Tuesday, October 31, 2006
- It's curtains for a grand icon of American kitsch. Leominster, MA's Union Products, the last company still making the pink plastic birds, is closing. [NPR audio stream] More at the L.A. Times, Voice of America [audio] and the San Jose Mercury News.
- The Cow Tipping Machine [via BoingBoing]
- The Plattsburgh Press Republican nails down the Michigan Hot Dog mystery: local historian/city clerk Keith Herkalo tracks down the Michigan's spicy Ground Zero.
- Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), an outspoken critic of the national "no-fly" list, is mistaken for a terrorist by airport security on a recent trip between Boise and Cincinnati. [CNN]
- An honest-to-goodness recipe for Chicken Fried Steak from Shaboom's Kitchen; check your arteries at the door before enjoying this Southern treat. [musical plug-in warning]
- Aren't they cute? Campylobacter jejunii is an adorable magenta colon topped with a colorful chicken at Adopt A Microbe - some crafty person out there should make stuffed toy versions of the world's deadliest germs!
- Curcumin, a substance found in the spice turmeric, may hold promise as a prevention for rheumatoid arthritis [via Futurepundit]. Previous studies also strongly suggest curcumin may be prophylactic against Alzheimer's disease.
- Canadian Army, Navy, and Air Force Cadets selling red poppies as Remembrance Day fundraisers were apparently kicked out of a mall in Regina, Saskatchewan [CBC.ca News] UPDATE: The cadets had apparently not secured permission to sell the flowers from the mall's management, and similar solicitations would likely have had the same result in a U.S. mall. Perhaps Canadian malls have different policies?
- The Miami Metro Zoo's new 50,000 square foot exhibit, "The Scoop On Poop," is a huge sh......er, hit in Florida. [CBS2 Chicago]
- Cook County, Illinois is selling a morbid piece of local history: the County gallows built in the late 1800's to execute men involved in the 1886 Haymarket Bombing. [CBS2]
- What's the scoop on this bizarre curb-crawling three-legged robotic transport vehicle seen recently in Tokyo? Personally, I'd rather be seen in one of these than on a Segway.
Labels: links du jour
Monday, October 30, 2006Renowned actor Ellen Burstyn ("Chris McNeil" in "The Exorcist," "Requiem for a Dream," "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood") will be signing copies of her autobiography, "Lessons in Becoming Myself," at Chicago's Swedish American Museum Center (5211 N. Clark Street, in the Andersonville neghborhood) tonight at 7:30pm, and tomorrow (Halloween!) at 12:30pm at Borders, 150 N. State Street, Chicago. [via ChicagoIST]
Ellen Burstyn on IMDb
Sunday, October 29, 2006Back in June, I had posted something along the lines of: any wine advertised on a bus stop poster is plonk [as in, unacceptable for all but medicinal tippling]. A commenter mentioned their understanding that "plonk" was a generic slang term for wine; now, the excellent food blog Slashfood splits the difference, defining "plonk" as a red or white you can purchase for under $10 [a bottle] - word.
Friday, October 27, 2006There's strange spam, and then there's strange spam. From the morning inbox - no attachments, no HTML links, no obvious sales pitches - which makes me worry about some insidious embedded code worming its way into my machine. Still you've got to love the ending, with its pseudo-blues cadence and a line cribbed from "Big Bad Leroy Brown."
From: XXXXXXMaybe it's terrorist code. Maybe its purpose is to kill slowly through an overdose of deadly clichés.
Subject: his escheat at escheat
Possible Interpretation: You cannot explain what some people like. The value of ANYTHING is determined by the agreement of only two people. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Don't burn your bridges before they're crossed. Sometimes abbreviated GIGO. Noblesse oblige. A coward dies a thousand times before his death. The valiant never taste of death but once. Make hay while the sun shines.
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain, Speak of the devil and he shall appear. Possible Interpretation: Do not rush into what you do not know. The coat makes the man. He that lives too fast, goes to his grave too soon. Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Man with four balls can't walk. Going the whole nine yards. Man with four balls can't walk. Meaner than a junk-yard dog.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
- For me, the first tipoff would be the fact Elmo suddenly weighs four pounds. Imagine your kids' surprise when Elmo starts staying up all night taking apart alarm clocks. NBC-5.com:
[Denver] Authorities said Wednesday that they have broken up a methamphetamine ring that shipped the drug in toys including an Elmo doll. Agents said 19 people were in custody, including the alleged leader of the northern Colorado drug ring, and that they seized more than 45 pounds of what they described as high-quality methamphetamine...Officials released photos of an Elmo doll found in a car in Barstow, Calif., with a caption saying 4 pounds of methamphetamine was found inside. U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said he could not discuss what happened because the doll of the "Sesame Street" character was evidence in the case.
- BBC's "Tetris: from Russia With love" documentary tells the story of inventor Alexei Pazhitnov and his smashingly popular game - and the convoluted wranglings involved in securing the rights to intellectual property owned by the former socialist state. [via Kottke]
- Researchers Sangho Park and Jake Aggarwal have developed a computer program that can distinguish between friendly and violent behavior on videotape/CCTV [via New Scientist]
- Shades of the "Barney's Penis" movie marquee debacle, a Jacksonville, NC father wants a talking policeman toy pulled from store shelves because he believes its its recording of "Stop! I don't want to have to pull out my nightstick!" sounds like "F--k! I don't want to have to pull out my nightstick!" Thoughts:
- It's almost impossible to understand anything those cheap talking toys say
- His 6-year old wouldn't have misunderstood the recording if he wasn't already familiar with the f-bomb
- He doesn't have a problem with an action figure "pulling out [his] nightstick"?
- WIRED News investigates the dubious chemistry behind the "world's most unnatural food," squirtable cheese. Fun Fact: the natural cheese industry once sought to have process cheese labeled as "embalmed cheese." [Technically, that's what it is - but I wouldn't wan't my salami labeled "embalmed beef." - ed.]
- Nose shape not to your liking? Try the CoCo Nose Straightener. That should put all those Hollywood nip n' tuckers out of business. [via Gizmodo]
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
- Scanning Around With Gene: The Joke's On You: these classic practical jokes (sneezing powder, exploding cigars, black facial soap) were all the rage - in the "kinder, gentler," less litigious days of yore. Remember the ubiquitous "snake nut can" gag? Apparently back in the 30's and 40's there were "snake radios," "snake purses," "snake books" and "snake phonographs." How about a "snake cell phone"?
- Backformation engrish: is this akin to "sham poo for your real friends, real poo for your sham friends"? [via Language Log]
Using procedures pioneered by the hair loss industry for balding men, surgeons are using "plug and sew" techniques to give women long, sweeping lashes once achieved only by glued on extensions and thick lashings of mascara. And just like human hair - for that is the origin - these lashes just keep on growing. "Longer, thicker lashes are a ubiquitous sign of beauty. Eyelash transplantation does for the eyes what breast augmentation does for the figure," said Dr Alan Bauman, a leading proponent of eyelash transplants...Under the procedure, a small incision is made at the back of the scalp to remove 30 or 40 hair follicles which are carefully sewn one by one onto the patient's eyelids. Only light sedation and local anesthetics are used and the cost is around $3,000 an eye.There's a tired, old, racist joke in there somewhere. [And yes, that's Janice from the Muppets' Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem segments. - Ed.]
The surgery is not for everyone. The transplanted eyelashes grow just like head hair and need to be trimmed regularly and sometimes curled. Very curly head hair makes for eyelashes with too much kink.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
- Witty fun link of the day: 5ives by Merlin, with Lettermanesque lists like 5 Terrible 60's Dance Crazes and 5 Terrible Fake Entrees from the Dot Com Era (5. "Single 20-dollar bill served raw, with alternating dipping stations of wasabi and aioli ($87)").
- Tragic, but unforgivably stupid: 24 Ohio State University students crowded into a dormitory elevator last Friday, causing it to fall, crushing one student to death.
The 2,500-pound weight capacity of the elevator was exceeded by as much as 1,100 pounds, said Doug Smith, a battalion chief for the Columbus Division of Fire. [18-year old Andrew] Polakowski, a pre-business major, was the last person in a group of students to enter the elevator on the dormitory's third floor when it unexpectedly began to descend with the doors open, campus police said. Polakowski tried to get back onto the third floor as someone shouted that the elevator was falling, said Rick Amweg, assistant chief of campus police. The elevator didn't stop its descent until it wedged Polakowski against the floor of the third-floor lobby, Amweg said.Not too smart trying to sardine* 24 people into one dorm elevator. The story reports the elevator had passed all required safety inspection requirements.
- Sailors, scouts, climbers, equestrians and bondage fans will all love Grog's Animated Knots tutorial [via Cool Tools]
- Bacon bliss: bacon caramel, and the "Seduced by Bacon" cookbook [via Slashfood]
- No more Vegemite in the U.S., as the FDA bans its import due to "unregulated folate content," Men at Work song now harder to recreate.
- Shrimp on a treadmill.
- Joliet, IL's own Janina Gavankar (face of the much-maligned "Ms. Dewey" search engine) will be appearing on The L-Word as "Papi."
- Día de los Muertos: way cooler than Hallowe'en.
- * Who says "sardine" can't be a verb?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Weird Al Yankovic's absurdist palindromic Zen.
Thursday, October 19, 2006From NBC-5 Chicago:
Diehard Cubs fans can now spend an eternity with their team. Starting next season, several major league teams, including the Cubbies, will allow their team logo to be put on caskets and urns of the dearly departed. Gives more credence to the claim, "Once a Cubs fan, always a Cubs fan!"Well, at least the urns' occupants might stick around long enough to eventually witness a Cubs World Series win. How does the old song go? "In heaven there is no beer...that's why we drink it here..."
Wednesday, October 18, 2006Have you seen ING's new "Cash Cow" pop-up ads for their "Orange Savings Accounts"? I admit, they're cute and catchy Flash animations, but perhaps ING should reconsider the imagery. When I think "cash cow," I think milking the cow for all it's worth - don't you?
Do you think of a cow eating money? Your money, or perhaps someone else's? And how and where exactly does the money emerge, pray tell?
Sad that the mordant Get Your War On still needs to be on.
In other news, ChicagoIST reports [Iggy?] and The Stooges are in Chicago at Albini's place, recording their first album in 33 years.
Friday, October 13, 2006
- The Sweet - "Lost Angels"
- Ben Folds Five - "She Don't Use Jelly"
- Philip Glass - "Cloudscape"
- Dave Brubeck Quartet - "Slow and Easy, a.k.a. Lawless"
- The Smashing Pumpkins - "Beautiful"
- Sisters of Mercy - "Floorshow"
- Danger Doom - "Bada Bing"
- 311 - "Can't Fade Me"
- Amon Tobin - "Yasawas"
- Cee-Lo Green - "Bad Mutha"
Wednesday, October 11, 2006Have you seen this news story from - of all places - Kentucky? A couple was arrested for breaking into an elementary school to steal...urine:
[WAVE-3 TV Louisville] ARGILLITE, Ky. -- An eastern Kentucky couple is charged with going to an elementary school and trying to get a urine specimen from a nephew to use in a drug test. Authorities said Nick Kintigos, 37, and his wife, Teresa, 38, went to a school to solicit a clean urine sample to Nick Kintigos could take a drug test...Scott Brown, communications supervisor with Greenup County 911, said Nick Kintigos needed a clean urine sample from a nephew at the school to use for a drug test where he works. Brown said he was unsure where Kintigos was employed. Nick Kintigos allegedly took the boy into a restroom at the school, but the boy was unable to produce any urine, Brown said. Two other boys walked into the restroom while Kintigos was there and he asked them for urine, Brown said. The boys left the restroom and told a teacher what happened, he said.That's pretty sorry behavior, but there must be more to this story than it appears. There was no one else these two knew that would have a clean urine sample to offer?
- 72-year old Hu Zheshen, a boater/hobbyist from Hunan province in China, has built a lightweight homemade amphibious craft - powered by a 5hp diesel and 1hp electric engine - called the "Happy Boat." He plans on using it to take his family on holiday. [via Kevin Kelly's Street Use]
- Shrimp-peeling machines, leering cheeseburger photos and sheep in spandex are just some of the delights you'll find at Information Junk, The Blog.
- "Sweetie darling, you look just faboo with your Swarovski Crystal Giant Hissing Cockroach Brooch."
- Standing just 17 inches high at the shoulder (4 hands!), Thumbelina is the world's smallest horse. Veterinarians say she is a miniature horse with dwarfism.
- As if E. coli on spinach and lettuce weren't enough to worry about, California farmers are facing another - two-legged - scourge: almond rustlers. [NPR]
- Sometimes, a headline really gets to the point: "Stink Bug Guts Reveal DNA Surprise" [NewScientist].
- Love Firefox, but your GNU or UNIX setup can't handle it? Now there's a freeware version just for you, called...IceWeasel.
- Hoisted by his own petard?
Warsaw, Poland (AHN) - A 45-year-old Polish man is now the subject of a nationwide manhunt by the Polish police after he was charged for farting loudly in response to his sentiment about the president. Hubert Hoffman was earlier arrested by the police in a routine check at a railway station in the Polish capital of Warsaw. He complained to the arresting officers that President Lech Kaczynski and his twin brother Jaroslaw, was responsible for turning Poland back to a Communist style dictatorship. He was reprimanded to show more respect for the country's rulers. Hoffman replied with a loud fart and was immediately arrested. He was charged for "contempt for the office of the head of state."...Surprisingly, the court ordered the police to start a nationwide hunt for the man, and Interpol has been alerted.Such are the perils of living in Poland; had Hoffman ripped one in front of Pres. George W. Bush, he'd likely have gotten a slap on the back and earned the nickname "Tooter." (P.S.) More on Ananova and Tailrank.
Friday, October 06, 2006Try your hand...ahem, that didn't quite...come out right...at the Foley IM Generator - pop up a brand spanking new Foleyism with every click. [via Pandagon]
- Solid Steel Players - "Les Fingres"
- Slade - "Run Run Away"
- Sublime - "Get Out!"
- T.Rex - "Bang a Gong (Get It On)"
- Tori Amos - "Your Cloud"
- Dick Hyman - "On The Bumpy Road To Love"
- Jimmy Eat World - "Nothingwrong"
- The Honorary Title - "Everything I Once Had"
- Lou Reed - "The Kids"
- Jazz Juice - "Marra Bossa"
* For those not familiar with the area, Foggy Bottom is a historic neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
Thursday, October 05, 2006Is it just me, or is this set of headlines from CNN tonight a particularly dire stew of sex, death, and violence? Good gravy, it's bad. [Look closely - click on the image for a larger version]
But - not a mention of, say, gas prices, health care, illegal immigration, global warming, the avian "superflu," midterm elections (unless you count the Dennis Hastert "apology" as an election story), Middle East violence - or the war in Iraq. Or any of those other niggling little problems that have kept us awake at night for years.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
How crazy is the weather lately? Monday night, we had a cracker of a storm blow through Chicago - mind you, we had actual tornadoes about a week and a half ago, but that's another story - winds clocked at over 75 miles per hour. The damage wasn't bad on the North Side where we live, but around Hyde Park and the southwest part of town it was another story completely. Old trees, solid and hale specimens two to three feet across were snapped like matchsticks across roads and walkways.
The photo above was taken outside Judd Hall at the University of Chicago this morning, and the one below about one-half mile away in Jackson Park near the Museum of Science and Industry. [Click on images to grab 1280x960 versions on Flickr] The weather folks report this was the worst Chicago storm in the past five years, but judging from the size of the felled trees this might be the worst storm in decades or longer, at least on the South Side; I've observed that weather tends to be much more extreme on the South Side than the North, overall.