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Saturday, January 11, 2014

REMINDER: Sunday is No-Pants Subway Ride Day!!

The No Pants Subway Ride is an annual event staged by Improv Everywhere every January in New York City. The mission started as a small prank with seven guys and has grown into an international celebration of silliness, with dozens of cities around the world participating each year. The idea behind No Pants is simple: Random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The participants do not behave as if they know each other, and they all wear winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. The only unusual thing is their lack of pants.

The date for the next No Pants Subway Ride in 2014 is January 12. Participation details are here.

More information, including videos from previous years, can be found here.

In Japan, colorful bras and frilly knickers - all for men

The underwear is meant to make men feel 'more gentle' 
“Since we launched the men's bra, we've been getting feedback from customers saying, 'Wow, we'd been waiting for this for such a long time”

Akiko Okunomiya, executive director of Wish Room
in Japan, fashion designers have created a new range of sexy garments for men set to arrive in stores in February.

Company Wish Room, who have been making the underwear since 2008, said they want me to have the chance to 'enjoy the same kind of soft, luxurious undergarments that women are used to'.

The range is designed directly for men with special fits for larger frames and the bras have dropped the padding to give men an easy fit without it feeling "unnatural".

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mark Steyn at his best: Global warming's glorious ship of fools

From Mark Steyn - read the whole thing at The Spectator (why not NRO, by the way?  What's going on there?).  Excerpts:

Has there ever been a better story? It's like a version of Titanic where first class cheers for the iceberg.

Yes, yes, just to get the obligatory ‘of courses’ out of the way up front: of course ‘weather’ is not the same as ‘climate’; and of course the thickest iciest ice on record could well be evidence of ‘global warming’, just as 40-and-sunny and a 35-below blizzard and 12 degrees and partly cloudy with occasional showers are all apparently manifestations of ‘climate change’; and of course the global warm-mongers are entirely sincere in their belief that the massive carbon footprint of their rescue operation can be offset by the planting of wall-to-wall trees the length and breadth of Australia, Britain, America and continental Europe.

The view from the trapped ship
MV Akademik Shokalskiy
But still: you’d have to have a heart as cold and unmovable as Commonwealth Bay ice not to be howling with laughter at the exquisite symbolic perfection of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ‘stuck in our own experiment’, as they put it. I confess I was hoping it might all drag on a bit longer and the cultists of the ecopalypse would find themselves drawing straws as to which of their number would be first on the roasting spit. On Douglas Mawson’s original voyage, he and his surviving comrade wound up having to eat their dogs. I’m not sure there were any on this expedition, so they’d probably have to make do with the Guardian reporters. Forced to wait a year to be rescued, Sir Douglas later recalled, ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips.’ Now there’s a man who’s serious about reducing his footprint.

Duck Decoy How the entertainment industry made the Duck Dynasty family into rednecks.

Interesting article about the transformation of the real Robertson family into the rednecks of Duck Dynasty.  Read the whole thing at Washington Monthly. Excerpts: 

A&E appears to have taken a large clan of affluent, college-educated, mildly conservative, country club Republicans, common across the nicer suburbs of the old south, and repackaged them as the Beverly Hillbillies.

On December 29 Political Blind Spot posted an interesting series of older family photographs of the Robertson family, from back in the 90s, long after they’d founded the company, but before Duck Dynasty and anyone in the entertainment industry had ever heard of them.

Here are Phil Robertson’s four sons, before network TV:

Phil Robertson grew up poor in the northwest Louisiana —“a place where Cajun redneck culture and Ozark redneck culture intersect” and in 1972 he,
Founded the Duck Commander company, which sold a line of custom-made duck-hunting calls that quickly became popular among avid hunters for their uncanny accuracy in replicating the sound of a real duck. He eventually sold half the company to his son Willie, now 41, and together they made a DVD series about the family’s duck hunts, which led to a show on the Outdoor Channel, which led to Duck Dynasty on A&E….
The show—a reality sitcom showcasing the semiscripted high jinks of Phil, his brother “Uncle Si,” his four sons, Alan, Willie, Jase, and Jep, and the perpetually exasperated but always perfectly accessorized Robertson-family ladies—has become the biggest reality-TV hit in the history of cable television, reportedly earning the family a holy shit-worthy $200,000-an-episode paycheck. It’s a funny, family-friendly show, with “skits that we come up with,” as Phil describes the writing process. They plunder beehives. They blow up beaver dams.
Here's Willie, before and after his redneck transformation:

Now, as part of the show:

 Before, complete with frosted tips:

The original Duck Dynasty promo billed the show as a “rags-to-riches story of a down-home family business with a heavily bearded band of hunting experts.”

This is no such family. A&E just created its own rednecks.

The ZZ top bearded, camo-wearing mountain men, this fusion of “Cajun redneck culture and Ozark redneck culture” is entertainment industry idea of what real America looks like.

The Robertsons are not being exploited; they’re fully on board with this plan, cynical as it appears. And why shouldn’t they be? If A&E wanted to give me $8 million to play a caricature of myself on TV I would totally do it.

Friday links

26 Animals That Are Having the Best Snow Day Ever.

Excellent animated visualization of day-to-day changes in the European theater of World War II.

Famous album covers recreated in Lego.

Hairy elbows syndrome: yup, it’s a thing.

Engravings From A French Ice-Skating Manual (1813).

Canadian Woman Transforms Her Basement into the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links, including state name etymologies and funny colonoscopy videos, are here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Excellent animated visualization of day-to-day changes in the European theater of World War II

For WW II:
This video shows the changing front lines of the European Theater of World War II every day from the German invasion of Poland to the surrender of Germany.

Here's WW I:
See the changing front lines of World War I in Europe and the Middle East from the first declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on July 28, 1914 up to the German armistice on November 11, 1918. Each slide represents 5 days.

These are by Youtube user EmperorTigerstar, and he has several additional map animations available.

Engravings From A French Ice-Skating Manual (1813)

Colored engravings from France’s first ice-skating manual Le Vrai Patineur (The True Skater) written by Jean Garcin, a book praised in HonorĂ© de Balzac’s Illusions Perdues.

More information here, via Presurfer.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday links

Electroplating the dead - turning bodies into statues.

Life Hacks: 89 Genius Solutions To Simple Problems.

ICYMI, Monday's links, including moving deer crossing signs to less busy roads and nuking Canada, are here.

Supercut of people running in slow motion in movies.

Film list, in order of appearance:

American History X
Bad Boys
Boys n the hood
The Grinch
LOTR : Return of the king
Cliff Hanger
Stand by me
Broken Arrow
George of the jungle
Rookie of the year
The Sandlot
Hot Fuzz
White men can't jump
Teen Wolf
Revenge of the nerds
The longest yard
The last of the Mohicans
Hard Target
Run fat boy run
Ice age
Charlie's Angels
Get him to the Greek
Mean Machine
The Matrix Revolutions
Forest Gump
Jeepers Creepers 2
Pain and Gain
Sherlock Holmes 2
The Hurt Locker
Scott Pilgrim
Shrek 2
Chariots of Fire
Tropic Thunder
Kick Ass
Sucker Punch
The Untouchables
The Last Boyscout
The Patriot
The Rundown
Attack the block
Tron Legacy
Kick Ass
The Darjeeling Limited
Starsky and Hutch
Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding
Wagons East
Police Academy 4
Homeward Bound
Resident Evil Retribution
The Marine
The Running man
Mission Impossible
Blade Runner
Transformers : ROTF
Nacho Libre
Rocky III
The Immortals
LOTR : Fellowship of the ring
The Meteor man
Kung Fu Hustle
Terminator 2
Max Payne
Lethal Weapon 3
Run Lola Run
Hoop Dreams

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday links

Hovering Tree in Germany.

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings: It's Richard II's 647th birthday.  Kind of related: Five Hardcore Deaths Suffered By Roman Emperors.

Is Iron Man made of Lego?

That time we nearly nuked Canada (with their permission).

The origin of the deadline.

From the archives, a Must Listen: Woman's rant about the government encouraging (via crossing signs) deer to cross busy roads.

Do Fat People Stay Warmer Than Thin People? (They could have saved the taxpayer dollars and asked a few of those of us with enhanced subcutaneous insulation.)

ICYMI, Friday's links, including deadliest actors and normally-proportioned Barbie, are here.

Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings: It's Richard II's 647th birthday

All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
There is no virtue like necessity.
~William Shakespeare (King Richard II, Act I, Sc. 3)

More are men's ends marked than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past.
~Ibid., Act II, Sc. 1

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been deposed; some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poisoned by their wives; some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp...
~Ibid., Act III, Sc. 2

Today is the 647th anniversary of the birth of Richard II (1367-1400), the eighth and last of the Plantagenet kings of England. The son of Edward the Black Prince, Richard succeeded his grandfather Edward III in 1377, but because his minority was dominated by rival nobles, it was difficult for him to assert his authority even after quelling the Peasant's Revolt in 1381. In ensuing power struggles with John of Gaunt and his son, the Duke of Hereford, Richard was defeated and forced to abdicate in 1399 in favor of Hereford, who became Henry IV. Richard died - probably murdered - in 1400 in Pontefract Castle, where he had been imprisoned. These events led inexorably to the Wars of the Roses and an ongoing obsession in the house of Tudor with reiterating its legitimacy - having gained the throne by virtue of a regicide two centuries earlier.  

Written in 1595 when Shakespeare was 31, Richard II draws on Holinshed's Chronicles as its principal source and may have been intended by the Bard as a lesson to the Tudors about the dangers of weak leadership at a time when Spain was threatening again and the childless Queen Elizabeth had not yet named an heir. In any event, the queen is known to have seen the play later that year. Of all Shakespeare's history plays, Richard II is the most lyrical, and its remarkable poetry and sad portrayal of personal downfall maintain its popularity today. For example, in Act V, Sc. 5, the doomed king laments,

"How sour sweet music is,
When time is broke, and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men's lives."

You can watch the BBC's Shakespeare Uncovered biopic of Richard II, with Derek Jacobi, here.  The Kindle version of the play is available for free here.

The boy king Richard II:

Taken from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email.  If you'd like to be added to his distribution list, leave your information on the comments.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Guy in NY helps dig car out of the snow, then carjacks it at gunpoint, then runs away stripping off his clothes

Genero Placenia, 18, carjacked a man at gunpoint after helping the 19-year-old victim free his car from the snow, cops say. 

An 18-year-old goon helped a motorist dig out a car buried on a snow-swept Queens street Friday. Then he carjacked the man’s ride — along with his iPhone and cash — at gunpoint, cops said.

This is a generic car-in-snowbank picture and
 has nothing specific to do with this story.
But Genero Placenia’s plan fell apart after he helped his 19-year-old victim free the Honda Civic on 75th St. near Pitkin Ave. in Ozone Park at 1:30 p.m., officials said.

The robbery suspect ditched the car in a snowbank. Placenia, who shucked off his clothes and shoes as he ran, was caught in a nearby building — with “most of his clothes off” cops said.

Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 In Colorado On First Day Of Legalisation

HuffPo UK: A satirical website managed to trick some people into thinking marijuana was a particularly lethal drug*, with a rather excellent hoax story.

The article was headlined: "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalisation January 2nd, 2014."

Long queues sprung up across Colorado on Thursday, with hordes of customers braving the bitter cold and snow, as the world's first state-licensed marijuana industry opened for business.

But The Daily Currant, decided to have some fun with the new marijuana law.

"Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalise recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses," the story reads, attributing the shocking death toll to the Rocky Mountain News – a Denver daily newspaper that closed in 2009.

“It’s complete chaos here,” says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, “I’ve put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.”

"We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures," the doctor raved."

Trimethylaminuria is a genetic disease formerly known as "Fish Odor Syndrome."

"By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalise marijuana? What were we thinking?"

"Dr. Jack Shepard" was a character on the TV show "Lost."

The spoof story forced the real Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center to issue a news release clarifying that "there is no such doctor as 'Jack Shepard' on our medical staff and that there have been no deaths due to marijuana at our hospital," abc15 reported.

Confused readers took to Twitter to voice their concerns:
One horrified man said in a YouTube video commentary: "This story just blows me away. Thirty-seven people died in Colorado on New Year's Day when marijuana was legalised… Doctors say they expect hundreds more imminent deaths. This is more deaths than an average day in Iraq and the Afghanistan wars combined."

* I had no idea that there was a musical version of Reefer Madness.  It stars Kristen Bell, AKA Veronica Mars; here's a trailer for the new Veronica Mars movie: