Wednesday, April 26

Slip'N Slide: The Next Generation

We're planning to do some heavy-duty work in our garden this weekend, but now I'm thinking maybe we should clear everything out and install one of these babies. Sure, it would take up the entire back yard, but we'd be the coolest kids on the block!

Behold the Six Flags Banzai Falls Mega Racer, brought to you by everyone's favorite voracious mega-retailer, Wal-Mart. A Slip'N Slide it ain't.

The Pride of Fleet Street

How can you not love the unmitigated gall of the British tabloid press corps?

Last night the industry assembled for its annual "Shaftas" award ceremony to reward and mock the most egregious inaccuracies (it would be cruel to call them lies) of the Mirror, Sun, Express, Star and News of the World.

Awards went to "journalists" who reported, incorrectly, that:

-- The Live 8 concert would feature an "amazing satellite link-up" to the International Space Station. Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev would take the microphone, "symbolising the planet uniting to fight poverty", before handing over to his "fellow rocket man", Elton John.(Daily Mirror)

-- Posh and Becks planned to buy a £6m island off the coast of Essex. (Sunday People)

-- Sienna Miller had been drunkenly rolling around on the floor at a charity ball for the Starlight Children's Foundation. The Mirror later admitted Miller was not drunk after all, and had been "playing on the floor with a seriously ill six-year-old child."

-- "This most terrible of days will ring through in our living memories, September 9, 2001." (Daily Mirror)

Tuesday, April 25

This is why the Internet was invented

Defies all description. Safe for work. Click here.
(via Metafilter)

You'll Never Make it Fran├žois!

Wes Anderson Amex commercial (via Kottke)

Get the Fat Out

What's the worst thing in London's sewers?

It's not the poo, or the rats -- it's the fat. If you've ever cleared a drain clogged with congealed fat, you know how nasty that stuff is. Now multiply that by 7.6 million people.

Rose George ventured into London's 30,000 miles of sewers with a team from Thames Water:

After the ladder, a brick staircase winds down into the depths. But the stairs are impassable because they are covered with blocks of congealed fat. "It's the bane of our lives," says my companion. Congealed fat, from fast-food restaurants and households, causes up to half of the 100,000 blockages a year and costs $10.5 million to remove each year.

The flushers don't mind their work environment. One told me, "Someone says to me, 'But that's shit,' and I say, 'It might be shit to you, but to me it's bread and butter." The smell of human waste passes, but fat always stinks, they say. You get home and shower, and you smell OK, then the smell oozes out of your pores. "Disgusting!"

Friday, April 21

New Mix CD

I've got a fun new mix available -- hit me up and I'll send you a copy.

I took my inspiration from the Pinball Number Count song discussed below. Here are some of the other artists:

Thursday, April 20

Kick coin slot dryness to the curb!

1 2 3 4 5....

You all know the song, now behold the awesomeness of the original Sesame Street segment, sung by the Pointer Sisters (RIP June Pointer) and accompanied by a surreal animated sequence depicting a Rube Goldberg psychedelic pinball machine!

Who knew that learning could be so funky!? The song, composed by Walt Kraemer, is actually titled "Pinball Number Count."

Via a huge collection of Muppets and Sesame Street videos compiled at Folded Space.


You know I can't resist the Stevie Wonder vocorder hotness!

UPDATE 2: Natalie Portman and Elmo play 'The Princess and the Elephant' -- very cute and not in any way as dirty as it sounds.

Tuesday, April 18

Homer Says Wha?

How would you transcribe Homer's eloquent catchphrase? If you're a Simpsons writer, it's: "(annoyed grunt)," not the commonly transcribed "D'oh!"

"When the series started, Matt and the boys let Dan Castellaneta choose an interpretation for the "(Annoyed Grunt)" indicator; since then, Homer's "D'oh!" has always been referred to in that fashion," report the Simpsons-loving linguistic experts at Language Log.

Thus, we have the Simpsons episodes "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious," "E-I-E-I-(ANNOYED GRUNT)" and "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-bot."

Apparently there are a lot of linguistic in-jokes in the Simpsons (Linguo the grammer correcting robot, "Me fail English? That's unpossible!") or maybe linguists just like to categorize the funny:

Deixis in personal pronouns
Bart is standing in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation) "Who is the only one who can stop forest fires?

Bart: (examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and "me". He presses "you").

Smokey: (electronic intonation) "You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you.

Wednesday, April 12

Pitagora Souchi

Rube Goldberg machines from a Japanese TV show, a la Honda's "Cog" ad.

At the end of each segment, you hear a little jingle called "pitagora souchi," which means "Pythagorean Switch" -- the Japanese equivalent to a Rube Goldberg device. (via

Thursday, April 6

This is why "crack is wack"

Look what it did to Whitney! Especially when you consider that she is -- WAS -- amazingly talented. Check her out at Muhammad Ali's 50th birthday party, singing "The Greatest Love of All."

The song, from the Muhammad Ali biopic "The Greatest," could easily have veered into sentimental mishmash, but watch this and tell me you don't get chills when Whitney opens up the pipes and starts singing "I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow..."

London Calling

UK man held as terrorism suspect over punk song

LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.
Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport in northern England and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.
The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected".
Mann told British newspapers the taxi had been fitted with a music system which allowed him to plug in his MP3 player and he had been playing The Clash, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles to the driver.
"He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police," Mann told the Daily Mirror.
A Durham police spokeswoman said Mann had been released after questioning -- but had missed his flight.
"The report was made with the best of intentions and we wouldn't want to discourage people from contacting us with genuine concerns," she said.

Wait a minute -- "the taxi had been fitted with a music system which allowed him to plug in his MP3 player" ??? Where can I find one of those?

Monday, April 3

What are the Odds?

Bowling has the 300 game (odds: 1 in 11,500), baseball has the perfect game (only 14 ever recorded), and tennis has the golden set (achieved only once) -- all are feckless losers in the face of Florence Sturt of St Ignace, Michigan, who was dealt her 2nd (!) perfect cribbage hand while playing with her son-in-law last week. Odds: 1 in 216,580.

Even more astounding are the odds that so little was going on in St Ignace that this story would make the paper...