Mar 28, 2010

That's No Moon - Oh, Wait A Minute...

It’s a simple shape, a sphere with a concave dish set in the surface. In 1977, the shape was forever linked to the movie Star Wars and is known as the Death Star. In the movie, it was a space station as large as a natural moon that housed the “ultimate weapon”, a planet-destroying laser. When Obi-Wan first set eyes on the Death Star, he remarked to Han Solo, "That's no moon - that's a space station." Had they been looking at Mimas, one of the inner moons of Saturn, the quote may have went a little differently. 

Mimas has an 80-mile-wide crater named Herschel, which looks like it could easily focus a superlaser. The uncanny resemblence is coincidental, as Star Wars was made several years before the first photographs of Mimas (with its crater) were taken.

The Macaroni Salad Situation

Man - I'd really love to know what the story with this salad is. Too much pepper? Not enough mayonnaise? Did he forget the salad altogether? At any rate, it's serious!

Hot Enough Fer Ya?

The Periodic Table of Scoville Units plots out different peppers and their “heat” as measured by the Scoville scale. At the top are sweet bell peppers and pimentos. The table leads up to the bhut jolokia, which has a heat index of over a million Scoville units! It’s brought to you by the Scoville Food Institute, which sells hot sauce.

Mar 25, 2010

Mike Rowe on QVC

Here’s a shocker: Mike Rowe, the wisecracking host of Discovery’s Dirty Jobs, was a host on the home shopping channel QVC in the early 90’s. What makes this fun is that Rowe is clearly aware of how absurd QVC is, and spends much of his onscreen time cracking jokes and generally making a mockery of the job. It’s awesome. Behold:

“If I were a cat, I’d be loving this. … The crinkling sound makes cats just crazy. They love it. That’s why this is a cat toy. That’s a cat on the front, and when a cat sees this, he’ll be drawn to it, magically. … He’ll just wrestle with the bag and experience a singular cat thrill.”

“The lamp is a little warm, not unlike lava. [Feigns burn.] Medic! A singular opportunity to not only enjoy the bubbling effects of lava but fuse all your fingers together and create a little webbed appendage for you.”

For more examples, go to this YouTube search page and you’ll be all set!

Dogs Playing Poker, Pool, and Football?!

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844-1934) was an American painter who did not go to the Royal Academy nor the Ecole des Beaux Arts, but he did paint pictures of dogs playing poker, which is good enough for me.

Don't get me wrong -- I simply adore the refined paintings of the European traditions, but there is something quintessentially American about Coolidge's dogs: humorous, irreverent, and coarse. We should all aspire for such brilliant simplicity. I have assembled some of my favorite works below for your perusal.

A Friend In Need - Perhaps the most famous of Coolidge's paintings, it depicts seven dogs sitting around a table playing poker in the wee morning hours. It derives its name from the bulldog handing an ace under the table to his friend. With that additional ace, the dog with his back to the viewer will have four aces.
Poker Sympathy - The scene looks like it takes place in the corner of a questionable restaurant or club, with pictures of famous dogs that have visited that location lining the walls. In this booth, seven dogs sit across the table facing a bulldog that probably is not part of the regular crowd. During the last round of poker, the pot has grown quite large. The bulldog, thinking he could best the boss, has bet generously, confident in the power of his four aces. When the cards hit the table though, the other dog actually has a straight flush, the only hand able to beat his. The winning dog barks loudly across the table at his vanquished opponent, knocking him off his chair, spilling his drink, and causing him to drop his cards and cigar. The rest of the posse seems to enjoy watching the bulldog's misery.
His Station and Four Aces - The train conductor makes his rounds informing the well dressed passengers that it is time for them to disembark. Unfortunately for one of the dogs, (whose chip pile has become quite small), this means that he will not be able to finish the hand in which he holds four aces. His look of shock and horror is juxtaposed by another canine that has already folded quickly getting up to leave. Outside the train's window, the station's lights and pooches on the boarding platform can be seen.
A Bold Bluff - The Saint Bernard is holding a cigar staring keenly over the chips at the bulldog across the table. All the other dogs study the Saint Bernard trying to determine what is in his hand. We can see that he only has a pair of deuces. Will the bulldog fall for the bluff? A large pile of chips in the middle of the table is at hand. This painting is the first in a series of two, so continue reading to discover the ending...
Waterloo - Here Coolidge depicts the ending to the saga presented in A Bold Bluff. The bulldog did not call the Saint Bernard's keen bluff and his pair of aces won because the other dog folded with at least a pair of jacks.The Saint Bernard has dropped his cigar and is using both paws to collect his big winnings. All the other dogs bark in disgust after seeing the Saint Bernard's cards, spilling a glass of scotch in the process.
Pinched With Four Aces - Four policemen (or police dogs if you will) interrupt some illegal gambling during a card game. The collie in the front of the painting tries to make a quick get away from the smoke filled room, knocking over chips and a glass of an adult beverage in the process. The other dogs stare in disbelief at this intrusion. The bulldog is the one that was dealt four aces, but he will be unable to take advantage of this rare hand.
Kelly Pool - Here the scene changes a bit - cards are replaced by cue sticks. A group of six dogs enjoys themselves around a billiards table playing Kelly Pool. The other five dogs are enthusiastically harassing the shooter, in an effort to help their own standing.
Higher Education - In this very rare print, Coolidge portrays a pack of dogs fighting it out on a football field, which looks oddly like an Elizabethan theater. Although a dog's paw can grip a poker card, it apparently can not carry a football, and the dog uses his mouth to move the pigskin. The footpawball players are very aggressive. The leading bulldog blocker confronts a dog much bigger than himself. Wrestling and biting is transpiring in the pile of pooches, with no yellow flags in sight. Hopefully those leather helmets are providing protection.
One to Tie, Two to Win - A standing-room only (dogs are even on the roof of the grandstand in the background) crowd of rowdy, cigar smoking pooches cheer on their team as they try to take the win. It is a little remarkable how dogs can grasp a bat (or cards for that matter).
Ten Miles To A Garage - A family of dogs on their way to a summer picnic (perhaps celebrating the 4th of July) experience car trouble on a lonely stretch of country road. They are probably in rural New York, as that is the state of the car's license plate. The young pups frolic about the car wearing bonnets and carrying baskets of food, while most of the older dogs try to repair the automobile. In typical fashion though, only one dog has crawled under the car and is actually working with tools, while three others sit idly by. One is even laying under the car, relaxing in its shade.

Mar 14, 2010

Best-Selling Car of 2008

Were you expecting to see a picture of a Toyota Camry? In 2008, The Little Tikes Company sold 457,000 Cozy Coupes, making it the best-selling car in America. It even edged out Camry sales by 20,000. In fact, over the past 30 years, children have taken joy rides in more than 10 million of the little plastic vehicles.

Mar 13, 2010

Russian Makes A Grand Entrance

 I'd give you some more commentary, but the title of this post says it all...


Mar 12, 2010

Teddy Bears and Pigeons and Cars...Oh My!

Wow - this is great fun to watch!

Fun With (Or Without) Garfield

Garfield is a pretty funny comic in it's own right. But what happens when you start tweaking it a little? Here are some sites that have monkeyed with the strip and ended up with (what I consider) hilarious results.

De-Garfed The premise for these altered strips is fairly simple...just delete Garfield's thought bubbles to make John look like a raving, schizophrenic loony:

Garfield Minus Garfield This project takes the premise a step further - removing Garfield altogether:

Realfield My favorite of the Garfield variants. In Realfield, Garfield is replaced with a more lifelike, albeit mute orange housecat. Realfield doesn't talk, think or express emotion, yet he manages to do what all cats are best at - making their owners feel like morons.

Mar 10, 2010

Ye Olde English Tapestry Humor

So that's where that phrase originated...

Mar 9, 2010

Godzilla's Haiku

Everyone's got a blog nowadays...even Godzilla has a blog where he posts his haiku. He’s quite philosophical for a 50-foot mutant!!

Would A Lava Lamp Work On Jupiter?

Neil Fraser wondered if a lava lamp would still work in the higher gravity environment of Jupiter. How to find out...I know, why don't you build a ten-foot centrifuge in your living room, Neil!

And that's what he did. You can read more details here.

Short answer: Yes - it works.

Lost Puppy: Use Extreme Caution!