Friday, December 30, 2005

Let me take your hand, I'm shaking like milk

Grasping the meaning of different types of handshakes. This one is The Bone Crusher.

How to throw gang signs, and even more gang signs

Secret handshakes of the Freemasons

Handshakes of the
Boy Scouts (left hands),
Girl Scouts (Girls raise their right hand in the Girl Scout sign and shake using their left hand) and Cub Scouts (Right hands, put your first two fingers along the inside of the other boy's wrist)

Greeting customs in other cultures around the world. Did you know there is a Filipino tradition on Guam to put one's right knuckles against an older person's forehead?

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Metapost: Getting to know you

Some statistics on the average Information Nation reader, according to my hitcounter logs:

You probably use either MS Internet Explorer 6 (53%) or if not, Netscape 7/Firefox (42%)

You're probably a Windows XP user (69%), though 9% of you are Mac users. The other 22% of you are using other versions of Windows such as Windows 2000/ME/98/95 or operating systems such as UNIX, Linux or FreeBSD.

Most of you (61%) have your screen resolution set to 1024x768

Chances are you're from the United States since (75%) or Canada (7%) but a few of you are visiting from the UK (5%), Australia (2%) or The Netherlands (1%). The remaining 10% are the few stopping by from one of over 70 other countries.

If a searchengine brought you here, it was probably Google (78.85%)

The best time to find you here is on a Wednesday, between 4 and 5 PM.

So Dear Readers, how accurate is it?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

'Stached Away

Well, this nine to five routine
It don't agree with me
It makes me oh so mean
It,baby, drives me up a tree
I'm growin' a beard
Yeah, I'm growin' a beard
I'm growin' a beard, pretty mama,
That's all I wanna do

Well people running 'round
They're runnin' here and there
Well, me I can't be bothered I'm just trying to grow some hair
I'm growin' a beard...
"Growin a Beard" - Ben Vaughn

Facial hair link dump

Telling the difference between an goatee and a Van Dyke beard

Senior Yearbook photos are a goldmine of regrettable facial hair and clothing styles

Bad Hair by James Innes-Smith and Henrietta Webb is my next Amazon must-purchase

The Whitworth Archives document hair- and facial hairstyles of the 20th century

Can't keep your soul patch straight from your muttonchops? This series of paintings called Beard of the Month Club will git you all edumacated and such.

Seeing this, I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. The Beard Experiment.

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Lay down your arms

What is going on when your arm/leg/foot falls asleep?

Can you prevent jetlag by shining a flashlight on the backs of your knees?
Q: What do you call a guy with no arms or legs... waterskiing?
A: Skip
Lots of no arms or legs jokes.

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Flippin' Sweet!

Did you ever make flipbooks as a kid? You take a notepad and draw a little animation on each page so that when you quickly flip through the pages you have your own homemade little cartoon.

FLIPBOOK! lets you do that on the Intarweb, and you don't even have to kill a tree to do it. Anyone can create their own and submit them to the gallery, from a few frames to elaborate works with hundreds of frames. My humble first experiment is called Crashing Waves, Crashing Gulls.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How do you spell "relief"?

(click picture to see the ad)

Maybe you've seen this Geico TV ad with the spelling bee kid being asked to spell "floccinaucinihilipilification" (which means 'the act of estimating as worthless'. His bewildered deer vs. headlights look cracks me up every time. I didn't know whether the word was made up for the commercial or whether it ws the real McCoy. At 29 letters, it is in fact one of the longest words in the English language, even beating out the old standby "antidisestablishmentarianism".

The Consolidated Word List is a compilation of over 100 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee word lists dating as far back as 1950. It contains over 22,000 words broken down by the frequency used in spelling bees.

And if I ever had the chance to be a spelling bee pronouncer (that's the guy who gives the kids the word to spell) I think it would be funny to do this every time:

Pronouncer: Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification"

Kid: *gulp* Could you use that in a sentence, please?

Pronouncer: Of course. Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification", said the pronouncer.
Ha! That kills! I'd better get working on my application to Scrips-Howard right away...

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So long, sleepyhead!

I came across an interesting article (via Digg) on the benefits of Power Napping and how different nap length times will affect your body. A natural full-length sleep cycles several times a night through five stages. The true Power Nap only includes the first two, which happen in the first 20 minutes of sleep.

The National Sleep Research Project brings us 40 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Sleep, which I found while poking around looking for other sleep-related articles (and yawning more than usual because I was reading about sleep -- does that happen to you, too?)

According to this site, the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.

Another site makes the claim that the record is 11 days (264 hours), set by a a 17 year-old San Diego kid back in 1964 as a science project. Here's an in-depth look at what went on.

The longest of, well, just about anything else can be found at [big breath] [phew!]

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Extending the Three-Second Rule

A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany. Most hospitals probably aren't this clean.
It is here where they handbuild each Phaeton, VW's luxury entry, which starts in the neighborhood of $66,000 USD.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

I buy all my \/1@G®@ from Painful J. Tumescence!

An amusing article called "Joe Jerk's Amazing Offer" on the bizarre names spammers sometimes choose. Inspired, I checked my Throwaway-Go-Ahead-And-Spam-Me-All-You-Want Yahoo! email account, sorted the wheat from the chaff and came up with my own Spammer Names Greatest Hits.

I especially like the guy named Ebola trying to sell me medicine. I mean really, if someone named after a highly virulent disease that can cause your eyeballs to bleed and has a 90% mortality rate doesn't inspire your confidence, then you have some serious trust issues... (via Techdirt)


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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Frozen Post


Pics from the 2005 Snow Sculpture Championships held each year in Breckenridge, CO. They take place in late Jan/early Feb so you don't have long to brush up on your snow-carving skeelz. The site also has a short video answering the question How Do They Make Those Big Blocks Of Snow? (thanks for the link, Dave-stee Freez Postma!)

What happens when you pump water up two tubes and out a couple of nozzles for 24 hours a day for 6 months from October 2003-April 2004?

When you live in Texas, I guess you'd get a big lake. Eventually. But if you live in Fairbanks, Alaska and the temp outside is -56°F, what you get is a climbable wall of ice, 140 feet long, 40 feet wide, 80 feet high, and weighing about 45,000 tons. The last of it finally melted by the middle of July 2004.

Addendum: The 2005-06 ice wall is already in production.

Mister Science explains the mysteries of brainfreeze a/k/a Ice Cream Headache, plus why our teeth chatter when we're cold.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weakest. Link. Ever.

Some of the worst answers given in games show history. Where do they get these people?

Robinson: What insect is commonly found hovering above lakes?
Contestant: Crocodiles.
Robinson: Wh...?
Contestant (interrupting): Pass!

Anne Robinson: In olden times, what were minstrels, travelling
entertainers or chocolate salesmen?
Contestant: Chocolate salesmen.

(via The Presurfer)

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Oxygen Rock

Virtual Air Guitar (with rockin' videos!)

The Official US Air Guitar Championships (with video of US champ Fatima "Rockness Monster" Hoang!)

Philson Air Guitars -- "If it's a Philson, it's gotta be rock and roll"

Air Guitar Aerobics class

This is hilarious. A store that sells products catering to their air guitar-playing clientele: huge rock crowd posters and cardboard cutout electric guitars (the kids call 'em "axes" don't ya know).

The only air guitar you should be playing with after the age of 30

If you happen to be one of the few out there who actually do play rock with an actual corporeal guitar, this handy-dandy guide to posing like a rock star may help you rock your audience's collective face off just a bit harder. (via Memepool)

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Cute Overload is nothing but pictures of cute puppies and kitties and duckies and squirrelies et al. Like the sun, best viewing is indirectly and only in small amounts. (via Boing Boing)

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Body tricks

Suffer from nighttime heartburn? Try sleeping on your left side. Got first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. 18 not-so-intuitive tricks to teach your body (via Circadian Shift)

20 tricks to Christmas-proof your body

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

How do you spell relief?

You may remember the commercials claiming that Rolaids absorbs "47 times its weight in excess acid!"

Perhaps the artist given LSD and then asked to draw could have used some of that in this 1950's US goverment experiment in the effects of hallucinogens...

Speaking of artists, Louis Wain was an artist who specialized in whimsical paintings of cats and dogs dressed in human clothes, performing human activities (recall the famous Dogs Playing Poker painting and you're pretty close to what Wain did).

However, Louis Wain suffered late onset schizophrenia in 1917 at the age of 57. He continued to draw cats, but the images became more and more disconnected from reality. A fascinating look at how his artwork changed as he fell victim to his illness.

Speaking of Dogs Playing Poker, Wikipedia has the lowdown.

And finally, speaking of 47 (remember? up at the top of this post?), someone has sure been seeing the number 47 everywhere these days...

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Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

Don't get me wrong
Try getting me right
Your face is okay
But your purse is too tight
I'm looking for pound notes
Loose change
Bad checks, anything
Gimme some money
Gimme some money

Spinal Tap - "Gimme Some Money"
(along with lots of other Spinal Tap mp3s at

Sites like and help people locate unclaimed
  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Insurance policies, CD's, trust funds
  • Utility deposits, escrow accounts

If you see something that might be your, you can click through and fill out a claim form. Interesting. As far as I can tell, I personally don't have any loot languishing anywhere but maybe some absent-minded InfoNation readers do??? If so, don't forget that finders fees generally run at least 10%...

------------------------- is another useful service that helps you to keep track of those odious "price after mail-in rebate" offers often run by retailers. From their Welcome page:

Every year, millions of people worldwide make purchases enticed by "price after rebate" promotions. Surprisingly, very few of those rebates are actually mailed in (less than 5%, in fact!). Then, weeks pass and the consumer receives either a check or a rejection notice (or no notice at all!). By the time the rebate check is due, most people have either forgotten about the purchase altogether or have lost track of the relevant contact information and have no way to follow up. Literally, millions of dollars remain unclaimed each year!

This is where comes in. Sign up for an account and enter the relevant details every time you submit a rebate. The web site will organize your submissions, keep track and report on the money you are owed, and will even send you reminders when your rebates are due. Give it a try, it costs nothing, and will likely put a few dollars back in your wallet!

(Both Rebate-Traker and the unclaimed money ideas came the power-to-the-people blog The Consumerist)

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

American Top 40!

No, not the Casey Casem kind.

MP3 bloggers vote for the Top 40 Bands in America Today. Of course, the bottom 90% of the page is whining from readers about why their favorite band wasn't included... (via kottke)

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Aren't you a string?

I'm a frayed knot...

Animated Knots has animated you-know-whats, shown in your choice of fast or slow motion to help you better learn how to tie the aforementioned whatchamajiggers. (via J-Walk)

Remember the in Jaws where Chief Brody is on the boat with Quint and Hooper and they're hunting the shark? At one point, before the shark starts eating the boat and crew and whatnot, Brody has a piece of rope in his hands and he is trying to learn how to tie some kind of knot. We hear him mumbling something about "the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree..." Remember?

That knot was a bowline, which is the most useful knot for sailors, since it forms a loop that will not slip or jam, and can be untied easily even after being used for heavy loads.

How to tie a bowline, and what the whole rabbit running around the tree thing is about.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

The Green Mile

Couple months back I posted about the Dead Man Eating Weblog, which tracks last meals of death row inmates, and summarizes the inmate's crime and last words. As a sort of followup to that, and in light of the headlines recently about the 1,000th execution in the US, it seemed like as good a time as any time to bring these up...

A history of botched executions

Last statements (ie. last words) of Texas death row inmates (via In4mador)

The transcript and RealAudio link from a thoughtful and well-done documentary called "Witness to an Execution" is over at, a non-profit that specializes in audio documentaries and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. They not only have other excellent pieces on this particular subject like "The Execution Tapes" (Real Audio required to listen), but on a whole variety of subjects. does wonderful work. Check 'em out.

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Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey

If you or someone you love has trouble hearing that alarm clock in the morning, here are some stocking stuffer ideas:

  • The Wake Assure alarm clock not only has a buzzer capable of cranking out up to 95 dB (that's louder than a lawn mower), but also features a flashing lamp and a "strong bed shaker"

  • The new Sonic Boom SB300ss not only has their most powerful 12 volt bed shaker and a tone up to 113 dB (louder than a car horn), the LED display also comes with a "hi/low dimmer switch to sleep better at night". (Uh, if you're buying this clock I think you're sleeping plenty good there already, Van Winkle...)

And my personal favorite,

  • The Sonic Alarm --
    Looking like an old-fashioned comedy hand grenade, the Sonic Alarm will wake pretty well anything up. Simply pull the pin, yell an emphatic "fire in the hole" and lob the grenade into the sleeper's room. After ten seconds a very annoying and piercingly loud noise (there are three volume settings) will blast out from the alarm. That's not all however, what makes this especially great is that to stop the alarm the sleeper has to find you so you can put the pin back in.

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Got Milk?


Chris over at Cynical-C unearthed an old story from about the Hindu Milk Miracle of 1995.
It all began on September 21st when an otherwise ordinary man in New Delhi dreamt that Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of Wisdom, craved a little milk. Upon awakening, he rushed in the dark before dawn to the nearest temple, where a skeptical priest allowed him to proffer a spoonful of milk to the small stone image. Both watched in astonishment as it disappeared, magically consumed by the God.

Some have explained it as capillary action drawing in the liquid, while others say that explanation doesn't, err... hold water. Or milk. Whatever.

Video available at

Like similar stories of the Virgin Mary showing up in window reflections or on a piece of toast or in a road salt stain on the concrete wall under a highway in Chicago, I myself take all these with a grain of (road)salt.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Eat your heart out, Wonka! Hmmmm... eat...heart... Hey! I think we have a new flavor!


The Candy Kid over at Candy Addict recently reviewed a few of the many disgusting flavors of the Harry Potter-inspired candy Bertie Bott's Every Flavo[u]r Beans.

His review is here, while the entire quease-fest list of flavors (Rotten Egg? Sardines? Earwax, anyone?) is available here.

At least one of the flavors you can enjoy twice. Once going in and once going out. Yes, that's right. There is a vomit-flavored jelly bean. Bon appetit!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Phone/internet status at home might be touch and go over the weekend, as SBC will be repairing a damaged line to my house. If we don't talk, have a great Thanksgiving and save me some stuffing!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Whaddaya mean it's "Kiss The Sky"??!!

To prevent you from singing out the wrong song lyrics a la "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy", EvilLyrics is a free little plug-in that will display the lyrics to whatever song you're currently playing in WinAmp, iTunes, Music Match, etc. (via Look At This...)

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Heads you win...

The Flip Site has tossed a virtual coin once every five seconds since midnight on January 1, 2005. By the end of the year, over 6 million coin flips will have occurred. You can even watch the flips LIVE!!! Boy, does that flipper guy look tired. As you might expect, it's a tight race, but Tails is holding a slim lead as of this posting.

If you get tired of watching Dr. Flipper do his thing, Flip Site has some other interactive things to do.
  • Flip Parade will call up a visual history of any portion of flip history.
  • Flip Streaks will show you the longest all-heads or all-tails streaks.
  • Flips a la N will let you set up whatever evil coin-flipping experiments the mad scientist in you cares to hatch.

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A mulatto, a salami, a mosquito, origami

Robert J. Lang has been mastering the art of origami for over 30 years. Most of the works on his site are made from a single sheet of paper. Wow.

Inspired, I carefully crafted my first origami object and you can buy it for way cheap.

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Risk your life in the name of Physics!

David G. Willey is a physics instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and loves to give interesting demonstrations on the various aspects of physics. Here he explains how to walk on broken glass, smash a concrete block on someone's chest while they are lying between beds of nails, pick up a piece of orange-hot space tile and, as you can see from the pic above, dip your fingers in molten lead. The physics behind all these seemingly dangerous stunts are explained in this CSIOP article.

He also goes on the road from time to time with his show, "How Does A Thing Like That Work?"

(via Boing Boing)

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Have a hundred, leave a hundred. Need a hundred, take a hundred.

Here's a handy tip to all would-be counterfeiters. When sending in your the printer for repair, make sure you take out the fake money first.

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Tangram: (n) What you get when your mom's mother sits in the sun.

Here's a fun little version of the the Chinese puzzle tangrams. Move the puzzle pieces to make the shape shown in the screen. Sounds easy. Sometimes it even is! I cracked 1000 once. How did you guys do?

(via Digg)

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gorgyles and Psychlics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The latest video making the rounds on Teh Internets is the complete meltdown of the self-proclaimed "God Warrior" on the Fox reality TV show Trading Spouses.

Some enterprising soul has fashioned a talking bobblehead doll of this woman and are auctioning it off right now on eBay. Current bid as of this posting is somewhere north of $650. When you visit the eBay site, turn your speakers up, for they have also included a God Warrior remix, no charge.

I never saw the show (nor am I inclined to), but... watching the video, it does indeed sound like she's saying "Gorgyles" instead of "Gargoyles" and "Psychlics" instead of "Psychics".

(via Mookie)

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The gum was terrible. A little pink rectangle, soft as flint and after two minutes in your mouth, about as flavorful. The "comic" inside, and I'm using the term very loosely here, was either incredibly unfunny or just inscrutible. It's Bazooka Bubble Gum®! Here, have some Bazooka-flavored links to chew on...

Might as well start at Topps, the home of all things Bazooka and check out some of the aforementioned comics.

A dissertation on the societal roles of Bazooka Joe & Friends over yonder at The Shrine of Bazooka Joe.

bazookajoe How did Bazooka Joe lose his eye?

woodsy Give a hoot! Don't litter! Make that Indian stop crying and recycle by making Bazooka gum wrapper origami shirts and pants.

I'm not sure why it's called this, but here's how to make a drink called a Bazooka Joe.

gadzooka Contrast Bazooka Joe comics to the much funnier 1970's contemporary: Wacky Packages. Man, I used to love those things, and collected tons of them. Tom's Wacky Packages Page has pretty much all of the original series that ran off and on through the 70's. All lovingly scanned and posted for your nostalgic enjoyment.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Frame that equation

Jared Tarbell at has written some Java and Flash code that can create stunningly beautiful art. Most of the code is based on just a few mathematical rules that reiterate over and over until what emerges is just amazing. Because there's a seed of randomness at the heart of these, the outcome is different each time. Most are hypnotic just to watch as they evolve. For example, this one called Substrate uses a few basic rules to "grow" city-like structures. The more you let it run the more complex it becomes.


Or Guts, which renders a kaleidoscope of, well, what looks like intestines. A little icky, but a lot cool.


What's also nice is that he provides the source code for just about all of these, so if you've a mind to, you could get in there and tinker to your heart's content.

(via Digg)

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Back from some R&R with a little... R&R

101 Things You Didn't Know About Rock N' Roll

Can you pick out the true rock rumors from the lies?

Marilyn Manson was on The Wonder Years and 9 other Rock Myths (some true, some not)

Yet another piece on Rock Urban Legends

I saved the best for last. Good Lines, Bad Lines features one man's opinions of some of the best and worst in rock lyrics. Puzzlingly, he has not yet nominated Sammy Hagar's "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" for the lyric Hot sweet cherries on the vine -- Huh?! Sammy might want to visit a cherry orchard, because the last time I checked, they grew on trees. No vines involved.

The same guy who wrote up the Good Lines, Bad Lines stuff also wrote a nice piece called Annotated Rock! It dissects the lyrics not only to Don MacLean's "American Pie", thorough work though it's been done by lots of other people before, but also the interesting choices of Tom Waits' "Jitterbug Boy" and They Might Be Giants' "Purple Toupee". Maybe it's just because I am a big fan of Waits' and TMBG's early stuff myself, but I got quite a kick out of it.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Toys of Yesteryear

Actually, if yesterday is the day before today, wouldn't yesteryear be... 2004?

If you grew up in a certain time frame, the items at Feeling Retro may cause a twinge of nostalgia. They've got a nice list of toys, games, food and music from the 60's and 70's. You can even share your favorite memories. Nice.

Everyone has their favorite childhood toy. For me it was the Krazy Kar.


I had no idea they still made them anymore, but they do. You sat in the middle, and turned the handles on the sides of the wheels. You could go forwards, backwards or do 360s. Awesome.

Funny, I don't have memories of riding this outdoors, though I'm sure I did. I do vividly remember riding it in the house in my mom's upstairs sewing room. The room had plenty of open space and my sister and I would spend hours racing around up there, spinning in circles until we got falling-down dizzy or building up speed and seeing how far we could skid with the plastic wheels on the bare wood floors. The racket we made directly above our parents' heads must have been a nightmare; it's a wonder they didn't kill us.

Now that I know these are still being made, I will definitely consider getting one of these for my boys this spring.

Being an adult and way (way, WAY) over the weight limit of 70 lbs on these things, I wonder how hard it would be to build a Dad-sized version to play around with?? Hmmm...

Other toys of my (and maybe your) misspent youth can be found at Similar site, but a LOT bigger listing. A little hard on the eyes compared to Feeling Retro, but what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in volume. Enough links to suck up a couple three hours of your day.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Technical difficulties: having trouble posting -- come back soon!

Okay, it appears the technical problems I was having have gone away. I wasn't able to publish anything new. The only thing that would show up was the title of the post. I emailed Blogger support, but I haven't heard back from them. The problem seems to have gone away, though.

New posts tomorrow...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Guess The Tagline

This is great... thousands of movie taglines. Test your knowledge, do you know which movies these taglines came from? Here are some from the "Cream of the Crop" section. Answers are posted in Hi-Tech-Inviso-Font after the tagline. To read it, click and drag your mouse across the space immediately after the quote.

Like this!

In space no one can hear you scream. Alien
He said 'I'll be back!'... and he meant it! Terminator 2
An adventure 65 million years in the making. Jurassic Park

He's having the day of his life...over and over again. Groundhog Day
He charges $10 but he's willing to negotiate. Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo

Check in. Relax. Take a shower. Psycho
God made him simple. Science made him a god. Lawnmower Man

The same site is also a good source of movie quotes, too.

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How tacky can you get?

Ripped from today's headlines:
Man Sues Home Depot After Getting Superglued to Toilet Seat

From headlines of the recent past:
Thai Monk Mistakes Superglue for Eye Drops
Thai Man Commits Suicide by Supergluing Mouth and Nose Shut

Which begs the question, what is it about Thailand and Superglue?? By the way, below that suicide story there's a rather overheated and pointless (but funny) flame war between some of site's members on whether Superglue is toxic. Well, it certainly was for the gentleman in question...

Q&A Time:
How does Superglue work, anyway?
And how do you remove it?
Why doesn't Superglue stick to the inside of its tube?
Was Super Glue invented to seal battle wounds in Vietnam?


"Rubber Cushion: To John Bloor, who mistook a tube of Superglue for his hemorrhoid cream and glued his buttocks together." and other Superglue urban legends.

Apparently scientists have discovered how mussels make their own Superglue.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Captnkurt! Come on down!

I don't know if you've ever watched The Price Is Right, but growing up in the 70's, game shows like this were about the only things on TV during the day that were semi-interesting for a kid to watch.

One of the perennial games on TPIR is called Race Game. A contestant is brought up and shown 4 prizes and four price tags. The challenge was to match the price up to the correct item. Once they made their guess, they came back and pulled the lever on this ginormous slot machine-looking thing that would flash the number of prices they got right. If they missed any, they had to keep going back and making changes. Oh, and they had only 60 seconds to get them all right.

What often happened was you got someone who had absolutely no clue. They're up there putting a $5,000 tag on a wicker chair and $300 on a speedboat. Maybe it was the bright lights and the shouting audience. Maybe it was nerves. Or maybe they were just morons. Who knows?


Anyway, watching the game when someone just totally at sea was pretty nerve-racking for the audience, not to mention the contestant. Invariably they initially would get one, maybe two correct, but then get flustered when they ran back to make changes. Usually they freaked out and blindly switched around two random tags and raced back to pull the hideously oversized one-armed bandit only to see they still had two right and two wrong.

It was usually at that point that things pretty much unravelled, and the befuddled player hemmed, hawed and generally agonized over trying to decipher which tags the audience was screaming for them to switch. They usually got in one last yank, only to find they had gone from two right to one or even zero correct.


"So?", you may be asking. "Your point is...?"

While playing this game called Star Chemistry, I felt just like one of those TPIR Race Game losers. Making crazy guesses, desperately trying to divine the right answer, but really doing nothing more than blindly stabbing in the dark.

In this game, you are shown a group of actors. How many depends upon the difficulty level you choose. In this example, I have chosen the medium level of difficulty. It wouldn't have mattered. I sucked on the Easy level, too. You job is to place each star next to one of the other stars they have appeared onscreen with. It works out so that it forms a little circle, with each actor appearing with each of his/her neighbors in a different film. It's a bit like The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon on steroids. By the way, that is another game I really, really suck at, but I know of a couple of friends, plus my very own Mrs. captnkurt that would totally wail on this game.


Although the Star Chemistry game was not my cuppa tea, the page listing the history of every single pricing game ever played on The Price Is Right (over 80) in the past 30-some years was pretty sweet.

(via Little Fluffy Industries)

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

When You've Got A Problem, Think Silicones!

When You've Got A Problem, Think Silicones!
When You've Got A Question, Think Silicones!
Because you see
Silicones by GE
Are unquestionably
The answer!

The 50's and 60's brought about the strange entertainment/propaganda hybrid (enterganda? propatainment?) known as the corporate musical or industrial musical.

Wikipedia sez:

An industrial musical is a musical performed for the employees of a business, intended to create a feeling of being part of a team, and/or to educate and motivate the management and salespeople to improve sales and profit.

Industrial musicals are not resticted to corporations or to businesses involved in industry. They should not be confused with ...musicals produced by companies to be seen by the general public, for example, Disney's stage production of The Lion King.

Oh, I don't think there's any danger of that.

Parts One and Two of Recruit, Train and Motivate: The History of the Industrial Musical will give you some background.

Some of the more jaw-dropping "They really recorded that?!" gems include:

American Standard's "The Bathrooms Are Coming!" The aching ballad "My Bathroom" is available for download.

GE's Got To Investigate Silicones (okay, this one was actually a corporate film instead of a stage show, but it's in the same style) featured "The Answer". The mp3 can be found at I Eat Tapes. Check it out. It's a showstopper and a chart-topper.

The Name of the Game with Loretta Swit and David Hartman to hype up Listerine salesmen. (I know you're heartbroken, but sorry, I couldn't find any audio)

That hipster David Letterman also has a bunch of bizarre corporate jingleage over at the Late Night website.

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

I can see my line from here!

Welcome to SwarmSketch: Collective sketching of the collective consciousness.

SwarmSketch is an ongoing online canvas that explores the possibilities of distributed design by the masses...

Each user can contribute a small amount of line per visit, then they are given the opportunity to vote on the opacity of lines submitted by other users. By voting, users moderate the input of other users, judging the quality of each line. The darkness of each line is the average of all its previous votes.

Here is a previous sketch under the heading "Tom Sizemore".


and here, for comparison's sake, is an actual photo of the actor Tom Sizemore.

You know, for what it is, the likeness is not that bad.

Stats for this particular sketch include a total of 1,000 lines, with 35.2% coming from Japan and 19.3% from the United States.

(via J-Walk)

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It's all coming together now

This post is rated ratedr

First off I should preface that this post is indeed rated R. I don't do much in the way of off-color posting, but this was something that has kind of coalesced into something worth posting. What I mean by "Rated R" is that the links contained herein take you to some MP3s that are a bit, ah, racy/raunchy/dirty/your favorite synonym for cussing here. If you think you would be embarrassed or offended or get into trouble by listening to any of the songs mentioned below, please move on to another post, 'kay?

The other day I found a link to some guy named Jonathan Coulton who has done a folky sort of version of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back". Those unfamiliar with Mr. (he's not really a knight, you know) Mix-A-Lot's rendition, the Wikipedia entry should get you up to speed.

While enjoying the dulcet tones of the aforementioned Jonathan Coulton song, I found this: the Latin Lyrics to "Baby Got Back". That's not Latin as in Latino, but Latin as in veni, vidi, vici.

And both of these reminded me of the unusual take on the whole "Baby Got.." cover phenomenon. Namely, a (literally) righteous cover called "Baby Got Book" that sports lyrics like

I like big Bibles I can not lie,
You Christian brothers can’t deny,
When a girl walks in with a KJV*
And a bookmark in proverbs, You get stoked.

It got a name in place,
you know this girl has been saved
It looks like one of those large ones,
With plenty of space in the margins,
Oh baby, I want to read it with you,
Because your Bible has got pictures,
My minister tried to consult me,
But the book you’ve got makes me so Holy.

*KJV = King James Version of the bible

Getting away from that particular song, I also found a couple of other interesting things, such as this Joni Mitchellesque cover of NWA's "Straight Outta Compton". You can download it for free on her site.

Last but not least, and included here because I have no idea where else to post it is the lyrics to the Theme From Shaft if they were written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer. Got that?

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SFP - Week 8

For the three people on the planet who may be interested. My football pool picks for Week 8 are posted at

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Those rocks are stacked/ That's a fact/ Ain't holdin' nothin' back

This just looks so strange and impossible. Is it legit?

Bill Dan balances rocks for a living (via Memepool)


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The Parent Candy Trap


The indispensable has a page which features ideas for Candy Traps, which is the gimmick of scaring the kids coming up to get candy from your house. In days of old, it might have been your dad jumping out of the bushes with a Frankenstein mask or what-have-you. These are a bit more involved. Most are just sketches of ideas, but a few of them have been built and photos taken to document the process.

One of the better ones was Candy Trap - Hershey Bar.

I don't know about you, but I think the Camoflage Candy Trap would fill my pants and not my candy bag, if you know what I mean.

For those who might be thinking that scaring the kids is cruel, here's what Tom from has to say:

As and adult, if there was a house where someone jumped out of the bushes in a gorilla suit every halloween you would probably remember which house it was.

As a kid, you can never remember which house is which. One house a few streets away used to pull this game. We loved it, but I could never remember which house it was. We had major paranoia on halloween night. Houses with bushes were approached with much caution.

Still, the guy with the gorilla suit was the coolest house of the year.

As you would expect, a site called would have some pumpkins, too. Extreme ones, even. Each year they hold a pumpkin carving contest with some amazingly creative submissions. Here are the 2003 and 2004 winners.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hitting the lever again

You know those lab rats that were given a dose of some addictive substance like cocaine or crack or Raisinettes or whatever every time they pressed down the lever in their cage?

Meet today's lever.


Click one of the tiles and it rotates 90 degrees. If it links up with another tile, then both will rotate 90 degress, and so on, and so on. I have been playing with this a little and just randomly clicking tiles. So far, I have racked up a high score of 2188. Can you do better?

PS. You could "set up the board" by getting certain tiles prepositioned the way you want them before you start playing the game proper, but that sounds like too much work. I prefer the random method better. (via Cynical-C)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fallin' apart down in Shaky City

Artist Liz Hickok has built an intricate scale model of downtown San Francisco. It's really lovely. Oh, did I mention it's made out of Jell-O? 'Cause it's made out of Jell-O. (via Dvorak Uncensored)

Visit The Jell-O Museum

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brought to you by The Magazine Cover Oversight Committee

In the news last week was the American Society of Magazine Editors choices for the Top 40 magazine covers of the past 40 years (with a little -- very little -- background on the photos here. I have two complaints:

1) What's with the chick wiping her boogs with her sleeve? How the heck does that embody the "Era of Elegance"? And more importantly, how did that get to #9? Of all time?? Please.

2) Aside from the (in)famous National Lampoon "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog" cover, where were the magazine covers of my misspent youth??

I'm here to rectify the grievous error by directing you to the following:
Cool Flash-driven Mad Magazine cover archive. Hold your mouse over the thumbnails to bring up a cover. Click on it to get some more details on that particular cover. (via Boing Boing)

The Cracked Magazine cover archive is not as slick, but it always seemed that Cracked was playing second banana to Mad anyway.

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