Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's a 100-to-1 shot

100 movies, 100 quotes, 100 numbers. (via Kottke)

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They'll need a crane to turn the pages

The International Children's Library has scans of over 1,000 children's books in dozens of languages, some dating back over to over 100 years ago. They incorporated a neat search function that allows you to sort by language, cover color, length of book, target age, etc.

Not quite as diverse of a collection, but here are even more free children's online storybooks.

Last month, Neatorama posted about what claims to be the biggest book in the world, the Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil's Bible due to a large illustration of the devil on the inside. Other contenders for the title are:

A book on Bhutan, a small country between India and China

The canons of Theravada Buddhism written on 730 large marble tablets in Mandalay, Myanmar (formerly Burma)


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Taming of the Shoe

Cruel Shoes
Written by Steve Martin

Anna knew she had to have some new shoes today, and Carlo had helped her try on every pair in the store. Carlo spoke wearily, "Well, that's every pair of shoes in the place."

"Oh, you must have one more pair..."

"No, not one more pair... Well, we have the cruel shoes, but no one would want..."

Anna interrupted, "Oh yes, let me see the cruel shoes!"

Carlo looked incredulous. "No Anna, you don't understand, you see the cruel shoes are..."

"Get them!"

Carlo disappeared into the back room for a moment, then returned with an ordinary shoe box. He opened the lid and removed a hideous pair of black and white pumps. But these were not an ordinary pair of black and white pumps; both were left feet, one had aright angle turn with separate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and was curved inward like a rocking chair with a vise and razor blades to hold the foot in place.

Carlo spoke hesitantly, "... Now you see why... they're not fit for humans..."

"Put them on me."


"Put them on me!"

Carlo knew all arguments were useless. He knelt down before her and forced the feet into the shoes.

The screams were incredible.

Anna crawled over to the mirror and held her bloody feet up where she could see.

"I like them."

She paid Carlo and crawled out of the store into the street.

Later that day, Carlo was overheard saying to a new customer, "Well, that's every shoe in the place. Unless, of course, you'd like to try the cruel shoes."

At 8'11.1", Robert Wadlow was the tallest person in history until he was killed by a blister.

These shoes (there are eight different styles in all) must have come from a "Buy Ugly, Get Uncomfortable Free" sale.
UPDATE: Looks like these funky shoes may be a hoax. I have changed the link to the one at

Blisters the dice game

The Killer Shoes -- no, wait,that's Shrews -- no, wait, that actually looks more like a collie under a throw rug. Head over to the Internet Archive to watch it in all its carpet-covered-canine gory glory.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


It's the "I wonder if YouTube has a video for this song from my iPod?" game. I got kind of on a roll and a most (but not all) of these are pretty old, from the Eighties... Enjoy!

The Jags - Back of my Hand
Maybe a bit obscure, but some great power pop that some of you may remember.

Yazoo - Only You
Not the original video, nor even the original album version of the song as far as I can tell. This one has additional strings in the arrangement and the video features two store window mannequins in a surprisingly poignant moment.

Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now
A song not from the Eighties! Surprise!

The song is the title cut from Mary Gauthier's 2005 release. The video features images from Katrina. The way she sings the last word in the line "The fruits of his labor/Fall and rot slowly on the ground" makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time.

Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
A YouTube user-created video of what has to be my absolute favorite Al Green song.

Ben Harper - Ground on Down
Some righteous slide guitar work plus swimming pool skateboarding FTW.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Barbecue, Ducks and Trashcans

The Internet Archive's video/film section could seriously chew up a large portion of your time if you're not careful. Here are some random gems I stumbled across tonight:

James River Barbecue ad (1960)
While I think the concept they were going for was to convey this guy's paroxysm of gustatory joy as he partakes in the carnivorous ambrosia that is James River Barbecue. Mostly though, it just looks like he's having a stroke. (from the Drive-In Movie Ads section... let's all go to the lobby!)

Duck and Cover (1951)
"...and that's why the godless Russians will always fear our nuclear capabilities, little Jimmy. Because of our superior table and desk radiation-neutralizing manufacturing techniques."

It Must Be The Neighbors (1966)
The Duncans must live with the shame and social stigma of having... a rusted-out garbage can! What will the neighbors say?! Tangential thought: didn't George Carlin have a joke about how do you throw away a garbage can? People would keep bringing it back, "Hey, your garbage can... was in the garbage! Ha!"

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10 frames @ 24 frames/sec

The Flying Eagle bowling shot

You start in the tenth frame, see...

Bowling Ball 1, Pranksters 0

Rubber hands, tattooed Amish, eye-poppingly bad combovers... The Farrely brothers rolled a 300 when they hit the lanes for their 1996 gross-out bowling buddy comedy Kingpin. Here's a clip of the final showdown between Woody Harrelson's Roy Munson, who lost his bowling hand years before in a run-in with a ball return up against Bill Murray's Ernie McCracken, the reigning King of Bowling/scary hair/paternity suits.

Let's Go Bowling Part I, Part II (1955) -- Better Living Through Bowling: 1950's bowling propaganda -

The Golden Years (1960) -- Brunswick! Designing the future of tomorrow... today! While this design turned out to be a classic, reproduced for the next 40 years in this lanes across this country from gutter to shining gutter, you have to admit that those benches look about as comfortable as a brick wall.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

A journey of a thousand miles begins with...

... a single block.

Over a two year period between 2002 and 2004, Caleb Smith walked down every street, avenue, boulevard, thoroughfare and lane in the entire borough of Manhattan, a total of over 700 miles. Pics and stories at (via Spinneyhead)

This San Francisco Chronicle article mentions Smith along with a diverse cast of other walkers such as Francine Corcoran, who took three years to cover all 1,071 miles of the streets of Minneapolis and Phyllis Pearsall, who covered London's 23,000 streets on foot in just one year(!) in 1935, walking over 3,000 miles.

...a single step. Backwards.

One new trend in running is backwards running or retro running. Apparently it's been common in Japan and Europe for quite some time, but is just now catching on in the US. True, you may get some odd stares, but there actually do seem to be some physical benefits to running (or walking) backwards. If you take up the sport, you may want to invest in a head-mounted rear view mirror, I would think.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Plastic Oceans

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?
The Graduate (1967)
A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse. While we were busy trying to kill our oceans and its inhabitants and bury them in a watery plastic graveyard, it turns out the last laugh may be on us. (via The Presurfer)

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Come on baby, put the rock in the house

Monty Python Silly Olympiad.

Despite that I've seen this particular sketch numerous times, and even despite the fact that the names of the events, "The 100 Yards for People With No Sense of Direction" and "The 3000 Meter Steeplechase for People Who Think They're Chickens" for example, totally give away the visual punchline to come, I still giggle every time I see it. That, and when the announcer covering the "Marathon for Incontinents" uses what I imagine is British slang, "gone to spend a penny", whenever one of the runners stops to pee, which, as you can imagine from the name of the event, is pretty much constantly.

One of the more obscure (actual for real) Olympic sports would have to be curling. The Back House Weight, the Front House Weight, the Hackweight Takeout, the Wick and the Biter... there's a lot of lingo involved. This animated site teaches you Curling 101.

For those truly bitten by the curling bug, please enjoy the music video for the song "Curl" by Jonathan Coulton using public domain and creative commons pictures.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home is where you hang your junk

My Mother’s Garden explores one woman’s extreme attachment to material objects and her emotional struggle to let go of them. The film documents a family’s journey as Cynthia Lester and her three brothers come together to help their mother, Eugenia Lester, with her acute case of Compulsive Hoarding Disorder, a disorder that affects over one million people in this country alone. When her disorder reaches a crisis point the family is forced to intervene and clean the house, despite her resistance.

Google Video has an eight-minute high-res trailer. The official website is here. (via Boing Boing)

A previous Info Nation post from March 2005 talks about the Collyer brothers, one of the more famous cases of this disorder, as well as another documentary called Packrat. Alas, neither Packrat nor My Mother's Garden seem to be available through Netflix.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Your Favorite Band Name Sucks

Rock Band Name Origins
A few random excerpts:
  • THE REPLACEMENTS - Legend has it that they were given a gig after another band failed to show - when asked who they were they replied "We're the Replacements".
  • JOHN CAFFERTY and the BEAVER BROWN BAND - did the classic soundtrack to the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. The band from the Cranston Rhode Island area was practicing in one of the band member's garages when they saw a Dutch Boy paint can that was called Beaver Brown.
  • WEEZER - Band member Rivers Cuomo had the nickname Weezer in school because of a breathing problem.

The Canonical Guide to Weird Band Names

Take your pick between Band Name Generator #1...
A few random samples:
  • Four Women and Their Clown
  • The Abundant Dude Trio
  • The Litterbug Gambit

and Band Name Generator #2
A few random samples:
  • Groovy Everything
  • Atomic Step-brother
  • Primo Raisin And The Beyond Sick
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Say that again?

Can you tell the difference between these two "can you tell the difference between these two images?" games?


Wait, let me start again.

Gimme Five Sightseeing is a game where you have to identify the differences between two nearly identical images. It is okay, but I think I like this one (called simply Differences) better. (via The Ultimate Insult)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007