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Thursday, 03 September, 2009

Katzenklavier

Also known as a cat piano: Katzenklavier.

A musical instrument with polyphonic aftertouch described by Athanasius Kircher. It consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard. Tails would be placed under the keys, causing the cats to cry out in pain when a key was pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices.


Permalink | Posted in Music @7:31am | Comments (9)

Skip Day

Hey kids, if you have right-wing parents, you can skip school on September 8! Right blasts Obama speech to students.

President Barack Obama's plans for a televised back-to-school address to students next week are drawing fire from some conservatives, who say he's just trying to indoctrinate them to his political beliefs.

In the Sept. 8 speech, Obama will challenge students to work hard, set goals for their education and take responsibility for their learning, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a letter to principals.

The Education Department is encouraging teachers to create lesson plans around the speech, using materials provided on the department website that urge students to learn about Obama and other presidents.

Pretty radical stuff. No wonder people are outraged.

The chairman of the Florida Republican Party is condemning Obama's speech as an attempt to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

Added conservative talk show host Tammy Bruce, in a Twitter feed: "Make September 8 Parentally Approved Skip Day. You are your child's moral tutor, not that shady lawyer from Chicago." And conservative author Michelle Malkin said the lesson plans have a "heavy activist bent."


Permalink | Posted in General @7:38am | Comments (46)

Permission From MLB Not Granted

A guy watches a baseball game, and wants to follow the rules of Major League Baseball. But... MLB Won't Give Me Permission To Describe Game To Friend.

After watching the Diamondbacks-Astros game Aug. 23, I decided I'd like to describe the game to my friend Tyler, who was too busy to watch it. But mindful of the oft-repeated disclaimer, "Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited," I wanted to square my plans with league offices first.

The next morning I shot off an e-mail to MLB with my request and heard back within hours from Valerie Vieira, from the business development department in MLB Advanced Media. She asked me to call her.

I explained my situation to her and asked how to go about getting express written consent. She wanted to know if I was going to blog about the game or do a podcast, and I said no, I just wanted to describe the game to someone while sitting on my living room couch.

"How could anyone stop you from talking about the game in your own living room?" she said, taking my request as a joke.

I reassured her that it wasn't. While I doubted the MLB spies would be able to get to me, the disclaimer made it very clear that I'm not allowed to give my account of the game, so I wanted express written consent that gave me permission to talk about the game, and I would post a blog about how I went about attaining the consent. She said someone else from MLB would be calling me.

No one called.

I take this to mean I am not allowed to describe the game to Tyler. Which is just as well, because I've forgotten all about the particulars now.


Permalink | Posted in Sports @7:57am | Comments (34)

Man Bites Finger Off

Those health care rallies are all fun and games until someone loses a finger: Man bites off man's finger at Obama healthcare rally.

A 65-year-old man at a Wednesday night California rally supporting President Obama's embattled reform ideas had a finger bitten off during a scuffle with anti-reform protesters.

An estimated 100 supporters of healthcare reform affiliated with MoveOn.org had gathered as part of a nationwide array of pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of Obama's reform plans currently before Congress.

Instead, the rally attracted the attention of a group of anti-healthcare-reform protesters across the street. Initial police reports say that one pro-protester moved into the group of anti-protesters. Some angry words were exchanged.

The pro-protester punched an anti-protester, a witness told KTLA. A scuffle ensued. And the pro-protester had a finger bitten off.

The injured man walked to Los Robles Hospital with his finger for, well, healthcare.

The image that accompanied the article (reproduced here) shows a random pinky.


Permalink | Posted in General @8:20am | Comments (31)

Royal Palace Of Brussels

What makes the Royal Palace of Brussels so special?

One room has a ceiling made from 1.6 million jewel beetles.

Apparently it took Fabre's team of around 30 people 4 months just to glue the beetle shells to the ceiling.


Permalink | Posted in Visual Arts @10:26am | Comments (10)

Brain Fitness

How to keep your brain fit.

Monthly, do at least one of these:

  • Read two books of at least 200 pages
  • Spend at least 12 hours learning a new language
  • Spend at least 12 hours learning to play a musical instrument

Weekly, do at least two of these:

  • Play a game of chess (try to keep it going for at least 30 minutes)
  • Do a crossword puzzle (completing at least 90 percent of the puzzle)
  • Play a few hands of bridge
  • Read an intellectually stimulating magazine or spend some time on J-Walk Blog
  • Spend 30 minutes writing with your non-dominant hand (do not strain it)
  • Write an epic poem
  • Spend 30 minutes on brain exercises

I've got the books and musical instrument covered. But I'm having trouble with this week's epic poem.

Permalink | Posted in General @10:31am | Comments (20)

Super Gramma Has Lots Of Offsprings

They can't even get an accurate count: Grandmother of 300 leaves lessons behind.

Gregoria Martinez, 94, might seem like your typical grandma. She made quilts for her grandchildren, encouraged them to go to church, prayed for them, and gave advice.

Except the Vernon grandma didn't have just a handful of grandchildren when she died Tuesday. She had nearly 300.

Ninety-eight were grandchildren; 164 were great-grandchildren and 16 were great-great-grandchildren - all descendants of her own 11 offspring.

That's without counting her three stepchildren or any of their descendants - or the three great-great grandchildren currently on the way. The family purposely underestimated the total count but felt if all were included it could be as high as 500.

Actually, they have been losing track. Now, with nearly half the family attending the funeral Wednesday, family members passed out index cards to update names and phone numbers while they had their chance.

Martinez's survivors packed the 500-seat St. Mary's Catholic Church in Quanah. "Her numbers are pretty astounding," said Jesse Jalomo of his mother-in-law.


Permalink | Posted in General @10:40am | Comments (21)

The Walking Bible

In Tennessee: 'Walking Bible' gets people's attention with amazing memory.

Ask Charles Matlock to recite a random Bible passage, and he'll think for a second before delivering the verses as if reading from the book. Because of his photographic memory, Matlock, 59, has been able to memorize most of Christianity's holy book.

He is known as the "Walking Bible of West Tennessee." The Savannah native can recite whole books or chapters by request. "I started when I was very young, sharing about Jesus Christ whenever I could," he said. "Memorizing the Bible is a great opportunity to know Christ and share him with others."

The owner of a car dealership had this to say about Matlock's life:

"He could've made a lot more money in his life doing something else with his talents. He's very humble and survives off of the donations people give him."

He started memorizing in high school, and just kept at it.

Matlock would stand on street corners - something he says he can't do anymore because he's usually asked to leave.

In the photo, he's reciting bible verses on the radio. He could have just read them and nobody would have known the difference.


Permalink | Posted in Religion @10:48am | Comments (14)

Meatini

Seems like a lot of work, but it might be worth it: Meatini.

I had a wonderful dream! A dream of a cocktail of meat! Specifically, a full English fried breakfast served in a cocktail glass made of bacon. Once in every lifetime true revelation strikes a man, and this was my moment of total clarity! This was my chance to make a mark on history!

You'll find lots of photos, all leading up to the end result:

Here is the Meatini in its full glory! Complete with mushroom umbrella, sausage swizzle stick and cherry tomato cherry! It's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!


Permalink | Posted in Bacon @11:04am | Comments (11)

Drama And Real Life

At Derek Siver's site: Kurt Vonnegut explains drama.

I was at a Kurt Vonnegut talk in New York a few years ago. Talking about writing, life, and everything. He explained why people have such a need for drama in their life.

He said, "People have been hearing fantastic stories since time began. The problem is, they think life is supposed to be like the stories. Let's look at a few examples."

Here's a chart that depicts Cinderella:

That same chart applies to thousands of other books and movies. Here's how a typical disaster story goes:

Real life usually goes something like this:

"But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think are lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none."

That's why people invent fights. That's why we're drawn to sports. That's why we act like everything that happens to us is such a big deal.


Permalink | Posted in General @4:37pm | Comments (12)

Cat Imitates Steve Martin

Eight lives remaining: Cat shot through head with arrow.

Curiosity kills cats. Arrows through the head just scare them. Just ask Brownie, a 4-year-old orange-and-white Indiana tabby who's recovering after being shot through the head with a 13-inch-long quilled projectile.

Nobody knows who shot the kitty -- luckily, x-rays show the arrow skimmed off her skull. The vet who de-shafted the feline said the projectile entered above its right eye and ripped through its muscles.

Brownie, who has two large scars on opposite sides of her noggin, is expected to make a full recovery.

You made a heck of a recovery, Brownie.

(via Blame It On The Voices)


Permalink | Posted in General @4:45pm | Comments (16)

Orly Files Another One

The leader of the birther movement, and America's favorite dentist / attorney is at it again: Orly Taitz Files Another ‘Birther Soldier' Lawsuit.

You can read here pleading here: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES, DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, and INJUNCTIVE RELIEF: 10 U.S.C. ß938 and Army Regulation 27-10.

Here's an excerpt:

Plaintiff Captain Connie Rhodes, M.D., F.S, submits and charges that the current de facto President is an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, an unqualified imposter, for, in the 19th century words of W.S. Gilbert, "Darwinian man though well behaved is at best only a monkey shaved" and Plaintiff Captain Connie Rhodes, M.D., F.S., submits that she cannot lawfully act under his authority, but that she is being forced to do so without ANY opportunity or remedial avenue whatsoever...

Plaintiff submits that the reservations under which she would be forced to act if she were forced and required against her will to obey the orders for her to serve this President are neither conjectural nor speculative nor merely based on opinion or doubt.

Rather the vast preponderance of the credible evidence, all of the clear and convincing evidence, and some facts indicate beyond reasonable doubt that the President is an alien, possibly even an unnaturalized or even an unadmitted illegal alien (admitted just a few days ago, by United States Representative Diane Watson of California's 33rd Congressional District to have been born in Kenya), without so much as lawful residency in the United States.


Permalink | Posted in General @5:01pm | Comments (42)

Time To Mow The Ring

Pay $179 and you get a growing ring.

Designed for people in metropolitan areas, the Growing Ring is a chance to take a little bit of greenery with you.

Please indicate ring size when ordering. Like any plant, the ring will need to be watered and nurtured to be at its best.


Permalink | Posted in Products @5:03pm | Comments (13)

Friday, 04 September, 2009

Fooled By The Onion

News news: One giant slip in Bangladesh news.

Two Bangladeshi newspapers have apologised after publishing an article taken from a satirical US website which claimed the Moon landings were faked.

The Daily Manab Zamin said US astronaut Neil Armstrong had shocked a news conference by saying he now knew it had been an "elaborate hoax".

Neither they nor the New Nation, which later picked up the story, realised the Onion was not a genuine news site. Both have now apologised to their readers for not checking the story.

"We thought it was true so we printed it without checking," associate editor Hasanuzzuman Khan told the AFP news agency. "We didn't know the Onion was not a real news site."

Here's The Onion article: Conspiracy Theorist Convinces Neil Armstrong Moon Landing Was Faked.


Permalink | Posted in News @6:54am | Comments (4)

Hacked Up Body

Halloween is coming up, so it's time to start thinking about buying decorations. This axed up body will liven up any party, and it's only $400.

Embrace your inner serial killer with these lifesized, hacked up male body parts. Custom made for horror-style realism, with lots of blood and guts. Made of durable latex foam. This item is handmade and may vary slightly from shown.


Permalink | Posted in Products @7:00am | Comments (11)

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