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Saturday, November 16, 2013

ICYMI: 53yo Jean-Claude Van Damme doing a split between 2 trucks

For Van Damme fans:



Previous splits: Timecop:



Bloodsport:



via Yahoo, who calls him the "Van Gogh of groins."

Mark Steyn - Thus Spake Obama The incompetence of our neo-monarchy

Read the whole thing, of course.  Excerpts:

On Thursday, he passed a new law at a press conference. George III never did that. But, having ordered America’s insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it’s still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work. The insurance industry had three years to prepare for the introduction of Obamacare. Now the King has given them six weeks to de-introduce Obamacare.

The reason for the benign Sovereign’s exercise of the Royal Prerogative is that millions of his subjects — or “folks,” as he prefers to call us, no fewer than 27 times during his press conference — have had their lives upended by Obamacare. Your traditional hard-core statist, surveying the mountain of human wreckage he has wrought, usually says, “Well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” But Obama is the first to order that his omelet be unscrambled and the eggs put back in their original shells. Is this even doable? No. That’s the point. When it doesn’t work, he’ll be able to give another press conference blaming the insurance companies, or the state commissioners, or George W. Bush . . . 

Man makes explosives from things purchased in airport stores after security screening

Here's a frag grenade built with a coffee mug, batteries, and a condom:


Several other potential weapons available at his website.

Here's a DIY guide for making Game of Thrones' iron throne from a plastic lawn chair

Personally, I think this would make an excellent Christmas present for any Game of Thrones fan:


"Do you dream of being King of the cul-de-sac? Or how about Lord of the lawn? If so, then you're going to need a throne! We built a Game of Thrones inspired Iron Throne out of common materials" (list below):

Materials list:

- a plastic Adirondack chair
- 1/2" pink foam insulation - roughly two 4x8'sheets
- metal tie-down strapping, I used about 8' in length
- wooden yardsticks, I used about two dozen of them
- several sheets of 1/8" thick craft foam
- various screws, duct tape, liquid nails, and latex caulk
- latex primer paint, grey spray paint, metallic paints

This guy also built a platform for it, which required further materials. Complete instructions here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

In China, McDonalds Spicy Pork McBites are "porky spheres of goodness"

I'm definitely going to be using "porky spheres of goodness" on many occasions from now on.

Pork is China’s meat of choice. The country is home to half of the world’s pigs, which account for nearly three-fourths of its meat consumption. With pork being the main feature of many traditional Chinese dishes, like Chairman Mao’s reported favorite -- braised pork belly -- it’s a surprise that chicken-focused KFC has been able to reign as fast food champion in the country.

For a variety of reasons, that may soon change. While McDonalds has played second fiddle to the Kentucky-originating fast food brand in China for years, its recent rollout of a pork product could be the key to the Chinese consumer’s taste buds. According to local magazine The Beijinger, McDonalds is hoping to build on one of its most popular items, the Chicken McNugget, with the Spicy Pork McBite.

“Done in a Chicken McNuggets style, these porky spheres of goodness have a crispy coating like their poultry counterparts,” Michael Wester, Beijinger founder and columnist, wrote after trying it himself. 

More at IBTimes.

Solar Panels Frying Birds Along Major Migration Path

Birds are dying in one of two ways. In some cases, they imagine the shining solar panels to be bodies of water and dive straight into them. There they die when they smash into the panels from the sky.

Others "feel the wrath of the harnessed sunlight." The ultra polished solar mirrors bounce sunrays strong enough to burn the feathers off birds that quickly crash to the ground, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Many of the fowl dying as a result of their unfortunate flight paths over solar facilities are birds protected by the federal government under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Friday links

Horrible dating advice from 19th century novels.

Video: Katniss kills everything.

Excellent gallery: Photographs of Isolated Tribes Facing Extinction.

That time Harvard and Yale took Naked Photos of all their Freshmen Students.

Paper prints retraction for 1863 article calling Gettysburg address "silly remarks". Retraction written in the style of Gettysburg Address.

25 Of The Worst Food Name Fails Ever.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here.

Paper prints retraction for 1863 article calling Gettysburg address "silly remarks". Retraction written in the style of Gettysburg Address.

Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives.

We write today in reconsideration of “The Gettysburg Address,” delivered by then-President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the greatest conflict seen on American soil. Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words “silly remarks,”deserving “a veil of oblivion,” apparently believing it an indifferent and altogether ordinary message, unremarkable in eloquence and uninspiring in its brevity.

In the fullness of time, we have come to a different conclusion. No mere utterance, then or now, could do justice to the soaring heights of language Mr. Lincoln reached that day. By today’s words alone, we cannot exalt, we cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this chagrined member of the mainstream media.

The world will little note nor long remember our emendation of this institution’s record – but we must do as conscience demands:
In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln’s speech delivered Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognize its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error.
The original editorial:

Patriot & Union | Tuesday, Nov. 24, 1863 | Editorial

A Voice from the Dead 

We have read the oration of Mr. Everett. We have read the little speeches of President Lincoln, as reported for and published in his party press, and we have read the remarks of the Hon. Secretary of State, Wm. H. Seward,all delivered on the occasion of dedicating the National Cemetery, a plot of ground set apart for the burial of the dead who fell at Gettysburg in the memorable strife which occurred there between the forces of the Federal Government and the troops of the Confederacy of seceded States.

To say of Mr. Everett's oration that it rose to the height which the occasion demanded, or to say of the President's remarks that they fell below our expectations, would be alike false. Neither the orator nor the jester surprised or deceived us. Whatever may be Mr. Everett's failings he does not lack sense - whatever may be the President's virtues, he does not possess sense. Mr. Everett failed as an orator, because the occasion was a mockery, and he knew it, and the President succeeded, because he acted naturally, without sense and without constraint, in a panorama which was gotten up more for his benefit and the benefit of his party than for the glory of the nation and the honor of the dead. 

We can readily conceive that the thousands who went there went as mourners, to view the burial place of their dead, to consecrate, so far as human agency could, the ground in which the slain heroes of the nation,standing in relationship to them of fathers, husbands, brothers, or connected by even remoter ties of marriage or consanguinity, were to be interred. To them the occasion was solemn; with them the motive was honest, earnest and honorable. But how was it with the chief actors in the pageant, who had no dead buried, or to be buried there; from none of whose loins had sprung a solitary hero, living or dead, of this war which was begotten of their fanaticism and has been ruled by their whims?

They stood there, upon that ground, not with hearts stricken with grief or elated by ideas of true glory, but coldly calculating the political advantages which might be derived from the solemn ceremonies of the dedication. 

We will not include in this category of heartless men the orator of the day; but evidently he was paralyzed by the knowledge that he was surrounded by unfeeling, mercenary men, ready to sacrifice their country and the liberties of their countrymen for the base purpose of retaining power and accumulating wealth. Hi oration was therefore cold, insipid, unworthy the occasion and the man. 

We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.

But the Secretary of State is a man of note. He it was who first fulminated the doctrine of the irrepressible conflict; and on the battle field and burial ground of Gettysburg he did not hesitate to re-open the bleeding wound,and proclaim anew the fearful doctrine that we are fighting all these bloody battles, which have drenched our land in gore, to upset the Constitution,emancipate the negro and bind the white man in the chains of despotism.

On that ground which should have been sacred from the pollution of politics, even the highest magnate in the land, next to the President himself, did not hesitate to proclaim the political policy and fixed purpose of the administration; a policy which if adhered to will require more ground than Gettysburg to hold our dead, and which must end in the ruin of the nation. The dead of Gettysburg will speak from their tombs; they will raise their voices against this great wickedness and implore our rulers to discard from their councils the folly which is destroying us, and return to the wise doctrines of the Fathers, to the pleadings of Christianity, to the compromises of the Constitution, which can alone save us. Let our rulers hearken to the dead, if they will not to the living - for from every tomb which covers a dead soldier, if they listen attentively they will hear a solemn sound invoking them to renounce partisanship for patriotism, and to save the country from the misery and desolation which, under their present policy, is inevitable.

Related: Obama Recites Gettysburg Address, Removes "Under God". Plus Thucydides!

From PennLive.

Cartoon: lunch at McGovernment

via Reason.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Animals From History: Portraits of Historical Figures as Cats and Dogs


Napoleon Boneaparte
Cat Queen
Joan of Bark
Elvis Petme
The Fitzgeralds
More at the artist's web site, via My Modern Met:
Animals From History is a playful series that ties together history lessons with incredibly detailed animal illustrations. Created by Christina Hess, each full color print features a famous character portrayed by a well-dressed cat or a dog. Hess pairs her illustrations with the elaborate life stories of cleverly named characters like Elvis Petme, Cleocatra, and Joan of Bark.
The ornate portraits are filled with adventurous scenes, elegant garb, and intricate details that look almost lifelike, and viewers will be intrigued by the furry friends and foes of our past. Luckily, we can discover more by reading the accompanying fictional tales, which combine real events and the artist's imagination to charm both children and adults. "This collection is a fun way for people to become introduced and reintroduced to history while allowing a twist of imagination to guide their interest forward," explains Hess.

ICYMI: photo of raw McRib meat

via Reddit.

Finally, Male Chastity Devices Come In Chrome And Camo Finishes

Let's go with NSFW for this - nothing visual but the discussion's pretty weird.
Male chastity devices restrict a man from touching his genitals for sexual pleasure. The male chastity device gives the Keyholder control over the sexual fulfillment of both partners by denying the wearer the touch he has had all of his life. His focus is now on when he can experience sexual gratification, and the Keyholder has complete control over the wearer’s pleasure. This denied access means the wearer must please the Keyholder in order to receive the pleasure he craves.
More at HuffPo.




Must Read Jonah Goldberg: Obamacare Schadenfreudarama

Read the whole thing, of course.  Excerpts:

If you can’t take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you’re following politics in the first place. Because, frankly, this has been one of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime. I wake up in the morning and rush to find my just-delivered newspaper with a joyful expectation of worsening news so intense, I feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating my trek to the front lawn. Indeed, not since Dan Rather handcuffed himself to a fraudulent typewriter, hurled it into the abyss, and saw his career plummet like Ted Kennedy was behind the wheel have I enjoyed a story more.

Alas, the English language is not well equipped to capture the sensation I’m describing, which is why we must all thank the Germans for giving us the term “schadenfreude” — the joy one feels at the misfortune or failure of others. The primary wellspring of schadenfreude can be attributed to Barack Obama’s hubris — another immigrant word, which means a sinful pride or arrogance that causes someone to believe he has a godlike immunity to the rules of life.

The hubris of our ocean-commanding commander-in-chief surely isn’t news to readers of this website. He’s said that he’s smarter and better than everyone who works for him. His wife informed us that he has “brought us out of the dark and into the light” and that he would fix our broken souls. The man defined sin itself as “being out of alignment with my values.” We may be the ones we’ve been waiting for, but at the same time, everyone has been waiting for him. Or as he put it in 2007, “Every place is Barack Obama country once Barack Obama’s been there.”

In every tale of hubris, the transgressor is eventually slapped across the face with the semi-frozen flounder of reality.

...with an irony so rich it would be made of Corinthian leather if it was a car seat, the only way he could get his signature legislation passed was to baldly and brazenly lie about it, over and over and over again. He created a rhetorical cloud castle where no one would lose his insurance, every family would save thousands of dollars, and millions of the uninsured would suddenly get coverage. Anyone who doubted this was called a fool or a liar, or even a racist.

Thursday links

Literal Battle of the Sexes: these mating snakes have antagonistic genitals.

10 arrows in less than 5 seconds: reinventing forgotten archery.

Scuba diving the tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates.

10 Early Versions Of Famous Pop Culture Works.

All Of The X-Men In One Handy Infographic.

The Day the Marines Met Their Robotic Mule.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hotel guest emerged naked from a storage cupboard with a fire extinguisher hose up his bottom

Just to be cautious, I'm gonna call this one NSFW.

Joseph Small, 20, stripped off and grabbed the appliance on the fourth floor corridor of the budget hotel.

He then put the hose between his buttocks and began touching himself, Westminster magistrates’ court heard.

Small also urinated on the carpet before a hotel worker wrapped him in a towel and escorted him down to reception.

He then hurled abuse at the Bangladeshi member of staff, telling him: ‘This country has been taken over by al-Qaeda – go back to Pakistan.’

In the lobby, Small again urinated in front of tourists, shouting: ‘I come from Sheffield in England.’

The History of the English Language, Animated

The History of English squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. Bursting with fascinating facts, the series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Video: Katniss kills everybody

For Hunger Games fans:



via

And just for the heck of it, here's the final Catching Fire trailer:

Tuesday Links

The 1960s Superhero Who Powered Up By Smoking, plus heroes with super vomit, super PMS and squirrel control.

80-Room Tree House Stands Almost 100 Feet Tall.

Neuroscience explains why sex feels good.

Kinetic energy: Would I be able to boil a cup of water by stirring?

Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?

The Science Behind Earth’s Many Colors.

ICYMI: Friday's links are here.

10 arrows in less than 5 seconds: reinventing forgotten archery

Lars Andersen became fascinated with ancient archery skills; through paintings and books, we know that many ancient and medieval cultures used bows as effective weapons. Much of the knowledge of the old techniques has been lost, but a few books and tales have documented historical successes and facts. For example, legend said Chief Hiawatha (In Chapter 4 of The Song of Hiawatha (free Kindle edition)) shot off 10 arrows before the first hit the ground:
Swift of foot was Hiawatha ;
He could shoot an arrow from him,
And run forward with such fleetness,
That the arrow fell behind him !
Strong of arm was Hiawatha ;
He could shoot ten arrows upward,
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness,
That the tenth had left the bow-string
Ere the first to earth had fallen.
Andersen: “I discovered historical texts that [described] Saracens who fought with the Crusaders had a series of tests which had been preserved. For example, one test required, at a 60-bow distance, to shoot three arrows so quickly that the last shall be in the air before the first has hit,” added Lars. “That is three arrows in one-and-a-half seconds. That motivated me to accomplish it.”

Fast forward several years later with heavy training under his belt, Andersen has now achieved an impressive shooting technique. Both fast and accurate, he accomplished what many thought was simply legend or folklore.

Text-to-speech narration is a bit strange, but it works:



World Record: 11 Arrows Shot Into the Air Before the First Arrow Reaches the Ground:



Additional videos here.

More information here.

via Geekpress.

Monday, November 11, 2013

We no longer remember World War One, yet we still mourn the loss

There's a lovely and moving piece by Daniel Hannan in The Telegraph - you should read the whole thing.  The conclusion:
The generation that mourned its sons passed; then that which mourned its comrades; then that which mourned its fathers, clinging, perhaps, to fragmentary childhood picture-memories. Then the fallen became faces in yellowing photographs. Now they are names on family trees. Soon, they will be only history. Yet we will remember them.
On a personal note, several years ago we spent Anzac Day* (April 25) at Gallipoli**, now a Turkish National park with over 20 cemeteries lovingly tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. At one spot high on the peninsula there's a narrow road with a gully on each side where soldiers from each force were entrenched - no more than 20 feet apart.  The ground, at the time of our visit, was still littered with shrapnel. 

Our half-Turkish, half-Australian guide led a ceremony at one of the cemeteries, surrounded by graves of "men" as young as 15, with few older than their early 20's.  He recited the famous passage from Lawrence Binyon's poem For The Fallen***:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Tens of thousands of men on both sides lost their lives there in this futile clash of empires - only a few miles across the "wine-dark sea" from the ruins of ancient Troy. Of that earlier struggle, Homer wrote in book XIII of the Iliad,

"It is not possible to fight beyond your strength, even if you strive."

*This day commemorates the key participation of the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in the ill-fated Allied assault on the Turkish-held Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 during World War I. This was one of the first large-scale amphibious invasion of modern times and the first major military operation in which Australia and New Zealand participated on behalf of the British Empire. As a result, the Gallipoli campaign was perhaps the key defining event for Australia's nationhood, as it was in a sense for Turkey's also. Turkish Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli's successful defense, later became the founder of modern Turkey, adopting the name "Atatürk" - father of the Turks.

** The most readable account of the Gallipoli campaign remains Alan Moorehead's venerable history, Gallipoli, from the late 1950s. Also, the more recent Australian movie of that same name, starring the young Mel Gibson, is an excellent evocation of both the horror and exhilaration of those times.

*** The entire poem:

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Heh - Proud to be an American…

I'm not sure if the homeowner's association bit is true, but it'a too good to check.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Headline of the day: Zombie-eyed woman dressed as pig in bathing suit busted for DUI

A 26-year-old Orlando woman wearing "zombie" contact lenses and dressed as a "pig in a nude color bathing suit" for Halloween was charged with driving under the influence last week, an arrest report released today shows.

"After the breath test Gagnier was allowed to go to the bathroom and allowed to put on a jail jump suit," the report said. "Gagnier was further processed and transported to the jail.

"Performance Artist" Nails His Testicles to Cobblestones in Moscow's Red Square

"A naked artist, looking at his balls nailed to the Kremlin pavement, is a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference, and fatalism of contemporary Russian society," Pavlensky wrote in a statement explaining the performance.

Tourists and locals alike witnessed an unusual scene Sunday as St. Petersburg performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky hammered a nail through his testicles and into the cobblestones of Red Square, close to Lenin's Mausoleum.

The performance coincided with the holiday, "Day of the Ministry of Internal Affairs." Policemen on Red Square quickly responded by first covering the naked artist with a blanket. The young artist was taken into custody and hospitalized after being removed from the pavement.

Pavlensky has a history of extreme performance pieces, beginning with a protest in July 2012 in which he sewed his mouth shut and carried a sign to protest against the imprisonment of the band Pussy Riot in front of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

In May, Pavlensky staged a second performance in which he was left, naked and wrapped in barbed wire, in front of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Building, following which he spent several days in police custody and underwent psychiatric examinations that concluded that he was legally sane.

According to Interfax, Pavlensky will be given medical assistance and be interrogated by police before a decision is made about his legal competence.

Ex-prosecutor jailed for 10 days for withholding evidence after sending innocent man to prison for 25 years

Prosecutorial overreach story du jour - it's the first time in history a prosecutor has been jailed for withholding evidence. Not nearly enough, is it?

A former Texas district attorney agreed Friday to serve 10 days in jail for withholding evidence that could have stopped an innocent man from going to prison for nearly 25 years — apparently the first time a prosecutor has been sent to jail for concealing evidence helpful to the defense.

Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson agreed to a plea deal that will also require him to pay a $500 fine and complete 500 hours of community service after state District Judge Kelly Moore found him in contempt of court for telling a trial judge in 1987 that he had no exculpatory evidence to hand over to lawyers for Michael Morton, whose conviction in his wife's death was overturned in 2011.

Charges of tampering with evidence — which could have meant 10 years in prison — were dropped as part of the deal, under which Anderson will be disbarred.

Prosecutors are required by law to share any evidence they collect that could help the defense. But Anderson withheld two critical facts in his prosecution of Morton: that witnesses reported seeing a man park a green van nearby and walk into the woods near the Mortons' house and that Morton's 3-year-old son specifically said Morton wasn't at the scene. 
Michael Morton spent nearly 25 years in prison
after being convicted in his wife's beating death.

Morton was released from prison two years ago, when new DNA evidence proved his innocence. In March, a drifter named Mark Alan Norwood was convicted of beating Christine Morton to death her in bed based on the same evidence.

Michael Morton was in court for the hearing Friday in Georgetown. 

"My number one motivating factor here is that what happened to me will not happen to you," he said, addressing Anderson. "And by what happened today, we've succeeded."

Gerald Goldstein, an attorney for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic affiliated with the Yeshiva University Law School, said Anderson's sentence, however brief, was precedent-shattering.

Gerald Goldstein, an attorney for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic affiliated with the Yeshiva University Law School, said Anderson's sentence, however brief, was precedent-shattering.

"This is the first time in the country's history that a prosecutor has been found guilty of criminal contempt, will go to jail and be stripped of their law license," Goldstein told NBC station KXAN of Austin.

Veterans/Armistice/Remembrance Day: UK pays tribute: The Queen leads Remembrance Sunday commemorations

It's Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, depending on where you live.

Lots of photos from today's ceremonies at The Daily Mail: The Queen today led the nation in honoring Armed Forces members killed in conflict as Remembrance Sunday services took place around Britain.

The monarch laid the first wreath at the Cenotaph on Whitehall to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since the First World War.


Of possible interest: Five for Fighting - the story of the Sullivans.