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Quark (1977)

1960's television could be zany, but 1970's TV held its own in that regard. With sci-fi programs such as Battlestar Galactica still very popular, the time was thought to be ripe for a sci-fi spoof series, this being 1977's Quark. From the IMDb:

A spoof of Science Fiction films and television series, "Quark" chronicled the adventures of Adam Quark, captain of a United Galactic Sanitation Patrol ship. His cohorts included Gene/Jean, a "transmute" with male and female characteristics; a Vegeton (a highly-evolved plant-man) named Ficus; Andy the Android and Betty and Betty (who were always arguing over who was the clone of the other). Based at Space Station Perma One were Otto Palindrome and The Head. Though Quark was supposed to stick to his sanitization patrols, he and his crew often met adventure with such colorful space denizens as the evil High Gorgon (the Gorgons were the villains), Zoltar the Magnificent, and Zargon the Malevolent. A fan writes:

The look is cheap and cheesy and the humor is almost cringe-inducing at this point, so it hardly needs mentioning that the series has not aged well. Nonetheless, fans who remember the series and fringe-dwelling thrill seekers are advised to give this curious 70s reliquary a look. Basically, it's a lower budget Star Trek spoof with Get Smart level humor, courtesy of Buck Henry. Some gags still work, others just make you gag, but the cast is likable, especially Richard Benjamin as the eponymous Quark and his barely-clad twin female sidekicks, the Bettys. Like Get Smart there are several running jokes - each of the Bettys claim the other is the clone, while Gene/Jean the transmute flip-flops from gung-ho to girlie at random moments - but the show never ran long enough to wear them out, so some are still pretty funny.

YouTube has numerous episodes available of this one-season wonder (yes, the WTM Curse struck again) and I have embedded a couple below. Have a look and see what TV sci-fi was like about the time George Lucas became a household name.

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Woodstock 50 Lineup Announced

In August of 1969, almost half a million people showed up to the Woodstock Music Festival on a farm near Bethel, New York. This year, Woodstock 50 will take place in Watkin's Glen (150 miles away from the original venue) August 16-18. The lineup for the concert is eclectic, ranging from pop, rock, and rap artists to veterans of the original concert like Santana, Canned Heat, and Melanie. The festival is again being produced by Michael Lang, who no doubt learned a thing or two in the last 50 years. Tickets will go on sale on April 22 (which is Earth Day), but the ticket price has not been announced. It's possible that the producers want you to build up excitement for a month before they share the bad news.

Meanwhile, the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival will present a completely separate series of concerts on the original site of Woodstock, featuring Ringo Starr, Santana, Arlo Guthrie, the Doobie Brothers, and the Edgar Winter Band.   

-via The Daily Dot


Parrot Plays Peekaboo with Cat

Oscar is an Indian ringneck parrot who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. The cat lives across the street. Here you see them both engaging in their favorite recreational activities through the window: Oscar is playing peekaboo, while the cat is birdwatching. -via Laughing Squid


The Mafia Figure Behind the Failure of Rascal Flatts Restaurants

In the movie My Blue Heaven, Steve Martin plays a New York mobster who goes into the witness protection program and finds himself stuck in a middle-class suburbia. He is soon back to organizing crimes under his new identity. In the real world, Frank Capri was born in 1999 after Frank Gioia Jr. disappeared into the witness protection program. He formed the corporation RF Restaurants to arrange construction and leasing of chain restaurants. He formed Boomtown Entertainment LLC to run the restaurants. But Frank Capri didn't want his name associated with the businesses, so a spider web of other people were listed as owners, managers, and employees. And they contracted out all the work, taking such a big cut of every transaction that they left a trail of legal and financial ruin across the country, from the companies' minority owner to the construction workers.

It's not likely developers looking to add Rascal Flatts restaurants to their lineup of urban eateries would sign a contract with Frank Capri.

A simple Google search would show them Capri was behind the epic failure of another country-themed restaurant chain: Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill.

Capri's Phoenix companies built 20 Toby Keith restaurants beginning in 2009 and announced plans to build 20 more that never opened. By 2015, all but one had closed. Allegations of fraud and theft followed.

In lawsuits, developers claimed he stiffed contractors, broke lease agreements and took millions of dollars meant to pay for construction.  

Read about Frank Capri and his complicated business plan. The article is part six of a series called Mafia in Our Midst at The Arizona Republic. -via Metafilter


Broken Noses of Egyptian Statues Explained

You may have asked the same question yourself when you visited your local museum exhibiting Egyptian art, artifacts, and statues. Why are the Egyptian statues' noses broken?

Edward Bleiberg was oft asked this question when he first started in his job as a curator at the Brooklyn Museum. It's a curious observation, one that may be attributed to wear and tear or damage over time.

But as he investigated into the matter, he found that a pattern emerged among all the statues and reliefs that had been damaged or vandalized, to be more precise.

Bleiberg’s research is now the basis of the poignant exhibition “Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt.”
A selection of objects from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection will travel to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation later this month under the co-direction of the latter’s associate curator, Stephanie Weissberg.
Pairing damaged statues and reliefs dating from the 25th century B.C.E. to the 1st century C.E. with intact counterparts, the show testifies to ancient Egyptian artifacts’ political and religious functions—and the entrenched culture of iconoclasm that led to their mutilation.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


The Apollo 11 Press Kits

Putting the first people on the moon was a very big achievement for NASA and it was widely celebrated the world over.

However, NASA was not alone in bringing them to the moon. Various companies collaborated with them in the effort and they did not miss on the opportunity to promote their products and services in the aftermath.

Here are some examples of the press kits collected by David Meerman Scott which has been made available online for free download.

(Image credit: Fisher/David Meerman Scott/Kottke)


The Risks of Burying Your Pet in the Backyard

When it's time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, you might be tempted to just dig a hole in your backyard and lay them there to rest. But this poses certain risks to other pets and the environment.

Most pets are put to sleep with an extremely concentrated anaesthetic agent, which results in a very peaceful death (hence the term euthanasia, which means “good death”).
However this drug, pentobarbital, persists in the buried body of the pet for up to a year. Any animal scavenging on the remains will be poisoned by the euthanasia solution.

(Image credit: Matt Nelson/Unsplash)


Moon Mining Could Work Using the Right Approach

More and more people regard the Moon as a viable source of natural resources. With no ecology to speak of, there are no worries about environmental harm. All we need is the right combination of vision, wealth, technology and political willpower

A recent report titled "Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture: A Collaborative Study of Lunar Propellant Production" provides details on what we need and what should happen next.

Past scientific missions have given evidence that sunless regions near. the lunar poles contain water ice. Electrolysis can spilt this into oxygen for life support and hydrogen for rocket fuel. On top of all that, the Moon's lower gravity

Past science missions to the moon have provided direct evidence that sun-shy regions near the lunar poles are repositories of water ice. Once validated via ground truth, this resource could also be split into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. The oxygen could then be used for life support, and hydrogen and oxygen can be combusted for rocket propulsion. On top of all that, the Moon's lower gravity makes it easier to launch material back to Earth.

The likely challenges - legal as well as technological - are great, but in the long run it will be worth turning science fiction into science fact.


DNA Evidence of Jack the Ripper's Identity

Researchers believe that they may have identified who Jack the Ripper was with the help of genetic analysis.

However, this still may not be enough to say for certain that the man being pointed as the notorious serial killer was indeed the one who committed all the murders. It might give researchers a bit of direction toward finally cracking the case.

So who is it?

(Image credit: Sherurcij/Wikimedia Commons)


An Honest Trailer for Aquaman

In this Honest Trailer, Screen Junkies admits that Aquaman is all over the place, both literally and figuratively. The movie is dazzling and confusing while the plot is overly busy, but it's all worth it to see Jason Momoa turn DC's lamest superhero into ...Jason Momoa.


Las Pozas and Other Gardens of Earthly Delights

A private garden of art requires either lots of money or lifetime dedication -and often both. British poet Edward James built a surrealist paradise in Xilitla, Mexico, beginning in the 1940s because, he said, California was getting too crowded. It took a lot of space to build Las Pozas (the Pools).

All the structures (or sculptures? temples? James intentionally blurs the lines) have deliciously epic and vague names like, The House on Three Floors Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six, The House with a Roof like a Whale, and The Staircase to Heaven.

The concrete structures are artfully engulfed in stunning plant life, and at one point, there were 29,000 orchids on the property. Which explains why James had to sell off most of his art collection to pay for the $5 million (by today’s conversions) installation.  

See plenty of pictures of Las Pozas and seven other unique art gardens around the world at Messy Nessy Chic. 

(Image credit: Flickr user Erik)


8th man (1965)

As pervasive as anime is today in popular culture, it had to start somewhere, and for most of

the American public this meant the introduction of a Japanese TV series (dubbed in English) named 8th Man.

I recall watching this in the 60's and it was actually pretty good. From the IMDb:

Animated series about an android super-hero. He was the scientist's eighth attempt at creating a super being, hence the title. In addition to the usual powers such as flying, ray blasts, etc., he was also able to assume other identities by "morphing". Also on the IMDb:

A police detective is shot and mortally wounded, and a wise old scientist (with white hair and cape) places his consciousness into a robot body. (Yep, the genesis of "Robocop" and its descendants.) Besides super strength and speed, he can impersonate anyone; the first episode has him morphing briefly into Kruschev and John Kennedy! Mostly he hunts down criminals with technological gadgets, with the occasional giant monster for variety. His secret identity as "Detective Tobor" (robot spelled backward) is almost incidental; no serious conflict with his secret identity occurs.

Not only is it black-and-white, it's graphically simple; lots of white space with minimal detailing. One surprise is that the dubbing (done years before digital matching of animation to English dialog) works and sounds better than most early dubbed anime - especially the original "Speed Racer."

YouTube seems to offer many if not all episodes, and I have embedded a couple below, including the premier episode. If you like anime, have a look and see what anime was like over 50 years ago.

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The Big Shazam Mash-Up Trailer

When Billy Batson says the magic word SHAZAM! he gets turned into a superhero adult superhero played by a young Tom Hanks. This is the movie that Big could have been in the hands of comic book writers. -via Geeks Are Sexy

The new movie Shazam! opens on  April 5.


Outrageous Beauty Gadgets of Yore

There are unlimited riches awaiting anyone who can make a women look better, or least at least make her feel that she looks better. It doesn't matter how difficult or painful the procedure is, or how outrageous the thinking behind it may be, customers will be willing to take a chance. However, styles change, chemistry and technology improve, and sometimes people wake up to the fact that a lot of beauty gadgets are designed more to extract one's money than to enhance one's natural beauty. These gadgets promised to curl your hair, punch dimples into your cheeks, pull your hair out by the roots, and stimulate your skin by dubious means ranging from oxygen deprivation to electroshock. Read about some of the weirdest beauty gadgets in history at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Elena Scotti)


Evolution, Language, and Food: Processed Foods Gave Way to "F" and "V"

You may notice that different languages have various sounds used more frequently than others and that could be caused by a variety of factors involving the human anatomy.

There are certain evolutionary features that came about by advancements in technology that paved the way for these sounds to be assimilated in one's speech and way of living.

Though linguists are divided in this regard, some researchers believe that because of processed foods, fricative sounds like "f" and "v" found their way into our lives.

(Image credit: Anna Sastre/Unsplash)

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