Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dirty pictures

Scott Wade's car windshield gets dusty. Instead of writing the classic "Wash Me" on it he gets a tad more creative.
(via Boing Boing)

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Covers In A Jugular Vein

...and still one more paint-by-numbers reference from the previous post.

I was already planning on posting this link to Doug Gilford's MAD Cover Site, which features scans of every MAD Magazine cover since its inception in 1952. Finding a paint-by-numbers cover was just a happy coincidence.

MAD has also produced prodigious amounts of paperback books over the years, usually recycling their magazine stuff and giving it a second run. Dick's MAD Stuff has a huge collection of MAD paperback covers, plus covers from MAD artists (Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Dave Berg, etc.) for your perusal.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You must chews

Chew By Numbers sells something they call Gum Art Kits. What that is really is a bunch of pieces of gum of various colors and a sort of "paint-by-numbers" kit using, God is my witness, chewed gum as the medium.

The kits are available for $12.95. The more budget-conscious will have to scrape their own kit from under the table at the local diner of your choice.
(via Pop Culture Junk Mail)

The Smithsonian Institute has a detailed history of Paint-By-Numbers

From the Some-collections-are-weirder-than-others Dep't: Some guy collects pictures from paint-by-number catalogs, and posts the scans on his website.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

With a name like...

Just a quick shoutout to the newest family member in the Information Nation blogrolls: Damn Interesting, which posts nuggets of news and history that almost never fail to be, well, damn interesting. Whether it's a story about the Japanese WWII soldier who wouldn't quit or a brief bio on vaudeville artist Hadji Ali a/k/a "The Great Regurgitator", whose grand finale was have an assistant set up a small metal castle on stage while Ali drank a gallon of water followed by a pint of kerosene. To the accompaniment of a drum roll, in an amazing display of accuracy, Ali would eject the kerosene in a six-foot arc and ignite the tiny castle in flames. As the flames grew he would then eject the gallon of water and extinguish the fire. He performed his act twenty-two times a week, sometimes more.
Happy reading!

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You know my name (look up the number)

Seeing as how most of us seem to have nicely survived the ominous (or would it be "Omen"ous?) date of 6/6/06, you may be wondering what other special numbers are out there. Turns out that pretty much every number under 10,000 has at least a few interesting characteristics. Below are a couple of sites exploring them.

What's Special About This Number? is the prettier of the two, with the nice color gradations going down the list. Some of the numbers are missing in their under-10,000 list, though.
Example: 1214 is a number whose product of digits is equal to its sum of digits.

Number Gossip, while not as polychromatic, will definitely give you several unique properties for every single number under 10,000 that you enter.
Example: Your number 1514 has the following properties: even, composite, deficient, odious, square-free, Ulam.

Your number is very special! 1514 has the following unique property: 1514 is the smallest 4-digit number whose square (2292196) and cube (3470384744) use different digits.

Cool Numbers takes a slightly different tack, asking you to type in a US currency serial number and they will tell you how "cool" it is according to the "Universal Coolness Index". Criteria used to determine the UCI include things like whether the number is palindromic, whether it is a number in the Fibonacci Sequence, whether each digit is a multiple of 3, etc.
Example: The number you entered was 81147403.

This number is almost cool. It has a Universal Coolness Index of 81.0%

# 81147403 is a prime number! Only 5.8% of 8-digit numbers are prime.

# 81147403's digits sum to 28. In 18% of 8-digit numbers, the digits sum to at most 28.

(Cool Numbers link via The Presurfer)

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Eye (want) Candy

Holy smokes! is a video blog (or vlog as those young whippersnappers call it) with an amazing collection of 1,400+ Eighties videos aggregated from the treasure trove that is YouTube.

Also found at the same site, a compilation of all of the excellent Animusic videos. You may have seen some of these airing the last time PBS was fundraising; they sometimes use the two Animusic DVDs as thank-you gifts for contributing. If you don't know where to start, I recommend Acoustic Curves, Pipe Dream 1 (or Pipe Dream 2) or Pogo Sticks. But really they're all wonderfully inventive and hypnotic.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Quick, I need a Number 2 pencil, a quart of motor oil and 37 marshmallows!

Wikipedia has a partial list of the problems solved by MacGyver. Looks like they only have it filled out to Season 2 so far, but that's the great thing about Wikipedia. If you want to help fill out the list, go for it yourself! (via Reddit)

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Sweet dreams and flying machines

Perk up your Friday doldrums and build the (self-proclaimed) "best paper airplane in the world" (link via Digg)

If you aren't so sure about that claim, you can test-drive other paper airplane models here and here.

On the more unusual, "you mean that'll really fly?" side of paper airplanery take a look at the X-zyLo Flying Cylinder. Billed as a "flying gyroscope", but it's really just a plastic cylinder with the leading edge weighted a little more. Looking at it for the first time you'd think there's no way this thing is gonna make it more than ten feet, but supposedly they've been flown over 200 yards, with 100 yard throws easily attainable.

If you don't want to pony up the eight bucks for a X-zyLo, you can make a more modest version for free out of paper.

Considering the year is half-over now, hardcore but thrifty/cheap folders might still be able to pick up the 365 Tiny Paper Airplanes calendar for a bargain.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

For the birds

Drop the name Freeman Davis or Brother Bones and you're likely to be greeted with a blank stare. But chances are you've heard his music, probably hundreds of times. You see, he's the whistle behind the Harlem Globetrotters theme song for the last half-century, "Sweet Georgia Brown". (Why am I feeling like Paul Harvey? "And now you know...the rest... of the story!")

If you're in that 2-3% of the world's population that can't get enough whistling in your music, then The Online Guide to Whistling Records is like high-pitched aural mannah from heaven, with bios and over 100 MP3s of Brother Bones, Elmo Tanner, Fred Lowery and other tweeters. A good starter might be the William Tell Overture Finale, (that's theme from The Lone Ranger for the elbows-on-the-table crowd) as whistled by Fred "The Blind Whistler" Lowery.

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The Sure Thing

Bill: Let me get this straight: you took all the money you made franchising your name and bet it against the Harlem Globetrotters?!

Krusty: Oh, I thought the Generals were due!

[TV shows a Globetrotter spinning the ball as Generals watch]

Krusty: He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it, take the ball. [the Globetrotter kicks it into the net behind him] That game was fixed. They were using a freakin' ladder, for gods' sakes!

Talk about being on a roll... On January 5, 1971 the Harlem Globetrotters lost a game in Martin, Tennessee in overtime to the New Jersey Reds as team owner Red Klotz sank the winning basket for a 100-99 score that ended a 2,495-game winning streak.

On September 12, 1995, the Harlem Globetrotters lost an exhibition game 91-85 to Kareem Abdul Jabbar's All Star Team in Vienna, Austria ending a run of 8,829 straight victories in exhibition games going back to 1971.

They also immediately went on another winning streak of 1,270 before losing 72-68 to the Michigan State University Spartans on November 13, 2000 (the eventual national champions). This was only the 333rd defeat in the organization's history since its inception in 1927. As of February of 2006, the Harlem Globetrotters had over 22,000 wins.

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You Are Here

Liberal? Conservative? Libertarian? None of the above? Take the World's Smallest Political Quiz and pigeonhole yourself just a little bit more.

If you have no interest in politics, you could still take the quiz and see what position you'd be if you were fielding for that new MLB team, The Washington Idealogues. Looks like I'd be playing shallow centerfield.

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The best part of wakin' up is LSD in your cup

I had to watch this twice to make sure this new Folger's commercial wasn't one of those SNL parodies. Words fail me.
(via Metafilter)

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday Music Quiz

Can you tell the work of Mozart from his contemporary and (some contend) his arch-rival, the royal composer Antonio Salieri? Take the quiz. As for me, I might as well have flipped a coin, getting a bleh 60%, just one better than half of them right. Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all.

Speaking of the Mozart vs. Salieri myth as portrayed in the 1984 film Amadeus, you should know that most scholars apparently discount the whole "Salieri killed Mozart because he was jealous of his talent" theory that was so predominant in Amadeus, as well as a number of other nuggets that people took from the movie as fact, but probably weren't. I still think it's a wonderful film, capable of sparking interest in what most people now consider to be stuffy and boring and of no interest or relevance to them. It just shouldn't be taken as an authorized biography of the man.

Here's a nice breakdown of some of the myths purported in the film.

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You spin me right round, baby

Greg Kennedy puts a unique spin on his juggling act. Literally. Watch him juggle 3, 5 and 7 balls while standing within an acrylic inverted cone.
(via In4mador!)

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Congratulations! You've won a chamois for your Porsche!

Do You Speak American? How do you pronounce words like "Alumnae", "Balsamic" and "Nuclear" (I'm looking at you, W!) (vee-a thuh PREE-surfur)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bloody Blogger Battle

Try saying that five times fast!
Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker happening Sunday, June 18th! So feel free to send along any luck, good vibes or mojo care of this blog.

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers. If you're one of those blogger-type persons, click the link above to register.

Registration code: 2203037

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006


From the Simpsons golden Phil Hartman/Troy McClure era comes the satire, "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!", which includes the immortal lyrics
Troy: [singing] I hate every ape I see
From chimpan-a to chimpan-zee
No, you'll never make a monkey out of me

Oh my God, I was wrong
It was Earth all along!

You've finally made a monkey

Apes: Yes, we've finally made a monkey

Troy: Yes, you've finally made a monkey out of me

Apes: Yes, we've finally made a monkey out of you

Troy: I love you, Dr. Zaius!

In other monkeyman news, The Monkey Chow Diaries is chronicling one man's journey to find the answer to the question "Can man live on monkey chow alone?"

Everything from Gordo (the first monkey in space) to Bubbles (Michael Jackson's special "friend"), it's Famous Monkeys Through History

And lastly, the story of J. Fred Muggs...

Since its debut on January 14, 1952, NBC's Today Show has been on the air for an amazing 54 years now, and has enjoyed high ratings for much of that time. In the first year, though, things were going badly, and the show's producers were desperately looking for ways to reach a wider demographic. Whether through expensive marketing consultants or as the result of a peyote-induced visionquest, we may never know which, someone decided that the perfect addition to the staff of a morning news program would be the tough-yet-fair-minded, hard-hitting journalistic integrity of... a chimpanzee would be the ultimate remedy for those Low Ratings Blues.

Thus was the world introduced to J. Fred Muggs, the Today Show's official mascot and co-anchor from 1953-1957. Obscure, yes, but well-known to some of the more devoted trivia hounds out there. Even more obscure is the name of his occasional on-camera girlfriend with the melodious name of Phoebe B. Beebee.

Surprisingly, both J. Fred Muggs and his now "live-in girlfriend" (apparently it never occurred to Mr. Muggs to make an honest chimp out of her) are both still alive and living in Citrus Park, Florida.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Settling disputes with your fist

The classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors has always held appeal in the under-12 schoolyard set. Rock breaks Scissors. Paper covers Rock, Scissors cuts Paper. Lately it seems to be making strides in the adult world as well.

Back in '04 I posted about the Annual Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championships, where more or less adults-type persons engage in an annual fight to the finish, complete with costumes, alter egos and strategies on winning what is the glorified equivalent of a coin toss. No, really. This is a serious blog and I'll kindly thank you to stop sniggering.

Anyway, with the R/P/S triumvirate on my mind this afternoon, I thought I'd share these recent findings with you.

Rock Paper Saddam is part of Jay Barnes' blog. Seriously, if the actual Saddam trial had been like this I'd have gotten front row seats.

Those who have become bored and jaded by the simplicity of Rock Paper Scissors and its mere three outcomes might appreciate the sophistication of Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard, where Lizard poisons Spock, Scissors can decapitate Lizard, plus a few more other new ones. All told a possible 10 outcomes.

Those who have become bored and jaded by the simplicity of Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard and its mere ten outcomes might appreciate the sophistication of RPS-15 which, aside from our Trusty Three, also features an additional twelve weapons at your disposal such as Sponge, Dragon, Lightning and Tree. All told a possible 105 outcomes.

Those who have become bored and jaded by the simplicity of RPS-15 and its mere 105 outcomes might appreciate the sophistication of RPS-25 which, aside from our Trusty Three, also features an additional 22 options in your arsenal! For the full breakdown on what beats what, here's a handy-dandy E-Z to memorize chart of the 300 outcomes. (RPS-25 link via Boing Boing)

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Oh-oh-oh, it's magic

Illusionist Criss Angel walks through a window without breaking the glass. I have no idea how he does it, but it's pretty impressive.

Here he is walking up and down the side of a building. This one seems a bit dodgy somehow... Something about the camera angle that keeps changing and not letting you get a long look. Regardless, it's a freaky illusion.

Anyone know how he did either of these?

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