Friday, December 31, 2010

Morning Jukebox: Forgotten 80s Edition

I've lined up a couple of fun and bouncy but forgotten videos from a couple of 80s bands.

The first one, "Pop Goes The World", was the only other US chart entry (hitting #20) from the Canadian New Wave band Men Without Hats, though they have seen much more success in their native country. Their most famous video, at least in the USA, would have to be 1983's quirky, goofy "Safety Dance".

"Pop..." is just as hook-y as "Safety Dance" was, featuring Jenny, a cute teeny-bopping guitar-slinging girl, and Johnny (Men Without Hats lead singer Ivan Doroschuk), an Elvis impersonator, a snowman drummer, and a baby keyboardist. Naturally.

The next video is even more shrouded in the mists of One-Hit-Wonderdom, "Whirly-Girl" from the Band OXO, which managed to briefly grace the 1983 pop charts, peaking at #28,before fading from our minds and our TV screens.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Morning Jukebox

Matt Bianco - Yeh Yeh.

This 1986 video by British jazz-pop star Matt Bianco is actually pretty meh (though the out-of-control arm movement at 1:15 made me laugh a little), but the song (a Latin soul number written by Rodgers Grant and hitting #21 on the US pop charts in early 1965), the song is killer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Mt. Superior, Speed Fly from Marshall Miller on Vimeo. Music by K'naan.

Clawed and Dangerous, But Does Like Being Scratched Under Her Chin

(via Videogum)

Let's Enhance That!

Let's Enhance

Here's a trope that always bothers me, The Magic Enhancer. It's usually employed in detective shows, where the cops are studying some grainy, blurry, black-and-white image snagged from a super-cheap closed-circuit convenience store camera recorded on the one VHS tape they bought with the camera ten years ago and have been recording and re-recording (and re-re-re-re-re-recording) ever since.

Always, the cops find what they suspect is their perp and have the computer lab guy "clean up the image", usually while having the detective tell him to "enhance" this or that 4-pixel blob. Invariably, through some form of magical technology, the killer's license plate or driver's license number or what-have you come into crystal-clear focus.

This is what is called "bullsh**".

The various flavors of the crime procedural CSI (CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:New York, CSI:Dubuque, CSI:Your Mom's Basement, etc.) manage to take the Enhance Button to a whole new level. The wonderful takes an excellent and incredibly detailed look at the phenomenon of the fabled and magical Enhance Button, citing numerous examples such as these whoppers, all of these just from the CSI franchise:

  • CSI likes to rely on the NTSC overscan to find hidden details in an image. In one episode, they are able to reconstruct a recognizable image from the reflection in someone's eye. At night. In the dark. From a grainy CCTV image. Another similar example involved getting a recognizable image of a person behind camera from the reflection of someone's sunglasses in the window of a car.

  • CSI had an egregious example when they showed off a 3D crime scene scanner. Such a device does actually exist, using a laser to create a 3D image of an area, but then they used the computer to ''lift the body off the bed to look at the stains on the sheets underneath it''. It's the equivalent of taking an ordinary photographic image and being able to "strip away" the skin and muscles to get an image of not just the structure of the person's bones, but what color they are.

  • [CSI New York] takes the cake when they zoom and enhance an image so much they can see the reflection in a person's eyes. Said reflection... is of course... crystal clear.

  • An even more outlandish example occurs in one episode where the original image was on a BOLT on the back of a car, which they turned into a crystal-clear, completely undistorted, image that showed the killer's face perfectly.

  • CSI New York were able to pull a fingerprint off of a still from a grainy video when the suspect put his hand in front of the lens.

This is a hilarious parody of CSI Enhancing gone to extremes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Putting the "hurt" back into hurdles

Yes, I know there isn't a "t" in "hurdles". Shut up.

Epic hurdle fail. I would watch waaay more sports on TV if they had this guy in everything.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's all in the details...

Ha! A nice recreation of George Seurat's pointillist masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. (via The Best Article Every Day)

Incredible pictures made with pictures

This is amazing! (¡Esto es increíble!)

Word Lens is quite the cool iPhone app. It does more than just translate Spanish to English/ English to Spanish. It literally translates and replaces the words in the video, realtime. Quiero.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Big D

I do not fear Death. I play a pretty mean Battleship.

The lovely, talented, (and unsigned at this time) Lauren O'Connell performs an amazing version of the folk standard "O Death", playing all the instruments her own bad self.

You may also remember hearing Stanley Clarke sing this during the memorable "KKK meeting scene" in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

25 Most Unusual Deaths of 21st Century
Some of these were just horrific, like these two:

2004: Ronald McClagish, from England, died after being trapped inside a cupboard for a week. A wardrobe in the bedroom outside had fallen over, trapping him inside.

In an effort to free himself, McClagish accidentally wrenched a water pipe from the wall and the water gushing from the pipe eventually caused his death from bronchitis. His body was not discovered until two weeks later.

2009: Vladimir Likhonos, a Ukrainian student, died after accidentally dipping a piece of homemade chewing gum into explosives he was using on another project.

He mistook the jar of explosive for citric acid, which was also on his desk. The gum exploded, blowing off his jaw and most of the lower part of his face.

Bonus! Non-lethal palate cleanser: Boy gets butter knife stuck in head. Don't worry, he's fine.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Leaping Lepus!*

*Lepus is the genus to which hares and jackrabbits belong.

If frisky, playful puppies faced off against carrot-munching hip-hoppity bunny rabbits in a "cute-off", it may result in a tie. Luckily for us, we don't have to choose in Orisinal's new top-scrolling avoidance game Carrot Track.

You are trying to guide one lone rabbit as he follows a trail of carrots through a sunny park full to overflowing with perky pups. It is your job to "leash" the puppies (by clicking your mouse and dragging to one or more of the dogs) just long enough for your hare to get past their trajectory.

Fortunately, there are various powerups placed along your path, ranging from a dog whistle that stops the canine chaos long enough to afford some bunny breathing room up to a rabbit-sized helicopter backpack that allows your carrot-muncher to float above the fray for a bit.

Then there's the music, which is light and bouncy, not unlike your main character. I have a feeling you'll still be whistling it hours after you play.

If you like this, Orisinal has dozens of other lighter-than-air fare such as Starry Night (bounce stars off bubbles!) and the very popular Winterbells (also featuring a jumping bunny -- who knew rabbits had so much game?) which has just been released as an iPhone app. (via Jay Is Games)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Roll Up the Rug

Designers Stijn van der Vleuten and Marcia Nolte and visual artist Bob Waardenburg make carpets out of just about anything. Here they've made a Persian carpet made entirely out of dry pasta.

And here is another, this time using plastic forks. Other kooky floor art include Plastic Army Man Carpet and Band-Aid Carpet.

A gallery of 18 even more unusual carpets, including this Pimento Loaf rug. Hey, at least it's not head cheese, amirite?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Morning Jukebox

Mister Lidell is takin' his Mr. Potatohead act to the streets!
Jamie Lidell - Another Day

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Patty Cats and Mormon Brats

These patty-cake-playing cats reminded me of the fighty Mormon Twins from the 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven, remember those guys? YouTube won't allow me to embed the video but you can watch it there. I fear that this is my two boys in 15 years.

Friday, December 03, 2010

And I thought Roadrunner was a douche when he was a bird

Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner in human and live-action format, Wiley vs. Rhodes. That braindead permasmile expression on Mr. Human Roadrunner doesn't translate well from the original cartoon and it creeps me out.