the Hindu system was a place system. The value of a number could be determined by its place in a row of numbers: There was a row for 1s, a row for 10s, 100s, 1000s, and so on. If nine numerals and a circle to represent "nothing" sounds familiar, it should. Thanks to al-Khwarizmi, the Hindu number system (known in the West as "Arabic numerals") is the system used in most of the world today.
A ZERO IN THE HOUSE OF WISDOM
Al-Khwarizmi knew a good idea when he saw one. He was a scholar and worked in the House of Wisdom, a combination library, university, research lab, and translation service in Baghdad. At the time, Abbassid caliphs -who claimed to be descendants of Abbas, the prophet Mohammad's youngest uncle- ruled the Persian Empire. They had turned their seat of power, Baghdad, into the "jewel of the world." Muhammad had exhorted his followers to "acquire knowledge" and to "seek learning though it be as far as China." So as Europe descended into the Dark Ages, the caliphs kept the light of knowledge burning bright. They collected as much of the world's written knowledge as they could get their hands on and had it translated into Arabic. At a time when the largest library in Europe contained far fewer than a thousand volumes, the Abbasids amassed a library believed to have held a million books.
While working for the Abbasids in the House of Wisdom, al-Khwarizmi specialized in astronomy and mathematics. He spent most of his time finding useful, real-world applications for mathematical concepts and explaining them in ways that reasonably intelligent non-mathematicians could understand. And these Hindu numbers opened up a whole new world of mathematical possibility. And he was especially intrigued by the symbol for "nothing."
HOLD THAT PLACE!
As Movember draws to a close, the heroes of the movement take center stage. One of them, Jonathon Burnside, joins in the fun every Movember to grow a mustache and raise money for men's health programs. In his fourth year with the event, he grew an epic mustache that joined his chest hair to create the illusion of a cat! He said,
‘I just did a handlebar moustache and then cut half of it off,’ he explained.
‘I made a template to get the basic shape. Then I shaved negative space lines for the details, which did not show up on camera.
‘Then my wife did an outline in eye liner, which also did not show up on camera. Then I just went ahead and outlined it in Sharpie.’
At family gatherings I am the undisputed head chef and I typically steer away from what is considered traditional for the occasion and let my culinary imagination run wild. I'm not always successful but my mom, brother, and sister are always happy to help/eat.
And then grandma moved in.
I love grandma and as the matriarch grandma gets what grandma wants. Even if it means a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
To satisfy my need to be different and in charge I made pink mashed potatoes and invited a pack of pandas to join the party. Here is our Panda Thanksgiving in pictures.
Photographs by Jan Tu. See even more pictures in the Panda Thanksgiving Flickr set.
Now I want pandas at my next family feast.
I said these things over and over to myself when I was going through those difficult times as a kid. I say them to my teenagers now. Maybe it helps, but it doesn't make the the pain of the present go away. From Lunar Baboon.
Bruce Wayne Do Santos. Ex-millonario. Ex-propietario de latifúndios subterráneos. Ex-superamigo. Removido, desalojado, desterrado, vagando por Rio City.
Una cruda mezcla de performance, comics y arte callejero.
Bruce Wayne Do Santos. Ex-millionaire. Ex-owner of underground estates. Ex-superfriend. Dismissed, homeless, landless. Wandering the city of Rio. A raw mixture of performance, comics, and street art.
(Translation by zompist.)
Happy Hanukkah! Man, we got holidays all over the place, don't we? Thanksgiving weekend traditionally opens the Christmas season -many put that point at the appearance of Santa Claus at the end of the Macy's parade. And many shoppers declared it as they fought their way through the Black Friday sales. Not me -after dinner, I crashed for a full eight hours. That's the longest I've slept in one night in years! Besides, the Black Friday craziness is something I don't want to participate in or contribute to. Shopping online is so much easier.
We kicked off the Christmas shopping season with the 50 Funniest and Geekiest T-Shirts Money Can Buy. And they're all specially priced this weekend at the NeatoShop!
This week, we had two book excerpts from picture books. First was Adam Koford's Down with the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats.
And then we had Matt Hoyle's Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People.
John Farrier brought us an Exclusive Interview: Beth Evans, Cartoonist.
Jill Harness showed us what it's like during Christmas Time At Disneyland & California Adventure.
Eddie Deezen gave us Famous Names and Nicknames.
Over at the Spotlight blog, we had Candy and Gingerbread Galleries by Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin.
The Annals of Improbable Research gave us Beauty Value Research Review.
Man Meets Cartoon was from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
Mental_floss magazine told us How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.
Our Great Pics of the Week was the Thanksgiving Edition. We also had another set of images for the occasion in Thanksgiving Silliness.
There's a neat new feature at Neatorama's Pinterest boards. We have lots of pin boards, so you can find what you like. One is called "Places and Spaces," about stories from all over the world. Now it has a map that plots where those stories come from! Click on one of the map locations, and the board will pull up the story that came from that place. Neat!
The Conceptis puzzle this week was Maze-a-Pix.
The weekly riddle from Pzzlr was called Pebbles.
In our Whodunits by Hy Conrad, we have a new sleuth named Jonah Bixby. His first adventure here at Neatorama was After-School Homicide.
In the What Is It? game this week, the tool shown is an ice pick with a retainer for removing cubes that had been formed on a block of ice by a Coolerator ice cube cutter, patent number 2,070,773. The Coolerator ice cube cutter was another of the mystery items explained at the What Is It? blog. Of course, we wanted your wrong but funny answers -and we got them! One winner is Peawatt, who explained, "This appears to be a gentleman's lice removal tool. Properly positioned by placing his organ in the lower chamber with handle pointing away from body, hot coal was placed on the upper pan. A slight tilting of the handle up and toward the body sent the hot coal off the pan, over the spikes, setting the pubic hair aflame. When the lice ran into the clearing, they were quickly dispatched by repeated stabbing from the three prongs." Cool! The other winner is Tapisbis, who said it is the "Ultimate s'mores tool, you place the first graham cracker & a liberal serve of chocolate in the lower tray; roast not one, not two, but three marshmallows on the prongs; whilst the marshmallows cook the chocolate melts; finally slide the final cracker off the top tray and enjoy perfection." Both win t-shirts from the NeatoShop!
We had a poll in the post Are You Turning Your Nose Up At Me? Well, At Least It's Cute. Your votes show that kitties have the cutest noses in the animal kingdom, with bunny rabbits in second place.
The comment of the week was when BadSpeller used every fake British term in the post The Differences Between British and American English. We honestly did not have any posts with a particularly large number of comments this week. Maybe because it's a holiday, and we didn't feel like gatting everyone riled up. It's certainly not because y'all don't have an opinion -over at the Neatoramanauts Facebook page, there's always a rousing discussion on the "question of the day," like when a person can be justified in complaining about the weather.
This week's most popular post was 2D or Not 2D. That was followed by For All Those People Who Think Helen Mirren Is A Beautiful Older Woman, and The Real Life Walter White.
There was a four-way tie for the most ♥ed post this week between Meet Vinicio Riva, the Disfigured Man Embraced by Pope Francis, The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath, Royals A Cappella, and The Boxcar Library: A Bookmobile for a Logging Camp.
The social media posts of the week were Spike Vest Protects Your Personal Space on Commuter Trains, 2D or Not 2D, and Giant Cat Couch, which where all shared a lot on Facebook.
Here's a way to knock off a lot of the names on your Christmas gift list without dealing with the shopping, and you'll save money at the same time: Select a t-shirt from one of the internet's top independent artists, which are on sale right now at the NeatoShop! Those are gifts you won't see anywhere else, and you'll find one that's a perfect fit for someone you love.
Looking ahead, we've got December starting tomorrow, and next week we will gear back up and bring you more of the neatest stuff on the web and elsewhere, right here at Neatorama!
Cracked runs down some holiday traditions that aren't worth the effort that some folks put into them. I went there hoping to find something I can actually shed from my busy holiday schedule, but I found that I don't pretend to like any of them. In fact, the only one I actually participate in is the Thanksgiving leftovers -and I honestly LOVE having a refrigerator full of prepared foods that at least someone in the family likes and will eat. That means I won't be cooking again for quite some time. And the secret to making a good turkey sandwich is the generous use use of Miracle Whip. Anyway, the other traditions are kind of annoying, like the office Secret Santa gift exchange.
It's an innocent enough idea, but if you deny the fact that it also turns any office into a melting pot of paranoia, resentment, and frustration, you probably invented the concept and aren't willing to acknowledge the hell you've unleashed upon the rest of the world.
The problem is, your workplace is filled with a wide range of personalities, a lot of them of the awful variety. Inevitably, those personalities start to shine through in the gifts people give.
That's just one -the rest of the not-so-fun-traditions are just as odd. -via Daily of the Day
Warning: This article is from Cracked, so therefore contains NSFW text, misogyny, and may offend readers.
We've seen plenty of weddings cakes with video game themes, but this one shows how the games are played! It's called the Donkey Kong Projector Wedding Cake, with other classic games showing up in the sequence. The games are projected from all sides onto the cake surface. It's from Posh Entertainment, a company that supplies DJs and and lighting to weddings, sweet sixteen parties, and mitzvahs. I started to wonder if there is a real cake under there, and yes, it is, made by Meals for Reals.
Although it has a classic tiered wedding cake shape, this seems to be more appropriate for a birthday party or bar mitzvah, where it wouldn't be so gauche to ask the guests to be still and watch the cake perform. -via Gamma Squad
In Mother Russia, Olympic torch ignites YOU! This mishap took place in Siberia on Wednesday.
A clip posted on YouTube by the Russian site Lifenews shows former Olympic bobsledder Pyotr Makarchuk parading the torch through a crowd in the city of Abakan when flames suddenly leap from the left shoulder and upper arm of his jacket.
Escorts immediately put out the flames and Makarchuk was not injured, said Roman Osin, spokesman for the Russian Sochi 2014 torch relay, who witnessed the incident on Wednesday.
The flames were caused by drops of liquid gas that fell on Makarchuk's jacket, he said.
The Winter Games in Sochi don't start until February 7th, but the torch is on its longest pre-Olympic relay ever, a journey of 40,000 miles. The flame has gone out dozens of times already, but this is the first public news of a torchbearer catching fire. -via Digg
American history classes typically start with Columbus and the European immigrants who settled in North America, despite thew fact that there were plenty of people already here, and their history goes back much further. The Europeans were better at record keeping. Unless you are very young, you probably learned a sanitized version of the Thanksgiving harvest festival at Plymouth Colony in 1621. The real story is much more complicated, involving a horrible first winter for the Pilgrims, and Native American nations that were dealing with an invasion of strangers as well as their own enemies. In 2005, Charles C. Mann wrote a history of the Americas beginning before Columbus, from the perspective of the natives. Smithsonian has an excerpt from that book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, that deals with Plymouth Colony.
On March 22, 1621, a Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to meet with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had brought along only reluctantly as an interpreter.
Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea.
Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century. Shorter than the Natives, oddly dressed and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of bristly, animal-like hair that encased their faces. They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks. But they also made useful and beautiful goods—copper kettles, glittering colored glass and steel knives and hatchets—unlike anything else in New England. Moreover, they would exchange these valuable items for the cheap furs that the Indians used as blankets.
The negotiations that led to an alliance between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, which saved the Pilgrim colony from total destruction and led to our Thanksgiving holiday, are more involved than you were ever taught in school. Read the rest of that story at Smithsonian. -via Metafilter
Bears doing human things in a circus because they are trained to: not funny. Bears doing human things in everyday settings because they just look like they are: funny! A whole lot of bears put together in one video: really cute. -via Viral Viral Videos
Filmmaker Jordan Halland picked a particular night to propose to Summer Jones. Somehow, she found out about it ahead of time. But did she know that he knew that she knew? He used this knowledge to set up something completely different, and spent the evening teasing her. Meanwhile, his buddies were surreptitiously following the couple and recording every scene. That's going to be a proposal neither of them will ever forget. Particularly as the video is going viral! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
After 18 players died on the field, the president decided it was time to change the game.
During the late 1870s, American “foot ball” resembled a combination of soccer and rugby with a riot mob mentality. Almost anything went: Players could carry the ball, kick it, or pass it backward. Starting in 1880, Walter Camp, a Yale player now known as the father of American football, introduced a series of changes to make the game more strategic. Unfortunately, some ended up making the game more dangerous. The most infamous example was Harvard’s “Flying Wedge,” inspired by Napoleonic war tactics: Offensive players assumed a V-shaped formation behind the line of scrimmage, then converged en masse on a single defensive lineman. “Think of it—half a ton of bone and muscle coming into collision with a man weighing 160 or 170 pounds,” wrote The New York Times in 1892.
Within a few years, the Wedge was abolished, but the introduction of nose guards and flimsy leather helmets—both of which were optional—created illusions of safety that encouraged even more violent plays. The crowds ate it up—by the early 1890s, 40,000 fans attended the biggest games. But criticism, too, was growing. Charles Eliot, president of Harvard, became the unofficial leader of the anti-football movement. By 1895, he was calling for an outright ban.
Mae West was called "Peaches" as a young girl by the young boys in Brooklyn.
President Benjamin Harrison was known as "Kid Gloves." He was prone to skin infection and wore kid gloves to protect his hands.
Jerry Lewis' nickname in high school was "Id" (short for "Idiot").
George Herman "Babe" Ruth was "The Babe" to millions of baseball fans, but his closest friends called him "Jidge" which is a slang way of saying George.
John Lennon often called his wife Yoko Ono "Mother."
Marilyn Monroe affectionately referred to her husband Joe DiMaggio as her "Slugger."
Former model Lauren Bacall was known as "The Windmill" and "The Pinwheel." Of course, her husband, Humphrey Bogart always called her "Baby."
Adolf Hitler had a lifelong fascination with wolves. He loved the nickname "Wolf" and liked the pseudonym "Herr Wolf." He had residences he dubbed "The Wolves Lair" and "The Wolves Den."
Classic sharpshooter Annie Oakley was originally given the nickname "Watanya Cicilla" by her friend and fellow performer Sitting Bull. This translated to "Little Sure Shot." It later evolved into "Little Miss Sure Shot."
Sally Struthers was a rather chubby young girl. Her sister called her "Packy," short for "Pachyderm."
Brad Pitt was known by the nickname "Pitt-Bull."
She was born Carole Penelope Marsciarelli. As a young girl, she once saved pennies to buy a horse. She soon became known as "Penny" Marshall.
President Ulysses S. Grant was dubbed "The Galena Tanner," because he once ran a tannery.
Clerow Wilson was given the name "Flip" while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force. "He flippeth his lid," one of the guys in the barracks once said. The name stuck.
Two of Elvis Presley's favorite "undercover" names he used when he checked into hotels on the road were "Dr. John Carpenter" and "Jon Burrows." Dr. John Carpenter was his character's name in one of his last movies.
As a young girl, Madonna was known as "Little Nonnie."
Al Capone was "Scarface" …but no one ever called him that to his face! Capone got his facial scar when he was working as a bouncer at a nightclub in Brooklyn. He inadvertently insulted a girl, which provoked a fight with her brother, Frank Gallucio. Gallucio cut three slash marks across Capone's face with a knife. But, believe it or not, Capone's closest friends called him "Snorky."
Joan Crawford called Spencer Tracy "Slug." She called her onetime husband Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. "Dodo."
Jennifer Garner's childhood nickname was "Puppy." "I was kind of a tail-waggin' kid," she explained.
President Andrew Johnson was dubbed "The Tennessee Tailor" because that was his pre-presidential profession.
Richard Burton's affectionate nickname for wife Elizabeth Taylor was "Fatty." (I bet she loved that!)
One of the staples of the holiday season is the gingerbread house. Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin have taken the art of building a gingerbread house to a new level with their creations for Art Basel, a winter art festival in Miami Beach. For a show at Dylan's Candy Bar, they wanted to do something involving both candy and art, so they recreated the world's most famous art museums in gingerbread and candy!
I hope you are able to take some time to enjoy a relaxed holiday with family and friends. Here's a little something that might give you a smile without straining you brain (or your time) too much. My brother the graphic artist made me a set of images to use for Thanksgiving on my personal site, but there's no reason not to share them here, too! No, they don't make much sense, but they aren't meant to.
This lithograph was created by artist A. Hendee and distributed by the U.S. Food Administration in 1918. The idea was to conserve food and supplies to send to the Allies in Europe who were undergoing serious privations during the Great War. My, how things have changed since then! Read more on the food conservation efforts of World War I and the alternate text of this poster at Collectors Weekly.
MST3K debuted on UHF channel KTMA in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving Day in 1988. That's 25 years ago! As the show celebrates its silver anniversary, let's get to know some of its backstory and trivia. You know you want to. Here are just a couple of tidbits.
10. KURT VONNEGUT, JR. WASN’T A FAN.
In 1996, Jim Mallon and writers Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy released the ultimate fan guide, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide. In it, Murphy shares the story about meeting his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and telling him about the show and its premise. Vonnegut was not impressed, telling Murphy that every artist deserves respect, even those who produce a bad movie. Still, Murphy couldn’t resist the opportunity to invite Vonnegut out to dinner, which the author politely declined, stating he had other plans. At dinner that night, Murphy and Vonnegut ended up dining at the same restaurant—except Vonnegut was alone, prompting Murphy to admit that he had been “faced ... but nicely faced.”
11. BUT FRANK ZAPPA WAS A FAN.
Frank Zappa was an admitted monster movie fanatic, and wasn’t shy about his love of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during its run. A 1997 article in Total TV Online noted: “MST3K … made the late Frank Zappa an instant convert when he channel surfed into ‘this guy wearing a clown nose and a beanie copter roasting a puppet over an open fire.’ The clown was now-departed (and much beloved) Founding Father Joel Hodgson; the roasted puppet was plucky Tom Servo; and Zappa was equally bemused by the cinematic turkeys being roasted for the main course. ‘He just loved crummy old science fiction movies,’ says writer and voice of Servo Kevin Murphy, who thought ‘Frank Zappa on line one’ was a joke until he picked up the phone.” The show’s producers and Zappa had even discussed plans to collaborate on a giant spider movie; episode 523 was dedicated to Zappa following his passing.
Aaron Paul (formerly of Breaking Bad) tells the story about that time he pranked his roommate Dave into thinking there was a meteor shower in the backyard. Just when you start to think this story is too long, it takes a left turn that will make your mouth fall open.
Is it true? It's not the first time he told the story, and this clip has proof. -via Daily of the Day
Hey look! It's time for our collaboration with the wonderful What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? It doesn't really matter if you do, because we are looking for the funniest guesses. You can win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! But first, read the rules:
Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners who submit funny and/or clever (albeit ultimately wrong) answers will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.
If you guess the correct answer, you'll get a big pat on the back.
Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?
There is another picture of this thing at the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!
Update: the tool shown is an ice pick with a retainer for removing cubes that had been formed on a block of ice by a Coolerator ice cube cutter, patent number 2,070,773. The Coolerator ice cube cutter was another of the mystery items explained at the What Is It? blog. Of course, we wanted your wrong but funny answers -and we got them!
One winner is Peawatt, who explained, "This appears to be a gentleman's lice removal tool. Properly positioned by placing his organ in the lower chamber with handle pointing away from body, hot coal was placed on the upper pan. A slight tilting of the handle up and toward the body sent the hot coal off the pan, over the spikes, setting the pubic hair aflame. When the lice ran into the clearing, they were quickly dispatched by repeated stabbing from the three prongs." Cool!
The other winner is Tapisbis, who said it is the "Ultimate s'mores tool, you place the first graham cracker & a liberal serve of chocolate in the lower tray; roast not one, not two, but three marshmallows on the prongs; whilst the marshmallows cook the chocolate melts; finally slide the final cracker off the top tray and enjoy perfection." Both win t-shirts from the NeatoShop!
In the latest mental_floss video, John Green busts some myths and dishes the trivia about the Pilgrims and their feast that got handed down to us in the form of a holiday that now consists of eating too much, watching football, and Christmas shopping. We don't need to recreate the Thanksgiving celebration at Plymouth Colony, which would be mostly impossible, but we should know some of the real history of the holiday. Pass the pigeon, please. -via Tastefully Offensive
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