Now gluten-free!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Man claims he was fired to make room for "hot chicks"

Tony E. Clark isn't happy (or hot, apparently). He lost his job as a bartender at Varasano's Pizzeria in Atlanta, Georgia, and now the disgruntled former employee is filing a gender discrimination lawsuit.

Clark says that his rights were violated when his employer, pizzeria owner Jeffrey Varasano, fired him in order to hire "hot chicks" to attract more customers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had already dismissed the case, citing a lack of evidence based on the information it received.

Let me pose a question: Even if Clark's claim is true, why should his "right" to force Varasano to keep him employed trump Varasano's right to choose his own employees, hot or not?

Information sheet for those who have been indefinitely detained by the U.S. government


Friday, December 30, 2011

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheetah, Tarzan's chimp, dead at 80

Cheetah, beloved chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s, died on December 24 at the ripe old age of 80. Cheetah had been a long-time resident of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Florida. The cause of death was kidney failure.

Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Weissmuller and Cheetah in Tarzan the Ape Man. (AP)
What makes this noteworthy is that the average lifespan of a chimp is between 25 and 35 years, while chimps in captivity may live between 35 and 45 years.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Story behind alleged Yeti finger involves actor Jimmy Stewart

I've always been fascinated with the field of cryptozoology. That's the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. Yes, I'm talking about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Wonder, mystery, exploration of the unknown. What's not to like?
Alleged Yeti finger found at a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal
You can imagine my excitement when I read of what was purported to be a mummified finger from an actual Yeti. The story is rather intriguing. During the 1950s, wealthy American oilman Tom Slick funded a series of Yeti expeditions. In 1958, one of his explorers, Peter Byrne, informed Slick of an ancient Yeti hand discovered in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. The monks were reluctant to part with it, fearing they would be cursed, but they were eventually persuaded to sell one of the fingers as long as the hand could be disguised so that the missing digit would go unnoticed. Byrne was given a human finger from a professor friend in London who had links to the Royal College of Surgeons, and it was wired onto the original hand and treated with iodine so that the color matched.

This is where the story gets interesting.

The previous year, the Nepalese government had made it illegal for foreigners to kill a Yeti, so the challenge was to smuggle the finger back to London without it being discovered by authorities. Slick turned to an old friend of his whom he knew to be vacationing in India at the time: legendary actor Jimmy Stewart. Stewart had an interest in cryptozoology and had been a silent partner behind Slick's earlier expeditions, so he was eager to help. He hid the finger in his wife's lingerie case and was able to smuggle it out of India without any trouble.

Once the finger reached London, initial observation led to the conclusion that it wasn't human. It was eventually turned over to the Hunterian Museum...and was then simply forgotten. No one knows why.

The finger was rediscovered recently, and a sliver of it was submitted to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for DNA testing. The result? Human.

Kind of a disappointment, but not surprising. However, I think it's safe to say that the search for unknown and unproven creatures will go on.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First trailer for Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit"

If the above video isn't available, you can view it here.

(via Kottke)

A cheap, hassle-free alternative to commercial airline travel?

You don't think you can afford to fly off on vacation on a private plane? Think again. Smart Flights, a new company based in Smyrna, Tennessee, now brings the style and comfort of privately chartered flights to the average airline passenger.

"We're essentially using social networking to fill vacant seats on private aircraft that go all over the place every day, often with nobody on board," explains CEO and co-founder Jay Deragon. "A company or group might charter a jet to take them to California, but then that plane flies back empty. With Social Flights, people can buy individual seats on the return trip, giving the charter company revenue it wouldn't have had."

The company began a local beta test of their services back in February and plans to begin offering flights throughout the U.S. next month. 12,500 people have already registered for the service at, and 91 private charter companies have signed on to offer their empty seats to Social Flights customers.

The costs are lower than one would expect. For example, a one-way ticket from Destin, Florida (less than 50 miles from Pensacola), to Nashville, Tennessee, would cost around $200. Private charter flights aren't limited to the major metropolitan airports, which means passengers could also save money on parking and car rental.

The real savings, however, comes in the form of hassle-free travel. Booking a flight on a private plane helps you avoid the normal inconveniences of commercial airline travel, such as plane changes, five-hour layovers, lost luggage, long security lines, irradiating porno scanners, and frisky TSA agents. In short, Social Flights is seeking to bring back the joy and comfort of flying.

I don't expect this to revolutionize the airline industry, but introducing another element of competition is the best thing that could happen.

Friday, December 16, 2011

90-year-old woman jailed over unsightly property...which isn't all that unsightly

Authorities in Hall County, Georgia, had been fighting Charlene Coburn for 20 years to get her to clean up her property. They have finally won, and the 90-year-old is now serving a 30-day jail sentence for refusing to comply.

Whenever a story like this grabs my attention, I endeavor to learn more. A quick Google search pointed me to, which shows Coburn's name associated with a business known as Coburn Structural Movers. I looked up the address on Google Maps to see just how unsightly and offensive her residence is. Here's Charlene Coburn's property as it looked in September of 2009:

Really? This is what's considered unsightly property in rural Georgia? Given its location, most people driving by probably wouldn't even notice it.

I suspect there's more to this story. Locking up a 90-year-old woman can hardly be considered an act that would protect the public in any way, so my guess is that this had more to do with a bruised ego down at the county courthouse than an unkempt lawn.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tom McAuliffe, the golfer without arms

This archive footage from 1932 documents the skill of Tom McAuliffe, an armless American golfer who could easily break 100 on a standard course. In this clip he explains his technique which allows him to drive the ball up to 150 yards.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big Bad Wolf's secret weapon: Angry Birds

It would seem the three little pigs are safe for least until the wolf gets his paws on an exploding black bird.

(via Go Comics)

Aerial map of Mythbusters' misfired cannonball

Perception Builder has created an aerial map of the infamous Mythbusters cannonball mishap:
When you realize just how far that cannonball traveled, it's even more amazing that no one got hurt.

(via Buzzblog)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Man fakes his mother's obituary to get out of work

Faking a note from your mom to get out of school is stupid; telling people your mom is dead and then publishing a fake obituary in the local paper raises stupid to a whole new level:
Authorities in northwestern Pennsylvania say a man published an obituary for his living mother in a ploy to get paid bereavement time off from work.

Relatives called The Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper in Brookville after the obit appeared to report the woman was actually alive and well. The woman herself then visited the paper.

Brookville police charged Scott Bennett, 45, with disorderly conduct on Tuesday.
There's no word yet on whether or not Bennett is still employed, but I'm actually more interested in knowing whether or not he's invited to mom's for Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hey, I thought red and blue made...oooooh

(via Go Comics)

Angry Birds as fashionable evening wear

Peter Vesterbacka, creator of Angry Birds, attended an event at the Finnish Presidential Palace recently. His wife, Teija, was dressed to kill in a red Angry Birds evening gown.
The image is from Iltalehti, a Finnish tabloid. Here is the accompanying caption, courtesy of Google Translate:
Angry Birds, the game has developed a Rovio leaders within Vesterbacka Teija-wife of a red tone dress was an exciting part of the breast Angry Bird cutting. The clothing has clearly separated the bird's yellow beak and head.

Apparently the suit, however, the bird will not try to throw the game in a spirit of anyone.
I think it actually makes more sense in Finnish.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Five sci-fi books for children

What could possibly be more special than reading a book to your kids? Reading a really cool science fiction book to your kids.

(from College Humor, via Kottke)

Construction of the Superdome in 1973



Children's drawings painted realistically

That crayon drawing of a cat your four-year-old gave you on your birthday might look cute hanging on your refrigerator, but if it were re-interpreted as a more realistic painting, chances are it would look rather creepy, if not downright disturbing.

Artist Dave Devries took simple drawings made by children and gave them a more realistic rendering in a book entitled The Monster Engine. Here are a few samples:

Proof that our kids are quite possibly more deranged than we ever imagined.

(via Amusing Planet)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dog people vs. cat people

200,000 pet owners were recently polled by to discover who among us are dog people and who are cat people. Those responses were then crossed with lifestyle surveys. The conclusions? Not all that surprising:
Dog people: 15% more likely to be extroverts
Cat people: 11% more likely to be introverts

Dog people: 36% more likely to use a pop song as a ringtone
Cat people: 14% more likely to cling to friends at a party

Dog people: 67% more likely to call animal control if they happen upon stray kittens
Cat people: 21% more likely to try to rescue stray kittens

Dog people: 11% more likely to say they'd support cloning, but only for animals or pets
Cat people: 17% more likely to have completed a graduate degree

Dog people: 18% more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle
Cat people: 25% more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite Beatle

Dog people: 9% more likely to think of zoos as happy place
Cat people: 10% more likely to send messages on Twitter

Dog people: 30% more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions
Cat people: 21% more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns

I'm in the Library of Congress!

Well, so is everyone else on Twitter. Federal News Radio reports:
The Library of Congress and Twitter have signed an agreement that will see an archive of every public Tweet ever sent handed over to the library's repository of historical documents.

"We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public," said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library's national digital information infrastructure and preservation program. "The archives don't contain tweets that users have protected, but everything else — billions and billions of tweets — are there." ...

... Using new technical processes it has developed, Twitter is moving a large quantity of electronic data from one electronic source to another. "They've had to do some pretty nifty experimentation and invention to develop the tools and a process to be able to move all of that data over to us," Lefurgy said.

The Library of Congress has long been the repository of important, historical documents and the Twitter library, as a whole, is something historic in itself.
The government is watching, so be careful what you tweet.

Bacon-flavored candy canes

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to combine everyone's favorite Christmas candy with everyone's favorite meat? Order your bacon-flavored candy canes today!

(via Now That's Nifty)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Really cool playground slide

A really cool, really long slide somewhere in Japan...

(via My Little Nomads)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Wall Street occupier's dilemma

(via Now That's Nifty)

Walking through doorways causes forgetting

"Now, why did I come in here?" is a question we've all asked ourselves after walking through a doorway into another room. Turns out it was actually the doorway that caused us to forget:
New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away," Radvansky explains.

"Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized."

The study was published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Read more here, and be glad you aren't going senile.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coffee Venndor

The only thing cooler than a Venn diagram is a Venn diagram of your favorite coffee shop drinks on a t-shirt.

(via Threadless)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Street skiing

I have a long list of things I would love to do because they look fun but know I never will because of that even longer list of various personal limitations. This is one of them.

(via Kottke)

Really funny AT&T Blackberry commercial

I don't know about you, but I find this recent commercial for the new AT&T Blackberry hilarious.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What American accent do you have?

You may not think you have an accent, but you do. What kind of accent to you have? Click here to take the quiz and find out.

My result:

OK, so I've been out of the South for a while. Still, I refuse to believe I have a Minnesotan accent.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Black Friday Christmas carol

(This is just as relevant today as it was five years ago when I first posted it.)

Wreck the malls with bouts of folly
Fa la la la la la la la la!
There's no need for melancholy
Fa la la la la la la la la!

Don we now padded apparel
Fa la la la la la la la la!
Strolling into Yuletide peril
Fa la la la la la la la la!

Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers

Looking for a way to secure those deals on Black Friday? Simple. Bring pepper spray.

A woman in Los Angeles used pepper spray to keep other shoppers away from the items she wanted. It worked. 20 people suffered minor injuries, half of whom were injured due to "rapid crowd movement."

The pepper-sprayer is still at large.

BREAKING NEWS: Man killed to death

Now this is what I call in-depth reporting...

(via The Knight Shift)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The REAL history of Thanksgiving: A lesson in economics

Everyone knows the official story of Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims, who had come here in search of a better life, found themselves starving. The local Indians took pity on them and taught the hapless newcomers how to farm the land. Then, following their first bountiful harvest, the Pilgrims invited the Indians over for lunch to say "thanks." And thus was born a beloved American tradition.

But those early years of the Pilgrims were really more of a lesson in economics. Investment writer Richard J. Maybury explains:
In his History of Plymouth Plantation, the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." The crops were small because "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, "all had their hungry bellies filled," but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first "Thanksgiving" was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty," Bradford wrote, "and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God." Thereafter, he wrote, "any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day." In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop." They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock." A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that "young men that are most able and fit for labor and service" complained about being forced to "spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children." Also, "the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak." So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.
You can read the rest here.

Happy Thanksgiving, kids!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Octopus walks across dry land in search of food

Cops called to elementary school because girl tries to give boy cooties

You're a teacher at a local elementary school. You see a young girl kiss a boy. What do you do? Call the cops, of course:
The assistant principal of Orange River Elementary School called in the cops after a teacher spotted the smooch Wednesday at the Fort Myers school. In fact, Margaret Ann Haring, 56, initially called child welfare officials, who directed her to contact the sheriff, according to a report.

The kiss apparently occurred after two girls debated over whom the boy liked more. That's when one of the girls "went over and kissed" the boy. The redacted sheriff's report notes that Haring "stated there were no new allegations of sexual abuse as far as she knew."
If only schools had a zero tolerance policy when it came to stupidity.

Feds seize fisherman's 881-pound tuna

A man catches an 881-pound tuna, and it gets away. Actually, it was confiscated by federal officials because it had been caught with a net instead of a rod and reel. Only in America.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Policeman Pike peppered a pack of peaceful protesters

Policeman Pike peppered a pack of peaceful protesters.
A pack of peaceful protesters Policeman Pike peppered.
If Policeman Pike peppered a pack of peaceful protesters,
Where's the pack of peaceful protesters Policeman Pike peppered?

Man fired for not accepting the "mark of the beast"

Well...sort of.

Billy E. Hyatt was recently fired from his job at a plastics factory near Dalton, Georgia. He claims it was because he refused to wear a sticker celebrating the factory being accident-free for 666 days.

It isn't clear whether management required the sticker to be worn on the forehead or on the hand, but Hyatt, a devout Christian (and apparently a devout dispensationalist), didn't want to take any chances. He believed that wearing the sticker would have been accepting the "mark of the beast" described in the book of Revelation, condemning him to hell.

Without getting into the serious implications of dispensational theology (though I think we're seeing one of them here), all of this hassle could have been avoided had Mr. Hyatt simply dropped a hammer on his toe. That would have bought him at least another 665 days.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Walkable roller-coaster

"Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain," by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth
This isn't your typical roller-coaster ride. It's a sculpture, and you have to walk it yourself. Just make sure you get a running start at that loop.

(via Gadget Lab)

And the Dumbest Criminal of the Year Award goes to...

...Trevor Jones of Cobb County, Georgia.

Really, Trevor? Come on. Everyone knows that if you're going to rob someone's house, you don't park in the driveway and leave your car running. And you don't leave your wallet, containing your parole card and driver's license, in the seat of your unlocked car for the victim to find when she comes home from her walk. And don't ever leave yourself logged into Facebook on the victim's computer before fleeing the scene. That kind of sloppiness gives burglary a bad name.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The War of 1812: The Movie

If your junior high history notes were turned into a movie...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving turkey cake

Let's face it. The biggest problem with Thanksgiving is that there just isn't enough time in the day to eat all the food we prepare for that one special meal. That's why we usually end up eating turkey three times a day for the next week-and-a-half. Well, consider that problem solved.

Introducing: The Thanksgiving turkey cake!

Layered with ground turkey, sausage stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and "frosted" with mashed potatoes, this convenient concoction allows you to enjoy an entire Thanksgiving meal in one delicious slice.

Click here for the mouth-watering recipe.

Coolest bathroom ever

The ski jump-themed bathroom below is one of many in Japan that were modified as part of an ad campaign to promote a coffee energy drink.

I can't think of a cooler way to go.

(via Divine Caroline)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PETA now targeting fur-wearing video game characters

Those familiar with the Mario Bros. video games know what a Tanooki suit is. Making its first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3, this unique costume gives the character wearing it super powers. It's all part of the fun.

Naturally, this has the folks at PETA upset. They expressed their outrage by creating a video game of their own. From their press release:
If PETA has its way, Mario has stolen his last tanuki skin. The mustachioed plumber is back to wearing tanuki fur ("tanuki" is the Japanese word for raccoon dogs), and now Tanooki is fighting back to reclaim what's his in Super Tanooki Skin 2D, a new side-scrolling game from PETA. In the game, which is the center of PETA's new "Mario Kills Tanooki" campaign, players direct a bloody, skinned raccoon dog as he chases a tanuki fur–suited Mario through a surreal fur farm where raccoon dogs are routinely skinned alive for their fur. [emphasis mine] Quick reflexes and jumping skills will allow Tanooki to capture Mario and reclaim his skin.
Yeah. Sounds like fun.

The bottom line is that PETA thinks the cartoon image of a raccoon-tailed plumber is offensive:
Tanooki may be just a "suit" in Mario games, but by wearing the skin of an animal, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur. We created our game to help inform people that in real life, Mario would be wearing the skin of an animal who was beaten, strangled or electrocuted, and it wouldn't give him any special powers other than the power of self-deception.
Shows you how out of the loop I am. I had no idea Mario was such a fashion icon.

If you're curious, you can play PETA's pathetic little video game here.

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