Strangers in the Night

Friday, November 16, 2018

Get ready for an emergent weekend with Cake.

Onward we stagger

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
I guess this is a form of an equestrian statue, with the horse replaced by a motorcycle. it memorialized William Darby and is located in Fort Scott, Arkansas. Darby is the WWI officer who put together Darby's Raiders, the unit that eventually evolved into the U.S. Army Rangers.

Found via Roadside Wonders.

Veterans Day

Sunday, November 11, 2018

From the Army times article Nov. 11, 1918: Wasted Lives on Armistice Day:
On November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in France suffered more than thirty-five hundred casualties, although it had been known unofficially for two days that the fighting would end that day and known with absolute certainty as of 5 o’clock that morning that it would end at 11 a.m. Nearly a year afterward, on November 5, 1919, General John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF, found himself testifying on the efficiency of the war’s prosecution before the House of Representatives Committee on Military Affairs.

The encounter was amicable and respectful since members were dealing with the officer who had led America to victory in the Great War. However, a Republican committee member, Alvan T. Fuller of Massachusetts, deferentially posed a provocative query: ‘This question is somewhat irrelevant to the matter under discussion,’ Fuller began, ‘but I would like to ask General Pershing if American troops were ordered over the top on the other side on the morning of the day when under the terms of the Armistice firing was to cease … and that those troops who were not killed or wounded marched peacefully into Germany at 11 o’clock. Is that true?’

Pershing answered with his customary crisp confidence:

"When the subject of the armistice was under discussion we did not know what the purpose of it was definitely, whether it was something proposed by the German High Command to gain time or whether they were sincere in their desire to have an armistice; and the mere discussion of an armistice would not be sufficient grounds for any judicious commander to relax his military activities. … No one could possibly know when the armistice was to be signed, or what hour be fixed for the cessation of hostilities so that the only thing for us to do, and which I did as commander in chief of the American forces, and which Marshal Foch did as commander in chief of the Allied armies was to continue the military activities…"

Harvesting redwood trees

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Above is a film from the 1940s showing redwood trees being cut down, transported and processed at a lumber mill. Amazingly the old-timey lumberjacks fell the trees with only axes, saws and wedges making us modern folk look like little more than chainsaw dependent soyboys in comparison.


Friday, November 09, 2018

Get ready for an emancipated weekend with Mendeleyev.

The catfish of DOOM

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

In 1855 an earthquake struck Tokyo causing considerable amounts of damage and killing 7,000 people. Popular legend held that giant catfish, who lived underground, caused earthquakes. After the 1855 earthquake a number of prints circulated with a catfish theme.

These few examples, and those after the jump, are from the Pink Tentacle post, Namazu-e: Earthquake catfish prints. At that link are many more examples of those prints as well as captions explaining each print.

There's a sudden void in my life

Anybody else feeling depressed and disoriented after the election? I mean, how will I ever survive without a deluge of campaign ads.

Man, no jazzy campaign commercials with smiling heroes to cheer me up, no voice messages on my answering machine telling me to vote 'yes' on proposition 3, my mailbox barren of slick flyers educating me as to what a criminal and cad the other fellow is sure to be. Nothing -- just campaigning silence.

I feel adrift. Whatever will I do with all my time now?

A song for the election

Monday, November 05, 2018

Well, it is a song about the wrong election, but whatever. Regardless, no matter how the vote goes there will be hysteria. Better to take it all in stride. Have a good one no matter what.

5 days in a Mumbai slum

Saturday, November 03, 2018

In the above video an incredibly cheerful Lithuanian fellow spends 5 days visiting and living in a Mumbai slum. It is a bit odd of a video to put it mildly. He pretty much ignores the slummy aspect of the slum in a slightly goofy euphoria over the people who live there. At least his heart is in the right place.

By the way, the comments to the video are interesting. Not all are so rosy as our Lithuanian friend and so they add a different perspective to what the video shows.

Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles

Friday, November 02, 2018

Get ready for an ocular weekend with Jaakonaho.

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I researched inappropriate Halloween costumes on the web and am pretty sure the above image does not run afoul of any PC sins. Well, maybe a vegan would be offended, so maybe it's not OK. By the way the silliest costume no-no I saw mentioned was "This Sexy Convict costume could be interpreted as trivializing the US prison system." Mustn't offend the incarcerated I guess.

Anyway -- happy Halloween all,

Are Pringles potato chips?

Monday, October 29, 2018

I'm not all that familiar with the snack food Pringles. I've eaten them a few times and they seemed to be wonky tasting potato chips. For British taxing purposes, the question as to whether they were potato chips or something else altogether involved a lot of money. From the Mental Floss article The Question that Baffled Britain's High Court: Are Pringles Potato Chips?:
Are Pringles potato chips? From 2007 to 2009, that question plagued judges at three different levels of the British judiciary, leading to a series of head-scratchingly comical legal proceedings. The stakes, however, were nothing but serious: The ruling put hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

The question revolved around Britain’s value-added tax, or VAT. According to the 1994 VAT Act, any product that is “wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato” was subject to a 17.5 percent tax. In 2007, Britain’s VAT and Duties Tribunal determined that Pringles fell under the tax’s umbrella—and demanded the chipman payeth.

Procter & Gamble, who owned Pringles at the time, vehemently disagreed. They argued that Pringles were only 42 percent potato flour, with the rest mostly a slurry of wheat starch, corn and rice flour, and vegetable oil. The snack food, they said, could not be classified as a potato chip because, unlike a real potato chip, its overall contents and shape were “not found in nature.”
The case ended up getting quite convoluted, with one court saying Pringles were more akin to cake or bread and later another deciding the did nit contain the required amount of "potatoness". With so much potential tax monies involved you can imagine  how long that sort of reasoning stood:
 After working itself in and out of semantic pretzels, the Court said the easiest solution to Chipgate was to appeal to a hypothetical child: If you asked an 8-year-old to explain what a Pringle was, what would he or she say? 
The question of a Pringle’s identity, the Court argued, “would probably be answered in a more relevant and sensible way by a child consumer than by a food scientist or a culinary pedant.” 
In other words, a chip is a chip is a chip—Pringles among them. With that, Procter & Gamble had to pay $160 million in taxes.
Seems odd that a hypothetical 8-year-old would settle the matter, but -- after all --- death and taxes.

Shine on Harvest Moon

Friday, October 26, 2018

Get ready for a moonlit weekend with Leon Redbone.

Intensely agitated over the matter

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

In 1894 the use, or misuse, of a Ouija board led to a lawsuit -- The State of Indiana vs. Eva Doty and Nora Doty. From Strange Company's Newspaper Clipping of the Day of Oct 24, 2018:
In a word, this Ouija has managed to wreck the peace of an idyllic Indiana village, a quaint and rural community numbering not more than a hundred families. It was brought into the village in all innocence by the Doty family, and the neighbours used to assemble after church of an evening and amuse themselves by asking it questions. It uttered some remarkable prophecies, and gave the rustics some sage advice about their private affairs, in which they had faith, notwithstanding that it set them all one day digging up the village green in search of a buried treasure. The girls of course made great use of it, and at last one night it said some very wicked things about Miss Eva Hollowell [sic], a village belle and a rival of the Doty girls in church-work and other accomplishments. This came to the ears of Miss Hollowell's father, a choleric man, and there was a row. The Dotys said they believed the Ouija, and Mr. Hollowell summoned them all to court, including the Ouija. The latter being produced as a witness, we are told, gave some samples of its work; but the verdict went for the plaintiff, and the Doty girls were fined five dollars apiece and costs. Mr. Hollowell, however, is too angry to be satisfied with this slight vengeance, and he is bringing the case to a higher court, where the Ouija will again appear in the witness-box. “The country hereabouts,” says the report, “is intensely agitated over the matter.”

Casting an obsidian blade

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Obsidian is a type of volcanic glass that was frequently used to make stone tools. Obsidian stone tools, which could be knives, scrapers, arrowheads or even fish hooks, were carefully formed by chipping off flakes from a piece of obsidian. It was time consuming, but obsidian is very durable and can hold an extremely sharp edge.

In the video above the tool maker takes a more modern approach -- he melts the obsidian and tries to cast the blade. I'll leave you decide whether his approach is progress or not.

Old bicycle ads

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Click any image to enlarge
Bicycles have been around since Baron Karl von Drais's "Running Machine" built in 1817. It was just the frame, seat and 2 wheels and, since it lacked pedals, was more of an aid to running than what we would consider a modern bicycle. Many technical innovations -- pedals, chains, reliable brakes, steering, rubber and pneumatic tires to name a few -- had to be developed as the bicycle evolved to its modern form (bicycle history timeline).

The image of the bicycle has also evolved. In its early days it was a technological marvel of transportation. Eventually the automobile knocked it from that perch and it slid down to being primarily a kid's toy. However. at the same time racing and mountain bikes continued to be developed and they have since found an avid, albeit slightly annoying, following.

These are old vintage ads for bicycles. There are more after the jump and even more at La boite verte's  49 belles publicités anciennes pour des vélos.

Kaw Liga

Friday, October 19, 2018

Get ready for a DNA testing weekend with Charlie Pride.

Crowds - real and potential

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Click image to enlarge

The crowd at the ball game - William Carlos Williams 

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them—

all the exciting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius—

all to no end save beauty
the eternal—

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied—
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut—

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it—

The Jew gets it straight— it
is deadly, terrifying—

It is the Inquisition, the

It is beauty itself
that lives

day by day in them

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought

Thai street food

Saturday, October 13, 2018

One of my favorite things about Asian cities are their street food vendors. These videos are taken from the YouTube channel Street Food Only which concentrates on Thai street foods.

Above is a walk through Chiang Rai night bazaar. Below is a stand that makes fish-shaped sweet pancakes and a market on the Thai/Myanmar border.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Get ready for a hopping weekend with Paul Anka.

Robots on comic book covers

Tuesday, October 09, 2018
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Vintage robots are always pretty silly looking. This small samplings them on comic book covers. They are from the Flashbak post Programmed for Lameness: Awful Comic Book Covers Featuring Robots. There are many more examples at the link.

Leech therapy

Click image to enlarge
A quick update on my recovery: as regular visitors know I recently had an operation that has greatly slowed down my posting. The operation was a success and I'm coming along fine.

What primarily impacted my posting was the pain medicine. That, and erratic sleep, left me pretty drifty and unfocused. My pain medicine dosage has finally been reduced and I am feeling a lot more human. I expect to be back in business shortly.

By the way, the picture above is an engraving of a doctor prescribing leeches to a sick patient. Hmmm... I wonder if that would have sped up my recovery?


Friday, October 05, 2018

Get ready for a delirious weekend with Too Many Zooz. 

96 Tears

Friday, September 28, 2018

Get ready for a weekend of blubbering with Thelma Houston.

I'm still around

Friday, September 21, 2018

I mentioned a while back that I was having some surgery and would be off-line while I recovered. The surgery went well. My recovery -- which consists of sitting in a lounge chair addled with painkillers and watching lousy TV shows is going OK as well.

Anyway, I figured I should tear myself away from the Bomba the Jungle Boy movie to let you know I survived and will resume my posting soon.

Never Forget

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From Patricia Morrison's recollections of the 911 attack in the post WTC RIP:
I forced myself up to the roof again that night to look, and unless you live here and know how it is, you cannot imagine how strange it is not to see them there, those giant towers. I’ve seen them there as long as I’ve lived here as an adult in the city where I was born; I watched them in all weathers, as people in hill country watch their hills. I saw them go up, and now I’ve seen them come down. And all that was there that night was evil glowing smoke.

But except for that first night, I had not yet been able to look at where they stood. In my East Village neighborhood the towers were omnipresent; you’d look downtown on First or Second or Third Avenues and there they were, looming over the low-rise buildings between, mountains standing tall behind a range of foothills, somehow making the other building around them look not smaller but taller themselves.

And yet I knew that I had to look, that I dishonored the people who died there and even, in some strange way, the towers themselves, by not being able to look.

So yesterday, Sunday September sixteenth, I went out for an immense walk. I went up to a park near my home, passing a hospital whose walls are covered with photos of the lost, and praying as I passed, then took a bus to the Hudson River side of town. I got off at Abingdon Square, walked the couple of blocks to the river edge, and just started walking south, as far as I could get.

And I MADE myself look, every step of the way. At where the towers were, at where they now were not. At the flame and smoke still pouring out of their graves, and the graves of those who died there, as out of the throat of a volcano.

They’re not there. They’re not there. They will never be there again. After a while your eyes start playing tricks and you think you see their ghosts rising up through the smoke. But they’re not there.

I'll be off-line for a bit

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Not that, considering my flakey posting schedule, anybody would notice, but I'll be off-line for a while. I'm having outpatient surgery and I'll need to recuperate.

Nothing serious, but you never know -- mistakes do happen. My only hope is that, should I be the victim of a surgical miscalculation, -- say an accidental head transplant like above for example -- is that I not be stuck with the noggin of a soy boy on my left shoulder.

Excellent summary of the Kavanaugh hearings

Saturday, September 08, 2018

None Of Us Are Free

Friday, September 07, 2018

Get ready for an abolitionist weekend with Solomon Burke
and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

McKinley smiled and extended his hand...

Thursday, September 06, 2018
Leon Czolgosz in custody

On this day in 1901 the anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley. From History's The Assassination of President William McKinley:
Despite the sweltering late-summer heat, a long line of people waited outside the Temple of Music when the reception began at 4 p.m. As the theater’s organist played a Bach sonata, the visitors slowly filed inside, many of them eager for a chance to meet the president and shake his hand. Near the front of the line stood 28-year-old Leon Czolgosz, a shy and brooding former steel worker. An avowed anarchist, Czolgosz had arrived in Buffalo only a few days earlier and purchased a .32 caliber Iver Johnson revolver—the same type of weapon that another anarchist had used to assassinate the Italian King Umberto I the previous summer. He now waited with the gun wrapped in a white handkerchief and concealed inside his jacket pocket. “It was in my heart; there was no escape for me,” Czolgosz later said. “All those people seemed bowing to the great ruler. I made up my mind to kill that ruler.”

McKinley’s anxious staff had added police and soldiers to his usual complement of Secret Service agents, but the security detail took little notice of Czolgosz as he strode up to the president at around 4:07 p.m. When McKinley smiled and extended his hand, Czolgosz raised his pistol—still wrapped in its white handkerchief—and fired two shots at point blank range. 
The above picture is of Czolgosz in Buffalo's jail. He did not repent his crime, saying in his confession, “I don’t believe in the Republican form of government, and I don’t believe we should have any rulers. It is right to kill them.”

Justice was swift. Czolgosz was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death in short order. He was executed by electric chair on October 29th of the same year as the assassination.

Taste testing WWII combat rations

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

In these videos a fellow by the name of Steve opens and samples WWII combat rations. Not sure I would be that pleased to munch on a 70 year old cracker, but he seems to quite enjoy the experience. I must say that his enthusiasm -- and possibly the stuff he is eating -- is infectious.

There are more videos, including ration packs from different countries and eras at his YouTube channel Steve1989MREInfo.

Labor? What's that?

Monday, September 03, 2018

I'm retired so's my days of laboring for the man, water-cooler gossip, punch clocks and tedious office politics are behind me. Still, a holiday is a holiday so here's hoping all you worker bees have a good Labor Day.

By the way -- I have no idea what Buster Keaton has to do with any of this.

1950's minimal California

Saturday, September 01, 2018
Click any image to enlage
These are the photographs of Marvin Rand, a mid 20th Century photographer who specialized in architectural photography. He did a wonderful job of catching the clean and simply lines of the design sensibilities of the time. Found at Flashbak's Marvin Rand’s Gorgeous Photos of California Modern where there are more examples of his work.

She Drives Me Crazy

Friday, August 31, 2018

Get ready for a beserk weekend with BeKy.

Appalachian molasses stir-off

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Old movie posters about dope fiends

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Recently U.S. States hither and yon are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. These are posters of exploitation flicks during the prohibition years of the drug. Under the guise of a dire warning they were stuffed full of wild parties, fallen women and much debauchery brought on by the use of the whacky tobacky.

There are more of these posters and a history of marijuana's prohibition at the post Anti-Reefer Film Posters and Why Marijuana is Outlawed.

Walking in Katmandu

Monday, August 27, 2018

A couple walk through Katmandu headed to Durbar Square. As they mention, there is a lot of beeping by the vehicles. Also, the subtitles they added were a nice touch.

Deception and reality

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra 

Manjusri, a bodhisattva should regard all living beings as a wise man
Regards the reflection of the moon in water,
As magicians regard men created by magic.
As being like a face in a mirror,
like the water of a mirage;
like the sound of an echo;
like a mass of clouds in the sky;
like the appearance and disappearance of a bubble of water;
like the core of a plantain tree;
like a flash of lightning;
like the appearance of matter in an immaterial realm;
like a sprout from a rotten seed;
like tortoise-hair coat;
like the fun of games for one who wishes to die...

Deep Down Low

Friday, August 24, 2018

Get ready for a hallucinogenic weekend with Valentino Khan.

Japanese Noodle Warriors

Thursday, August 23, 2018
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This post pretty much exists for no other purpose than for me to use that title for it. Anyway, these are the work of the Japanese artist Taishi Arimura. From the Spoon and Tamago post where I found these images:
Arimura sculpts the food samples into the bodies of warriors. He then meticulously carves up the Styrofoam packaging of popular instant noodles – in this case, Nissin’s Cup Noodle and Donbei – to create the armor, which he adheres to the noodles. The final touch is either a fork or chopsticks as weapon and the warriors look like they’re ready for battle.

A rubber band refrigerator

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In above video Ben Krasnow builds a refrigerator using rubber bands as the cooling element. Of course it doesn't provide a lot of cooling, but a thermal imagining camera shows that it does slightly lower the temperature of the chamber. Ben explains the physics behind it all.

Ben's YouTube channel, Applied Science, is well worth a visit. he has a lot of fascinating projects, including a DIY scanning electron microscope, that are all pretty amazing.

When are they bringing these babies back?

Monday, August 20, 2018
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In this new age of neo-Puritanism with many, many sins to punish -- misidentifying one of the 1200 genders, illegal plastic straw possession, microaggressions out the wazoo and so forth -- social media mobs and twitter raging certainly have there places. Still, they lack a certain immediacy in their shaming.

Consider the advantages that old-timey pillories provided. Not only the public humiliation, but the opportunity to mock sinners to their faces, and even to chuck rotten fruit at them, add nice personal touches for SJWs.

Course if pillories do come back in style then sooner or later, and probably sooner, I'll end up in one. Ah well, in the words of Parsons from 1984, "Of course I'm guilty! You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?" I guess I'll just have to face my punishment from my betters.

At any rate, enjoy these few pictures of pillories as you ponder what awaits you.

Touring the South Pole station

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Above is a video of a woman giving a tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station. My previous knowledge of Antarctic stations came from repeated viewings of John Carpenter's The Thing so suffice it be said I was surprised by how large and, well... how institutional it looked.

I also wondered how much effort it took to build the place. Below are two videos, which are long in run time, showing the early efforts to plant the station and then the work to build the newer station we toured above. All in all, a pretty amazing engineering feat considering the environment it was done in.

Missionary Man

Friday, August 17, 2018

Get ready for a watchful weekend with Hatune MikuV3 and Megurine Luka.

Aviation Week magazine covers

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Click any image to enlarge
Here, and after the jump are a number of covers of Aviation Week which, depending on the date, is  also known as Aviation and Aviation Weekly and Space Technology. They are from the Internet Archives Aviation Week section where you can view more covers as well as browse the magazines interiors as well.