Archive for Entirely Too Cool

I want that one

And she gets it, too:

I have to figure that it will take that teensy dog a long, long time to wear out that big plushie.

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Never gonna give Foo up

I guess we could call this Rick Astley/Foo Fighters combination a RickGrohl:

From the Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo, this past weekend. (There are some untoward words scattered through the audio, so don’t play this too loudly at work.)

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Maybe just a little more space

This is admittedly not my speed:

After looking at the pictures, I’m starting to wonder how they’re giving it away for a mere $1.75 million.

(Via Quinn Cummings.)

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N-word, indeed

I remember reading this when I was younger:

The line following that one got Dick Gregory hired by the Playboy Club in Chicago by Hugh Hefner himself, circa 1961:

Then these three white boys came up to me and said, “Boy, we’re giving you fair warning. Anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.” So I put down my knife and fork, I picked up that chicken and I kissed it. Then I said, “Line up, boys!”

At least once in the retelling, he specified where he kissed that chicken.

And then there was this:

The first time I was called “nigger” was in a little town called Mishawaka, Indiana, which just sounds like something’s going to happen. Guy yelled, “Get off the stage, nigger!” And I said, “Wow, did you hear that? He just called me the Lone Ranger’s horse, Trigger. That got a big laugh and then people were comfortable. I put it into my contract: Every time you say that I make another $50,000.

Trigger was actually Roy Rogers’ horse, but no matter. There was no one quite like Dick Gregory, and he kept doing live shows right up until the end. (Alas, he’ll never make it to his scheduled fall date at Oklahoma City’s Tower Theater.)

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Toyota drinks the Romulan ale

And if you ask me, they earned it:

Toyota has received a US patent for “Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent,” which effectively translates into a “cloaking device” you might expect in a science fiction movie.

Actual usage could prove to be less interesting than you might expect, though still proof to a wonder of science — the patent illustrates a potential use as making the A-pillars to the left and right of the dashboard disappear.

Which is something that can be done today [warning: autostart video], but at Lexus prices or higher:

These pillars have grown over time, as crash-test requirements get stronger, which can hamper visibility. Being able to see “through” (it’s more like “around”) the A-pillar without craning your neck every which way could greatly benefit pedestrian safety.

In the patent, Toyota points out that this sort of technology can already be put to use in vehicles, but it requires video cameras and other expensive materials and equipment. Therefore, an equally efficient but less expensive solution needed to be found, and Toyota believes its “cloaking device” fits that bill.

And it would be nice if the “device” could do something about the horrid front fascia of almost every current Toyota or Lexus, the gaping maw from which pedestrians never return.


The fabric of a nation (or two)

I have several shirts made in Pakistan, but none of them look like this:

She followed with a map of India:

If you’ve spent any time observing the Perpetually Outraged on social media, you know what happens next. Dammit.

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With August in mind

Few things in life seem quite so horrifying to me as waiting around to die because you no longer have any choice in the matter.

With that in mind, here’s a tale of a bird who might have frozen to death:

The important thing, of course, is that he didn’t. At least, not then.

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How sweet the sound

Or maybe not so much:

I live in constant fear that one of the local mockingbirds will find a copy of this video.

(With thanks to Fillyjonk.)

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Option declined

“Oh, how I want to go home,” sang Bobby Bare. (Mel Tillis and Danny Dill wrote “Detroit City,” but Bobby Bare made it famous.)

“I don’t wanna go home,” says this dog:

This trick also works (to a certain extent) for avoiding That Trip to the Vet:

Pretty shrewd, these dogs.

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Otters got talent

Apparently they can juggle. If only we knew why:

Theories, of course, abound.

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Bigger than the phone book

In fact, literally so, in the case of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

I’ve often told people that the catalog of shows is bigger than the phone book for an average city — a claim that will be uninterpretable to many, since most of us hardly ever see telephone directories now. But I would hate for you to think that I spoke loosely. Let’s get quantitative. Edinburgh does still have a phone book, published by BT (formerly British Telecom). It covers not just the city of Edinburgh but the whole Lothian county in which it sits. And the new edition just arrived. So I have the Edinburgh and Lothian phone book on the table before me, beside the Edinburgh Festival Fringe catalog. I have compared them. I have numbers.

And by gum, he has:

The phone book has 513 pages of information (18 of front matter and 495 lists of business and residential phone numbers). Those pages are 16.5 cm by 29.5 cm (about 6’ 5″ by 11’ 6″), for a total of 16.5 × 29.5 × 513 = 249,677 square centimeters of information.

The Fringe catalog uses a wider page size, 19.5 cm by 29.5 (about 7’ 7″ by 11’ 6″), and there are 459 pages of information, for a total of 19.5 × 29.5 × 459 = 264,017 square centimeters.

The latter is 1.057 times bigger than the former.

Remind me never to challenge this gentleman on — well, anything, really.

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As performed by 007

The James Bond motion-picture franchise is famous for its legendary ultra-deluxe cars, often breathed upon by Q Branch. The most legendary, arguably, is the Aston Martin DB5 first seen in Goldfinger, which boasted such nifty options as a revolving number plate (for security, of course), blades which emerged from the wheel centers to slash pursuers’ tyres, and an actual ejector seat. None of these seemed impossible, so future Bond vehicles would have even more insane capabilities: think The Spy Who Love Me and the submersible Lotus Esprit, or Die Another Day’s invisible Aston Martin.

Lists like this, however, tend to make you forget that due to circumstances beyond the control of Universal Exports, 007 often found himself driving genuine crapmobiles, such as the Citroën 2CV in For Your Eyes Only, or this AMC Hornet:

Which can be your AMC Hornet:

One of the most gloriously camp moments in James Bond history was the famous barrel-roll scene in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun. Notably, it was the first time computer simulations had been used in devising a movie stunt, and it was shot in just one take. The car used in the stunt, an AMC Hornet, is now headed to auction, where it’s estimated to sell for $350,000.

For the barrel roll, the AMC Hornet had to be modified significantly — to improve weight distribution its engine was moved further behind the front axle and central-steering was fitted. The Hornet’s builder, stunt driver Jay Milligan, also equipped the car with a roll cage and reinforced suspension for added safety. Those measures apparently worked because the Hornet only suffered a cracked windscreen in filming the jump.

The seller is, um, Jay Milligan, Jr. Says the offering:

This 1974 AMC Hornet Hatchback is the actual stunt car used in The Man with the Golden Gun. The car is operable and remains in as-jumped condition, having suffered no damage during the stunt’s one-take execution. The engine and chassis numbers of this car match those on the shipping invoice created when the car was sent from the filming location in Thailand back to Jay Milligan’s JM Productions in New York.

If you spring for this Hornet yourself, please do me one kindness: if you’re jumping across a river, please refrain from playing a slide whistle.

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Can’t read my pony face

It’s a movie tie-in, I suppose, but this could have happened any time in the last seven years:

In news that will delight any child that grew up in the 90s and product lover alike, PÜR is launching a My Little Pony: The Movie beauty collection, and honestly, we think pony makeup might top unicorn makeup.

In case you missed it, those colorful little toy ponies of your childhood have been digitized and will have their very own movie set to release in October, and this line is inspired by the flick.

The line will include a face, eye, and lip glow stick, a brush set, glitter lip gloss toppers, and probably most exciting, a 16-shade eyeshadow palette that will retail for $29. The shades are all gloriously named after your fave ponies, like Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash. Now that’s magic, kids.

Let’s take a look at that palette:

My Little Pony eyeshadow set

The Mane Six, the six Elements of Harmony, and four that seem to defy identification. (“Princess Skystar”? Oh, right, she’s in the movie.) Still, $29 is not a whole lot for that much eyeshadow, and it will show up at your local Ulta store later this month.

Oh, in case you forgot, Avon brought out a Twilight Sparkle eyeliner about five years ago. I have no reason to think it will match up with any of these shades.

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You ain’t seen nothing Yeti

Far be it from me to discourage anyone from acquiring this mostly lovable semi-fictional character:

Bigfoot the Garden Yeti by Design Toscano

Mighty and stunning, the Design Toscano Bigfoot The Garden Yeti Statue is an attractive choice for any home. It features a large yeti that is either on the lookout for some prey or just exploring the surroundings. You can place this statue either at home or next to the trees of your backyard. Made from the toughest quality of 100% resin, the Bigfoot The Garden Yeti Statue from Design Toscano comes with the kind of durability that lasts for generations. This statue is resistant to UV as well as fading and coated in a brown finish. It can be kept as good as new by storing it indoors during the harshest winters. It is available in multiple sizes.

Not even the most abominable snowman can deal with the worst snow.

Two sizes are available: the taller is 28.5 inches, not nearly enough to overshadow your life-size My Little Pony, which shouldn’t be out in your garden in the first place, even if it’s Fluttershy.

List price is $136, but at this writing it’s marked down to $96.

(Via our old friend Lisa Paul.)

Addendum: I was humming this darn thing while cutting and pasting, and I figured, why not?

Live from 1976. (Jonathan Richman, to my eternal surprise, is older than I am.)

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Short girl, long run

In deepest Overland Park, Kansas, this was happening yesterday:

Allison Carson at the Kansas City Diva Dash 2017

Reported her mom:

Allison ran the 5K with me then ran the Lil Princess Dash. I would say, probably 200 yards, maybe 300.

A six-year-old had the gumption to knock out three miles — and then follow with two or three football fields?

Gawd, I must have been pathetic at that age.


The show must go on

She knew something was wrong: there was pedal action when the pedal wasn’t being used. What to do? Maybe a minor adjustment or two. Or, maybe not:

Much as I adore that famed young Chinese pianist and her technical excellence, I don’t think she’d have been able to deal with this situation with anywhere near as much aplomb.

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Sleeping arrangements

A mother’s work is never done:

An explanation from Miss Cellania:

A cat in Québec gave birth to a litter of kittens upstairs. Not long afterward, she decided that they needed her cat bed, which was downstairs. Whether it was because the bed is soft, or because it has sides to keep the kittens corralled, she knew what she wanted, and went to work to make it happen.

The humans, of course, were too busy shooting video to lend a hand.

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And they can just bite me

Let me, um, rephrase that. I have no compelling desire to be bitten. Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by mosquitoes the size of a Volkswagen. (In Minnesota and the Dakotas, they’re the size of a Volkswagen bus.)

And if they get through whatever defenses you’ve posted, there’s this:

A new product aims to stop the suffering. Bite Helper, reviewed by Mashable, is designed to stop your bites from itching.

Place the pen-like device over your swollen bite and it will begin to emit heat and vibrations designed to quell the itch. It’s meant to increase blood flow around the area to alleviate your pain, heating your skin up to 120°F for up to 45 seconds. It’s the size of a thin tube of sunscreen and is battery powered.

Then again:

Most dermatologists advise applying cold to alleviate itching from insect bites, so the question is: Will heating up your skin really work? Bite Helper hasn’t been clinically tested, so it’s hard to say for certain how effective it would be. There has been some research to suggest that heat can help increase blood flow in general, but decrease histamine-induced blood flow in the skin (part of the body’s normal response to allergens) and reduce itching overall. In a German study of wasp, mosquito, and bee stings, concentrated heat led to a significant improvement in symptoms, though the researchers focused mostly on pain reduction rather than itching.

Meanwhile, feel free to curse the name of Noah, who had a chance to get both those damn mosquitoes and passed it by.

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Floating in air

Ten seconds of something seemingly miraculous:

How this happened:

When reviewing the security footage from outside his house in Austin, Texas, Al Brooks spotted an unusual sight: a bird seems to hover past the camera with its wings completely stationary. Of course it wasn’t really hovering (and no, it’s not suspended by strings) but rather the frame rate of the camera matched the flaps of the bird’s wings perfectly resulting in a stroboscopic illusion. This is the same stroboscopic effect you might see in a video of airplane propellers that aren’t moving or when the wheels on a car appear to be frozen.

(Via Swiss Miss and Neatorama.)

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There’s the beef

Set the clock back nine decades or so, and zoom in on Austin, Texas:

Tofie and Charles left the grocery store to form a partnership in the meat and produce business. And that they did! Balagia Produce Company was highly successful and became a leading commercial and household enterprise. The poultry was raised in cages at their business location on East Fifth Street. When orders were received, the poultry was removed from the cage and prepared on the spot. The success of the business was based on the freshness and quality of their products. Good management played a major part too. Charlie purchased the livestock and was a well-known specialist in his field. Tofie was the business manager and contact with civic leaders of the city and State. Together they prospered and expanded and were highly respected businessmen.

I never got to meet Tofie, who died in 1940, but brother Charlie would be my grandfather.

Charles C. Balagia at work

My mom was third of eight children: they had three girls, then two boys, then three more girls. You may safely assume that we were well fed.

The Balagias in Texas date back to about 1885, when Saba (1834-1913) and wife Mary (1857-1919) arrived from Tripoli, Syria (now in Lebanon). They had one child when they settled in Austin; they would have six more. (Large families run in the family.)

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Forget pixels

Zeiss Ikon camera circa 1930Stories like this command your attention from the first couple of words:

Photographer Martijn van Oers of the Netherlands recently visited a thrift store and came across an original Zeiss Ikon 520/2 folding camera, which was produced in Germany between 1929 and 1937. To his surprise, the camera contained a roll of exposed film in it.

The camera looked “barely used,” Van Oers says.

What would you do? That’s what Van Oers did:

Van Oers took the film to his friend Johan Holleman — someone who has developed his own film for much of his life — who then processed the film in his kitchen.

Expectations were understandably low. Still:

The duo soon discovered that the film was nearly 70 years old. 4 of the photos had enough detail in them to show that it was probably owned by a man who took the camera along on a trip. One photo was found to show a scene shot in the city of Biarritz in Southwest France.

More than usual, I urge you to read the whole story, which has some truly miraculous pictures from that roll of Kodak film.

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Read, then drown

“Liquid Paper” is a trademark for correction fluid, invented by Mike Nesmith’s mom.

This stuff is not lower-case liquid paper until you add water:

Classified, confidential and sensitive information can be written and printed on our water soluble paper. Investment houses, government agencies, medical providers, banks and other financial institutions can use water soluble paper for printing statements containing extremely confidential and personal data. Destruction is almost immediate — with the introduction of water or any aqueous solution.

Our water soluble paper has many of the same characteristics as ordinary paper. It can be written on, photocopied or printed using an ink jet or laser printer as well as commercial printers such as digital press, flexo and offset presses. All inks can be used with this paper.

You can quickly write or type a confidential note, give it to a source or agent and they can simply place it in a glass of water and the note is completely destroyed, leaving no traces behind. This water soluble paper provides much greater security than office paper shredders.

Your dog doesn’t even have to eat your homework: she can just drool on it.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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The fastest man alive

Oh, I’m sure he can be beaten in the 100-yard dash by any number of folks, but I must praise this guy for being attentive to his customers.

Every post that comes out of here also comes with a tweet beginning with the phrase “Newly posted.” This process is automated by a plugin called WP to Twitter. I find the process sufficiently arcane that I felt I’d be better off not debugging things myself, and so I signed up for the Pro version, which costs some money but will presumably get the attention of the programmer.

At 3:00 Saturday I turned in a trouble ticket: at some point the Pro functions had been disabled, perhaps because I’d done something dumb, and could you please help?

At 3:02 his autoresponder, well, autoresponded.

At 3:12 he answered back with the solution. Turned out it was at his end: he’d released an updated version, albeit with something awry. He noticed it quickly enough, but anyone who’d downloaded the update during that brief period got the bad package. “Just download a fresh copy and install,” he said, and that was the end of that.

Our hero here is Joe Dolson of Accessible Web Design. He has several plugins besides this one. I’d recommend anything he does.

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Like you wanted to play golf in heels

But just in case you did:

You probably don’t need these for miniature golf, unless:

And who’s gonna tell Grace not to wear that kind of stuff? Certainly not I.

(Via Cristina.)

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Stay golden, puppy

Oh, wait. You’re green?

A dog owner couldn’t believe what she was seeing when her golden retriever gave birth to a green puppy.

Her beloved pet Rio, aged three, gave birth last week to nine puppies — but when one came out mint green Louise Sutherland was stunned.

I think we’d all be stunned at the sight of a green dog.

One green puppy out of the litter

How the heck does this happen, anyway?

The rare occurrence is only known to have happened only three times before in the world.

It is caused by a bile pigment called biliverdin that is found in the placenta of dogs which can stain the puppy’s coat when it mixes with the mother’s amniotic fluid — the liquid that protects her pups.

I’m guessing if this happened to, say, a black lab, no one would be the wiser.

Anyway, it won’t last long: little Forest (yes, they named him that) will look like the rest of his siblings shortly.

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Tidy profit turned

It wasn’t exactly Antiques Roadshow, but it might have been more interesting in the long run:

A €100 typewriter has sold for €45,000 (£40,000; $51,500) at auction, after it was discovered it was actually a German Wehrmacht Enigma I.

The World War Two cipher machine was bought at a flea market by a cryptography professor, who apparently recognised its true worth.

Enigma machines were used to carry coded military communications during the war.

First developed in Germany in the 1920s, the codes created by the electromechanical encryption devices were eventually cracked by mathematician Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park.

And these were pretty spiffy devices for their time, too:

To avoid merely implementing a simple (and easily breakable) substitution cipher, every key press caused one or more rotors to step by one twenty-sixth of a full rotation, before the electrical connections were made. This changed the substitution alphabet used for encryption, ensuring that the cryptographic substitution was different at each new rotor position, producing a more formidable polyalphabetic substitution cipher. The stepping mechanism varied slightly from model to model. The right-hand rotor stepped once with each keystroke, and other rotors stepped less frequently.

Artmark, an auction house in Bucharest, put the machine on the block at a starting price of €9000. The eventual selling price was formidable, but well short of the auction record: an Enigma was sold last month by Christie’s for $547,500.

(Via The Glittering Eye.)

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Definitely. This is a job for the Little How-To Girl:

This runs 3:36, or about six times as fast as this repair will actually take. Good editing, I guess.

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I can’t believe it’s not Butterick

Time to take the dust cover off the sewing machine:

The Vintage Patterns Wiki boasts more than 83,500 patterns that are at least 25 years old, which makes for a fascinating look back at fashion history. As a collaborative effort, the database is constantly being updated and organized, with any newly uploaded patterns dating prior to 1992. Just click on the cover and browse the list of pattern vendors who have the look.

Whether you just want to ogle the fashion illustrations or get your hands dirty and make a new look, it’s worth browsing the well-organized site. Arranged by decade, garment type, designer, and more, you might just be inspired to whip up a dashiki for your next costume party or try out a Mad Men chic outfit at the office with a skirt suit from the 1960s.

High fashion names like Dior and Givenchy, as well as looks modeled off costumes from movie stars like Audrey Hepburn remind us how pervasive patterns and creating fashions from scratch once were. And with a whole new era of young women going retro, it might be worth giving up vintage shops in favor of creating new pieces based on these vintage patterns.

Obviously they’re not going to have Every Pattern In The World. But the wiki serves as a useful guide to what’s out there and who’s worked with it. I pulled up a pattern at random — Vogue 6368 — and found someone who’s put it to good use.

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For the benefit of British cyclists

This is beautifully MacGyver-ly:

On Sunday’s ride, about 8km from Saffron Walden, I hit a patch of completely trashed road. All the tarmac had been scraped off in preparation for resurfacing, leaving the concrete slab base and lots of sharp stone chips. I hit one with the rear wheel, resulting in an instant puncture and a centimetre-long gash in the tyre.

All around me were fields. It looked like a long walk to the nearest village, and a quick look round yielded no roadside debris that I could use as a tyre boot.

And then a solution presented itself:

When the Bank of England put its new fiver into circulation on 13 September last year, one of the proudly touted advantages of the new plastic note was that it was stronger and more durable than the previous paper version. The Bank said: “Each new polymer note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper notes. This is because polymer is stronger than paper so the notes can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up into pockets.”

Surely a banknote intended to withstand that sort of day to day abuse could also hold my inner tube in place enough to get me home.

And it did, too — over better than 30 km.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Well beyond Easy-Bake

The new play kitchens are as ornate as, well, the new real kitchens:

Fausta thinks this is just flat wonderful:

What this tells me is that “you, dear girl or boy growing up in America today, can, through hard work and purpose, grow up to buy yourself, from your own earnings, the best appliances and modern conveniences for preparing your family delicious meals in the comfort of your own home.”

Add to that, “and when your kids are little you can get them beautiful toys if you have the room and can afford to.” (As you may remember, I consider living within your means one of the twelve adulting steps.)

In fact, this is probably a better gift for your little one than the usual flat slab of electronics:

If you can afford it, buying your children an upscale miniature kitchen is a better option, and I speak as a mother, than buying them a tablet. My experience is that kids will pick up computer skills in no time at all, but they will need time to learn social and everyday management skills as they grow up.

And they’re certainly not going to learn that kind of stuff in school: there’s no time, what with all the Mandatory Irrelevant Crap deemed essential by the educational establishment.

The pictured equipment is not all one set, but if it were, the price would likely be well into four figures. See Pottery Barn Kids for examples.

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