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Friday, March 24, 2017

A Collection of Vintage Celebrity Endorsements

We're accustomed to celebrity athletes endorsing products related to their areas of expertise (think Michael Jordan and Nikes), but it's hard to imaging why anyone would care about Mohammad Ali's opinion on roach killing or Doris Day's opinion on construction equipment:

Sammy Davis, Jr. was notorious for his drinking, so this one kinda makes sense:

Lucille Ball apparently had a couple of vices we didn't know about:

Humphrey Bogart selling Whitman's Samplers:

Here's Jerry Lewis with Colonel Sanders:

Sonny and Cher, because when you think of Cher you think Bible, right?

Here's Pope Leo XIII around the torn of the 20th century endorsing Vin Mariani, a wine and cocaine cocktail:

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from Star Trek:

Roy Rogers:

Bob Hope:

And, in the future president category, Ronald Reagan:

And The Donald, although since he's selling his own products, I guess this doesn't really count:

Lots more here.

Infographic: Spring Cleaning Checklist (also, Best Ways to Die)

From Obvious Plant, Jeff Wysaski's ongoing project to create funny but fake signs - the first two are for an online-only audience, but he leaves some (see below) in public places to confuse and amuse people. If you think this is a great idea but don't have the skill (or imagination) to do it yourself, he's published a book of posters for you to hang around your neighborhood: High Five This Sign: Prank Posters to Post on Poles.

In this case, he switched the toilet troubleshooting guide at a Home Depot hardware store with an "updated" version:

Here he left some updated candy slogans at the grocery store:

Lots more at, and Wysaski also posts at

Friday links

Uninspirational Quotes for People Who Hate Inspirational Quotes.

Flying Water Taxis are coming to Paris this Summer.

Dead Men’s Teeth: A History of Dentures.

Humanure: The Next Frontier In Composting.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death, William Shatner's birthday, why we don't (generally) eat horses, the science of facial hair, and how far back in time you could go and still understand English.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Extremely Cool Slinky Tricks

Huang Zhenghuai, a Taiwanese native, is quite extraordinary with his classic Slinky.

WARNING: KILL THE SOUND!!! It's absolutely atrocious.

Related: Fascinating Facts About the Invention of the Slinky.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Here’s Gollum Singing “Time After Time” Because Why The Heck Not

Youtuber Ijameswalters seems to specialize in classic songs sung in a Gollum voice, which he does very well. Per Nerdist:
You’d think a centuries-old Stoorish hobbit would lose his ear for harmony after being twisted and corrupted by the One Ring Of Power, but you’d be wrong. Guess being stuck in a cave talking to yourself is a wonderful way to keep your vocal pipes in good health.

Thanks, Laurie!

Wednesday links

How Far Back In Time Could You Go And Still Understand English?

A History of Tug-of-War Fatalities.

The Science of Facial Hair: What Signals Do Beards, Stubble, and Mustaches Send to Others?

It's William Shatner's birthday: here he is in 1978 'singing' Rocket Man, plus a Star Trek/Monty Python mashup.

'London Bridge is down': the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include silent film-era movie effects, vintage armored cars, blowing up a watermelon with 20,000 volts of electricity, and the first day of Spring.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Uninspirational Quotes for People Who Hate Inspirational Quotes

There are a LOT of these de-motivational quotes on the intertubes - I've picked a few that are safe for work below but if you want more (some of which may have NSFW language), look here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Far Back In Time Could You Go And Still Understand English?

The English language has changed over time - if you had a time machine, how far back could you go and still understand English? At what point in history would you not be able to understand?


If you went back in time to the 1800's and 1700's, you'd probably still be okay. This except is from the book 'Robinson Crusoe', in 1719:

"I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, 
being shipwrecked during a dreadful storm in the offing, 
came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate island, 
which I called “The Island of Despair”

That's fairly easy to understand, but you might struggle with old slang words like 'batty fang' and 'kickerapoo'.

batty fang - a beating
kickerapoo - dead
land pirates - highway robbers
gutfoundered - very hungry
whapper - a big lie
Nitsqueeger - Hairdresser
Xantippe - an ill tempered wife
Abbess - a nun
Thornback - a spinster
Barber-monger - a vain man
Bleater - someone who complains a lot
Brabble - to quarrel loudly
Crapulous - the feeling of being too full
Hugger-mugger - secretly
Lettice-cap - a medical device like a hair net
Pigarlik - a bald head
Petty fogger - a dodgy lawyer
Mumpsimus - the act of sticking to old mistaken beliefs about language and customs simply out of habit

The 1600s is the time of Shakespeare. 

"Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately."

Here, Lucianus talking about the natural magic of poison. and how using it to kill the king will usurp the throne.

Trickier to follow, but not everyone spoke like that. You would hear lots of words you didn't understand though.

The bigger problem for you now is the pronunciation. The sound of the vowels has changed, and the accent is becoming much harder to understand. 

For example, "tea" is pronounced "tay", and "gone" is pronounced "goan".

In the 1500s people essentially speak like the Bible. 

"Now therefore thus saith the Lord, 
Thou shalt not come down 
from that bed on which thou 
art gone up, but shalt surely die."

KJV 2 Kings 1:4

There are also hundreds of words that don't mean a thing to you. 

Before about 1400 AD, you'd hear Middle English, and you would hardly understand anything, written or spoken. 

"Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;"

The Canterbury Tales, 1389

If you went all the way back to one 1000 AD, you'd hear Old English:

Lord's Prayer

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum;
Si þin nama gehalgod
to becume þin rice
gewurþe ðin willa
on eorðan swa swa 
on heofonum.

Good luck explaining that you need 'one point twenty-one Jigawatts' to get home!

h/t PreSurfer

Monday links

Spring is here - The vernal equinox is on March 20th at 6:29 a.m. EDT. Here's Vivaldi, science, myths, "spring spheres" and more.

A gallery of vintage armored cars.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include a map of New York’s earliest skyscrapers, dozens of nuclear test videos that have been declassified and uploaded to YouTube, forged art that fooled the Metropolitan Museum for decades, and lots of information on Saint Patrick. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Watch this guy climb a 1500 foot tall TV tower to change a lightbulb

YouTube has a drone video:

Somebody has to change out that lightbulb at the top of those tall TV towers!
This is tower climber Kevin Schmidt making the climb to the very top of the now inactive KDLT TV analog broadcast antenna near Salem, SD.
It was a beautiful fall day for a climb and the views are stunning! I would suggest watching at 1080 HD in full screen to get a small taste of the experience.