New Orleans had a Parade for Betty White's 100th Birthday

Actress and beloved icon Betty White would have turned 100 on Monday, if she hadn't died on New Year's Eve. In her honor, New Orleans residents staged one of the first parades through the French Quarter since the pandemic began two years ago. The Betty White Memorial and 100th Birthday Parade was held on Sunday.

The parade was led by Santa Claus, who organized the event (really). There was a brass band, Betty White fans in costume carrying signs, and plenty of pets. Betty White was a lifelong advocate for animal welfare, and the parade raised funds for the Villalobos Rescue Center in her honor. You can bet there was plenty of music. In addition to the usual New Orleans parade marches, the crowd sang "Happy Birthday," "Thank You for Being a Friend," and ended with an emotional rendition of "I'll Fly Away." Read about the parade and see plenty of pictures at Fodor's Travel. -Thanks, Bicycle Bill!

These Comics Show How Contradictory Society Can Get

This funny yet straightforward series shows how contradictory modern society can be thanks to consumerism and other factors. The series, titled, “YES, BUT” features two-panel comics that are capable of showing irony, absurdity, and humor through its simple art style. Created by Russian artist Anton Gudim, new illustrations for the series can be seen on his Instagram account. Check more entries from “YES, BUT” below! 

Image credit:  Anton Gudim via Instagram

Renovating Cheap Homes In Japan

Some dream to own a small home outside their home country. I’m one of those people. Apparently, it’s possible to buy cheap homes in Japan. You just need time and money to renovate them, though. According to CNN, foreigners can buy property in Japan without a residency status. Vacant houses in the countryside are plentiful, cheap, and sometimes even free. This is thanks to the country’s aging population and the lack of employment opportunities in these areas. Learn more about these homes here! 

Image credit: Dean Irvine

Banksy Interactive Show In Miami Features 155 Of The Artist’s Works

Art enthusiasts, rejoice! Here’s another interactive show for people who live near Miami. Ice Palace Studios, the people behind “Beyond Van Gogh,” the first interactive art show to hit Miami back in April 2021, will now open a new exhibition featuring the famous anonymous street artist Banksy. 

The show, titled “The Art of Banksy: Without Limits,” features more than 155 of the artist’s works, including certified originals, prints, photos, lithographs, sculptures, and murals. According to Kemal Gurkaynak, the show’s founder, the exhibition is “not an exhibition but a show with a philosophy as Banksy loves to provoke, shock and even disturb society.”

Image via the Miami Herald 

Hyperrealistic Murals By Russian Artist Danila Shmelev aka Shozy

This talented street artist creates stunning and hyperrealistic artworks/optical illusions that capture the viewer’s imagination and attention. Danila Shmelev aka Shozy was born and raised in Moscow. Shozy spent four years at the Moscow Institute of Art & Industrial (MHIP), and developed his unique style of street art– hyperrealistic graffiti art. 

The photo above of large hands that seem to tear through plastic foil is part of the artist’s ‘plastic series,’ which originated from his canvas works. The artworks in this series portray canvases wrapped in a protective film that have been torn in various places and are executed in a continuum of dark greys to achieve a plastic effect that trick the viewer’s eyes. Check out more of his amazing art below! 

Image credit: Shozy via Oddity Central

Live A Meaningful Life By Writing Your Eulogy

This sounds depressing, but hear me out. If you start thinking about your death, it can help you reverse engineer your life and create a plan. New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller, the man behind this morbid advice, told Inc that "if you start with the end in mind, then you can reverse engineer your life in such a way that you keep putting something on the plot to try to get to that place."

This, according to the writer, is the key to a more meaningful life. Planning your life creates a better story. Writing a eulogy is like willing yourself to live your life a certain way, which leads you to be more intentional about what you do each day. "It's helped me so much in terms of basic practicality, to help me know what my story's about so that I can actually get it done--or, at least die trying," Miller further explained. "The other thing has been even more beneficial. By processing my own death and thinking about it a little every day, it has increased two things: a sense of urgency in my life to get things done. And it's been the number one tool in my life to give me the gift of presence."

Image credit: lilartsy

The Sleeping Girl of Turville

Turville is a picturesque English village about 35 miles from London. It was there that Ellen Sadler was born in 1859, the youngest of ten children. Ellen was hired out as a nursemaid when she was eleven years old, but a mysterious illness put an end to her employment. The doctor noticed an abscess on her head he called a glandular swelling. Ellen spent four months in the hospital, but was sent home as incurable. She then had a few seizures, laid down to rest, and didn't wake up for nine years.

Naturally, this became village news, and the story spread further. Ellen Sadler put Turville on the map. Scientists, journalists, and the general public wanted to see the sleeping girl, and her parents obliged. The visitors often left small donations, which added a substantial amount to the poor family's earnings. Ellen's mother explained how she fed the girl with a small teapot of port wine and another of milk. As the years went by, some had their suspicions about the girl's condition. The climax of the story came when Ellen's mother died, and she was put into the custody of her older sisters. Within just a few months, Ellen woke up, by then a grown woman, and recovered completely.

There are conditions that can put someone in a coma for years, but no doctor ever had a diagnosis for Ellen Sadler. It seems unlikely that she would have survived, much less recovered completely on the life support her mother described. Read the story of Ellen Sadler at Amusing Planet.

Why Cats Have Vertical Pupils

One of the more distinctive features of a house cat is its weird vertical pupils, which don't seem all that weird to us because we are really familiar with cats. Maybe that's why the Pallas' cat seems so strange to us with their round pupils. But pupil shapes vary all along the spectrum of the animal kingdom, and each shape has a purpose for the lifestyle of its owners. In the TED-Ed video, we learn about pupil shapes in a variety of animals, including the extremely weird rectangular pupils of a goat. I was familiar with the shape, but I didn't know goats kept their pupils at the same angle when they moved their heads! And if you think that's weird, wait until they get to praying mantises. -via Laughing Squid

Try This Addictive Wiki History Game

Here's a serious time sink for history nerds, but you don't have to be a history nerd to enjoy it. The Wiki History Game is a free browser game in which you are challenged to place historical events in chronological order. They range from carbon-dated prehistory events to movie premiere dates, but the more of them you get, the harder it is. After you've placed an event, you can turn the card over to get a link to Wikipedia for more information about the event. Win or lose, you are liable to learn something. A few people who've tried it note that 1. you don't have to be good at this game to enjoy it, and 2. you can't get any better at it by playing more. But it is addictive. I once managed to get a string of 15 events before missing one, but I've had a lot of failures, too. 

The game is fairly new. Developer Tom J. Watson asks that any cards that don't make sense be reported to Github. -via Metafilter

The Most Brazen Scam of All Time: How a Con Artist Sold a Fake Country

🌎 This is a true story about a fake country: A con artist named Gregor MacGregor (yeah, his actual name) sold the dream of moving to a new country named Poyais in South America to hundreds of would be settlers. Problem was, Poyais never existed.

😷 We don't talk about COVID No No No: A parody song and a catchy tune by The Holderness Family.

❤️ Think your blind date is uncomfortable? This Chinese woman met a blind date for a home-cooked dinner, and during the date, the government announced a sudden Covid lockdown. So her dinner date turned into an extended quarantine date for days on end.

🎨 Psst, got $547 million? You can buy this Italian villa with the only Caravaggio painted mural on the ceiling.

🐈 If you think sleeping with cats is tough, try sleeping with cheetahs. Dolph C. Volker did and lived to tell all about it (they're just large kitties!)

🎬 Film writer Kevin L. Lee asked a question on Twitter: "What is the best an actor has ever looked on screen?" He got thousands of replies, and compiled the most popular answers. See if you agree with the actor/actress and movies combo.

🎃 Love Halloween? If you think that every day should be Halloween, then you'll like our new site: Spooky Daily. We're adding new Halloween and horror-related content there regularly all year long. Like this one: A List of the Greatest Horror Comedies.

Featured art: Everybody Thinks I Suck by indie artist Edu Ely.

Current special: Save up to 20% on all Sci-Fi T-Shirts, Fantasy T-Shirts and Horror T-Shirts.

The Best Saturday Night Live Cast Member

Saturday Night Live has been running for 47 years now. The regular cast turns over every few years to feature a new generation of up and coming comedians. You'll find a list of 159 of them here. Who your favorite is likely depends on your age, whether you prefer John Belushi, Al Franken, Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Leslie Jones, or Kate McKinnon.  

On Friday, Joe Manniello launched a tournament to determine the best SNL cast member, with a bracket of 64 contenders. The replies to that Tweet have a lot of people filling out the entire bracket, but there is actual voting going on, which you can participate in by using the #snlcastbracket hashtag to find the polls. Voting is still in the first round, so there are inevitable blowouts.   

Elsewhere on Twitter, Eric Alper asked, "Who is the best SNL cast member of all time?" The replies in that thread are brimming with videos and gifs of classic skits featuring favorite cast members, so there is plenty to browse and relive the memories.

Which cast member is your favorite?

Balls Bounce into Beautiful Patterns

Here we see a collection of ten physics simulations in which balls are released to bounce around. The astonishing part is the point in the middle of each sequence where the balls arrange themselves in a pattern. That can't really happen, can it? It's really nice to see anyway, and if you want to know how it's done, click on the spoiler quote.

Spoiler Quote

There's a bit more about the physics and programming involved at the YouTube page. -via Kottke

Spinthariscope: The Forgotten Nuclear Toy

As soon as I saw the latest xkcd comic by Randall Munroe, I had to look up "spinthariscope" to see if it was a real thing. And it is. William Crookes invented it by accident during his nuclear experiments in 1903. He spilled a tiny amount of radium bromide (a radioactive salt) onto a thin screen of zinc sulfide. Since radium bromide was a very expensive material, he carefully picked up every speck, using a magnifying glass to see them. He noticed flashes of light, produced by the radium bromide throwing off alpha particles. This was a pretty neat discovery, so Crookes fashioned an enclosed device for observing the effect. That's how the spinthariscope was born.

As a scientific instrument, the spinthariscope soon became obsolete, but it was still impressive to non-physicists and kids. In 1947, you could order one from the back of a cereal box. In the 1950s, a small spinthariscope was included in the Chemcraft Atomic Energy Lab for children.     

(Image credit: Theodore Gray)

What's more, United Nuclear still sells spinthariscopes, although their modern version uses thorium instead of radium bromide.

This Tiny Cow Thinks He's a Dog

🐄 Technically, Ollie the calf is a micro mini cow, but from the looks of it, this cow thinks he's a dog and part of the family. He swims, watches TV, and even goes on a jet ski ride. What an a-moo-sing pet!

💀 19th century house painter John Renie was a pious man who didn't want the devil to steal his soul upon his death, so he devised a puzzle on a gravestone to "confuse the Devil."

🏠 This is nifty: Habitat for Humanity built the first-ever owner-occupied 3D printed home in the world. Amazingly, the main structure of the house was built in just 12 hours (instead of 4 weeks of construction of a typical house).

👻 In 1984, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray made a promotional film to promote Ghostbusters to a bunch of theater owners telling them that they should show the movie because it appealed to kids, and kids buy a LOT of candies and snacks which would translate to big profits for these businessmen. You can tell that Aykroyd and Murray basically bullsh-tted through their intro, but they seemed to have a great time doing it!

More neat posts over at our new sites: Supa Fluffy, Pictojam, Pop Culturista, and Homes & Hues

Love cats and fantasy movies? These four tees by indie artist Tobe Fonseca are for you: Brave At Heart, Wisdom is Power, Honesty Before Glory, and Great Ambition.

The Vega Brothers Trailer

It's such a natural idea for a Quentin Tarantino movie- the life stories of Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) from Reservoir Dogs and his brother Vince Vega (John Travolta) from Pulp Fiction. Don't get too excited, The Vega Brothers is not a real movie, but a mashup from Luís Azevedo. Both Madsen and Travolta have plenty of film clips showing them being violent at different ages, now woven into an almost believable narrative. Well, let's say it makes about as much sense as any Tarantino film. The Vega Brothers also features Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and a slew of other stars. This trailer contains NSFW language. -via Kottke

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