Saturday, May 31, 2003

Architectural Ghosts

First up tonight: Ghost Ads -- You see kids, back in olden times, before pop-ups, pop-overs, pop-unders, before banner ads and even before the internet (can you imagine?!) people used to advertise by painting on the sides of buildings downtown. Here are a few ghostly remainders. (via Lilek's)

Next up: Ghost Buildings -- Welcome to the sport of Urban Exploration. You're Columbus, and that creepy subway tunnel, that defunct hotel, that abandoned insane asylum, that's your New World. Links aplenty, but may I recommend starting with either the gorgeous Dark Passage or the sprawling website/'zine Infiltration.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Dogs, cats, fish -- on (and in) TV

Out: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In: Fluffy, The Squirrel Slayer

Meow Mix cat food is introducing a new show devoted to programming "by cats, for cats and the humans they tolerate". Hosted by Annabelle and her feline pal Stinky on the Oxygen network, premiering tonight. Look for segments such as "Cat Yoga" and "Squirrel Alert".

On the other side of the coin, NPR's weekly This American Life spoke of an exciting new cable channel on the horizon: The Puppy Channel, which according to their website is just "puppies, puppies, puppies," accompanied by little more than relaxing, instrumental music. Nobody talks at you. In fact, you rarely see people, other than an occasional visit by a little child, or a heartwarming visit to a senior citizen.

Lastly (and least-ly) in our televised menagerie, Fish-TV, which frankly just looks all wet.

(Thanks to Dave for the MeowTV submission!)

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Buy it, blog it

How many things have you yourself purchased today? This week? This month? This year? Kate Bingaman knows. She knows because she takes a picture of everything she buys, along with the total from the receipt and usually a little background or review on each item, and then posts it to her site, Obsessive Consumption. Charming, in its own obsessive-compulsive kind of way.

(Via Nuggets by Howard Sherman)

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

"'A'? What's an 'A'?"

Apparently, an "A" was something this person never got in Computer class. Read this excerpt from Computer Stupidities:

Tech Support: "Ok, you are in C:\WINDOWS. We need to get to the A: drive. So type 'A' colon and press enter."

Customer: "'A'? What's an 'A'?"

Tech Support: "It's the first letter of the alphabet. 'A' like apple."

Customer: "Ummm...what's an 'A'? I don't know what it is."

Tech Support: "Grade school, remember? The letter 'A'?"

Customer: "Oh, ok. Where is that?"

Tech Support: "Left side of the keyboard. Next to the 'S'."

Customer: "Ok...I think I found it. What do I do?"

Tech Support: "Press it. See what happens."

Customer: "Ok, I've got an 'A' now."

Tech Support: "Now press the colon. It's next to the 'L' key."

Customer: "How do I get it?"

Tech Support: "Hold down the 'shift' key."

Customer: "How to you spell that?"

Tech Support: "S-H-I-F-T. You have two of them. Near the space bar. Hold that down and press the colon."

Customer: "I can't find the colon."

Tech Support: "It's to the right of the 'L'."

Customer: "How do I get it?"

Tech Support: "Hold the shift key and press the colon key."

Customer: "Oh, ok...I think I've got it."

Tech Support: "Good, now hit 'enter'."

Customer: "Where's that?"

This whole conversation of two commands took almost an hour. I have no idea how this lady ever made enough money to buy a computer. It amazes me how someone can forget the alphabet. She's nice, but she's amazingly dumb.

Having worked in the tech support industry for a few years, I can attest that there are normal, intelligent people out there who become dumber than a bag of hammers once they sit in front of a computer.

Computer Stupidities is a huge site on the wonderful Rinkworks mothership, with tons of blood-curdling tech support stories. Check out Calls From Hell, Smoke and The Bleeding Obvious for starters...

for the flipside of the coin, you can check out Stupid Tech Support.

Natalie's life

Take a few minutes to see Natalie's Fotolog. Once there, click on the "About Natalie" link to learn about the origin of these pictures. Reader's Digest version: Someone found a set of photo albums (including a wedding photo album, which divulged that her name is Natalie) in a thriftstore in Brooklyn. Did she die? Get divorced? Who donates wedding photos to Goodwill? Nobody seems to know much else about her, but that hasn't stopped visitors from posting their own ideas. Gotta love the super-cool chain-wearin' perm-sportin' boyfriend pic...

(Via Traveler's Diagram)

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I love you! You love Me!

Won't you please, please, please kill me?

I once read a story about a guy who was listening to a tape by Wham! on his car stereo when he got in an accident. According to the article (which was from The Weekly World News or some such, and most likely competely fabricated) the guy was pinned in his car for several hours as rescue workers struggled to free him. Of course, the entire time aforementioned Wham! tape was playing at full volume and the guy was unable to turn off the stereo. It'd get to the end of the tape, there'd be a few blessed George Michael-free moments while the tape player switched sides of the tape, then back for yet another round of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".

Well, the U.S. Army must be avid tabloid readers as well, because they have taken the music-as-torture schtick and moved it to Iraq, blasting uncooperative prisoners with hours of Metallica and, even more horrifying, songs from the children's show Barney.

My fave quote from the article was from one of the US operatives: "In training, they forced me to listen to the Barney "I Love You" song for 45 minutes. I never want to go through that again,".

(Story submitted by Lou, who rocks)

Sunday, May 25, 2003


Aphasia is the term for that "I know it, but it's on the tip of my tongue" feeling.

The next time you hear some song playing and you just can't place it, help may be on the way. A service called Shazam will allow you to identify the song in question using your cell phone.

(Via Smart Mobs)

Saturday, May 24, 2003


A twenty-seven year-old accountant aptly named Chris Moneymaker turned a $40 dollar investment into a $2.5 million win at this year's World Series of Poker. He only started playing poker three years ago after seeing Rounders.

(Via Metafilter)

No Schick!

Razor manufacturers are ripping men off, so fight back!

(Via Fark)

Friday, May 23, 2003

Blows bubbles good
Like a cigarette should!

You know what I got for Christmas this year? It was a banner [expletive deleted] year at the old Bender family! I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said "Hey! Smoke up Johnny!" -- John Bender -- The Breakfast Club

A few weeks ago I mentioned an old TV commercial from the 60's with Fred Flintstone pitching Winston cigarettes. Gosh, we sure are lucky to live in a more enlightened age where we don't target kids in order to teach them some new vice.

Plus more awesome stuff on candy cigarettes and The Mystery of The Mysterious Hand!

(Via Cardhouse)

Thursday, May 22, 2003

What's missing?

"Gadsby" is a 50,000-word story from 1939 with a particular thing missing. Can you find it?

Hint: It's also missing from this paragraph, and is amazingly difficult to do without if you do much writing.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Tattoo you

Picture this.

Classic rock radio station offers tickets and backstage passes for upcoming concert for anyone who put a temporary tattoo of the radio station logo on their forehead. Also offers $30,000 a year for five years to anyone who puts a permanent tattoo of logo on forehead. Yep, you guessed it. Someone did it, (photo!) and the radio station won't pay.

UPDATE: As if things weren't going badly enough for this guy, his roommates got tired of hearing him complain about his problems, and tried to "teach him a lesson" by trying to kill him. According to the police report, "Alcohol may have contributed to the incident, police said." Go figure...


The Adventures Of Manuel Pacifico, Tuna Fisherman!

Comic Book Resources has a funny write-up in their Oddball Comics section on what may be one of the oddest comics ever. It chronicles the adventures of Manuel and his crew aboard the Breast O' Chicken. Published by none other than the Breast O' Chicken tuna company as a promotional giveaway in 1950. Not available on newsstands, you sent in two Breast O' Chicken tuna can labels to receive the comic.

From the article: Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that [it] isn’t much of a “story”, even for fifteen pages, but it’s jam-packed with some of the “gayest” images I’ve ever seen in a comic book -- mainstream, alternative, underground or any other kind of funnybook! Look, I’m not gay, and I’m certainly not a homophobe, but if you don’t believe me, just take a look at this. And this! And this!! And this!!! Not to mention this!!!! Hmmm, isn’t “chicken” also street-slang for underage homosexual sex-targets -- as well as for “Breast O’ Chicken” tuna? And while we’re posing such weighty questions, whose bright idea was it to sell canned tuna by calling it “chicken”?

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail)

Humans! Git yer humans hee-ah!

As everyone knows, you can't put a price tag on a person. Each and every one of us is a priceless treasure of inestimable value blah blah blah blah...

Someone forgot to tell that to these guys.

And if you must know, I am currently going for the low, low out-the-door price of $1,755,732.00.

...And meaner than a junkyard duck

At least that's what one guy thought Jim Croce sang in "Bad Bad Leroy Brown". Tons of other misheard lyrics can be found at The site name comes from a mishearing of Jimi Hendix's "Purple Haze" lyric, "'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky". Or does it???

Songs you love to hate

A history of music banned in the United States.

And lots of music that you just wish had been. [link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4]

And don't worry, I'm sure the inclusion of your favorite song was just a typo. Yeah, that's it.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, why not include the Top 10 Most Annoying Singers according to

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Going to work in your underwear, et al

Been having freaky dreams? Need to know what they mean?

History rewritten

November 24th, 1963.

Oswald shot?

Or Oswald rocks?


Unholy Error

This was an actual error message in an application called FreeJava. There are hundreds more mind-boggling, often hilarious examples of bad user interface at The User Interface Hall of Shame. Not just stupid error messages, but also hideous color design and stupid computers.

Although the site has been defunct for a few years, the good souls at the Internet Archive have a been busy archiving the internet and making it available via their Wayback Machine. With over 10 billion stored webpages from the last five years, it weighs in at over 100 terabytes of data stored on their servers. How big is 100 terabytes? About five times bigger than the Library of Congress, with its 20 million books.

You can help Internet Archive by donating here.

The Fine Art of Googlewhacking

While it's true that this geek has been a Googlewhacker for a while, it may not be familiar to everyone. The rules are simple:

1. Go to Google and type any two words in the search bar (no quotes, and the words must be found in

2. If Google returns one and only one hit, you've just found a Googlewhack!

3. Submit your Googlewhack into The Stack along with your name for your 15 minutes of immortality.

Betcha can't whack just one...

Monday, May 19, 2003

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Got a minute?

The Matrix Reloaded -- 2 hours 18 minutes

X2 (X-Men 2) -- 2 hours 13 minutes

A Man Apart Starring Lump of Wood Vin Diesel -- approx. 9 days 11 hours 6 minutes

Summer's nearly upon us, and these movies aren't getting any shorter. Here's where Rinkworks's helpful Movie-A-Minute will be your saving grace. Never went to see The Sixth Sense and wonder what all the fuss was about? Girlfriend bugging you to watch Sleepless In Seattle with her because "it will speak to your heart"? Fret no more.

Once you're up to speed on the movies, why not get a little culture and head over to Book-A-Minute and (speed-)read through some of the classics.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

It's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping!

JIM: "Hey! You got Beatles in my Metallica!"

BOB: "No, you got Metallica in my Beatles!"

ANNOUNCER: Stop it, you two! You're both right! It's Beatles and Metallica together in a delicious new snack called Beatallica!

(Thanks, Dave!)

Friday, May 16, 2003

Row, Row, Row (Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row, Row,) Your Boat Gently 'Cross The Sea

If you've got a strong back and arms, enjoy the great outdoors and don't mind monotony, The Ocean Rowing Society is looking for you!

If you're more of an armchair ocean-crosser, you can check out the progress of Simon Chalk as he rows from Kalbarri, Western Australia to Reunion Island in France, a distance of 3701 miles. Daily journal entries as well. Standing by: Mick Dawson is waiting for the weather to calm down in Choshi, Japan as he prepares for his solo 6000-mile row to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA.

(Via Rob's Blog)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

'Bo Knows Signs!

Back in the Depression-era 1930's, with much of the nation out of work, there were a large number of tramps, or hoboes. Drifting from town to town, looking for work (or not), they often travelled from one place to another by "hopping the rails" and hitching an illegal ride via the boxcars criss-crossing our fruited plain.

Once a 'bo landed in town, he or she would most likely want to know the lay of the land. Where would be a safe place to camp? Where is a good place for getting a handout? Did the owner of this house have a vicious dog? Would a little religious talk win a handout from this person?

So a system of marks and signs was born, readable by other hoboes in the know. They would leave a mark outside various locales, perhaps a fencepost here, a railroad trestle there. Here's a nifty guide to some of the more common hobo signs. Jusr roll your mouse over the symbol to see what they mean.

As for origin of the word "hobo", Merriam-Webster's tries to unravel the mystery.

The Most Mysterious Manuscript In The World

It's called the Voynich Manuscript, after Wilfrid M. Voynich, who discovered it tucked away in a Jesuit college library in Frascati, Italy in 1912. It may date as far back as the 13th century, and contains about 240 pages of illustrations and text written in a language still untranslated to this day. Some purport it to be a hoax, while others have devoted much of their lives to cracking its mysteries. Click here if you just want a brief overview, and here if you want to wallow in all things Voynichian.

You'd be paranoid, too, if everyone was out to get you...

Roadsigns secretly marked by the government?

Are you keeping an eye on those wily Illuminati?

Plus, if you can't get enough of conspiracy theories, why not create some yourself? Too lazy to fill in the blanks? Let The Internet Conspiracy Generator do all the work for you!

Oh, and as if you don't have a busy enough day tomorrow as it is... don't forget to pencil in that the world is ending May 15th.

Andy's Facelift

Anybody seen any of the new $20 bills yet?

And if you're one of those conspiracy theory nutjobs (you know who you are), find out how to spell Osama with a twenty, and how to recreate the burning WTC on just about any bill at the Coincidence or Conspiracy? website.


The "Bright Colors / Dark Emotions" exhibition opened at MOBA's [Museum Of Bad Art] original gallery, in the basement of a private home in Boston. The show centered around a collection of eight paintings pulled from the same trash pile.

On a cool, windy August night, Scott Wilson, MOBA curator, came upon a discovery that would change his life and the future of this museum.

"It was big, I just didn't know how big" said Wilson, recalling the moment of discovery.

He ordered the car to stop, "backup" he screamed.

As he leapt from the car, the top most painting blew from the pile. The one below was even worse!. One, two .. seven, eight .. each one worse than the last.

"I laughed, I wept, I danced in the street".

"What is it? Who did them?" called a voice from the car.

"It's unknown" Scott replied, "It's Unknown"

The Museum of Bad Art is a community-based, private institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory.

The pieces in the MOBA collection range from the work of talented artists that have gone awry, to works of exuberant, although crude, execution by artists barely in control of the brush. What they all have in common is a special quality that sets them apart in one way or another from the merely incompetent.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Meat! The Beetles!

First course: Appetizer!

Second course: Fish

Third course: Sorbet (to get rid of that fishy taste!)

Fourth course: Main course -- [NOTE: The USDA has declared this dish "unfit for human consumption". Pah! What do they know?]

Fifth course: Salad More Meat! (Are you tasting it or is it the other way around?)

Sixth course: The thinking man's course

Seventh course: Dessert

Eighth course: Drinks

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Hit The Road (Part 3)

How wide is America? According to Matt Frondorf, it's exactly 3,304 miles from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge. He should know. He stopped and took a picture every mile of the way. Retrace his route (in increments of 100 miles, 25 miles, or for the masochists out there, individually, mile by mile. Should have been sponsored by the OCD Foundation.

Hit The Road! (Part 2)

If you're gonna hit the road, you're going to need supplies. Here are a few places to look out for. (What, no Curl Up & Dye?)

Also worthy of your attention: Roadside Art Online (click on the pics), and a whole passel 'o' Roadside links, courtesy of Interesting Ideas.

Hit The Road! (Part 1)

Planning a roadtrip, and want to see the sights along the way? Forget Triple A! They're for wusses! You think they're gonna tell you about places like Buckskin Joe's in Canon City, CO (Live Hangings!!), or the darkly fascinating Mutter Museum in Philadelphia (home of The Soap Lady and The Big Colon!)? Didn't think so. That's why you need the help of Roadside America.

You can search by town, state or name of attraction.

On a personal note, a couple of years ago on a trip out to New England, we made a special detour to visit two sites mentioned, Ruggles Mine and America's Stonehenge.

Also available in dead-tree (book) format!

U-G-L-Y! They ain't got no alibi!

They're ugly!

WINCE! at the hideous faces of the players!

CRINGE! at some of the not-so-pretty injuries!

LAUGH! at the antics of the ever-present streakers!

COWER! when you spot The World's Ugliest Referee!

And here's proof that it's not just ugly doesn't stop at the sideline... Ugly Fans!

PS. Maybe it's just me, but it looks like Roger Daltry needs to take a Xanex and a bath.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

United we compute!

Probably the most well-known and popular instance of distributed computing is the SETI@home screensaver project. But there are so many other organizations out there with equally(?) noble causes just itching to borrow some of your unused CPU cycles. Math geek? Help look for the next Mersenne prime number. Cryptography buff? Help push the cutting edge of RC5 code-breaking at Want to conquer the financial world? Help find patterns in the stock market.

What is this geek currently donating his cycles to? Using to help look for a cure for cancer. (Go Team Slashdot!)

Here's a good list to start shopping for your favorite project.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Yabba-dabba-doo! Winstons are good for you!

I just came across, and it's great! Archives of commercials and TV promos going back over 40 years. This is going to bring back a lot of memories for some of you. Includes 1970's Saturday morning fare like Quisp cereal commercials and the themes from "Land of the Lost" (Marshall, Will and Holly... On a routine expedition...). Oh, and a disturbing Winston cigarette TV commercial featuring Fred Flintstone. What were they thinking??

Lots of classics and not-so-classics. Happy retro-ing! (Will need Real Player installed to view the clips)

Sunday, May 04, 2003

It's the "Year Of The Ox" that really freaks me out

Which Chinese sign do you fall under?

Nightlife is a bit disturbing as well.

And here we have a fine Night Train, sir. Would you care to sniff the screw-cap?

All the biggies are reviewed.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Bling x 2

Suits, lids, bling... it's all about the pimpin'.

Hezekiah! Tell Malachi to stop building the barn and reboot the web server!

The Amish have a website.


An amusing collection of monsters courtesy of zefrank.

(Via J-Walk)

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Hint: Don't buy anything from the dairy case

From the website of the Longhorn Auction Center in Billings, MT:

In 1952, a Roundup grocery store closed their doors because of a death in the family and was never opened until a few months ago... Over 50 years have passed! Everything was left, including all the memorabilia you would find in a 50s store...This will be the most interesting collectable auction you may ever attend... We will be taking phone and silent bids if you cannot attend, plus when they went into the basement, they found a speakeasy with all the bar signs and memorabilia.