Monday, July 31, 2006

Pranks for the memories


Wikipedia's list of your garden variety schoolyard pranks such as your basic Indian Burn, Wedgie and Swirly. Inexplicably, the Playground Bully chestnuts of the Noogie and the Wet Willy are nowhere to be found, but, this being Wikipedia, please feel free to add them in there yourself (unless the memories are too painful to bear).

Depending on whether you were a victim, a perpretrator, or are just a young tyke honing your Future Bullies of Tomorrow skills, you may appreciate Atomic Wedgies, Wet Willies, & Other Acts of Roguery by Greg Tananbaum and Dan Martin. All the classics are covered, plus the more obscure prank arcana like Burp 'n' Blow, Book Knock and Psyche Shake.

Lest you think that this kind of thing stops when you get out of middle school, think again. I had read about The Great Rose Bowl Prank of '61, but I didn't know that it was revisited in the 2004 Yale/Harvard "We Suck" prank. Good stuff!

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How much weight would "The Weight" song weigh if "The Weight" song could be weighed?

That is perhaps the only question not tackled in this extensive exploration of the history and meanings behind "The Weight" by The Band originally released on their 1968 release Music From Big Pink.

Things I was surprised to learn:
1) It's "Take a load off, Fanny" and not Annie.

2) Although it turned into one of their most durable and well-known songs, it was thrown on the album as a second thought as sort of "filler". In the US the song never even cracked The Top 40, peaking at #63, although it's inclusion on the soundtrack to the 1969 Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper stoned classic Easy Rider undoubtedly helped (US # 6 in October 1969 and 41 weeks on the chart).

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

I got it! It's "The Godfather"! Err, wait... maybe Carrot Top wasn't in "The Godfather"...

Test your cinematic knowledge with these three movie quizzes. They will give you a still from the movie, you type in the name of the movie. You could cheat by hitting IMDB (Internet Movie Database) I suppose, but what's the challenge in that?
(thanks, Dave "24 fps" Postma!)

Here are the official rules:


2. If you’re sure you know the movie, but are uncertain about the spelling, go to and check it. If for some reason the script refuses to acknowledge a right answer… well it’s obviously wrong. We’re pretty confident in our spelling. It doesn’t matter if you try in caps or not, it is not case sensitive. (note: if there is a weird letter, like an “รด”, use the English spelling equivalent. In the example, use “o”)

3. If you’re very, very stuck try finishing the movie quiz with friends. It should be a fun social experience.

4. Don’t use IMDB, other than to check your spelling. It’s cheating and it takes away from the fun.

5. There are some really tricky ones, but most are from a signature scene in the movie. If you can’t recognize the actor, try to remember the scene that the still is from. It should help you.

Good Luck and, more importantly, have fun.

Fun Movie Quiz #3
Fun Movie Quiz #2
Fun Movie Quiz #1

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

John had just won first prize at a cat show and had received a 10-day cruise to the Puerto Rico. The catch was, though, pets weren't allowed on the cruise. So he decided to leave his cat with his best friend, Al. Al agreed to come over to John's house and live with his mom for the duration of the cruise. John told Al, "Just feed the cat three meals a day, and take good care of him. He's my prize-winning cat!" And with that, he left. The next day, John phoned Al on his cell phone and asked, "How are things?"

To which Al responded, "Things are fine."

"How's Mom?"

"Mom's fine."

"How's the cat?"

"The cat's fine." Satisfied, John hung up. Next day, John called Al again, asking the same questions.

"How are things?"

"Things are fine."

"How's Mom?"

"Mom's fine."

"How's the cat?"

"The cat's DEAD."

"WHAT?!?" John was quite distressed. "How could you let it die? It was my prize cat!"

"Well, John, I'm sorry, but I couldn't do anything, I didn't see it. But what I think happened was that the cat was on the roof, fell off, and broke his leg. Then, he hobbled out into the road, and got run over." John was cooling down a bit now, and said, "Well, couldn't you have tried to break it to me over time? You could have said it bit by bit. For example, you could have first said 'The cat's on the roof', then the next day said 'The cat fell off the roof, and broke its leg', see what I'm saying."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. See you later, John."

"Ok... bye." John hung up. The next day, John phoned Al again.

"How are things?"

"Things are fine."

"How's Mom?"

"Umh," Al said, "Mom's on the roof."

6 Ways to be Good at Giving Bad News (via Lifehacker)

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Domino arigato, Mister Roboto!

A tip of the hat (were I wearing a hat [which I am not] and were I the hat-tipping kind, [which I would like to think that I am]) to fellow blogger ILUVNUFC over yonder at Look At This, who clued me in to the awesomosity of TV in Japan as documented by the succinctly-titled TV In Japan. Domo arigato to both of you!

As a kid, I used to love that game "Mouse Trap". You know, the one where you built this amazingly convoluted machine that started with the turn of a crank, which set in motion a chain of events with balls rolling down inclines, a little bowling ball falling into (and out of) a little plastic bathtub, landing on a teeter-totter which flung the little plastic guy into the... okay, it was pretty complicated, and I loved it.

Years later I discovered the computer-game incarnation of that in The Incredible Machine, which had the same basic goal of doing some simple task by building this Rube Goldberg-ian device out of rockets and seesaws and rope and pulleys and... well, you get the idea. And if you don't, you can get the game for free and try it out yourself.

So it was no wonder that I was tickled to find out about a Japanese TV show called Bakuten Domino, where the show is based on the following concept: the hosts of the show take practically everything in your house and stack it in a line (a la dominoes). Of course, the fun starts when the stuff starts toppling. Even cooler, like the best Rube Goldberg devices, it accomplishes some simple task (like turning on a lamp or starting breakfast) in the least efficient, most amusing way possible.

Sure, it's easy to stack CD cases and VHS videos, but how do you stack coats and shoes? Watch and learn, kid, watch and learn...

Even more Bukaten Domino-y goodness, courtesy of YouTube.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wanted in Pennsylvania (and 15 other states)

Answer a few questions and figure out where you really would like to live, whether you know it or not. Like lots of sunny days? Are you a snowboarder? Need to be able to catch the occasional performance of Rigoletto or La Boheme? Love (or hate) living near a college? will take your answers, plug them into your basic weighted-variable cross-indexed sliding-scale fuzzy-logic compatibility matrix. Answers are then baked at 375° for 20-25 minutes and then garnished with a sprig of parsley. Serves 4-6. Actually, what you will get is a list of the top 24 cities you would most enjoy living in most. (via srah blah blah)

Here are my top 24 places to live. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this particular Yankee must have a deep-seated but long-repressed hankering for the Southland, as evidenced by my Dixie-heavy list. I had no idea.

Luckily, since I already live at #16, I guess I don't have to do much else!

1. Carlisle, Pennsylvania
2. Jacksonville, Florida
3. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
4. Tallahassee, Florida
5. Olympia, Washington
6. Roanoke, Virginia
7. Albany, New York
8. Chattanooga, Tennessee
9. Gainesville, Florida
10. Knoxville, Tennessee
11. Tacoma, Washington
12. Hickory, North Carolina
13. Johnson City-Kingsport, Tennessee
14. Bloomington, Indiana
15. Cincinnati, Ohio
16. Grand Rapids, Michigan
17. Clarksville, Tennessee
18. Tulsa, Oklahoma
19. Athens, Georgia
20. Tuscaloosa, Alabama
21. Kent, Washington
22. Charleston, South Carolina
23. Palm Springs, California
24. Jackson, Mississippi

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Monday, July 10, 2006

All we're missing now is an obscure Linux reference...

Star Wars, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, YouTube. A juxtaposition of geek elements aligning to create The Perfect Geek Storm. (via Sarcasmo's Corner)

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Good dog...

This dog was born without any front legs. Her owners have taught her to walk upright on her hind legs to get around. Wow. You really have to see this. (via Metafilter)

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Monday, July 03, 2006

That blowed up real good!

How do fireworks work?

Make your own (virtual) fireworks.

Make your own (real) fireworks.
Nope. Nothing there that could possibly go wrong.

Oh. Yeah. Except for maybe that. And that. And that. Annnnd... all of those hundreds of other things listed at's Big List of Fireworks Boo-Boos. For all you readers from outside the US, don't be so smug until you check out your own country's fireworks accident list... On the other hand, it's pretty hard to live down something like this:

Coralville, Iowa - Authorities say a man died in the fire that apparently started with fireworks. Neighbors said they saw the victim shooting off fireworks from inside his mobile home and then they saw flames coming from a window. The trailer was engulfed in fire within minutes.
On the bright side, maybe you will join the ranks of such luminaries as Boris Yeltsin, Jerry Garcia, and other celebrities with missing fingers.

In short, if you're celebrating the 4th tomorrow, keep it safe and sane. Don't let your last words be "Hey guys! Watch this!"

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