Archive for the ‘Random stuff’ Category

Wolverine himself uses Free Comic Book Day to Promote Literacy

Hundreds of thousands of comic book fans across the continent flocked to participating vendors yesterday in celebration of Free Comic Book Day.

Not familiar?  Okay, well, beginning in 2002, a panel of comic-book distributors, retailers, publishers, and suppliers got together and decided to organize an event promoting comic readership. The result was “Free Comic Book Day,” during which comic-book stores across North America would give away free copies of select comics. You can go to the official website for more information and photos from yesterday’s festivities.

As a way to encourage younger readers, Hugh Jackman invited children to take part:

My, how things have changed since the days of Dr. Frederick Wertham, the McCarthy-era crusader who lashed out against comics, deeming them a corrupting force and a danger to America’s youth.  He even went so far as to say that “Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic-book industry.” By 1954, his outrage helped catalyze the development of the Comics Code Authority, a set of mandatory guidelines to which all published comics must conform.

Now, 50 years later, grad students in the arts and social sciences are writing theses on comic books, treating them as (heaven forbid) a legitimate artform.  Titles include “The Pictorial and Linguistic Features of Comic Book Formulas,” “Comic Book Creativity as Displaced Aggression,” and “The Evolution of Social Norms and the Life of Lois Lane.”

Who knew?


Sesame Street Censored

Remember how the DVD release of the first seasons of Sesame Street came with a warning label that stated the show might not be appropriate for “today’s preschool child”?

Well…here are some reimaginings of familiar Sesame Street moments that might not even be appropriate for adults:

The Count and his favorite hobby:

Bert and Ernie teach the importance of nocturnal hygiene:

Big Bird and Kermit receive medicinal aid:

A couple clips featured on Jimmy Kimmel (brilliant!):

Triptrop provides colorful way to gauge your commute length

I love The Gothamist.  Today, they linked to a spiffy new tool called Triptrop. Here’s how it works:

You type in an address in New York, and it produces an eye-poppingly variegated map of the city letting you know how long it will take to commute to various locations!

As an example, here’s a map with Grand Central as its focal point:


The creator of this wonder is Jonathan Soma, who lives in Brooklyn.  And Triptrop is not his only brain child.  He also created, among other things, a program that lets you know what everyone in Japan is doing right now, a site for “astronomy porn”, and “Snacksby”, which he describes as “like Macgyver, but for food”.

Fake MTA Advisory Signs

For those of you not in New York, the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) — which runs New York’s subway and bus systems — has been hit hard by the recession, and as a result, it recently announced that monthly passes would increase in cost from $81 to $103.

Still a shitload cheaper than owning a car, which involves paying for gas, oil changes, maintenance, insurance, etc. But understandably, New Yorkers are irked, especially since the fare hike will coincide with service cuts (two subway lines and many more bus lines will disappear completely, and all remaining service will run with diminished frequency).

New Yorkers are taking out there anger in various ways. On the Downtown 4 Train from Harlem, for example, I heard a shabby looking gentleman screaming to anyone who’d listen about “bourgeois bullshit”.

But some are putting their anger to creative use. Last week, The Gothamist reported on some fake advisory signs that were posted in various stations around the city. The centerpiece was this gem, seen at the Metropolitan stop off the G Line:


Sure, the grammar is atrocious, but for some reason, I find that makes it funnier.

Here’s another grammatically incorrect but nonetheless hilarious sign on an unidentified line:


In searching the Gothamist archives, I also found this story , which links to some more fake signage and also features some hilarious comments from font nerds.

And this site, which let’s you create your own fake subway sign! It’s outdated, but still fun.  And some of the entries in the gallery (linked at the bottom of the page) are just brilliant 🙂

Twitter Haiku

I still don’t get the point of Twitter, but since it’s growing exponentially in popularity, I thought I’d pay tribute with a little haiku.  FYI, I coin the term “Twitt” to refer to a Twitter user.

This is done from the point-of-view of the Twitter punditry:

We shouldn’t be twits
But rather should we be Twitts
Or something betwixt

I’ve also been able to take my initial annoyance at the term “tweet” — which describes updates on Twitter and can be used as both a noun and a verb — and turn it into fun imaginary conjugations.  For example:

“Hey dude, did you send me a tweet?”
“Yeah, man, I totally twoted [tw-oh-ted] you an hour ago.”

By the way, if someone uses Twitter to remind me that I have a lunch appointment with him/her, have I in fact been “tweeted to lunch”?

Or if two opposing factions make amends on Twitter, have they in fact enacted a tweety_bird ?

Okay, maybe I’ll forget I just said those things.  I need some clarity, because at the moment, I’m hopelessly Twitterpated:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ray Harryhausen homage through genetic mutations

A friend of mine recently blogged about strange birth defects in animals and included a link to an eye-popping slide show. I took a glance, and I was particularly impressed with the two-faced kittens, the conjoined-twin crocodiles, and the six-legged sheep.

I experienced a little déjà vu, however, when I was introduced to the two-headed tortoise and Cy the one-eyed kitten. I finally came to the realization that I was recalling one my favorite movies growing up…

It was The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, a 1958 Technicolor adventure movie whose monsters and stop-motion animations were conceived by creature-feature ubermeister Ray Harryhausen. (Harryhausen, incidentally, was a major influence on Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Joe Dante (Gremlins, Small Soldiers), and Tim Burton.) The film was also scored by Bernard Herrmann — my single favorite film scorer — who wrote the music for Citizen Kane, Psycho, Vertigo, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Taxi Driver, among others.

The following side-by-side comparisons make me think that God is a Harryhausen fan and just wanted to pay a little homage to 7th Voyage of Sinbad by creating these curiosities:


two_headed_turtle roc

Oh, and here’s a clip of the Cyclops’s first appearance in the film. The clip is chopped up, so it would probably help to know that the little cartwheeling fireball is a prepubescent genie with spiffy magical powers:

Damn, why don’t they make ’em like this anymore?

Anyways, as if that weren’t enough, in gathering the pictures for this post, I stumbled upon this illustration from Seattle artist Robert Rini:


Bad kitty!

Bally Total Fitness wants you to return to the womb!

The following is, I kid you not, a genuine excerpt from a contract with Bally Total Fitness.  You know Bally’s…the club that uses chiseled male torsos and scantily clad women to promise you a rocket body if you just join.

I thought that once the contract showed up, they’d cut the bullshit, since they’re just trying to sign you up as quickly as possible.  But apparently, they really want you to get intimate with their female members.  Intimate…as in inside their birth canals:

“If you have any questions, please call your home club or contact Member cervices.

See you at the club,

Bally Total Fitness”

I could pick on the fact that Bally’s contract writers aren’t spelling-bee champions, but much more fun to assume that all the egregious flirting that goes on in almost every Bally’s I’ve ever walked into — and much more, from what I’ve heard from friends who are Bally’s employees and scout the locker rooms every now and then — is the result of horny members taking the company quite literally at its (misspelled) word.

I could also get pedantic and preach the values of correct spelling, but I think I’ll let the lesson here be:

Never assume that “returning to the womb” is solely metaphorical.

Talking Heads Moment

Another random moment of music.  I’m on a Talking Heads kick as of late.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

TV pilot for a nerdirific show!

My friend Jen Dziura, who co-hosts both the Williamsburg Spelling Bee and the Chelsea Mind Games, recently filmed a pilot for a Sci-Fi Channel reality show involving brainy people channeling their cerebral powers to solve everyday problems.

In the pilot (included below), Jen shows you how you can use logic to hog a dessert and still come across as considerate.

She and her fellow nerds also tackle the ins and outs of finding the perfect parking space in a Los Angeles parking lot.  I enjoyed that part, but mostly, I was glad that I no longer live in Los Angeles, where I suffered endless headaches from navigating through small, crowded parking lots (and got more practice parallel parking than I ever thought possible).

Among Jen’s teammates are a man with a 190+ IQ, a woman with a Ph.D. in Robotics and Engineering, another with a Ph.D. specializing in human behavior, and a tech entrepreneur.

Check out the pilot and bump up the view count!  Sit back and enjoy…


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Happy π Day!

It’s 3/14.  Happy π Day!  Recite all the digits you know!  (3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816…)

Don’t forget to celebrate Pi minute at 3:14 and Pi second at 3:14:15.

Or some people say Pi minute is on 3/14 at 1:59 (3.14159), making Pi second at 1:59:26.

Here are some Pi-themed pictures and a video: