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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ave atque vale, Adam West - here's the Batman opening sequence and some fight scenes (Bap!)

This Batman TV series opening theme music is totally stuck in my head now:

For a little trip dow memory lane, if you're old enough, here are fight scenes from the 1966 season of Batman (Parts 1 and 2). Those of you too young to remember will probably enjoy them, too:

Related: Here's a 1983 episode of The Family Feud with the cast of Gilligan's Island vs the cast of Batman

Friday, June 9, 2017

Famous Works Of Art Recreated Using Marvel Action Figures

Some impressive photography:

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel, Vatican City), 1508–1512

Vitruvian Man, Leonardo Da Vinci 1490, Italy

The Discobolus of Myron (Circa 460-450 B.C.)

The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci, Circa 1495-1497

Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Benvenuto Cellini, 1545

The Thinker (Le Penseur), Auguste Rodin, 1880

Pietà, Michelangelo (Basilica di San Pietro, Vaticano), 1498-1499

Friday links

What it Takes to Cook Some of Literature's Most Famous Meals.

Stunning Photos of Earth from the International Space Station.

The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include the cut-throat world of toddler bike racing, early gas station architecture, tequila as a weight loss tool, food photography tricks, and 17th century methods for killing snakes and fleas. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday links

How to Kill Snakes and Fleas: advice from 1688.

These food photography tricks are kinda fascinating.

Inside the Cut-Throat World of Toddler Bike Racing.

Diet tip of the day: Drinking tequila can lead to weight loss. Among other things.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include using a a charge card for a $170 million painting, pasta shape ranking, D-Day links, artificial skating rinks before reliable ice-making technology, and foolproof pick up lines (according to Chinese scientists).

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How to Kill Snakes and Fleas: advice from 1688

How to Kill Snakes, 1688
"1. How to gather Snakes and Adders to one place. Take one handful of Onion, and ten River Crab-fish, pound them together, and lay it in the places where the Snakes and Adders are, and they will all gather together.
2. To kill Snakes and Adders. Take a large Rhadish, and strike the Adder and Snake with it, and one blow will kill them." 
R. W., A Necessary Family-Book (1688)

A simple and elegant technique: lure the snakes with a giant crabcake and then bludgeon them with a radish.

From the same book, here's How to Kill Fleas:

"Take an Earthen Platter, that is broad and shallow, fill it half full with Goats Blood, and set the Platter under the Bed, and all the Fleas will come into it like a swarm of Bees. Or take the Blood of a Bear or Badger, and put it under the Bed, as before, and it gathers the Fleas to it, and they die immediately."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

These food photography tricks are kinda fascinating

Commercial food photographers use all kinds of non-edible products to cleverly make food look delicious in front of a lens. I've known that they did this, but never knew the details. 

This Guardian article discusses additional tricks.

How Falconry Shaped the English Language

Feeling hoodwinked or fed up? During the 16th century, an amateur falconer and playwright named William Shakespeare loved training birds of prey so much that he began adding falconry references to his plays.

Related: From 32 starlings in the 1890s to 200 million now: The Shakespeare Fanatic Who Introduced the Bard’s Birds to America

Further reading:


How To Be Miserable

Seven things that are scientifically known to maximize misery.

Tuesday links

"Your smile is a naughty goblin": Foolproof pick up lines, per Chinese scientists

How do Animals Have Sex Underwater?

June 6, is D-Day: quotes (Shakespeare, Eisenhower, Churchill), videos (footage, FDR's and Reagan's speeches, a Lego re-enactment), lots of links.

The First Artificial Skating Rinks Looked Pretty But Smelled Terrible - before the technology to reliably freeze water existed, the rinks used a mixture of pig fat and salts.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include how America's self-esteem craze took hold, some 17th century advice on encrypting and sending secret messages, TV characters killed off out of spite, and the anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk by a flotilla of small boats (the inspiration for Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches...we shall never surrender" speech).

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 6 is D-Day: quotes (Shakespeare, Eisenhower, Churchill), videos (footage, FDR's and Reagan's speeches), lots of links

There's so much available on this subject - the information below consists of things I found of particular interest.

It's hard to think of D-Day without thinking of Henry V's speech on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt - the source of the famous Band of Brothers line:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

~ William Shakespeare (King Henry V, Act IV, Sc. 3)

D-Day assault routes into Normandy - click here to embiggen.
You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world … Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely… Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men …  The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle… We will accept nothing less than full victory.

Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (wiki) (Order of the Day for 6 June 1944, excerpts)

And here's the story of The Speech Eisenhower Never Gave On The Normandy Invasion - he had prepared it in case the mission failed:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone. 
This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen.

Winston S. Churchill (wiki) (in announcing the Normandy invasion to the House of Commons, 6 June 1944)

Then darkness enveloped the whole American armada. Not a pinpoint of light showed from those hundred of ships as they surged through the night toward their destiny, carrying across the ageless and indifferent sea tens of thousands of young men, fighting for ... for ... well, at least for each other.

Ernie Pyle (wiki) (of the Normandy invasion, in Brave Men)

June 6 is anniversary of D-Day (wiki) in 1944, the date of the long-awaited allied invasion of Europe, on the Normandy coast of France. Preparations for Operation OVERLORD had been underway for over a year, but because of exemplary allied operational security and several elaborate deception schemes, the German high command remained unsure of the time and location of the actual landings and as a result found themselves unexpectedly back-footed in organizing an effective defense.

Thus, in the largest military operation in history, the Allies were able to land 160,000 troops in France on the first day, and by the end of August, three million – 47 divisions – were ashore. Organized under the aegis of OVERLORD’s naval element, Operation NEPTUNE, more than 4,100 landing craft and transports supported the crossing, and these were protected by more than 1,200 warships, including 200 destroyers, destroyer escorts, frigates, corvettes and sloops. By 25 August, Paris had been liberated, and Germany surrendered early the following May. 

Over 4,400 Allied servicemen died in the assault, and 7,500 more were wounded or went missing. Americans made up almost two-thirds of the overall casualties (over 6,600). The German casualty figures were never known, but estimates range from 4,000 to 9,000. That was just the first day of the Battle of Normandy, though: by the time Normandy was secured, over 425,000 casualties had been inflicted on both sides, 209,000 by Allied forces. Another 200,000 troops were captured by the allies, and over 15,000 French civilians were killed.

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) - in charge of the Normandy defenses - is widely quoted as having observed before the event,

"Glauben Sie mir, meine Herren, die ersten vierundzwanzig Stunden dieser Invasion werden entscheidend sein! Das wird für die Alliierten, aber auch für die Deutschen, der längste Tag werden - der längste Tag."

(Believe me, gentlemen, the first twenty-four hours of this invasion will be decisive! It will become for the Allies, as well as for the Germans, the longest day - the longest day.) This quote is the source of the classic John Wayne D-Day epic The Longest Day.

The Atlantic has an excellent set of Scenes From D-Day, Then And Now:

And here are Life Magazine's archives of photos from before and after D-Day in England and France, and their collection of color photos of the ruins of Normandy.

The British D-Day museum has a roundup of information, including this explanation of why the expression "D-Day" was used:
When a military operation is being planned, its actual date and time is not always known exactly. The term "D-Day" was therefore used to mean the date on which operations would begin, whenever that was to be. The day before D-Day was known as "D-1", while the day after D-Day was "D+1", and so on. This meant that if the projected date of an operation changed, all the dates in the plan did not also need to be changed. This actually happened in the case of the Normandy Landings. D-Day in Normandy was originally intended to be on 5 June 1944, but at the last minute bad weather delayed it until the following day. The armed forces also used the expression "H-Hour" for the time during the day at which operations were to begin.
Forecasting The Weather For D-Day - not an easy task in those days.

FDR D-Day Speech June 6, 1944:

Here's a 3 minute compilation of footage:

Reagan's address at the 40th anniversary ceremony in Normandy:

Horrible Histories: Winston Churchill's D-Day Plan:

And, of course, the Lego version:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

"Your smile is a naughty goblin": Foolproof pick up lines, per Chinese scientists

Likewise, the researchers said that men should approach women and say “your roof is a lover’s shoulder” or “your garden is the sea of flowers” rather than sticking to a more prosaic phrase like “your door is very strong.”
Scientists at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China have published a new study called “Women prefer men who use metaphorical language when paying compliments in a romantic context” which suggests that poetic language is the way to a ladies’ heart.

It suggested lines like “Your smile is a naughty goblin” were likely to be more enticing than straightforward compliments like “your lips are so sexy.”

Likewise, the researchers said that men should approach women and say “your roof is a lover’s shoulder” or “your garden is the sea of flowers” rather than sticking to a more prosaic phrase like “your door is very strong.” Per the study:
The findings confirm our hypotheses that in a courtship situation where compliments serve as a sexual display of mate quality, women show a preference for metaphors, particularly novel ones, in verbal structure.
The preference seemed even more pronounced when the women were fertile:
We investigated 124 female students’ preference for compliments paid by males incorporating either literal or metaphoric (conventional/novel) language and targeting their appearance or possessions (house) throughout their menstrual cycle. Male faces paired with novel metaphorical compliments were rated as more attractive by women than those paired with literal ones. Compliments targeting appearance increased male attractiveness more than possessions. Interestingly, compliments on appearance using novel metaphors were preferred by women in a relationship during the fertile phase but by single women during the luteal phase. 
The study was published in Nature, and is available online here. They seem to draw a tenuous conclusion that novel metaphorical language indicates higher intelligence, which would indicate better mating potential. What the hell, I like a good metaphor myself.

Translation errors are not uncommon.
I realize, of course, that there may be some mistranslations among these otherwise extremely spiffy pick-up lines - it happens on occasion:

And this, not a translation fail but one of my favorite Chinese things: This Chinese music video is the weirdest thing you'll watch all day

More on the pick-up line story at Daily Mail

This discussion reminded me of a contest a few years ago (WaPo-sponsored, I think) wherein respondents were asked to produce pick-up lines that only Washington, D.C.-area residents would understand. The winner was "Your beauty renders me as powerless as D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton." Don't get it? That's because you don't live in D.C., but there's a cursory explanation here.