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All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

The 1939 World's Fair in New York was, as a certain politician would say, a big effing deal. World War Two was about to begin, the Great Depression was winding down, technologies were advancing, and people from all over the world did indeed come to the fair. This world's fair was quite prominent for all of the above reasons, so much so that it became the theme of a Doc Savage novel, a Twilight Zone episode, and in 1938, a Fleischer Studios cartoon. The Fleischer brothers were by 1938 very well known due to their Superman and Popeye cartoons, and they competed with Disney by producing animated films such as Gulliver's Travels. Here they jumped out in front before another studio could produce a similar feature. From the IMDb:

"All's Fair at the Fair" is a wonderful example of the sort of cartoons Fleischer Brothers Studio was capable of back in the day. While today they're mostly known for the incredibly formulaic and predictable Popeye cartoons, they also made a wide variety of other cartoons--and a few of which are real this film.

The film is about a couple of oldsters who go to the new World's Fair (exactly WHERE it never says). It's a completely insane fair--with robots doing all sorts of amazing things, beauty treatments that will take decades off your looks and cars that come out of vending machines. It's all very silly and quite charming. Most importantly, it holds up very well today and shows the sort of high hopes folks had back then when it came to the fairs. Well worth seeing and available for free download at

This cartoon was made over 80 years ago now, but the technologies portrayed therein are quite prescient. A pleasant watch and one the kids will enjoy.


Why Were Medieval Europeans So Obsessed With Long, Pointy Shoes?

The fashion trend of long, pointy shoes arose around the year 1340 in Krakow, Poland. It spread slowly but surely across Europe, and as with many fashion trends, eventually grew to ridiculous lengths. These shoes, mostly worn by men, were called crakows or poulaines. And the longer the toe, the more status was indicated in the wearer.

For the glitterati of medieval Europe, poulaines were less a fad than a symbol. “If you were a man of status and you had enough wealth, you wanted to show that off,” Shawcross says. “And to do that, you had to take the toe to the extreme.” Shoes with absurdly long toes were expensive and would clearly impair the wearer from efficiently partaking in any kind of physical labor. So they were also an indicator of leisure and luxury, free of extraneous effort or the tyranny of practicality.

But they were also silly, ostentatious, and sometimes dangerous. As you can see in the picture above, even servants were sometimes obliged to wear poulaines, which no doubt interfered with their duties, but made their boss look trendy. It got to the point (ha) that the king of England banned shoes that extended more than two inches past the toe in 1463. Read about the pointy shoe fad at Atlas Obscura.


Gulliver's Travels (1939)

We've recently seen the Fleischer Studio in action with their 1938 cartoon about the 1939 World's Fair, and so now we look at their first feature-length animated film, commissioned by Paramount in response to Disney's animated 1937 film about Snow White. From the YouTube entry:

Gulliver's Travels is a 1939 American cel-animated Technicolor feature film, directed by Dave Fleischer and produced by Max Fleischer for Fleischer Studios. The film was released on December 22, 1939 by Paramount Pictures, who had the feature produced as an answer to the success of Walt Disney's box-office hit Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

This film has an amazing backstory which contains facts, figures, and trivia about the film, including this gem: Due to its lengthy and extensive theatrical release, its many showings on television and its public domain status, some historians believe Gulliver’s Travels has been more widely seen than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Take that, Disney.

Is it a good film? Well....The crowd in Miami was so large that it filled both the Sheridan and Colony Theaters, while in New York, Gulliver’s Travels broke box office records in its first two weeks at the 3,664-seat Paramount Theater. I remember it fondly from my childhood, and my mother told me that she had seen it in a theater in Dallas, Texas when she was 11. It's a good family film with award-winning music and it is 'safe' children. If you've never seen it, give it a try. You could do worse.


Beloved Postal Carrier Retires in Style

Floyd Martin delivered mail to the same neighborhood route in Marietta, Georgia, for nearly 35 years. He retired this week at the age of 61, mainly because of the summer heat. Wednesday was Martin's last of mail delivery, and people all along the route were there to greet him. Jennifer Brett accompanied Martin to document the event in photographs.

After delivering the mail, Martin was surprised by a covered dish block party that was attended by more than 300 people. Brett wondered whether Martin ever got anything to eat, since he spent his time getting hugs and having his photograph taken with his postal clients -and their dogs. A good time was had by all. A fundraising effort has already brought in more than four times its goal in order to send Martin to Hawaii for his dream vacation. You can read the entire feelgood story at Twitter or at Thread Reader.  -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Jennifer Brett)


The New York Public Library's collections - Vintage photos

This site displays a living database with materials, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video etc. of 840,878 digitized items at the New York Public Library digital collections.

Via Amaze


You Can Stay in This Potato-Shaped Hotel in Idaho

It's a big potato, even by Idaho standards. It's 28 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 11.5 feet tall, not counting any bacon bits that you sprinkle on top. Staying at the Big Idaho Potato Hotel outside of Boise will cost you $242 per night.

The building started out as a prop that the Idaho Potato Commission made 6 years ago. It was driven across the United States to promote Idaho's most famous product. When the advertising campaign was done, real estate developer Kristie Wolfe asked to convert it into an Airbnb rental. The Idaho Statesman reports that, compared to most potatoes, the living conditions inside are luxurious:

With 336 square feet, it includes a queen-size bed, two easy chairs, an elk antler chandelier, a small sink, lights, heating and air conditioning, and a beverage cooler. There’s a separate bathroom that looks like a miniature steel silo with a round corrugated steel tub, a walk-in shower and sink and toilet.

-via Unusual Places

Photo: John Sowell


Possible Root of Allergies: How We Develop Them As We Grow

Tests conducted by researchers from Korea and Australia might have found the reason why we develop allergies in the gut microbiome. It has been suggested that the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) which causes allergic reactions could be linked with the type of diet infants eat.

In the experiment, they tested two groups of mice. One group was fed normal food while the second was placed on a special diet which does not trigger the immune system. They surmised that the introduction of normal food could be the cause of the development of allergic reactions.

(Image credit: Academy of Immunology and Microbiology, Institute for Basic Science, Pohang, Republic of Korea)



The Craziest Things That Happened On School Trips

Any teacher that accompanies students on a trip is secretly going over all the things that can possibly go wrong. But when you've got dozens of students of varying stages of civility in a totally new environment, you cannot foresee all possibilities. A reddit thread asked teachers for their worst school trip stories, and the responses were pretty wild. Here's a sample.  

A girl on a BETA club trip thought it would be funny to put a sign in the window of the bus that said, 'Bomb on board.' Needless to say, the interstate was shut down, the bus was pulled over, and a SWAT team raided our bus! The girl admitted it was a hoax, but that didn't stop the bomb squad from showing up!"


We were on a fifth grade field trip to the zoo, and during a tour of the primate exhibit, a notoriously ill-behaved student hurled a stick into the gorilla habitat. Well, it landed near an adult gorilla who became angry and threw it back with the strength and precision of a tomahawk! It shattered on the boy's face, and he went down. But because of the commotion that ensued, more gorillas appeared and started screaming at the kids, which caused the nearby orangutans to catch wind of the situation and to mobilize to assist their gorilla comrades...

At this point, it had become a war on two fronts — gorilla and orangutans launching volleys of feces at the scattering students, until finally, an army of zoo staff swarmed the primate exhibits and managed to stop it. 30 minutes later, the zoo had indefinitely banned the school from the zoo, and the boy who started all the commotion was on his way to the hospital for stitches in his chin.


Read the most outrageous stories at Buzzfeed, or all of them (many are gross) at reddit.

(Image credit: Jirka Matousek)


A Fence Built Through a Pool

This happened in Orlando, Florida. See, someone a long time ago bought two lots with two houses side-by-side. They demolished one house and expanded the other with a garage and a pool, which extended over the property line. But it didn't matter, since he owned both, right? He eventually sold both lots to someone else, who got behind on their mortgage, and the property was foreclosed upon. The bank sold the two lots to two different people! The new owner of the mostly-vacant lot put up a fence on the property line, which bisects the pool of his neighbor. However, the most disturbing thing in this video is the way the news reporter pronounces the word realtor as "realitor." -via Boing Boing


Python Attempts to Eat Other Python, Fails

Parry Creek Farm Tourist Resort and Caravan Park in Wyndham, Western Australia is a great place to see many of the amazing creatures that live in the World's Most Terrifying Continent. This resident python is a fine example. The caretakers found the 11.5 to 13-foot long python with a bloated body, as you can see in the photo below.

They thought that python had grabbed a chicken. But they then observed the snake regurgitating a smaller whole python that was just to heavy a meal. You can see more frightening photos of the snake here.

Don't worry about the snake--at least the bigger one. The humans relocated him because "the safety of the python is a priority."

-via Dave Barry

Photos: Parry Creek Farm Tourist Resort and Caravan Park


The 62 Very Isolated People of Palmerston Island

How would you like to live in a South Pacific island paradise, picking coconuts and making babies with your three wives? That idea appealed to William Marsters, who settled on the then-uninhabited Palmerston Island in 1863, eighty years after it was discovered by explorer James Cook. Palmerston is a nine-day boat ride from the nearest store, and is completely populated by Marsters' descendants. Fifty years ago, that was as many as 300 people, but only 62 now remain on the island.

Palmerston Island is the true real-life representation of slow living. There is not a single shop or grocery store there. To make a living, people engage in fishing and harvesting coconuts and in their free time, they make jewelry, play volleyball, or swim. However, they do have electricity and even the Internet, but only for a couple of hours a day. Some lucky few even have mobile phones and there’s even a satellite TV. But no one is selling anything there – money is only used to buy supplies from the outside world. There are only two toilets on the island and inhabitants collect rainwater for drinking. Life there really seems idyllic – especially on Sundays when the church bell rings to summon people for a service after which no work or play is allowed as the island slowly descends into a balmy evening.

To be honest, 62 people and only two toilets sounds far from paradise. Palmerston wants people from the outside to movie in to work the land and add fresh DNA to their community. Read more about Palmerston Island at Bored Panda.

(Image credit: Hector CHRISTIAEN/CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


20 Questions About Game of Thrones' Finale

For anybody who has watched all six episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones, we're all probably thinking the same thing, what in the world was all that?

With so many things that happened in the series finale, we might be swirling in a lot of questions about contradictions within the plot, the character development, and the direction that the show took. So just to sum up almost every unanswered question from season 8, here is a list at Vox about which we can ponder.

(Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO; IMDb)


Chivas Regal Box Turned into an Armored Knight

The creativity of the Japanese people never ceases to amaze me. Check this guy’s creation as he “deconstructed the packaging of a box of Chivas Regal Scotch whisky and put it together to assemble this badass sword and shield-totting knight”.

(Image Credit: @02ESyRaez4VhR2l/ Twitter)


What To Do When Traveling with a Baby

Difficult is an understatement when it comes to describing the parents' situation when they bring their baby or toddler with them on trips. Taking care of a child at home is already a hassle to begin with, what more when you bring said child to an unfamiliar place with lots of unfamiliar people, customs, and rules. It's a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully, we have some experienced parents who have gone through the hassle and devised ways to make their trips with their children a lot smoother and easier, or at the very least, decent. Here is a list of seven tips for traveling with your baby or toddler. The first one is probably a traveling rule of thumb, that is, to pack light:

Skip the crib. Babies are heavy—or rather, their accouterments are. So don’t bring what you don’t have to. “On Airbnb, I filter by houses with cribs or high chairs. (It's hidden in amenities.) This makes traveling with my eight-month-old and three-year-old much easier.” Searches can also be customized to suit families - and you can add “infants” to the guests to only show homes that are baby friendly.

(Image credit: Johannes Rapprich/Pexels)


Intelligent People Choke Under Pressure

A study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examined how goal-setting corresponds with performance among people with varying intellectual abilities. The said study says that people with high IQ tend to choke when under pressure. Interestingly, when goals are framed strategically, this disadvantage seem to vanish.

It suggests an ironic reason for why people with high general mental ability (GMA) often become mentally overwhelmed in complex, dynamic working environments: Their strong mental capacity leaves them vulnerable to performance anxieties and intrusive thoughts.

More details of the study at Big Think.

(Image Credit: JESHOOTS-com/ Pixabay)

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