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Today Is Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day

The only rule is that you can't participate if you're a real time traveler. This is just a game for us normals. Some suggestions on what to do:

- Greet people by referring to things that don’t yet exist or haven’t existed for a long time. Example: "Have you penetrated the atmosphere lately?" "What spectrum will today’s broadcast be in?" and "Your king must be a kindly soul!" [...]

- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there’s still time!" and run off.

- Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO" [...]

- Airplanes are terrifying.  Also, carry on conversations with televisions for a while.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Image: NBC

This Week at Neatorama

Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight, and will continue through Sunday, December 16th. If you are observing, we wish you a happy holiday with solemn rituals, joyous celebration, and plenty of good food (as David Israel said, "We suffered, we suffered, we suffered, now let's eat!").

This past week, we had three articles from our pop culture historian (and bona fide Hollywood actor) Eddie Deezen, starting last weekend with A Sincere Homage to Larry Fine.

Eddie also gave us "Imagine": John Lennon's Signature Song, and Why Do People Tell Actors to "Break a Leg"?

Jill Harness took a look at Artworks Made From Seriously Weird Materials.

Assessing Gluteal Hardness in Uniformed Security Guards came from the Annals of Improbable Research.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader brought us some examples of unbecoming behavior by children's authors in Don't Tell the Kids!

First Class Mail: 5 Letters That Changed History was reprinted from mental_floss magazine.

Congratulations to the Tokyoflash Treasure Hunt #22: Winners, liisam, Jon Bryan 1, and jbensch, who won prizes from the NeatoShop, and bug, who won a Tokyoflash watch!

In the What Is It? game this week, the unknown item turned out to be the housing for a four-face Verdin street clock. Anker was the first with the correct answer, which is good for a T-shirt from the NeatoShop! We also have a t-shirt for amanderpanderer, who said, "It is a connecting piece from the construction of Hamtopia, the pleasure palace for our Hamster overlords who will be arriving on December 21st. All Hail Squeeky, Lord of all Hamsters." That wins the award for the funniest answer of the week! You'll find the answers to all this week's mystery items at the What Is It? blog.

We're racking up more things to see outside of the main page, and you don't want to miss any of it! At Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly we saw an adorable baby hippo, a cat in a claw machine, and a hamster climbing stairs. At Neatolicious, the new food blog, we saw creative Doctor Who cupcakes, Christmas cocktails, and Jello Jigglers. The Halloween blog gave us new pranks, monsters, and cosplayers this week. Also check out Mad Skills and NeatoBambino! Oh, and don't forget the extra content you'll find at Neatorama's social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

The most popular post of the week was Brody's The Hobbit Box Stacking. The posts that drew the most comments this week were A Sincere Homage to Larry Fine followed by Why is The Hobbit making some moviegoers sick? and Practically Speaking, How Does a Predator Eat Food? We didn't have any rollicking long comment threads because Alex, who normally posts the most provocative items, is busy at the NeatoShop, shipping out Christmas gifts for lucky recipients. Speaking of the NeatoShop…

We'd like to throw a spotlight on the fine folks at Odd Art Fabrications, who lovingly designed and hand-made an entire series of zombie Christmas ornaments for the NeatoShop! Yes, you can order and receive these in plenty of time before Christmas. You might even want to start a tradition of ordering one or two every year until you have enough to cover your entire zombie Christmas tree!

You Can't Take The Sky From These Dolls

Instructables user SiraRaven started out making a crochet Mal and soon found herself with the entire Serenity crew. As usual, Kaylee is the cutest one of them all.


A Rifle Design Based on Archimedes's Screw

According to legend, the Greek engineer Archimedes of Syracuse designed a pump that moved water up by using a screw inside a sealed shaft. The Evans lever-action rifle, designed by a dentist in Maine, uses the same mechanical principle. As the lever is cocked, the shaft inside the magazine built into the buttstock turns and feeds another round into the chamber. Why do you think this innovation never caught on?

Link -via Pocket Pistols, Historic Firearms, & Curiosities | Photo: Two Flints

Hobbit Holes for Sale

Photo: Wooden Wonders

Would you like to own your own hobbit hole? Well guess what, now can! Through the magic that a company named Wooden-Wonders. Not only are they adorible, but they are all functional as well. You can get them as a working chicken coop, a small cottage, play house, utility building or shed, and my personal favorite- as a sauna. I mean a hobbit sauna?! Yes please.

Photo: Wooden Wonders

Link | Via Amanda Patterson

Singing Pistols

Youtube Link

I won't lie to you guys, I am not a huge fan of guns. Not that I mind if other people have them, I just know if I owned one I would be the guy who shot himself in the foot or something of that nature. These guns however, I would not mind owning. I mean just the mechanical genius it took to put these things together is incredible. Not to mention the gold, pearls, diamonds, and all that.

I couldn't find confirmation, but I am pretty sure it is Christoph Waltz narrating the segment, and he is freaking awesome.  Aurel Bacs.

Link | Via Colossal

Deep-Fried Christmas Dinner

In case you had the notion that deep-frying everything in sight is an American thing, check out the offerings of one fish and chip shop in Birmingham, England, for the holidays.

Hollywood Fish Bar owner Chris Christoforou has created a battered Christmas dinner consisting of a turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, brocolli, carrots, pigs in blankets and brussel sprouts - all indidually dipped in batter and deep fried.

Oh yes, there's deep-fried pie, too! See it all in a video at The Telegraph. Link -via Flavorpill

Beautiful Buildings Made from Ice and Snow

They don't last long, but they are works of art for a short time in winter. Flavorwire has a roundup of homes, hotels, igloos, castles, and art buildings made from ice and snow. Such structures are found in Romania, Russia, Sweden, China, Canada, and the U.S. Even in New Mexico! Shown here is The Celestial Sphere, a concert hall made of ice in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico. Link

Pet Rock

The moral of the story is: Don't call names. Especially when the guy has a pet rock. Comic by Gregor Czaykowski of Loading Artist. Link -via Bits and Pieces

Why the Monopoly Playing Pieces Are What They Are

By 1935, the game of Monopoly--including the name--had formed. Two years later, Parker Brothers included die-cast metal player pieces, including a car, a top hat, an iron, a shoe and a thimble, in Monopoly sets. Why? Eddie Deezen asked John Chaneski, an expert on board games:

When Monopoly was first created in the early 1930s, there were no pieces like we know them, so they went to Cracker Jack, which at the time was offering tiny metal tchotchkes, like cars. They used the same molds to make the Monopoly pieces. Game Show sells some antique Cracker Jack prizes and, sure enough, the toy car is exactly the same as the Monopoly car. In fact, there’s also a candlestick, which seems to be the model for the one in Clue. [...]

I think they chose Cracker Jack prizes that symbolize wealth and poverty. The car, top hat, and dog (especially a little terrier like Asta, then famous from “The Thin Man” movie series) were all possessions of the wealthy. The thimble, wheelbarrow, old shoe, and iron were possessions or tools of the poor.

Link -via VA Viper | Photo: therichbrooks

Practically Speaking, How Does a Predator Eat Food?

Good question! If look closely at the mouths of Predators, you'll notice that although they are frightening, they don't seem well designed for, well, eating food. How does a Predator masticate? Wolf Gnards studied the arrangement and apparent functions of all ten of an adult Predator's teeth and posed two hypotheses: either a Predator grinds food into a fine paste, like baby food, or swallows its food whole, like a snake. I'm inclined to support the Paste Theory:

Like Robocop, the Predators subsist off a "rudimentary paste that sustains their organic systems." The fact that Robocop eats baby food is pretty good evidence that a big, strong killing machine can thrive off the stuff. Baby food is probably also convenient for space travel like astronaut ice cream or Tang, or like military MRE’s (which are a little more like dog food, but I think a Predator might enjoy that more though). I do have a hard time believing that the Predator race has the manufacturing infrastructure and know-how to market and mass produce Brand X Predator baby mush (with the meaty gravy that babies craze). However, this same sentiment could also be suggested for spaceships/space travel. I like to imagine that faster than light travel requires more book reading and less laser shooting. Most likely if they do eat some sort of gruel it is composed of the bones of their fallen prey; any meat grinder would do in that case.


This Is a Monument to the Boll Weevil

The boll weevil (anthonomus grandis) is an insect. During the 1910s and 20s, it devastated cotton production in the American South. Nonetheless, in 1919, the town of Enterprise, Alabama built a monument to honor the boll weevil and what it did to benefit the South.

Why? Because the boll weevil forced people to change, adapt and grow:

In Coffee County, almost 60 percent of the cotton production was destroyed. Farmers faced bankruptcy and the area economy was at stake. Farmers turned to peanuts and other crops to overcome the damage brought by the boll weevil.

By 1917, Coffee County produced and harvested more peanuts than any other county in the nation. (In 1993, Coffee County ranked 4th in the state of Alabama with 128,000 acres planted in peanuts.) In gratitude for the lessons taught, residents erected the world's only monument to an agricultural pest, the boll Weevil Monument. The monument, dedicated on December 11, 1919, stands in the center of the downtown district at the intersection of Main Street and College Street. The Boll Weevil Monument is a symbol of man's willingness and ability to adjust to adversity. Citizens continue to remind visitors and newcomers to the city the lesson of the boll weevil.

The base of the monument is inscribed: "in profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama."

What a marvelous attitude! No wonder the town is called "Enterprise."

Link | Photo: Carol M. Highsmith

Creepiest Christmas Decorations

You might be wondering why we've posted an article about Christmas decorations on our Halloween blog, well here goes- the decorations on this list are so creepy that people should just use them as Halloween decorations instead.

Putting up creepy Christmas decorations is a festive way to ruin childhoods, it's no wonder kids start crying when they see Santa!


10 Things You Didn’t Know About Steven Spielberg

You probably know quite a bout about Steven Spielberg, the director of Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Schindler's List, and the new movie Abraham Lincoln. But there are still surprising things about him that I never suspected. Did you know producer Cubby Broccoli rejected Spielberg twice when he tried for a position directing James Bond films?  

According to Broccoli’s daughter Barbara who took over the producer role following her father’s death, Spielberg first got a chance to meet Albert just as he was starting to get his foot in the door of the film industry. Broccoli liked the young lad’s passion and drive but felt he didn’t have enough experience. Barbara said his father told the young Spielberg, “Kid, ya gotta get some more [films] under your belt.” Then just after Spielberg released one of his greatest films, ‘Schindler’s List,’ he sent a letter to Broccoli asking again if he could direct a Bond movie. Broccoli turned him down again by replying, “Now I can’t afford you.”

Read more interesting trivia about Steven Spielberg at The FW. Link

Tard Wishes You A Meh Christmas

I hate the Christmas creep as much as the next guy, but I don't think anyone hates it as much as Tard. Nevertheless, now is the perfect time to start buying up your Tardar Sauce Christmas cards, as the first design in the shop has already sold out.


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