Saturday, December 19, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A British man’s 27-year obsession with the post-apocalyptic biker movie Mad Max has led to him moving his family from Yorkshire to a tiny town in the middle of the Australian Outback.
Adrian Bennett first saw the iconic Australian film Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior, which starred Mel Gibson as a revengeful drifter who wanders the Outback with his police ‘Interceptor’ car and his devoted dog, as a double bill at the cinema when he was a teenager in England in 1982.
Now 45, Mr Bennett has decided to fulfill his dream of living in the same town where the first two movies were made and has moved his wife Linda and two of his sons from their home in Bradford, Yorkshire, to Silverton near Broken Hill on the border of New South Wales and South Australia.
He says he moved to the tiny and remote Outback town, which is located over 800 miles west of Sydney and has a population of just 51 (including the Bennetts), so he can set up a Mad Max museum in his backyard where he can park his custom-made made replica black Interceptor.
“From the opening credits of the first film to the closing credits of Mad Max 2 my jaw was on the floor, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I was totally hooked,” Mr Bennett told The Times of the moment his obsession began over two decades ago.
He says it was “everything – the costumes, the characters, the location and the vehicles” which attracted him to the film and led him to a life of collecting Mad Max-related memorabilia.
A panel beater and crash repairer by trade, Mr Bennett even created his own version of Max’s Interceptor car in his garage in Bradford after exporting a Ford Falcon Coupe from the US. He spent over £15,000 customising the machine (“after that I stopped counting”), and even more bringing it to Australia with the many other pieces of memorabilia he has amassed over the years, including more vehicles from the film and a vast collection of photographs.
He has even acquired his own blue heeler cattle dog, aptly named Dog, after Max’s own faithful companion in the movie.
The Bennetts first moved from England to Adelaide in South Australia three years ago before finally buying a house in Silverton last month, and are now living off their savings while Mr Bennett begins to plan his museum.
Silverton is often described as a “ghost town” because of its remote location and small population, but is a popular tourist destination with approximately 140,000 visitors each year.
“We have taken a really big risk but I’ve followed my dream, so for me it’s all fallen into place,” said Mr Bennett, adding that his family have been captivated by the arid landscape and local wildlife.
“The other day I woke up and there were a dozen emus passing the back fence ... you wouldn’t get that in Yorkshire,” he said. “It’s just such a big and beautiful place. It doesn’t matter what direction you look in, you still feel like you’re on a film set.”
That's probably because it is a film set. Silverton has been used as the location for dozens of features including Mission: Impossible II and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and is regularly featured in international commercials.
Locals, many of whom were extras or stuntmen in the Mad Max movies and are accustomed to film enthusiasts breezing into town, have welcomed their new British neighbours with open arms.
Publican Chris Fraser, who runs the Silverton Hotel and also has a replica Interceptor car, describes Mr Bennett as a “fair dinkum, wonderful bloke” who lives and breathes Mad Max.
“He’s going to be an asset to the community and to the region bringing his Mad Max museum to town its going to create more tourism for us, the phenomenon of the Mad Max movies just grows every day,” Mr Fraser said.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It’s summer, and ice cream is in season. Yay!
However, beware: Some jerks will try to ruin your summer with bad ice cream. Like my friend Patty, an amateur chef who makes homemade ice cream. One day, I invited myself over to have some. So here I am, sitting in her kitchen, expecting to pig out on something extraordinary…
Corn ice cream. No lie.
Turns out, Patty gets bored of the tried-and-true chocolates and vanillas and the rest. Which led to me ask Patty why she hated me. She denied it. She’s a liar. But she did admit that there are bad ice creams in the world, stuff even Patty wouldn’t make. And we discussed said flavors. And, well... we hit the Internets and identified the top 10 grossest ice cream flavors in the world.
Yes, the following is by no means a complete catalog. Consider the following list -- which is arranged from least terrible to most insane -- to be a quick outline toward saving your own sanity and sense of taste, providing you with a fighting chance when confronted with something cold and creamy and alien and disgusting.
(And yes, I did try the corn ice cream. It was... interesting. Not my favorite. But compared to what follows, it’s the tastiest treat ever devised!)
10. Parmesan Ice Cream
Are you tired of the same old cheese course to round out your fancy dinner parties? Serve up this salty cheese ice cream and watch your friends never come back to your place to bum a meal. Still, cheese is dairy, unlike the rest of the contenders in this list – therefore, parmesan ice cream, as disturbing as it sounds, bottoms out this list.
9. Salad Ice Cream
Ah yeah! Ice cream with, let’s see… red pepper, orange pepper, cucumber (or is that zucchini?) and cherry tomato! Wonder what the flavor of the ice cream itself is. Actually, no, I really don’t.
8. Chicken-Fried Steak Ice Cream
First clue that this stuff belongs on the top 10 list of grossest ice creams: You make it from the greasy scuzz left behind when you cook up a chicken-fried steak. Never mind that chicken-fried steak itself is pretty gross – now you can have it for dessert! For those of you who enjoy such fare, however, you’re supposed to A) use this ice cream instead of gravy, and then B) gag.
7. Ox Tongue Ice Cream
Yeah, I’m not finding any real information about this one, and had I found a real pic of the actual ice cream, ox tongue may have ranked in the top five. But the concept alone deserves inclusion, as does that cute ox on the packaging. Look at it sticking out its tongue! So cute! So gross!
6. Oyster Ice Cream
Most people blame the Japanese for this one, but apparently the upper classes of colonial America enjoyed it. Think frozen oyster stew. Ew.
5. Fish Ice Cream
We couldn’t find an awesome pic of this ice cream, so here’s the packaging. Apparently it’s a mix of brandy and saury, a salt water fish that’s popular in Japan. “Not Japan!” you exclaim. Yes, it is Japanese. Yes, it sounds not super.
4. Pit Viper Ice Cream
We have no words, except for this: Japanese.
3. Astronaut Ice Cream
Developed for astronauts because NASA hates astronauts, freeze-dried ice cream is solely responsible for every failed space mission ever. It’s a top seller at “science museums.” Science museums. As if those exist. Ha!
Still, as disgusting as Astronaut ice cream is -- and it is extremely disgusting -- two other flavors beat it in the gross-out game through sheer force of will…
2. "Cold Sweat" Ice Cream
AKA, “The Ice Cream From Hell.” Created by some dude in North Carolina who despises you, this stuff is made with three kinds of hot peppers and two kinds of hot sauce, and apparently will burn not just your mouth, but your fingers as well. How bad is it? The creator requires the fools who try it to be legal adults and to sign a waiver. I hate him!
But, for all this foulness, there’s yet one other flavor of ice cream that dominates this list, and it is…
1. Raw Horseflesh Ice Cream
Yep, you read that right. "Basashi” means “raw horse meat.” This noxious concoction is based on a regional Japanese specialty: Raw horse sushi.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wallabies are getting stoned on Tasmania's opium poppy crops and hopping about in circles, authorties say.
Attorney-General Lara Giddings says wallabies have created crop circles of squashed poppies as they increasingly hop in to the fields eating the poppy heads.
That causes them to get high and run around in turns creating crop circles, she told a budget estimates hearing.
"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," Ms Giddings is quouted in The Mercury newspaper as saying.
"Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."
Tasmanian Alkaloids field operations manager Rick Rockliff said wildlife and livestock which ate the poppies were known to "act weird" - including deer and sheep in the state's highlands.
"There have been many stories about sheep that have eaten some of the poppies after harvesting and they all walk around in circles," Mr Rockliff told The Mercury.
Tasmania is the world's largest producer of legally grown opium for the pharmaceutical market.
About 500 farmers grow the crop supplying the market with about 50 percent of the world's raw material for morphine and related opiates.
Ms Giddings was answering questions about the security of Tasmania's poppy stocks, which are considered some of the safest in the world.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
January 19, 2009, 2:00 pm
Is That an Emoticon in 1862?
By Jennifer 8. Lee
Did someone insert an emoticon into this Times transcript of Abraham Lincoln’s speech in 1862?
Were they using emoticons back in the era of Abraham Lincoln?
There has been a lot of recent attention focused on the inspirational quality of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. Perhaps those speeches inspired emoticons a century before they proliferated in the digital world.
A historical newspaper specialist at the digital archival company Proquest believes he has found an example of a sideways winking smiley face embedded in The New York Times transcript of an 1862 speech given by President Lincoln. Other historians are not so sure, saying the semicolon alongside a closed parenthesis is either a mistake or a misinterpretation of something that is perfectly grammatical for that era.
In 2004, a team at Proquest was given the task of creating a student version of historical newspapers. A team of editors scoured the archives of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor to find 5,000 articles to go with the American history curriculum. In the process, they stumbled across an article dated Aug. 7, 1862, with the headline: “NEWS FROM WASHINGTON.; A Great War Meeting Held at the Capitol. Important Speech of President Lincoln.” [Higher-quality version]
In the transcription of President Lincoln’s speech, which added comments about applause and shouts from the audience was this line:
“… there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, (applause and laughter ;) and I offer, in justification of myself and you, that I have found nothing in the Constitution against.”
Bryan Benilous, who works with historical newspapers at Proquest, said the team felt the “;)” after the word “laughter” was an emoticon, more than a century before emoticons became a widespread concept.
Could it be? Was this just a typo, a mistake, or was the reporter, transcriber or typesetter having a bit of sly fun?
We sought the opinions of historical experts, as well as the Carnegie Mellon professor who is widely credited with instigating the use of Internet emoticons after he proposed using “:-)” and “:-(” to convey emotion on a bulletin board in 1982.
Could It Be a Typo?
“It looks to me like a typo,” said Scott E. Fahlman, the Carnegie Mellon professor who is credited with being User Zero of the Internet emoticon. “I can’t imagine an editor putting that in and meaning, ‘Ha ha,’ trying to emphasize what Lincoln had said. That goes beyond the bounds of editorial comment in a piece of reporting like this.”
However, the Linotype machine, which allowed keyboards to assemble type, were not introduced until the 1880s, noted Vincent Golden, the curator of newspapers and periodicals of the American Antiquarian Society. “At that time, type was still set piece by piece. So the typesetter would have had to pick up the semicolon and set it in the line then pick up the closed bracket and set it next,” he explained. “My gut feeling is it wasn’t a typo.”
However, Allan M. Siegal, the former standards editor at The Times, said he believed that the typesetter could have made a mistake and “simply transposed two characters and meant the semicolon to follow the parenthesis.”
As he explained, “That kind of semicolon between clauses was common in those days, and in fact dashes often superfluously followed parentheses as well.”
James Simon, director of international resources at the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, also at first thought it was a mistake, but then softened a bit. “My first reaction was that it was a typo,” he said. “Taken out of context from the rest of the article, when I saw the small clip, it certainly looked like it could be a misplaced semicolon. But looking further down the page, there were more examples that other punctuation was within brackets.”
If you look through the text, there are mistakes here and there — the typesetters were not perfect. For example, in the transcript you see “Applase” instead of “Applause.” But leaving something out in typesetting is different from putting something additional in.
O.K., suppose it was just a single errant “;” — perhaps that could be a typo. But what’s notable is that the typesetter uses parentheses. In the rest of the transcript the overwhelming majority of audience reaction is enclosed in square brackets: “[Applause.]” and “[Renewed Applause.]” and “[Laughter and applause.]” and “[Applause and Music]“, “[Wild applause, and cries of "Good."]” and “[Cries of "No," and laughter and applause.]” There are a few scattered cases of the use of parentheses here — we can’t detect a pattern. But parentheses are certainly the exception in the article.
In order to make a smiley, perhaps the typesetter slipped in a “)” to serve as a mouth.
“That is the one bit of evidence that says it’s more than a typo,” Dr. Fahlman said.
Mr. Golden, however, was not convinced. “I definitely don’t think it’s a smiley face because it has a pair of parentheses,” he said. There were an excessive number of square brackets on that page, he said. “They might have just been running low.”
A close look at the paragraph shows the typesetter uses square brackets for the audience reaction both immediately after and before. Were they running low for less than the time it takes to compose a paragraph? Who knows.
The semicolon has long been jettisoned as an anachronism, though it has been known to pop up in Subway advertisements. But what is it doing inside the parentheses? (Mr. Siegal thought perhaps it was intended to have been outside.) “Based on the images you sent, whoever was composing the page felt it necessary to add punctuation within the brackets,” Mr. Golden said. “It may be a rare but archaic practice not seen today. If you look at the other examples, they have punctuation within the brackets and parentheses.”
Mr. Simon echoed, “They were aligned for punctuation inside the parentheses.”
Indeed, you can spot a lot of the punctuation inside the parentheses and square brackets, but they are almost all periods. Does it make sense to have a semicolon there, given that all the other audience reactions end in periods, exclamation points for quotes or nothing?
“I agree it doesn’t seem logical,” Mr. Golden said. “To us, the parenthesis serves the purpose of the semicolon. But who knows what the printer was thinking or the state of the handwritten copy he was working from.”
He added. “I think they just stuck a semicolon in there because the author put one in or they thought it was appropriate to end the phrase.”
Well, fine, if the semicolon is grammatical, why is there a space between laughter and the semicolon?
Mr. Golden suggested that he compositor was trying to space out the line and added the space there. “I think they were justifying the line. Notice all the columns had to be justified left and right, they had to do all of it by hand.”
That would be compelling, especially since there are a lot of random spaces throughout — and on the same line there is an extra large space between “here” and “yourselves.” Except! The next word on the next line is a capital “I,” something that could easily have fit in there.
Why they had to put in the space, given a choice … are they putting the space before the semicolon and not after it?
“That is a good question,” Mr. Simon said. “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Dr. Fahlman, the Carnegie Mellon professor, still pushed back on the idea of an early emoticon. “I think if you took a random person off the street and showed them that, it would not be readily apparent to them,” he said. “I think people don’t notice it unless you put the nose in.” (Those of us with little noses are less beholden to the use of the hyphen as nose.) But perhaps the typesetter was having fun. “Maybe he was having his own little joke.”
Fred Shapiro, a researcher at Yale, initially rejected that it could be an emoticon. Then he noticed that on the “emoticon” Wikipedia page, there are 19th-century examples of emoticons (albeit vertical ones). ” I guess it’s plausible that this is a real emoticon, taking into account the parentheses and the Linotype,” he wrote.
Are we just seeing the the equivalent of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich? Mr. Benilous said: “I can say this is unique. I scrolled through hundreds of results of pre-1900 “Applause and Laughter” references, and this is the only one I found with the semicolon parenthesis.”
He wrote in an e-mail message to City Room: “Ultimately, it is not just one typo but multiple typos that makes it more than a coincidence (spacing before and after, transposition, parenthesis as opposed to bracket). Considering this was all done by hand, it seems to be more intentional as opposed to a slip up typing or Microsoft Word autocorrect making the error.”
Perhaps the typesetter should have embedded “==|;o)>” and left no room for doubt.
Posted by oliver tree at 1:27 PM
Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I was talking to Greg about this over the weekend in our anticipation for the new movie. To me, Beardless Will Riker looks like Deb from Napoleon Dynamite.
I just noticed this one tonight. Along the same lines, does Dracula from Van Helsing remind anyone of someone if we advance her age? Funny bloodsuckers.
Posted by Dr. Chim Richalds at 10:51 PM
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Hello friends. I am in my Color Theory class currently. I was just looking up Star Trek images for the space ship table I'm making, when I happened upon this wacky list of dating sites.
I actually heard about SugarDaddie.com on Friday. It must be a great one!
Posted by oliver tree at 8:11 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Unlike deaf people, blind people can use telephones. They can also play musical instruments, and write books and be governor of New York/The Cherokee Nation. Here are some of my more favorite blind people.
1. Stevie Wonder
I submit that if he had the gift of sight, or the gift of dance moves beyond an awkward wiggle, or at least the ability to know how bad his goatee looks he would've become the king of pop.
2. Babe Ruth
My Biology teacher freshmen year of high school insisted that Babe Ruth was legally blind in his left eye. That was why he struck out so much. Strike out or hit a dinger. Turns out he had pain in his left eye right before he died. Close enough for me! Dude liked hot dogs... Moral of this story: Eat hot dogs, don't listen to teachers.
If Homer was blind how did he write down all his stories... Do blind people write in braille? Or do they just read in braille. I wonder if all blind people have bad handwriting. If you ever want to piss off a blind person, pass them a note.
4. Ray Charles
Without Ray Charles it is inconceivable that "Gold Digger" could ever have been created. I have a private theory that he talked so strangely and wiggled around so much because of huuuuge amounts of cocaine. Not "blindness" or "soulfulness". BTW he died.
5. Odin, Kirk Douglas (Tie)
You ever see that movie "The Vikings" with a young Kirk Douglas? Well it's awesome. Kirk Douglas beats up English guys and gets his eye messed up. At one point Kirk Douglas' dad is standing up before a feast like he's going to propose a toast, but then he just yells "ODINNNNNNN!!!!", and then everyone hammers a horn full of meade. Odin - also blind.
6. David Paterson
He looks like if Will Ferrell were impersonating David Alan Grier. Being cross eyed makes you think he's concentrating really hard all the time. Not you being cross eyed. Him being cross eyed.
7. Doc Watson
That's a mighty fine a pickin' and a singin'! Blinded as a one year old. They say blind people only dream in images if they were blinded after the age of five. They meaning them.
8. Horatio Nelson
He was only blind in one eye, but when the signal for retreat was given by people waving flags he would hold his telescope to his blind eye and claim not to see them. This guy was also the inspiration for my boy, Horatio Hornblower - the gayest name in maritime fiction.
There's a lot of cool blind people from antiquity you could throw up here too... Cupid, Oedipus, St. Paul, Tiresias, a cyclops... Hey, If I had all of antiquity to stockpile blind people I could do it too.
First Woman chief of the Cherokees. Ironically the first woman on this list. Ironically, her last name pronounced in Cherokee is "Outtasight". She hates whitey. So do I.
James Joyce - Blind intermittently throughout his life. Probably faking it.
Ella Fitzgerald - Diabetes. Doesn't count.
Monet, Degas - Blind but still painted masterpieces. Yeah right.
Posted by Gregbert at 2:09 PM
Monday, February 23, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
To begin with here's the story.
I had leftover stuffed shells and salad for dinner today, and a roast beef sandwich for lunch. I can't stop farting. For someone reason these innocuous food choices have turned my butt into a howler monkey. Hilarious, howling, butt cheek slapping, horrible, but not wet, farts.
As you all might guess this delights me to no end, and for the better part of an hour I have been cracking myself up with these absolutely absurd farts.
So yeah...that's all I got to say about that...
Posted by Gregbert at 2:30 AM
Friday, February 6, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This is great!
Bill here again. So I may be a little slow on the uptake here, but what else is new. I have heard whispers of a tour from our beloved Gwen and the group that catapulted her into her super-stardom. This glorious band from our days of yore have been rumored to of shaken off the dust and risen from that state of dormancy. Talk of a CD later in the year is exciting news, but I am here to talk about seeing them live. So, can we go? PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Raise your hand if you want in (You should document raising your hand here by starting a new photoshop contest. A photo of you, preferably raising your hand, and spruce it up. Winner gets a hug or two. Or a simple comment to this post saying "hells yeah" will do.).