Hammering a nail while juggling animated gif. There has got to be an easier way to perform home improvement tasks, right?
Hammering a nail while juggling animated gif. There has got to be an easier way to perform home improvement tasks, right?
I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Donatello was always my favorite. Even when Eastman & Laird first created them they weren’t really threatening even though they killed a lot of bad guys ninja-style. But they still have a cute quality about them. Well, not this time. Donatello looks to be out for blood and this mutated turtle in his teens looks as bad-ass as you can get. Nice job by the supremely talented Mr. Rapoza.
Here is the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that stared the whole shell-shocking craze.
The United States government was the first national government to set aside land for management, preservation, and public use. Explorer George Catlin and activist John Muir both noted the need to protect America’s hot springs, natural areas, and Native America cultures as they traversed the continent during the 19th Century.
In 1832, the first public land in the world was protected by President Jackson, in the area surrounding present-day Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. In 1864, the land now known as Yosemite National Park was similarly protected by President Lincoln. In 1872, the world’s first National Park—Yellowstone—was formed under Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. The Yellowstone area was in a U.S. territory at the time (not governed by a state), so the federal government addressed the need to protect Yellowstone’s unique landscape and resources, while providing a tourist attraction along the Northern-Pacific Railroad route through Montana.
Today, there are over 7000 National Parks and other protected public areas around the world. In the United States, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks remain some of the more infamous parks, as the third and fourth most frequently visited national parks (The Great Smokey Mountains and Grand Canyon National Parks are the first and second most visited parks). Following are some of the least visited national parks in the U.S. due to their remote locations, but all are well-worth getting to for their uniqueness and isolation.
It’s no surprise that many of the least-visited national parks are in Alaska. The remote Kobuk Valley is the least-visited national park of them all, probably in part because there is no road access to the area: one must take a chartered flight from either Kotzebue or Bettles, Alaska. Once there, the Kobuk Valley is well worth the trip. The park boasts three sand dune areas that make up the world’s largest arctic dunes, where summer temps can reach over 100°F just 40 miles from the arctic circle. Half a million caribou migrate through the dunes and the Kobuk River each year, providing necessary food to native tribes.
Not only is Gates of the Arctic National Park the northernmost national park (north of the arctic circle), it is also the only national park with no facilities, providing a wilderness-survival experience to visitors. Like Kobuk Valley, there are no roads in or around the park, which can be accessed by air-taxi at several locations. Alaska’s Dalton Highway comes within five miles of the park’s eastern boarder for those who want to hike in, but whether hiking or flying, visitors must carry with them all the gear and supplies they need to survive. The park protects parts of the Brooks Range and provides land to native tribes that inhabit the area.
Isle Royale National Park includes the 207 square-mile island named Isle Royale and over 400 smaller surrounding islands in Michigan’s Lake Superior. Isle Royale is Lake Superior’s largest island the third largest island in the country. The island is accessible only by boat, plane, or ferry, and there is no drinking water available. The park has a plethora of hiking trails and campgrounds, but many of these are only accessible from the water. Scuba divers willing to brave the cold waters can explore shipwrecks protected by the park. There are only 18 mammal species on the island, but these include moose and wolves. The wolves in the park are part of the longest running predator-prey mammal study in the country.
American Samoa is the southernmost U.S. territory made up of several islands in the Samoan Islands Chain in the South Pacific Ocean. American Samoa National Park was established primarily to protect the area’s natural resources, but the park also provides a unique experience to visitors. It is one of the more recently established national parks—still relatively undiscovered by the general public—and the only U.S. national park south of the equator. The mountainous islands include a diverse ecosystem of rainforests and coral reefs. Of the park’s 10,500 acres, 2,550 are under water, and visitors to the park can enjoy a variety of activities, such as beachwalking, hiking, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West and comprises seven islands and their surrounding coral reefs and waters. The islands were discovered by explorer Juan Ponce De Leon, whose ships were surrounded by turtles (Tortugas) and found the islands had no fresh water (dry). The park’s main attraction is Fort Jefferson, one of the world’s largest marine forts, while snorkeling is the most popular activity with a giant coral reef and several shallow shipwrecks just feet from Fort Jefferson. Scuba diving, fishing, island hopping, and camping are some of the other main activities offered. Visitors to Key West can ferry to Dry Tortugas for the day, and while the park is only open during the day, overnight camping on the water is available in a small campground.
American Samoa bettles alaska chartered flight Dry Tortugas dune areas Food Gates of the Arctic george catlin grand canyon national parks great smokey mountains hot springs national park Isle Royale Kobuk Valley National Park kotzebue national park alaska national parks northern pacific railroad president jackson president lincoln public areas railroad route road sand dune shipwreck summer temps theodore roosevelt tin yellowstone area yellowstone national parks yosemite national park
Personalities such as Boy George, RuPaul, and even J. Edgar Hoover have introduced cross-dressing, or transvestism, into the mainstream in recent history, as have movies like Psycho, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Although women such as Joan of Arc and Hua Mulan cross-dressed centuries ago in order to join the military, modern transvestites often cross-dress for other practical purposes: they feel more comfortable in the clothing of the opposite sex.
Transvestites should not be confused with transsexuals. A transsexual is one who takes on the identity of the opposite sex, either through a sex change or by living as a member of the opposite sex. A transvestite chooses to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex, but does not necessarily identify his or herself as a member of the opposite sex. A transvestite is also not necessarily a homosexual; transvestites often favor heterosexual partners. They simply prefer to wear the clothing of the opposite sex, for whatever reason.
Sure, we’ve all heard of Bonnie and Clyde, but what about Bonny and Read? Anne Bonny and Mary Read were women who cross-dressed as pirates on the Revenge in the late 1600s. Bonny was not originally a cross-dressing pirate—she married a pirate and worked on her husband’s crew. It wasn’t until Read later joined the same crew and Bonny developed a secret crush on “him” that Read was forced to reveal to Bonny her identity as a woman. Both women began posing as male pirates and hiding their identities as females. When the Revenge was eventually captured, Bonny and Read were allowed to live longer than the rest of their crew because both women claimed to be pregnant (only Bonny was).
19th Century French novelist George Sand was a woman who took on both the pen name and clothing style of a man. Born as Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, the Baroness claimed that she preferred men’s clothing because they were more comfortable, practical, and sturdier than women’s clothing of the era. Her cross-dressing allowed her luxuries typically unavailable to women at the time, such smoking in public and admission to events and venues where only men were welcome. Her masculine pen name contributed to her becoming the first well-known female French novelist.
Male Chinese spy Shi Pei Pu posed as a woman and maintained a 20-year sexual relationship with French diplomat Bernard Boursicot while stealing government secrets from him all along. Boursicot never discovered that Shi Pei Pu was a man until the men were caught and convicted of espionage in 1986. Boursicot was so devastated and embarrassed to learn his lover was a man, he slit his throat (but lived). This story became the basis for David Henry Hwang’s 1988 play M. Butterfly, and the 1993 David Cronenberg film by the same name. In the play/film versions, the Chinese spy performs in the Peking opera as a woman, and uses this disguise to seduce the French Diplomat (in real life, Shi Pei Pu became a male opera singer after he was pardoned).
Depression-era jazz performer Billy Tipton was really a woman named Dorothy Lucille Tipton who began performing as a man in the 1930s and later living as a man in both public and private life in the 1940s. Tipton began dressing in male clothing on stage to better blend in with other performers and to help advance her career as a performance musician—a career mainly limited to men at the time. During her life as a man, Tipton had several long-term sexual relationships with women, none of whom knew that he was really a woman. Over time, Tipton had hidden his true identity from everyone he knew, and his secret was finally discovered by his wife and their three adopted sons when he died in 1989.
Ed Wood finally earned his claim to fame after his death in 1978 when he was voted “The Worst Director of All Time” and his 1950s horror films gained a cult-status following. Wood’s transvestism was also the subject of his first film, Glen or Glenda?, which doubles as a loose biography of his early adult life. Wood frequently wore women’s undergarments under his clothes, including while in combat in WWII, giving rise to the term “underdressing.” He also had an angora sweater fetish and a tendency to appear on the set to direct in full drag. Wood was a heterosexual and a womanizer in his younger years, but he later married a woman who didn’t mind him borrowing her sweaters once in a while. Wood gained even more notoriety when he became the subject of the 1995 Tim Burton film Ed Wood.
Harris Glenn Milstead is better known as Divine, his alter-ego, drag persona, and stage name. He is also known as part of Baltimore cult-director John Waters’s entourage, starring in many of Waters’s films. His final performance was in Waters’s 1988 film Hairspray, in which he played both the female character Edna Turnblad and the male character Arvin Hodgepile. Divine died suddenly the week after Hairspray was released, but his legacy lives on in both the Broadway play and 2007 musical film: in all performances of Hairspray, it is customary for Edna Turnblad to be played by a man in drag.
ed note: Modern Transvestite Extraordinaire:
1600s anne bonny and mary read billy tipton Chang claim to fame clothing style cross dress divine ed wood eddie izzard edward d wood jr french novelist george sand heterosexual partners hua mulan j edgar hoover joan of arc mrs doubtfire novelist george road rocky horror picture rocky horror picture show rupaul secret crush Sex sex change shi pei pu tin
while this is certainly amusing, in the back of your head you are thinking to yourself, this lion would maul and devour this human infant in a second if there wasn’t any glass there. I find this disturbing, yet I chuckle at the insanity of it all. And why dress your baby like a zebra? To taught the lioness?
If you’re crazy about gold, then this piece is for you. Here are some absolutely amazing items that put a new spin on buying gold! From mundane to over-the-top, nothing glitters quite like the gold in these highly unique items!
1. The Gold Bathroom In Hong Kong
You certainly won’t top the bathroom at the Hang Fung Gold Technology jewelry store in Hong Kong. This custom-made room features a pair of 900-lb solid gold toilets, gold sink fixtures and a matching gold sink, gold artwork and tiles on the walls, and a gold ceiling. The room cost nearly $5 million to construct and is a popular tourist attraction. If you need to use the golden facilities, you’ll need to buy gold (at least $128 worth) in the store.
2. The Gold Porsche In Russia
Unlike the bathroom in Hong Kong, the Gold Porsche in Russia isn’t quite as – well – gold. The car, which is a working model, is covered in about 40 pounds of gold. The gold covers every exterior metal surface of the vehicle, including the exhaust pipe. Inside, you’ll find gold floor mats that enhance an otherwise standard interior. A novel way to buy gold for your investment portfolio!
3. The Gold Bicycle in Sweden
If a gold Porsche isn’t your style, consider tooling around town on this gold bicycle. This flashy gold and crystal number will set you back about USD$100,000 but you will certainly be the talk of the town. Your new ride comes with a leather Brooks saddle and Swarovski crystals for good measure. Aurumania, the manufacturer of the bike issued only 10 of these bikes, so even if the price of gold drops, the value of the bike as a collector’s item will certainly rise.
4. The Gold iPhone in London
If you haven’t spent enough on the data plan for your iPhone, you might consider upgrading to an iPhone made of gold. These 24k versions of the iPhone will keep you polishing both sides of your mobile for months to come. In all fairness, the iPhone in question is gold-plated, but you can pick one up for a cool USD$2,000.
5. The Gold iPad in London
As long as you’re buying gold in London (and if you’re into Apple stuff) check out the Stuart Hughes gold iPad. (It will match your gold iPhone above.) The iPad is a standard issue Apple iPad that wears a 22k solid gold case. Not special enough? Would it seal the deal if the Apple logo were adorned with 53 flawless diamonds? It can be yours for about USD$190,000.
6. Gold Pencils in Korea
If the rest of the items on this list are out of your price range, consider a gold-plated Number 2 pencil for just $20. Korean designer Daisung Kim is hoping to make math class just a little more interesting by mixing graphite and gold.
7. The Gold Beer Mug in Japan
If you think you can’t use “classy” and “beer mug” in the same sentence, then you should think again! Ginza Tanaka, Japan’s premiere jeweler is offering an 850 mg beer mug that’s loaded with all the class you can chug. Your new best friend will set you back about $50,000 but you’re sure to impress your friends for at least the first few rounds.
8. The Gold Coffin in Italy
Who says you can’t take it with you? Art Funeral Italy whipped up a one-of-a-kind casket made of 24-karat gold and displayed it at the 2010 Verona Luxury and Yacht Show. If the casket itself isn’t odd enough, it also comes with a gold-plated touch screen cell phone that’s meant to accompany the dearly departed.
In 2005, photojournalist Pieter Hugo saw a cellphone pic of a group of men in Lagos, Nigeria walking down the street with chained hyenas. The picture intrigued him enough to track them down and eventually go visit them…
In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown – a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons. It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. The animal handlers were all related to each other and were practicing a tradition passed down from generation to generation. I spent eight days traveling with them.
Hugo says reactions to his work have ranged from the same curiosity he originally felt to outright revulsion — must often revulsion at the treatment of the animals. But…
When I asked Nigerians, “How do you feel about the way they treat animals”, the question confused people. Their responses always involved issues of economic survival. Seldom did anyone express strong concern for the well-being of the creatures.
Europeans invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but this question misses the point. Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalized. Or why Nigeria, the world’s sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray.
via 22 words,
Read the whole story from Pieter Hugo.
What can you say about zombies that hasn’t been said already? There are zombie comics, zombie movies, books about zombies, books that used to be classic pieces of literature that had zombies put into them, and there are real zombies that re made when a boko takes a person’s soul and puts it in a jar and then lets the person’s body walk around and run errands and stuff like fetching the drycleaning, detailing the car, and doing the grocery shopping. Good luck getting them to use coupons, though, because, whew!
So with this onslaught of zombie stuff, why (oh why indeed?) would I choose to write a post about zombies? Well, because it’s close to Halloween, because I still love zombie movies, and because I know a few things about zombies that you don’t know. And I think you should. Keep in mind that the zombies that I know about are not the ones that are created by boko – they are the ones created by a disastrous chemical event, or a deadly zombie-making virus. Just so we’re clear.
I know what you’re thinking. OF COURSE zombies are hungry. They chase after people to try to eat their flesh and brains. What I’m telling you is that zombies are REALLY hungry. Think of the hungriest you’ve ever been, and then multiply that by, like, fifteen gazillion. THAT’S how hungry zombies are. So, if you were that hungry, wouldn’t you consider, even for a second, eating brains? You say no now, but you’ve never been as hungry as a zombie, have you? Didn’t think so. So don’t go judging, OK?
Didn’t you ever see Cemetery Man, My Boyfriend’s Back, Zombie Strippers, and Fido? There you go. Zombies aren’t always all apocalypsey and angsty. Sometimes they’re just a little misunderstood. Johnny Dingle loved Missy McCloud so much that he came back from the dead as a zombie to be with her. That’s devotion, people. And if he had to eat some human flesh to do it? Well, in the immortal words of Meatloaf, he “would do anything for love.” And Fido, all he wanted was a family to accept him and love him. And that’s certainly the most realistic zombie movie ever, because if a zombie is around, the Republicans will find a way to make money off of it.
Emotional pain, that is. Like when you run away from them. Why are you doing that? Don’t you know that they just want to eat your brains? And they’re so hungry; why wouldn’t you let them eat your brains? They also feel pain every time they hear Thriller, and every time Andy Dick gets a movie role.
As for physical pain…it’s no thing. No pain receptors, no working nerve endings. Remember that when you’re hacking away at them for your very life.
This list could, honestly, go on and on. Not to mention all the OTHER types of zombies out there – zombie pets, zombie ninjas, zombie bugs, and zombie monkeys ala Pirates of the Caribbean – but I think we’ve given you enough here that you can develop a little bit of tolerance for these misunderstood, albeit bloodthirsty creatures. After all, they didn’t ask to be zombies any more than you asked to be the type of person who would read this post to the very end.
The economic times have hit the nation harder than anyone realizes. Even your favorite nightmare horror characters are falling on hard times. Criminally insane, “son of a hundred maniacs” Freddy Krueger is even out there pounding the pavement trying to find work. He even has a resume! I don’t know how he types with that glove on, but there you go.
To top it all off, some people have actually been willing to interview Mr. Krueger. Here is a transcription of each interview, for your inspection.
Interviewer: Barbara Blake-Barns
Barbara Blake-Barns: Mr Krueger, I see you have applied for the Pediatric Burn Victim Counselor position. This is just a screening process so I will ask you a few questions.
Freddy: Ask away, Barbie. I can call you Barbie, can’t I? (caresses her cheek with one blunt side of knife fingernail)
Barbara Blake-Barns: Eek. Those are some fingers you’ve got there. You won’t be wearing them around the children will you? Of course you won’t! Let’s get on with the questions, shall we?
Obviously I see you have experience as a burn victim, how will your experiences relate to the traumatized children you would be working with?
Freddy: My children…from the very beginning, it was the children who gave me my power.
Barbara Blake-Barns: Excuse me? Oh, I see. Being a burn victim yourself, you take strength from helping children who have been through the same experience. Is that what you mean?
Freddy: Yeah. Something like that.
Barbara Blake-Barns: Your resume states that you interpret dreams, that can be very useful in this line of work, can you give me an example of a prior interpretation?
Freddy: I wouldn’t say that I interpret dreams so much as influence them. Which could come in handy, right?
Barbara Blake Barns: Exactly how are you able to “influence” (actually does air quotes) dreams?
Freddy: (laughing) The dream people. The ones that gave me this job. In dreams…I am forever! Too bad you’re not…
Barbara Blake Barns: (looks uncomfortable) Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Freddy: I don’t know about 5-10 years, but I know that right now I have some pretty fun plans…Filet de Barbie!
Interviewer: Jerry Ray Redman
Jerry Ray Redman: Damn son! What the hell happened to your face?
Freddy: Well, see, first they tried burning me.
Jerry Ray Redman: Who burned you?
Freddy: Does it matter? This boy feels the need for speed! Er…the need for precise and thorough landscape architecture.
Jerry Ray Redman: Are you a US Citizen, or at least have a Green Card?
Freddy: Oh sure.
Jerry Ray Redman: Do you have reliable transportation? How do you drive with those things on your hands? Are you willing to maybe wear a ski mask or a bag on your head? I’m afraid you might scare off the customers. Don’t get me wrong, Son. I don’t discriminate just because you’re ugly as homemade sin, but…
*interview cut off because Freddy eviscerates Jerry Ray Redman. Freddy is sensitive about being called ugly*
Interviewer: Jaegar Von Der Slaughter
Jaegar Von Der Slaugher: Hello,l texture! Hello, intrigue! Hello, retro sweater! You! You are beautiful man! You’re hired! You will be the face, the hand, the LOOK for my new line – Horrifique! Do you know any special skills? Have any special talents we can incorporate into the runway show or the photo shoots?
Everybody loves a good ghost story. Some are classics. We first heard them around a campfire or at a sleepover, the storyteller’s features distorted by the light and shadow caused by a Sears flashlight. Or we read them in a book in the school library when we were supposed to be studying the Declaration of Independence. Or we overheard our older sisters or brothers talking about them when we were way too little to hear such stories. Either way, certain ghost stories are burned into our memories forever. Often the most poignant feature a beautiful or wrathful woman. Submitted for your approval, we give you the most famous, most frightful, most terrifying female ghosts.
Many, many, MANY cultures have a White Lady figure in their mythology. In medieval times in England, The White Lady would act as a harbinger of death – appearing night and day in a home where someone is about to die. The Scottish version of the White Lady is said to be the ghost of a young disgraced girl who got stuck up in a high tower and flung herself out of said high tower, and since then she haunts the grounds of the castle and the room of her banishment.
England, full up with White Lady stories, also has a haunted castle in Cumbria that has its own White Lady. The ghost in question is one of Mary Bragg, who was hanged by a bunch of drunk guys. The name is supposed to be sort of ironic, because Mary was sort of, well, course with her language.
Here in the US there are plenty of other White Lady legends. Many stories are variations on the same theme – a bride who died, either accidentally or because of murder, on her wedding night. Hence the white dress, hence the name. One of the most famous White Lady stories in the US is the White Lady of Durand-Eastman Park in New York.
Legend has it that the lady who became the Lady in White had a daughter who vanishes. The lady went out every night with her two dogs, German Shepard, searching for her daughter. Discouraged and distraught over weeks of no word about her daughter, the woman threw herself off a cliff. To this day, her spirit can be seen walking around, still searching for her missing daughter.
white dress, someone female flinging herself off of something tall, a female being betrayed, a female searching for revenge
Straight out of the mountains of West Virginia, the story of Screaming Jenny is more horrifying than it is spooky. Sweet Jenny was poor but happy, living in an abandoned storage shed along the railroad tracks. She always went out of her way to do things for others, and she was nice, and good-natured, and not terribly observant.
On a late October evening, Jenny sat huddled close to the fire, trying to keep warm. She didn’t notice when a spark hit her woolen skirts, nor did she notice when they caught on fire. In fact, her whole outfit sort of went up in flames before she noticed she was on fire. She jumped up and ran out of her house, screaming at the top of her lungs. Because this was pre-fire safety, Jenny did not stop, drop, or roll, and she ran and screamed and ran some more toward the station.
Fast forward a month from Jenny’s death. A train come around the tracks and was confronted with a burning, screaming ball of fire. Unable to slow down fast enough, the train mowed right over the screaming, burning ball of fire. The subsequent search of the area showed no burned, train-struck body, and they all came to believe they’d encountered Jenny’s ghost.
Every year on the anniversary of her death, you can see Jenny burning and screaming, burning and screaming, in pain and fear and misery forever.
A Maryland ghost story, Black Aggie is actually a statue that was the grave marker in Druid Ridge Cemetery. Put there in 1926, the statue is a copy of a similar statue called Grief which is located in a cemetery in Washington, D.C. Black Aggie sat above the grave of General Felix Angus and his wife. It is rumored that his wife was mistreated and sorrowful. Those traits and emotions got transferred to the already haunting and creepy statue.
One legend said that if you slept the night in Aggie’s lap you could see all the spirits in the cemetery – they would all gather around Aggie every night. Another legend says that the statue itself animates at night and roams around the cemetery, grieving. Others say that her eyes would glow red at night.
Because of all these legends lots of people would break into the graveyard to see if the rumors were true. The remaining members of the Angus family donated Aggie to the Smithsonian in 1967 (one year after the photo above was taken). She sat in storage until she was moved to the Dolley Madison House in Washington, DC.
There are several different stories regarding Bloody Mary. Some believe that the name Bloody Mary refers to Queen Mary I, who, as her reign as Queen of England, failed to produce an heir and had many miscarriages or fake pregnancies. Some people even think that she made the miscarriages happen herself. She was also cruel in the punishments she meted out to those she called heretics. For one or both of those reasons, her nickname became “Bloody Mary.”
Another Bloody Mary legend revolves around a witch named Mary Worth. This is the most popular legend. It says that the witch killed children to keep herself young (Elizabeth Bathory, what?) and that she was eventually burned at the stake.
So, What Do You Do?
Regardless of the identity of the Bloody Mary Character, the ritual to call her is still a rite-of-passage, initiation, thing-you-do-when-you’re-all-sitting-around-freaking-each-other-out thing you do. Well, maybe you do it. I don’t. Allegedly, you can look in the mirror and say her name and she appears. In some schools of thought you have to say her name three times. In others, you have to turn around three times. In others still you have to tell her “Bloody Mary I killed your baby” and that brings her forth.
In some stories, Mary will tell you your future. In others, she’ll allow you to talk to a deceased person of your choosing for exactly eight minutes. In others, she’ll rip your face off. So, who’s for not taking any chances? ME!
a female being betrayed a female searching for revenge black aggie black aggie statue bloody mary daug dogs german shepard drunk guys durand eastman park fear female ghosts ghost stories ghost story harbinger of death haunted castle high tower lady in white lady legends lady on fire Legend light and shadow mary I mary tudor mary worth queen mary queen mary I road scottish version screaming jenny someone female flinging herself off of something tall two dogs white dress white lady york legend
So much in this world is unexplained. The more mysterious it is, the more we like it. The more unexplainable, the harder we try to explain. Such is the nature of the human condition. Why else would there be so many television programs and channels devoted to solving the Earth’s mysteries? Why else would my husband watch an average of 20 hours of History Channel per week? Because he has to KNOW, obviously. Not because the couch is so comfy.
Some internet searching has left me with some questions, as well. Namely, what the heck are these things, and where did they come from? Here you have, my three most mysterious mysterious ancient objects.
Most websites will tell you that these spheres, found in South African mines, are totally unexplained, 2.8 billion year old objects. Geologists, on the other hand, will tell you that rather than being metal Precambrian spheres, they are actually naturally-occurring concretions of volcanic sediments. The cool thing is that they probably are almost 3 billion years old. The reason that they are spherical is that they probably started out as bubbles of volcanic matter that solidified into the shapes discovered by miners and archeologists. The ridges can be explained by the reaction of the object to coarser sediments that came into contact with it. Either way, these are old, and very cool.
Ancient computer, what? The Antikythera mechanism was recovered from a 1st or 2nd century BC shipwreck found in the early 1900s off the coast of Greece. The Greek Island closes is Antikythera, hence the name of the object. The mechanism is estimated to have been built in 100-150 BC, and is a mechanical computer that calculates astronomical data. It is, in essence, an analog computer that has three dials and an outer ring that is marked off with a 365-day year, likely based on the Egyptian calendar. The middle dial is divided into degrees and marked with signs of the Greek Zodiac, and the front probably had hands at one time to show the date, the position of the sun, and the position of the moon.
The front dial also has an early version of an Almanac, which was used to track the appearance of certain stars. It’s use? Well, scientists and historians have devoted a lot of time and money to figuring that out, and the mechanism continues to be studied today.
This is an example of something being in the wrong place at the wrong time – literally, or so it would seem. In 1961 the owners of “LM & V Rockhounds Gem and Gift Shop” in Olancha, California, uncovered a number of geodes in the dry bed of Owens Lake. Mike Mikesell, the “M” of the shop’ s name, was busy cutting into the geodes to find mineral specimens to sell at their shop and very nearly broke his diamond blade saw on one of them. It turns out there was a cylinder of porcelain inside, and inside that was a shaft of magnetized metal.
Since the outer layer of the geode was encrusted with shells and other fossils, it was assumed that the geode had been formed over 500,000 years prior, so how did this mechanism get inside it? Speculation was that it was evidence of aliens, advanced ancient civilizations, or time travelers.
It turns out that what was inside was a spark plug. Spark plugs weren’t invented until the 1800’s, so this was puzzling indeed. Two researchers looked deeper into the situation, and determined that the spark plug was a Champion spark plug from the 1920’s that likely came out of a Ford Model T or Model A.
Supposedly, the oxidation of iron cause the geode-like formation around the spark plug, and that the rock covering with alleged fossils were likely from sediments that flowed over the ball of iron, making it appear to be made of ancient stone.
So much for mystery, but who’s to say that these scientific resolutions are true, anyway?
analog computer ancient computer antikythera mechanism astronomical data Champion spark plugs concretions cool thing coso artifact early 1900s Earth egyptian calendar geologists grooved spheres history channel internet searching mechanical computer shipwreck south african mines spark plugs tin volcanic matter volcanic sediments what the heck
Halloween is the favorite holiday of scores of people. We love to dress up, hand out candy, and watch scary movies. How did these traditions get started? What is Halloween all about, anyway? Lucky for you, I’m here to clear these things up for you.
The Romans had an annual feast called the feast of Pomona. Pomona was the goddess of plenty. She was straight-up a Roman goddess, rather than being the Roman bastardization of a goddess borrowed from the Greeks. Associated with the flowering of trees, Pomona’s feast was celebrated November 1st – the time of the apple harvest in Rome.
The Romans had another festival, called Parentalia, where they’d honor their dead ancestors. Only thing is, it took place in February. The festival itself, however…It started on February 13th (the Ides, y’all) and a Vestal Virgin would sort of emcee the opening rites. The people would present offerings to the tomb of this dippy virgin from Roman Mythology who betrayed her city for accessories and got crushed to death. This represented a communal place for everybody to give props for their own ancestors. The rest of the festival would basically be all tame and family-like, until February 22 when they’d engage in the rites of Feralia, which happened at midnight (of course). The head of the family would directly address any bad spirits that were present. Ovid recorded a complicated ritual that was designed to purge or placate the evil spirits. The next day, they’d have a party the next day to celebrate that the family that was still alive was still alive, and that the dead family members weren’t out to hurt anyone.
So, the Celts had Samhain, which was the harvest festival. Probably the beginning of the year on the Celtic calendar, the Gaels considered this time to be a mystical time when the veil between worlds (our world and the otherworld) was the thinnest. That’s where the costumes started – the custom was to wear costumes and masks in order to trick the spirits into thinking they were one of them. People would also walk between bonfires to cleanse themselves of evil spirits. That’s also where the first Jack-O-Lanterns happened – the Gaels would hallow out turnips and carve faces into them to scare away the evil spirits.
Like many Pagan holidays, the Christians have a holiday around about the same time as Samhain. In Catholicism and some Anglican faiths, All Soul’s Day comes after All Saint’s Day. All Saint’s Day is celebrated November 1, while the morning and evening Lauds and Vespers of All Soul’s Day is observed November 2 (but the evening bits happen on November 3 if November 2 happens on a Sunday). The custom is actually borrowed from the Jewish faith – where praying for the dead has been in practice since Biblical times. In 837 Pope Gregory IV standardized the date of All Saint’s Day, which sort of stepped on Samhain, but that’s how it went back then.
The Feast of Samhain came over from Ireland along with Irish immigrants who were fleeing the horrible potato famine. All Saints and All Soul’s Day had Hallowmas, which happened right around the same time as Samhain. Eventually the secular fun of the celebration won out over the religious connotations, and people started celebrating Halloween as a family fun time with costumes, pumpkin carving, and scary stories and movies. For some, Halloween is still a religious holiday – some people still practice the older Celtic religions, and Halloween is a Sabbat in some Wiccan sects.
As for the celebration, it’s observed in Ireland (as a cultural event for those who aren’t practitioners of the pre-Christian Celtic religions), in Scotland (much like Ireland does it), England (as All Soul’s Eve), in Wales (as Nos Calan Gaeaf), in the Scandinavian Countries (as part of St. Martin’s Day), in Romania (as Halloween, but centered around the story of Dracula), in Switzerland (but not as much anymore – they see it as a US import and a pagan holiday), in Italy (though amidst controversy), in Denmark (as another excuse to go trick-or-treating), and in the US and Canada.
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Lately, for work, I’ve had to take a long hard look at a handful of movies. Yes, I know that sounds awful. Somehow I got through it. The latest movie I’ve had to study is Zombieland, a fantastic film in its own right–made even better by its surprise cameo. It made me think of cameos I’ve enjoyed, and ones I didn’t realize I was seeing until later someone says to me, “You know, the crappy waiter/Buddy Holly impersonator in Pulp Fiction was actually Steve Buscemi? He was supposed to have a big part, but scheduling got in the way and all he had time to film was one scene. He wanted to be involved, hence, he’s the cameo.
I didn’t know that. Even after having seen the film many, many times and being a big Buscemi fan, I didn’t know it. What else is surprising? And what ranks as the best cameos in film history?
Cameo, as a term, actually comes from the old cameo jewelry, the ones of a person’s profile emblazoned on a necklace or brooch. As the jewelry piece is supposed to make someone’s face instantly recognizable, the cameo appearance in film serves the same purpose. You recognize the face, but it takes you a minute to realize what’s happening.
The first (and still best known) master of the cameo was renounced director Alfred Hitchcock, who eventually cast himself in 37 of his own films, a technique borne out of necessity at first (needing extra people in scenes with limited time or budget), but eventually becoming an enjoy game for his fans. He put a signature on them, as well, often carrying a musical instrument in the scene. Since then, cameos have evolved from small walk on roles to what some may consider a guest spot (think Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder).
Musicians are often featured in movie cameos. Sometimes they’re involved in the film via the soundtrack or through mutual friends. Notable instances include Jon Bon Jovi, who recorded his first solo album under the Young Guns II Soundtrack (commonly known as Blaze of Glory), even though every song was his. His involvement on the musical end of the Western ended up with him playing a small part as an inmate who gets shot back into the prison pit. This ended up kickstarting a real acting career for the rocker, who has gone on to co-star with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore.
The nineties were ripe for rock cameos, with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum playing Winona Ryder’s slacker boyfriend in Reality Bites, or the plethora of grunge acts secretly featured in Singles. Director Cameron Crowe is a music fan’s music fan. He really knows his stuff, and for this 1992 flick, he featured Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and more. (Singles has another cameo tidbit, as the one and only Tim Burton has a bit role). The only major grunge act of the day not to have some form of cameo in the film was Nirvana.
Perhaps the award for most cameo’d (is that a word?) musician in film goes to David Bowie, whose Wikipedia page lists him as having eight cameos (in addition to several fully credited film roles).
Wayne and Garth are hard partying young rockers. They secure backstage passes to Alice Cooper and are ready to throw down! It’s Alice Cooper man! He’s killed birds onstage! Alas, Alice schools them on the origins of the word “Milwaukee” and they party less like rock stars and more like history teachers.
Bob Saget is forever burned into many an early thirtysomething’s brain as the dad from Full House. Danny Tanner. Just say that name and you immediately think fuzzy sweater geekdom trying to parent the blonde cherubs while dealing with their well meaning, mulletted, immature uncles.
So, when Half Baked came out in 1998 (three years after Full House ended), no one, and I mean, no one expected Danny Tanner to reprimand Dave Chappelle for a mere marijuana addiction, as he’d “blankety blanked” (real words: sucked dick–feel free to insert–not sure the Bizarre Bytes etiquette) for coke.” Wow. And now, no one, and I mean, no one thinks of Bob Saget as a mere sitcom dad.
Similarly to Saget, actor Neil Patrick Harris was known for most of the 1990s and early 2000s as “Doogie,” as in the 1989-93 series Doogie Howser, M.D. as the child prodigy/surgeon. What he did in the interim, I don’t know. I’m sure something. Then, with Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle came out in 2004, and NPH is suddenly a e-swallowing, skirt chasing, dude, everything changed. He’s now five years into a similar role on How I Met Your Mother. Cameo=Comeback in this case.
Once upon a time, Tom Cruise was the hottest thing around. With movies like Top Gun and Risky Business, he combined the classic charm of screen idols past, with a dash of bad boy lothario (succeeding predecessors like Clark Gable and Warren Beatty). He rode waves of success throughout the 1980s and 90s. Then he jumped on a couch and everything crashed down around him. Fast forward two years, and a cameo involving a potty-mouthed, balding movie exec with secret dance moves brought Cruise back to the top.
Bill Murray’s cameo appearance in Zombieland is the winner. First of all, it’s a surprise cameo, as Murray isn’t listed in the IMDB Synopsis or on the movie posters. Second, the way his cameo is written into the storyline: playing himself, but not exactly himself, makes the audience all the more suprised at what ultimately becomes of his character. I won’t spoil the awesomeness that is this particular cameo. However, it’s #1 status should tell you something.
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Crop formations, or crop circles, have been widely publicized by the media since the late 1970s. A crop formation is a circular pattern found in a field of wheat or similar tall-growing, grass-bearing crops. Crop formations tend to appear at night under mysterious or unexplainable circumstances.
Crop formations have also been directly associated with UFOs and UFO sightings. But a closer examination of the history of crop circles shows that most formations have been either man or nature made. Yet the origins of 20% of new crop circles go unexplained, leaving us to wonder who or what is behind these beautiful patterns.
1647 marks the first recorded crop formation in a Berkshire, England woodcut pamphlet known as The Mowing Devil. The woodcut shows a horned creature mowing oats in a circular pattern. The inscription on the woodcut tells the story of a farmer who balked at his mower’s high price for cutting oats, saying that he would rather hire the devil himself to do the work. The woodcut also suggests that if a crop circle appeared in 1647, it might have been attributed to “the work of the devil.” To crop circle gurus, The Mowing Devil is the first recorded evidence of crop formations.
In 1880, Brandon Meland reported in the journal Nature on his discovery of several circles of flattened field crops that he attributed to circular winds.
Crop circle history was fairly quiet for almost a century until 1966 in Tully, Australia. While driving a tractor near a lagoon one morning, banana farmer George Pedley watched a large, spinning, saucer-shaped object rise out of the lagoon and fly off. Upon investigation of the lagoon, Pedley found a large circular formation in the reeds. Pedley showed the property owner, and they informed the authorities. During the police investigation, five more similar “nests” were found nearby, but they were all attributed to a “willy willy”—a small, circular windstorm found in tropical climates.
In the early 1970s, crop circles began popping up all over England and generating widespread media attention. By 1978, drinking buddies Doug Bower and Dave Chorley started making their own crop circles at night as a public spoof that they hoped would draw media attention. But the circles did not generate the publicity they had anticipated and were written off as the results of either wind or weather because of their simplicity. In 1981, the men created a more-complex formation in the Winchester Punchbowl where they knew it would get noticed and perplex its observers. The men continued their work for another ten years until 1991 when they were forced to go public with their scam in order to convince Bower’s wife that he was not having an affair, as he was frequently missing at night and putting a lot of extra miles on their car. Dave Chorley died suddenly in 1996, but Doug Bower continued their work alone, now as a form of public art.
As crop formations became more complex during the 1980’s, they took on advanced geometry and symmetry. The Barbury Castle Crop Circle in Wiltshire, England was a major advancement in crop formations because it was the first circle that broke symmetry and is said to show evidence of mathematical patterns in the universe. Its origins went unexplained.
Twelve teams entered this competition to create the best “hoax” crop formation for a sum of 5,200 pounds. Entries were as complex as a team of helicopters pulling pipes and ladders, and as simple as a single man with a garden roller. According to the events’ organizers, the quality of the results proved that complex crop formations could still be human hoaxes.
The St. Stephen Agricultural Technicum in Hungary produced two ambitious young farmers who were the first to face legal repercussions for a crop circle hoax. At age 17, students Gabor Takacs and Robert Dallos created a large crop circle in a wheat field outside Budapest. Three months later they appeared on a television show where they revealed that the circle had been a hoax. The property owners decided to sue the boys for the damage to their crop. After they were found guilty and fined, the Hungarian television show that the boys appeared on ended up paying for all the damages and legal fees.
In 1995, the group Circlemakers formed to create England’s definitive website on crop formations. The site serves as a forum for both believers of unexplainable crop formation phenomenon and circle artists alike. Visitors can find info on all things related to crop circles, including free, downloadable instructions for making your own.
In 2002, The Discovery Channel asked MIT grad students to engineer their own crop circles and documented the event for television in an hour-long special called “Crop Circles: Mystery in the fields.” The show’s agenda was to distinguish hoaxes from the real thing, suggesting that, after all, there is a “real thing.”
About 80% of crop formations are scientifically proven to be man-made, or crop circle hoaxes, so what about the other 20%? These circles of unknown origin are usually attributed to wind/weather, government conspiracy, or UFO/alien activity; however, the aliens seem to take the cake. UFOs have been linked to crop formations since one was spotted in daylight at the site of the first well-known formation in Tully, Australia. Further, over the years people have reportedly witnessed crop circles being formed by virtually nothing in seconds before their very eyes. But perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence is that the patterns and formations can only be seen in their entirety from the sky.
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I don’t want to assume the worst here, but it looks pretty bad. Is this some sort of weird (is there any other kind) of kangaroo orgy? I would say that maybe they are huddling for warmth, but it doesn’t look too chilly to me.
I did a search and found this even more damning video of a group of kangaroos getting it on.
It would appear that kangaroos enjoy a carefree and multiple partner sex life and don’t mind if people watch. Are kangaroos the perverts of the animal kingdom. I submit to you that they may just possibly be.