Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Not safe for work or kids (language and violence) Fight To The Death: Power Rangers Vs Cookie Monster!

Definitely NSFW. Poor Power Rangers!

Medieval rap video "Teach Thee How To Curtsy", bonus "Nine Drawn and Quartered at Renaissance Fair" by The Onion

Useful information from Sir Jarlsberg to learn prior to this year's expedition to the Renaissance Faire in Crownsville, MD, which my kids/grandkids attend (in continuously evolving/mutating costumes) every year.

Scott, that familiar looking horse head mask apparently belongs to a member of this guy's band - he's known as Steed, which I may start calling you.


I am unable to think about renaissance fairs without remembering The Onion's excellent article from 1995, entitled, Nine Drawn and Quartered at Renaissance Fair:

RICHMOND, VA—Nine people were torn limb-from-limb and skewered through the anus with wooden stakes this weekend at the city’s annual Renaissance Fair. Organizers boast that the “Drawn and Quartered” show made this year’s fair one of the most authentic ever.

Richmond, Virginia's annual Renaissance Fair featured plenty
 of exciting, historically accurate action, such as jousting,
 swordfighting, archery competitions, and the evisceration
 of condemned heretics' vital organs.
The early-Renaissance torture demonstration was one of many improvisations that peppered the fair ground, performed by actors from the local theatre community dressed in period costumes. These performances have been a fixture of past years’ fairs.

“The skits where we publicly tortured and humiliated ‘condemned heretics’ gave us by far the most response we’ve ever gotten,” actor Paul Mealen said. “Who would have thought that violence would appeal to people?”

In the skit, victims were randomly selected from the crowd, strung up on posts, and read official “charges.” A dirt-encrusted dagger was then used to saw off vital parts of the condemned. One man’s scrotum was cut off, causing his testicles to fall to the ground. According to witnesses, children at the festival then tossed the testicles back and forth as the victim watched.

Vital organs such as the liver were cut out of further victims, then cooked and force-fed to them. The pale and barely conscious victims were then taken down from the posts and prepared for the next stage of their torture amid taunts and bellows from the crowd.

“We loved it,” said Both University of Virginia student Steve Limeneg, who, along with his friend Alicia Ponfret, was attending the fair for the first time. “It was like we were transported back to the real Renaissance. We got turkey drumsticks at the Ye Olde Grille, threw stones at the Drench a Wench booth—I won a stuffed jester doll—then we got to see this heretic forced to eat his own kidney.”

Added Richmond middle-school teacher Linda Rougfas: “It was a lot of fun. They picked my husband out of the crowd and he thought it was a kick. When they eviscerated him and he started screaming and begging for his life and crying out to me, the kids and I did our part, yelling ‘heretic!’ and so on.”

Next, four horses were tied to the arms and legs of each victim, and each horse was made to pull in opposing directions, summarily causing limbs to tear off and go skipping in every direction. Finally, the disembodied and helpless torsos were fed to packs of ravenous dogs. The victims’ horrific, wheezing screams caught the attention of the entire fair.

“I thought it was very impressive,” said Her-man Kline-mest, an executive at a nearby bank who partook of the fair with his wife and three children. “I en-joyed taunting the condemned, and my children enjoyed playing with the testicles.”

One volunteer was tied up and laid on his back spread-eagled, his legs held apart by a short beam roped to a horse. A long wooden stake was braced against a rock and inserted just a few inches into the participant’s anus. When the horse was given a snap from the whip, it bolted, causing the participant to be driven onto the stake until it thrust out of his mouth.

Festival organizer Liz Fendamn has been under pressure to compete with nearby Colonial Williamsburg for tourist dollars, and she said the event was popular enough to guarantee a return next year.

“We try to give people a merry ol’ time, m’Lord,” she said with a smile. “Ye can bet yer knickers we’ll be doing it again.”

She hinted they may even have the performing troupe dress like Spanish soldiers and wantonly slaughter masses of heretical fair visitors.

Though most everyone thought the fair was the most successful ever, several family members of the killed were not so enthusiastic.

“My husband and I came to the fair as part of our honeymoon,” Jacklyn Welden said. “When he was stabbed through the heart and killed for blaspheming the Pope, the fair suddenly became less fun.”

Welden added that she will not be returning next year.

Rap video via Neatorama.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Giant Mutant Spider Dog Prank



via Tastefully Offensive.

Friday links



Bloodletting, Bone Brushes, and Tooth Keys: White-Knuckle Adventures in Early Dentistry. “Dentures were often referred to as ‘Waterloo Teeth’ after those ripped from the bodies of dead soldiers."

Tomorrow is the 257th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette - some quotes, video and history.



ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, including photos of LA when it was an oil field, the oak bucket challenge that 2,000 people died for, and some excellent royal epithets including (but not limited to) Fruela the Leprous, Alfonso the Slobberer and Wilfred the Hairy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IBM’s 1937 corporate songbook is something of a hoot

A bit of IBM history: "For thirty-seven years," reads the opening passage in the book, "the gatherings and conventions of our IBM workers have expressed in happy songs the fine spirit of loyal cooperation and good fellowship which has promoted the signal success of our great IBM Corporation in its truly International Service for the betterment of business and benefit to mankind."

TO THOS. J. WATSON, PRESIDENT, I. B. M. OUR INSPIRATION
Tune: "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" 

Thomas Watson is our inspiration, 
Head and soul of our splendid IBM. 
We are pledged to him throughout all nations, 
He’s our President and most beloved man. 
His great wisdom has guided each division 
In such service to all humanity 
That we all unite to make this one decision, 
None can match him or our worldwide company. 
Chorus 
T. J. Watson, we all honor you, 
You’re so big and so square and so true, 
We will follow and serve with you forever, 
All the world shall know what I. B. M. can do.

OTTO E. BRAITMAYER, VICE-PRESIDENT I. B. M. 
Tune: "Tipperary" 

We adore you, Otto Braitmayer 
Our great pioneer, 
You’re a wise and able leader. 
And you always are sincere. 
You’re our President’s right bower- 
Our Manufacturing Guiding Star,
I. B. M. will honor you forever 
Vice-President Braitmayer.

OUR I. B. M. SALESMEN 
Tune: "Jingle Bells"

I. B. M., Happy men, smiling all the way. 
Oh what fun it is to sell our products night and day. 
I. B. M., Watson men, partners of T. J. 
In his service to mankind-that’s why we are so gay.

I've pasted a few pages below, but the full version of the 1937 songbook is available as a PDF here and a plain text version of the the 1935 songbook is here - I haven't compared them but assume that they're largely (if not entirely) identical. There's a .wav version of the official IBM theme song, Ever Onward, here and more music clips here.

As an aside, my mom worked as a secretary for Tom Watson Sr. at IBM during WWII while they were making munitions - once the war was over all of the women were fired to make jobs available for the returning "boys".




More at Retronaut, Ars Technica, Business Insider and the links above.

Wednesday links

Forget Catherine the Great and Ivan the Terrible - here are Fruela the Leprous, Alfonso the Slobberer and Wilfred the Hairy.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Over the Rainbow.

The Oak Bucket Challenge That 2,000 People Died For.

Photos: When Los Angeles was an Oil Field.

Is It True That a T-Rex Couldn’t See You If You Didn’t Move?

How to Listen to the Radio: The BBC’s 1930 Manual for Using a New Technology.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here and include (without limitation) Skynet self-awareness, Amazon customer service chat between Thor and Odin, and the dark side of fairy tales.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Photos: When Los Angeles was an Oil Field

In the 1890s, the small town of Los Angeles (population 50,000) began a transformation driven by the discovery and drilling of some of the most productive oil fields in history. By 1930, California was producing nearly one quarter of the world's oil output.

Additional (and larger) pictures at The Atlantic.

A forest of oil derricks sprouts up on the Signal Hill oil field, Long Beach, California, in 1937. 

In the decades that followed, many wells closed, but even more opened, surrounded by urban and suburban growth. Machinery was camouflaged, loud noises were abated, methane pockets were vented, as residents learned to live side-by-side with oil production facilities. 

Oil wells in Venice, California, bringing oil up from beach area in 1952.


An oil well pumps in a newly constructed neighborhood near Shell Oil Company Alamitos No. 1 discovery well on Signal Hill in Long Beach on May 30, 2003.
Oil rig pumpjacks extract crude from the Wilmington Field oil deposits area where Tidelands Oil Production Company, which is owned by Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy), operates near Long Beach, California, on July 30, 2013

A decorated oil derrick looms over Beverly Hills High School, background, and the derrick's service compound in this view from the southwest on February 25, 2003.

Forget Catherine the Great and Ivan the Terrible - here's Fruela the Leprous, Alfonso the Slobberer and Wilfred the Hairy

These royal epithets are nicknames used to encapsulate a leader’s personality or appearance, or to sum up the events or legacy of their time in power. Frequently, as you can see, they're not particularly flattering.

This guy, King Oskar of Sweden, is not
on this list but is funny-looking enough
that maybe he should be.
ALEXANDER THE POTBELLY was Prince of Suzdal, in western Russia, from 1414-17. Other holders of the same title included “George Longarm,” and “John the Strongbow.”

ALFONSO THE SLOBBERER was King of Galicia from 1188-1230. He apparently earned his nickname because he foamed at the mouth when enraged.

BERENGUER-RAMON THE FRATRICIDE was an 11th century Count of Barcelona who earned his unappealing nickname when rumors began to circulate that he had been involved in his twin brother’s death in a hunting accident in 1082.

BERNARD THE HAIRY-FOOTED was a 9th century Count of Auvergne. If not a genuine reference to his feet, his nickname might instead have been inspired by some family crest or emblem.

BOLKO THE STRICT was a 13th century Prince of Germany. His father was Bolesław the Bald, and his brother was Bernard the Lightsome.

BROCHWEL THE FANGED, or Brochwel Ysgrithrog, was a 6th century ruler of Powys in central Wales. His epithet ysgrithog means “fanged” or “tusked,” and probably refers either to his large or prominent teeth, or to his aggressive, short-tempered personality.

BURMUDO THE GOUTY, King of Léon from 984-999, suffered from such a bad case of gout towards the end of his life that he couldn’t ride his horse and had to be carried everywhere by his courtiers.

Charles II is not, for some reason,
known as Charlie the Big-Nose
CHILDERIC THE IDIOT was King of the Franks from 743-751. No one is quite sure what he did to earn the epithet “the Idiot,” but seeing as he ended his reign by being deposed and consigned to a monastery, it may be nothing more than an attempt by his successors to tarnish his name.

CONSTANTINE THE DUNG-NAMED was the nickname of Constantine V, the Byzantine Emperor from 741-55. The Latin epithet Copronymus, “dung-named,” was unsurprisingly bestowed on him by his many enemies.

DOMNALL THE SPECKLED was the freckle-faced ruler of Argyll in Scotland from 629-42. He’s also a distant ancestor of Kate Middleton.

FERDINAND THE BOMB was King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, who ruled from 1830-59. He earned the Italian epithet re bomba, “The Bomb King,” when he ordered the shelling of a Sicilian town believed to be a stronghold of antimonarchist separatists, despite its large civilian population, in 1848.

FREDERICK THE BITTEN was apparently bitten on the cheek by his mother when he was just a baby. He served as Margrave (a medieval title equivalent to marquis) of Meissen in Germany from 1291-1323.

FRUELA THE LEPROUS was king of Asturias in northern Spain from 910 until his death from leprosy in 925.

GARCÍA THE TREMBLER, García Sánchez II, was king of Pamplona in Spain from 994-1004. According to one account, “though a man of tried courage, he never prepared for battle without visibly trembling from head to foot.”

HALFDAN THE BAD ENTERTAINER, also known as King Halfdan the Mild, was the son of Eystein the Fart. His nickname apparently refers to his habit of paying his soldiers generously, but providing them with little food or entertainment.

HARALD THE LOUSY ruled Norway as King Harald I for almost 50 years from 872-930. He is better known as “Harald Fairhair,” but is also referred to as “Harald Tanglehair” and “Harald the Shockhead.”

HENRY THE IMPOTENT was king of Castile from 1454-74. His nickname probably refers to his disastrously ineffectual reign, although some accounts have since suggested that Henry was genuinely impotent, if not secretly homosexual.

IVAYLO THE CABBAGE, also known as “Ivaylo the Swineherd,” was a Bulgarian farmer who led a peasants’ revolt in the late 13th century and proclaimed himself Emperor of Bulgaria in 1278. He was overthrown the following year and assassinated.

IVAR THE BONELESS was a 9th century Viking leader. Although some accounts claim his nickname was a reference to impotence, a more likely theory is that he was an incredibly swift fighter and was able to move quickly and effortlessly in battle.

LOUIS THE STAMMERER was King Louis II of France, the great-great-grandfather of Louis the Good-for-Nothing. He reigned for just two years from 877-879.

Caption contest!  Leave your "Obama the _____"
suggestions in the comments.
MANUEL THE SAUSAGE-MAKER was Count Manuel Francisco Domingo Godoy, Prime Minister of Spain from 1792-1797 and 1801-1809. Born in an area of central Spain known for producing sausages, Godoy’s epithet is probably also a crude reference to his long-term affair with the Spanish Queen, Maria Luisa.

PIERO THE UNFORTUNATE was ruler of Florence for two years from 1492-1494. Abandoning an alliance with France in favor of one with Naples, Piero lost control of the city when the French invaded, then was ousted from power when the people revolted and plundered the Medici Palace. As if that weren’t unfortunate enough, he eventually drowned crossing a river while fleeing from a battle in 1503.

VASILY THE CROSS-EYED was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1434 until he was overthrown the following year by an alliance of forces loyal to his brother Dmitry and his cousin, Vasily II. He was subsequently blinded and banished from the Kremlin.

WILFRED THE HAIRY was a 9th century Catalan nobleman and Count of Barcelona. According one medieval description of him, Wilfred was “hairy in places not normally so in men.”