Now gluten-free!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

George Lucas just can't leave well enough alone

Old George is at it again, this time tinkering with the Blu-Ray edition of Return of the Jedi. From Dave Itzkoff:
It's an event that seems to happen in the "Star Wars" world about as often as Wookiees celebrate Life Day, and which fans await with just as much dread. New versions of George Lucas's space-fantasy films are released, and with them come changes to the movies – alterations to audio and video, characters' actions and even dialogue that is very different from what fans remember seeing in theaters a long time ago and far, far away.

So it goes for the latest editions of the six "Star Wars" live-action features that are being prepared for a Blu-ray home video release on Sept. 16. Previously, it was reported that the version of "Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace" included in this release would replace the puppet version of the Yoda character with a computer-generated creation. Then on Tuesday, an online report by Devin Faraci suggested a revelation almost as troubling as the news that Luke and Leia had been brother and sister all along: in a climactic scene from "Return of the Jedi," when Darth Vader hurls the evil Emperor to his demise on the Death Star, he would now shout "No!" (In all previous versions of "Jedi," Vader has committed this crucial deed in silence.)
A senseless, pointless change. So just how many versions of these movies are out there now? I've lost count.

Brainwash your kids with this 9/11 coloring book

Aww, how quaint. A coloring book that teaches kids the truth about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Well, that's what the publisher of We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids' Book of Freedom wants you to think.

Here's a sample page:

I'm sorry, but this is wrong on so many levels I almost don't even know where to begin.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Infant walking helmet

Do you want your child to be protected from, well, pretty much everything in life? Get the little tyke a Thudguard Infant Safety Walking Helmet.

Sure, he'll be laughed at and picked on by those baby bullies at daycare, but at least he'll be spared those few bumps and bruises during those awkward few weeks of learning to walk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Rodent of Unusual Size

What about the They exist, all right, and they are no longer happy within the confines of the Fire Swamp. Take a look at this report from the New York Daily News:
It sounds like an urban legend: giant mutant-looking rats roaming a city housing project.

Only there's a picture.

A photo making the rounds shows Housing Authority worker Jose Rivera minutes after he speared the humongous rodent with a pitchfork at the Marcy Houses.

It's covered in white fur and looks well-fed. It appears to be about three feet long, including its hideously dangling tail.

And Rivera, 48, says it's not the only one. He insists that while he was filling a rat hole last week, three came running out - but he was only able to nail one.

"I hit it one time and it was still moving," Rivera said. "I hit it another time and that's when it died. I'm not scared of rats but I was scared of being bitten."

Naomi Colon, head of the Marcy Houses Tenant Association, said there have been sightings of the outsize rat for at least six years.

"The residents have told me that they've seen it running around with other rats. She lived with them. She ran into the same hole they ran in."

Animal experts who viewed the picture identified the animal as a Gambian pouched rat, which is a fairly common pet rat.

They're nocturnal, can grow to three feet and four pounds or more, and live seven or eight years.

Cute baby screech owls


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. frozen in granite

This Sunday, Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most celebrated figures in American history, will become the first non-U.S. president to be honored with a memorial on the National Mall. The massive, 30-foot tall, granite sculpture generated some controversy when it was revealed that it was made in (where else?) China.

I think the bigger question is: Why does it look so much like another iconic sculpture?

When you gotta go, you gotta go

(via Go Comics)

Monday, August 22, 2011

TV is good for kids

Turns out I'm a much better parent than I thought.

Motorola, leader in television, shows how TV can mean better behavior at home and better marks in school!

Home, sweet TV home
Peace! Quiet! No more "rainy day riots" ... with television keeping small fry out of mischief ... and out of mother's hair. And that's just one of many TV blessings. "Taking away television from children who 'act up' is a punishment that really works," writes an authority on child psychology. "The very thought of missing some pet program turns little lions into lambs. And, incidentally, those favorite programs in the late afternoon are the world's finest magnet for getting tardy youngsters home on time."

Gets homework done - promptly!
The simple rule "Homework first - television second" has solved the problem in thousands of homes ... has made children more interested in school work. "Television," says the New York Times, "can be enjoyed in healthy moderation in the same way as sports or movie-going, but only the mother and father can make certain this will be the case."

Will television strengthen family ties?
Educators, religious and social workers all agree it can be one of the strongest forces in America for bringing the family together to enjoy good, clean entertainment right in the home. Parents can select their children's "TV diet" from a wide variety of wholesome programs.
And to think we once referred to this wonderful, family-strengthening invention as the "idiot box"!

(from Duke University Libraries, via Now That's Nifty)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Perseus and the Head of McDonald

Try not to grimace when you behold this disturbing sculpture from Italian artist Giuseppe Veneziano...


Thursday, August 18, 2011


The Allen Telescope Array, a vast network of antennas located about 300 miles from San Francisco, has been sitting unused since funding dried up in April of this year. It is the hope of many in the scientific community that the ATA will be back up and running thanks to donations from people who would like to see the search for extraterrestrial intelligence continue.

The SETIStars funding program that began in June has already taken in over $200,000 and has attracted some high-profile names. Jodie Foster, who played SETI scientist Dr. Ellie Arroway in the 1997 film Contact, has already contributed. Also on board is Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who wrote on his SETIStar page, "It is absolutely irresponsible of the human race not to be searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence."

As long as it's private time and money being wasted I have no problem with SETI. But why anyone expects to find intelligent life among the stars when we have yet to find it here on earth is beyond me.

The magic of truth and lies (and iPods)

Monday, August 15, 2011

14 household uses for beer

Hometalk writer Cris Carl gives us 14 "earth-friendly" household uses for beer. Among them:
  • Get rid of mice: If you don't have a cat, a small amount of beer placed in a pail will help take care of a mouse problem, especially if you prefer to capture mice in a humane fashion. Just put an inch or so of beer in the pail, place some type of ramp, such as a piece of wood for the mice to crawl up. The mice fall into the pail and then you can remove your inebriated mice to some place outside.

  • Fertilize your gardens: The sugars in beer are also enjoyed by your garden vegetables and flowers.

  • Spruce up wooden furniture: Rub flat beer gently onto furniture using a soft cloth. The beer will help restore some of the polish and color.

  • Insulation: Lastly, for the truly adventurous and creative, if you use full, unopened cans of beer in construction of walls, the beer absorbs the cold and won't freeze in temperate climates (due to the alcohol content).
  • Now I'm sure that last one probably wouldn't be up to code in most areas, but if you do decide to try it, I won't tell.

    No one escapes the probing fingers of the TSA

    (from Go Comics)

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Ashes to...bullets?

    Holy Smoke is a company that offers a rather unique service: turning human ashes turned into live ammunition. That way, you can "take your loved one on one more hunt or one more round of clays."

    It's understandable that the thought of turning the dearly departed into a deadly weapon may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but the folks at Holy Smoke want to reassure you:
    None of the ash will have any effect on rifling, the propellant, or the firearm. All ash is placed in the shot cup or in the bullet for rifles and pistols. All shotshells and bullets will be sealed and boxed with reverance and care.
    You can even make arrangements for yourself ahead of time. Sure, it may be a bit unorthodox, but you gotta love their reasoning: "Now, you can continue to protect your home and family even after you are gone." Can you think of a better gift to give your family?

    (If bullets aren't to your liking, there are many other ways - from hour glasses to snow globes - to "honor" a loved one's memory.)

    Why I still need my teddy bear

    (Artist: Begemott)

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Support diabetes buying sugary 800-calorie soda

    No, this story isn't from the Onion:
    A KFC franchise in Utah is asking customers to help fight diabetes — by purchasing an 800-calorie Mega Jug of sugary soda to wash down their meals. For every $2.99 half-gallon drink it sells, the chicken restaurant promises to give $1 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The promotion has drawn criticism from anti-obesity activists, who still haven't forgiven KFC for last year's unveiling of the Double Down sandwich, which ensconces bacon and cheese between two fried chicken breasts. But Gary Feit, a JDRF spokesman, is defending KFC, pointing out that the Type 1 diabetes his organization researches is not caused by diet or obesity. Besides, he adds, only one franchise is involved.

    Bats on a plane

    Fortunately for the passengers of Delta flight 5121, this one was flying solo. But, seriously, how many bats do you really need flying around the cabin at 30,000 feet to get everybody freaked out?

    It happened 15 minutes after the plane took off from Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday. The control tower was notified soon afterward that the plane would be returning to have the creature removed.

    One quick-thinking passenger near the rear of the plane was able to lock the bat in a restroom. It was discovered later by maintenance staff and flew into the terminal, but was later coaxed outside.

    What I want to know is, how did this thing ever get past the vigilant eyes and probing fingers of the TSA?

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    "I love to smell like napalm in the morning"

    OK, so it isn't exactly napalm-scented, but that was the best paraphrase of an olfactory-related movie quote I could come up with to introduce you to the military's new line of colognes. Manufactured by Parfumologie, The American Line features a unique, officially licensed fragrance for each branch of the armed forces.

    Army: Patton
    "Patton defines masculinity with a sensual, woodsy fragrance. A confident blend of sage, bergamot and cedar elicit feelings of majestic woodlands and endless horizons."

    I'm guessing the best way to apply this is to have someone else slap some on your face while swearing at you and calling you a coward.

    Marines: Devil Dog
    "Intense and brave, Devil Dog is a finely crafted fusion of sandalwood, cedar, and citric spices. Classic yet modern, the undeniable sophistication stands as a proud reminder of honor and tradition."

    Semper fi? More like semper fine!

    Navy: Liberty
    "An invigorating fragrance that knows no boundaries. Liberty harnesses the energy of the open waters with a rush of deep aquatic notes, merged with cool green leaf and anchored by hints of woody amber."

    One whiff of this and you'll be wanting to "Gitmo" before supplies run out.

    Air Force: Stealth
    "Stealth evokes the freedom of the big blue sky. This lush combination of deep basil, warm spice and brushed suede defines casual elegance and exhilarates the sense with a blast of fresh air."

    Sure, it has a refreshing scent, but how stealthy is it if they can smell you coming?

    Coast Guard: Rip Tide
    "Riptide conjures the elements of seas and wind in an unmistakably nautical fragrance. A cocktail of fresh citrus notes mingled with vibrant spices inspire confidence and remind that you are always ready."

    One bottle will probably last longer than the NBC detective series of the same name. Plus, it doubles as a flotation device.

    Saturday, August 06, 2011

    You are what you eat...especially if you're a translucent ant

    Just some cool pictures of ants eating brightly colored drops of sugar:

    (via Colossal)

    Friday, August 05, 2011

    Stealing bleachers for cash

    Not too long ago we were seeing reports of copper wiring being stolen from homes and construction sites and sold for cash. Lately, thieves have been targeting aluminum bleachers to make a quick buck.

    21-year-old Austin Zagaros of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was arrested for stealing bleachers from a local park. He was caught dragging them down the street to his house. Police say he wanted to sell the aluminum for scrap to buy heroin.

    Deep in the heart of Texas, Jeanette Nicole DeLaRosa, 18, and Elve Culliver, 42, have been charged in connection with the theft of bleachers from local high schools over the summer. One set of bleachers, valued at $2,400, had been sold to a recycling center for $152.

    A resident in Royal Oak, Michigan, reported the theft of 172 feet of aluminum bleachers at a local middle school football field.

    Seven bleacher seats and a foot rail were stolen from a ballpark in New Richmond, Wisconsin, several weeks ago, prompting police to keep a watchful eye on all city parks.

    Back in June, two complete sections of bleachers went missing from a school in Apple Valley, California. Police have no leads, but residents have been warned to be alert and report anything suspicious, such as someone driving around with a truckload of bleachers.

    Now, we can all agree that stealing is wrong. But you at least have to give these bleacher creatures points for originality.

    The Shawshank Redemption prison

    You may not be familiar with the Ohio State Reformatory, but once you see it you'll recognize it as the prison used in filming The Shawshank Redemption, one of the best movies ever made. This A.V. Club video takes you on a brief tour of the facility:

    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    Free speech...

    ...within designated areas.

    This "free speech zone" happens to be at the Muir Woods National Monument.

    Cracking the credit card code

    Have you thought much about those lengthy account numbers on your credit cards? Aside from indicating which specific company issued the card, they also let the informed observer know whether a particular card is real or fake. It involves math (something called the Luhn algorithm), which explains why I've never really had an interest:

    (from Mint Life, via Wall Stats)

    Monday, August 01, 2011

    Intriguing optical illusions

    These mind-boggling "Neil Illusions," named after their discoverer, Allan Neil, were presented in the April 1971 issue of New Scientist. Enjoy!

    (via Ironic Sans)

    FBI investigates a "credible" lead in the D. B. Cooper case

    It has been four decades since a mysterious skyjacker known as D. B. Coooper bailed out of a 727 over the Pacific Northwest with $200,000 in cash. The case remains unsolved.

    Kenny Christiansen was put forward as a possible suspect by New York Magazine in an October 21, 2007, article. That was around the time the FBI reopened the Cooper case, though the feds never seriously considered Christiansen as a prime suspect.

    Not much has been learned since then, but the AP is reporting that the FBI is currently following up on a "credible" lead:
    The recent tip provided to the FBI came from a law enforcement member who directed investigators to a person who might have helpful information on the suspect, FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich told The Seattle Times on Sunday. She called the new information the "most promising lead we have right now," but cautioned that investigators were not on the verge of breaking the case.
    Authorities have followed up on 1,000 leads since the November 24, 1971, skyjacking.

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