John Farrier's Blog Posts

A Printer Mounted on a Utility Bike

Twitter user Ted Merz shares this photo that he snapped from New York City. It shows a conventional delivery bike, which are common in the city. But this one has a printer mounted over the front wheel. The printer is loaded with legal size paper and has a port (presumably a USB) to connect to laptops.

What's it for? In the Twitter thread, commenters suggest possible uses. One remembers a bicycle messenger who was also a notary public, which lawyers found particularly useful. Another suggests that it's designed for, specifically, printing and delivering contracts.

I'm also curious what kind of printer can take this kind of a beating and still work.

-via Super Punch

Study Finds Ideal Shape for Male Buttocks

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports on a recent scholarly journal article which considereswhat is the aesthetically ideal shape for the male buttocks (content warning: nudity). The authors, who published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, surveyed 2,095 people, of whom 60% were male. The researchers showed the respondents photos of men's butts and asked for ratings.

In survey revealed a general preference for butts that are midway between flat and protruding, as well as between narrow and wide. Dimples are highly valued, too.

-via Study Finds

Photo via Andrea Fistetto because my wife says that I'm not allowed to just use a selfie for this post, even though that would be the obvious choice.

You Can Stay in Santa Claus's Cabin and Sort His Mail

Rovaniemi, Finland, the capital town of Finnish Lapland, has long claimed to be the home of Santa Claus. The winter weather of northern Finland is certainly suitable for Santa Claus, his reindeer (which are native to the region), and his sleigh.

Children around the world are responsive to this claim and, each year, Santa Claus's cabin in the woods in Rovaniemi receives about 30,000 letters from children. That's a lot of mail and Santa needs your help sorting it.

That's why Airbnb is offering a one-night stay in the cabin, which has three beds and one bathroom.

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111 Instruments in 111 Seconds

Luke Pickman is a musician who calls himself the "Instrument Maniac". He has an astonishingly vast collection of musical instruments from around the world. To call him a "multi-instrumentalist" is a huge understatement.

Last year, we shared Pickman's video in which he played "The Lick" on 92 instruments. Since then, his collection has grown. In 1 minute and 51 seconds, he performs a complete composition with 111 instruments. Some are ones I've never hard of, including an otamatone, a flexatone, and two different types of stylophones.

With each instrument, Pickman lists the manufacturer. Amusingly, for the musical saw, that's just his garage. For a conch shell, Pickman identifies the ocean as its creator.

-via The Awesomer

"Jingle Bells" in Central Asia

The Altai people live in Mongolia, China, and Russia. Here's Altai Kai (Altai Band) from the Altai Republic within Russia. For more than twenty years, the group has performed traditional music and favorite popular songs with traditional instruments, such as the stringed topshur. Their vocals come from the haunting throat singing found among the cultures of Central Asia.

Altai Kai recorded this version of "Jingle Bells" that begins with unfamiliar sounds, but soon becomes a clearly recognizable adaptation of the classic Christmas carol.

-via Massimo

Woman Who Bullied Chipotle Worker Sentenced to 2 Months Working in Fast Food

In September, Rosemary Hayne expressed her displeasure at the service that she was receiving from Emily Russell, an employee of a Chipotle restaurant in Parma, Ohio. She threw (1) a temper tantrum and (2) a bowl of food at Russell.

This incident was recorded and soon went viral. Police arrested Hayne for misdemeanor assault. Last week, CNN reports, Judge Timothy Gilligan sentenced Hayne to 180 days in jail. He suspended half of that sentence, leaving her with 90 days. She could choose to serve either the full 90 days in jail or just 30 days in jail and 60 days of working in a fast food restaurant. Judge Gilligan suggested that Hayne personally experience what it's like to work in the high pressure environment of the food service industry.

Hayne humbly accepted the offer and is now looking for a job to fulfill that requirement.

-via Instapundit

Why Dutch People Wear Pancakes on Their Heads on November 29

If you were in the Netherlands two days ago, you may have noticed that some people wore pancakes on their heads, but you sensibly decided not to get involved and instead that nothing was out of the ordinary.

Now, back in the safety of Not the Netherlands, you can find out why the Dutch were engaging in this practice. The Independent explains that November 29 is Saint Pancake (Sint Pannekoek) Day.

This is a fairly recent tradition that dates back to only 1986, when cartoonist Jan Kruis published a comic of a character described as a Twelfth Century monk who came to be known as Saint Pancake. On his feast day, celebrants wear pancakes on their heads.

Since that time, Dutch fans of the comic have worn pancakes on their heads on November 29, and the practice has become a tradition across the country.

-via Dave Barry

McDonald's Training Video from 1983 Shows McNugget Puppets Showing How to Prepare Themselves

The producers of this in-house training video for McDonald's restaurant employees didn't do anything by half measures. It's as entertaining as it is practical.

When McDonald's began selling McNuggets worldwide in 1983, it used puppets to teach employees how to stock, cook, and serve them. The McNugget puppets dress variously as a cowboy, a sexy model, and two costumes that would, um, probably be considered questionable by today's social standards. Each eagerly anticipates being dipped in sauce and then eaten.

The puppets act out an elaborate play with jokes and professional voice acting interspersed with scenes of humans at work. 

-via The Awesomer

News Broadcasts from Alternate Histories

YouTube member Epentibi uses artificial intelligence programs to create realistic news broadcasts from the 1960s through the 1980s in worlds gone terribly wrong. I gather that Epentibi is inspired by the strategy video game Hearts of Iron IV, but it's not necessary to know that game to appreciate good alternate history.

What would the world of the 1960s be like if the Axis won World War II? Eventually, as American newscaster Walter Cronkite explains in 1963, the Nazi governance system would lead to civil war.

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What Are Cookie Monster's Cookies?

The earliest version of Cookie Monster appeared on a snack commercial in 1966. Jim Henson brought him to Sesame Street just a few years later, where he has remained ever since. He is among the most successful Muppet characters of all time whose appeal has lasted for generations.

This is, I think, because Cookie Monster speaks to the primal nihilistic urge of modern man to consume and be consumed by the universe. The real Cookie Monster is always inside of us, seeking to satisfy a hunger from which we can never escape but nonetheless are destined to seek.

This leads us to the inevitable question: what are those cookies that Cookie Monster devours so ravenously, as though they were the children of Cronus?

Sopan Deb writes in the New York Times (sorry, it's a paywalled article) about his quest for an answer to this question. They are made of pancake mix, puffed rice, Grape-Nuts, instant coffee, and water. The chocolate chips are made of colored glue.

Muppet wrangler Lara MacLean, who has worked for the Jim Henson Company since 1992, bakes them at home. She prepares the cookies so that they crumble in Cookie Monster's mouth at just the right consistency, letting him feel every crumb of defeat fall from his mouth to the amusement of his young audience.

Cookie Monster's muppeteer, David Rudman, comments, "The more crumbs, the funnier it is."

-via Super Punch | Photo: Smithsonian Institution

Having a Cheesecake Factory Is an Indicator of a Mall's Financial Well-Being

Moody's Analytics is a financial analysis firm. Axios reports that a recent paper published by this company finds that the presence of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant at a shopping mall is a positive indicator of that mall's financial well-being.

Shopping malls, once dominant features of American suburban life, have declined with the pandemic lockdowns and the rise of online shopping. But, Moody's finds, 93% of malls with a Cheesecake Factory are current on their loan payments contrasted with 72% of malls that don't. This is likely because a Cheesecake Factory restaurant is a destination experience that draws people to a mall.

-via Megan McArdle | Photo: Mike Kalasnik

Pianist Plays the Sesame Street Theme with Increasing Levels of Jazziness

YouTuber Walking Bass Piano Man is a master of the jazz piano, as demonstrated by numerous jazz renditions of popular songs, including the works of Bon Jovi, Ben E. King, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

In this video, they take the iconic opening theme to Sesame Street and play it over and over again, incrementally jazzing it up. Starting at level 1, it's not that different from what you'd see on television. But by the time that Walking Bass Piano Man gets to level 8, it's a jumping melody that flies across the keyboard faster than it seems two hands can manage.

-via Laughing Squid

Texaboos -- The Japanese Fans of Texas

Being a civilized, sensible, and well-informed people, the Japanese have an appreciation for Texas. Twitter user @chairmanwon, a hobbyist gunsmith from Texas, discovered this on his ongoing journey through Japan.

He reports that his hosts, upon learning that @chairmanwon and his wife were Texans, took them to a Texas-themed bar. Everyone there dresses like Texans (or how they imagine that we dress) and the bar itself looks like a Texan honky-tonk.

Continue reading

Child Rides on Airport Baggage Conveyor System

Airport security requirements can be rather strict. There are some items that you may keep as carry-on luggage and take with you into the cabin. Other items must be checked and travel in a plane's baggage compartment.

But a child is not one of them. You may (and should) keep your toddler with you in the cabin, even though other passengers may wish otherwise.

Business Insider reports that a little boy climbed onto the baggage conveyor belt system at an airport in Santiago, Chile. He appears to have enjoyed the experience, but baggage handlers nonetheless shut down his ride and returned him to his parents.

The Traditional Thanksgiving Day Alligator

Does your family have turkey for Thanksgiving? Some families do. I mean, to each his own, I guess. But I agree with Kimberly Darling of Chicago who prefers to serve her family alligator.

She's one of many Thanksgiving celebrants described in an article published in The Wall Street Journal (sorry, it's paywalled) who serve exotic meats to their families on Thanksgiving. S. Ottomanelli & Sons, a butcher shop in New York City, reports that about 25% of its orders for the feast are for exotic meats, which include alligator, kangaroo, python, and rattlesnake.

Other alligator meat producers inform the Journal that they see similar upticks in orders during the holiday seasons. It's a time to eat hearty and impress guests, so alligator suits them.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: S. Ottomanelli & Sons

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Profile for John Farrier

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