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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Remember the song "El Paso" from the Breaking Bad finale? Here's Steve Martin (1980) acting it out with a bunch of monkeys

And a burro, and an elephant.

Dangerous Minds posts a clip from Steve Martin’s 1980 NBC special Comedy Is Not Pretty (not to be confused with Martin’s album of the same name):
The special’s greatest moment, however, is an ambitious fusion of the sublime and the stupid that comes right at the beginning. In the opening sketch, Martin, a burro, an elephant, and a cast of simians dramatize Marty Robbins’ love-and-death gunfighter ballad “El Paso.” 
Only “El Paso” is embedded below, but you can watch all of Comedy Is Not Pretty on Hulu.

The same song was, of course, used in the finale of Breaking Bad:

Headline of the day: Grandmother choked with bra defends herself with ceramic chicken

Apparently ceramic chickens are a thing, and you should maybe get one for your grandmother for self-defense purposes. Who knew?

LEXINGTON, Ky., April 1 (UPI) -- Police in Kentucky said a woman who was being strangled with a bra fended off her attacker by striking her in the head with a ceramic chicken.

Patricia Leece, 61, of Lexington, said she opened her door early Monday because she thought the banging and shouting was her granddaughter, but she instead found stranger Ashley Sies, 31.

The homeowner told police Sies pushed her way into the house and wrapped a bra around Leece's neck.

"She choked me down and we fought for a good 15 to 20 minutes. Finally I saw one of my (ceramic) chickens on the floor so I picked it up and started bashing her on the head with it," Leece told WKYT-TV.

Leece said Sies fell unconscious and she called 911.

Police said Sies was apparently on drugs and believed she was being followed when she knocked on Leece's door.

Sies pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of first degree burglary and was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bond. Leece said she plans to pursue additional charges against the intruder.

Today is International Pillow Fight Day: photos, video and serious pillow fight problems

There are events already organized in a lot of cities, including (local to me) on the Mall in Washington, D.C. (although I'd rather attend the event in Rome; aside from the fact that I would be in Rome, their version last year involved superhero costumes).

If you would like to learn how to organize a pillow fight, read the howto guide. Here's an article from the Washington Times, one from (which has a LOT of photos) and some video footage of the 2013 NYC event: More at Buzzfeed.

and in London:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Gluten Free Museum: a Tumblr dedicated to eradicating gluten from art

Excellent idea! Before (gluten-ous) and after (gluten-free) versions of famous works of art (and, you know, other pictures):

Jean-Fran├žois Millet:

Anna Archer:

Matt Groening:

See the whole set here.

Video: Rube Goldberg's Passover Seder

Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers? Because this Passover is getting ushered in by a Rube Goldberg Machine that tells highlights of the Passover story. Designed by students from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the device features falling matzah dominoes, baby Moses getting blown across the water by a fan, and a text message telling the Pharaoh to “let my people go.”

Behind-the-scenes video below.

Friday links

What happens when you crack your knuckles, including the researcher who cracked the knuckles in one hand only for over 60 years to see if he'd get arthritis.

New Zealanders Celebrate Easter by Shooting Bunnies.

Easter cards from The Onion.

Elementary school takes Easter out of egg hunt (because bunnies are too religious), plus the Seattle school that renamed Easter eggs 'Spring Spheres'.

10 DIY Ways to Decorate Your Easter Eggs.

Video: Dogs Train Their Human Friends to Keep Petting Them.

Late 19th-Century Maps Show Measles Mortality Before Vaccines.

Engineering students extinguish fire with sound.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and are all April Fool's Day and/or hoax related.

Video: Dogs Train Their Human Friends to Keep Petting Them

Obviously these people don't know how to properly communicate with their dog(s)- otherwise they never would have stopped scratching in the first place:

via HuffPo.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Researcher Cracked His Knuckles in One Hand for Over 60 Years to See if He Would Get Arthritis

Video via Vox: What's actually happening when you crack your knuckles? Was your mom right when she told you it would cause arthritis? The article includes information on Donald Unger, winner of an Ig Nobel prize and probably the leading self-tester on the subject:
Consider the findings of Donald Unger, arguably the most dedicated researcher of knuckle cracking. In his teens, after his mother warned him the habit would give him arthritis, he started cracking his knuckles in the name of science, according to a 2009 Los Angeles Times story. He continued to pop the joints in his fingers for over 60 years — but only on his left hand. He left the right hand untouched as a comparison. And his decades-long self experiment found no arthritis in either hand.

via Presurfer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cost-Cutting Measures Force Company To Start Hiring More Female Employees

Well, I've always contended that if women really were paid 78 percent (or whatever) of what a man makes, no one would hire a man, at least until all of the women were employed.

I especially like this bit:
Collier added that the shift toward female staffers would also allow the company to save money by suspending its executive development program.
Read the whole thing. And yes, of course, it's The Onion.
HARTFORD, CT—In an effort to remain financially solvent by keeping payroll expenditures in check, executives at the Banford Group announced Tuesday they would have to start hiring more female employees.
“Due to ongoing economic pressures, it’s crucial for the well-being of this company to rein in the growth of operating costs, so effective immediately all new hires must be women,” said CEO Jay Collier, adding that the cutbacks would require department managers to only consider female employees for promotions within the company’s ranks. “It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve got to tighten our belts until we’re more financially stable, and that means bringing on a female candidate for every open position. Once we return to steady profitability, we can get back to hiring men.” Collier added that the shift toward female staffers would also allow the company to save money by suspending its executive development program.

BBC's 1957 Spaghetti Harvest prank

The Spaghetti Tree prank (wiki) from the April 1, 1957 episode of the BBC Program Panorama:

Here's the explanation:

On April 1, 1957 the British television programme Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success of the crop was attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil. The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the shows highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, For those who love this dish, theres nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax generated an enormous response. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC diplomatically replied, Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best. 

To this day the Panorama broadcast remains one of the most famous and popular April Fools Day hoaxes of all time. It is also believed to be the first time the medium of television was used to stage an April Fools Day hoax.

Since 1955 Panorama had been anchored by Richard Dimbleby, whose authoritative, commanding presence had made him one of the most revered public figures in Britain. If Dimbleby said it, people trusted that it was true. Which is one of the reasons why the spaghetti harvest hoax fooled so many viewers. His participation lent the hoax an air of unimpeachable authority.

Almost no one else at the BBC knew about it. The segment was not mentioned at all in the pre-transmission publicity handouts.

The line-up for that days show included a long segment about Archbishop Makarios, leader of the Greek Cypriots, and a clip of the Duke of Edinburgh attending the premiere of the war film The Yangtse Incident.

The second-to-last segment was about a wine-tasting contest, and then it came time for the spaghetti harvest.

Dimbleby, sitting on the set of Panorama, looked into the camera and without a trace of a smile said: And now from wine to food. We end Panorama tonight with a special report from the Swiss Alps.

The screen cut away to the prepared footage. When it was all over, Dimbleby reappeared and said, Now we say goodnight, on this first day of April. He emphasized the final phrase.

Panorama never attempted another April Fools Day spoof, despite numerous calls for a sequel. However, the hoax did inspire a number of similar stunts in its honour.

This film footage is from the Archive Collection held and administered by the Alexandra Palace Television Society.