Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I heard mention of The Rock Snob's Dictionary just the other day on NPR. Judging from the generous helping of excerpts online, it looks to be right up my alley.

Take the non-rock-related How Much of a Snob Are You? quiz

The Word Detective explains the origin of the word "snob" (and has the good taste to have chosen a similar title to my humble little post). The archive of back articles makes for some fascinating reading, boys and girls.

From the A-Snob-For-Every-Occasion Dep't:
TV snobs
Cigar snobs
Game snobs
and even though they might not be snobby, these guys are still SNOBS (The Society of NOrdic Barbershop Singers)

Monday, August 29, 2005

One hand in my pocket

Street scams in Barcelona (via Information Junk)

Even more street scams explains how shell games and three card monte games work.
runs a very active discussion board, with thousands of readers posting, reporting and dissecting various scams worldwide.

The Top 10 car dealer scams of 2005.

WTD: 1 Shrtless hd-rawkn sngr. Knowing lyrics a +! Talent optnl.

the rawker

The Rawker is looking for work as (what else?) a rockstar, so if you are a hard-rawkin' band looking for a shirt-abstaining, mullet-wearing, cue-card-reading tone deaf frontman, look no further.

(thanks David "I... Am... Iron... Man!" Postma)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Better living through needless surgery

Just two words describe Seattle's Dennis Avner a/k/a Stalking Cat, who has spent the last 25 years and $200,000 undergoing innumerable plastic surgeries to make himself look more like a tiger.


Informative article and Dennis' very own website for more details and pics, if you dare.

(via Fawn Jotters)

Phone phunnies


John Hargrave is the main brain behind, "The World's Only Comedy Site".

John Hargrave makes lots of prank calls.

John Hargrave made me have to clean Diet Coke off my monitor this morning after reading transcripts of the aforementioned prank calls.

You can check out the call to Kellogg's concerning their recent "2-Week Fiber Challenge" or the call to Mapquest, or the call to AT&T to get a telegraph installed (hey, that's what the second "T" stands for after all).

There's a bunch more here from Hargrave and various other folk. Funny stuff!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

VecTrex, where are you now?


The sole purpose of the Lost Formats Preservation Society is to save formats from obscurity. Above, we see
1) PaperPunchCard

Dimensions: Various
Storage Capacity: 80 columns
Manufacturer: IBM

Being able to store 80 characters per card
programmers would try anything to economize
use of card space, including shortening dates
to their last two digits. Thus responsible for Y2K.
Used from 1890 to the 1970's.

2) EightTrack

Dimensions: 5.25 x 4 x 0.9 inch
Storage Capacity: 80 minutes
Manufacturer: RCA

William Lear (of Lear Jets)
built FourTrack players into his
jets. Dissatisfied with the
technology he further developed
it into the EightTrack format.

(via Things Magazine)

Mouse chaser


Trippy Java app that follows your mouse movements.
(via Random Good Stuff)

The tipping point

Oh oh domino
Roll me over romeo
There you go
Lord have mercy
I said oh oh domino
Roll me over romeo
There you go
Say it again
I said oh oh domino
I said oh oh domino

Van Morrison - "Domino"

Domino Day 2005 is taking place sometime this November in, as far as I can tell, the Netherlands. There teams will try to break various world records for domino toppling. The current team world record, set in 2004 is an amazing 3,992,397 dominos. It flew under my radar, but apparently ABC even aired a special covering the 2001 Domino Day.

Current world records for domino toppling.

Mazeguy explains some of his tips and tricks for a domino setup in his home.

Blogger Okkibokki has some great pics of Domino Day 2004.

domino-day01 <-- More swell DD '04 images from this Netherlands news site

Dutch-based Weijers Domino Productions, which organizes Domino Day, has some interesting pics from past events at their website.

I have been looking all over teh Internets, but have been unable to come up with any video of the event. If anyone can point me to some, I'd be most obliged.

Do you think secretly replacing a team's regular dominos with Weebles is funny or cruel? Just wondering...

On the other end of the domino vs. gravity spectrum, Matthias Aisch of Germany hold the world record for stacking dominos, balancing 726 dominos on a single upended domino. See the amazing pics!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WIll it go round in circles


Spirograph-y sort of art, with links also pointing to Spirograph art on a taxi and "light Spirograph" art using a small flashlight tied to a string and a long film exposure.

Ian Dawson's Spirograph Diptych

For the do-it-yourselfers, you can play around with this online Spirograph. (Tip: if you change the setting from automatic to Manual and knock the velocity down a bit from 10 to maybe 7 or 8, you can watch the Spirograph thingie do its stuff). The very rich and very lazy demographic may prefer to have their robots do the Spirographing for them.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


After mentioning the Invisible Movie quiz in the previous post, I located a weekly Invisibles Quiz at The quizzes are smaller (only 8 per quiz), but there's almost a hundred quizzes out there with a new one every week. Cool!

Where's the rest of me?


A fun quiz for you: Can you name the movie with the people missing? The link is to a downloadable Microsoft Excel file (under 1MB size) with the quiz embedded.

I've got 36 out of 72 so far. How 'bout you?

There's also a similar quiz where you have to name the band from looking at their photo. Same deal, it's an Excel spreadsheet (~3MB size) and if you get the right answer, it'll tell you. Fair warning: the music quiz seems to be a quite Brit-centric (the quiz came from a website) so it pays to be especially keen on Britpop. As an example of the degree of difficulty, I defy anyone from the left side of the Pond to identify this band:

They're not all that obscure, thankfully, but be ready for a challenge! If your musical history sense extends no further than boy bands from 1998 on, you're in for a world of hurt.

I located what are purported to be the correct answers for the music quiz (all 270 bands). It's available here if you just can't stand it anymore or if you want to cheat with abandon.

For the record, I got about 100 on the music quiz. My score was actually higher, but about 10 or so were from shoulder-surfers behind me shouting out answers.

Blooze 'n' Roq

Your basic Rules for the Blues
1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning."

9. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is wrong.

14. If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues beverages are: a. wine; b. Irish whiskey; c. muddy water. Blues beverages are NOT: a. Any mixed drink; b. Any wine kosher for Passover; c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors).
(via The Presurfer)

You know that ad campaign Burger King is running for their new chicken fries? The one with the rock band dressed up like chickens and singing about "One nation under chicken fries"? I never caught the name of the band until this morning when the commercial came on the radio and I heard the announcer say the name of the band. Well, sort of. He actually introduced the band by spelling out their name C-O-Q R-O-Q.

"C-O-Q R-O-Q?!", I said back to the car radio, which I sometimes do and is not at all crazy, so just shut up. "Coq Roq?! Burger King made a band named after cock rock, the derogatory term for bands like Ratt and Whitesnake?!"

Yeah, I get it. They're all dressed up like chickens. Male chickens are called cocks. Yeah, I get it. But it's kind of funny that Burger King has chosen as their spokespersons a band whose name they can't even say on the radio.

The Coq Roq website is edgy and loud, with lots of content for your average head-bangin' young BK patron, and it sure as hell is better than their creepy guy dressed up in the Burger King mask. *shudder*

As for the music, it's not that bad, and you can read a bio of their life as a (literally) faceless corporate shill. Their are 4 songs available for your listening or downloading pleasure, most of them with semi-raunchy double-entendres (Bob Your Head, Nice Box) for the full cock rock, err... Coq Roq... experience.

I have to admit the video for Cross The Road is a pretty amusing, though why a bunch of chickens would risk their feathers crossing the road to eat their own kind is a wee bit mystifying. Best not to think about it too deeply. I doubt anyone at BurKingCorp did either...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

As opposed to just phone-camming your boss a pic of you hurling...

How to call in sick when you're not really sick but just need a day off. (via Lifehacker)

If you're looking for some inspiration, you could pick one of the 1,070 excuses for not coming in to work (or school, or jury duty) at The Mother Of All Excuses Page.

If all else fails, just plant this on your desk and hit the road, Jack!

All the Diddy. None of the P.

Move over Age of Reason (17th century Europe). Step aside Age of Enlightenment (18th century Europe). Don't even think about it Era of Good Feelings (1817-1825 US). There's a new time period in town.

Welcome to the Era of Diddy.

Sean Combs a/k/a "Puff Daddy", a/k/a "P. Diddy" has made an eathshattering announcement today that he will be once again changing his moniker, this time to simply "Diddy".

From the potential Pulitzer Prize winning article:
"I felt like the 'P' was getting between me and my fans and now we're closer," the initial-free rap mogul tells the "Today Show" on Tuesday (Aug. 16). "During concerts, half the crowd is saying 'P. Diddy' -- half the crowd is chanting 'Diddy'--now everybody can just chant 'Diddy.'"

"It's the era of Diddy."

History scholars, consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

And you thought the Flugelhorn looked weird...

Unusual musical instruments, such as

  • Bazantar - a five-stringed bass guitar -- with an additional 33 strings
  • Rumitone - a tubular bell, sit-and-spin sculpture
  • Singing Stones - 100 river rocks suspended by music wire from a wing-shaped sound box
  • LEGO Harpsichord - Just what you'd guess. Made from 100,000+ LEGO bricks

There's pics and descriptions for all of the instruments, and audio samples for almost all of 'em. Cool!


And try as the inventor might (and try he does), there's just no way to make playing The Musicpole look even remotely cool. (via Daily Jive)

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

"Was President Lincoln okay?"
"What's a battle?"
"I bent my Wookie!"
and a buncha others at the Ralph Wiggum Soundboard

Soda Stories 2: Carbonated Boogaloo

Quick. Name the most popular brand of carbonated beverage in the world today.

You probably said Coca-Cola, right? And you'd be correct. But it wasn't always so. For a brief period up until the 1920's, America's most popular fizzy drink was... Moxie.

Buh? What's a Moxie?

Originally created in 1884 in Lowell, Massachusetts by Dr. Augustin Thompson, Moxie was marketed under the product name Moxie Nerve Food and originally sold as a "cure all" medicine. Original labels made some bold claims indeed
Contains not a drop of Medicine, Poison, Stimulant or Alcohol. But is a simple sugarcane-like plant grown near the Equator and farther south, was lately accidentally discovered by Lieut. Moxie and has proved itself to be the only harmless nerve food known that can recover brain and nervous exhaustion, loss of manhood, imbecility and helplessness. It has recovered paralysis, softening of the brain, locomotor ataxia, and insanity when caused by nervous exhaustion. It gives a durable solid strength, makes you eat voraciously, takes away the tired, sleepy, listless feeling like magic, removes fatigue from mental and physical over work at once, will not interfere with action of vegetable medicines.

About the only place Moxie still has a stronghold is in the New England area, especially Maine. They loves them some Moxie up there in Maine, where they drink Moxie like it's going... well, you know. They even have an annual Moxie Festival.

So, what happened? Why can't we go to 7-Eleven and get the Moxie Double Gulp®? Why is it just about everyone remembers "I'd like to buy the world a Coke...", but you don't hear too much of the Moxie jingle, which went a little something like
...just make it Moxie for Mine,
For the strenuous life it is fine.
It's a drink that they serve,
Which will build up your nerve.
So just make it Moxie for Mine!

Grammatical issues of the alliterative jingle aside, the reason Moxie fell by the wayside had to more with economics than anything else. When sugar proces skyrocketed in the 1920's, Moxie did what many other soft drink makers did at the time and stockpiled large quantities of sugar to protect against further price increases. When sugar prices collapsed, they were forced to sell their product at a loss. This loss of revenue combined with the onset of The Great Depression put them in a position from which they never fully recovered.

That, and the fact that Moxie tastes like ass.

Back in the late 1980's, I roadtripped out to visit a buddy who had moved out to Freeport, ME. I had heard about Moxie and it's, uh... "bracing" flavor. Since Moxie is readily available out there, I decided to pick up a bottle or two of the "harmless nerve food" so I could get over my "brain exhaustion" and "imbecility".

I had other plans for recovering my "loss of manhood" that I needn't go into at this time...

So I picked up a 2-liter jug 'o' Moxie goodness, brought it back to the hotel, plopped a couple ice cubes in a glass and got ready to enjoy those "Gentian Root Extractives". Hey, if it was good enough for Calvin Coolidge, it was good enough for me!

Down the hatch!


Oh. My. God.

As Ralph Wiggum would say a few years later, "It tastes like burning!"

Remember the taste of Listerine? And not the sissy-flavored kind like Fresh Burst or the even more sissified "less intense" Natural Citrus flavor. And most definitely not the practically-candy stuff like Plax or Listermint. No.

I'm talking about old-skool original Listerine. The kind that doesn't even bother to make it a pretty green-y or blue-y color, let alone worry about such niceties as making it taste distinguishable from the solvent they use at the airport to clean the tar off the wheelwells in the landing gear of 747s.

Yes, Moxie tastes like Listerine. Make that carbonated Listerine, for that additional taste bud burn factor. And not even the benefit of killing germs or curing my rampant gingivitis.

I think I left the remainder of my Moxie purchase at the hotel for some native Mainer cleaning staff, probably bottle-fed Moxie since infancy and thus will never have to worry about the effects of brain-softening or whatever locomotor ataxia is, to enjoy.

If only I had seen the original signs they used to advertise Moxie. Maybe then I would have some idea of what I was up against. The original advertising didn't portray Moxie as all sweetness and fun. No, Moxie, like caviar or raw oysters was an acquired taste.

"Learn to drink Moxie". Moxie isn't going to let you off easy. You have to learn to drink it. You have to invest some time in Moxie, build a relationship with Moxie in order to reap the rewards.

Maybe that was my problem. I was looking for a one-night soda stand, when Moxie wanted more from me. But I was wild and restless then, not ready to be tied down by any carbonated drink. I'm older now, a little more willing to delay the instant gratification for longer-term rewards. At least I think that's why I have things like a 401(k) and life insurance.

I wonder if now, finally, I'm ready for Moxie.

Soda Stories

Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Splenda, C2... Diet Coke(s) Demystified.

From The Straight Dope 1983 archives, a blast from the past that was built to last, a nugget 'cause you dug it, "What's the difference between Diet Coke and Tab?" Yes, Virginia, they still make Tab.

On the other side of the aisle, Wikipedia 'splains that Diet Pepsi (Pepsi Light in some countries) is sweetened with aspartame (Nutrasweet) while Pepsi One (Pepsi Max in some countries) is sweetened with sucralose (Splenda).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

How To Save 65 Hours

From the Gee-I'm-Really-Sorry-I-Missed-These Dep't.

1) federal
Federal by Mary Ellen Carroll (2005)

Running time: 24 hours

Synopsis: Twenty-four hours of film of The Federal Building, located at 11000 Wilshire in Los Angeles. Shown simultaneously on two screens so you can choose whether to watch either the north or the south facade. But which to choose? For the love of Mike, which one do I choose?!?

2) Warhol_Empire
Empire by Andy Warhol (1964)

Running time: 8 hours

Synopsis: Eight hour movie showing the Empire State Building, shot from the 41st floor of the Time-Life Building.

3) warhol_sleep
Sleep by Andy Warhol (1963)

Running time: 8 hours

Synopsis: Eight hour film of poet John Giorno, Andy's then-boyfriend, sleeping.

4) 25hr
**** (a/k/a Four Stars, a/k/a The 25 Hour Movie) by Andy Warhol (1967)

Running time: 25 hours

Synopsis: Various footage shot by Andy Warhol between 1966-1967. Shown in its entirety only once, December 15-16, 1967 at the New Cinema Playhouse in New York.

Gonna wrap you up in my bus

Supposedly a bus wrap public service message in Brazil, encouraging people to cross at the crosswalks instead of jaywalking. High probability that this has been Photoshopped and is fake. (via J-Walk)

Actual bus wrap currently appearing in Chicago and New York. San Francisco and Los Angeles transit authorities rejected the ad, claiming it would decrease ridership.

I thought this was a pretty clever wrap, too.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bite the wax tadpole, and others

Translation problems sometimes cause international marketing blunders.

And sometimes it doesn't even take words.
Samarin is a Swedish over-the-counter remedy for upset stomachs. (Like Alka-Seltzer.) A few years back they used ads that looked like comic strips with no text. There were three pictures. The first was a man looking sick, grasping his tummy. On the second picture he drank a glass of Samarin and on the third picture he was smiling again. The ad campaign was a success in Europe.

However, when the company ran the ad in Arabic-speaking newspapers they did not do too well. I guess that they didn't know that in those countries people read from right to left....

The title of the post "Bite the wax tadpole" comes from a famous marketing boo-boo by Coca-Cola when they entered the Chinese market in 1928. It's discussed in more detail here.
(via Life of Levi)

No good deed goes unpunished

I don't know how I could have possibly missed this story from earlier this year, but I did. Colorado Teens Fined $900 For Giving Cookies To Neighbor

How I came across this was a little odd: I was using Google Suggest, which is a version of Google that offers suggestions as you type in search terms. I typed in "surprising" and hit ENTER without noticing that Google Suggest autofilled in "surprising a neighbor with cookies will cost two girls 900".

In the same vein is this story from earlier this summer: Man Arrested After Rescuing Swimmer

Moral of the story? Let 'em drown, that way you'll have more cookies for yourself.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Ace I: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il pilots jet fighters, pens operas, produces movies and accomplished a feat unmatched in the annals of professional golf by shooting 11 holes-in-one on the first round he ever played.

Uh. Sure.

Read about some of the incredible (as in not very credible) feats that one website claims Kim Jong-il possesses. (via Kottke)

Ace II: Earlier this May there was a story of two players in the same foursome hitting a hole-in-one on the same hole. Odds against are something like 17 million to one.

Ace III: After waiting 50 years, one-handed golfer gets three aces in six months.

Ace IV: From a 1999 Golf Digest article, read about a 15-year-old kid who claimed to have nine holes-in-one over a 73-day period. There appears to have been some controversy over the authenticity, though...

Sidenote: You know those Hole In One contests they sometimes have at local golf courses, where you can win a new car or $1,000,000 or ball washes for life or whatever... Did you know those are often paid by taking out an insurance policy against someone getting a hole-in-one? In fact, there are insurance companies just for that purpose.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Boy, was my face Fuchsine!

Ever wonder who comes up with paint color names? Sonoma Skies, Da Vinci's Canvas, Violet Dusk, Tangerine Cloudcover...

I searched in earnest to try and find out who does indeed come up with the names for the thousands of paint colors out there, but no one is spilling the beans. I mean, think about it. That is someone's job. Come in at 9, look at three hundred shades of brown and say this one is Saddle Tan, but this here... this one is Fennel Seed. This one's gonna be Mohair, but this one's gonna be called Moccasin.

Have a little fun and check out the Personal Color Viewer at Benjamin Moore's website. It also shows you what any of the paints look like out of the can and up on your walls. Cool.

Pantone on the other hand, they don't go in for these frilly names like "Raspberry Rash" or "Guano Mist" or what have you. Pantone is all science with easy-to-remember names like 14-1911-TPX and 12-0427-TPX. To people in the color industry (is there such a thing? really? there is so much I don't know) Pantone has the last word. At least if you ask them. Anyways, they were selling these kinda nifty stools made to look like a huge color sample. Not for the faint of wallet, though. I think they were going in the $600/per neighborhood. Book of Joe has some better pics here.


The Paint Game seems simple enough. Match up the paint color name to the correct color. I am averaging about 3 out of 10 each time. Meh.

And sort of related: an article on how a makeup color's appeal has a lot to do with what it's called.

Oh it's a brick --- house!


Click'n'stack public monuments in the addictive little Flash game Stackopolis. Don't forget to keep an eye on that timer.

(via MonkeyFilter)

I like my jokes like I like my wome... ohhh nevermind

I am, apparently, a guy with a dark, complex and yet clean sense of humor. But don't just take my word on it. Take the word of some random online dating service website. Because really, if not them, who can you trust on boiling something irreducibly complex and ephemeral down to a pie chart? (Okay, it's actually a 3-space matrix, but "pie chart" is funnier. In a darkly complex clean sort of way, of course.)

I took OK Cupid's 3 Variable Funny Test to find out that I am:

the Wit
(56% dark, 34% spontaneous, 27% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're
probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean you're
pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the
Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor
and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the
perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor
takes the most effort to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my

Also, you probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The test tracked 3 variables
How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

(via Brykmantra)